Category Archives: The Enlightenment

Romanticism and the Rise of the Superheroes: Who are the Saviours of the Oppressed?

Myth, Reification, Tradition, Modern

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels.

— Paul Anka, My Way

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave,
For I’m so fond of liberty,
That I cannot be a slave.

— Lowell Mill girls protest song in 1836 strike.

The rise of the superheroes in cinema is demonstrated by the proliferation of superhero films today and is a phenomenon that is unprecedented in culture. Many superhero films are based on superhero comics while some are original for the screen, some are based on animated television series, and others are based on Japanese manga and television shows.

This essay will look at the history and origins of superheroes in Romantic ideas, comparing them to an opposing ideology of working class heroes who compete with superheroes for the attention of the oppressed masses who are to be ‘freed’ and/or saved, especially in the 20th century.

According to Cooper Hood in Screen Rant:

2019 will be the year of superhero movies, seeing the release of a record-setting amount: a whopping eleven films. As the superhero movie craze continues, next year looks poised to be the prime example of how invested Hollywood as a whole really is. There’s the usual amount of Marvel movies, but increased output from Warner Bros. and DC, as well as some final Fox X-Men titles. All of these make up an astonishing ten confirmed 2019 superhero movies.

This is nearly double the 2018 output of six live-action superhero movies: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man & the Wasp, Venom and Aquaman.

Superheroes take their inspiration from earlier heroes such as Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel but the idea originates in Romantic ideas about heroes that save the world and the powers of the superhero.

Despite their designation as science fiction, superheroes have their ideological roots in the anti-science, individualistic philosophy of Romanticism.

What is Romanticism?

Romanticism is a movement in the arts and literature that emphasises inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual and originated in the late 18th century. It was also a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, and in particular, the scientific rationalization of nature — all components of modernity.

In the The Roots of Romanticism, Isaiah Berlin discusses the Romantic’s negative view of science:

The only persons who have ever made sense of reality are those who understand that to try to circumscribe things, to try to nail them down, to try to describe them, no matter how scrupulously, is a vain task. This will be true not only of science, which does this by means of the most rigorous generalisations of (to the Romantics) the most external and empty kind, but even of scrupulous writers, scrupulous describers of experience – realists, naturalists, those who belong to the school of the flow of consciousness, [e.g. Proust and Tolstoy] labour under the illusion that it is possible once and for all to write down, to describe, to give any finality to the process which they are trying to catch, which they are trying to nail down, unreality and fantasy will result.1

Thus the Romantics fundamentally oppose the general values and objectives of science and in particular Realist and Naturalist artists who use scientific knowledge or methods to develop their art. It goes without saying then that on a philosophical level scientific ideas about the progress of mankind are also rejected by the Romantics.

This is because for the Romantics, “new abysses open, and these abysses open to yet other abysses.”1 However, scientists understand that new abysses open as they dig deeper into new levels of understanding. Yet, they are not afraid and they don’t throw up their hands in frustration or despair: they see these discoveries as new paths and concepts also to be explored fearlessly.

Berlin believes that one of the most influential writers against the science-based Enlightenment and who began the Romantic backlash was Johann Georg Hamann who believed, according to Berlin, that “the sciences were very well for their own purposes” but that:

this is not what men ultimately sought. If you asked yourself what were men after, what did men really want, you would see that what they really wanted was not at all what Voltaire supposed they wanted. Voltaire thought that they wanted happiness, contentment, peace, but this was not true. What men wanted was for all their faculties to play in the richest and most violent possible fashion. What men wanted was to create, what men wanted was to make, and if this making led to clashes, if it led to wars, if it led to struggles then this was part of the human lot.2

This view of violence and war as irrational chaos that cannot be controlled is also an element of superhero narratives which the superhero tries to overcome.

“The Reign of the Superman”, short story by Jerry Siegel (January 1933)

Superheroes: emotions over logic

These ideas of individualism, emotion, personalised motivations and cynicism towards the concept of a progressive society are all part of the Superhero psyche. Mason Woodard writes:

One of the first Romantic elements of Batman is his motivation. He is a vigilante, sometimes hunted by Gotham Police. But the reason Bruce fights crime even in face of the law is because a common criminal murdered his parents when Wayne was just a boy. The emotion of avenging his parents and stopping this from happening drives him far more. This is an example of emotions over logic, a Romantic idea. […] One component of Romanticism embodied by Superman is to trust your instincts and emotions before logic and reasoning. Superman will often be seen saving his love, Lois Lane, or a group of kids in the midst of a massive fight, even when a logical analysis tells you to sacrifice the people and finish off the baddie (even though Superman does win in the end).

Thus the personalised empathy of the superhero covers over the narcissism of a costumed attention-seeker.

The Golden Age and the Warrior

The Romantics looked back to the Golden Age of the autonomous, powerful warrior who looks after his tribe and is the earliest version of this idea – the peasant as noble savage.  The Golden Age denotes “a period of primordial peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity. During this age peace and harmony prevailed, people did not have to work to feed themselves, for the earth provided food in abundance. They lived to a very old age with a youthful appearance, eventually dying peacefully, with spirits living on as “guardians”.”

There may have been some material basis for the concept of a Golden Age. Old European culture, for example, is believed to have centred around a nature-based ideology that was gradually replaced by an anti-nature, patriarchal, warrior society when Europe was invaded by the Kurgan peoples from c. 4000 to 1000 BC. It was believed to have been a tumultuous and disastrous time for the peoples of Old Europe and may have led to the concept of the Fall. The idea of a fall, the end of a Golden Age, is a common theme in many ancient cultures around the world. Richard Heinberg, in Memories and Visions of Paradise, examines various myths from around the world and finds common themes such as sacred trees, rivers and mountains, wise peoples who were moral and unselfish, and in harmony with nature and described heavenly and earthly paradises.

The Romantic view of the Golden Age was a reaction to the contemporary slave-like conditions of the working class in factories and mills. Romantic rejection of modernity was rooted in this over-rationalisation of the worker and its affect on the human spirit. This rationalisation could be seen as the continuation of earlier slavery but in a modern day form as ‘wage slavery’.

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘Supermen’ or ‘Übermensch [Overmen]’

This modern slavery had a profound affect on Nietzsche who defined the first ‘Supermen’ or ‘Übermensch [Overmen]’ (super – Latin: over/beyond) as a goal humanity can set for itself. The Overman would be a new human who was to be neither master nor slave and all human life would be given meaning by how it advanced a new generation of human beings. Like Marx, Nietzsche recognised the social uses of religion to divert attention and action away from the exploitative nature of the social and economic system itself. The individualism of Nietzsche’s ideas also attracted the anarchists. According to Spencer Sunshine:

There were many things that drew anarchists to Nietzsche: his hatred of the state; his disgust for the mindless social behavior of ‘herds’; his anti-Christianity; his distrust of the effect of both the market and the State on cultural production; his desire for an ‘overman’ — that is, for a new human who was to be neither master nor slave; his praise of the ecstatic and creative self, with the artist as his prototype, who could say, ‘Yes’ to the self-creation of a new world on the basis of nothing; and his forwarding of the ‘transvaluation of values’ as source of change, as opposed to a Marxist conception of class struggle and the dialectic of a linear history.

William Bell Scott Iron and Coal (1855–60)

While Marx and the Anarchists had opposing views on the role of the state, what Marx did have in common with anarchist thinkers like Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin was the belief that wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation was based on the lack of direct access to, or ownership by workers of, the means of production.

Henceforth the working class took to the stage as social classes started lifting themselves up particularly in the aftermath of the revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the 20th century the battle was on for who would become the saviours of the oppressed – the fictional superheroes who fought crime or working class leaders who advocated social change? On a philosophical level the battle between Romanticism and Enlightenment ideas resurfaced between elite individualism and the opposing collectivist historical materialism of Marx.

James Connolly (1868 – 1916)

In Ireland, for example, the changing relationship between the master and the slave could be seen in the formation of the Irish Citizens Army (ICA) by James Larkin, James Connolly and Jack White on 23 November 1913. Connolly wrote of the ICA in Workers’ Republic in 1915:

An armed organisation of the Irish working class is a phenomenon in Ireland. Hitherto the workers of Ireland have fought as parts of the armies led by their masters, never as a member of any army officered, trained and inspired by men of their own class. Now, with arms in their hands, they propose to steer their own course, to carve their own future.

James Connolly, an Irish working class hero, led the ICA into a failed uprising against British colonialism in 1916 and was executed by the British not long after. He was a self-taught scholar, a socialist, and an outstanding Labour leader of Ireland. While some may see the uprising as a failed Romantic gesture this could not be further from the truth from Connolly’s philosophical and ideological perspective.

Irish Citizens Army

Superhero reified

Ultimately the question has to be asked – do superheroes ‘save’ the people? Of course, they are symbolic heroic figures and so do not save anyone. Is it possible then to become a real life ‘superhero’? This idea is developed in the film Kick-Ass where a fictional ‘reification’ of the superhero concept happens. Kick-Ass “tells the story of an ordinary teenager, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), who sets out to become a real-life superhero, calling himself “Kick-Ass”. Dave gets caught up in a bigger fight when he meets Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a former cop who, in his quest to bring down the crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his son Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), has trained his eleven-year-old daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) to be the ruthless vigilante Hit-Girl.”

While initially Kick-Ass is constantly getting his ass kicked by thugs precisely because he does not have super powers, he eventually saves the day by arriving on the scene strapped to a jet pack fitted with miniguns and kills the remaining thugs. Thus, in the ‘real world’ Kick-Ass has to resort to ‘real weapons’ and falls into the normal superhero pattern of solving crimes with the usual extra-juridical killing and cathartic ending.

Problems of Romanticism

Overall then, there are different problems associated with superheroes, particularly from the point of view of the very people to be saved. At first, in an era of socio/political cynicism and helplessness in the face of poverty, corruption and crime, superheroes are cathartic as we purge our emotions watching the difficulties they have ‘solving’ our problems. In this way action is shifted sideways as we wait for a hero to arrive rather than being active ourselves.

Secondly, the ideology of superheroes comes from above, from elites, and not from below, from the masses themselves and therefore is directed towards the agendas of elites. Superheroes are bourgeois vigilantes who ultimately do not question the structure of society itself but merely try and solve the problems created by structural inequality.  Emotions are poured into superhero individualists who battle against crime while diverting attention away from questions of collective control of society and progress.

Thirdly, they represent the anti-logical emotionalism of Romanticism, itself a reaction to science and enlightenment. While described as science fiction, superheroes are given fanciful powers that have more in common with the ancient Greek gods than modern science.

To give them credibility in providing results for the struggling oppressed, superheroes must have super powers, (as people know you need more than an individual poor-man’s resources to battle against the system itself), ergo, the need ultimately for the superpower of working class solidarity and collectivist action to bring about real changes in society.

  1. The Roots of Romanticism: Second Edition (The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts) (Princeton Uni Press, Princeton, 2013) by Isaiah Berlin (Author), Henry Hardy (Editor), John Gray (Foreword), p. 140.
  2. The Roots of Romanticism: Second Edition (The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts) (Princeton Uni Press, Princeton, 2013) by Isaiah Berlin (Author), Henry Hardy (Editor), John Gray (Foreword), p. 50.

Is Shocking People Revolutionary?

Image from Maria Online

White popular musicians rebelling against appearances

Recently I attended two music concerts in one of our local parks that were billed as a combination of soul, rhythm and blues and blues. The musicians were all white.

I am not going to argue that white people playing this kind of music is “cultural appropriation” and that they should not play it. There are wonderful white musicians historically and contemporarily who have played in all these musical forms. What I am more interested in is the appearance of the band members. Historically, music, like all the arts originally came out of sympathetic magical practices. In preparation for a magical ritual, the participants had clothing made for them or they made the clothes themselves. In addition, each participant had a very specific role. The ritual was intended to draw a line in the sand and say “what is going on here is beyond everyday life and we have to look and dress accordingly.”

In western religion, singing in church was and is accompanied by a choir who had roles to play and dressed according to their role so they distinguished themselves from their audience. Historically, when black musicians began to play secular music, they continued to carry forward the same things they did in church. They dressed for the occasion. Their dance moves and the outfits were choreographed with the background singers dressed in the same color. The lead singer would be dressed in a color that might be analogous or complimentary to the background singers. If any of you remember the Temptations, the Miracles, or Gladys Knight and the Pips you know what I am talking about. In the 50’s and the early 60’s the white Rock ‘n’ Rollers also dressed up for their performances: the groups Danny and the Juniors, Dion and the Belmonts both did this.

But somewhere in the late 1960’s white rock bands decided that dressing up for performances was somehow giving ground to the Establishment. So, the band members began to wear any old clothes: tee shirts, jeans, sneakers, anything that would level their relationship to the audience. In addition, each band member dressed in a way that was not coordinated with what the other band members were wearing. They made an extra effort to tell the audience, and especially whom they deemed the authorities, that they didn’t give a fuck about clothes or roles. However, the band still had to play roles, because, of course, they were specialists in what instruments they played. But as much as they could, they were rebelling against the concept of taking appearances seriously. I cannot track what has become of popular music since then because, frankly, I lost interest in the kind of music that was being played. But if my recent experience in the park is any indicator, there are at least some white musicians who operate with this same code of appearance fifty years later.

I am not trained as a musical critic but I spent three years working in music stores in Times Square in New York City and this job required you to become familiar with different types of music. In addition, many musicians came to our store and gave us tickets to the Apollo theater in uptown Manhattan so I’ve seen many musical acts. I was about 20 years old and working in a music store at the time the changes in appearance of the white musicians were taking place.

The western rebellion against appearances in philosophy

The predominant western tradition has been at war with the value of appearances for most of 2,500 years. Plato characterized appearances as deceptive, shallow, temporary and lacking of substance, while reality was true, deep and eternal. Socrates attacked the Sophists and rhetoric for very similar reasons. Mainstream Christianity, at least in theory, has seen the preoccupation with appearances as a sign of the devil’s work, associated with idolatry. A true Christian got beyond the surface appearances of this world to discover the true source of reality – God – on a transcendental plane. The major philosophers of the west have been hostile to appearances, whether it be Descartes, Kant, Bradley and to a lesser extent, Leibniz, and Hegel. Those who have taken appearances seriously have been few and far between, (Hume, Locke) and the Enlightenment philosophers.

Romantic Rebellion Against The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment and the Renaissance were two intellectual movements that appreciated the magnificence of nature, whether expressed through science or through art. Neither were interested in the above, the beyond, or the transcendental. They made clear distinctions between form and content in art. In terms of clothing, the Enlightenment, while rebelling against of foppishness of aristocratic appearances, still believed in the importance of clothing because they were linked to roles people played. Like those in the Renaissance arts, Enlighteners valued the power of illusion, whether it was in perspective painting or in creating distance between the stage and the audience in their plays.

The romantic rebellion in the early 19th century was a new kind of rebellion against appearances. The importance of a person’s inner essence required that they dispense with roles and appearances in order to get to the essence of the person’s soul. When they did that they were being “sincere”. The romantics were about tearing down boundaries: the boundaries between form and content; picture plane and reality; stage and audience; roles and inner state; the objective world and the subjective world. This boundary trampling characterized modern 20th century music, the symbolists, the Dadaists, the surrealists and the abstract expressionists.

Romanticism and the Early New Left

Beginning in the early1960’s the New Left rebelled against the Old Left in a similar way as the romantics rebelled against the Enlightenment. Identity politics, with the focus on individual experience, replaced class politics; the “subjectivity” of the situationists replaced the economic analysis of capitalism. Infinite diversity replaced unity. By the mid 1970’s to call for unity within diversity was seen in some sense as imperialistic. From the Frankfurt School, to postmodernism, boundaries between disciplines or genders were all signs of the Old World. But to rework the title of James Hillman’s book One Hundred Years of Therapy and the World is Getting Worse, we’ve had One hundred years of Romanticism and Capitalism is Getting worse.

The rebellion against appearances and roles of the musicians in the introduction to this article is part of a larger New Left movement rebellion against the Old Left and a continuation of the romantic rebellion against the Enlightenment. But here is the problem. It is one thing to wear whatever you want if you are content to exist for your entire adult life at a university as a professor or work with a liberal non-profit which prides itself in “diversity”. If all the members of the New Left wanted was some kind of “lifestyle” politics, than there wouldn’t be a problem. But there is a big problem. The New Left socialists are increasingly cut off from mainstream Americans and capitalism is getting worse for 90% of the population.

The New Left and the Shock Value of Appearances

The New Left in the US understands that it must reach sectors of the population that are not on board with its romantic roots. For almost 50 years the New Left has ignored its working class and dismissed them as stupid, bought off, simpletons and Archie Bunkers. What is its strategy? To shock people. So, by the multiplication of half shaved – fluorescent colored hair, body piercings and tattoos along with compulsive black attire, it tells the authorities and mainstream Americans to drop dead. The problem, however, in the case of the working class, is that you are telling the same people you need to make a revolution with to drop dead. It would be naïve to think that working-class people in the United States, at least in their thirties, do not also color their hair, have tattoos and more. However, the working class is also composed of people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who are still working, have the power to stop capitalism with strikes and boycotts, and they don’t particularly like all the New Left garb.

On the one hand New Lefters think appearances are phony and don’t really matter. In true romantic style, what is of substance to them is an inner essence beyond those appearances. But on the other hand, in trying so hard to rebel against traditional appearances they develop a new set of counter cultural appearances that they work very hard to maintain, scrupulously crafting the appearance that “appearances don’t matter”.

The psychology of shock value

As a social psychologist I say the desire to shock people by appearances is not a desire to extend and move people to join in a common project. Rather it is a haughty, in-your-face “we don’t give a shit what you think” stance. I also have suspicions that the people this hostility is really directed at are not as much the general public but the bankers, and other elites (whom they naively imagine are paying attention). Just as likely as a target, this shock therapy of appearances might be directed at their parents. Given the age of the people who are in the business of shocking people, I see this as a developmental issue of people in their late teens or early 20’s. I would be happy to admit I was wrong if I could find a substantial number of people over 40 who continue to dress this way.

You have to meet people where they are if you expect to take them where you want to go

Let me use my own experience as an example. I have been a “full-time” adjunct college teacher for 27 years. I have taught in universities: mainstream and alternative. I’ve taught for the Air Force and the Navy, I’ve taught in prisons and I’ve taught in community colleges. All these students have a great deal of differences in how they expect their teachers to dress. I also have my own agenda about how I prefer to dress. My goal in teaching is to appear in such a way that gives students a sense that I respect the role I am in, and gives them clear messages that the role I am in has something significant to do with what I am wearing.

I have had about 1-½ years of training in figure drawing and color theory based on the Old Masters approach. From studying the Old Masters, I came to appreciate earth colors – yellow ochre, olive green, burnt sienna, burnt umber – and I try to incorporate these colors into how I dress. I also like two-toned shoes, like the old-fashioned wingtips. I also like to wear the caps that were commonly worn in the 30’s by the working class. I also wear colored bandanas which I have been wearing all my adult life. Lastly I have a pirate earring, which I started wearing ten years before other straight men invaded the earring departments in the early 80’s.

So, compared to most college teachers, my appearance is outside the norm. At the same time, I always wear a sports jacket, sweaters and cotton or wool pants. Although I like all these things, I am also aware that that they fulfill the role of a respectable looking teacher. Overall, I’d say I look more like a musician in a soul band than I do a college instructor, but because of the sports jacket, sweaters and pants, I get a pass. I’d say I am unusual enough not to be seen by students as “establishment” but not so “out-there” that students or faculty don’t know what to make of me. My message to students is something like “I have my own life and tastes but still intend to play my role as a teacher.”

Other instructors, especially at community colleges, don’t see it that way. Many of the male teachers go out of their way to look as much like the students as possible so that an outsider cannot easily tell from walking around the campus who is a student and who is a teacher. These teachers keep up with students not only with scraggly beards, colored hair, nose rings, tattoos and earrings, but they sometimes out-do them. I can only guess that it is confusing to students that these same people who act like they are showing solidarity with students, then act like authority figures who discipline them for lateness, absences, missing papers and low grades.

Shocking people is cross-culturally individualist

Cross-cultural research shows that 80% of the world population, mostly outside the U.S and Western Europe, are collectivist. “Collectivism” means that the needs of the group come before the needs of the individual. Collectivists very clearly link up clothing worn to the role that is being played.

The problem for those teachers who are wearing clothes that confuse or deny their role is that the people from other parts of the world who are their students as sojourners studying abroad lose respect for them. I base this on both cross-cultural research and my experience as a college instructor. Secondly, they are likely to put off college students within their own country who are in the military. The military is a very clear collectivist institution within the individualist U.S with the ranks, clothing and roles that goes with it. Lastly, these individualist teachers who are on a “shock mission” are also confusing and turning off first and second-generation students who come from collectivist countries and are immigrants and refugees. If these liberals or socialist teachers think they are “building solidarity” they will be doing so in spite of their appearances.

The dilemma for New Left

Since the middle 50’s when the Socialist and Communist parties were destroyed in Yankeedom, the New Left has existed on the margins of student life and identity politics with little relationship to the working class. Whether they be social democrats or anarchists, if they wish to reach the 60% of the poor and working class, most of whom don’t vote, they must be careful about how far out they go. These are matters of degree. There need to be some concessions in appearance that imagines what these classes think is normal. Appearances have to be sensitive enough so people don’t have to withstand your appearance in order to listen to you.

Conclusion: Appearances as a means – not an end

Talking about socialism and capitalism is easier now than it has been in well over 70 years. So to the New Leftist I say – “Why make these conversations more difficult because people are put off by your appearance?” I am not proposing which part of appearances should be changed. It is not a question of picking a part of identity and saying, “don’t wear this or that”. It is more a question of quantity and intensity of the hair color, body piercings and clothing that matter.

The heart of Christmas is the Christmas tree. The tinsel and the ornaments are subordinate. Past a certain point, if there is too much tinsel and too many bulbs on the tree, the tree becomes lost in the shuffle, or as the Christians might say, the meaning of Christmas is lost. Talking about socialism and creating a new society is like recognizing we are part of the Tree of Life, the tree whose sap produces all the wealth. We must focus on strengthening the tree, not on becoming preoccupied with the decorations. Our appearances must invite people to come and look at the tree of socialism and it must be an invitation for them to stay and get lost in its branches, twigs and leaves. The New Left is mired in tinsel, bulbs, and darkness and this must change if it is to ever join a working class which will mobilize without them.

• First published at Planning Beyond Capitalism

Is This the Real Culture War? Art Movements and the People’s Movement

Introduction

Ever since the achievements of Renaissance humanism with the triumph of art over nature, with the development of new artistic techniques (the optics of perspective, the structure of anatomy, the mixing of pigments, and the development of movement) art was strengthened and, combined with the scientific explorations and achievements of the Enlightenment, led to the idea that Man could become stronger and better and hold an optimistic view of the future. He could improve his well-being and even take control of nature to create a better life for all.  This view continued through the decades and was associated with social revolutions and political activity which connected progressive ideas about society to artistic forms of expression which would illustrate and advance the hopes and desires of the masses for a better life and future. These artistic movements changed and developed from the Enlightenment to Realism to Social Realism and then to Socialist Realism as artists both inspired and reflected the people’s progressive movements the world over.

However, at every juncture, oppositional movements also stepped in and opposed progressive change and revolution by the people; from the Romantic movement in Revolutionary France to the Modernist movement to Postmodernism and now Metamodernism. These movements have derided every aspect of the progressive forces, from the quietist “l’art pour l’art” of Romanticism to the attack on artistic form by Modernism, to the later attack on ideological content by Postmodernism and now the ‘oscillation’ between the two (form and content) of Metamodernism, a movement caught between self-obsession and the pressing desire of the masses for ideas and culture that will deal with climate change, financial crises, terror attacks and the neo-liberal squeeze on the social welfare system.

These two movements, Romanticism and the Enlightenment, have their basis in attitudes towards and beliefs in the efficacy of the burgeoning scientific movement. Romanticism, beginning in the 1770s, formed the basis of an anti-scientific strand in culture over the last two hundred years while the Enlightenment formed the basis of a scientific strand roughly between between 1715 and 1789. Both strands have been in opposition ever since, their ideas reflected through various cultural movements which sprang up in different countries and at different times, some revolutionary and some reactionary.

Let’s take a look at these two opposing strands in more detail.

The Anti-Scientific Strand

Romanticism

One of the most important movements is Romanticism particularly as it still has a strong anti-science influence today. Romanticism
was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism and glorified the past and nature, putting emphasis on the medieval rather than the classical traditions of ideals of harmony, symmetry, and order.  The Romantics rejected the norms of the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific rationalization of nature which were important aspects of modernity. Isaiah Berlin believed that the Romantics opposed classic traditions of rationality and its basis in moral absolutes and agreed values which led “to something like the melting away of the very notion of objective truth”.

Objective truth and reason were elevated by the artists and philosophers of the Enlightenment to understand the universe and solve the pressing problems of the world. However, Romanticism promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art (harmony, symmetry, and order). Romantics were distrustful of the human world, and tended to strive for a close connection with nature to escape elements of modernity such as urbanisation, industrialisation and population growth and therefore allowed them to avoid questions centred around the working class, such as alienation, the ownership of the means of production, living conditions and conditions of employment. The Romantics pursued the idea of “l’art pour l’art” (art for art’s sake) believing that art did not need moral justification and could be morally neutral.

According to Arnold Hauser in The Social History of Art:

Revolutionary France quite ingeniously enlists the services of art to assist her in this struggle; the nineteenth century is the first to conceive the idea of “l’art pour l’art” which forbids such a practice. The principle of “pure”, absolutely “useless” art first results from the opposition of the romantic movement to the revolutionary period as a whole, and the demand that the artists should be passive derives from the ruling class’s fear of losing its influence on art.1

This position originated with the elites in the nineteenth century and still serves the same function, Romanticism being the main influence of culture today.

Modernism

By the  beginning  of  the  20th  century, the  Modernist  movement was generally referred to as the “avant-garde” until the word “Modernism” became more popular. Modernism was the rejection of tradition, and the creation of new forms using reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision  and  parody. The Modernist ‘rejection of tradition’, like with Romanticism, is the rejection of classical notions of form in art (harmony, symmetry, and order). Modernism (like Romanticism) also rejected the  certainty  of  Enlightenment thinking.  Modernism emphasised form over political content and rejected the ideology of Realism and Enlightenment thinking on liberty and progress.

The Realist movement began in the mid-19th century as a reaction to Romanticism, and Modernism was a revolt against the ‘traditional’ values of Realism. Realist painters used common laborers, and ordinary people in ordinary surroundings engaged in real activities as subjects for their works. However, Modernism rejected traditional forms which over time became less and less ´real´ and more abstract and conceptualised.

The Great War brought about more disillusionment with Enlightenment ideals of progress among the Modernists who turned inwards and attacked art forms, instead of war-mongering capitalism. The Romantic continuity in Modernism produced individual, horrified reactions but were ultimately no threat to the ruling elites. Like an angry child smashing his own toys, the Modernist attacked his particular cultural forms and then expected the public to pick up the pieces. What was left was atonalism and abandonment of traditional rhythmic strictures in music, the departure from traditional realist styles in art and the prioritisation of the individual and the interior mind and abandonment of the fixed point of view in literature. The Dada movement, for example, was developed in reaction to the Great War by ‘avant-garde’ artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society but then only to respond with nonsense and irrationality in their art works.

As for the Great War, the avant-garde and Modernism – like the Romantic movement and the French Revolution – failed the masses again as it stood outside the people’s movement, turning in on itself and attacking reason instead of uniting with the progressive forces against war. In the end it was mainly the political movements of James Connolly in Ireland and V.I. Lenin in Russia (the two geographical ends of Europe) who organised the working classes against the war and destruction.

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), the revolutionary artist and founder of the Mexican Mural Movement, had this to say about the Modernist ‘avant-garde’:

If we look closely at their work it is the most reactionary movement in the history of culture. It has not developed anything new in composition or perspective and has lost much of that which has been accumulated over twenty centuries. It is based on the hysteria of novelty for the sake of novelty, in order to satisfy a parasitic plutocracy. The artist who changes his style every 24 hours is the best-known artist. When he has exhausted all the solutions, the others become his followers and sink into repetitious imitation.2

The allusion here presumably to Picasso (1881–1973), famous for changing his style many times, is interesting in relation to Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) the great Spanish artist whose depictions of ordinary Spanish people in monumental works of social and historical themes was overshadowed by Picasso until relatively recently. Cubism, credited to Picasso as its inventor, was an art style that conflicted with the representational system in art that had prevailed since the Renaissance, as the subject was depicted from differing viewpoints at the same time within the same painting.

Many pseudo-scientific explanations were given to explain Cubism regarding art in modern society, new scientific developments etc. but even Picasso himself ridiculed this: “Mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, psychoanalysis, music and whatnot, have been related to cubism to give it an easier interpretation. All this has been pure literature, not to say nonsense, which brought bad results, blinding people with theories”.3 Indeed, Cubism is probably the most parodied of all forms of Modernist art.

Other Modernist forms such as Expressionism have been seen to be at least critical of capitalism and war, but according to Lotte H. Eisner who quotes a ‘fervent theorist of this style’, Kasimir Edschmid: “The Expressionist does not see, he has ‘visions’. According to Edschmid. “the chain of facts: factories, houses, illness, prostitutes, screams, hunger’ does not exist; only the interior vision they provoke exists.” [p. 10] Therefore, the external reality of life and death for the working class is ignored for the ecstasy of ‘interior visions’.

For Eisner, writing in The Haunted Screen, German Expressionist cinema is a visual manifestation of Romantic ideals. She writes:

Poverty and constant insecurity help to explain the enthusiasm with which German artists embraced this movement [Expressionism] which, as early as 1910, had tended to sweep aside all the principles which had formed the basis of art until then. [pp. 9-10]

Richard Murphy also notes: “one of the central means by which expressionism identifies itself as an avant-garde movement, and by which it marks its distance to traditions and the cultural institution as a whole is through its relationship to realism and the dominant conventions of representation.”3 Expressionists rejected the ideology of realism, and Expressionist art, in common with Romanticism, reacted to the dehumanizing effect of industrialization and the growth of cities with extreme individualism and emotionalism, not collective social empathy and political change.

After the Great War and the Russian Revolution, in the 1920s and 1930s, the idea of depicting ordinary people in art spread to many countries in Realist and Social Realist forms especially as a reaction to the exaggerated ego encouraged by Romanticism. In the United States the Ashcan School was well known for works portraying scenes of daily life in New York city’s poorer neighborhoods. However, the unsettling depictions of the darker side of capitalism by the Ashcan School was soon displaced with Modernism in the Armory Show of 1913 and the opening of more galleries in the 1910s who promoted the Modernist artwork of Cubists, Fauves, and Expressionists.

This takeover by Modernism in New York continued into the 1940s and 1950s with the development of Abstract Expressionism, an art form which was soon promoted globally as a counterweight to the Socialist Realism style developed in the Soviet Union, especially during the Cold War. The loose, splashing and dripping of paint in the work of Jackson Pollack became used as a symbol of the ideology of freedom and free enterprise in the United States. The victory of Modernism in the United States served two purposes: national and international. It dampened down the critical dissent of the Ashcan School while at the same time serving as a useful tool of foreign policy.

According to Frances Stonor Saunders in The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, Abstract Expressionism was “Non-figurative and politically silent, it was the very antithesis to socialist realism. It was precisely the kind of art the Soviets loved to hate.”4 This was Modernism at its zenith as the wealthiest of art investors and the most influential art critics promoted Abstract Expressionism as “independent, self-reliant, a true expression of the national will, spirit and character.”4 However, the size of the confidence trick being perpetrated on the unsuspecting public became unsettling. According to Saunders:

It was this very stylistic conformity, prescribed by MoMA and the broader social contract of which it was a part, that brought Abstract Expressionism to the verge of kitsch. ‘It was like the emperor’s clothes,’ said Jason Epstein. ‘You parade it down the street and you say, “This is great art,” and the people along the parade route will agree with you. Who’s going to stand up to Clem Greenberg and later to the Rockefellers who were buying it for their bank lobbies and say, “This stuff is terrible”?5

The imposition of Modern Art on the public was also noted by the journalist, Tom Wolfe, who wrote about the 1960s and 1970s art scene in New York in The Painted Word:

The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in Modern Art, the notion that the public scorns, ignores, fails to comprehend, allows to wither, crushes the spirit of, or commits any other crime against Art or any individual artist is merely a romantic fiction, a bittersweet Trilby sentiment. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened. […] We can now also begin to see that Modern Art enjoyed all the glories of the Consummation stage after the First World War not because it was “finally understood” or “finally appreciated” but rather because a few fashionable people discovered their own uses for it.6

It was also in the early 1970s that the Irish artist Seán Keating (1889–1977), a Realist painter who painted images of the Irish War of Independence, the early industrialization of Ireland and many portraits of the people of the Aran Islands, was brought face to face with Modernism. In a well-known televised interview, Keating, now in his 60s, was brought around the ROSC’71 exhibition and asked to give his opinion on the exhibits. As Eimear O’Connor writes: “When confronted by The Table, made by German artist Eva Aeppli (b.1925), Keating said it was ‘downright horrible perversity, nightmare stuff … an old lady who had gone completely mad and is dangerous … I think it is morose … vengeful against the human race…'”7 This baiting of a famous Irish humanist whose love of the Irish people and progress displayed the new confidence of the Irish elites who had jumped on the Modernist bandwagon as an symbol of fashionability and of final acceptance by the European elites who would allow Ireland to join the EEC (EU) in 1973.

Economic Pressure by Seán Keating (1949)
Scene of man bidding farewell to his family as he prepares to emigrate from Aran Islands.
(The Irish peasant betrayed: elevated as a national symbol before Independence yet ignored afterwards.)

Postmodernism

In the meantime, Postmodernism was gaining strength. Some features of Postmodernism in general can be found as early as the 1940s but it would compete with Modernism in the late 1950s and became predominant by the 1960s.

Postmodernism is defined as follows:

Postmodernism, also spelled post-modernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power. Postmodernism as a philosophical movement is largely a reaction against the philosophical assumptions and values of the modern period of Western (specifically European) history—i.e., the period from about the time of the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries to the mid-20th century. Indeed, many of the doctrines characteristically associated with postmodernism can fairly be described as the straightforward denial of general philosophical viewpoints that were taken for granted during the 18th-century Enlightenment, though they were not unique to that period.

In other words, Postmodernism had a direct line of descent from Modernism and Romanticism before that. The same Romantic characteristics show up again – the suspicion of reason, subjectivism and denial of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Once again cynicism towards the idea of progress and working class improvement is the mainstay. Every technique and trick of avoidance of the important issues facing the people’s movement is used in Postmodernism: “common targets of postmodern critique include universalist notions of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, language, and social progress” and “postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, subjectivism, and irreverence.”

Postmodernist artists decided that past styles (once criticised for being ‘traditional’) were now usable in a parodic way along with appropriation and popular culture. The Postmodernist critique of universalist notions of objective reality and social progress, or the Grand Narratives, has particular implications for the working classes and popular political movements as their liberatory philosophy and ideologies are based on them – whatever their supposed successes or failures in the past. To take them away is to fall back on the neo-liberal philosophy of the end-of-history and more of the same globalised capitalism ad infinitum. After the attack on Form in Modernism, we now get an assault on Content in Postmodernism.

When applied to the people’s movement itself, such as the French Revolution, Postmodernist historiography, for example, all but wipes out its historic relevance and importance. As Richard J Evans writes in In Defence of History, Simon Schama’s book Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution over-emphasises the bloody and violent nature of the revolution as if the politically-conscious people taking their lives into their own hands were irrational beings exploding with an animal lust for violence. Evans comments:

In Citizens, indeed, the French Revolution of 1789-94 becomes almost meaningless in the larger sense, and is reduced to a kind of theatre of the absurd; the social and economic misery of the masses, an essential driving force behind their involvement in the revolutionary events, is barely mentioned; and the lasting significance of the Revolution’s many political theories and doctrines for modern European and world history more or less disappears.8

The more opaque forms of relativistic Postmodernist writing and thinking were exposed when Alan Sokal refused to get into line and exposed the French Postmodernists in a hoax essay published in Social Text in 1996. According to Francis Wheen in How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World:

As a socialist who had taught in Nicaragua after the Sandinista revolution, he [Sokal] felt doubly indignant that much of the new mystificatory folly emanated from the self-proclaimed left. For two centuries, progressives had championed science against obscurantism. The sudden lurch of academic humanists and social scientists towards epistemic relativism not only betrayed this heritage but jeopardised ‘the already fragile prospects for a progressive social critique’, since it was impossible to combat bogus ideas if all notions of truth and falsity ceased to have any validity.9

The obvious contradictions and cul-de-sacs of Postmodernism eventually brought it into decline and soon doors opened for a new obfuscatory philosophy to buttress increasingly crisis-ridden globalised capitalism – Metamodernism.

Metamodernism

According to Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in ‘Notes on Metamodernism‘:

The postmodern years of plenty, pastiche, and parataxis are over. In fact, if we are to believe the many academics, critics, and pundits whose books and essays describe the decline and demise of the postmodern, they have been over for quite a while now. But if these commentators agree the postmodern condition has been abandoned, they appear less in accord as to what to make of the state it has been abandoned for. In this essay, we will outline the contours of this discourse by looking at recent developments in architecture, art, and film. We will call this discourse, oscillating between a modern enthusiasm and a postmodern irony, metamodernism. We argue that the metamodern is most clearly, yet not exclusively, expressed by the neoromantic turn of late.

So there you have it – this is the best that Metamodernism can offer – a return to Romanticism! We have now come full circle as “the metamodern is most clearly, yet not exclusively, expressed by the neoromantic turn of late”.

And where is this pressure coming from, to allow a little reality back into the arts?

Some argue the postmodern has been put to an abrupt end by material events like climate change, financial crises, terror attacks, and digital revolutions […] have necessitated a reform of the economic system (“un nouveau monde, un nouveau capitalisme”, but also the transition from a white collar to a green collar economy).

So the contemporary crises of capitalism and climate change are finally impinging on the disintegrating Postmodern artistic consciousness and the answer is reformism and ‘new capitalism’. However, Metamodernism is “Like a donkey it chases a carrot that it never manages to eat because the carrot is always just beyond its reach. But precisely because it never manages to eat the carrot, it never ends its chase”. With a little bit of progressive critique, the Metamodern artist can regain credibility without ever really challenging the status quo.

From all of the above we can see the common threads tying Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism and Metamodernism together: individualism, art for art’s sake, suspicion of reason, subjectivism and denial of the ideas of the Enlightenment. All individualist movements that oppose the idea of collectivist ideology and action. Movements that ultimately serve the status quo and the ruling elites. Yet some of these same elites were involved in the development of the concepts of the Enlightenment in the beginning. What happened to them?

Night’s Candles Are Burnt Out by Seán Keating (1927-28)

Ardnacrusha: Ireland’s first power-station built by Siemens post-independence in the 1920s, a hydro-electric dam built on the river Shannon, north of Limerick.
(Disillusioned Irish workers unemployed and drinking as the new elites begin the process of state-building.)

The Scientific Strand

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century. Enlightenment thinkers believed in the importance of  rationality and science. They believed that the natural world and even human behavior could be explained scientifically. They felt that they could use the scientific method to improve human society. For the artists and philosophers of the Enlightenment, the ideal life was one governed by reason. Artists and poets strove for ideals of harmony, symmetry, and order, valuing meticulous craftsmanship and the classical tradition. Among philosophers, truth was discovered by a combination of reason and empirical research.

In the field of political philosophy the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual, the natural equality of all men and the idea that legitimate political power must be “representative” and based on the consent of the people. Therefore the Enlightenment popularised the idea that with the use of reason and logic social development and progress would be the norm for the masses and science and technology would be the instruments of human progress. The ideas of the Enlightenment paved the way for the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries as it undermined the authority of the monarchy and the Church. The French Revolution became the first main conflict between the men of the Enlightenment and the aristocracy. Within the arts this conflict arose between those who believed that art had a role to play and those who believed in art-for art’s-sake. As Hauser notes:

It is only with the Revolution that art becomes a confession of political faith, and it is now emphasized for the first time that it has to be no “mere ornament on the social structure,” but “a part of its foundations.” It is now declared that art must not be an idle pastime, a mere tickling of the nerves, a privilege of the rich and the leisured, but it must teach and improve, spur on to action and set an example. It must be pure, true, inspired and inspiring, contribute to the happiness of the general public and become the possession of the whole nation.1

However, the rising bourgeoisie who advocated the ideas of the Enlightenment realised that their objectives and those of the revolutionary public were not the same:

Yet as soon as the bourgeoisie had achieved its aims, it left its former comrades in arms in the lurch and wanted to enjoy the fruits of the common victory alone. […] Hardly had the Revolution ended, than a boundless disillusion seized men’s souls and not a trace remained of the optimistic philosophy of the enlightenment.10

Thus began the conflict between the new rulers, the bourgeoisie, who wanted to set limits on progress, and the interests of the toiling masses who had not yet achieved one of the most basic concepts of Enlightenment philosophy: the natural equality of all men. This struggle for political and social freedom took different forms over the next century or so but had as one of its bases the idea that the arts would play a role.

Realism

As the bourgeoisie stepped up its development of capitalist society building factories and markets, the Realist movement reacted to Romanticist escapism in favor of depictions of ‘real’ life, emphasizing the mundane, ugly and sordid. The Realist artists used common laborers and ordinary people in their normal work environments as the main subjects for their paintings. Its chief exponents were Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, Honoré Daumier, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Courbet hated the aristocracy and royalty, and advocated political and social change. He painted ordinary people and in sizes usually reserved for gods and heroes. Realist movements, like the Peredvizhniki or Wanderers group in Russia, developed in many other Western countries.

Social Realism

Meanwhile, as the the Industrial Revolution grew in Britain, concern for the factory workers led to a meeting between Marx and Engels and a major change in the ideology of the working class organisations seeking better conditions. While the Romantics believed that the Industrial Revolution and its exploitative extremes in the factories was the result of science, the Marxists instead questioned the ownership of the factories and who benefited from the greatly increased power of the new means of production, means that could benefit society as a whole. Therefore while the Romantics looked back to the medieval artisans and peasants, the Marxists saw science creating new possibilities for a better future for everybody.

Social Realism grew out of these changes as Social Realist artists drew attention to the everyday conditions of the working class and the poor and criticised the social structures which maintained these conditions. The Mexican and Russian revolutions gave a fillip to the Social Realist movement which reached its height of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s when capitalism was under severe pressure from the global economic depression. The Ashcan School in the USA and the Mexican muralist movement were two groups who exerted a huge influence at the time and many of the artists involved at the time were supporters of political working class movements. While contemporary Social Realism has been kept in the background it is still a popular style with progressive artists.

Socialist Realism

As nationalist struggles of the nineteenth century changed into socialist struggles during the twentieth century, the style and form of the art changed too as ordinary people were now depicted as subjects with dignity and power. This style became known as Socialist Realism. It was pronounced state policy at the Soviet Writers’ Congress in 1934 in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other socialist countries. Like Social Realism, Socialist Realism also met with fierce denunciations and controversy. However, despite its caricature as a style that depicts people as naïve, happy, joyous ciphers, its originators condemned any attempt to portray people living in an idyllic paradise as the work of shallow artists who would never be taken seriously by the populace:

An artist who tried to represent the birth of socialism as an idyll, who tried to represent the socialist system, which is being born in hard-fought battles, as a paradise populated by ideal people – such an artist would not be a realist, would not be able to convince anyone by his works. The artist should show how socialism is built out of the bricks of the past, out of the material which the past has left us, out of the material which we ourselves create in the sweat of our brow, in the blood of our toil and struggle, in, the hard battles of classes and in the hard toil of man to remold himself.

Socialist Realism went into decline in the 1960s as the Soviet Union itself went from crisis to crisis until its end in 1991. Today it is a style which is still much criticised. Why is Socialist Realism such a taboo? Because Socialist Realism is a quadruple whammy – it contains four elements that elites don’t like:

1 Anything to do with the Soviet Union (then) or Russia (today);
2 Any depictions of the working class anywhere (which are not subservient);
3 Any discussion of socialism or socialist ideology (past, present or future); and,
4 Any realist depiction of opposition to capitalism (that could influence others).

If one looks at ‘history of Western art’ books it becomes apparent that there are very few positive images of the working class but plenty of images glorifying monarchs, aristocrats, the middle classes and Noble Peasants (the useful idiots of nationalism). Representations of peasants usually take the form of non-threatening genre paintings and any Socialist Realist art is excluded.

Irish Industrial Development (oil on wood panels) by Seán Keating (1961)
International Labour Offices (ILO) Geneva, Switzerland
(Positive images of Irish workers by Irish artist in Geneva – must be Socialist Realism!)

Conclusion

The fact is that Romanticism in its different forms has made sure to keep the working classes out of the picture and the only response of the people’s movements should be to keep Romanticist influences at arms length. Romanticism has become the capitalist art par excellence. Romanticism vacillates between cultures of despair and Nihilism. It is opposed to logic and reason and its extreme individualism ensures a divisive affect on any collectivist organisation. Romanticism pervades most mass culture today and sells egoism and impotence back to the very people who turn to it for solace from desperation.

The long conflict between Romanticism and Enlightenment ideas contained in art movements over the last two centuries is set to continue as new responses to the contemporary crises of capitalism try to ameliorate the situation or fundamentally change the system underpinning it. What is needed are new national debates on the role and function of art in maintaining or changing the structure of society. Debates similar to those described by an eyewitness to the Paris Commune, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, who wrote: “a whole population is discussing serious matters, and for the first time workers can be heard exchanging their views on problems which up until now have been broached only by philosophers.”11

  1. Arnold Hauser, The Social History of Art,  Vol 3 (Vintage Books, 1958) p. 147.
  2. D. Anthony White, Siqueiros: Biography of a Revolutionary Artist (Booksurge.com, 2008) p. 413.
  3. Richard Murphy, Theorizing the Avant-Garde: Modernism, Expressionism, and the Problem of Postmodernity (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1999) p. 43.
  4. Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (The New Press, 1999) p. 254.
  5. Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (The New Press, 1999) p. 275.
  6. Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word (Bantam Books, 1987) pp. 26/7.
  7. Eimear O’Connor and Virginia Teehan, Sean Keating: In Focus (Hunt Museum, 2009) p. 33.
  8. Richard J. Evans, In Defence of History (Granta Books, 2000) p. 245.
  9. Francis Wheen, How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World (Harper Perennial, 2004) pp. 89/90.
  10. Arnold Hauser, The Social History of Art,  Vol 3 (Vintage Books, 1958) p. 157.
  11. Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, in Le Tribun du Peuple, May 10, 1871, quoted in Stewart Edwards, The Paris Commune 1871 (Quadrangle, 1977) p. 283.

The Post-Modern Project Is Not Complete

The post-modern project is not complete. The fundamental meta-narrative of capitalism continues to persist and bewitch a vast sum of humanity. If the post-modern condition is defined by “an incredulity towards meta-narratives”,1, then, the meta-narrative of capitalism is the last great bastion of the Enlightenment and its two-faced ideal of human equality and civic emancipation. Indeed, the meta-narrative of capitalism, the crown-jewel of the Enlightenment, continues to prosper and enslave, both mentally and physically, the rational human spirit, with dreams of material and immaterial luxury, opulence, and egalitarian abundance, which as always, are items manufactured on material and conceptual exploitation, domination, and the immiseration of the global workforce/population.

The bastard children of the Enlightenment, and its zeal for human preservation and emancipation through an ever-confining set of iron-cage rational-mechanisms are comprised of two factions currently in vogue. The first faction includes the dark, fascist nightmares of the current, right-wing wave of dark Enlightenments, who yearn for a vast set of repressive-mechanisms under some sort of fascist, corporate, dictatorship etc., so as to re-establish old Enlightenment dichotomies, whereupon people are put in their place through coercion, if need be. More or less, the dark Enlightenment is a devil’s bargain in the sense that it is an exchange of freedom for self-preservation; i.e., safety. It is as Horkheimer and Adorno state, “the exchange of freedom for the pursuit of self-preservation”,2 whereupon, the “technological rationale is the rationale of domination, itself”.3 Dark Enlightenment proponents believe it is through a hardline-totalitarianism by which capitalism can be maximized to its fullest potential; as a result, according to the dark Enlightenment, all democratic “political opposites are [to be fused into] one [and demand an] enthusiastic obedience to the [totalitarian] rhythms of the iron-system,…[that is] the absolute power of capitalism”.4

This is a corporate-fascist-state, devoid of democracy, where all dissenting voices, including the population as a whole, “are relentlessly forced into [a hardline] uniformity”.5 In contrast, the second faction of the Enlightenment, currently in vogue right now includes the sly, cunning, left-wing, techno-utopians, masquerading communists, who yearn for a vast technocratic, luxury, communist society, which is founded on a stringent adherence to instrumental-rationality and old, Habermasian, liberal Enlightenment ideals. That is, “a future-oriented left guided by the goal of universal emancipation”6 through rational consensus, knowing full-well consensus is the politically correct term for totalitarian ideological homogeneity, devoid of real differences.

Both factions are errors in judgment and the product of mythical Enlightenment, nonsensical thinking, namely, “the retreat [of] Enlightenment into mythology”.7 These two positions/factions merely repeat the nauseating circularity of the dialectic of Enlightenment, which Horkheimer and Adorno outlined so well, whereupon “today…[we are] accelerating the advance towards [a totally] administrated world…[which] condemns the [rational] spirit to increasing darkness”,8 left or right. As a result, both factions are mesmerized and trapped within the dialectic of Enlightenment and/or the meta-narrative of capitalism, which through accelerationism of various types and kinds, left and right, unwittingly attempt to untether capitalism and/or the Enlightenment in order to realize their disastrous potentials, via the full implementation of radical, instrumental-rationality.

The right-wing faction yearns to do away with the Enlightenment; i.e., democracy, while magnifying social regimentation and the mechanisms of capitalism, manifesting a survival of the fittest, winner take all, set of socio-economic conditions, founded on self-interest and instrumental-rationality. This is totalitarian fascism. In contrast, the left-wing faction yearns to do away with capitalism, while magnifying the rational mechanisms of Enlightenment, where “whatever does not conform to the rule of computation and utility is suspect”9 and the “power [of ideological consensus is] the principle of all [societal] relations”.10 This is a technocratic, totalitarian communism. A totalitarian-socialism based on an unhinged instrumental-rationality, bent towards universal consensus, in order to produce a high-tech, technocratic, luxury, utopian-Stalinism, whereupon, an ironclad universal consensus rules and dominates an ideological plurality and socio-economic minority.

Therefore, contrary to left/right accelerationism, the point is to do away with the Enlightenment and capitalism altogether. This is the third option. The most radical option, beyond left/right accelerationism, which attempts to do away with both the meta-narrative of capitalism and the meta-narrative of the Enlightenment, since both are synonymous and reflect one another. As a result, the point of this philosophical essay is to outline this third revolutionary option in contrast to left/right accelerationism. The point is not to accelerate capitalism, either from the left or the right, including its mechanisms of exploitation and domination, praying for some exit strategy and/or event-horizon, whereupon capitalism will burst into flames, via its exploitative devices, and/or morph into a corporate capitalist dictatorship like Singapore.

In contrast, the point is ultimately to override both capitalism and the Enlightenment, not to accelerate them. Both left/right accelerationists, forego the revolution, and posit the responsibility of radical social change upon capitalist machinery, whether this is Artificial Intelligence, or some other, technocratic mumbo-jumbo, they posit revolutionary agency within capitalist machinery rather than within human agency. As a result, both left/right accelerationists express the epitome of capitalist fetishism and Enlightenment myth-making, which is mistakenly generated from machinery, where, as Marx states, “the products of human industry…and the power of knowledge [mistakenly appear as] the development of fixed capital [i.e. machinery]”11 rather than human consciousness and human activity, from which machinery actually sprang.

Consequently, the point is to subdue the grand-narratives of capitalism and the Enlightenment in order to blast them both to the periphery of socio-economic existence. The point is not “only to interpret the world in various ways; the point…is to change it”.12 As David Harvey correctly states, “capitalism will never fall on its own, it will have to be pushed. The accumulation of capital will never cease, it will have to be stopped”,13 meaning that no matter how much capitalism is accelerated it will never malfunction as leftist accelerationist argue. However, it may turn into a fascist dictatorship as rightist accelerationist argue, which is utterly horrific. The same diagnostic applies for the Enlightenment. It will not detonate sky-high on its own. It will have to be abolished outright in the name of a multi-level, poly-rationality. Any notion that the Enlightenment can be rehabilitated and perfected, with or without capitalism, is utter delusion in the sense that the “Enlightenment is [inherently] totalitarian”14 due to the fact that the “Enlightenment behaves toward things as a dictator toward men…in so far as [it] manipulate them”,10 according to its own mercenary, instrumental objectives. Consequently, right-wing and left-wing accelerationism inevitably lead to totalitarianism. Therefore, it is naïve of left/right accelerationists to think that totalitarianism could ever be more productive, more safe, and more stable, than democratic-state-capitalism, since any faith in the reductive powers of instrumental-rationality is the “reversion of … civilization to barbarism”,15 whether this is a totalitarian corporate-fascist-state or a totalitarian-socialist-state.

Accelerationism, from the left and from the right, is mythical Enlightenment nonsense, whereupon “thinking objectifies itself to become an automatic, self-activating process; an impersonation of the machine”.16 It is the reduction of humans to inert mechanical processes and binary digits. It is the fetishism of machinery elevated to the point where “the [rational] spirit becomes the very apparatus of domination”.17 As long as faith in the Enlightenment persists, any type of accelerationism leads to totalitarianism, totalitarian-socialism from the left, and totalitarian-corporate-fascism from the right. Either/or, both left and right accelerationism result in the despotic enslavement of millions, despite the fact that “the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from fear and establishing their sovereignty. The fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant”.18 Therefore, whether from the left and/or the right of the political-economic spectrum, unless the meta-narratives of capitalism and the Enlightenment are jettisoned, maximum autonomy and a certain level of socio-economic stability will never be effectively achieved due to the fact that instrumental-rationality reduces the world and human existence to “total schematization”19 because “the essence of Enlightenment [is]… domination”.20

Left/right accelerationism are two sides of the same Enlightenment coin, two-sides enacting the meta-narrative of capitalism, the crown-jewel of the dialectic of the Enlightenment, from the two opposing, inherent polarities of the Enlightenment. One is pitching the bright-side of Enlightenment ideals, without capitalism, side-stepping the Enlightenment nightmares of 20th century, specifically totalitarian-socialism/communism. And the other is pitching the dark-side of the Enlightenment ideals, expressing a death-wish for totalitarian corporate-fascism in order to engender total safety, total stability, and the total reduction of humanity to calculability; i.e., where “formal logic… provides the Enlightenment…with the schema of the calculability of the world…[upon which] number is the [ultimate] canon”.21

Either/or, both lead to despotism and domination, totalitarian-fascism and/or totalitarian-communism. Both left/right accelerationism is deception and trickery, systematic nonsense, designed to further the meta-narrative of Enlightenment and by de facto, traditional capitalist myths through the dialectic of Enlightenment, which “with every step becomes more deeply engulfed in mythology”,22 via the tit-for-tat, spinning oscillation inherent in the Enlightenment dialectic. The point is to dispose of all this; i.e., both the meta-narrative of Enlightenment and the meta-narrative of capitalism, so as not to encourage these meta-narratives in new fashionable disguises like left/right accelerationism.

Therefore, the post-modern project is not complete. It is not “un fait accompli”. Because, the post-modern project has not reached its revolutionary zenith, that is, it has not yet done away with both the Enlightenment and capitalism simultaneously and ubiquitously. It has not disassembled the grand-narratives of Enlightenment and capitalism, which continue to dominate and exploit the sum of human existence, in various forms and formats, like the form and format of left/right accelerationism. Consequently, it is imperative that humans jettison the Enlightenment and its meta-narratives, especially capitalism, which continue to fester both in right-wing and in left-wing styles of Enlightenment thinking. In sum, people must embrace the true revolutionary option, outside the Enlightenment and the meta-narrative of capitalism, due to the fact that this third revolutionary option is the one which actually leads out of the conceptual and material iron cage of the Enlightenment and its degenerate, capitalist progenies.

This third revolutionary option, which first reared its head with the advent of post-modernity and its mild incredulity towards meta-narratives, is a form of radical post-modernity beyond post-modernity. This third revolutionary option is the reinvigoration of the mild, post-modern, incredulity towards meta-narrative in its most avant-garde and poignant form. That is, it is a radical, revolutionary incredulity towards meta-narratives, specifically capitalism and the Enlightenment, which includes all their sly strains of thought, which spawn from the capitalist fanaticism for profit and the Enlightenment fanaticism for reductive instrumentalism; i.e., instrumental-rationality:

The Enlightenment promised the ideal that as people became more educated they would become more civilized and democratic. This has been shattered in the sense that as people have become more educated, they have become more suspect in relation to the workings of democratic-state-capitalism, the ruling, micro-fascist, oligarchical networks, and most importantly, their own neighbors. The reason is a strict emphasis on instrumental-rationality. As a result, humans have become more and more subject to domination and discipline, both by democratic-state-capitalism and their fellow citizens. In sum, the Enlightenment is totalitarian despotism and domination, par excellence. [Moreover] capitalist exploitation and domination has gone global and increasingly subjugates the micro-recesses of everyday life. Wherefore, the military-industrial-complex is now a totalitarian socio-economic formation, instrumentally engineered to maintain financial inequality, corporate feudalism, and the ruling,  micro-fascist, oligarchical networks; i.e., the capitalist status quo, indefinitely.23

Indeed, the Enlightenment and capitalism initially meant the liberation of the rational spirit through a stern focus on instrumental-rationality, but instead, this has led increasingly into capitalist domination and enslavement, pertaining to the profit-making imperative of capitalism and the functionalist imperatives of the Enlightenment. The result is an ever-increasing rational subjugation of humanity by capitalism and the Enlightenment through such Machiavellian cults as left and right accelerationism. Left/right accelerationism is a symptom and/or a by-product of the dialectic of Enlightenment and the meta-narrative of capitalism. Both represent Enlightenment mythology in different guises and both yearn to realize one of the two forms of totalitarianism derived from the two-sided polarity of the dialectic of Enlightenment.

For this reason, the post-modern project is not over as it has yet to reach its real revolutionary zenith, whereupon, even the meta-ideals of capitalism and the Enlightenment shall be overthrown in the name of real plurality, namely, classless, socio-economic plurality. That is, an open-participatory republic/federation founded on basic financial guarantees for all, including the elimination of financial inequality, corporate feudalism and capitalist hierarchy, namely, instrumental-rationality as the foundation-stone for all socio-economic organization, left and right. The aim is to install a post-modern, multi-level, poly-rationality, capable of stimulating multi-dimensional, open-ended, socio-economic organizations, which maximize autonomy, socio-economic stability and positive, political-economic differences.

What the left/right accelerationists fail to understand is that machinery embodies, reflects, and functions, according to the ruling ideologies, which brought this machinery to life. Ruling ideologies give machinery purpose, meaning and value. Ruling ideologies guide technology and technological-evolution along certain parameters and lines of thought, limiting technological understanding and the human imagination to certain pre-conceived logical conclusions, that is, conclusions engineered via the ruling ideologies, which limit long-term, technological-evolution, due to a certain reductive, capitalist homogeneity. As a result, according to Horkheimer and Adorno, there is a “stunting of …the imagination…[wherefore] no scope is left for the imagination”,24, other than the reductive, limiting, scope sanctioned and established, by the instrumental-rationality of capitalism and the Enlightenment.  Indeed:

Ideational comprehensive frameworks [i.e. ideologies] are the logics by which humans and things function and operate; they guide them, inform them, stimulate them, and make them move in all sorts of ways and fashions, both conceptually and materially etc., since, ideational comprehensive frameworks are the logics by which humans and things acquire method, meaning and purpose.25

Different ideologies produce different technologies with different characteristics within different socio-economic parameters, inside different societies, resulting in different futurist conclusions and socio-economic developments; that is, different technological trajectories. As a result, a multi-level, poly-rationality, which is not reduced or condensed to strict scientific instrumental rational quantification can both dissolve the meta-narrative of the Enlightenment and the meta-narrative of capitalism simultaneously and ubiquitously, while establishing a vast, multi-dimensional, network/federation of political-economic variations and differences. That is, a structural-anarchism-complex, stitched loosely together, like patchwork, via a new Post-Enlightenment, post-capitalism logic; i.e., the logic of structural-anarchism, namely, poly-rationality.

As a result, capitalism, being the ruling socio-economic ideology for the last 250 years, ruling in concert with the instrumental-rationality of the Enlightenment, has meant the fact that all machinery reflects, obeys, and functions according to the capitalist ideology. The result has been the limiting of logical analysis and the human imagination to certain pre-determined parameters and conclusions, concerning the future of society and the future of machine technological-evolution. Unless people completely jettison the meta-narrative of the Enlightenment, especially capitalism, and embrace a radical incredulity towards all meta-narratives, people cannot escape capitalism and by default the Enlightenment, no matter how fast and accelerated things are and/or get. The reason is the fact that the “Enlightenment [has] always been a tool for the great manipulators of government”,26 whereupon, in the end, Enlightenment ideals for “the liberation of forces, universal freedom [and] self-determination”,27 ultimately turn into ideological enslavement and domination. That is, capitalism and Enlightenment become “whole deception of the masses”.28

The point is not to accelerate capitalist machinery, that is, the capitalist mechanical ideology at the center of this capitalist machinery, somehow thinking that accelerated capitalist technology will bring forth new social relations and/or a new mode of production through the downfall of capitalism or the Enlightenment, either through the advent of a corporate-totalitarian-capitalism and/or the advent of a totalitarian-techno-communist-utopia. The logic of capitalism is set in stone; i.e., “to maximize profit, by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible”.29 Thus, capitalism thrives on speed and acceleration in the sense that its inherent nature is to attain an ultimate level of unregulated, unfettered-ness, as soon as possible, devoid of all considerations about the well-being of workforce/population. As a result:

Capitalism unfettered and unbound strives for an ironclad…military-industrial-complex, that is, a form of socio-economic organization where control, surveillance and work in the service of surplus value extraction and accumulation is paramount, highly functionalist, highly technocratic and highly regimented.30

It does not need acceleration as its inherent instrumental nature is about acceleration. Moreover, this fundamental fact about capitalism means that the logic of capitalism has no escape velocity. It has no exits, unless its intrinsic, exploitive logic; i.e., instrumental-rationality, is detonated sky-high, inside its own repressive, capitalist parameters, which are, themselves, fused with the ideals of the Enlightenment. Accelerating the logic of capitalism, as the left/right accelerationist command, accelerates in turn capitalist exploitation, capitalist domination and capitalist immiseration increasingly to new heights and new degrading, humiliations. This is the essence of instrumental-rationality, the complete systemization of humans and the world, without options, without differences, without any social change, perfectly stratified and perfectly hierarchized, according to the underlying ideals and logic of the Enlightenment and capitalism. As Horkheimer and Adorno state, “the technical and social tendencies [of the Enlightenment and capitalism], always interwoven, [forever] converge in the total schematization of men”.31 There is no escaping this fact. Thus both capitalism and the Enlightenment must be done away with. Such is the revolutionary zenith of the post-modern project.

The Enlightenment and the logic of capitalism give birth to many mechanical variations of themselves, their offspring wear many different masks, but underneath their seeming Enlightened nature, that is, instrumental-rationality, the same old capitalism permeates; i.e., “to maximize profit, by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible”.32. The reason is that the Enlightenment and “the logic of capitalism [are]… totalitarian [meta]-languages that design copies of [themselves], ad infinitum, a vast array of ideological facsimiles, both material and conceptual, which disseminate the logic of capitalism [and the Enlightenment] in various concealed and unconcealed forms”.33.

For example, left/right accelerationism is such a cunning, capitalist/Enlightenment facsimile, which beneath its fashionable veneer for ultimate speed, only perpetuates the logical imperatives of capitalism and Enlightenment in disguise, that is, their insatiable needs for total severance and unfettered detachment, devoid of any social responsibility. As a result, left and right accelerationism are the bastard children of the meta-narrative of capitalism and the Enlightenment, it is the meta-narrative of capitalism and the Enlightenment bringing forth, out of totalitarian, instrumental-rationality, this army of pseudo-revolutionaries, pseudo-luminaries, and pseudo-tech-gurus, both on the left and the right, in order to expand the enlightened capitalist dominion. And thus, this army of pseudo-revolutionaries, pseudo-luminaries and pseudo-tech-gurus are instrumentally designed to permeate the logic of capitalism, the crown-jewel of the Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment, itself, in various new forms and up-to-date styles, so as to maximize human subjugation and the accumulation and extraction of surplus value. Once again, the costs of these counterfeits fall unto the workforce/population, who, as always, pay through the nose.

Post-capitalism, in the accelerationist mold, is unattainable, and will come to relatively nothing, if it solely consists in accelerating the logic, the machinery and the mechanisms of capitalism to the Nth degree, without any fundamental, people’s revolution. And moreover, post-capitalism, in the accelerationist mold, is unattainable, and will come to relatively nothing if it insists on remaining under the umbrella of instrumental-rationality; i.e., the Enlightenment. Reanimating the Enlightenment in any shape and/or form, whether as a totalitarian fascist nightmare or as a totalitarian-communist techno-dystopia, plays into the hands of capitalism and the Enlightenment, furthering their inherent “nihilistic anti-life force”.26 The Enlightenment and its socio-economic meta-narrative; i.e., capitalism, are totalitarian and tend towards fascism, “economic coercion and the freedom to choose what is always [ideologically] the same”.34

From the left and/or the right, there is no escape velocity from this basic fact. Unless people jettison both the Enlightenment and its socio-economic meta-narrative called capitalism and embrace a radical, post-modern, incredulity for all meta-narratives, that is, capitalism and the Enlightenment, all is lost. All is lost because, as Horkheimer and Adorno state, “the irrationalism of totalitarian capitalism [and the Enlightenment], whose way of satisfying [human] needs has an objectified form [determined] by domination, which makes the satisfaction of [human] needs [all but] impossible,…tends towards the extermination of mankind”.35. As a result, to accelerate this logic of domination to the Nth degree, as left/right accelerationists want, is lunacy, a lunacy, reeking of capitalist opportunism and social irresponsibility, a crime against humanity.

In reality, the only exit strategy out of capitalism and the Enlightenment, simultaneously and ubiquitously, is the radical application of the post-modern incredulity towards meta-narratives to the last standing meta-narratives of the Enlightenment and capitalism; i.e., instrumental-rationality, and this includes all its degenerate progenies curled-up on both sides of accelerationism and instrumental-rationality. The post-modern revolution is an anarchist revolution, founded on multi-varied, poly-rationality, without meta-narrative, without left/right accelerationism, without capitalism and Enlightenment ideals, dark and light. It is a radical form of post-modernity, which is both post-Enlightenment and post-capitalism combined, devoid of the cunning, instrumental horrors of both capitalism and the Enlightenment. As a result, the end of instrumental-rationality, capitalist and Enlightenment cannot transpire on meth-speed accelerationism, that is, any fantastic injections of methamphetamines admixed with liquid cocaine etc. Indeed:

Real history is the unfolding of the will to power, a convergence of mental and physical forces and/or logics, pitted against one another in a multiplicity of fluctuating, antagonistic and/or mutual-aid relationships, vying for contextual supremacy. Real history is a fiery molten crucible, anarchy, buried deep, beneath manufactured pseudo-history and superficiality, ever-ready to explode, unfold, by way of the revolutionary rabble. Purged and purified of capitalist modes and relations, real history will glisten, glisten through a new logical apparatus and paradigm. And, any small impetus can germinate and activate the people’s r(evolution). So, make haste… rabble-rouser, grab history, own it, and bend it to your will, less history slips between  your fingers into something other, something false, something that will wield real history against you from above.36

Real history, real radical social change, germinates deep beneath the artificial veneer of capitalism and the Enlightenment. It germinates in the hearts and minds of the workforce/population, consciously and unconsciously, and nowhere else, certainly not in the titanium body of any machinery. And so, all told, the post-modern project is not complete; since “the self-inflicted, global-suicide of totalitarian-capitalism [and the Enlightenment, solely,] lies behind the blazing eyes of millions marching together, arm in arm over [the] cold metallic corpse, smashed to pieces under the militant boot of structural-anarchism, commanding IMMEDIATE COLLECTIVIST-ACTION!”. ((Ibid, p. 72.f).))

  1. Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Post-Modern Condition, Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984) xxiv.
  2. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) 40.
  3. Ibid, p. 121.
  4. Ibid, p. 120.
  5. Ibid, p. 124.
  6. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing The Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, (New York: Verso, 2015) 23.
  7. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) xiv.
  8. Ibid, p. x-xiv.
  9. Ibid, p. 6.
  10. Ibid, p. 9.
  11. Karl Marx, “Grundrisse”, The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978) 285.
  12. Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach”, The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978) 145.
  13. David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital, (Oxford, United-Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2010) 260.
  14. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) 6.
  15. Ibid, p. xvi.
  16. Ibid, p. 25.
  17. Ibid, p. 36.
  18. Ibid, p. 3.
  19. Ibid, p. 35.
  20. Ibid, p. 32.
  21. Ibid, p. 7.
  22. Ibid, p. 12.
  23. Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) 33.a) -33.b).
  24. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) 126-127.
  25. Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) d).
  26. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) 44.
  27. Ibid, p. 93.
  28. Ibid, p. 42.
  29. Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) 26.h).
  30. Ibid, p. 27.a).
  31. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 2000) 35.
  32. Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016)b).
  33. Ibid, p. 17.b).
  34. Ibid, p.165-p. 167.
  35. Ibid. 55
  36. Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) 72.e).