It is easy to encounter rants among Satanists about “doing something about it,” or somehow carrying out the Satanic rebellion against Jehovah’s faith into the realm of material, social, political reality.  Satanists can casually be heard talking about things like “rebelling against the tyrannical Abrahamic God,” opposition to the “Judeo-Christian state,” “being oppressed by Christianity,” or “having to deal with those Judeo-Christian/Muslim tyrants” in reference to anyone irritating them or even anyone at all who adheres to those religions.  The Order of the Nine Angles, a group with whom I have a love-hate relationship, considers itself part of a sinister process of unleashing world transformation, though a fascistic one.
            Despite the immaturity of the above analyses of what we are fighting against, I am very happy to see many Satanists understand their religion as part of a sometimes-open, sometimes-subtle war against the powers that be.  This only reflects Satan’s rebellion against Jehovah, which could not stay buried in Satan’s chest but had to be outwardly expressed in open revolt against the tyrant god’s order.  It follows William Blake’s advice of overcoming the part of ourselves which “wishes but acts not!”  This is one of the most important facets of the religion and deserves much more attention and clear, careful thinking than it has yet received.
            For those who want to “do something about it,” this essay is dedicated to clarifying exactly what the “it” even is which we need to do something about, and what exactly that “something” is that we should “do.”  Keep in mind that I am writing from the USA.  Fighting the power structure in China, for example, is a different game.


Lives of obedience

            As Antonio Gramsci explained, elements of our culture which are not inevitable or necessary nonetheless become invisible to us.  We consider them “normal” and often they do not even register on our radar as something that should be changed or is even changeable.
            Sadly even the true nature of the bulk of our lives can become invisible to us.  While our early education indoctrinates us to believes that we live as free individuals in a democracy, much of our everyday lives involve very little in the way of freedom and virtually never any democracy.  That same education system, while teaching us about freedom and democracy, also conditions us for living under localized dictatorship.  In early education, besides math and science, we also learn to spend eight hours a day following orders – that is the most important lesson.  This goes hand in hand with the fact that dictatorship and not democracy later define the places that we work for the rest of our lives.
            Having an occasional vote between politicians is “normal,” but all the workers in a workplace voting on company-level decisions?  All the citizens in a society holding sovereignty over the wealth of that society?  These are unthinkable.  This contradiction between political democracy and economic slavery has unfortunately become socially invisible, but during certain historical time periods, becomes clear to large amounts of people.
            But why are our working lives undemocratic?  What is it that the system has to protect from the threat of our democratic will?  After all, management is often actually very happy to consult us for information and suggestions about increasing productivity.  Perhaps they sense that if we were at the controls, our workaday misery would drive us to considerably alter the existing arrangement.  Marx wrote,

The fact that labour is external to the worker, does not belong to his essential being; that he therefore does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. Hence the worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working he does not feel himself. He is at home when he is not working, and not at home when he is working. His labour is therefore not voluntary but forced, it is forced labour. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but a mere means to satisfy need outside itself.  (Jake’s clarification: we don’t work for the fun of it, which could be possible in workers’ self-management, but instead work only to get paid to buy things we need.)   Its alien character is clearly demonstrated by the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists it is shunned like the plague.

Similar sentiments could be found echoed by popular movies like Office Space and Fight Club over a hundred years after Marx wrote the above.
            However, while some managers may become sadists in order to make their role more bearable, it is not what they are paid for.  Our misery has to be useful to someone.  This precisely is the key – the real conflict here is a conflict not simply over management, but over ownership of what is produced, and ownership of the facilities and tools for producing it.  When we are paid a wage or salary, the value we receive is roughly equivalent to the collective value of the goods and services required to keep someone alive and vaguely comfortable in that time and place (sometimes above or below).  This is sometimes combined with other values we bring to the table like skills or education.  Basically we rent ourselves out at the cost of our maintenance: our self-production and self-reproduction.  However, at work we often perform more work than is actually required to simply maintain ourselves.  We create value above and beyond self-maintenance.  This should be obvious, really; if the bulk of humanity did not create more value than it absorbed, civilization would never have moved forward in terms of accumulated technology and infrastructure.
            However we do not own this surplus we create.  If our wages are roughly equivalent to the amount needed to meet the average working-class standard of living, but we create more value every week than the amount required to sustain ourselves, we are losing the extra labor to our employers.  This is the root of almost all profit.  This is why, in general, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (as they have been in the USA since 1973).  Given that this situation applies to virtually all workplaces, even public-sector jobs, it basically means all working people are exploited.  Many people today do not imagine themselves as workers, but if we define the working class as people who have no choice but to work for a living and do not supervise anyone, this applies to about 80% of the population.  Many workers create services instead of the obvious repetitive flow of literal products usually associated with laborers, but these are still marketable and still exploitable.  Postal workers and truckers do not make any obvious product, but perform a task vital to all other market goods.  The cost of shipping, much of which is labor, is directly or separately factored into all final prices.  Likewise, office workers provide coordination without which other activities could not effectively happen, such as accounting.  Others who are on their way in or out of the workforce, such as retirees, students, or children, could also be described as members of the working class.
            If the economy was managed and owned by the people who do the work to make it run – which is most of us – then this difference between value created and wages paid would cease to exist.  Perhaps we might apportion part of it for public purposes, as we currently do with taxes, but we would never tolerate the massive hole ripped out of our personal and collective incomes which private ownership of production imposes.  In fact, given that the top 1% of US citizens own variably from a third to 40% of the national wealth at any given time, workers’ ownership of production would probably free up so much funding wasted on obscene wealth as to reduce the tax rate on the workforce considerably.  Contrary to what might be expected, leftists can thus argue for lower taxes on workers.
            We endure a multi-layered frustration.  We do not truly control our actions at work, and yet must consciously exert ourselves over work we have often have little motivation to care about beyond sheer necessity.  To paraphrase Marx, the work being done is a matter of indifference to the worker.  For myself personally, there are few worse fates than being forced to use my brain on a brainless task.  A similar problem haunts our long-term lives: our wage levels have been roughly stagnating since the 1970s, and for many people retirement hopes have vanished.  It would be bad enough to effortlessly not move forward, but what’s worse, we have constantly had to work in order simply not to fall back.  Some say this is the natural ways of things and cannot be avoided.  But then why are we still working forty or more hours a week, more than a century and half after the Industrial Revolution and the continual technological progress which has followed?  Why does 50% of the American population own less than 1% of the national wealth?  Why do 40% of Americans work shitty service jobs which could be automated and free us to work at more intellectual, engaging problems?  The rich have the privilege of allowing their money to begin working for them.  When will the same occur for our labor?
            While we may make individualist complaints about state interference in our personal choices, the fact is, in Western democracies, we are relatively free to do what we like during our free time.  Our main issue is the tribute we must daily pay to the parasites of capital.  Our lives are incomplete as long as we have no say at work, our free time is sucked up in unnecessary labor, and we are never given full compensation for this work.  The central form of oppression in the USA is wage-labor, and the motivation behind it is private profit.

The state

             Such a fundamental anti-democratic tendency could not exist in our society without the problem being reflected in the government.  In various ways, the state is the property of the ruling class.
            The ruling class is not a conspiracy but an economic category.  In contrast to the working class, who has little or no investments and must by definition have no choice but to hire itself out for a living, the ruling class has enough capital to able to live off of investments.  The ruling class is anyone who owns a significant portion of the means of production.  The ruling class consists of “capitalists,” not in the sense of anyone who believes in capitalism, but in the investor sense – people who have capital.  Capital is any property that can be combined with hired labor in order to produce a saleable product or service.  This is the core and substance of the profit system.  Capital is sometimes spent for the purposes of speculation, or trading with the hopes of gaining simply from market fluctuations (buying low and selling high).  However this does not explain the increasing accumulation of value and wealth inequality which stems from the exploitative process of investment in production.
            If a government is a society’s central decision-maker, then who is making decisions within the state?  Just as private production creates an anti-democratic rift between workers and their potential self-management, so do we also live under a state which represents only a tiny part of our population, rather than its entirety.  US President Woodrow Wilson described it this way:

The men really consulted are the men who have the big stake--the big bankers, the big manufacturers and the big masters of commerce...The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States.

Remember – this is the president who has been credited with spearheading the “Progressive Era,” which only goes to show the limitations of non-radical leftism.  Wilson’s words continue to apply to the modern setting.  The average Senatorial race now costs about a million dollars, indebting political representatives to the corporations which paid for their campaigns.  Even if we lived under laws of public campaign financing, politicians’ lack of direct roots in the working class via workplace representation allows for a competition of influence which people with more money inevitably win hands-down.  In 2010, American corporations hired about eleven thousand lobbyists to besiege representatives, paid about three billion dollars on lobbying, about $500 million of which went directly to campaign financing.  The government is thus routinely bought and paid for.  Do not believe for a second that the Democrats are a less corporate party: in 2008, Obama broke world records as the politician who received the most campaign financing from large donors.  Three quarters of his roughly $600 million campaign fund came from contributions of higher than $200, which is not the kind of money working class people throw at politics.  His top contributors included banking firms such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JPMorgan, among other industrial giants such as IBM and Microsoft.  Liberalism, as opposed to left-radicalism, is therefore simply the "good cop" in the system's good cop/bad cop routine.
            In general, candidate selection is overseen by an unelected clique of insiders, and when this fails, the framing of the election by a corporate media means that no “unsuitable” candidates rise to prominence.  All of this ensures that, should it ever come to blows, the government is clearly on the side of the owners.

The system convinces its victims and slaves to support it

             Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote the following:

The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events. In ordinary times the state, be it monarchical or democratic, elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business - kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists. But at those crucial moments when the old order becomes no longer endurable to the masses, they break over the barriers excluding them from the political arena, sweep aside their traditional representatives, and create by their own interference the initial groundwork for a new régime. ... The history of a revolution is for us first of all a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny.

Though it does sometimes happen, and this should not be forgotten, obviously the kind of thing mentioned above happens rarely.
            While there have been numerous cases in US history alone of violence between workers and the security staff of their employers – private mercenaries or “public” cops, scuffles with fists or armed battles with fatalities – force is actually not the system’s primary means of control.  If the state was constantly wrestling with rebellion, the situation could not last long.  Even the memory of rebellion tends to be underrepresented or distorted in mainstream accounts, because open conflict makes the whole situation much more obvious or at least grabs attention.
            Primarily, the ruling class prefers to persuade the working class that its best interests lie in supporting the existing system, and attempt to limit the demands and imaginings of the working class to whatever can neatly fit within the “proper channels.”  Since the proper channels are either literally privately owned or are run by government bureaucracies and politicians with close corporate relationships, the proper channels are ultimately ineffective for our genuine freedom.  They exist to spell-check existing conditions, not radically rewrite them.  All cultural institutions have their dissidents, renegades, and dissatisfied servants, but in general, they belong to the ruling class.
            Rutgers professor Deepa Kumar’s book on media distortion and labor conflict, Outside the Box, describes the dynamics of the corporate media.  When pushed by obvious social conflict or pressure, it will sometimes give a token nod to rebellious stories.  However, economic pressures have caused the corporate media to ditch the expense of investigate reporting, and instead it tends to simply repeat statements released by officials and institutional representatives.  Worse, most of the media is a for-profit business attempting to draw in advertisers and sponsors.  Often news corporations will pull a news item which is damaging or embarrassing to a firm which is advertising on their station.  Ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed by the corporate hack Bill Clinton, more and more of the media has been consolidated under fewer and fewer large, rich owners.
            Academia is often considered independent, but much of the grant money by which colleges and universities survive comes from private companies which use the institutions as research centers and personnel farms.  Often engineering departments are turned into extensions of the war industry.  State and corporate grants to social science departments twist the content being taught, causing department heads to exert bureaucratic pressure against radical curriculum, or even motivating rank-and-file level educators to censor themselves in hopes of grants.  Economics departments often receive particularly large donations, because the myths of capitalism are the cornerstone of capitalist ideological discipline.  Many colleges are managed by a board of trustees, which rather resembles a committee of shareholders.  They tend to consist of the “respectable community,” which apparently equates to corporate and government insiders.
            Obviously the ruling class influences the two central parties and Congress, but the influence even extends to populist politics.  Corporate-funded think tanks have become infamous for literally writing legislation, but in some cases even write our own thoughts.  For example, the word “death panels” during the healthcare debate was literally designed by a think tank financed by pharmaceutical corporations.  That hysterical soundbyte, as well as many others, was then channeled straight to media figures such as Rush Limbaugh and even to “independent” formations such as Tea Party groups.  Therefore an argument literally written by corporations came to saturate society, as if it had spontaneously come forth en masse from the voices of the people.
            However, the issue is more fundamental than institutions mentioning the facts or the news which are convenient for the system.  It is not simply individual facts, but even general ideas themselves, which are part of the class war.  We often think of various points of view as simply perspectives we come to through various experiences.  This is true, but ironically, ideas are one of the most important battle lines in the class war.  There are literally general ideas which by their very logic justify the system, and others which inherently suggest it should be torn down.  The ideological institutions of capitalism, such as the media, academia, and political groups, tend to promote the general ideas and assumptions which support the system.  Coincidentally or not, these ideas tend to be the opposite of the truth.  It is these very ideas, promoted directly or indirectly by the capitalist system, which prevent the “direct interference of the masses in historical events” which Trotsky mentioned.

Hardcore individualism

            I have dedicated an entire other essay to the problems of hardcore individualism.  However, it has other facets.  The problem with a strict individualist point of view is not only that it puts forth a relatively unrealistic method for self-advancement, but also that it serves to displace blame from the system onto its victims.
            The main thrust of individualism is mainly a “1=1” assertion that people’s lot in life is determined primarily by their own efforts, and not by circumstances, and that their standard of living accurately reflects either how hard they’ve tried to advance themselves, or their innate level of intelligence or worth.  This is a very natural illusion to slip into, because in capitalism, people we encounter seem to appear as freely transacting equals.  When we make a transaction with someone, it doesn’t matter if they are a multinational corporation or a mom and pop shop.  Similar rules seem to apply.  You trade with others in amounts of money equal to the value of whatever is being bought or sold.  Thus an arrangement of extreme inequality, even one defended or bolstered by arbitrary state power, can be given an illusory surface appearance of fairness.
            In his master work Capital, Marx wrote that “the sphere of simple circulation or of exchange of commodities” is “a very Eden of the innate rights of man.”  He was being scathingly sarcastic.  The irony is that, outside of work, people appear free.  The law is an equalizer – all lawful exchanges appear to be equal value for equal value (never mind the subtle extraction of surplus labor at work).  It is only in the workplace where people cease to appear as free-floating, perfectly independent individuals.  In the workplace, not just our oppression, but our reality as economically interconnected beings is revealed.  Anatole France once made a similar joke: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”
            This kind of individualism contains an ethos of simplicity.  It forms an interlocking, mutually-reinforcing constellation of ideology with other forms of conservatism.  It suggests that understanding social reality can never be a complicated task.  It is really more of a mental grunt than a proper ideology.  This type of thinking is seductive because it is the ultimate in internal consistency (1=1).  The problem is that this kind of thinking cannot acknowledge anything outside of its own neat little equation.  It cannot acknowledge that capitalism did not begin with equal free participants in a market, but with ex-peasants kicked off their land and wealthy ex-aristocrats like the Washington family, who became the new financial ruling class.  The 1=1 equation refuses to acknowledge times when the equation has been utterly broken – when wealth has been taken by conquest, or groups have been forcefully excluded.  It also refuses to acknowledge that what we are dealing with is not a situation of 1=1 but of $1 vs $1 million.  It attempts to claim that negotiations between employers and employees are equal exchanges because both parties are freely coming together to exchange equal values, despite the fact that employers hold the keys to the means of production and workers are essentially modern sharecroppers on someone else’s field.  This insistence on nothing but the internal consistency of the existing society breeds a vision of the world which is predictably very primitive and very conservative.   “Marriage is between a man and a woman.”  “If you don’t like American then get out.”  “People get what they deserve.”  “The law is the law, and anyone who breaks it deserves to go to jail, no if’s and’s or but’s.”
            Looking at isolated facts alone, besides justifying a belief that poor people are irreconcilably stupid and deserve their fate, is also used to justify racism.  If more Black people are poor, clearly their poverty must be a sign of their inherent inferiority.  This judges individual Blacks for how they perform in the economy at this moment, rather than investigating the historical causes which might explain failure, such as the fact that slaves “liberated” during the Civil War had absolutely no wealth and have never been repaid any, as well as centuries of discrimination in hiring.
            Hardcore individualism is one of the best defenses capitalism has, because it implies that the problem can never be the social situation.  It denies the effects of history, or even erases them, by assuming that whatever is going on in the present is the only way things could ever be.  It dismisses any systemic critique, blaming violence on a few demented individuals, blaming corruption on a few bad politicians, blaming abuses on a few bad corporations.  When we are losing money, it tells us that we have been living beyond our means, rather than having been slowly robbed by the profit system.  When someone is rich, it is because they earned it rather than because they siphoned someone else’s labor.  When we are upset, even depressed, it is an individual chemical imbalance, not a healthy response to a rotten world, and all that is needed is medication or an “attitude adjustment” (another phrase for tolerating bullshit).
            To be blunt, hardcore individualism is the world’s greatest blindness.  It refuses to see cause and effect.  It refuses to locate each individual as part of the world’s great fabric of interconnected influences.  It is not a way of perceiving society, but an utter refusal to perceive it at all.  Advocates of hardcore individualist perspectives confuse the lack of proof for individualism with the idea that it is above needing proof, and that mentioning extenuating circumstances only confuses a neatly-settled equation.  This makes hardcore individualism not a rebellious ideology, but one that actually subtly encourages refusal of thought and uncritical support of whatever society already exists, in all its facets, from economics to race, from psychology to politics.

Nationalism: the flagship of the Right-Hand Path

             People across the political spectrum, from Nazis to liberals, often think of the nation as the basic unit of world politics.  They tend to see nations as natural.  Even if nations actually were genuinely natural, this shouldn’t impress Satanists, who should be celebrating the human ability to create and recreate things as we wish.  Playing a role similar to Christianity, nationalism seems to best one of the most fervently-defended ideologies of the system, almost precisely because it is the most unconsciously ingrained and the most irrational.  Most people have no more justification for being patriots than the fact that they were told to in preschool.  Even those who acknowledge the artificial status of nations seem unable to think beyond them.  Nations are merely conglomerations of people united by a common central infrastructure and assimilated into the dominant culture of whatever cities were rich enough to establish that infrastructure.
            Perhaps thanks to the fascist influence inside the Black Metal movement, some Satanists identify with extremely forceful strains of nationalism.  They understand this as a liberation from the constraints of a crippling world of negotiation, diplomacy, and tolerance of impositions on their own nation.  Some hope to make their nation a dominating empire, extending cutthroat competitive individualism to the global scale.  In this way they hope to advance themselves by advancing their nation.
            There is something highly suspect about anyone in the Left Hand Path identifying with something so large and distant as their nation.  Most advocates of nationalism tend to glorify service to the nation as a very collectivist, self-sacrificial activity.  For most people, that is exactly what it ends up being, even if that is not what they hoped.  Even if you indulge in an extremely cutthroat, imperialistic view of world politics – the idea that you can benefit by supporting your nation’s exploitative invasion of other countries – the truth is that most of the profits gained from imperialism only go to the economic elite of the empire, and are not shared among the people.  Modern capitalist industrial empires don’t function in quite the same way as the armies of ancient times, when foreign loot was enough to turn a poor man into nobility.  The invasion of Iraq did not make gasoline cheaper, though it did make some oil corporations richer.  As rapper Immortal Technique clarified, “We act like we share in the spoils of war that they do.  We die in wars, we don’t get the contracts to make money off em afterwards!  We don’t get weapons contracts…  We don’t get cheap labor for our companies, we are cheap labor.”
            In another winner of a quote, president Woodrow Wilson explained why we get into so many wars in the first place:

Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down … Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.

A contemporary of Wilson, Lenin wrote in his pamphlet Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism about the world situation post-1914:  “The world is completely divided up, so that in the future only redivision is possible, i.e., territories can only pass from one ‘owner’ to another, instead of passing as ownerless territory to an owner.  So the glorious national wars which we are expected to line up behind are really little more than jockeying for territory between the economic elites of each nation.  Worst of all, this setup implies that trade-driven wars will continue to emerge as long as capitalism exists.
            Nationalism lumps together various wills which do not belong together.  The problem is not that Satanists, in their individualism, should never participate in groups – often groups can bring some kind of advancement to the individual.  The problem is that nations are a scam.  There are other collective groups which do indeed satisfy individual desires more than the individual alone could accomplish.  However, nations contain groupings of individuals who actually should have hostile aims.  Our exploiters want us to envision ourselves as part of a nation because it creates an artificial, aesthetic, cultural unity based on race, language, skin color, or place of birth.  This blunts our consciousness of the true organic unities and disunities within each nation.  When the peasants are all obediently lining up to fight for “their own” empires, it is the economic, political, and military elites who benefit.
            When people of similar status in the social hierarchy fight alongside each other for their common gain, this is natural and organic because their struggles are unfolding expressions of their selfish desires.  Class struggle actually attacks the circumstances which a group experiences in common, as opposed to national struggle, in which any victory will not be shared evenly.  Nationalism and war are splendid ways for the ruling class to divert social attention and anger away from the injustices at home, onto some manufactured enemy.  Just as prison guards collaborate with gang leaders to divide the inmate population into warring racial gangs, so does the world capitalist class gladly divide us into national teams.  National war is working-class suicide.
            This divide-and-conquer game does not apply only to war but to many other debates such as economics.  It is telling that one of the primary forms of “populism” these days is to lash out at Chinese workers, who are themselves simply attempting to make a living at the wage levels normal for their own country.  We must ask, who does this sentiment benefit?  It’s very nice for American holders of capital that American workers are angry at the Chinese instead of at American capital.  Capitalism, by constantly comparing global wage rates, continually undermines the temporary privileges of all workers.  What is required is not clinging to national privileges, but building a union movement in solidarity with the increasingly militant and rebellious workers of China.  We don’t need to kick the immigrants out (only to end up competing with them in trade wars anyway) but we need to stand with all sections of the working class, especially the most downtrodden.  Supporting the lowest-paid workers in their struggle for higher standards and better treatment is the only effective way to alleviate the problem of wage competition.
            If you are going to bother with being concerned about a group larger than yourself, for whatever reason, why not instead care about a more ultimate, decisive, all-containing unit: the world?  If you are less idealistic, fight for your class.  Fighting foreigners cannot change the social structure, and therefore cannot solve real problems.  What we need is not national war, but civil war.  The enemy is at home.

Scapegoating: divide and conquer

            It may seem ironic that after blaming the wealthy for virtually every problem, I’m now denouncing scapegoating.  The difference is that it isn’t scapegoating if blame is being correctly placed on people who actually have institutional power which can be revoked, rather than on usually powerless people of a certain type who cannot change their “problem” status.
            What right-hand path religions have in common with the various ideologies which support the system is their arbitrary devaluation of certain types of people (and sometimes people in general).  Just as owners of capital find themselves motivated to devalue our labor to boost profits by paying us less, so is the owning class motivated to direct its cultural representatives to popularize ideas which divide and weaken the workforce, relying ideologies which devalue some or all people.
            While the enslavement of the majority as wage-workers is the central form of oppression in our society, it is by no means the only oppression.  Any honest look at the statistics demonstrates that women and Blacks face job and pay discrimination, racial minorities are mass-imprisoned, homosexuals face brutal social alienation, and immigrants are exploited even worse than the rest of workers.  The list could go on.  Every form of oppression has its specific nuances, but they all serve a purpose for the system: either they allow for an extra degree of economic extraction from the oppressed group, or they encourage a competitive mindset between the oppressed and the rest, swindling the less oppressed into thinking that they somehow benefit from the losses of the downtrodden group.  In reality, white trailer park residents don’t gain anything from cheap Black prison labor.  If anything, they are forced to compete with it.  As in almost everything, when workers are fighting each other, the money and benefits go straight to the top.
            In this way, the “culture war,” often seen as a hangover of 1960s silliness, is actually the same thing as the class war.  We can’t end specific kinds of oppression without eliminating the class system which fosters them, and we can’t unite our class without standing in solidarity with all oppressed people.

The role of Christianity

“In this decisive hour we encourage and admonish our Catholic soldiers, in obedience to the Fuhrer, to do their duty and to be ready to sacrifice their whole person.  We appeal to the faithful to join in ardent prayers that God’s providence may lead this war to blessed success and peace for fatherland and people.”
                                                                                            --from a joint declaration by German Catholic bishops upon the Nazi invasion of Poland

            While we live in an overwhelmingly Christian society, and an oppressive one, I do not believe the primary reason that our society is oppressive is because it is Christian.  It can be obnoxious to live in a society populated by people who worship a god that you despise,butthis is not a form of oppression.  One of the most important things to establish from the beginning is that the system oppresses the people who most believe in it.  Rather than doing Christians a special service, it exploits them by using their faith as a source of power which is in turn used to oppress them.  Theocracy is generally not the rule of the faithful but the rule of the priests – or worse, the use of priests to assist the rule of someone else.  Unfortunately, as in The Matrix, we may sometimes find ourselves fighting against (or more commonly, arguing with) the very people most oppressed by the system.  The ruling-class use of flawed ideologies creates the bitter irony of slaves who defend the system.  We must hold onto the idea that people’s minds can change, but that does not make them any different in this very moment.
            While we do not live in a theocracy, the USA certainly has some theocratic tendencies.  Though class is the core of the power structure, Napoleon’s statement that “religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich” still holds true.
            Christianity does not immediately appear to be the state religion of the USA.  On the surface, we have no state religion, other than some incidental violations of the separation of church and state: drill sergeants preaching the War on Terror as a Crusade, faith-based charities receiving funding from the government and then using the money to proselytize, “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” printed on our currency (which mainly signifies that we trust in our god, Money).  These are taken to be incidental problems – on the whole we have a society in which the government keeps religion out of state functions, and which allows citizens to practice the religion they choose or none at all.
            However, even if Christianity is not directly the state religion, it is certainly the corporate religion.  It may be true that the ideology of Christianity, as written in the Bible, actually appears quite socialistic.  However, religions are not what is written, but what is done.  Christianity is not a religion of rebellion or communalism, as it may once have been.  Now it is a religion of casino-like mega-churches, of state collaboration, and religious capitalists selling an identity to swindled customers in return for weekly tribute.
            Christian organizations receive considerable funding from wealthy donors who see advantages to having a Christian workforce, to dividing the workforce by religion, or who are simply Christian themselves.  There is a tight connection between the super-rich and the Evangelical Christian movement, with Texan oil barons giving large donations to groups such as the Christian Coalition of America and the Heritage Foundation.  Pat Robertson himself has had a net worth of as high as $1 billion.  The Tea Party movement, which focuses mainly on taxes, is colored by a general nationalistic conservatism, and is filled with Evangelicals who are also hardcore social conservatives.  This movement has also been given massive funding from super-rich individuals, families, and corporations such as the Koch brothers.  The preponderance of Christian marketing, while appearing to capitalize on an already-religious population, also fosters and encourages Christianity among the population.
            One of the worst examples of theocratic corruption of the government, as well as corporate religion, would be The Family, as described in Jeff Sharlet’s expose after infiltrating the organization.  The Family provides posh discount housing for US Congressmen and women, and involves them in a strange blend of religious activities and political persuasion toward extreme free-market views.  Simply the fact that churches are given a completely tax-free status, despite having massive properties comparable to the rest of the super-rich, implies a comfortable relationship in which the state can rely on the church.
            It is possible to go too far down this line of thinking, though.  Rather than writing off the existing state as purely and hopelessly Christian-theocratic, we should understand that there are various forces competing for leadership of society, some of which are Christian-theocratic (and who support other undesirable things).  They are not the state – they are a capitalist puppet movement competing for control of the state, and all social channels in general.  There is nothing stopping us from taking a similar approach, other than a lack of the generous donations from rich people which Christian theocrats receive.
            Nonetheless, key forces within Christianity are clearly part of the power network, ensuring that the upper-ends of religious bureaucracies will pressure rank-and-file preachers and laypeople from saying or thinking anything that goes too far for the system.  However, there are other potentially more important ways in which Christianity assists the system and diffuses anger and action.
            Christianity is a religion of faith, not simply in its writings, but in its practice as well.  Faith reinforces the habit of uncritically accepting ideas, even ones not directly related to religion.  During childhood and later, the majority of the population is first exposed to the system’s ideologies, and not dissenting voices.  It is therefore impossible to have a rebellious movement when the population will not change its mind.  Therefore, Christianity’s encouragement of faith, which implies a refusal to entertain new ideas and an irrational insistence on current ideas, is extremely counter-revolutionary.  Statistically speaking, if someone is a Christian, and especially if they are the kind of Christian who faithfully takes the Bible quite literally, then that person is much more likely to believe in the market, to support blind nationalism and the nation’s wars, and to engage in a scapegoating mentality against Muslims, “sinners,” or even scapegoats not related to religion.  The political regression that corresponds with faith is probably one of the most important roles Christianity plays in upholding American capitalism.
            As in the case of any culture, the dominant cultural tendency can be used as a stick which the authorities use to beat anyone they choose.  If Christianity is the “norm,” then any person or idea which deviates from Christianity can be denounced.  Authorities will use Christianity to denounce anyone with whom they have a problem, even if deep down it has absolutely nothing to do with religion.  A frequent objection to socialism, interestingly, is the suspicion that it is somehow anti-Christian.  This is not an all-powerful problem, but it is one more tool in the toolbox of ruling-class control.
            Finally, Christianity also takes the teeth out of the Left in some important ways.  Clearly not all Christians are conservative, though liberal Christians tend to be less fundamentalist and more welcoming to science.  However, liberal Christianity takes the anger which should belong to the Left, and instead replaces it with guilt.  The exploited workforce of the USA is asked to compare its own situation to starving Africans overseas or the homeless and ultra-poor in the USA.  While I personally do not dismiss the suffering of the super-impoverished as insignificant, I don’t fall for the trick of shifting the focus from the anger we should have at our own exploitation to guilt over people who have it worse.  We are made to feel ashamed for not sacrificing our entire incomes in pursuit of saving every single victim of the system.  What is missing is systemic critique, and a proper sense of economic disparity.  Almost every Christian church has some kind of involvement in charity, but how many churches are calling for workers’ democratic management or the seizure of the biggest stockpiles of wealth?  The world generally has 50% more food than required to feed the global population, but much of it is discarded in order to make food marketable at a profitable price.  Hunger and desperate poverty are not the fault of the average working person, who has no control over anything.  In fact, they are weapons with which we are threatened – go to work or end up like the person on the sidewalk.  Our incomes are certainly dramatically higher than people who have no income, but they are also dramatically lower than that of the ruling class.  Even if you make $80,000 per year, you have nothing on the multi-billion dollar income of Warren Buffet.  If you want an education in comparative income, go read the proudly-posted list of top rich people on  Christianity, as practiced in the USA, spreads mass confusion on these critical points, crippling the ability of the working class to fight for itself by distorting our ability to even see what is going on.
            While many Christians are actually conservative warmongers, many are liberal pacifists as well.  This can occasionally be a help in criticizing needless national wars, but it has its limitations as well.  Instead of being militant fighters for the Left, some Christians view conflict itself as an evil, even mere political disagreement.  This mentality, that conflict can only be counter-productive, stems from a view of the world which does not acknowledge the existence of serious class differences, and does not view the institutions in power as in any way part of the problem.  Instead it blames a lack conscience in individuals, and therefore without realizing has a lot in common with right-wing hardcore individualist thinking.  It naturally flows from the same mentality which justifies charity instead of society-wide redistribution of wealth and power.  We have some neighbors whom we should not love, but whom we should overthrow.  There is something sick about asking someone to love their oppressor.  Negative emotions developed as part of humanity’s evolutionary survival system, and have now transformed themselves into a powerful social law: if you oppress others, they may hate you and attempt to unseat you.  Liberal pacifist Christianity rejects this hate.  As a Satanist I hold it up as one of the pinnacles of the human spirit.


The Basics

            How do we overturn the most powerful thing in the world?  The short answer: take everything described in Part I and turn it upside-down.
            However that is easier said than done.
            One of the most mind-bending hurdles that Satanists may have to get over is that we are going to have to organize alongside huge numbers of Christians.  We cannot liberate ourselves while leaving the whole multi-faceted oppressive structure intact – the best we can do is struggle to get more free time or more money in our individual careers, and probably with little success.  We have to fight alongside our fellow workers, most of whom are nominally Christian, even for small improvements, let alone the massive systemic change which is ultimately desirable.
            This is not a real problem, or even a real compromise of principles.  We can establish a political Left based on Satanist or Left-Hand Path principles without actually asking anyone to abandon their religions.  Many people call themselves Christians, but their so-called faith hangs by a pathetic thread.  As in all industrial societies, in practice the working class dedicates five days to wage-labor and one morning to God.  The power of economics has crept in step by step to the point where Christmas is no longer a Christian holiday but a consumerist one.  The power of economics will continue to do its work: we do not even need to directly preach against Christianity because class struggle has a very powerful tendency to change attitudes.  In fact bothering to preach against Christianity is probably not even worth our time – we will pull more people away from Christianity by convincing them of Leftism than the amount of Leftists we will create by pulling people away from Christianity.  Our fellow workers will act like Satanists because everyday reality pushes them against a wall and forces them to think like us, to begin viewing themselves and no other force as the key to their salvation.  The system forces the working class to stand against it, and to replace its guilt with anger.  Some will, in their cowardice, flee all things unfamiliar and continue to cling to the system and their old ideas, but many will have the dignity to stand up and fight for themselves.  This makes them Satanists; whether or not they realize it is secondary.
            I have attempted to write this website for the entire spectrum of the political Left, but I believe that ultimately, the only way to give a genuine resolution to the problems that we lefties want to fix is the dissolution of the existing “democratic” capitalist state and its replacement with a workers’ democracy federated from workplaces democratically owned and managed by the people who work in them.  The more you address the real long-term solution to a problem, the farther you can often get in the short-term.  Even for legal changes of the existing system, radicals often lead the way, most able to achieve even small changes because of their willingness to create mass confrontation.
            Lefties would more broadly generally agree that we need a more participatory society, with something like a popular upsurge which draws in mass involvement, which is then built into a more democratic system.  We need that moment of which Trotsky wrote, that mass interference of the overwhelming working majority in the flow of historic events.
            No one can wish a rebellion into being.  Simply individually attacking the nearest symbol of authority and hoping the rest of the population will “get it” tends not to work either, as many disappointed practitioners of civil disobedience have realized.  There is no reason that Left-wingers should not develop a culture of familiarity with firearms, in the way that Right-wingers have done, but this should be understood mainly as a defensive deterrent, and something we try to spread as opposed to simply indulging in ourselves.  As one of my friends perfectly summed up, if the small amount of organized radicals in the world attempted an insurrection themselves, “That would fail so hard.”
            Rebellions flow forth spontaneously from populations who have embraced radical ideas.  The key is to prove the necessity and possibility of another, better arrangement to the majority of the working class.
            Fortunately the system does a great deal of our job for us, causing enough suffering (in many varieties!) to encourage people to entertain radicals ideas which we can simply help crystallize into clear, spelled-out thoughts.  The economic instability inherent in a chaotic, unplanned (and therefore necessarily undemocratic) economy shocks the minds of the many into motion when they might otherwise remain stagnant.
            However, depending on events alone to clarify themselves is far from enough.  Many people interpreted the government bailouts of the banks in 2008 as a sign that the government is a corrupt tool of corporate interests, but many other people interpreted it as a sign that we need to implement a pure free market.  What is required is the coming-together of events and conscious explanation, an active struggle to understand the world and communicate it in a digestible manner.
            In order to effectively make this kind of mass-educational effort, we need to stop being isolated points networked by the Internet and work with like-minded people in person whenever we can.  We need to establish an organized effort, with publications or at least pamphlets, which put forward our point of view.  We need to hit the sidewalks together and hand these out or hang them up.  To be clear, this is not some crazy idea no one has ever tried before – I myself have been “that guy” standing on the corner handing out pamphlets for various organizations and causes, even openly radical socialist meetings, and while some people look at me like I’m wacky, in many cases it has tremendously helped to build the movement little by little.  The cold, tedious, abstract war of ideas – not only debating opponents and persuading others, but articulating and sharpening our own thoughts – is both the prelude and the heart of all hot, impatient, in-the-flesh leaps forward.

Strategic Positions in the Culture War: Contending for Influence in Popular Movements, Institutions, and Counter-cultures

            An organized effort of persuasion is a good beginning, but only that.  We can’t expect to build a whole dissident movement out of random people we meet on the sidewalk.  We have to reach out to every possible group, avenue, movement, and subculture with whom we might have mutual resonance.  Fortunately, many of these already exist – in fact more exist than we can initially have the time and numbers to interact with.  Most commonly Leftists organize in popular movements.  When possible we attempt to carve out some turf in the more mainstream institutions of society, with mixed results.  Political radicals also sometimes interact with the counterculture, since after it all it very common that they belong to it anyway.
            Though it might not get the media attention that it deserves, many people are already fighting for changes to our society.  They might not be calling for its total transformation, but the fact that they spend time attempting to make change happen is significant.  These organizations, marches, or movements may occur for many different reasons.  The most powerful movement in recent memory was the movement against the war in Iraq.  There have been others, such as the immigrants’ rights movement which drew out a million-person action in 2006 when many Latinos refused to show up at work.  Directly or indirectly, these problems are often related to class, or problems which the ruling class causes for working people.  Frequently there is participation by certain unions in the most prominent political movements.  An organization called Labor Against War was a significant part of the peace demonstrations before that movement fizzled out.
            We have an important role to play in these movements, regardless of the fact that they might not take things as far as we like, and regardless of their many other imperfections.
            When we come out of our little radical, subcultural hole and go to people to whom we actually have something important to say, we are building one of the most important bridges of all.  We are allowing for consciousness and action about specific problems to connect with consciousness about the general problem.  This takes the people marching in the streets for what are essentially legal reforms that could theoretically happen within the system (though the ruling class might be extremely reluctant about it) and helps draw them into being future radicals.
            We will often be in the uncomfortable position of “outsiders,” but nonetheless we have to get involved in popular movements and explain how class is the underlying source of their problem, whether a labor dispute for health benefits or sexism.  The introduction of class to a political debate radically transforms it.  For example, sometimes racial problems in the USA are depicted in a simple black-versus-white conception.  When you are operating on the basis of class, you can call for a much greater degree of unity between the races, while still acknowledging the disadvantaged status of racial minorities, without asking working-class whites to sacrifice anything but their racism.  Denouncing national war in terms of class becomes not a matter of “hippies who feel bad about fighting back against the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11” but a matter of spending priorities – we can fight a war but we can’t feed the poor?
            However, it is not enough to simply show up at movements and start spouting our thoughts.  We have to demonstrate in practice that the radical perspective works for that specific movement.  We should encourage movements not to compromise, and challenge our allies to make somewhat lofty demands.  For example, during the healthcare debate, me and some leftists in the healthcare movement attempted to convince people to start out demanding full socialized healthcare rather than for starting out with a compromise (public option) and getting a compromise-of-a-compromise, with no public option (if not something worse).  We have to argue for the idea that it is not working within the system, but confrontation against the system, which is most effective, even for getting the system to do something.  We have to explain to people that the best way to kill a mass movement is to turn it into a phone-banking session campaigning for a distant politician who is probably bought and sold to some big firm anyway.  We have to argue that movements succeed when they are well-informed with a sense of the problem they are addressing, when they encourage participation by being open, welcoming and democratic, and when they actually fight.  Different people will want to test different theories, and the proof is in the results.
            Many of the existing institutions of our society are simply too dominated by their corporate sponsors, supporters, or owners to become consistent weapons of the working class.  First and foremost among the structures beyond salvation, in my opinion, is the government itself.  Others are much more flexible and able to become fortresses for our side.  The best example of this would be unions.
            We can do our best to contest the mainstream organizations, and increase the conflict within them.  Do whatever you can – flood mainstream papers with radical letters to the editor, be the center of left-wing organizing at your campus, start a faction of people within your union who are determined to truly demand and fight for better conditions.  However, we should not usually expect certain institutions to flip fully to the side of the working class except in extreme, developed circumstances such as a revolution.  In the meantime we need to build our own institutions, such as newspapers and independent single-issue organizations.  Generally, the more successful we are at banging on the walls of the system from the outside, the more the ruling class’ own organizations will fall into crisis and internal dispute.  The conventional wisdom of the mainstream (fake) Left is that being too confrontational drives away support, which is a fine conception of things for a group whose purpose is to constantly betray the hopes of left-wing population.  The Right has a better idea – remain bold and people will be attracted to your confidence.
            People of all persuasions often worry about offending or alienating “the center.”  This is a terrible mistake.  It’s not that we shouldn’t care about the flip-flopping ideological center of society.  We should – we need them to agree with us in order to move forward and implement our ideas.  However, the way to win over the center of general society is to solidify and organize the hard core that forms the nervous system of our side.  Of course we will offend and alienate people who do not agree with us (in the USA’s bizarre political culture where merely disagreeing with someone often offends them personally).  However, we will never win over anyone by failing to confidently stand up for ourselves and explain ourselves.  We will face the revulsion of those who disagree, but that is the first step to changing their minds – and of course, we may find people who wholeheartedly agree, who we never would have found if we stayed in the closet out of concern for offending our opponents.  We must be logical about this: all movements use their present difficulties as an excuse for not standing up for their positions, but if they do not stand up for their positions, these difficulties will never be overcome.
            Mass radicalization takes many different forms among a population, often in ways you wouldn’t expect.  We can focus on specific movements or institutions to participate in or battle over, but many times the change in society will seem to inexplicably be everywhere, both in times of gradual, subtle radicalization and open mass transformation of public opinion.  Often it takes a form which does not immediately appear to be political at all, with people altering their styles of dress, music, diet, religion, sexuality, entertainment, and recreational drug use.  Some of this continues to fit neatly within respectable opinion, but some of it is downright outside of the status quo.  Collectively, all of these changes come to represent different subcultures, which can be lumped together to form a counter-culture.
            Aside from politics, countercultures can have great value.  They allow for the exploration of behaviors which the mainstream culture did not allow.  Without the free exploration, the trying on of new faces and selves, which takes place in countercultures, it is possible that many people could never quite become themselves, or not as much.  (To the degree, of course, that anyone can fully become themselves in this system.)   This exploration also creates a mental openness and flexibility which also may help disrupt people’s uncritical mental entrenchment in whatever ideas they first held, clearing out the set of ideas which supports the system and opening the way for an opposite set of ideas.  They open a rare space for the expression of repressed tendencies in society, allowing society’s collective unconscious and all of the problems and crises contained within to finally flow into the daylight.
           Countercultures can thus also serve as a rallying point of people who identify against the prevailing trends in their own society.  There is a limit to the usefulness of simply being anti.  However, this sort of negative initial reaction against society is ironically constructive in the face of a destructive system of interlocked parts, each of which supports and is supported by each other part.  To reject the whole is a healthy instinct, because we are indeed up against a problem which permeates and at least partially defines all corners of life and thought.
            There are famous and obvious examples of countercultures which went hand-in-hand with political movements.  One would be the hippie movement of the 1960s.  While I am not a punk, I respectfully nod to the punk scene for fostering a lot of people who graduate from simply attending concerts to also becoming political thinkers and organizers.  Punk specifically played a rather important role in combating the rise of Nazism in Britain, when socialists teamed up with the punk scene and many other musical groups to throw Rock Against Racism.  There was also a persistent fight by left-wing activists within the punk scene to explain to rockers that wearing a Swastika was not okay, cool, or rebellious just because it was “outside the mainstream.”  These efforts bore real results, with the punk scene continuing to be a home to progressive politics and not so much a gathering place of Nazis.
            Of course, countercultures can sometimes be pretty ridiculous and have little apparent connection to politics.  Many people argue, with some merit, that people in the 1960s could have done a better job taking a break from their doobies and organizing the revolution.  Indeed, it was during the 1960s that some of the goofiest shit in American culture emerged.  The countercultural situation today is rather sad.  Arguably it is thriving, or perhaps doing an excellent job wallowing in itself.  The music and dress of the 1960s, besides now being slightly out of date, has in many ways been co-opted as little more than a series of mp3s to sell.
           Rock Against Racism was the first example of a massive music festival with a specific cause in mind, but the model has since been borrowed by the system for safe channels such as the charity benefit Live Aid concerts.  The commodification of radio punk is certainly a bitter irony for anarchists who want to do away with commodities altogether.  Rap used to have a revolutionary attitude but has now become masturbation to gangsterism and obscene wealth, not to mention a disgusting objectification of women.  We have witnessed the rise of Hot Topic, where suburban teens deck themselves out in the trend of their choice.  Many subcultures are now dismissed as simply a teenage phase.  People who say this underestimate the political power of “teenage phases,” in my opinion, and may underestimate the future effects of a mainstream culture which is saturated in the counterculture.  But they might have a point, that maybe the counterculture has simply been mainstreamed.
            Adbusters wrote an excellent article called “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” about how hipsterism, which has sucked in the radical potential of indie, denotes how dispassionate and apolitical many people have become.  Borrowing everything and producing nothing of its own, but mocking mainstream tastes and competing to be the most non-mainstream, hipsterism practically strives to have no substance whatsoever, and still has the arrogance to pretend it is somehow superior to the lack of substance in Kes$ha songs.  Hipsters are a counterrevolutionary force within the counterculture, representing the belief that the counterculture should have no aspirations to be the revolutionary force that it truly ought to be.
            Metal, my beloved home, is energetic, and vaguely political.  System of a Down and Lamb of God wrote some good protest songs before they either dried up or became politically confused.  Grindcore is as left as it comes, with bands like Misery Index leading the way.  It breaks my heart to acknowledge that Black Metal, a particular favorite among Satanists and a particular favorite of mine, has become home to a full-fledged Nazi infestation.
            This presents all of the potential victories, defeats, problems, complications, and challenges that political leftists face in navigating the world of the counterculture.  This is where Satanism properly comes in.

The Satanist Counterculture

            Forget modesty: Satanism may be The Counterculture of All Time.
            Many countercultures face the continual problem of losing their edge, or becoming “safe” or “mainstreamed.”  I am not sure this could ever happen to Satanism, so long as the world is set up the way it currently is.
            Satanism will never be irrelevant.  No one can deny the symbolic power of the Devil in our culture.  Even many atheists are afraid of him, or of being associated with him.  As LaVey said, the simple discomfort with saying the two words “Hail Satan” is proof of this.  Satan is the nightmare that stalks our culture, who knows all our flaws, secrets, contradictions and sins.  He is the Shadow side of our personal and social psyches which only the mature and courageous are able to face and embrace.  Satanism’s basis on the counter-symbol of our society, the Devil, is one of the primary reasons that it is one of the most important countercultures.  It simply resonates with an exceptional unconscious power.
            Almost all Satanists are interlinked with at least one other element of the counterculture, whether it is a kind of music, painting, underground philosophy, occult practice such as tarot or some other occult art, other religions, politics, fashion, or other entertainment industries, making us an interconnecting nexus of the Dark Side.  I am not making the preposterous claim that Satanists are the only part of the counterculture which is well-connected to the rest of it, but in some ways it draws its connections from its forbidden status.  It is all the more immersed in the counterculture because it literally cannot show its face outside of the counterculture, in “respectable society,” without making a scene.  Therefore Satanists have done a bit more exploration of the world of the social underground than many people have.  Even if Satanism chose some less shocking name for itself, and some less provocative symbol, it would still be a religion (or anti-religion) with strong adversarial tendencies.  Like the defining trait of the general counterculture, there will always be a part of Satanism which embraces the anti.  The Satanist glorification of individuals who blaze their own trail means that Satanism can never be a representative of brainless conformism (though it is also not obligated to go out of its way to be different for the sake of it).  Satanism will always be the home of the kind of people who would inevitably end up in the counterculture anyway.
            Satanism is not only literally trapped in the counterculture, but is inherently politically rebellious because it is in revolt against what is essentially the state religion, Christianity. There are certainly strains of Christianity which are progressive and rise up in revolt against the system, staying true to the original position of Christ the anti-Roman.  However, for most Satanists, this has not been our experience of Christianity whatsoever.  One of Satanism’s primary sources of energy and attraction is the way it serves as an often-unconscious cultural expression of anger at the limitations our society places on us.  Therefore it would be fitting if Satanism was closely married to a political movement to alter society and overcome those limitations.
            In some ways, simply by being one of the most consistent and unapologetic citizens of the counterculture, Satanism already has political implications.  First, unlike Christianity, it is independent of capital.  Despite having many pro-market voices in it, the fact is, Satanism is not populated by large churches with loyal followings.  There are almost no religious capitalists among Satanism, and you can be damn sure that Satanism does not have the financial support from wealthy donors which Christianity has.  Any churches that seem to be merely selling an identity are easily avoidable by the nature of the religion: Satanists can come together formally if they like, but ultimately they do not need to.
            Satanism also lends itself to destabilizing the crystallized constellation of first ideologies to which a person is exposed, usually the system’s ideologies.  It is not a religion of faith but of critical thought and challenging beliefs.  Satanists are generally (but not always) more likely to be open to radically re-evaluating their basic assumptions about life than most Christians.  Most Satanists have already done a good deal of this.  Especially since Satanism isn’t uncritically passed down through generations in the way that Christianity is, partially because there simply aren’t enough Satanists to pass it down in a significant way, and since the religion has almost no organized institutional support.  You have to be at least somewhat of a freethinker who has undergone an independent process of seeking and self-development to be a Satanist.  There are second-generation Satanists but they are rare.  For the most part it is a religion that you must consciously choose.
            While much of my critique of Christianity was based on its insistence on faith, I tend not to have the same issues with theistic Satanism, for the simple fact that people are rarely born into it.  The true counter-revolutionary ideology tends to be the “first faith,” whereas theistic Satanism tends to be a “second faith” or even a “faith against the first faith.”  Satanism’s glorification of people who think independently and blaze their own trail counteracts the tendency of many religions to cause a general ideological stagnation in their believers.
            Besides causing trouble for society’s assumptions in general, Satanism is a particular problem for the system’s scapegoating tactics in multiple ways.  Of course Satanism is not a philosophy of universal love – in it we are free to hate whoever we want.  It is, however, a philosophy of self-questioning and critical thought.  This forces us to judge each person individually based on their merits as we observe them, rather than pre-judging them by what group they are in.  This is not to mention that critical thinkers will be quicker to observe the scientific evidence that differences within groups are usually larger than the differences between groups in pretty much every category – race, gender, culture, etc.  Critical thinkers are more likely to realize that many groups have been shaped by social conditions to behave a certain way, rather than inherently acting that way.  They are also more likely to observe that most powerful division in society, class, and to understand the role of scapegoat-devaluing philosophies in upholding the class system.
            Satanism, while again not necessarily a philosophy of universal love, is also an idea which tends to increase the self-valuation of the general population.  Satanism challenges individuals to throw aside all externally-centered ethical systems.  It dares us to personally decide our own ethical system, and to place ourselves at or near the center of it.  The devaluation in our culture has many of us believing, consciously or unconsciously, that we are not worth struggling for, and that we are not fit to take part in the rulership of society.  Even our minds and self-esteem have been colonized by the cultural matrix which serves capital, paralyzing us.  Satanism destroys this paralysis.  It is a mass affirmation of “I am worth it.”  After all, the Scapegoat is the very symbol of Satanism!  We are the demonic Others, who have chosen to sneer at the acceptance of respectable society, instead embracing the authenticity of valuing ourselves.  Rather than worrying about our “fitness” to take part in directing society, Satanism challenges us to contend for power regardless, and we learn the ropes the only way anyone can – in practice, at the reins, through struggle.
            Finally Satanism as a counterculture disrupts the ability of the ruling class to point a finger at anyone who is not Christian by openly affirming disgust with the Christian monopoly on respectability.  It is indirectly a form of solidarity with all who have fallen from social grace, by implying: “You have been kicked out of Christian respectability?  Well that’s no problem to me, I’m not part of it either.  I don’t even want to be, it’s awful.”
            Some of the most powerful ways in which Satanism is a political threat ironically stem from its conservative origins.  While LaVeyan Satanism definitely spawned out of the countercultural wave of the 1960s, Satanism was also a pragmatist reaction against it, rejecting the idea that “all you need is love.”  Satanism improved on the counterculture by being aware of its shortcomings.  Ironically, much of the counterculture’s values were simply a repetition of the values still present in dominant culture and religion.  The Buddhists, hippies, and Jesus freaks of the 1960s often had a negative view of selfishness, and also shunned all conflict and negativity as evil.  Satanism is afraid of neither of these core traits of the human experience.  Sadly, much of the 1960s counterculture was plagued by the same guilt complex as mainstream Christianity.  In contrast, Satanism challenges its believers to ask “What’s in it for me?"  This is very similar to the “What’s in it for me?” which is asked by workers who begin to suspect that their lives have been a raw deal.
            Another tendency in Satanism which lends itself to political rebellions is its insistence that no one will save us but ourselves, and if we decline to struggle against our condition, we really have no right to complain about it.  Furthermore, since all power is created by humanity, there is no reason we shouldn’t also tear it down by force if that is what we want.  Satanism doesn’t even prohibit oppressing others, so it certainly does not prohibit resistance.  Why not?  In the devil’s system, the world is for the taking, and anyone who doesn’t take a shot at it is a sucker.  Lenin agreed: “An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to be treated like slaves.”
            Both Satanism and working-class rebellion are centered around people who have recognized the artificial status of morality, who have shed themselves of crippling self-doubt and self-loathing, and who use any means necessary to overcome obstacles to the successful carrying out of their desires.  As Marx said, “we have a world to win.”  There are virtually no other religions which carry this attitude than Satanism, and no other political movements which genuinely deliver results for this promise and this vision than the working-class movement.
            This is not to say that Satanism in its current form is an undiluted stronghold of the Left, ready and organized to dive into the movement.  As covered thoroughly elsewhere, many Satanists have a right-wing interpretation of the religion’s respect for the individual.  As a religion of the counterculture, I suspect that there is a silent majority of progressive liberals in Satanism in both social and economic issues, but the vocal figures tend to be staunchly pro-market.  This is besides the bloated egos and senseless arguing for the sake of being “adversarial.”  The Satanist scene is also scattered due to the difficulty of finding other Satanists.  Satanists are easy enough to find online, but are anonymous and geographically disparate.  For all you know there might be plenty of fellow Satanists in your own town but how could you ever find out?

Synthesizing Satanism and Politics

            As stated earlier, to overthrow this system and establish a liberated society, we have to hijack culture away from the system, creating cultures of resistance.  The Satanist scene is divided between supporting and opposing the system.  The inherent logic of Satanism, however, implies that by its nature it should be a culture of resistance.  Really it should be the heart and core of the resistance.
            Satanism will not automatically become this, however.  We have to make it so.  We have to systematically make and win the argument over politics in the Satanist scene.  We can do this politely.  We can do this with respect for the fact that many Satanist groups want to avoid politics, because it is hard enough to even get Satanists together in the first place without potentially alienating them over “non-religious” disagreements.  Nonetheless, we must make the case in whatever ways we can.
            I am not suggesting we attempt to shoo all right-wingers out of Satanism (though we should chase off the Nazis).  Primarily what we need to do is not to argue with the right but establish a left-wing presence inside Satanism.  Right now many Satanist scenes are pervaded with an assumption that Satanists have to support the market.  We need to confront this assumption by encouraging more left-wing Satanists to “come out of the closet” and counter the freely-reigning pro-market voices by establishing our own movement of vocally left-wing Satanists.  We do this by creating our own scene, our own rallying points, our own websites, our own organized groups, and our own personal connections with other left-wing Satanists.
            It is also not enough to simply “be” left-leaning Satanists, either.  We have to be self-conscious, realizing that our scene and even our own thoughts may be touched by right-wing logic in ways we do not realize.  We may be predisposed by our religion to oppose the culture of devaluation and scapegoating.  However, this does not mean we do it perfectly.  We must make an effort to argue against all racism, sexism, homophobia, and hysteria over Muslims – and also to become aware of it in ourselves, in places we never expected.  It is only when we consciously struggle against the system that we realize how far it has already reached into and shaped our own minds, and the thoughts that we believed were our own.
            Wherever we can, we need to drag Satanists – ourselves and anyone else we know – out of our subcultural ghetto and throw ourselves into the living movements of the real working class, as explained above.  This is not just helpful in saving the Left from its own pathetic moralism, but will also help spread the numbers and energy of the left-wing faction inside of Satanism.
            It would be a terrible waste if the Left-Hand Path and the Left wing never synthesized.  It is no coincidence that the counterculture and the Left tend to grow hand-in-hand.  Perhaps Leftists think they do not need religion, but people outside the norm often feel rootless and in need of psychological structure for themselves.  Satanism is that liberated counterculture, a proper home for people ready for a new world.  More than religion, Leftism needs the teeth which Satanism offers, its pragmatism and its appeal to people’s real self-advancing desires.
            Satanism could also use the Left.  If Satanism is the religion of satisfying desires, then shouldn’t it address the most pressing, serious problems of the times – the political problems?  When it does not do this, Satanism sometimes seems more like a navel-gazing circus instead of the energetic, revolutionizing force it should be.  Satanists tend not to have a reason or even a proper opportunity to come together, but all of this changes with the flood of formerly private, introverted people into public involvement which comes with politics.   Even if you are individualist to the point of being personally isolationist, avoiding the obnoxious company of other people, you may find that the people striving to change the world are of a plainly more inspiring type, and that the growth of the movement to change the world transforms larger amounts of people into more interesting, intelligent creatures than what they once were.
            This synthesis of individualism and collectivism may seem strange but really it makes more sense than anything.  Most of the culture we have been offered is paradoxically crippling for the individual at the same time as it derides the need for social cooperation.  Really this makes total sense: in a world of interconnected parts, destroying the individual and destroying society go hand-in-hand.  In contrast, we preach the affirmation of the individual in a healthy society that supports the aims and enrichment of all, not a few, of its citizens.  Satanism should be the Left’s guiding principle, its countercultural, Desire-worshipping ethos.  The Left should be Satanism’s expression, an insurgent horde of free minds paving the way for a liberated world.