Revolutionary Martyrdom: A discussion between a Marxist and an Egoist
Marxist: ‘‘To devoute onself for the revolution and face the enemy heroically, to die with the gun, is the most communist thing you can do; a communist is selfless, and is found amongst the masses. This is how the masses rally, not through pointless death, but through the struggle of the masses, and their leader, the Communist Party, that is how power is established and that is how the masses support revolutionaries; they support those who serve them with upmost examples. This isn’t pointless sacrifices like the Russian Nihilist anarchists or the Focoists, this isn’t pointless ‘revolutionary suicide’ which is petit-bourgousie and anti-masses, utopian too — this is knowing that life itself can vanish in this war, this is a war — but advancing withstanding obstacles’’
Alexander Hope : ‘‘If you will die in a struggle, and there’s no escape, then you will die. There is nothing heroic about it. If the fascist points a gun at your face, to obtain answers and you know he’s going to kill you whether or not you give those answers, then you might as well spit in his face and make it hard for him. That’s all martyrdom is. If I can satisfy my own self through spiting the fascist, then my comrades by default will be happy and I can have the self-satisfaction of rebeillion. The Communists can consider my actions ‘‘Heroic’’ for all I care, but at that point I wouldn’t care, because I would be dead and even while amongst the living, I wouldn’t chase this ideal of the ‘‘Heroic Death’’ — I will avoid death at all cost, You can all be ‘‘Heroes’’ if you like, but I have an interest in breathing.
If I as an ‘‘egoist’’ join the Marxists vanguard, I would only do so, because my ‘‘material interests’’ coincide with that of the party, but if those interests are met, I will break off from the party, because I would no longer have a need for it. I am selfish, yet in my selfishness, I can display a sensibility or an apparent selflessness to aid the proletarian cause for communist revolution, because it may aid my own interests.
The difference between you and I, is that you dillute your own individuality and dissolve yourself into the essence of the masses, you sacrifice yourself to the will and interests of the masses, you dedicate your life for the struggle of the masses, but you never look upon your own interests. You dedicate yourself to the ‘‘idea’’ of the masses, and sacrifice yourself to it, meanwhile I also dedicate myself to the masses, but not to the ‘‘idea’’, since I only dedicate myself to ‘‘this or that’’ based on my own interests and gains. To die at the hands of the enemy is the weakest thing you can possibly do — if this is the representation of what it means to be a ‘‘communist’’ — then I refuse to make part of such a weak organization. How can an organization that wants to take political power violently possibly claim that the most communist thing a person can do, is to die at the hands of his enemy? If this is so, then the communists are weak; the best they can do is ‘‘die’’. If their best is just to drop ‘‘ dead’’ — then they’re not even worth sacrificing oneself for! Foolish Christs!
Martyrdom is inherently christian and those who adhere to it, are missionaries of political christanity.