Once again, I notice that Max Parry and I have been reading the same books and writing about the same subjects. Mentioned on this episode: Tom O’Neill, Chaos: Charles Manson, The CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties (2019). I know some people don’t like Joe Rogan, but this interview with Tom O’Neill covers the book quite well. https://open.spotify.com/episode/4OXGSwuHYf0gHtJxGWIbLL

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Thank you all for these podcasts. They're like a lifeline to sanity...!

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Your mention of the anti-Marxist rants so depressingly prevalent now prompts me to muse on the curious path I followed after the dissident “internet community” (such that it was!) seemed to implode after covid. Since “The Left” seemed to have succumbed to “covid fever” (i.e. that contrived self-righteous doom mongering that played into the hands of the whole operation) and “The Right” were permitted scepticism as part of an obvious smear against the “reactionary” rejection of the covid narrative, I found myself moving in the orbit of the latter, the former being indistinguishable from mainstream propagandists.

Thus I became fully exposed to the kind of “dissident” position that falls for the Antony Sutton narrative. And what I noticed most was the “magical” nature of the thinking in this vein. G G Preparata stands as the most articulate voice here. And I want to use him as an exemplar of this curious “occult” fixation precisely because he is the most “credible” voice in this line of thought.

As I think I already mentioned, he wrote his most vituperative anti-Marxist piece as an afterword to the Russian edition of “Conjuring Hitler”. His title for this was

“‘If Only the Russians Could Open their Archives’ Of Vetero-Marxist Ogresses, Historiographic Myths, and the Perennial Remoteness of Russia”

Typically ornate vocabulary. And note that “perennial remoteness”. Right away it suggest something like a kind of tourist board advertising spiel.

In this, he tells us about “the spuriousness of Marxism-Leninism as the new-fangled liturgical Esperanto of Soviet Russia”. He goes on,

“It is as though we were speaking in tongues to one another when referring to “those days,” the westerners having to vocalize every sentence in terms of a nondescript notion of “freedom,” and the Russians having to reply with soundbites of an idiom issued from a narrative made of Hegelian pseudo-spiritualism and Ricardian economics that was utterly alien to their cultural substrate.”

“Cultural substrate”? Well, you get the idea. Preparata’s comments on Hegel, like his comments on Marx, show no indication that he had read either author with any comprehension. I can’t seem to find it but you spoke once about Preparata’s “unmistakable tone of resentment” and that certainly applies.

Preparata wrote a peculiar essay about his great hero Thorstein Veblen in which he talks about Veblen’s “unconventional chronicles” which “represented the odd work of a fanatical materialist obsessed with spiritual drifts”. Preparata continues in typically loquacious fashion:

“Veblen thought he could construe supernatural agency as the main pulsion of all social action; he thought he could ascribe collective life to the subterranean work of nonmaterial entities, which he obscurely identified as “geniuses” or “spirits,” without however giving full credence to the actual existence and material efficacy of such intangibles. In all his explorations, no sooner did he raise such specters than he exorcised them vehemently in the subsequent phase of the argumentation, seemingly embarrassed by the puerility of his introductory assumption.”

This says more about Preparata than it says about Veblen. Preparata constantly leans towards a supernatural interpretation. In one interview he even talks about certain malevolent entities existing “out there” or “in here”. It is no coincidence that he seems to lean heavily on Catholicism, a faith I assume he was raised in.

In any case, Preparata’s substitute for a Marxist interpretation comes up as embarrassingly threadbare. He nods towards the “inured conservatism of the masses” (something that Trotsky had noted and which falls under the label hegemony) and then goes into his usual rhapsody about “mysterious spiritual drifts”.

All of which amounts to a “high-brow” version of the basic obfuscatory character of these anti-Marxist movements. The far more prevalent “low brow” can be characterised by Grand Conspiracy Theorists like David Icke.

(I insert the “Grand” since I see nothing illegitimate about conspiracy theory in general. There ARE conspiracies therefore there is no need to feel embarrassment about conspiracy theories. The Grand ones however are the ones that posit an all-powerful ubiquitous group spanning centuries.)

One “advantage” that Icke has over Preparata is that he most certainly doesn’t dance around the supernatural but beats the reader’s head with it and never stops. If you’re going to posit such forces then why not just come out and say it? But the effect is a kind of psychological self-defence that manifests in a sense of numb saturation. The accumulation of fantastical claims leads to an overload which ironically produces a feeling of mundanity. And we are left with a shoulder shrug over the “mysticism” of it all.

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From the recommended Hal Draper pamphlet:

'There is a subdivision under Plannism which deserves a name too: let us call it Productionism. Of course, everyone is “for” production just as everyone is for Virtue and the Good Life; but for this type, production is the decisive test and end of a society. Russian bureaucratic collectivism is “progressive” because of the statistics of pig-iron production (the same type usually ignores the impressive statistics of increased production under Nazi or Japanese capitalism). It is all right to smash or prevent free trade-unions under Nasser, Castro, Sukarno or Nkrumah because something known as “economic development” is paramount over human rights. This hardboiled viewpoint was, of course, not invented by these “radicals,” but by the callous exploiters of labor in the capitalist Industrial Revolution; and the socialist movement came into existence fighting tooth-and-nail against these theoreticians of “progressive” exploitation. On this score too, apologists for modern “leftist” authoritarian regimes tend to consider this hoary doctrine as the newest revelation of sociology.'

After the Bay of Pigs, Draper lamented that the revelations that the CIA was involved ruined the noble efforts of the Cuban fascists to liberate their island from 'Castroism.' It is instructive to discover that Draper is still the template for all of you 'anti-authoritarian lefts' now kissing the hem of Mouri Ansanm.

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