So yeah, Fight Club 2 is coming. I think it’s perfect timing. It embodied the alienation and anti-corporate anger of the 1990s, but then that all went to sleep. Fight Club 2 would have been just out of place after 9/11. It would have sucked if it just got slurped into the Anyone-But-Bush sentiment that followed; Fight Club stands for something more deeply radical than just voting out the Republicans. It would have been out of place during the beginning of Obama’s presidency, too, which was more defined by the rise of the Tea Party as well as the LGBT rights movement. So Fight Club went to sleep along with the radical atmosphere that spawned it. But now class warfare is on the agenda again. The all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world have since renamed themselves the 99%. As mass anti-capitalism comes out of hibernation, our Great Depression truly is our lives, and again the timing for a Fight Club sequel is perfect.
Part of humanity wants articulated political principles which make logical sense, in an altruistic manner, a selfish manner, or preferably both.
Then there’s We want to be part of a kickass movement simply for the sake of being part of a kickass movement. We want the community, the energy, the purpose, the identity, the belonging, the sacrifice, the devotion, and perhaps some of us even thrive on the chaos and conflict. Maybe I’m being a little autobiographical here, but I have lots of kindred spirits, restless souls of base emotion who care not what they lash out at, but whose energy and anger simply demands a target – any target! Are we going to channel their souls and give their elemental passion to the revolution, or stand aside in rational respectability, declining to march in formation or sing songs or have community barbecues, surrendering them to the Right?
Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet –George Orwell
Watch this video. Isn’t it energizing?
There is an allure to hooliganism and tribalism. Having strong social bonds forged in casual violence fulfills deep human needs, satisfying that part of humanity which is still running off of its deep reptile brainstem.
Fight Club combined this sort of borderline anarcho-fascist (it applies) violent social bonding with very explicit anti-capitalist messages about work, culture, and the credit system.
Of course it’s possible that Fight Club aesthetics and activities can go left or right, and radically in both directions. This article talks about a tribe of Odinist heathens who are building their own Nazi-influenced version of Project Mayhem. I highly recommend the article, because to be honest, as I read about them, I’m jealous as fuck. I want what they have for the Left, but more importantly, just for myself. It helps that reactionaries don’t share the discomfort with stereotypically masculine activities and behaviors which the Left possesses (but of course it hurts that they don’t share our anti-sexism). An interview with their leader also indicates that they organize organically, socially, creatively, and with great intentionality, making them almost like a Nazi counterpart to Philly Socialists. Why can’t we do this kind of thing? Why can’t we have the more chill, family-friendly forms of politicized community that Philly Socialists has, and also more aggressive forms of left-politicized community like social bonding around MMA clubs, shooting-range-as-socialist-team-building, or hard music scenes? Besides, fascists win because they organize like they’re preparing for a fucking war, whereas we in the Left are more focused on the infinite delineation of political correctness on Tumblr. We would have to keep the aggression from spilling over into sexism, but honestly — since the Left possesses endless reams of white dudes anyway, wouldn’t you rather they be a little more in shape and down-to-earth?
As for myself, I’m thinking maybe I’m going to the next Philly Socialists’ camping trip/leadership retreat. And I’m also going to re-examine my own life a bit, my own political practice. Maybe hang out more with people who “aren’t political.” Maybe just do stuff I feel like doing, build my own tribe, without the constant compulsion to be political, but knowing that as a hyper-political being, the very act of my socialization, the construction and maintenance of relationships, is itself political by simply by bringing other people into closer proximity to myself.
Besides, it’s just too awesome not to take up. Get your mayhem in while you can, because someday, you’re gonna die.