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Communism as Follow-up Care

a 200-year-old idea in the wake of October 12 –

 

Utopian Anachronicle (Утопическая Анахроника, Utópista Anakrónika),

Avantgrad, February 2048

 

Proletarians of the World! World citizens! Most Honorable Animals, Vegetables, and Minerals! Dear Entities and their Representatives! Dear Dolphins! O Gentle Browsers! My Friends! February 2048 has greeted us with dazzling sunshine, and the strawberries of the city of Avantgrad, like their Parisian cousins, are as succulent as honey and as red as blood, the red of Revolution…  Alas, to continue would be in vain! My voice – against my will – falters here.

It has been going this way for over eight years now, and still, each time it happens, we are surprised over and over. Whenever we try to say something or put words on paper, as we begin some inscrutable force suddenly puts the brakes on our tongue, interrupting the thought we have begun. Our voice falters; we resign ourselves to this. Something that had seemed so important just a moment ago is no longer so. Just now, you see, it was enough for me to say “blood and revolution” – and…

Oh! …I said it again, and again my voice faltered. That is how it goes. Ever since 10/12, we have been unable to compose our words as we once did. The Shock that hit humanity on October 12, 2039 impedes us to this very day - not just in our opening sentences, but also in what we read. This puts (for example) Abraham Singh Tao’s essential work The Rise, Fall, and Rerise of the Idea of Communism in a new light. I picked up this book in order to revive memories of the events of 200 years ago, in February 1848, when the Communist Manifesto was published in German, and the Revolution broke out in Paris.

In 1848, words were passionate and knives were sharp.
Petőfi, the poet of sacred universal freedom, sang out “Hang the kings!” while Marx and Engels – like Petőfi, and with just as little real thirst for blood, certainly less than was the fashion of their time – inserted at the end of their Manifesto three (the sixth, the fifth and the fourth, counting backwards from the end ) ominous, instigating phrases: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution.”

The author-pair Marx-Engels endeavoured later, but to no end; no use that they refrained from inciting to violence, as still the three ominous sentences compromised, so long and so gravely, not only the Communists in general but particularly those living under "real" communism who simply wanted to approach the “original” Marx.  These three sentences,  for all intents and purposes, ruined the reputation of Communism from February 1848 all the way up to the mid-2010s. They became the Makarenko strike of Communism: the more you tried, the harder it became to cast them off (we have only to remember the debates of the 2010s).

The Communists (Makarenko the pedagogue, and Marx the philosopher of practice, among others) proclaimed - in vain - that it was not enough for education and politics to be free of violence; they must be anti-violence; in vain, because in reality – not only that of the Communists – the strikes, revolutions, altercations, animosities, hostilities, religious wars, civil wars, proletarian wars, ethnic, economic, media and football wars, in short, bellum omnium contra omnes, and the general warlike frenzy that accompanied it conquered the souls of people, whose egoistic hubris was outweighed only by their fanaticism and aggression. The milk factory workers blew up the bittersweet chocolate factories just as naturally as the pork-breeders poisoned the stock of cattle; the greatest devastation, however, with increasing levels of assault that spread throughout the world, was carried out by ad hoc murderers, spontaneous assassins, aleatory terrorists and empirical nihilists, who incidentally, but with increasing frequency and on an increasingly larger scale, destroyed icons, peoples, animals, agricultural land, power plants, settlements, churches and other holy places, media satellites, info-stations, or just happened to come upon copies of the two-hundred year-old Communist Manifesto burned at the stake.

The special thing about the book I hold in my hand is that it was published mere days before the Global Shock. Its author, Abraham Singh Tao, the eco-menical idea-conomist of Satarov-Beach-upon-Volga (who like 400 million of his fellow men perished of a heart attack during the World Shock) attained such implications through his serious theoretical work that - the fruit of his long studies - he pronounced or wrote down sentences so full of meaning, sentences that we who have recovered after 10/12 utter with no difficulty whatsoever, sometimes several times a day, such as: “Hello, where are you going?” or “Let’s take a stroll through the teagardens, and discuss the transpersonal question of vital importance that we mentioned last time at the coffee plantation”, or “The building blocks for tomorrow have  been here for a long time, but the stonemasons who will build from them are still not free enough”, or “There is plenty of money around today; it is just that desire is not aroused through desirable channels”, or even “Even if there is goodwill, inclination for activity, and money, it is all for nothing if they cannot find their way to each other”.

Abraham Singh Tao belonged to the ranks of those globally organised conservative Communists who undertake the legal and political representation and attend to the needs of those individuals, peoples, animal species or even dialects that are unwilling or unable to articulate themselves; they are concerned first and foremost with the resurrection of languages dead or threatened with extinction, defunct customs and crafts, and forgotten folksongs, the recloning of extinct species, and the reconstitution of lost values. The demand for reconstruction emerged first in philosophy (and only later followed such practical initiatives as, for example, the celebrated ultimatum (originally in reference to Hegel) that if the philosopher doing a handstand would prefer his head not to be so red, he should stand on his feet as soon as possible).

In the period before the Shock, the influence of futurist Communism exerted considerable influence alongside conservative Communism. Its followers self-consciously proclaimed: “I will do everything possible, climatically speaking, to keep my descendants from having to live in a cauldron!” The futurist Communists lived in continual self-restraint: they generally fasted, and travelled on foot, by bicycle, rowboat and sailboat, spent a lot of time in the forest, and planted trees. They occasionally used electric vehicles, and harnessed current from the Sun, the wind, lightning and earthquakes. The futurist Communists would also lose their chains – but not their famed body-building-salon chains, a rightful source of pride.  This was a network of workout rooms where every newton of extracted human force was transformed into electric power and stored. Nevertheless all of this, and much more, was to be in vain. Events so accelerated that, at a certain point, the global violence and fanatic frenzy became irreversible, only increasing all the way up to “the great world seizure” (le grand mal global), as the event called the Global Shock ("Shock" for short in the new school textbooks) was called, by post-psychiatritsts, after the epileptic grand mal .

But even for Communists living such refined modes of existence, it was only the aftermath of the Shock of ’39 that brought the prospect of resolving the tension between the civil revolutionary demand for freedom and the raw Communist claim for equality - and this ultimately not by the abstract call for fraternity, but through the everyday practice of real brotherhood: the recognition that all souls on this planet are brothers, that I have not one, three or nine siblings, but nine (though by now only three) billion. Of course, the discovery that we are all brothers is nothing new; Jesus taught this two thousand years ago, and Marx two hundred; but the Communist experiments before the Shock – in Oman, Yemen, Karachi, Mumbai, Kerala, Denmark, Iceland, Slovenia, Japan, and the Second and Third Paris Communes – offered precisely what theory did not: they offered experience. And we have not even mentioned Liskatown, a part of the city founded on the site of the former Proletarian District of Moscow by American-Hungarians, or the free zone operating within the Territory of Kaliningrad, the BaltiKant an und off Shore zone, whose prodigious tempo makes the traffic of Hong Kong seem middling. But that is just the point: that all of this, in a certain sense, belongs to the realm of the past, since the Global Shock - the Great Crack! - wrenched most of the leading threads from the Past into the Now,  threads that bound up the nerve fibers of competition, rivalry, wartime hostilities, egoism and hubris - in a word, everything that made humanity dizzy in its eschatological rapture.

Everyone knew the end of the world was near, confirmed by the formidable gravitating force of its acceleration: out of nine billion people, more than six billion ran amok, rushing their own way without consideration for anyone else. As they reached a level of collective frenzy, the individuals caught up in the storm felt this to be a sign of the Apocalypse, and their salvation; in fact, though, they were either killing or dying. On 12 October 2039, many religious Jews finally put this down to the appearance of the Messiah, while Christian congregations said it was the second coming of Jesus Christ, rejoicing at the Parousia; the Shiites saw the hidden Mahdi make his appearance; the Hindus saw Hindu justice and the Muslims its Islamic counterpart; the Hungarians felt once again obedient to the God of the Hungarians; and General Ramakrishna and General Mahmud pressed the button to launch the atom bomb, believing that the other would not do so. Finally, of course, the Communist program also seemed to come to fruition, as each put something on the table of humanity according to his abilities, and took from it according to his needs . Each according to his own beliefs.

That was all they could do, because smack in the middle of the Global Grand Mal, either God or Nature (deus sive natura) reached into the brain of frenzied humanity like some kind of alien cosmic doctor - into the center of the globe, of the epileptic seizure of all people and other forms of intelligence - and excised the better part of the masculine-combative-competitive ganglions. As a result, those global nerves inclined toward cooperation, patience and care remained undisturbed; it is no accident that the role of women and dolphins in the management of world conflicts has grown spectacularly over the past eight years, at the expense of males. Of course we have also known for a long time what three Nobel Prize-winning economists have also proven, that the cooperative approach, not the competitive one, is advantageous for economic achievement.

The defective strategies of wounded egos are now nowhere to be found; it seems that the Shock obliterated the Bad. True, it did not accomplish the Good, at best sparing something of it. No gratitude, just dull pleasure: the obtuse happiness of survival. The Shock did not realise the desires and demands of many millions. Instead, they extinguished each other – and the lives of six billion people.

The Global Cataclysm engendered (wonder of wonders!) a moral revolution that took place organically and calmly; quality turned into into quantity and vice versa. The torrent of common traumatic experience changed the mentality of us all. What now could be more natural than considering primarily not our own raptures and roots, but the welfare and future of our fellows? Knowledge is public and shared, and riches are public property. We might call this Communism. We might also say that our life is like Paradise – if we did not remember that barely eight years have passed since Hell.

GERLÓCZY Ferenc

translated by Adele Eisenstein

final English version by Jim Tucker

 

(Published in A Terv/Die Planung/The Planning, no. 247. June-July, 2048)


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