144 The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto
Confession to Comrade Murray Bookchin, Chairman and General Secretary of the Social Ecologist Party and Founder of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT)
I have reviewed the charges leveled against me by Comrade Bookchin in his lengthy account of my heinous crimes, treasonous activities, and egregious errors in thought and action. I recognize the overwhelming weight of evidence he presents of my guilt. Consequently, I have no alternative but to make a full confession of all my crimes against Comrade Bookchin, the Social Ecologist Party, and the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT).
I confess that I have consorted with a counter-revolutionary conspiracy of (as Comrade Bookchin so clearly identifies them) "Bioregionalists, Lifestyle Anarchists, and Deep Ecologists" (BLADE) to undermine and discredit Comrade Murray Bookchin himself, to destroy the Social Ecologist Party, and to render incoherent the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT). I have been under the complete control of and in the pay of agents of BLADE for the past eight years.
I confess that I am guilty, as Comrade Bookchin points out with admirable specificity, of advocating not only such pernicious and counter-revolutionary doctrines as bioregionalism, lifestyle anarchism, and deep ecologism, but also liberalism, social democratism, right-wing libertarianism, surre(gion)alism, mysticism, Daoism, spiritualism, anti-Prometheanism, reformism, quietism, primitivism, anti-civilizationalism, naive nature romanticism, neo-paganism, irrationalism, Heideggerianism, Castoriadianism, elitism, personalism, nihilism, anti-rationalism, post-modernism, Derridianism and eclecticism.
I confess that I have, as Comrade Bookchin so poetically puts it, "been in the process of shedding" Social Ecology for years. Indeed, I have shamefully treated Comrade Bookchin's profound and exalted doctrine as if it were some sort of contemptible reptilian skin. I have also, in the apt phrasing of Comrade Bookchin "assiduously flogged libertarian municipalism," shamelessly treating it as if it were some kind of dead horse, instead of objective scientific truth, as the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT) have shown it to be. For all these eight years I have secretly been a Deep Social Ecologist, a monstrous hybrid between a clear-thinking, humanistic social ecologist and a mystical, misanthropic eco-brutalist. I have gone to great lengths to hide this disgraceful political miscegenation against which Comrade Bookchin has so vigilantly warned us in his attempts to save us from ideological impurity. Moreover, I have attempted to deceive the gullible by never in a single instance calling myself a "Deep Social Ecologist," which, as only experts such Comrade Bookchin and his worthy predecessors in the noble art of high-minded inquisition could divine, proves that I am precisely that kind of miscreant.
I confess that I distributed a malicious tract called "the Politics of Social Ecology" which included, as Comrade Bookchin pointedly typifies it, the "scandalous caveat": "Note: This is a draft. Please do not copy or quote it. Comments are welcome." I employed this ruse precisely as Comrade Bookchin so shrewdly grasps, "to immunize myself from criticism by abjuring people from explicitly quoting from [my] essay." I confess that this tactic was "grossly dishonorable," and that it, as Comrade Bookchin so lucidly phrases it, "exhibits an immorality that beggars some of the worst hypocrisies [Comrade Bookchin] has encountered in decades of political life." As Comrade Bookchin instantaneously grasped, I did not in fact want any comments on my so-called "rough draft". Actually it was not a draft at all, but rather the sole version I ever planned to produce. In reality, I hoped to distribute hundreds of thousands of what Comrade Bookchin has aptly called this "single-spaced propaganda tract," thereby slandering Comrade Bookchin while preventing his legitimate response to my calumnies. The costs of this underhanded plot were to be underwritten by a consortium of Deep Ecologists, lifestyle anarchists, and the Prince of Wales (figures whose interconnection few other than the astute Comrade Bookchin have been able to fathom— for this, see his brilliant disquisition entitled "Theses on Social Ecology in a Period of Reaction"). I intended to continue to distribute this pernicious document as widely as possible in order to discredit Comrade Bookchin and the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT) and thereby to retard the march of revolution and save capitalism from destruction. My ridiculous claim that "comments" were to be used to "revise" my slanderous pamphlet for inclusion in a book called Social Ecology After Bookchin, edited by a Prof. "Andrew Light," is a complete lie. No such book is planned. "Andrew Light" does not exist. I made up the name in a beer-induced stupor.
I confess that I deviously distributed four copies of my libelous document at the International Social Ecology Gathering, with the express intention of assuring that copies would eventually appear everywhere in the world. I cunningly contrived to distribute these copies only to carefully chosen pawns who would accept every criticism I made of Comrade Bookchin and the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT) and who spend inordinate amounts of time at Kinko's. Happily for the future course of world history, my insidious plot was foiled when a copy fortuituously (and entirely against my will) fell into the hands of a comrade loyal to Comrade Bookchin and the true Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT).
I confess to making "pedestrian criticisms" of Comrade Bookchin and with being "a middle-class philistine," despite my many trips to Comrade Bookchin's Institute for Social Ecology in idyllic, rural Vermont, where he so patiently but futilely instructed me in the fine art of class consciousness. I wholeheartedly endorse his wise failure to reply directly to my feeble criticisms, which are so idiotically "pedestrian" that it would be demeaning to a true philosopher like
Comrade Bookchin to lower himself to the point of an actual response.
I confess that my views are, as Comrade Bookchin so penetratingly reveals, "essentially mystical," a fact that I craftily attempt to disguise by creating the illusion of using careful philosophical analysis and precise logical reasoning, processes in which I actually have no faith at all and see only as tools of mysticism and irrationality. My true goal has always been to merge "second nature" into "first nature," and to reduce humanity to a vegetative state, thereby rendering it a literal "slime of history." Furthermore, as Comrade Bookchin has charged, I often expressed my ideas with qualifiers "such as 'if,' 'maybe,' 'possibly,' and 'probably,'" and it is clear that I do not have "any concrete views of my own." (Or at least I think that maybe I don't.)
I confess that I tried to portray Comrade Bookchin as "a fickle thinker," implying that he held ideas at one time that are in actual conflict with his present ideas. In fact, I have always known that he has never changed his views on any topic, and that the truths so brilliantly expressed in his earlier works have had a latent potentiality, a directionality and a nisus that leads precisely to the more developed verities of his more mature writings.
I confess that I have conspired with liberals "to demand of all of us a demeanor that is passive-receptive, quietistic, and ultimately submissive." In pursuit of this end I have become entirely, as Comrade Bookchin puts it with such precision, "campus-bound." I have chosen to restrict all my activities to campuses because they have been bastions of absolute quietism ever since Comrade Bookchin retired from his two Professorships and finished lecturing (as he has so often pointed out with justifiable pride) "at every major university in the United States." While I have thus cloistered myself within campus walls, agents of BLADE and other counter-revolutionary elements have been authorized to spread false rumors of my participation in political demonstrations, movements and meetings in order to mislead the public.
I confess that even as I worked secretly for quietism, I publicly and ostentatiously supported movements for local control and municipalization of utilities, and duplicitously propagandized for democratization of local government. I also instructed agents of
BLADE to spread false stories that I have for years been heavily involved in a fight against one of the world's largest and most exploitative mining companies, while in reality I continued to help prop up capitalism against the ferocious onslaughts of Comrade Bookchin. At the same time, I made false and malicious statements about Comrade Bookchin himself, such as that the most concrete action he ever took against corporate capitalism was to complain about Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.
I confess that as part of my quietistic campaign I have secretly initiated a movement to—as Comrade Bookchin has brilliantly described my crime—"dispense with great, fervent revolutionary hymns like 'The Marseillaise,' 'The Internationale,' and 'A Las Barricadas' and replace them with the insipid saccharine fare of Mary Poppins." Indeed, I have pressured my own organization, the Delta Greens, to begin and end every meeting by singing tunes from that pernicious musical, in order to undermine whatever truly revolutionary impulses may still have survived, despite my quietistic influence. Furthermore, I have viciously spread the disinformation that "The Marseillaise," "The Internationale," and "A Las Barricadas" are, respectively, a grossly heavy French sauce, a night club of questionable reputation, and a school of ravenous fish.
I confess that I have defended attempts by the renegade Howard Hawkins to "warp" the Left Green program, make "nonsense demands," and "denature" the pathetically little that remains of the American Left as a result of not following Comrade Bookchin's wise leadership. Furthermore, I have also remained a member of the miserable little counter-revolutionary sect called the "Left Green Network," in order to promote liberal reformism and thereby aid the renegade Hawkins in his efforts to "legitimate capitalism," as Comrade Bookchin so accurately labels the crime of that wretched traitor to the cause of Social Ecology.
I confess that in the world-historical battle (la luttefinale) between Social Ecology and Deep Ecology, the most important political and intellectual event of modern times, I "stood 'above' the fray" as Comrade Bookchin has so aptly put it. Not only did I exhibit complete "intellectual servility" in not justly condemning the enemies of the Revolution and indeed, of the entire human race, but I also lied to certain close co-conspirators, claiming that my true motive was to avoid joining Comrade Bookchin "at the intellectual gutter level," and even slanderously questioning whether this scholar of Hellenic civilization had, much like his beloved Parthenon, lost some of his Marbles.
I confess that as Comrade Bookchin, showing his acute memory for details, reminds me, I "perennially complained to [him] in the past of how poorly [my] own 'affinity group' meetings in New Orleans were attended." This complaining, with which I burdened Comrade Bookchin unfairly, was especially malicious and deceptive, since I was never a member of any affinity group for all the time that I was annoyingly bitching about it to the long-suffering Comrade Bookchin.
I confess that I have supported the institution of "programs directed at navel-gazing, psychotherapy and 'surregionalist manifestos'" that were to be located in "a vast network of ashrams." I made efforts to procure land (with promises of heavy subsidies from Deep Ecologists) on which such ashrams were to be built, and in which all these unsavory activities were simultaneously to take place.
I confess that I have invoked the great dialectician Hegel himself to viciously cast aspersions on Comrade Bookchin's correct interpretation of Social Ecology and the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT), and that I have spread such lies as the "passive-receptive" idea that a dialectical thinker should look for the truth in various contending viewpoints, instead of taking that properly "robust" and "combative" approach for which Comrade Bookchin is so perfect a model.
I confess that the enormity of my crimes is immeasurable, especially at this crucial turning point in History as Social Ecology moves into a new period of revolutionary struggle and the appeal of Comrade Bookchin's Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT) spreads among the masses like some previously unknown strain of influenza.
No! I will not at this decisive historical moment leave our revered leader Comrade Bookchin and the faithful Explicator of his ideas Comrade Biehl without any remaining disciples among the intellectual workers!
I denounce bioregionalism! I admit that there are no bioregions, only municipalities and the stuff in between! I denounce Deep Ecology as a misanthropic, crypto-fascist, mystical form of eco-brutalism! I promise never to meditate, and to stay away from California and any places with large trees! I denounce lifestyle anarchism as a petty-bourgeois deviation! I promise to always eat meat, carry a gun and remain in air-conditioned places like Comrade Bookchin himself! Finally, I denounce Surre(gion)alism, that insidious form of nihilistic "wordplay" with absolutely no meaning that I myself criminally invented to sap the revolutionary energies of the youth of this country! I renounce all metaphors, strange and bizarre images, impertinent witticisms, words with parentheses inside them, and, especially, unsavory attempts at "satire" (which is no more than a degraded form of Comrade Bookchin's own noble art of sarcasm), and I swear that I will remain on that sound and sober literal plane of meaning on which the final revolutionary struggle will ultimately be fought and won!
In sum, I confess all the crimes, conscious or unconscious, real or imaginary, that I have ever committed against Comrade Bookchin, the Social Ecologist Party, and the Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT). I denounce every counterrevolutionary deviation into which I have strayed and every deformation of Comrade Bookchin's vision that I have perpetrated. I denounce all the agents of BLADE, in whose employ I have despicably served for eight years.
I know that I deserve to spend the rest of my life hauling maple syrup in some social ecological re-education camp in the desolate Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. But I humbly beg Comrade Bookchin to pardon my misdeeds and to accept me back into the ranks of the Radical Intelligentsia, the ranks of those who are truly "rounded" and "robust."
I swear that I will in the future be "ultimately submissive" to no one and nothing other than Comrade Bookchin and his immortal and immutable Principles of Dialectical Naturalism (DIANAT), which will henceforth be the "objective basis" for my life!
I have learned my lesson:
I LOVE BIG MURRAY!