A Note on the Inner and Outer Left

the problem with leftism being similar to religious belief isn’t that defiant conviction is a bad thing, quite the contrary really, but that it tends to become a source of comfort and secure identification in the present rather than a drive towards its practical overcoming [1]

since this is a bit abstract, there are people who will get upset if you treat any obstacle to leftist goals, be it reactionary ideologies or the historical unfolding of capitalism, as anything other than a problem that is already sufficiently addressed by the left [2]

Two tweets from @adornofthagn, posted the other day, that I am thinking about a lot. Posted here because I will inevitably want to refer back to them again in future.

I have been writing about an inner and outer left in various places recently, following on from a recent reading of the “Outsideness” post on Xenosystems in which Nick Land comments on an understanding of an Inner- and Outer-NRx.

The left has no understanding of itself alone these lines but it could do with one — @adornofthagn nails it on why.


  1. I think, rather, that the left does have an understanding of itself along those lines (the ultra-left and left communist critiques of the left come to mind), but those that make the distinction are themselves not exempt from it. It’s a problem with how leftism functions: the drive behind it is, as much as they talk about the “self-emancipation of the proletariat”, to mould society in their own image. And that’s simply not compatible with an emancipatory project.

    This is why Patchwork is so interesting to me, ‘cos it eschews that. But to draw the line there would be a bit self-important, and if anything contribute to it, as we then see ourselves as bearing the torch.

    1. I had thought about this. The more this point is discussed, the more it becomes a bit “holier than thou”. It feels like an insight right now. It needs to shift into an outsight.

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