Some difficult questions

I’m pretty far-left by US standards, and seem in line with European Libertarian Socialists and Social Democrats. My political views have more in common with the core Gods & Radicals staff than they don’t, and because, like the G&R core staff, I see the personal as political, and my religion and religious practises influences my politics (though, unlike the G&R core staff, not to the point of being driven to political activism as an act of devotion).

Now, I’m directing several questions to Rhyd Wildermuth, in specific, but any of the G&R writers, especially within its core staff, are certainly free to answer, as I recognise that the publication is not a monolith with every member in total agreement with each-other:

1: Many writing for Gods & Radicals have said things, on that blog and in their more personal spaces, that are implicitly or explicitly anti-tech. As technological advances have thrived outside of Kapitalist societies (arguably moreso than within Kapitalism), how is this thought reconciled within anti-Kapitalist thought?

2: For those more on the Socialist / Marxist end of anti-Kapitalism, while also entertaining anti-tech thought, would your “revolution” necessitate not seizing the means of production by the workers of the tech industry, but also dismantling it?

3: If Fascism, as Amy Hale and her fandom allege (and some others who don’t rub me wrong enough to recall), is often marked by a distrust of not merely modernist thought, but modern life, in general, and entertains notions of returning to a (typically fictitious) pre-modern / traditional “golden age”, how is this resolved among anti-Fascists who hail Amy Hale while having tendencies toward romanticising pre-tech societies as a “purer” way of life with fewer “distractions” from “what’s really important”? By the logic of presenting a distrust of progress in all walks of life as a vulnerability to Fascism and Fascist infiltration, by a person who, himthemself, has displayed numerous thoughts, that they distrust certain progresses of civilisation cherry-picked to romanticise a previous period (which is also a warning sign of Fascist thought, as per Hale), isn’t that basically the fallacy of the pot-calling-kettle-black? If it somehow is not, can this be explained to me? (This one being especially directed at Rhyd, who not only has made the bizarre decision, which he ostensibly stands by, of asserting that his group, The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, is somehow “fiercely egalitarian” but which actually functions in a system other OBOD member John Beckett has said is more akin to a benevolent dictatorship [and every Fascist government in to date has been a dictatorship, as well], but who has also written several pieces and FB statuses, where he is clearly anti-tech, with little discrimination noted in his criticisms of “modern comforts”.)

4: (Last tech-related question, I promise.) What would one propose become of those of us who need the current “modern comforts” as a matter of our very survival? Asking us to do without after stripping down the current system to build anew, how shall we acquire our medications and devices that help keep us alive?

As much as I like to entertain the theoretical notion of returning to an ancient model for gender diversity, in the here and now, that’s nothing but contrived TERF platitudes used to rationalise why we shouldn’t seek or be denied care. PSVL relies on an insulin drip, which e has made no secret. In this somehow inexplicably anti-Fascist neo-luddite appeal to ultra-traditionalism (which is normally fascistic, but somehow rationalised as not, in these statements I see often from far-Left anarchists), expecting us to fend for ourselves is asking us to die — which seems perfectly in-line with the transphobia and ableism of actual fascist regimes of the past. How is this thought reconciled to be anti-fascist?

5: I’ve read, re-read, and played the podcasts multiple times, but for as much as Amy Hale advocates “dismantling the idea of tradition” as an antifa action, I’ve seen no real, practical explanation of how this is even supposed to happen — much less what sense of “tradition” she’s even talking about. With the current flexibility of modern English, at risk of seeming ignorant, I’m going to have to admit, I haven’t a clue what she’s talking about, here, and all I come away with is the idea that I’ve just sat down to a Foucault-Lite serving of Word Salad — an attempt to obfuscate a lack of meaning with gratuitous verbiage. Furthermore, I have very much the same feelings about how loosely she tends to define Fascism, which ultimately puts every pagan and polytheist religion in a state of suspect, if not coresively defining it as inherently fascist, even when it lacks any of the more widely-accepted trademarks of Fascism. I can’t help but feel this is either an example of pointless divisionism, or if it’s really just a call for discussion rather than action (though, if the latter, i have to say, from where I sit, that’s certain been fulfilled to the point that action against covert fascism might actually be necessary, now, especially given the current political climate in the States).

6: While “tribalism”, in its strictest definitions, is certainly exploited in crypto-fascist and New Right organisations, One can’t help but wonder if an aversion to tribalism is little more than an appeal to the globalisation of culture — which relies on colonialism and Kapitalism to acheive. Is tribalism therefore necessarily a trait of New Right / Fascism, or is it an anti-colonialist trait that fascists seek to exploit in the name of Authoritarian Nationalism? Rhyd’s piece (and much of Amy Hale’s writings on this) fails to really address this, and the plain fact that anti-tribalism is a potentially greater threat to pagan communities, in how well anti-tribalism plays with colonialism, and the globalisation of Kapitalism. Tribal identities are arguably necessary in autonomous anarcho-socialist communities, in the necessity that they resist being colonised.

…………….

I still maintain that these discussions are necessary, and yes, I can see how the check-list provided in the piece Rhyd penned are all points that may open a pagan or polytheist group to vulnerabilities toward fascism, but there are still so many gaps I see, especially considering the source, and some clear contradictions I see within the ideals of far-left anarchism when compared to European style Libertarian Democratic Socialism, especially when that far-left anarchist thought is coupled with neo-luddite ideas about “modern comforts” (id est, technology which doesn’t merely make life more convenient, but also simply gives many people the ability to just, you know, live.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

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