Has anyone on here ever debated a former leftist who claimed their politics...

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

Has anyone on here ever debated a former leftist who claimed their politics changed after "loads and loads of study" or some shit?

Recently I had a heated debate with someone like this. Unfortunately he's very intelligent. He told me he was a very principled Marxist in his youth and also claimed to be very knowledgeable about Marx and Engels' works, Soviet history, Marxist theory, you get the picture. He even claimed to run Marxist study groups at his college a few years back. But apparently he turned into a flat-out reactionary, said all of Marxism (and leftism in general) is based on incorrect foundations, says communism will never happen, likes to make "West is best" kind of lowkey justifications for imperialism, is pro-Israel, says leftists are all a bunch of utopian shitheads, Lenin was an idiot, revolutions are failures, and Marx would agree with him on everything. So basically he's a neocon, or a "Marxist without being a communist" (but not even really Marxist). He was very fluent in history and philosophy in our conversation to the point where my only means of countering his bullshit were either emotions or moralism.

Has anyone else ever gone through something like this with an ex-lefty? What did they say to you? Did you find their arguments convincing at all?

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Other urls found in this thread:

paulcockshott.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/stochastic-historical-materialism/
pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7cbf/db00665b3b251abb52ff937be6945aac164a.pdf
spiritofcontradiction.eu/paul-cockshott/2013/02/15/new-age-marxism
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism#Trotskyism_allegation

Bentley Ramirez
Bentley Ramirez

The heretic needs to read Marx's fragment on machines to regain his faith

Introducing him to Cockshot and Zizek wouldn't hurt

Elijah Russell
Elijah Russell

I've met plenty of defeatists. I'm convinced they're just right-wing controlled opposition. It's always the same; it won't work, it won't have a chance, modern """leftists""" are the reason we'll never take power, etc etc. On and on.
Of course i was not convinced. I am a principled communist. I came to this conclusion after spending years being an ancap and then a /pol/fag. I know what the right thinks, i know how they act, and i'm not going back.
To answer your question, perhaps he was a /pol/ack who actually read a book. They choose to be fascists out of personal preference, not because they think they are right or wrong. They choose to be fascists simply because they hate us, or the modern """left""".
Either way, it's disingenuous. Nobody just stops being a revolutionary communist. They simply stop being themselves. There are only 2 choices for a revolutionary; choose to abandon their principles and live in blissful ignorance, or maintain their principles and live and die for their cause. You can't stop being woke.

Brayden Clark
Brayden Clark

Yeah. Had one guy who said he "grew out of socialism". I denounced him as a class traitor after pointing out the change in socio-economic status that led into into his reformation into a petty-bourg neolib. We don't talk anymore, but he mad cause he knows its true.

You on the other hand, need to get gud OP.

Christian Gray
Christian Gray

He was very fluent in history and philosophy in our conversation to the point where my only means of countering his bullshit were either emotions or moralism.
What were his arguments?

Anthony Ross
Anthony Ross

I'm convinced they're just right-wing controlled opposition. It's always the same; it won't work, it won't have a chance, modern """leftists""" are the reason we'll never take power, etc etc.
Yea it seems like excuses to not do anything rather than actual reasons…

Jose Richardson
Jose Richardson

This is typical of petite-bourgeois scum who stray towards socialism in their disempowered youth before taking the reins of whatever link they have into bourgeois power.
It doesn't matter how principled you are, most people in capitalist society will drop their ideals the second they stop being proles, if they had any to begin with.

Aaron Rivera
Aaron Rivera

Protip: there’s a reason why marxists are rightfully skeptical of bourgeois philosophy. Every single philosophy student I met in grad school was either a hardcore reactionary or liberal/succdem. The actual leftists were all in political science, history, sociology, or cultural studies.

Daniel Turner
Daniel Turner

I abandoned the left for a few years because sjws made me cringe so hard.

Now I see the sjws are a bourgeois plot to undermine left unity

Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson

He probably became rich.

Jaxson Martinez
Jaxson Martinez

"As a hard thinking philosopher, I've come to the conclusion that if everyone is equal no one is equal. Here's a convoluted 37 point argument which proves my conclusion, you can not refute it because only I can understand it"

Jason Sullivan
Jason Sullivan

What were his arguments? I kind used to share his feelings.

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Joshua Walker
Joshua Walker

Regardless of what anyone does or doesn't, regardless of what anyone thinks, regardless if communism prevails. Private property has demonstrated it has no future, and its abolition is the only chance at one. Truth does not need your consent.

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox

bourgeois philosophy
what does this actually mean in the context of university courses?

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Jaxon Morales
Jaxon Morales

change in his socio-economic status
Here's the key, OP. You can be pretty fucking intelligent but still be guided by your narcissism, lacking any kind of introversion.

The guy you talked about stopped being a commie right after university? Probably got a comfy job or started a business with someone and therefore it stopped being in his direct interest to be a communist. All of this probably wasn't a conscious choice for him either. A change in environment (colleagues, recreation, the neighborhood you live in, etc.) means a change in ideology around you whether you notice it or not: your daily conversations start to involve buying new cars and the stock market, instead of class war.

Had one friend just like this. In his teens he was the most lefty around us (poor as shit family) and after he got a comfy ass job due to luck he started acting like someone from Wolf of Wall Street.

Isaac Sanchez
Isaac Sanchez

But what are his actual beliefs? From what you say he sounds confused.

Landon Green
Landon Green

I've never actually met one of these "ex-Leftists" who actually had a firm grasp of theory while they were a Leftist. Every time they are pressed on things like basic Marxist analysis they reveal they understand/have read fuck all and just like to pretend they're smart. They were probably into Leftism as a fad hobby from the start.

Justin Sanchez
Justin Sanchez

you can't stop being woke

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Andrew Powell
Andrew Powell

Such is the nature of reality. There is no escape.

Benjamin Wood
Benjamin Wood

Has anyone on here ever debated a former leftist who claimed their politics changed after "loads and loads of study" or some shit?
We have threads with shitheads every week who say they used to be into Marx and changed their view after reading some basic economics or that some family lived through unspeakable horrors in the USSR. On Twitter, every day some yuppie says he's starving in Venezuela while his other tweets show he's in Europe or the US. This talk is to serious political discussion what "uncle at Nintendo" is to gaming discussion.

There is one type of story that can be true (not often, but sometimes) and that at first sight looks like one of the stories mentioned above, that it when people say they were socialist or communist during a brief period of their lives. Just identifying as a communist or socialist is a very vague thing, and this decision can be just based on a whim, belly-feel, or going along with something your friends are into. Of course, such a person can change their mind, that doesn't mean they have a thorough critique of their old position.

Feelings don't persist forever. But when you have figured out the logic of something, that stays with you. OP, running with the hypothesis that your exchange really happened, then you are probably of the touchy-feely type. Can you remember (or make up) some good gotchas the wise cynical neocon landed?

John Evans
John Evans

He sounds like a charicature of ex-marxist neocons, especially the "Marx would support modern society" thing.
In reality, his transition is typical for "principled" anything-ism and the dogmatic and cultish posters here will likely become libs and neocons as they grow older very much as a result of their unreasonable attachment to Marxism and their internalization of it as part of their identity.

I will never understand how people become pro-israel, though. I get how they become apathetic to Israel's treatment of paleatinians, but the reasons they personally support Israel elude me. Granted, moralistic opposition to Israel, that is to say the majority of it, is unmarxist, the rational matetialist reason for hating that nation being its slimy, manipulative influence, bordering on subversion, of foreign countries' politics.

Gabriel Watson
Gabriel Watson

He told me he was a very principled Marxist in his youth and also claimed to be very knowledgeable about Marx and Engels' works, Soviet history, Marxist theory, you get the picture.
Ask him what exchange value is or anything else from Capital Volumn 1, part 1, chapter 1, page 1, and listen to him flounder. Every time.

Chase Myers
Chase Myers

This. This whole interaction sounds like OP doesn't know his theory and was snowed by some right wing charlatan.

Ask him what C, V and S stand for.

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Jaxson White
Jaxson White

I guarantee that he was a nominal "identity" Marxist who never really held the beliefs but merely liked the rhetoric and Soviet propaganda posters. A house with deep foundations cannot be moved easily. His attachment to Marxist ideals was likely very shallow.

I speak from experience.

Lincoln Perry
Lincoln Perry

He told me he was a very principled Marxist in his youth and also claimed to be very knowledgeable about Marx and Engels' works, Soviet history, Marxist theory, you get the picture. He even claimed to run Marxist study groups at his college a few years back.
so where's his proof
sounds like a trot or leftcom at most

Anthony Martin
Anthony Martin

I'll add one other thing. Aside from what people mentioned – booklets, petty booj vacillation, etc, there is a huge crisis in critical thinking skills. It is possible for people to read dozens of core Marxist texts and not actually understand a single thing in them. If such people gain a middling understanding, they might also completely neglect the task of comparing the theory to reality. EG, it is literally impossible to understand Capital AND know the statistics that prove Capital is correct (easy to find on Cockshott's youtube, Anwar Shaikh's book, etc), and then just "change your mind." It's like knowing modern physics and then converting to geocentrism. If you do this, you should be evaluated for schizophrenia.
Marxism is a SCIENCE.
It is a little bit tougher when it comes to di-hist-mat, since you have to know the real history and so on. Many people are "fluent" in completely fabricated history. But again, if you actually take the redpill and learn all the CIA conspiracies, the real history of Nazi Germany, the prehistory of humanity, etc. then it is impossible to go back without actually going crazy or being some kind of psychopath who changes their entire worldview just to fit in with normies.

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Thomas Myers
Thomas Myers

then it is impossible to go back without actually going crazy or being some kind of psychopath who changes their entire worldview just to fit in with normies.
Spill those secrets into my ears, ancient one.

Isaac Lewis
Isaac Lewis

start with parenti, anti-imperialist-u, and the five heads (marx, engels, lenin, stalin, mao)

Levi Campbell
Levi Campbell

Stalin and Mao have literally zero worthwhile contributions to Marxist thought

With Mao in particular, I'd even go so far to say his "contributions" have actively HURT global Marxist thought with how stupid and wrong yet widely subscribed to they are.

Zachary Reed
Zachary Reed

Ironically he cites Zizek as one of the reasons for his falling out of Marxism. He repeated Zizek's boner for the West quite a bit.

He tends to adhere to the "muh linear development" shit quite a bit. He said all socialist revolutions ultimately failed because all they resulted in was some kind of form of capitalism, said that proves it's impossible to fully destroy what makes capitalism capitalism.

Asher Sanchez
Asher Sanchez

He said all socialist revolutions ultimately failed because all they resulted in was some kind of form of capitalism
I mean its too bad we have global capitalism, if there was no imperialist shitheads there would be no need to keep the state for very long.

said that proves it's impossible to fully destroy what makes capitalism capitalism.
capitalism is capitalism because private owners control the means of production. If you can convince him about market socialism then its not too far of a jump to have actual socialism.

impossible to fully destroy what makes capitalism capitalism.
I think your friend doesn't know what capitalism truly is, or hes just retarded

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Jacob Green
Jacob Green

Stalin and Mao have literally zero worthwhile contributions to Marxist thought
shut the fuck up trot
take mao's name off your tongue you fucking snake

Matthew Perez
Matthew Perez

Ironically he cites Zizek as one of the reasons for his falling out of Marxism. He repeated Zizek's boner for the West quite a bit.
Nothing ironic about that, Zizek is a hardcore reactionary. This tells us roughly the intellectual development of your pal. He does the reading but not the research and investigation. So any argument that seems well-constructed and appeals to his class interest can sway him.

He tends to adhere to the "muh linear development" shit quite a bit
I'd say to point him to Althusser's "aleatory" theory and Cockshott's "stochastic Marxism" theory, and to take note of the plainly non-linear progression of history that is described in core Marxist texts, but tbh this person is too far gone.

Benjamin Perry
Benjamin Perry

Nothing ironic about that, Zizek is a hardcore reactionary.
What are you fucking on about? Zizek is nowhere near the level of being a hardcore reactionary in the slightest.

Brayden Walker
Brayden Walker

He can be a gateway drug to western chauvinism, which is what did the guy I argued with.

Dominic Foster
Dominic Foster

Supported NATO bombing in his own country
not hardcore reactionary

Carson Taylor
Carson Taylor

I'm actually interested in Althusser's critique of Hegelian Marxism, or why he thinks linear development is BS.

Dominic White
Dominic White

It is possible for people to read dozens of core Marxist texts and not actually understand a single thing in them. If such people gain a middling understanding, they might also completely neglect the task of comparing the theory to reality
I think it's possible to come to this and miss the final step in the process, to actually envision what this looks like as a whole. You can look at the statistics and take a sort of dry, philosophical, scholarly look through Marxism and even look at the statistics and just come to at best the conclusion that it's a good way to predict the economy without actually realizing how this is an embodiment of society. Marxism as a science is an analysis of how society builds itself as a PROCESS, not just a look the state of things, not just a dry explanation for machinery and labor. At that point you come to realize that capitalism aims to continue its processes and outputs in perpetuity, that we will have destitution next to unimaginable wealth as the result of a systemic process no matter how far we go, no matter how much we do to try to "alleviate" poverty.
If you don't get how this is a process of constant change and rebuilding and re-evaluation that adheres to certain rules, that change is an inherent part of everything and must constantly flow I honestly don't think you can fully grasp the concept.

Related, I think this is a major part of what creates radlibs who hate imperialism but side with the US every time against "evil dictators"

Thomas Reyes
Thomas Reyes

here ya go.
And here's Cockshott on the topic:
paulcockshott.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/stochastic-historical-materialism/
On Althusser’sPhilosophy of the Encounter
pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7cbf/db00665b3b251abb52ff937be6945aac164a.pdf
spiritofcontradiction.eu/paul-cockshott/2013/02/15/new-age-marxism

btw, literally every marxist revolutionary has plainly stated that counterrevolution is possible, be it bourgeois counterrevolution or feudal, or even, say, the ruin of Rome. this alone refutes the idea that their historical view is "linear."

Attached: politics-and-history-althusser.pdf (1.77 MB, Philosophy and the Spontan….pdf)

File: 47d1131057a340e⋯.pdf (6.86 MB)

Nathan Bell
Nathan Bell

here are some of the arguments they use:
MUH UTOPIA (yet assumes that all people are good)
MUH BASIG EGONOMICS (legit retard or a retard with a twist that prioritizes profit so much that they forget what is the sole purpose of it which is human prosperity)
MUH WEST (yet forgets that the foundation of the west is pretty much ctr c ctrl v of old Levant civilizations + knowledge gathered from all around the world)
MUH USSR, DPRK, VENEZUELA (yet ignores the enormous international imperialist pressure on them)
MUH SJWS LEFTISTS (why do these only exist in neoliberal capitalist countries hmmmm)
MUH ANTI WHYPIPO (yes my favorite marx book "how to turn redpilled white men into twinks so muslims can win")
MUH EBIL CULTSHURAL MARXISTS (read marx, read dialectics of enlightment)
MUH [insert idealist rule/principle quote with zero further analysis or explanation] (yes you see caeser was stabbed in the back and my gf cheated behind my back, HISTORY IS DESTINED TO REPEAT ITSELF, TOLERANCE IZ THEE LAST VIRTUE OF A DYING SOCIETY)
btw most of the socialist turned right "intellectual celebrities" are funded by conservative politicians. look it up, every time i do some digging i find that they get support from some millionaire or a conservative representative/org

David Walker
David Walker

I see you're a man of culture.

Grayson Flores
Grayson Flores

Let's look at the overview of Mao's original "contributions", shall we?

New Democracy
Class collaborationism.
The Mass Line
Basic common sense that doesn't warrant its own title
Protracted People's War
Petty bourgeois guerrilla warfare disconnected from the working class. In the same vein as the SR's, anarchists, and other agrarian utopians from Russia, except much less excusable because this time it wasn't new or untried.
Cultural Revolution
Completely unfounded and, indeed, actively opposed to Marxist thinking. Makes the superstructure dominant to the base, posits that class tensions escalate during socialism rather than soften, and is more or less a post hoc justification for bureaucratic political maneuvering.

What else did he get wrong? Dialectics. Mao denied the negation of the negation, a crucial and essential component of dialectical logic. Mao's understanding of Hegel, Marx, Engels, and Lenin was exceptionally poor, even for a ML.

Logan Perez
Logan Perez

I said shut the fuck up. You are a fascist, chauvinist cunt.

Mason Wilson
Mason Wilson

You must have a wide berth for what defines a hardcore reactionary then. Calling for NATO bombings would just put him in-line with every other SocDem and liberal. A "hardcore" reactionary would be someone like a monarchist or a radical traditionalist, someone who wants to go WAY beyond just adopting the value systems of the past while retaining the current system or simply adopting an older version of capitalism, but instead someone who wants to go back to an entirely previous system all together while resisting progression into a new one.

James Russell
James Russell

Calling for NATO bombings would just put him in-line with every other SocDem and liberal
These people are the left wing of fascism.
Dear lord you credulous dupes need to read a book.

Ayden Thomas
Ayden Thomas

As always, we find the Maoist incapable of sustained thought

Dominic Wright
Dominic Wright

I am not a Maoist, I am just capable of appreciating his excellent theory and praxis because I am not a FUCKING FOUR who promotes fascism like all Trots do.

Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray

You kind of just name-called him instead of adressing his points, tho.

Camden Bell
Camden Bell

Ok, do you know the definition of reactionary or not? I'm against all those groups, but when you say "hardcore reactionary", that is generally referring to something completely different.

Matthew Ortiz
Matthew Ortiz

You got btfo because you didn’t read

Jace Ramirez
Jace Ramirez

I've always been very curious about "former Marxists". Christopher Hitchens, early Neocons, even Hayao Miyazaki all have this self designation. But what was it exactly that made them former? Hitchens for example I've heard use the usual talk of naive youth and the USSR being bad, but he never outright states what he disagrees with on with Marx. That I know of. Other's that claim to be formers, as noted here, are often revealed to be liars. There has to be a couple of legit examples out there, but they never go into detail. If anyone has an example I would like it, I'm very curious about what I might be missing that the formers see.

That said, I myself am sort of a former leftist. Being more alt-right now. Thing is I still agree with the Marxian analysis of political-economy. But I'm more extreme socially than even anti-idpol people here. I would agree with most of what /pol/ says socially these days - so that's pretty reactionary in places.

What I think I've noticed about politics is that it isn't fully rational and runs on a sort of heuristics system with base value axiom assumptions. The confirmation bias machine in your head perceives the world and fits it to the logical value/identity system that spring from those axioms. Though you receive all political information, the brain just filters some out as irrelevant like it filters out the vision of your nose in normal eyesight. If you shift your core values somehow suddenly you will find yourself reconsidering "dumb" talking points. Suddenly they make sense and this can result in seemingly irrational political conversions where people talk like stereotypes that they supposedly should know better than to talk like. "Liberalism is a mental illness." says the "former Communist". I've noticed in myself changing from a self-described feminist to misogynist anti-feminist, for example.

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Kayden Jenkins
Kayden Jenkins

I've noticed in myself changing from a self-described feminist to misogynist anti-feminist, for example.
So, believing the exact same bullshit in reverse.

Tyler Martinez
Tyler Martinez

I would agree with most of what /pol/ says socially these days - so that's pretty reactionary in places.
I'm curious about the beliefs you share with /pol/, because I can't see how someone who's not a socially excluded edgy teen or a rotten brained American (literal) boomer could share their opinions.

Leo Diaz
Leo Diaz

Just making sure I'm not coming off as trying to fit in like one of the normal guys when I'm actually pretty out there.

I agree that a shadowy global elite are trying to destroy western civilization. Don't know if they are da jews or whatever, but whoever or whatever they are I believe they are real. I agree there is a conspiracy to destroy the white race / anuddah shoah (which, yes, is one of if not THE best race humanity has produced). Think the sexual liberation was a disastrous mistake and feminism needs to be massively rolled back. Western chauvinist. So on and such.

Don't like or giving a flying fuck about Trump though. Other than he seems to piss off said establishment shadowy elites for some reason. And he at least gives some voice to the dangerous of immigration and need for new nationalism.

Ian Ward
Ian Ward

Material conditions define consciousness. As several people have pointed out here, the reason these people move away from socialist thinking to becoming capitalist shills is because they become subject to class pressures(comfy lifestyle, petty bourgeois thought, need to conform to become acceptable in social circles) the moment they leave college and start becoming part of the petty bourg.

Jason Flores
Jason Flores

It means they promote an epistemology (usually "muh logic"/"muh rationality") which tries to explain the world in a way which favors the status quo.

Bentley Hill
Bentley Hill

I should have mentioned, it's not like this guy I was talking to changed his economic status after graduating. He's still working class to my knowledge, he just fell into reactionary philosophy and claimed he could "debunk" all the major assertions of leftism. He told me it started with Zizek and Adorno, then he started reading more right-wing/neocon type thinkers and "realized" Marxism is based on the wrong premises or some shit.

Jayden Taylor
Jayden Taylor

I agree that a shadowy global elite are trying to destroy western civilization.
How did you come to such conclusion? I agree that you have those weird folks who hate everything "white" so much so that it becomes absurd. They play those weird opression games to see who is more opressed and so on. It also means how more opressed you are the more you valid your opinions are. I wonder where these people come from and why they do that. It seems like a political movement without really any goal.
Think the sexual liberation was a disastrous mistake and feminism needs to be massively rolled back.
I kinda feel the same way. Not exacly as being anti-feminist but more so being against liberal femnism.

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Evan Peterson
Evan Peterson

Well it is interesting how postmodernist thinkers like Zizek and Adorno provide a gateway to fascistic thought. Postmodernist thought rejects the idea of objective truth and the class struggle, favoring "mass movements" without an explicit class orientation or simply participation in local politics.

Rejection of the class struggle repudiates the central point of Marxism which is that it is the working class which will usher in socialism. I think your friend due to class pressures coming from the petty bourgeoisie–as working class people do not live in an isolated chamber–adopted a postmodernist view which rejected class struggle thereby opening up viewpoints like that of the far right. Your friend's fundamental rejection of the class struggle is what led him to the conclusion that capitalism is a viable system.

However I think that the coming economic collapse will either make your friend turn towards fascism or revert him back to socialism.

Cameron Cook
Cameron Cook

I feel like something is very off about Zizek but can't put my finger on it. While he seems "Marxist" his defeatist attitude toward communism simply enforces the "there's no alternative" way of viewing the world. He even admits that he doesn't know if there will be a world beyond capitalism although it's something I think too. Most people do believe a world beyond capitalism is impossible, yet this makes me think of a text from Bukharin

"He [serf-owner] could not see further than his nose, and therefore was unable to understand even the things going on right under his nose. The bourgeoisie also wears such blinders. The bourgeoisie is interested in the preservation of capitalism and believes in its permanence and indestructibility. It is therefore blind to such phenomena and such traits in the evolution of capitalist society as point to its temporary nature, to its approaching ruin (even to the possibility of its destruction), to its being succeeded by any other organization of life. "

Jonathan Torres
Jonathan Torres

TBH I think a lot of it has to do with Zizek's Hegelianism, the-real-is-rational, all that. Like he thinks socialist revolution will just be a continuation of capitalism, so why waste time dreaming of full communism when such a thing will never be obtainable? That's what OP's friend sounds like too.

Ryan Sullivan
Ryan Sullivan

Thank you for answering
Okay, you might have been a liberal leftist but you never were a Marxist, since you seem to have an deeply idealistic worldview, and Marxism requires one to be a (philosophical) Materialist.
A Marxist would scratch the surface of concepts like "western civilization" "white race" or "sexual liberation" and analyse them in a materialistic framework in order, for example, to understand what material and sociology-political environment gave birth (both unknowingly and intentionally) to what we call know "the West".
Read "The Civilizing Process" by Norbert Elias, "The Great Transformation" by Karl Polyani,
"Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture" by Pierre Bourdieu and of course Marx and Engels' work.

Isaac Williams
Isaac Williams

Is your friend David Horowitz?

Ethan Gomez
Ethan Gomez

Althusser > Bourdieu

Justin Rogers
Justin Rogers

ΔΙΟΓΕΝΗΣ > ΑΠΑΝΤΑ

Owen Reed
Owen Reed

Well, I think it's okay to not have all the answers, or if people don't agree with you or whatever. I find Marxism to be an analytically useful way of looking at how the world works, and I find the Marxist-Leninists to generally have the best understanding of things, and their predictions are usually true more often than not. It's not a big deal if someone tells you you're a fool or whatever.
I've always been very curious about "former Marxists". Christopher Hitchens, early Neocons, even Hayao Miyazaki all have this self designation. But what was it exactly that made them former? Hitchens for example I've heard use the usual talk of naive youth and the USSR being bad, but he never outright states what he disagrees with on with Marx.
I actually met Christopher Hitchens once at a debate he did with these Christian pastors and theologians and was young fanboy. My feeling is that my attraction to him was similar to guys being attracted to people like Jordan Peterson today. It's a lot of moral dudgeon and believing you're part of this idealistic cause to save Western civilization as it's standing on a precipice and blah blah blah.

I think Hitchens also believed himself to be agent for this – or something like that. So the appeal was living vicariously through Hitchens as he'd go on these little adventures to slay dragons. He loved to name drop famous people he'd wine and dine with. A typical Hitchens article would open with "I was standing in Walid Jumblatt's chateau in the mountains above Beirut when…"

He was a self-promoter, and being a Marxist probably became incompatible with his own career aspirations at a certain point. I also don't think he was ever that radical. I watched an old CPSAN interview with him in the 1980s where would describe his magazine (The Nation) as the left-wing of the mainstream. Although from what I heard his last words were "capitalism downfall" scrawled on a pen and a pad at his hospital bed in the moments before he died. Anyways, his stuff was more interesting before 9/11, and more lefty, but I think running throughout it all was a kind of well-honed style – Hitchens certainly had style. And he also had an audodidact's arrogance. He was fundamentally still a *journalist*. A hack. He also had a drinking problem which probably worsened over time and degraded his output.

There are a lot of hacks out there. Nothing wrong with that, though. Most of us here are also audodidacts who don't really know what we're talking about, but I think we should have some humility.
That said, I myself am sort of a former leftist. Being more alt-right now. Thing is I still agree with the Marxian analysis of political-economy. But I'm more extreme socially than even anti-idpol people here. I would agree with most of what /pol/ says socially these days - so that's pretty reactionary in places.
I personally find social conservatism to be sort of incoherent and most of the people who claim it are focused on these kind of surface-level signifiers. It's superficial. Like, is it dressing like Clint Eastwood from Gran Turino or something? Or not doing drugs? That's fine. I don't do drugs, either. Or is it like being like the Amish? That's about as extreme socially as I can imagine. So when I see "alt-right" guys say they're way out on the extremes, I'm usually not impressed. There are a quarter million Amish living in my country, the United States, and I don't have any problems with them.
What I think I've noticed about politics is that it isn't fully rational and runs on a sort of heuristics system with base value axiom assumptions.
Well I think a lot of people become attracted to radical political causes because they are personally dissatisfied with their lives, and they use the cause as a way of transforming themselves into a kind of vehicle on a mission to transform the world, and by extension, themselves. But this inevitably results in frustrations. This is like the Hitchens, Peterson, etc. thing I was talking about. But it's not just them.

I suppose I'd ask people to think about what society they're actually living in. Like here in the U.S., it's basically modern version of the Byzantine Empire with 300 million people who are living radically different lives. I can't remember the exact quote, but Nixon praised Mao during their meetings in the early 1970s, and Mao said "oh, I've only established socialism within a few squares miles of Beijing."

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Brody Sanders
Brody Sanders

Oh one more thing – if you're posting on /pol/ and say you're a social conservative, well then that is ridiculous to me because /pol/ is one of the most debauched and degraded places on the internet. It's like a dirty movie theater with cum rags littered in the aisles. It's not conservative at all. It's anime pornography and violent jokes and people posting clips of suicides, and driving themselves into a rage. You know, this is positively Satanic (if you believe in the devil). It's far more degraded and debauched than the radical left! But that I think shows the hypocrisy of much of this social conservatism, because a lot of /pol/ users are just angry, bigoted men working at mattress stores on commission, voting for the Republican Party, and posting dirty jokes from their work computer when there aren't any customers around.

Adam Butler
Adam Butler

Well I think a lot of people become attracted to radical political causes because they are personally dissatisfied with their lives, and they use the cause as a way of transforming themselves into a kind of vehicle on a mission to transform the world, and by extension, themselves. But this inevitably results in frustrations. This is like the Hitchens, Peterson, etc. thing I was talking about. But it's not just them.
Don't you think this applies to majority of extremist/radicals in the first world? Truth is most of our lives aren't bad, or rather not that bad to the extent of needing a revolution. I certainly am a person who feels dissatisfied with their life and what you said I have noticed myself, it certainly applies to me. This makes me think the idea of first world having close to no revolutionary potential being true. But if so what's to be done?

Justin Collins
Justin Collins

Well, hell if I know. But personaly I don't believe the first world has revolutionary potential right now (and yes, I am also disgruntled). This doesn't mean all is lost, or whatever. Greece a few years ago seemed to have the conditions for it. The situation could change. I've been growing partial to the PSL line here in the United States which makes a priority out of anti-imperialist and anti-war agitation and seeing that connected to an international struggle. Amerikkka(!!!) is just so damn militarist and imperialist. Although to be perfectly honest I also agree with the social democrats like Bernie Sanders about a single-payer healthcare system – and struggling for that is worthwhile, I think – because the health situation here is just so completely fucked up. A lot of young right-wing reactionaries don't give a shit because they're healthy but once they start to get older then the criminal structure of the U.$. healthcare system becomes immediately and directly apparent.

As an aside, one thing that I think is fortunate on the left is that we're not generating mass shooters or whatever – the right on the other hand is producing a lot of them. But despite being simply "crazy" I think the mass shooter personality is really an extreme manifestation of what I'm talking about with the idea of being on a "mission," where the person sees themselves as being the vehicle for a totalizing and sacred cause to transform the world. Through the process of becoming an extremist or shooter, they are reborn as a warrior or avenging angel sent from Heaven to enact this apocalypse on all of society. Very frightening stuff.

I find this whole thing to be horrifying and terrible, I should say, but I've always been fascinated by cults and how the drive to change society can produce great things but also terrible things. Like I was saying, I'm an autodidact and don't really know what the hell I'm talking about, and it's sort of an obvious point, but I think it's true. Anyways, my impression is that Americans feel pretty powerless to change their society – ruled by a self-replicating class of oligarchs as it is. And I see the mass shooter thing as like a terrible inversion of the society's militarism and atomization combining to result in pathetic little atrocities by wannabe commandos.

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Levi Fisher
Levi Fisher

I've never actually met someone who understands Nick Land IRL but there are a few people who post on 4/lit/ that are post-modern neo-marxist neo-reactionary accelerationists that read focault lacan zizek etc and consciously choose fascism because they are petit/bourgeoisie or class delusional temporarily embarrassed millionaires

its kind of the most terrifying adversary of the left, that they openly understand a marxist reading of history and economics and use that to further entrench capitalism. They advocate for fascist tuning of science based sociological methods of social control by adjusting our mode of production to reproduce our own slavery for a literal thousand year riech.

its painful to see so much infighting and focus on historical texts only without much new interpretations while the right is making real progress in social theory, albeit in rare cases

Matthew Collins
Matthew Collins

. But apparently he turned into a flat-out reactionary, said all of Marxism (and leftism in general) is based on incorrect foundations, says communism will never happen, likes to make "West is best" kind of lowkey justifications for imperialism, is pro-Israel, says leftists are all a bunch of utopian shitheads, Lenin was an idiot, revolutions are failures, and Marx would agree with him on everything. So basically he's a neocon, or a "Marxist without being a communist" (but not even really Marxist). He was very fluent in history and philosophy in our conversation to the point where my only means of countering his bullshit were either emotions or moralism.

This sounds like the neotrotsky conservative pipeline. I think they recognize that first world minimum wage workers are essentially petit-bourgiouse or an intermediate artisan class between third world labor that directly interacts with material resources rather than assembly, transport, sales, logistics further down the supply chain that relies on a segregated more intense type of exploitation to actually produce what they "produce".

This is a kind of temporal analysis rather than an eternal one, where the individual weighs their personal material conditions, access and likelihood to actually achieve something better within their own lifetime. While marxism is eternally true and communism with win through historical necessity it may not win within your lifetime, it may not make meaningful progress while you are living and so on.

So the young teen proto-reactionary sees that marxism is true but also sees the immediate material conditions and possibilities for growth and essentially after two or three decades of non-progress(usually involving a mortgage or state registered childbirth and therefore financial obligation), if they have not died because of their material conditions they fall into defeatism chooses greed, cowardice, comfort and safety to maintain what they have already for themselves.

So your historically fluent friend means that in this snapshop of history the west is more affluent and he is in the west and for his lifetime the possibilities of him personally acquiring a better life through leftist activism is about zero so there is no value in it for him because he has chosen to put his personal comfort above all other things. Within this framework he is not wrong.

I would say about half of "emotionally leftist" people will take this path, about 40 percent die before retirement and 10 percent remain leftists. This is basically how you get conservative old people

Ian Gonzalez
Ian Gonzalez

class traitor
petty-bourg
but hes acting rationally within his class interests

William Butler
William Butler

I get how they become apathetic to Israel's treatment of paleatinians, but the reasons they personally support Israel elude me.

As an ideology, “neoliberalism” is a very specific epistemology/ontology (or, more precisely, it's an ideology in which epistemology and ontology collapse into one another, an epistemontology)
Neoliberal material reductionism is temporal/atomic, they see Israel upholding LGBT property rights building skyscrapers and conceive of the world in a snap shot like a statistical balance sheet of GDPs where larger numbers are good. It stems from anglo-saxon protestant work ethic and divine right of kings, where the "natural" allocation of resources in the current state is eternally endorsed by heaven.

So basically if you are poor its because you are a sinner, Israel is clean and nice because god loves them and Palestine is dirty because they worship Satan. This is self evidently true because if poor people were good they wouldn't be poor.

:^)

Robert Wright
Robert Wright

this, groups such as platypus and other neo-trot orgs are usually responsible for this brain rot, as well as eventual resignation to petit boug lifestyle

Josiah Walker
Josiah Walker

"Trotskyism" is simply Marxism. The reason so many former trots end up caving to imperialism has everything to do with class pressure. Numerous Stalinists, Maoists, Anarchists, etc, end up siding with imperialism due to the fact that class pressures, ie, living a petty boug lifestyle causes people to abandon Marxism for their own class interests.

Isaac James
Isaac James

"Trotskyism" is simply Marxism
sure, its not that trots cant have material analysis, I was just referring to a common trend

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism#Trotskyism_allegation

Parker Russell
Parker Russell

The vast majority of Americans (Including Zoomers and Millennials) will support fascism simply because it's what's hot. It's always been the in thing to be for Boomers and Gen Xers and Pewds, Ben Shapiro and the like are making the right wing the SEXY~ thing to be.
No fucking clue about the rest of the world. I honestly think that Europe is even more fascist friendly than the US if we go by how many of them are electing far-right politicians.

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Jackson Morgan
Jackson Morgan

With the two party system it is pretty difficult to elect fascists I think. Unless there is a sufficiently broad conses in the ruling class that is.
It does look pretty bad in Europe, the most left parties that get into parliament are just idpozzed left-liberals while the far right parties rehabilitating the nazis.

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Samuel Peterson
Samuel Peterson

He used to be a prole, but then snorted the business owner bs and is now a land lord.

Tyler Cox
Tyler Cox

read Philosophy of Right once
next day wake up an imperialism apologist
Sounds accurate.

Nicholas Torres
Nicholas Torres

He's pro-Israel because he sees Israel as some kind of beacon of progress in the Middle East or some shit, in the sense that their population is mostly secular and has abandoned most aspects of pre-modernity. This means, apparently, that they're "more likely" to take up socialism. He even said the Palestinians need to let go of their liberation struggle and integrate into Israeli society.

That's what muh linear history gets you.

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson

I'm printing this out.

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Jaxon White
Jaxon White

I had a similar discussion with one of those people too, and I have to say that """growing out""" of leftism is a bad attempt to have an argumentum ab auctoritate. People like this have barely studied marxist works and if they did, its just a very brief contact with it, just enough to dunk on some retarded """"democratic socialist"""" college kids. Ask them anything that is more than the first 3 pages of the manifesto and watch them hide behind excuses or insults against you. Barely any of them were leftist at any pint whatsoever.

Justin Rodriguez
Justin Rodriguez

I was just referring to a common trend
why do people keep repeating this nonsense which was literally a reagan-era burger evangelical meme because the paleocons were being forced out in favour of neocons who they considered godless and immediately accused of being secret jewish atheist gommies

Jayden Watson
Jayden Watson

This guy told me he spent "years and years" studying Marx and Engels' works. He said once you understand Marx and Engels' methodology you realize they were "full of shit" and become an ultra-rational reactionary.

Christopher Wright
Christopher Wright

This guy told me he spent "years and years" studying Marx and Engels' works
so what that he said it? Did he demonstrate any knowledge of marx and engels at all because so far everything points to him just lying and talking out of his arse like 99% of reactionaries who claim to be enlightened ex-leftists and you just didn't challenge him on any of his entirely baseless claims.

David Wright
David Wright

an argumentum ab auctoritate
Fuck off pseud, just use English retard

Nathaniel Bell
Nathaniel Bell

sorry, english isnt my first language and I didnt knew the english term for that

Hudson Baker
Hudson Baker

Yeah, the supposed ex-leftists never know even the most basic of marxist economic concepts. Ask him what the C-M-C cycle is, and I will bet that he will immediately start angrily deflecting.

Matthew Hernandez
Matthew Hernandez

I've known some people who said they had a "radical phase" and they were all total fuckers who never read a word of Marx.

Unfortunately he's very intelligent.
Intelligence has fuck all to do with being right. Being right is about being willing to question your beliefs and be honest with yourself. Smart people who can't do that just end up making elaborate and smart sounding rationalizations for their beliefs. It absolutely does not take even average levels of intelligence to understand why fundamentally capitalism is a problem. The way you handle someone saying a bunch of obtuse or show-offy shit is to cut straight to the heart of the matter and ask the fundamental questions. Capitalism requires continuous growth, how is that sustainable? Capitalism maximizes profit, the siphoning of value toward a parasitic class, how is that justifiable or "tHe BeSt We CaN dO" when we have demonstrable examples of better systems in practice? You can't give a real answer to questions like these because there isn't one. At best you can artfully dodge or come up with some weird rationalization in the hopes that the other person will get confused or frustrated.

Oliver Bennett
Oliver Bennett

where do you disagree with the intersectionalists?

Carson Hall
Carson Hall

"Former marxists" are probably pseudo marxists who probably never actually read theory.

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Kevin Taylor
Kevin Taylor

I don't disagree neccesarily but theyre 98% ugly annoying people and they made marxism lame

Asher Barnes
Asher Barnes

i know a smart dude, smartest dude alive today, who was a marxist and trotskyist for like 10 years until recently he had a change of heart after more research and now he's a maoist.

funnyhe used to complain about maoists fucking up his trotskyist meetings too

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Hunter James
Hunter James

when you discover the logic of it it stays with you forever

this. anyone claiming they were once a communist but are now a liberal/right winger/eggplant are just retarded and never actually knew what communism was.

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Adrian Martinez
Adrian Martinez

I'm a "former Marxist". I still agree with Marx but I've found that I often disagree with other people who call themselves Marxists.

David Thompson
David Thompson

I still agree with Marx but I've found that I often disagree with other people who call themselves Marxists.
Then you're still a Marxist. Why would you base yourself on whether or not you are something based on other people? It's this type of spineless and unprincipled thinking that causes "window-shopping" behavior and it's retarded as fuck. If you believe something is true, then you believe it to be true. If you believe something to be false, then you believe it to be false. Someone acting retarded or doing stupid shit doesn't suddenly invalidate that, and to say "Well I believe X, but because someone who agrees with me did Y, I am no longer X" is juvenile high-schools behavior.

I'm a Marxist. Are there other Marxist's with shit takes that I disagree with? Yes. But I'm still a Marxist regardless because politics isn't a fucking clique.

Charles Flores
Charles Flores

If the word "Marxist" is used by most people to mean something other than what I consider Marxism, why would I continue to use that word to describe myself? It is the same reason I don't call myself a feminist even though I believe in the first-wave feminist principle of equal legal rights for the sexes and the second-wave feminist principle that sex should not be considered a qualifying factor for any vocation, since contemporary feminism is no longer about that even notionally.

Jacob Martin
Jacob Martin

Don't you think your way of just switching the name when someone else, who you dislike, uses it does nothing? You just come up with different names for the same thing without fighting the thing that's caused the change in name. If I may ask what kind of Marxists/Marxism do you dislike?

Jack Lopez
Jack Lopez

If the word "Marxist" is used by most people to mean something other than what I consider Marxism, why would I continue to use that word to describe myself?
Because if you concede the term Marxist because of other people's actions, you will find yourself conceding for the rest of your life and allow yourself, maybe even unknowingly, to be lured into ideologies simply based on their position relative to others. That isn't me making an audacious claim at you, I literally got done posting in a thread in which a fascist attempted to employ such a rhetoric, basing the validity of his ideology purely on its relation to how accepted it was. Have absolute convictions, don't let others define them.

Hudson Adams
Hudson Adams

loads and loads of study" or some shit
Everyone who says that is just liar. That's my experience

Adam Long
Adam Long

If I may ask what kind of Marxists/Marxism do you dislike?

I oppose state capitalism and consider it antithetical to Marxist principles. I don't consider it a step towards communism but rather a regression.

Juan Foster
Juan Foster

Huh, not what I expected. Most of the time it's ☭TANKIE☭s who want to distance themselves from established names like "marxist" or "leftis".
Hello ZeroBooks readers! Forgive me for the joke

Nicholas Mitchell
Nicholas Mitchell

I probably don't agree with a lot of what you believe in and what you define as "state capitalism", but you're still (probably) objectively a Marxist. You're just most likely not an ML.

Justin Campbell
Justin Campbell

Sounds like something Marx might have agreed with.

Jacob Butler
Jacob Butler

These people are the left wing of fascism.
Imagine dogmatically clinging to a Comintern line from 80+ years ago that even the Comintern renounced just a few years later.

Justin Cooper
Justin Cooper

Yeah, but for that 10% of remaining leftists there's nothing to do. It's basically a form of virtue signalling where you stand around holding the "correct" opinions, but your actions have no influence on society, nor is there any possible action they could take to make them be influential.

Levi Ramirez
Levi Ramirez

America is fascist/totalitarian already, has been arguably the whole time. It's complicated because "Fascist" refers to a specific movement, but heavy nationalism and suppression of foreigners is the American way. We are all raised on that shit but for most people you don't have to express it. We know we are the "best" so many get high on exceptionalism and nationalism without acting out.

Camden Rivera
Camden Rivera

TBH I also think Zizek's support for western chauvinism could have to do with Hegel's hateboner against the dharmic religions. Zizek sees the West as a kind of reluctant hero against the emerging "imperialism" of China and India, because for him secular western Christian hegemony is better than dharmic Hindu/Buddhist/Daoist hegemony. This is all speculation on my part but I have a hunch this could be what's going on.

Hudson Howard
Hudson Howard

A lot of early Zionists were Hegelian and Zionism can be seen as a Hegelian-inspired movement.

Michael Brooks
Michael Brooks

Well poisoning but I digress.

Brody Green
Brody Green

Protip OP:neoliberalism's ideological justification is really just a really distorted version of the normative ethical theory of natural law. It was something the Christians had alongside virtue ethics and some variants of deontology like Boethius's. Basically, the idea is that things have certain basic goods that are constitutive of their nature and realizing and preventing those goods is unethical. These ends are inherent in the thing. So for a neoliberal (or neocon, depending if you're dealing with neoliberalism's "right" or (faux) "left" variant) every group of people must be uprooted from their traditional way of life, regardless as to how tranquil it is, and forced into modernity via sweatshops and so-called development. I'd even go so far as to say the notion of universal history exemplifies this.

Zachary Turner
Zachary Turner

Interesting. Tell me more.

Austin Scott
Austin Scott

What is his class position?

Ian Morris
Ian Morris

Lower middle class.

Brandon Murphy
Brandon Murphy

Not 100% sure what you mean by that. Is he a wage worker? Does he own property?

Austin Martinez
Austin Martinez

introversion
Introspection

Zachary Foster
Zachary Foster

He can be a gateway drug to western chauvinism
Care to explain how?

Jason Perez
Jason Perez

He doesn't own any property. He works in retail if I remember correctly.

Andrew Martinez
Andrew Martinez

Hegel was wrong about Nationalism, too. So I'm told, anyway.

Wyatt Young
Wyatt Young

Is he a manager that bosses people around?

Jaxson Lee
Jaxson Lee

No. He's a wage slave. He makes a decent wage though.

TBH I think debunking him philosophically would be much better than trying to understand his beliefs in the context of class. The latter just comes off as an ad hom.

Ayden Myers
Ayden Myers

Would this explain the 'history is muh rational process' shit too?

Hudson Price
Hudson Price

They choose to be fascists out of personal preference, not because they think they are right or wrong. They choose to be fascists simply because they hate
eh half right imo
they chose to be fascists likely because they realized that the material conditions of the first world and their position within it would be damaged by communism. "west is the best" is an individualist moral judgement about personal material gain and a defense of their position in time. quite literally a reaction against progress and they are right about partly right about being "marxist" they are just a petit/bourg working in their class interest