Intergalactic Apocalyptic Communism

America has long been known as a place enticing to bizarre and outré ideas. Cults, New Age philosophies, gurus, mind-positivity moves –that the United States has always welcomed the weird, especially California, which Archie Bunker known “the land of fruits and nuts.”
As it happens, the individual capability for the bizarre isn’t restricted to the West. Take the case of Posadism, the subject of a brand new book, I Need To Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism by A.M. Gittlitz. Described as”apocalyptic communism,” Posadism relies upon the eyesight of an undercover Trotskyist known as J. Posadas (1912-1981). Posadas, whose actual name was Homero Rómulo Cristalli Frasnelli, was one of the 20th century’s most dominant Trotskyists in the West. Posadas was a working militant from Buenos Aires who grew up poor, combined a group of Trotskyist intellectuals in the late 1930s, headed the Latin American bureau of the Fourth International, also came to feel that extraterrestrials and atomic war could play a crucial role in a global anticapitalist revolution.
Those might seem like wildly different worlds, but all of them have some thing in common: the need for a utopian answer, whether from the state or from the heavens, into the problems of inequality and human suffering. A final, totalizing answer to life’s difficulties has been suggested by not only Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro and Bernie Sanders, but L. Ron Hubbard. It is mostly forgotten in 1908 Marxist revolutionary Alexander Bogdanov wrote Red Star, ” a story of how Martians have a young Russian student back to Mars, a planet that is a communist utopia in which women have escaped”domestic slavery.” Bogdanov’s style of science fiction was banned following the Soviet Union was launched in 1922.
Back in 1919, Homero Cristalli had been seven years of age and residing in his working area of Boedo when he seen a revolution by his door. A workers strike at the local Vasena metalworks plant turned bloody, with six people murdered, and the funeral procession turning into a mass demonstration and riot. The nation’s 1919 employees and intellectuals had been inspired by the recent revolution in Russia. It was intoxicating to Cristallil, the son of two lousy cobblers who had immigrated from Italy. His parents, both Emanuel and Elvira Cristalli, were members of Argentine Regional Workers’ Federation, an anarchist group.
After a short period for a soccer player, Cristalli combined a socialist party youth group. He had been a passionate”newsie,” distributing papers while working odd jobs. In the 1930s he came to the eye of the International Communist League, called”a small circle of bohemian intellectuals that include members of the Argentine Communist Party, avant-garde artists, and existential philosophers.” Posadas, that would eventually develop to a cult leader, demanded his followers live on light sleep and always produce party texts and papers. In Cristalli the party saw a real proletarian employee who had grown up poor and understood the class struggle. To one comrade, Cristalli was both street smart and dumb:”He didn’t know much about economics, politics or universe parties, and his shortcomings in the scientific field made him believe anything.” Since Gittlitz notes, Posadas’s gift was enthusiasm and charisma, not analytic thinking:”His perceived role as figurehead and pioneer arose from his long experience, instinct utilized to arbitrate disagreements, working validity and also the charisma required to acquire new militants into the business.” He had been described by one youthful tribe as”quite impressive…the prophet Jonah as painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.”
Posadas’s inclination to become more emotive than logical produced him gullible not only concerning politics, but with regard to the plausibility of occult science fiction notions. At the winter of 1947, his colleague Dante Minazzoli came into some socialist coffeehouse meeting having the article about flying saucers that had been spotted in America:”Minazzoli had been enamored with science fiction, cosmic philosophy, and the Bolshevik futurists who thought that humans were only one race tune many within our galaxy.”
Gittlitz contrasts Posadism into a combination of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology”audits” and cult leader Jim Jones’s”mix of empathetic salesmanship and gospel,” having a dash of Marshall Applewhite’s”soul-piercing confidence.” While the other Trotskyites tried to prohibit talk of UFOs from their conventions, Posadas discovered in aliens that the true great leap ahead that could bring paradise on earth. They contended that the initial Marxists, especially Alexander Bogdanov, author of Red Star and co-founder of their Bolsheviks, had”demonstrated reality to become a part of intersubjective human comprehension.” Posodists considered themselves the true heirs of the First International. It had been aliens and atomic warfare which the old world could be wiped out and the utopian future could be established. The name of one Posada essay at the time helps combine this Special worldview:”Flying Saucers, The Process of Matter and Energy, Science, both the Revolutionary and Working Class Struggle and the Socialist Future of Mankind.”
Back in 1961 Posadas was denied that the direction of the Fourth International, so in 1962 he formed his own set. At a 1967 assembly, Posadas delivered a speech in which he spoke UFO sightings and extraterrestrial existence, arguing that aliens might be capable of exploiting”all the energy existing in matter.” At his group’s 1962 founding, Posadas claimed:”atomic war is inevitable. It’ll ruin half of humankind. It is going to ruin immense human riches. It is extremely possible. The atomic warfare is going to present a true inferno on Earth. But it will not impede communism.” By today Castro was denouncing Posadas, although, as Gittlitz notes, mainstream Marxist dogma was no more stable than belief in UFOs:”Until then, Posadism was similar to other Trotskyist groups they had little ammunition to politically attack Posadas, since his cult-of-personality, abuse of militants, rabid anti-imperialism, paranoia, intense zigzagging, and catastrophism were attributes more or less present in virtually any trend.”
From the late 1960s, Posadas had become a full-time cult leader. He started to demand excessive discipline from his followers, including austere living conditions and proscriptions on non-reproductive gender, homosexuality, and abortion. 1 leader described an experience with Posadas this manner:”Meetings with Posadas frequently became psychoanalytic sessions…somewhat as a confessor, a little priest, Militants always walked away feeling that Posadas had a unbelievable insight into their character.”
Marxist classes, whether in politics, journalism or academia, are inclined to splinter and attack each other for ideological impurity. Here is the tragic story of leftism, and it’s what occurred to Posadas as his cult became younger and more marginalized in the 1970s, also as the Posadas grew more intense in his beliefs. It is amazing the number of classes, sub-groups, and communities Gittlitz itemizes within I need to Believe, all battling about with greater and greater durability about smaller and smaller matters –not unlike the current societal justice warriors and academics. In the long run, Posadism turned into a splinter of a splinter. Since Trotskyite Michael Pablo noted in an article written after Posadas’s passing in 1981, the pioneer became insular and freak he saw permanent revolution”everywhere concurrently, to the purpose of committing it an interplanetary dimension.” When socialists can not make heaven on earth, the sole real place to go is your stars.