In his book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker observes how human beings are unique as the only creatures with the mental capacity to know that death is coming for them. The other types of animals don’t live with this knowledge as far as we’re aware, and therefore they don’t have to experience the dissonance that comes from it. Becker writes that “The knowledge of death is reflective and conceptual, and animals are spared it. They live and they disappear with the same thoughtlessness: a few minutes of fear, a few seconds of anguish, and it is over. But to live a whole lifetime with the fate of death haunting one’s dreams and even the most sun-filled days—that’s something else.”
To reconcile this awareness of one’s impermanence, writes Becker, one embraces the cultural conventions they’re surrounded by so they can function with the sense that this impermanence doesn’t matter, or even that it doesn’t exist. Becker assesses that a man “learns to embed himself in other-power, both of concrete persons and of things and cultural commands; the result is that he comes to exist in the imagined infallibility of the world around him. He doesn’t have to have fears when his feet are solidly mired and his life mapped out in a ready-made maze. All he has to do is to plunge.”
These are the psychological tools that humans use in order to not be overwhelmed by existential horror. We allow ourselves to be shaped by our conditions, because those conditions provide the structure needed to make the reality of death no longer feel absurd. What I wonder is: where does this dynamic take us when we’re surrounded by the conditions of today’s world? What about when that knowledge of death is expanded to knowledge about the climate crisis, and about all the other destabilizing factors which will be made worse by our deteriorating climate? And what about when the conditions we’re surrounded by are ones which have been designed—appropriately by the same social class which created the climate’s disruption—to incentivize us towards ruthless competition and violence?
The psychological purpose of war during a time of catastrophe
“A rogue virus, no jobs, sky-high-tuition debt. Life is trying to put our generation on the sidelines. But we refuse to just sit back and watch it pass us by. Instead, watch us fly ahead. Watch us overcome anything. Watch us rise.” So says a recent U.S. military recruitment advertisement, over depictions of young people jogging to train for their time in service. A similar ad begins with a military spokesman saying, “The news says Gen Z is struggling. Well I’ve got news for them…” This is followed by military members describing how they’ve accomplished the wild feats their commanding officers have demanded of them.
The chaotic events from America’s recent history have provided military recruiters with a rhetorical tool that’s historically served public relations efforts well. This is the tool of appealing to one’s desire to defy their circumstances, to embrace the denial of death. In the U.S. military’s case, that device’s success is proving to be negligible, as the armed forces have this year failed to meet their recruitment goal. This is unsurprising given the context surrounding these ads, which were intended to convey a sense of tough love towards the youth but may have merely come across as out of touch. The problem the current generation faces is not simply that its conditions are increasingly inhospitable, but that the ruling class has a vested interest in maintaining those conditions. And in continuing to make those conditions worse.
As indicated by surveys showing waning support for capitalism among young people, that’s the conclusion Generation Z and their slightly older peers have largely come to after seeing the developments from their formative years. They’ve witnessed the banks get bailed out after engineering the economy’s destruction, the government refuse to take sufficient action on the pandemic in order to keep profits up (something that also applies to global warming), and countless other inconsistencies between what the ruling institutions claim to be and what they actually do. Due to their for the most part only being exposed to the pro-NATO side in the information war over Ukraine, they don’t necessarily blame their government for the inflation crisis, but they do see that something is amiss when Biden goes back on his promise to end their tuition debt. They intuitively get the impression that their government is increasingly trying to subject them to the “poverty draft,” a fact which those ads serve to obfuscate. The military is arguing to them that their deteriorating conditions are the perfect reason for them to join the armed forces, but their natural impulse is to ask: “and who’s responsible for those conditions?”
Due to these contradictions, the U.S. war machine is unable to find a receptive audience for its appeals to death denial, at least in growing numbers. But just because many of today’s struggling youth don’t see U.S. imperialism as worth fighting for, doesn’t mean war as a concept isn’t getting more attractive to plenty among these disaffected individuals. As the myths that hold together the American project get seen as less credible, the urge to take drastic action that our conditions prompt is getting displaced onto activities other than joining the military. Activities like militant radicalism.
Such a reaction to our conditions, in which somebody is so alienated from our institutions that they eschew joining the military for going off on their own domestic military adventures, is observable only among a certain type. The young organizers who I work with for the most part have been more interested in building ties with the community than in arms training, though that may one day change should the conditions prompt a more militant set of priorities from the liberation movements. Those most likely to gravitate towards weapons at this stage are the kinds of men who’ve been influenced by the USA’s military culture, and who’ve either sought to continue a military lifestyle after serving in the armed forces, or want to replicate the experience of a military tour despite not intending to serve.
These types of men who seek out violence for the sake of it can overlap with radical left-wing spheres, in which cases they’re either ejected from their organizing spaces for being liabilities or find ostensibly leftist groups that accommodate their desires. But they’re most culturally recognizable as the angry men who go to boards on places like 4Chan. In a 2016 issue of The Baffler, Angela Nagle observed how the sentiments of these forums regularly translate to actual violence, violence which takes more versatile forms than the many famous mass shootings associated with these online spaces:
Overwrought digital threats and confrontational online rhetoric are nearly as old as the Internet itself. Posters on 4chan/b/’s more transgressive threads regularly claim that they are about to do terrible things to themselves and others. But some posters are also acting out those fantasies. Among the stale memes, repeat posts, true-life confessions, pre-rampage tip-offs, and cock-and-bull stories that make beta forums so impenetrable, sometimes even insiders can’t tell which are which. In November 2014, an anonymous 4chan user submitted several photos of what appeared to be a woman’s naked and strangled corpse, along with a confession: “Turns out it’s way harder to strangle someone to death than it looks on the movies . . . Her son will be home from school soon. He’ll find her then call the cops. I just wanted to share the pics before they find me. I bought a bb gun that looks realistic enough. When they come, I’ll pull it and it will be suicide by cop. I understand the doubts. Just check the fucking news. I have to lose my phone now.” Later that same day, police in Port Orchard, Washington, announced that they were investigating a suspected homicide, after the thirteen-year-old son of a woman in her early thirties found her dead in their home. The victim, Amber Lynn Coplin, was indeed the woman in the 4chan/b/ photo.
These forums encourage such crimes through the cultivation of an image of what a man’s role is in the modern world. Nagle calls this version of masculinity “the new man of 4Chan.” This new man, says Nagle, is a misogynist who’s ideologically informed not by traditional patriarchal conservatism, but by a counterculture strain that’s aligned with the “ultra” elements of the left. This strain looks down upon the “normies” and “chads” who lack the intellectual refinement of the in-group, and who’ve supposedly created a dynamic of sexual inequity where the enlightened men are shut out from relationships with women. “Here the counterculturalists of the beta world are tapping into a misogynic tradition—only it’s aligned with the bohemian left, not the buttoned-down right,” writes Nagle.
Nagle’s conclusion, as indicated by the many examples within her essay of the white supremacist and misogynist violence tied to Chan culture, is that the logical consequence of these ideas is for men to want to wage war. They don’t need the military to tell them to engage in violence, and the cynical Chan board types are some of the people least likely to find the military’s recent ads compelling. Though the military’s subtler propaganda no doubt impacts how they think about violence; for decades, the Pentagon has been modifying films, shows, and video games to communicate the war-glorifying ideas which imperialism wants society to value. As the journalist Caitlin Johnstone has written about the men who go down the mass shooter pipeline, their being saturated in military propaganda has driven them to see mass murder as the solution:
The three most overlooked and under-appreciated aspects of the human experience are (1) consciousness itself, (2) the extent to which compulsive thinking habits dominate our lives, and (3) the extent to which we are influenced by domestic propaganda. American society is saturated in war propaganda, and has been for a long time, to the extent that hardly anyone even notices it anymore. It’s like that old joke about the two fish who are asked “How’s the water?” by a passing duck and then turn to each other to ask “What’s water?”; things like ubiquitous flag worship, intelligence and defense agencies influencing Hollywood movie scripts, the way the mass media consistently rallies in support of every new military campaign while ignoring the endless ongoing nature of old ones; these things are all so pervasively normalized that they don’t stand out against the background much.
The nature of their conditions, in which they’re living in a collapsing society where violence is encouraged by their militarized culture, is itself enough to compel them to wage war. And the cycle of shootings, which gets more intense every year, is only one element within a broader trend. Since the start of the pandemic, the country’s decades-long decline in violent crime rates has been reversed in places like Oakland, whose social dysfunction reflects that of the country’s other urban areas. This crime surge has come along with a growth in the country’s gangs, and with a rise in domestic violence—the latter of which is as much of a statistical omen for other violent crimes as the former. Within both the petty bourgeois or labor aristocratic elements which make up the historic social base for fascism, and within the lumpenproletarian class that’s been pushed to the economy’s margins, war is increasingly seen as the solution. Which is a trend our socioeconomic system seeks to encourage.
During the climate crisis, capital demands that war be made more prevalent
When those Chan board frequenters are driven to violence, their concerns aren’t primarily tied to the most materially significant issues today, such as wealth inequality or environmental injustice. Their grievances are based within the mentality that they belong at the top of a hierarchy, and that certain groups—women, Jews, immigrants, nonwhites, and so on—threaten their status. In this worldview, the wars, climatic disruptions, disease risk factors, and economic crises that are being created by capitalism and imperialism represent negative developments only insofar as they’re making the things the deserving minority want scarcer. Therefore the undeserving groups need to be exterminated, or else they’ll waste the dwindling supply of wealth and resources.
This is the philosophy of eco-fascism, an idea that’s been promoted by the Christchurch and El Paso shooters and that will likely continue to come up in far-right terrorist manifestos. This is because it speaks to the anxiety that comes from living in the core of a declining empire, especially an empire whose internal dysfunction is compounding its suffering from a climatic crisis. That’s the anxiety over the disappearance of the material benefits one gets from being a benefactor of imperialist extraction. The El Paso shooter’s manifesto articulates this fear when it states: “The American lifestyle affords our citizens an incredible quality of life. However, our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country… everything I have seen and heard in my short life has led me to believe that the average American isn’t willing to change their lifestyle, even if the changes only cause a slight inconvenience. … So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources.”
This sentiment is consistent with Lenin’s assessment that “fascism is capitalism in decay.” The idea that the way to address global warming is by reducing the population, rather than changing the socioeconomic system which produces greenhouse gas emissions, is correct from a business perspective. The oil industry, and the capitalist states it has a grip over, will never let profits be sacrificed. The U.S. military, which is the largest institutional source of greenhouse emissions, can’t be reduced either, as it’s the instrument used to both generate and safeguard a crucial chunk of those profits. So the logical solution to the climate crisis is depopulation, namely of the classes and races which aren’t favored by the existing social order.
There are other ways to accomplish this than the calculated genocide that white supremacists want, though as history shows, their ideas may in time become the “final solution” that the capitalist state embraces. A die-off of structurally disadvantaged groups is already happening, simply due to the way the system is designed to treat them during times of crisis. Black, Native, and continentally indigenous communities are being damaged the most by the pandemic, by climate-exacerbated natural disasters, by droughts, by sea level rise, by supply chain breakdown, by unemployment, by the inflation crisis, and by the militarization of U.S. police. The equivalent discrepancies in where the harm is distributed applies to the billions who live in the countries that imperialism exploits. It’s estimated that by the end of the century, 83 million lives could be lost due to the climate crisis, and if the current trends continue, the bulk of those deaths will be in the places that Michael Parenti clarified are “not underdeveloped” but “overexploited.”
The view taken towards this situation by eco-fascism, and capital by extension, is that those lost lives will merely be the cost of humanity’s survival. The ideology of capitalist realism will never entertain the idea that an equitable socioeconomic system can be implemented. And when a society takes steps to build an alternative system, like in socialist China, the figures in public discourse who are informed by capitalist realism frame this as disastrous for the environment. In the eco-fascist worldview, the peoples of the exploited countries must remain poor, because if they’re allowed to lift themselves out of their enforced poverty, they’ll attain living standards that increase their carbon footprints. Therefore when a formerly imperialized country like China develops independently, and lifts its population out of extreme poverty, capitalism’s ideological partisans point to this country and say “it’s to blame for more greenhouse emissions than anyone else!”
The context these statements leave out is that China’s per capita emissions are still far smaller than those in the imperialist countries, even after all of the development the country has undergone. They also don’t talk about how China has already implemented a better version of the “green new deal” that the U.S. social democratic movement still hasn’t been able to get passed under our capitalist state. But that’s besides the point for the ideology of capital. In the world it wants, China would have stayed poor, because keeping the peripheral countries destitute and vulnerable to climatic disasters is supposedly the only way to alleviate the climate crisis. China’s offense was to break from being a neo-colony, and come to economically stand on its own feet. Therefore by the reasoning of U.S. capital’s defenders, the Chinese people who’ve suffered and died from China’s recent unprecedented heat wave deserve their fate. They didn’t stay in their subordinate role within the neo-colonial order, and they must be punished for this transgression.
That sentiment comes through in headlines like the ones from the anti-communist outlet The Epoch Times, which decries China for continuing to use fossil fuels amid the heat wave. This signals an incoherence within the ideas put forth by outlets like it, because the Epoch Times continues to also feature headlines that call manmade global warming a “big lie.” But this inconsistency makes sense in that it shows a trend within reactionary discourse: as the climate crisis gets more severe, reactionary rhetoric selectively recognizes the existence of the crisis in order to shift blame for it onto scapegoats. Environmental writer Yair Oded refers to the analysis of journalist Natasha Lennard while pointing out this emerging direction in the way rightists talk about climate: “In her piece for The Intercept, Lennard points out that despite the fact that conservatives constitute the greatest force behind climate change denial today, they nonetheless make an increasing number of references to ideas of eco-fascism. As one example, Lennard cites Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign promise ‘to make the ‘first ecological civilization’ of a ‘Europe of nations,’ claiming that ‘nomadic’ people with ‘no homeland’ do not care about the environment.”
China is just one example of the places that are being subjected to U.S. propaganda for maneuvering to bring itself out of poverty. Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the other Belt and Road Initiative members are having their governments become negatively characterized for this reason, or are coming to be portrayed as victims of a supposed Chinese neo-colonial project. The goal of these narratives, as indicated by U.S. foreign policy statements that go as far back as the 1992 Wolfowitz doctrine, is to manufacture consent for a hybrid warfare campaign against China’s economic rise. In the context of climate collapse, this hybrid war is a resource war. One of the key regions it aims to bring out of China’s orbit is central Asia, which the U.S. has been engaging in substantial military exercises within ever since its countries became post-Soviet. Washington’s aim has been to ensure access to the region’s enormous oil reserves, which U.S. strategists have long recognized will be important for the empire to control during the coming era of scarcity.
The more the world shifts into that scarcity paradigm, the more capital demands that war be intensified. The depletion of fossil fuels, and the broader shortages that the climate crisis is creating, have the potential to increase profits indefinitely. The rarer that oil, drinkable water, and other resources get, the more precious they are, and the more they can be used to generate profits. That’s why as of two years ago, Wall Street has been treating water like another bettable commodity.
But this project to exploit the resource crisis requires that capitalism itself be maintained amid the ever-growing inequality that this crisis is exacerbating. The underclass must be suppressed, a task which the resource wars themselves are helping advance. The U.S. military is the world’s largest institutional polluter (another piece of context that’s omitted while blaming China for the climate crisis). This means those 83 million deaths, should we not manage to avoid them, will come as a consequence of these wars. In the age of climate disruption, militarism serves both to give the capitalist class control over the resources it needs in order to exploit the crisis, and to reduce the populations that capital decides must be expended.
To exact the environmental purge of “excess” human life that they want, the eco-fascists don’t need to implement a new Holocaust. (Though again, such a Holocaust may yet come should the fascist movement not be sufficiently fought off.) A die-off of disadvantaged communities, both in the United States and worldwide, is happening simply through the innate mechanisms of capitalism during the climate crisis. As long as capitalism persists, the eco-fascists will increasingly get what they want. Yet even by their own argument’s internal logic, this “solution” of a mass population sacrifice in order to avert human extinction doesn’t work. The world’s most exploited peoples produce a small amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the people who benefit from imperialism. And the world’s richest people, as well as the war machine the rich depend on, pollute the most. So as long as capitalism remains, the crisis will keep worsening, regardless of how big or small the population is. Eco-fascism’s real objective is not to save the planet, but to keep the machine of capital running as it consumes the planet.
Confronted with this reality that capitalism is incurably unsustainable, capital’s partisans shift the blame onto China, and to the other historically imperialized societies that are building up their productive forces. If China’s being able to pull itself out of poverty has led to its becoming the largest emissions source, goes this reasoning, China must be returned to neo-colonial status and no other countries must be allowed to become economically independent. But this idea is not only transparent in its moral bankruptcy, and dismissive of the increasingly likely possibility that China will solve its emissions problem. It’s also unrealistic, because at this point there’s no plausible scenario where China’s development gets reversed. The growth that China is facilitating in Africa, Latin America, and the other parts of Asia can’t be stopped either. The rise of the Global South is simply part of the next stage in history’s development, not able to be undone by Washington’s proxy wars, AFRICOM military occupation, color revolutions, propaganda efforts, drone strikes, and other attempts at holding back the inevitable.
The U.S. military’s recruitment failures, which can only be solved by a new draft that would produce unmanageable blowback, are another indication that Washington won’t win the new cold war. Its own people are increasingly apathetic towards the idea of fighting for its imperialist cause, as they’re feeling the damage which the imperialist order causes to the empire’s core. In every way, capital is experiencing contraction, and will continue to until its extinction. Its only recourse is to keep making war more prevalent by any means necessary, so that the system can be maintained for as long as possible.
War as a coping mechanism
Capitalist realism is a belief system of circular logic, where it’s accepted as a given that capitalism will persist. That’s why the prevailing sentiment among anti-Chinese liberals is that the Communist Party of China is not truly communist, but merely another entity that’s been absorbed into the bourgeois superstructure. Because capitalist realism’s reasoning is self-reinforcing, the material impacts that it has in relation to this reasoning resembles that of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Capitalist realism says that the profit incentive which drives climate disruption can’t be taken out of the equation, so climate action has become less likely due to a cultural sense of climate futility. Therefore the scenario of omnicide that represents the logical conclusion of this thinking, where humanity ends up destroying itself out of some supposedly immutable competitive nature, gets far closer to being realized. The bad is coming precisely because we’ve expected it to come.
The notion that human beings won’t overcome their demons in time to save themselves is one that feels fitting with the nihilistic, cynical philosophy which 4Chan cultivates. One popular Chan post articulates such a sentiment: “there’s nothing any western leader can do to stop global warming…even if western Europe and the United States went back to a 1700s style economy with zero emissions the People’s Republic of China would still pump out enough pollution to literally choke its people and block out the sun…the Republic of India is only two steps behind the People’s Republic of China…there is no point in throwing yourself on this economic sword to try and ‘save the planet’ because you’re not going to save the planet and nothing we can do will…Drill baby drill.”
Those statements directly parallel the ideas on climate that the U.S. government has been guided by, despite its possessing the off switch to the unparalleled pollution source which is the U.S. war machine. It’s not been profitable to think in any way other than this, so that’s the thinking which has defined the way the capitalist state acts. The consequence is that likely as of many years ago now, the globe has been on track to reach the point where multiple climate tipping points are reached. A recent Science research paper concluded that realistically, the atmosphere will be warmed to the point where several kinds of feedback loops become likely to get set in motion: “even the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C and preferably 1.5°C is not safe as 1.5°C and above risks crossing multiple tipping points. Crossing these CTPs can generate positive feedbacks that increase the likelihood of crossing other CTPs. Currently the world is heading toward ~2 to 3°C of global warming; at best, if all net-zero pledges and nationally determined contributions are implemented it could reach just below 2°C. This would lower tipping point risks somewhat but would still be dangerous as it could trigger multiple climate tipping points.”
The Chan poster was objectively incorrect in their assessment of China’s contributions to the problem. By China’s current rate of climate action, its emissions will peak before 2030 and go down to net-zero carbon by 2060. The question is whether China’s exceptional pace of meeting the Paris goals, in which it’s a decade ahead of reaching its reduction pledges, will be enough to make up for the massive deficiencies on climate action that most capitalist states are creating. Whereas China and the other socialist states are operating according to a climate pledge far more radical than the heavily compromised Paris accord, most of the capitalist states are operating as if the accord were even more moderate.
India is the only G20 country that’s well on track to achieve its Paris goals, a fact which also contradicts the argument of the Chan poster but which provides little comfort in the global context. If effective climate action remains overwhelmingly concentrated in Asia, at least until the labor movement grows strong enough to overcome much of global bourgeois power, how likely is it that 2°C will be avoided? And since we now know that 1.5°C is all it may take to bring several tipping points, how likely is it that humanity will manage to remain in control over the situation it’s created? It’s possible that we’ve already lost control over it, and become unable to stop the process of damage within the next several eons. That’s what it means to create a climate feedback loop, especially the handful of them that the paper says could soon be in effect.
This situation was realized due to the logic of capitalist realism, which has always viewed catastrophe as an acceptable outcome. If capitalism leads to crisis, says capitalist realism, that’s not worth getting upset about, because supposedly capitalism is nothing more than an unavoidable reflection of human biology. Climate apocalypse is seen as no less of an inevitability than the expiration of the physical body. So capitalist realism’s adherents have reacted to climate disruption the same way that human beings tend to react to the knowledge of death: by tying oneself to the cultural conventions that have been made familiar by one’s conditions. The theme of these mindsets being self-reinforcing again comes up here. Capitalist realism, the ideological origin of climate doomerism, is itself a direct product of that death-denial mechanism Becker described.
Because the people have sought grounding in the face of uncertainty—much of which has itself been created by capitalist byproducts like the nuclear threat—they’ve clung to their culturally ingrained belief that capitalism is the only possible system. This fatalistic perception has become extended to the climate crisis, and to the other catastrophes capitalism is creating. This is apparent in the normalization of the attitude that Covid-19 should at this point be accepted as simply another part of life, not worth masking over or being treated as a serious threat.
If capitalism has proven incapable of addressing the virus, why not embrace an individualist mindset towards it? It’s what our ruling institutions have consistently urged us to do. Such an attitude informs the demonization of China’s collectivist effort towards combating the pandemic, which at its core comes from a libertarian view of how society should operate. The way to justify that view is by convincing oneself it’s the only thing which makes practical sense; if capitalism makes climate catastrophe and plague inevitable, and there’s no alternative to capitalism, one may as well “drill baby drill” or act like the virus doesn’t exist. Millions of lives will be lost due to these crises regardless of what any one individual does, and acting collectively isn’t seen as an option within capitalist culture.
These reactionary ideas are getting less widely held, as is inevitable when the socioeconomic order has been progressively detrimental towards younger people in particular. Due to this growing rejection of capitalism’s supporting narratives, mass mobilization towards revolution is increasingly possible. But for that to happen, the liberation movements will need to overcome the reaction from the remaining elements which won’t give up those narratives. More and more of society is responding to our crises by abandoning its commitment to maintaining the current social order. Yet many others are responding to our crises by intensifying their commitment to defending that order. It’s the latter category which is more inclined to use war as a death-denial tool, to view violence as a means for personal catharsis in the face of death on a global scale.
For the revolutionary side to win, it will need to avoid thinking about violence in that way. Revolutionary theorists have always viewed violence from a purely utilitarian, practical perspective. Che Guevara described the guerrilla fighter as a “social reformer” who only wages war because the people have mandated they do so, and Mao said that communists never engage in war just for the sake of it; they only wage war when the conditions show this is necessary to defeat the forces of reaction, and they view the abolition of war as their ultimate goal. They never do violent things out of pleasure or impulse. That’s the collectivist way of thinking about violence, in which violence only is called for when it’s the most appropriate tool for advancing the interests of the people.
The reactionary view of violence is that it’s all about serving the individual. That’s why even in a reactionary war, in which warfare is facilitated by a state, the participants are conditioned to view their participation as not ultimately being an act which helps their country’s people as a whole. Otherwise they wouldn’t be encouraged to climb up the power structure of capitalism, and to trample over their fellow citizens in the process. The promise of the United States is that one can have the opportunity to advance their personal interests, at the expense of those who are sacrificed by capitalism. When a war for the advancement of bourgeois interests is waged, that’s the ideological incentive for citizens to fight for capital: that they could benefit from capital’s highly exclusive rewards.
In the era of neoliberalism, where those rewards are getting ever more narrowly distributed, this atomization has been getting all the more severe. Community and relationships have been getting scarcer as society has grown more profit-oriented, and therefore more economically desperate for the average person. This increased isolation of the individual is behind the rise in male loneliness that those resentful online men decry. They’re upset about a real social problem. Their mistake is in misdiagnosing the cause of that problem, which comes from not analyzing it in the context of the larger global crises that impact so many people other than them. Class analysis, a correct perspective on the nature of imperialism, and a dialectical understanding of how society can be changed are mental health assets. They provide a path different from the resentful and ultraviolent one which reactionary politics offers.
To address the crises of capitalism, we must learn to critically examine our primal psychological impulses. Death-denial can be seen as the emotional driver of reactionary politics, because reactionary politics are motivated by fear of losing control. Their arguments are comforting to a mind that doesn’t want to venture outside of those parameters which the prevailing cultural ideas have provided. It’s from the same fear that ultra-leftist adventurism originates, because what’s adventurism but a coping mechanism for those who don’t see any way out other than cathartic violence? These ways of thinking encourage one to latch on to certain ways of operating, without considering how they may not be best for the wellbeing of the collective. The way to overcome our crisis is by analyzing it scientifically, and acting according to what the circumstances demand.—————————————————————————
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