by Kuang Mantis
Marxists, forgive me if you’ve heard this one before:
“What have we learned from revolution?”
This is always a hard question to answer because it forces us to lie. The real answer, occulted under layers of theory, dialectical analyses of the “conditions”, slavish adherence to the doctrinal and counter-doctrinal lenses of others is: nothing.
How many times has the revolution occurred, has it truly come to pass, and another world come into view? Did it happen in 1848, in 1871, in 1893, in 1917, in 1968, in 1999? Of course not, we’re still here.
Because there has never been a revolution. There have only been failures.
So revolution is unknowable, because we have never known it. In a better phrasing, revolution is abstract, a pure, black tendril of beyondness, the Outside, a hand moving quickly back behind the veil. Revolution cannot even anymore be perceived, following Fisher, and disappears forever, revealing the entire idea to be a hollow absurdity. Your vision warps at the glancing sight, becomes irreal. The Sensible implodes.
So to revolt, our sight must first be corrected. Therefore, revolution requires, before it ever even has a possibility of coming about, apocalypse, which from the Greek apokalupsis, means “to uncover”, “to reveal”. But we shouldn’t forget its useful modern usage either, carrying with it a notion of a final, great pain, an universal sundering. Instead of a vain, millenarian hope for a revolution that is even now brewing (just everywhere we aren’t looking, I guess), we must dispose of such utopic hopes: “[The End] has been de-activated, leaving an indefinitely dilated Ending without conclusion”. Substitute “the End” for the “the Revolution” there and the meaning stays the same,
So revolution has not occurred, and in fact, withdraws instantly, retreating into the future—even as capitalist virotechnics explode backward from it (image of Angelus Novus getting strafed from behind). But this means our praxis has become only more clear: to have Revolution, we must first have apocalypse.