In this short piece, we will attempt to lay out what we mean by Egoist-Communism, a term that, on the surface, seems practically irreconcilable, even contradictory. We will elucidate on this theme, presenting here what we mean precisely by Egoist-Communism.
1. By Egoism, we are not speaking of an ideology but a stance towards life that puts the concrete individual (or what have you) as the centre of our social analysis. The individual, the self, the ego (whatever you may call it) is the basis of our social practice. We see the ego as the most concrete reality since we are, at all times, always ourselves and this is an obvious truism that no one cant deny without engaging in self-contradiction. Indeed, ‘egoism’ if conceived as an –ism is a misnomer, completely misinterpreting egoism as an ideology with its own fixed principles and a subsequent belief system that we are all called to submit to and believe in. This is not the case, however. For egoism, unlike all ideologies, does not make a demand on you, does not call you to a higher calling, to self-sacrifice, to duties and obligations. Instead, egoism is simply what we do at every moment of our lives when we live according to our own idiosyncratic desires, whatever they may be. In living ourselves out as living individuals in our everyday lives, we act as consciously active, willful egoists. In living in accordance with others unlike us, however, we do the opposite, we become ‘unconscious egoists’, fulfilling our desires through others rather than from ourselves, an alienated egoism so-to-speak. We egoists always remain opponents of the unconscious egoists and their attempts to reify our ego.
2. Egoism is popularly misconceived as equatable with selfishness and greed as it is exists under bourgeois rule with its creed of economic self-interest, competition and profit-making under the capitalist system. Capitalism is commonly denounced (particularly on the Left) as supporting our most debased and selfish desires to the detriment of a collective spirit of solidarity and cooperation. We say, on the contrary, that capitalism, far from being an egoist system, is actually that which crushes the ego most acutely. This is because Capitalism, as it exists today and can only ever exists as, consists of subjugating the individuals to abstract economic laws which we must abide by if we are to participate in the market. Hence, Capitalism calls us to be producers and consumers as our primary social roles. It is this that capitalism deems most important about us as individuals within our market-driven society. This being the purpose of humans under Capital, Capitalism thus has no problem in stating that our essential human nature is innately competitive and self-interested, just as it wants us to be. We can object to this, however, by refusing our social roles and become something other than what the current system allows for and demands of us. But under capitalism, we are required always to fit ourselves into a social role as dictated by the current needs of the economy. In this, the economy comes first rather than the individual since the needs of the economy always trumps the actual needs of the individual. Profit comes before people and this is no different under a laissez-faire capitalism. Everywhere under Capital, we are required to be ‘presentable’, ’employable’ and ‘productive’; the lingo itself already betraying an overtly capitalist ideology. These are then the roles that we are called on to perform and act, just as Christianity formerly called upon us to be good Christians, observers of God’s commandments, to be exemplars of the life of Christ. Capitalism differs in no radical respect in this way, for it itself has its own rulings, sacred fetters and morals. In this, capitalism, rather than realizing the ego, subjugates the ego to a higher ruling, to a calling, to the service of the MARKET. In this, it is like every other idealisms, as it seeks to subjugate actual, concrete life to the rule of abstractions and ideals that we are then called to serve. Where ever abstractions and ideas rule, actual concrete life is subsequently degraded and depleted to the detriment of the true diversity and passions of actual life. Ultimately, we denounce capitalist greed and selfishness for not being selfish and greedy enough, for capitalism ultimately has a very narrow definition of what selfishness and greediness consists of (in material wealth and economic self-interest). Instead, egoist-communism is the expression of the greed and selfishness that yearns for more egos, for the expansion of life and the joys of living. We see an expansive life as the basis for our egoism, for our egoism desires to expand itself and expend itself in joyful amorous motions, in exuberant living and passionate feelings alongside other egos who we wish to share our lives with.
3. We denounce on the Left the spirit of political correctness and collectivism that seeks to subjugate the individual ego to ‘society’, another empty abstraction to lord above us, just as we denounce the Right for subjugating the individual to the forces of the Market. We ridicule the false dichotomy between Society/State vs the Market/Individual since, regardless of how the Left and Right may differ, they all accomplish the same thing, in getting us to worship and submit to empty abstractions, to fixed ideas, to Spooks! Everywhere, abstractions rules in the society of the moderns. Ideas, morals, values, theories, mind and a thousand other causes calls us to a higher service which we are called to fulfill and serve as its slave, to toil beneath the Ideal. But we selfish egoists seek not to be of service to others but of service to ourselves. In rejecting and denying values and ideas, we affirm our own concrete selves. Concepts and ideas are no longer to rule over us, indeed we are to rule over concepts and ideas, to use them according to our own benefit and desires. In the union of egoists, concepts and ideas are to be slaves to us, not us the slave of concepts and ideas. In this, the union of egoists differs radically from present-day society where ideas and concepts are called to rule over and above us. An union of egoists suggests that egoists can freely cooperate and associate according to their own desires and affinities as they define it and not according to ideological notions about commitments, obligations and duties which serves only to bind us further to fixed ideas about ‘rightful (or moral) conduct’.
4. In saying, that the ego is all, we ultimately deny that there is anything higher than us, in saying so we affirm that there is nothing above us, that there is NO essence that we are called to fulfill. Thus we reject a teleological view of history in its entirety. There is neither a final purpose nor meaning to history, a pre-determined direction in which history inevitably takes. Rather, we emphasis always that it is individual men and women that make their own history, in their daily struggles and interactions with others. If, at times, it seems that our lives are outside of our control, this is only because society has often exceeded beyond the capacities of individuals themselves to comprehend its workings. Society then gains a reality for itself, external to ourselves, that is independent and separate of the individuals who first gave birth to society. Society has achieved an existence over and beyond us, precisely due to its reification by alienated individuals who have imparted this pseudo-reality to society. Modern society has created the reversal of the proper relationship between individuals and society. Now, society rules individuals not individuals over society. Egoist communism will restore the proper and appropriate relationship between individuals and society through the complete abolishment of society itself and its disintegration back into the union of egoists that defines the living relationships of actual egoists in their entirety.
5. In affirming communism and in basing our communism on an egoistical basis, we understand that genuine, authentic communism cannot be built from abstract ideals and models but on the actual historical and material conditions of a given era and society. Since all societies are built and sustained by the individuals who built and sustained it, we see communism as a practical activity rather than an idea to be implemented at the moment of a revolutionary outbreak. Instead, communism is simply the living out of individuals as they realize the limits of their social existence under Capital as they finally see the ‘beyond’ upon which an alternative life beyond Capital can be built. Communism is the movement of negation that negates that which now negates our existence. It is the movement that has for its aim, the abolishment of society, of the economy, of the state, of hierarchy and authority, of money and work/wage-labor, and of religion and politics. Communism thus, is not what builds institutions but precisely that which does away with all institutions. Thus, we desire communism precisely because we see it as the most compatible with our egoistic desires and needs, communism is the highest expression of our egoism since communism is ultimately the expression of all egos as they affirm their own uniqueness and in realizing that what they share in common is precisely their own self-defined uniqueness. Communism, born spontaneously or through concerted efforts over a gradual time-scale, is something that one does, rather than a system of governance, a socio-economic system, an ideology or a social model to be implemented in the future by a vanguard party, bureaucrats or ‘revolutionary professionals’, any of which could only ever lead to the establishment of a state-capitalism in accordance with the Soviet example of the 20th century, a model which we reject in its entirety.
6. Thus, in affirming egoist-communism as the basis of our social practice, we also affirm it as the starting point and end-point of our desires and needs. Egoist-communism is the expression of the higher synthesis of the dialectical movement which moves from self to others, from the individual to society and from the ego to community. But never forgetting its origins, egoist-communism does not affirm others to the detriment of the self, nor does it deny the individual in favor of society or advance community to the disfavor of the individual ego. Instead, egoist-communism bases its practice on the profound realization that others can only be approached on the basis of the self and society on the basis of the individuals that constitute that particular society. Egoist-communism sees real communities thus as the expression of the actual, living relationships of each and every individual within that given community. When these relationships are freely decided upon and made by the individuals themselves, then free association is the result. Thus, egoist-communism does not deny one polarity in favor of another, but affirms one from the being of the other. In realizing that the contradiction of egoism and communism is solved in affirming both beyond their original formulations, egoist-communism presents itself as the higher synthesis of egoism and communism as the movement of and from the self, towards its anti-thesis under a collectivist-communism and beyond to which egoist-communism becomes the movement of the real, living possibility of another life. It is the affirmation of the possibilities yet to be and which will come to be, that defines the movement now coming-to-be and which will abolish the present society. This is the communist movement in its total reality. Communism is thus a possibility for all in the here-and-now, rather than an inevitable outcome determined by the impersonal movement of history. Egoist-communism is simply this expression expressed in real, concrete life. It is ultimately the desire for this possibility among possibilities that constitutes egoist-communism in its finest expression. The point now however, is simply to live it out in its entirety and immediacy.