If you’re USian and white (like I am) please trust me, the religious cult survivor, when I tell you we’ve been subjected to cult practices our entire lives. Why? In order to indoctrinate us into upholding white supremacy, imperialism, along with all of the social classes and divisions that benefit the upper class of capitalists and screw the rest of us over, (to varying degrees.)
So even if you think you’re the most communist person you know, remember that you live in the most Anticommunist nation on the planet, and give that ego a perspective check. I say this cuz I’ve had to do it myself. We ain’t always right cuz we’re white, just the most privileged in this social order, which has built biases in our brains that are reinforcements to Rugged Individualism, American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, all key components of white supremacy and its economic system, Capitalism.
If you don’t want to serve the interests of this corrupt, disgusting order, you must be willing to do a lot of self-crit and not get stuck in a survival reaction when you receive criticism from trustworthy sources. Being willing to admit our own errors, be accountable for any harm we cause, and be accountable to ourselves & our community by correcting our thinking and actions: these are requirements for any revolutionary.
So when we’re repeatedly told our understanding of experiences outside our own is wrong, we need to run ourselves through that self-crit and accountability process. Ask for help from trusted people to keep track of your progress. Be that person for others.
If we want massive systemic change, we must change who we are so we don’t just keep repeating the same errors over and over. We’ve been conditioned our entire lives by a US/Nazi social order (see Twitter threads at my Linktree) to protect the order at all costs. We must be sure we’ve broken enough of that conditioning to avoid repeating historical mistakes. Let’s keep working at it, helping one another in a comradely manner, being willing to admit and accept we’re wrong when errors in our understanding or behaviors are being shown to us by trustworthy people. We all need to retrain our brains away from the survival reaction. Fight, flight, freeze, appease are all part of this evolutionary reaction dating back to when our evolutionary mammalian ancestors long ago were often prey to other species. It originates in the oldest part of our brains, the amygdala, which is phylogenetically very primitive. Some call it our “lizard brain.”
Many studies about how the more primitive areas of our brains work have been performed, published, and peer-reviewed. Capitalist white supremacists in Nazi Germany took this research and weaponized it against their victims and their own citizenry. Then many of them were recruited after WW2 into not only the sciences and industry in the US, many were recruited and protected from war crime tribunals by the US State Department, Army Counterintelligence Corps, CIA and NSC. Nazi policies and practices have been a part of our collective existence here in the US and abroad ever since. That includes indoctrination, propaganda, groupthink, conspiracy theories, “fake news” and more.
Fake News has been an especially successful capitalist psyop. No wonder, given the fact that it’s designed to exploit the most primitive parts of our brain where that information is most likely to plant ideas and even false memories, using fear to fertilize the propaganda seeds.
So remember all of this when your primitive brain bits start lighting up and you begin processing new information, particularly if you feel an immediate defensive response because it contradicts what you think you know to be certain. Once that fight or flight or freeze or appease instinct is put into motion, it starts triggering everyone’s same instinctive reactions around you. We’ve all endured what comes next, whether in person or online. Petty insults, logical fallacies, threats of violence, actual violence, and long standing grudges are common outcomes of those reactionary conflicts. These experiences reinforce nihilist and ecofascist mentalities and cause anxiety, anger, fear, and depression, trigger trauma disorders, only serving to further divide people. This is not revolutionary.
Move into mindfulness, into the higher brainmeats, and use what you’ve learned from historical and materialist dialectic to evaluate whatever it is that has your adrenaline pumping or other survival reactions firing inside your limbic system. Think about who benefits from the outcomes of whatever it was you were about to say or do. Being hyper-conscious of this for a few days will often give us all perspective on where we’ve progressed, where we’re still working toward desired progress on other stuff, and new shit we gotta work on.
Let’s be radically honest with trusted and consenting comrades about what we’re working on in ourselves, our triggers, if you have those (I do; cPTSD) and ask if they can help support us in specific ways. We all have things to offer one another!
Ditching my fragile ego was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made. With a lot of reading, listening, shrooms (yes, seriously), and asking to be held accountable and then being willing to non-defensively listen with a genuine openness to criticism and accountability, I see the world in a far different way – it’s clearer, because I’m not fighting my ego’s cries for attention. The Alienation Of Capitalism exploits our need for community and belonging, tries to convince us work is life (golly that sounds vaguely familiar, don’t it?) and encourages us to center our identities and socializing around our jobs.
So let’s help one another in a revolutionary manner, comrades, with genuine concern for one another, and willingness to be vulnerable enough to accept and admit our errors when we make those. Holding ourselves accountable to one another – rather than relying solely upon our own perspectives and experiences to evaluate our experiences and actions – means being open to receiving and giving radical (in truth but also in kindness) honesty. Is this not a revolutionary contrast from the Rugged Individualism, “I got mine, fuck everybody else!” ethos we’ve been indoctrinated with for generations in the US?
Building communities seeking the collective good through cooperative actions that can be sustained and defended over time requires that we work to revolutionize and decolonize ourselves so that cooperation can become the “new” normal. This means many things we’ve felt certain were true or represent historical and material reality accurately are going to be challenged. When this happens, we must be aware of our reactionary hindbrain survival instinct being triggered and consciously navigate those emotions to see whether it’s a conditioned Pavlovian reaction, or an ego wound. Become comfortable saying, hearing and respecting the need to ask for time to process a new idea or event, investigate it if needed, and revisit the discussion later once you feel better prepared to have an informed and productive conversation.
I write all of this while applying it to myself, too. I’m not better than anyone for having an understanding of something we’ve all been manipulated away from understanding. That’s a classist snobbery mindset. I’m sharing what I learn because I want to be helpful to those who haven’t yet explored the same knowledge – or who have and felt alone upon reaching similar understandings. Shedding our capitalist indoctrination is a process and we’re all in our own process, but we also have a lot in common with many other people who are going through the same decultification. Being vulnerable with each other helps build and strengthen relationship bonds, which in turn, builds community.
Please join me and other revolutionaries in this vital work. Check out the reading recommendations on the top menu. Want a more personalized recommendation? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re looking to learn. Have a communist author you’d like to recommend? Comment below. Thanks!