Posadismo

"We must summon the masses, create the conditions to bring down capitalism and State bureaucracy, and instaurate socialism. It's necessary to tell beings from other worlds, if they appear, that they must intervene right now, collaborating with the inhabitants of the Earth to suppress misery, it's necessary to make this call."    
- J. Posadas (1968), in Flying saucers, processes of matter and energy, science, revolutionary class struggle and the future of humanity

I recently found out, to my surprise and joy, that Posadism had become a meme among young American socialists. It saddens me that I just discovered Posadas by chance some months ago, doing a Sunday stroll around the Carlos Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

In some depopulated floor with little to see, there was a wide room with a quite extense fanzine table. Nothing really interested me, but a small magazine with a bright green cover, containing some hilarious, colorful inkjet-printed nonsense about a certain J. Posadas, and intergalactic marxism —  and there also seemed to be a football player involved and dolphins. 

I took a couple of pictures. And some hours later, I googled Posadism. I expected to find the zine I had read (and of which I wanted a copy), and who the author of that amazingly weird piece of fiction was. I found the zine, but I also found that Posadism was an actual thing, that J. Posadas was a real man and that he was a nationally-influential Trotskyist who eventually, to put it in laymen (and therefore highly questionable) terms: lost his mind.  

Origin Story

J. Posadas was born in 1912, in Buenos Aires, under the name Homero Rómulo Cristali Frasnelli. He was the son of Italian immigrants. As a teen, he played football for Estudiantes de la Plata. At age 20, he moved to the province of Córdoba, where he worked at a shoe factory and acted as a union representative.  

Years later, he became the leader of the Partido de la Revolución Socialista (Party of the Socialist Revolution). In 1970, the party split from the Fourth International and founded the Posadist Fourth International. 

Posadas’ life during the next few decades, until his death in 1981, is quite a blur. In 1973, his name was included in the list of potential victims of the Argentinian Anti-Communist Association, a State organism that persecuted suspected communists. All we know about Posadas is that, like many who had to leave the country due to political persecution, he died abroad. In Rome, on the 14th of May of 1981. 

The last vestiges of “institutionalized” Posadism I could find seem to come from the POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario), a marginal association active in Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.  

Like many other left-leaning associations, the local POR supported the governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and left it at that, with no autonomous action plan or progressive potential of its own.  

From my readings of J. Posadas’ writings (some of which are available in the Marxist Internet Library), I could conclude that the pillars of Posadism are: 

  • Accelerationism: Yes, Posadas was the first accelerationist. He was in favor of solving the tension between the United States and the CCCP through nuclear war. He believed that the proletarian revolution would rise from the ashes of the mutually-destroyed empires, of capitalism and of the Stalinist state.  

  • A cynical attitude towards science: Posadas thought of science as a saving force for humanity, but he lamented that it was always co-opted by Capital or by the State. Due to the high cost of doing science, scientists have to rely on either the private sector or the public sector for financing, which forces science to work according to their interests.  

  • Extraterrestrials are socialists: Since, according to Posadas, technological changes come with societal changes, the aliens, whose society is more advanced than our own, are socialists. Torn between authoritative communism and capitalism, humans are primitive creatures they didn’t bother contacting. But we must reach out to them, so we can create intergalactic socialism together.  

  • Talk to dolphins, harmonize with nature: In a higher developmental stage, people and animals such as dolphins will be able to communicate, harmonizing relationships between us and our habitat. With the help of extraterrestrials, we’ll also be able to seize energy from all matter, in a peaceful and sustainable way.  

Allow me to finish this string of fantastic claims with my own: This Posadas thing isn’t merely fucking hilarious. There’s something more here, there’s political potential. 

Your Children will Be Posadists

In Argentina, there’s such a thing as mainstream Trotskyism (represented by the Frente de Izquierda y Los Trabajadores). It’s politically relevant, but it’s suffering from ever-decreasing support. We’re going through troubled times, poverty is on the rise, financial instability is a threat at a macro and at a micro-level — and Trotskyism is failing to gather support and communicate at a large scale. Its message is often perceived as distant from the realities of everyday people, outdated, stale, it can even seem decontextualized, at times. 

Of course, there’s more to winning an election than exotic communication strategies. Of course, I’m not pretending that, if local Trotskyism did what I’ll propose, they’d win an election. This tendency was never a majority, but the votes it gained in the 2015 presidential election (climbing up to almost 4%) were lost — it came back to its customary miserable 2.86%. And the media is framing this election as if we could only choose between President Mauricio Macri and candidate Alberto Fernández, both of which are ideological Rorschach tests. To break that dichotomy, to kindle the interest that we lost, to attract attention, to become impossible to ignore, we have to do something bold, something new, something insane, something no one has seen coming.  

At least in Argentina, Posadism deserves a place in leftist mainstream politics. Not in policy, perhaps. But in communications, of course. The left should publish pretentious essays about the role of the extraterrestrials in the working class’ struggle for justice and freedom. Their candidates should appear with dolphin t-shirts, dolphin enamel pins, dolphin onesies. They should talk in such terms that no one is sure if we’re being serious. They should be encouraging people to joke, until the joke, like the fascists say, “really lands”. 

During the primaries, a trap song rhyming random words with the surname of the Trotskyist presidential candidate, Nicolás del Caño ”went viral”. The party tried to capitalize on that as much as it could, candidates tweeted about it, they played the song’s subtitled video at universities and party gatherings— That’s the route local Trotskyism should continue to walk.

Time and time again, election after election, this strategy has served awful people to gain positions of power. The greatest tools of our time are post-irony and self-parody. Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose but 2.86% of the vote.

[Now a far better article on Nada Respetable]