Revolutionary gedanken experiments

archive: virtual revolution… July 2nd, 2017 ·
Two Manifestos

We would have to be very careful about mixing revolutionary and religious ideas and one use of our idea of virtual revolution is to consider two aspects to the question, in effect generating two components of our ‘virtual’ group, the R48 formation. In fact, this happened with the Bolshevik/Menshevik split and we can also see the historical example of Islam as a case or ‘revolutionary religion’ open to violent military conversions, judge that as we may. The inner tension inside Islam testifies to the issue and we should be wary of facile combinations of ideas. That said, the original program of the marxists via proletarian revolution opened itself to this problematic.

The answer is not some facile form of non-violence as a philosophy. But it is not an easy question, to ask how to generate cultural change while also attempting to stage some kind of religious reformation.

The question can be answered easily in theory, but in practice there is going to be confusion. In the end the whole question of political ethics comes to the fore and this cautions and complicates revolutionary aspiration. One has to wonder if the strange de-ethicized marxism wasn’t a strange tactic to render revolutionaries de-sensitized to ethical questions on the way to a ruthless praxis. If so, the strategy failed and we are stuck at best with the ‘nice guy’ revolutionism of the Kantian ethical socialists. Part of the crisis of capitalism and pseudo-democracy of the American type is the de facto erection of the psychopath to the political norm. Something has to change there and it won’t be amenable to a Leninist solution…

In the nonce a virtual revolution can gestate the future as a potential to influence action, whatever the likelihood of ‘real’ revolution. The history of Christianity wasn’t so far off from that: a sideshow slowing becoming its own revolution (with not very elegant Constantinian results). The modern secular sphere can do a lot better with that, but while there is no inherent objection of a revolutionary religion (witness the Islamic case) the modern future must do something far more complex and not inflict violent
episodes on a general public. Let us not that Munzer and Luther did just that, so we are actually open to doing the job right here, not with a gandian fundamentalism, but a careful political/ethical and other consideration of the nature of change.

Again, these issues are not insoluble, but they do require a recompute of legacy revolutionism. Just as well. The past informs us but is water over the dam. The Kantian ‘republic of ends’ invokes a categorical imperative: what is the status of revolutionism in that canon?

The issues might seem idle: confronting the overwhelming power of, say, the American state as a criminal mafia, we have another translation of ‘virtual revolution’ in the classic history of catacombs of dissenting Christian ‘virtual revolutionaries’.

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