There are times when I think I could reinvent myself, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, as a Trotskyist.
It’s one of those political stands that is full of sound and fury and signifies less than nothing. The basic underlying principles of Trotskyism are the following: (1) No compromise with oppressors; (2) If you compromise with oppressors, it must be for a tactical reason; (3) Others who compromise with oppressors for a tactical reason are enemies of the revolution; (4) When you are attacked as enemies of the revolution, insist that you are not, that in reality, it’s those other guys; (5) When you are being arrested as enemies of the revolution, seek aid from those you once denounced as enemies of the revolution; (6) When someone in your movement has actually been assassinated as an enemy of the revolution, then, and only then, stop defending that revolution and start a newer, purer one; (7) If it later turns out that the new revolution doesn’t work either, you can always start another one later on, or defect to the Right, whatever’s easier.
(That list looks a lot like Vladimir Voinovich’s list of insane Communist rules from the book “Moscow 2042”. Maybe I should add, as Voinovich did, “No playing musical instruments”. But then, the list is already silly enough without icing the cake like that.)
Anyway, you get the idea. So why, you may ask, would I toy with the idea of reinventing myself as a Trotskyist?
One reason: Trotskyists are always so certain about things. In 46 years of life on this planet, I’ve never been completely certain about anything. In better moments, I tell people I prefer it that way, because I value skepticism and open interplay of ideas. (In better moments, I actually think that’s true.) But some days I look around at how crazy this world is and think “You know, it would feel better if I could get up in the morning and think I was part of an infallible revolutionary movement which would fix everything and which couldn’t possibly go wrong and screw things up worse.”
Today is one of those days. I feel isolated and am a bit envious of all the left-wing joiners out there who willingly turn their critical minds off so they can experience certitude and confidence, and surround themselves with equally certain and confident movement buddies.
But, I won’t do that. I’m just going to whine to all of you instead. Deal with it.
Hmm…or maybe I could found a Sarcastic Communist Party. Yeah, that might be interesting. Its slogan would be “Join the SCP – We’re So Into Revolution That The First Thing We’re Going To Do Is Overthrow The Revolution, Once It’s Clear It’s Stopped Being The Revolution”. The sign-up form would have little check-boxes for affinity groups you could join. “Check here if you would like more information: ( ) The Political Purity Caucus, ( ) The Rhetorical Violence Caucus, ( ) The “Free Someone Who Committed a Real Act of Violence” Caucus [common membership list with the Political Purity Caucus], ( ) The Organising Committee; ( ) Enemies of the Revolution [aka, the Previous Organising Committee]; ( ) Liaison With the Workers’ International, Whichever One We’re In Now; ( ) The Guy With All The Rage Against The Machine CDs; ( ) Ideology Division [in charge of rationalisations about Hugo Chávez or the Palestinians], ( ) Mild-Mannered Alter Ego Creation Group [learn how to pass unnoticed in the membership of a social democratic or liberal political party!], ( ) Black Bloc Human Shields…”
Okay, having too much fun with this. Time to do something a little more useful. If I can figure out what that is, you’ll be the first to know.