“A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism.”
Recently Ezekiel73 penned this epic piece exploring what I call MK-(C)Ultra, i.e. a pathological trauma-induced cultural reality. In other words, MK-(C)Ultra involves social engineering and culture creation on a mass scale based out of the “research” gained from psychological experiments, mostly on unwitting and unwilling individuals, that was core to MK-Ultra.
Ezekiel began that piece by observing that members of the contemporary political left have been very vocal in the recent public push against conspiracy thinking. To counteract that tendency Ezekiel shrewdly points out Naomi Klein’s insight that MK-Ultra was core to Disaster Capitalism (and vice versa), especially evident in the CIA-led assassination against democratically elected socialist Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1970s.
The coup installed fascist dictator Pinochet who deployed torture techniques drawn from MK-Ultra mind control experiments. In addition, Pinochet paired MK-Ultra psychological operations with a Milton Friedman-esque “free market” deregulation campaign. In that one scenario then we have conspiracy (MK-Ultra) and left-wing economic critique (shock doctrine/disaster capitalism), inexorably tied to each other. Ezekiel’s point is that any contemporary political left that wants to get serious about actual power in the world must take conspiracy thought into account. To drive that point further home, it’s worth recalling that Allende’s assassination was carried out by “former” Nazis on the ground in Chile—another key piece of the entangled relationship between postwar fascism and capitalism that I’ve explored elsewhere on the site (here and here) and is crucial to any understanding of the present moment.
That excellent essay about the left and its relationship to conspiracism, got me thinking about Karl Marx, capitalism, and potential intersections with core motifs on this site, like weird naturalism, trauma, and the realms of the high strange. There are potentially a number of very rich lines of inquiry from that line of thought. In this piece, I’m going to focus on a few key dimensions: Marx’s use of gothic horror imagery; the geist (ghost/spirit) of capitalism; as well as the otherwise self-contradictory secular Jewish apocalypticism that is Marx’s vision of the classless society.
The Vampire of Capitalism
Marx’s work is voluminous so no introductory essay is obviously going to mine the subtleties of his analysis (see David Harvey's lectures on Capital for instance for a much deeper dive into that subject). For our purposes here, I’ll propose that in very simplified form, what Marx did was study how capitalism actually functioned in concrete, historical, social terms. This more concrete, empirical, on the ground observation was a major achievement.
Prior to Marx the classical economists—Smith, Say, Ricardo, etc.—treated economics as based out of a model of Newtonian physics. In Newton’s 2nd Law every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s view of the universe is one of regularity, uniformity, and harmonious self-regulation. The classic economists took that model and saw global economics through that lens. For example, Adam Smith famously argued that the invisible hand of the market self-regulated capitalism. One of the key movements scientifically in the 20th and 21st centuries is the introduction of catastrophism, chaos, and non-linearity. While Marx didn’t have the language of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, bifurcation, strange attractors, and the like he was in many ways a forerunner of that line of thought and brought it to bear on the topic of economics.
In short, Marx’s brilliance was to look at how capital *actually* functioned in real concrete historical terms—rather than hypothetical models of what markets “should do” under non-existent idealized conditions as classical economists preferred.
Marx was not bound by the ideological filters of the classical economic worldview which tended to conflate markets with capitalism. Marx very shrewdly differentiated capital from markets and showed that markets have existed throughout multiple different economic regimes/paradigms over time (e.g. barter systems or feudal societies). Consequently what Marx was able to really articulate was the historical, concrete reality of capital (or Capital as he would have it). Capital-ism then, in Marx’s understanding, is the economic regime/paradigm whereby capital, not a market, is the meta-context of economic reality.
Marx definitively showed that what made capitalism a unique historical economic paradigm was the nature of capital itself and the way capital subsumed and subordinated everything else to itself, e.g. national polities, markets, technological innovation, international trade, and of course labor. (We could add ecology and energy to that list though Marx didn’t have an ecological outlook.)
Marx’s keen observation of capital allowed him to spot dynamics concerning capitalism that no one prior to him had noticed—again he had a clearer insight because he was not bound by the very distorting classical ideological filter of the laissez faire worldview. As a result, Marx noted a number of particularly odd—we might even say highly strange—aspects to capital. These oddities point in the direction of how a lens of weird naturalism and high strangeness intersects with Marx’s observations of capital.
In other words, what if capital itself is a highly strange phenomenon?
One of the first and strangest aspects Marx noticed about capital was that capital thrived by creating situations of instability. It was the exact opposite of the classical economics view which saw markets as self-regulating and ordered and balanced (Smith’s invisible hand). Marx realized instead that capital distorts the lifeworld in countless ways. Capital inherently seeks to create chaotic fluctuation—that is the realm in which capital feels most comfortable as weird as that may seem.
As Marx said, “all that is solid melts into air.”
Please note that melting into air is an alchemical reference, whether Marx realized that consciously or not I’m not entirely sure. Either way, it’s a very strange statement. How does something solid melt into air? Shouldn’t something melt into liquid?
Intriguingly, in an earlier piece I explored traditions of alchemy and how it very possibly had two “levels” or grades of practice. In the first level, what is more commonly thought of as alchemy, lead was said to convert to gold through an intermediary process of liquefaction (“negredo”) before reforming as gold. There is however, a possible second and deeper (and even more secretive) dimension to alchemy—namely taking gold and “burning” it until it became a white powder, an almost “airy” substance it might be said. Something solid melting into air, in other words.
Now for Marx capitalism was a necessary stage (an antithesis) to the older aristocratic and monarchical order, whose limitations would inevitably lead (according to Marx) to the rise of the ultimate synthesis of communism. More on the high weirdness of that line of thinking and its deeply unconscious religious roots in a second.
This Marxian analysis of history is “first level” alchemy—capitalism would melt down the aristocratic era–the negredo phase–out of which eventually the alchemical process would bring forth a new emergent, i.e. the classless society.
So our first clue as to the potential high strangeness of capital is that its nature is inherently alchemical.
A second major insight of Marx’s was that capital ultimately seeks to replicate itself. Capital, in other words, seeks to generate more capital. Perhaps more than any other factor, this is what gives capital its highly strange nature and led Marx to call capital, of all strange creatures, a vampire.
What Marx meant is that most economists treated capital as a resource (e.g. investment) in order to achieve some social good: e.g. capital might be the money necessary to get the raw goods, technology, and personnel say to build a factory which would then manufacture a product. In that more conventional outlook, capital would be a means, a necessary resource in order to achieve some end, like building a home, a factory, a hospital, etc. But what Marx understood—again through keen observation of how capital was actually behaving—is that what really characterized capital was the desire of capital to create more capital. Over time, Marx reasoned, that ever-desirous, perpetually unfulfilled nature of capital would begin to take over more and more realms of human activity, meaning, and relationships, until everything became more and more commodified and “capitalized” upon.
Rather than being the means to another end—some kind of productive social good—capital became the end itself. That which is supposed to be the means became the end and that inversion, for Marx, starts spinning everything out of control, like a planet tilting off its axis.
Think of the 2000s housing bubble, particularly the subprime mortgage industry. There was no rationality to such a market. It served no social good (quite the opposite). There was an incredible amount of “hot” capital flying around that needed to create a market in order to put that capital into so that more capital could be generated. Once that capital was generated through the inflated and irrational housing bubble, then capital “punctured” that bubble (housing market collapse). The capital then “fled” elsewhere to generate other propped up markets to generate more capital, leaving destitution and social deterioration in its wake.
It’s also worth pointing out here—again on the conspiracy meets left-wing economic critique front—Catherine Austin Fitt’s research showing that the housing bubble was key to the laundering of drug money from the deep state. Just like with the Chilean coup, disaster capitalism is always tied to the deep state, consequently both the the analysis of the deep state (conspiracy thought) and disaster capitalism (left-wing economic critique) are necessary.
Furthermore, as Marxist-influenced contemporary economist Thomas Piketty showed through his research, investments always outstrip the growth rate of labor-based income. Meaning over time investment/financialization instruments will always generate far more wealth than labor, income, or social investment. This disparity inexorably leads to financialized elites controlling the political economy and to consuming more and more of real productive value into its orbit.
Capital will therefore “feed” parasitically off the lifeblood of true, actual economic good.
Or as Marx put it: capital is a vampire.
But how could capital be a creature, even and especially an undead one? Marx was after all an ardent secularist, atheist, and philosophical materialist; Marx claimed he had turned Hegel upside down and therefore right side up by materializing Hegelian thought. So how does a materialist argue ultimately that capital—a nexus of actions and financial realities—has its own spirit? Recalling that for Hegel the term for spirit was “geist”, the same word for ghost in German.
Even with vampires, of all strange things, there is another tie-in to MK-Ultra and conspiracy thought. As part of a counterinsurgency campaign against communist rebels in The Philippines, the CIA infamously heard of a local lore concerning a vampire-esque creature (aswang) that sucked the blood of the living. From Artichoke, Bluebird, MK-Ultra and MK-Often on, the CIA was, as we know, deeply fascinated by the study of paranormal phenomena and how to weaponize them. In this instance, various US black ops forces would capture suspected enemies, torture them and then (literally) exsanguinate them and hang them from trees, spreading rumors of the reality of the aswang (vampire) in the local environment as a way too terrorize the local populace. It was psychological warfare meets high strange cryptids.
A similar US black operations project in Vietnam called Phoenix Program—itself following in the line of MK-Ultra—was the basis for the intelligence agency-led rise of the serial killer phenomenon of the 1970s (and later spree shooters). See Dave McGowan’s book Programmed to Kill for that assertion.
So here we have a high strange and very odd “synch” between capitalism as an undead reality (ghost & vampire), the CIA faking alleged vampire attacks, and the “vampiric” or ghostly haunting reality of the serial killer phenomenon.
All of which (very weirdly) points us back to the high strange nature of materialist philosophy itself. Ever since Democritus argued that reality consisted of a void, atoms in the void, and a motion moving those atoms through the void, materialist philosophy has been haunted by how those all came to be? Where did the atoms come from? From where did the motion inherent in the void emerge? And from where or what did the void itself as the container or medium of the atoms in motion arise?
The same applies to Marx’s historical materialism. Capital is basically equivalent in Marx’s analysis to Democritus’ atoms. The motion of the atoms in the void from Democritus becomes the strange moving energy of capital itself in Marx—capital wanting to generate more capital. Just as Democritus could not answer from whence came those elements of his philosophy—he treated them as just somehow “there”, with no further explanation really given. Same with Marx.
As I argued in this piece, secular science’s public materialist philosophical stance has been a centuries-long running psyop. Philosophical materialism is a limited hangout meant to prevent the realization that science is an inherently alchemical process (again note Marx’s alchemical language). The CIA and other intelligence agencies knew very well that consciousness and more to the point, psychic capacities are very real. They knew very well that no materialist philosophy could cover the actual reality of psi phenomenon. The psychological operation was to monopolize and keep those magical capacities only for an elite.
In terms of Marx much the same applies. Marx’s own evidence points in the clear direction that capital is an entity. Capital is an ontological being with its own inherent desires, worldview, and emotionality. That is what Marx’s analysis reveals and his “metaphoric” interpretations of capital unconsciously point towards. Yet Marx’s own analysis and his interestingly high literary quality and skill however belies his own philosophical commitments.
More to the point, Marx was completely accurate when he stated that the nature of that entity was that it was an undead creature, not truly alive yet somehow not dead either, a monstrous thing that exists yet ought not to, a parasitic or vampiric entity.
As highly strange as it is to see capitalism as a vampire, Marx’s own preferred and predicted version of economics (communism), turns out, in even more strangely, to be itself another undead entity. This time more a poltergeist.
The Spectre of Communism
If capitalism is a vampire (and it is) it’s intriguing then to re-consider Marx’s famous line about a spectre haunting Europe, that spectre being communism. Given that Marx (along with Engels) really invented historical dialectical materialism then it’s very strange to think of it as a ghost. Of course there were socialist predecessors to Marx (Fourier, Owen, George, etc), but it’s Marx (& Engels) who truly bring communism as such to theoretical life. Which again makes it odd to call communism a spectre as communism wasn’t yet really at that point “born” nor had it really lived.
How had communism already died prior to its own birth such that it could be a spectre/ghostly presence haunting the European mind?
One possible answer is that communism is a poltergeist. What distinguishes a poltergeist is its ability to effect material reality. In poltergeist phenomena, doors open and slam shut, books are knocked off shelves, lights and other electrical equipment are turned off and on, vases and lamps are thrown off of desks and tables, etc. There’s little to no gross material form per se the to the poltergeist and yet it can somehow cause material effects. It’s both material and immaterial simultaneously. In this regard, as previously mentioned on the site, poltergeist phenomena are very similar to UFOs as well as cryptids (e.g. Sasquatch), both of which “shimmer” in and out of gross, dense material form and yet somehow leave material traces and effects. As I’ve argued elsewhere on the site, all that points to their ultimate “home” being in the psychic state-realm.*
And when I say communism here I mean it really in the way Marx envisioned it—i.e. as an officially secular but actually super natural phenomenon. I don’t mean communism in the sense of the historical Stalinist Soviet Union, which as a nationalistic and imperialistic socialism was in many ways much more akin to fascism than Marx’s utopian communist dreams.
If we stay more to Marx’s utopian dreams of the classless state, this would explain the “haunting” or poltergeist-esque quality of communism. For it was, as Marx weirdly pointed out, stillborn. It’s never really existed, at least in any sense Marx theorized it would—as a natural historical dialectical material consequence of capitalism. Weirdly, Marx was after all, a libertarian.
As mentioned previously Marx’s vision (whether he realized it or not) is ultimately based in alchemy. Hegel saw finitude only reaching true real ontological status until it had reached infinite dimension—this incidentally is in philosophical-ese the same as the alchemist, who sought to create an eternal real, The Philosopher’s Stone or Elixir…note the synch between Hegel as Philosopher (in some ways the Ur-Western Philosopher) and alchemy’s quest for The Philosopher’s Stone.
Hegel's triadic structure of thesis-antithesis-synthesis (borrowed from Fichte) is a secularized version of medieval visionary Joachim of Fiore’s Three Ages: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Or more generally the three phases of the alchemical process or of shamanic initiation more generally (as covered elsewhere on the site here). In Fiore’s vision The Age of The Holy Spirit would be one in which pure transcendence (The Father) and immanence (The Son) would be united into a purer synthesis of an otherwise seemingly self-contradictory finite infinity—precisely what Hegel argued philosophically as the movement of Geist (aka “Spirit” or Holy Ghost).
For Marx this same tripartite historical movement exists though he names it differently, yet it holds the same underlying high strange mystical quality which runs directly counter to Marx’s officially stated materialist dogma. This very strangely (and uncomfortably for him) places Marx in the role of a prophet, a kind of soothsayer, predicting the inevitable future arising of the communism state. He claimed it was a “scientific” description but as we’ve seen science is itself an inherently alchemical and magical working. So Marx was, in a very strange way, correct in his assertion of a “scientific” basis to his predictions just in exactly the opposite way than he intended it to mean.
For Marx, as previously discussed, capitalism was the intermediate antithesis meant to alchemically melt down the previously existing aristocratic structure, creating the necessary ferment out of which would arise the classless state.
Here Marx’s Jewish lineage comes into play with his its historical roots in apocalyptic thought. As I’ve covered elsewhere on the site, especially in relationship to transhumanism, the apocalyptic mythological worldview can reappear unconsciously in seemingly secular formations. The classless future that Marx prophesied is one such version of that dynamic (transhumanism being another).
In ancient Judaism there was the tradition known as The Jubilee (see The Book of Leviticus). The Jubilee was to occur every 49 or 50 years—7x7 year cycle. Just as on the seventh day God rested and therefore there was to be sabbath, every seven years there was to be a partial release of slaves, debt, and bondage. Every 49 (or 50) years was a cycle of 7 x 7 and therefore was meant to be a major release of all slaves, the land was to lie fallow, beasts of burden (e.g. ox) were to be freed, and debts forgiven.
There’s a great deal of argument about whether such Jubilees ever actually took place (unlikely) but nevertheless the symbolism remained and was very powerful. Over time in the apocalyptic strain of Judaism there was the belief in a future Cosmic and Final Jubilee at the end times. This teaching was central to the ministry and belief of Jesus of Nazareth. (For more on that see this piece exploring contemporary apocalyptic movements in Judaism and Christianity). According to the Gospel of Luke Jesus’ initial sermon at a synagogue announcing his public ministry precisely cites a passage in The Prophet Isaiah referencing the Cosmic Jubilee.
The key to this Cosmic or Final Jubilee was an end to all debt and the release of all slaves, i.e. indentured economic servants. Marx’s vision of the classless society and the supremacy of the proletariat is precisely an economically couched vision of The Jubilee. As I explored in this piece on Universal Basic Income and the possibilities of Free Energy, (via the research of Joseph Farrell), the rise of banking dominance occurs through the creation of a “negative alchemy” or an invented instrument of debt, rather than the potential alchemy of over-unity processes in energy & technology as well as in finance. Universal Basic Income ideas originally started out in progressive/left-wing traditions but are now advocated by ur-capitalists and tech giants (like Zuckerberg). This weirdness should again alert us to possible deep state infiltration and co-opting, pointing yet again to the need for conspiracy analysis on the political and economic left.
But the main point here is that this “negative alchemy” of debt makes debt an “undead” reality. Debt exists in a sense but also is unreal and yet in its illusory or phantom-like nature causes destruction. It is precisely in this way that Jesus argued sin and debt were equivalent ("forgive us our sins/debts, as we forgive those who have sinned against us/our debtors"). Debt is created through a form of black magic or negative alchemy. Debt is an undead reality, so therefore, as Marx argued, is capitalism itself (vampire). Debt is the cause of slavery for which the Jubilee seeks to be the remedy.
That insight solves our earlier conundrum of how the classless society could be a spectre haunting Europe since it had not yet been actually been born in time and space? This poltergeist of the classless state exists in a mythological future calling back to the present. As covered elsewhere on the site, when exploring the alternative physics of Jacques Vallee, in that such a model the future already exists and has ontological impact on the present (aka “retrocausation”). Vallee is, of course, one of the godfathers of Ufology so here come UFOs back into the picture because UFOs manifest such over-unity or “free energy” or debt-free possibilities in real time.
Marx’s connection, unconsciously, to his mythological apocalyptic Jewish roots, sheds new light on why Marxism became so quickly after his death, a “secular” religion—complete with “orthodox Marxism” vs. “heterodox Marxists”, the magisterium of The Communist International, anathemas and “witch burnings” against Marxist “heretics” (see Trotsky), the imperial dream of worldwide conquest (Warsaw Pact and Cold War), and the Inquisition-esque show trials of Stalin and Mao.
Speaking of Maoism, the personality cult of Mao and the ecstatic religious fury of the Cultural Revolution were no different than apocalyptic explosions in Europe around the year 1500, leading to the Reformation and the massive bloodletting of The Religious Wars of the next two hundred years.
It’s also perhaps worth noting that certain contemporary Marxist-inspired movements are heavily spiritualist in nature. A recent controversy erupted when some leaders within The Black Lives Matters movement a) reiterated that they identified as Marxists and b) that they participated in animistic traditions of contacting and communing with the dead. (I’ve covered thoughts on communing with the dead through a weird naturalist lens here.)
A number of prominent BLM leaders follow practices of the Ifa tradition, which has a strong divinatory aspect (there’s Marx and his prophecies again!). There’s a lot of confusion among many contemporary thinkers looking at the rise of explicitly spiritual dynamics at the core of supposedly secular left-wing movements. For example, there’s witches out there claiming they are hexing the patriarchy—though they should probably know that the CIA studied that precise phenomenon in MK-Often. (See also Ezekiel73's piece exploring the Woke Left as a New Religion–though maybe it's a new form of an old religion?)
Hopefully as this piece has shown the high strangeness and weird mystical undercurrent of Marxism is actually par for the course, so we should not be surprised when contemporary adherents profess much the same belief structure.
Where does all this leave us?
In an earlier piece I explored Hegel’s philosophy (Marx’s teacher) and its relationship to the UFO phenomenon. The argument there is that the reason the UFO phenomenon is so crucial is that it ties to everything else—alternative physics, energy, technology & finance; the deep state and the hidden hand of the parapolitical; the psychic realm and it’s evolutionary arising; the psyop of the present time, particularly the disclosure of the secret space program using the UFO as a cover for the militarization, colonization, and collateralization of space (as I explored in this piece).
In Hegelian (or rather Heg-alien) terms, this is the concrete universal: a specific arising which refracts and gives insight into the whole. In that piece I also covered the very strange connection between Hegel’s famous statement that the owl of Minerva (philosophy) flies at dusk and the intersection of owls sightings with UFO encounters.
In other words, the realms of the high strange are absolutely crucial to understanding every day concrete, historical reality. In other other words, to truly understand capitalism, as well as socialist inspired counter-movements, we have to understand the reality of vampires, poltergeists, religious archetypes, and alchemy among other high strange phenomenon. And of all very strange individuals to make that point most forcefully is none other than Karl Marx.