So in reference to the various debates I have seen, and with an article from Endnotes, somewhat aptly titled, Bring Out Your Dead, I have been coming up with a completely biased and ahistorical typology of “left-wing” sects. Like LARPers and humanities academics, the typologies in these sects stems from traits we can see in many whose relationship to the ideas they carry are rooted largely in something past. Now, I could (and sometimes do) try to good materialist analysis as to why the left-wing feels like a subculture akin to LARPing or neo-paganism, but with a hat-tip to Nietzsche, understanding them in terms of prior Christian sects can be pretty entertaining.
The Atavistic Sects--like many remnant protestants before them, the atavistic sects hold the line on a prior form of organization and refuse to change no matter how irrelevant this makes their programme. There hope is in light of various concessions to reality, that holding a torch for the past can resurrect the past left. Endnotes pegged this on the head for the left communist organizations which are ideologically closest to Endnotes themselves. Like the protestant remnants and Old Believers, however, the resurrection of the past programme is a pipe dream. My sympathies are with the atavistic line, in organizations like the International Communist Tendency, but whose regroupment of the class paradigm seem just as unlikely as any apocalyptic redemption.
The Atavistic Redeemer Sects – sort of like the proto-Christian remnants of old awaiting the Paraclete or Shiites with the Hidden Imam, this atavistic sect holds on to a lost personality–generally in the case of the Marxian left, Trotsky or Lenin, but sometimes even Anton Pannekoek or Karl Kautsky. We shall focus on the most common variety of this particular formation: The left Trotskyist sect. In this we see the commitment to a programme beyond even it’s time, like a commitment to a law formed in a religious context which has been swept away and whose commitments are now anachronistic. Exiled from the mainline of the “true church” since the Comintern, and feeling betrayed by the deviations and concessions by other dissent followers of there particular name of the father, and hope that he will be unveiled in the personage of the prime guru of the current incarnation of the sect, thus ending the occultation of Trotsky and also mending the pickaxe wound in praxis. The self-righteous of the atavistic redeemer sect generally leads most other leftists to view them as if they were members of CONINTELPRO or other infidels.
The “traditionalist Catholic” Sect— in Marxist speak we call them anti-revisionists. Like the Catholic church before them, they claim to have the true line and many different tendencies, but are built from the remains of prior movements which have had their time and have either fallen into disgrace or dissolved entirely. These anti-revisionists want a pure church, but are willing to ignore that they are just as cobbled together in ideological sausage as many of the tendencies and sects they oppose as deviant. Treating either the arrest of the Gang of Four or Khrushchev’s secret speech the way Mel Gibson treats Vatican 2. They also like to make apologetic arguments for the prior inquisitions, but refuse to see the irrelevance of all that to the current epoch.
The ” reforming Catholic” Sect–a syncretistic descent of the traditionalist Catholic sect, but realizing reforms need to be made as the old dinosaur starts to fade, they pursue a slate of “reforms” and adoptions from other tendencies and sects which actually hasten the incoherence and the decay of the position. They do this, however, not out of malicious intent or even heterodoxy, but in making concessions to reality. They still keep the name of the old father and aren’t as hostile to the priesthood as the other sects, they admit that Pope isn’t perfect and Stalin and/or Mao made serious mistakes. They may even see some of the other sects–with the exception of those dirty ultra-left atavists–are be reconcilable with the true church. They call for either a Vatican 2 of socialism, or claim that this or that synthesis or conference indicate a new way. (Lately, these claims have had a tendency to be centered around Nepal).
The High Church Protestant Sect–a sect which has split with the old left at some point (generally over some event in 1930 or during the height of the Comintern), but still defend it against the infidel and the outright heretics. They tend to keep a lot of the old dogmas and creeds–such as lip service to Democratic Centralism or talk of popular or united fronts–and defend the old but degenerated sects as spectres of the degenerated workers states. Stalinophilic Trotskyist sects are given to this particular formation.
The Low Church Protestant Sect–a sect that has split from a high church sect due to a disagreement in tactics or a concession to liberalism. The low church protestant sects are often just as syncretistic as the “reforming catholic” sect and given to using similar language to atavistic sect. These sects are common as they often appear to have mass appeal, but very thin analysis. In lack of analysis, they often rely rigidly on personalities within the “church.” Many types of international Trotskyism have gone this way.
The Gnostic Apocalyptic Sect–resembling the atavistic sect in analysis of the failure of the other sects and their deviation from the truth, but promise a yet unknown and thus veiled synthesis that announces the new programme or gives us the new name of the father. They critique but there is a vagueness or opacity that leads many to doubt the relationship to the prior religion at all. These are relatively rare in this day and age although prior incarnations have often led to either separate religions (see Sorel’s revision of Marxism).
The Apocalyptic Quietist Sect- This breed is rare in activist sectlets but common in academic groups and printing houses. Like quietist faections within Shi’ia Islam or Mennonites, engagement has burned these groups to silence or impossiblism. They await for the conditions to change and the occultation or apocalypse to happen. They often give into despair. The Frankfurt School during the period of twilight of Horkheimer and Adorno is a prime case for this form.
The Antinomian Sect – Generally not interested in other sect forms and yet is so doggedly so that they go around breaking things and attracting heat from infidels. Antinomian sects are common but tend to have a brief shelve life.
The Satanic Gnostic Sect – Generally a member of any of the apocalyptic or even atavistic sect that has taken an accelerationist position and gone over to the dark side, now promoting capitalism. Some French Maoist groups have done this, but generally this has been the domain of a particular type of Trotskyist. See the early Neo-conservatives or Sp!Ked for numerous examples of the infernal literature of this formation.