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Going Back into the Vampire Castle
Let's get rid of "left" as a whole category of the mind
It’s been a decade since Mark Fisher wrote his so-called 2013 cry, “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” that Western “leftists” have to leave an abstract “vampire castle.”1 So what exactly has happened in 10 years? On this spooky Halloween of 2023, I thought I take another look at Fisher’s article and reexamine if everyone did leave that supposed scary castle.
For a heads-up, it’s a yes-no. They did exit the castle, only then to go back inside.
Fisher begins by writing,
“This summer, I seriously considered withdrawing from any involvement in politics. Exhausted through overwork, incapable of productive activity, I found myself drifting through social networks, feeling my depression and exhaustion increasing.”
It is quite unfortunate that on January 13th, 2017, Fisher committed suicide. I am against suicide and find the act unethical and wrong. There is nothing more self-defeating and insecure than leaving life because one believes it’s too difficult to survive. Fisher showed this sign of weakness, and, sadly, no one came to his side by the end of 2013.
Twitter, Facebook, and the monopoly engineered by Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk did not free people but enslaved the masses back to a selfish echo chamber of parasocial relationships and fake “culture wars” even before the Trump regime. One drop of retarded Twitter messages would drive anyone crazy, including the fragile Fisher.
“‘Left-wing’ Twitter can often be a miserable, dispiriting zone. Earlier this year, there were some high-profile twitterstorms, in which particular left-identifying figures were ‘called out’ and condemned. What these figures had said was sometimes objectionable; but nevertheless, the way in which they were personally vilified and hounded left a horrible residue: the stench of bad conscience and witch-hunting moralism. The reason I didn’t speak out on any of these incidents, I’m ashamed to say, was fear. The bullies were in another part of the playground. I didn’t want to attract their attention to me.”
Fisher, of course, does not name these “left-identifying figures” of 2013. And exactly, what was “left” in 2013? How do I know this isn’t the parents that spawned Alex Gendler, J.G. Michael, C. Derick Varn, and Ben Burgis? “Callout culture,” which later became “cancel culture,” has an interesting history according to its etymology. According to Peter Coffin’s 2022 video and political pamphlet, “Cancel Culture: Mob Justice or a Society of Subscriptions?,” the phrase “cancel that bitch,” came from the 1991 film, New Jack City. This breadcrumb trail entails that the creation of #MeToo and internet outrage was, in part, a psychological operation this entire time. The issue, however, is that Fisher himself fell for this as “leftist,” when in reality, it’s nothing but United States entitlement and delusional white liberals crying about their own privilege.
What is “left” for Fisher, is as simple as (…drum roll please) Owen Jones. In some parallel Star Trek mirror universe, Mark Fisher has been transformed into Charlie Kirk, and Mr. Kirk is crying about the mistreatment of Steven Crowder. What is “right” then, if both these parties represent the same coin of global liberal democratic capitalism that will promise “the left” universal basic income, and for “the right,” no more annoying liberals? I doubt Jones was, in Fisher’s words, “the person most responsible for raising class consciousness.” Wait, …“class consciousness?” What part of Marx is Fisher and Jones reading? That’s the perfect ammunition for an FBI agent, like Jordan B. Peterson, to come in and point fingers at the evil fabricated evidence of “cultural Marxists” who are going to raise your taxes.
As for this mythical “People’s Assembly in Ipswich” that Fisher attended, it could be no different than the burgeoning and fadish “democratic socialist club of Brooklyn.” Why should such a local club full of English bumpkins dictate what a subculture of the “left” is? It sounds way too sinister as Leon Trotsky’s belittlement of the working class and his need for a “permanent revolution” only for the liberal elite.
“But the second half of the meeting saw working class activists from all over Suffolk talking to each other, supporting one another, sharing experiences and strategies. Far from being another example of hierarchical leftism, the People’s Assembly was an example of how the vertical can be combined with the horizontal: media power and charisma could draw people who hadn’t previously been to a political meeting into the room, where they could talk and strategise with seasoned activists. The atmosphere was anti-racist and anti-sexist, but refreshingly free of the paralysing feeling of guilt and suspicion which hangs over left-wing twitter like an acrid, stifling fog.”
Jonathan Bowden once said that the difference between the left and right was that the left wanted egalitarianism and that the right was for “inegalitarianism.” This idea also predates Bowden through the work of Alain de Benoist, who uses an intellectual Jujutsu to make cultural “right” ideas sound happy and utopian like “left” ideas. Even more hilarious are the baffling keywords attached to the original Exiting the Vampire Castle article posted on The North Star. Those words are “class struggle,” “posh left,” and “identitarianism.” That’s the same “identitarianism” rooted in the French New Right and Alian de Benoist, who are completely opposed to Fisher and his ilk. How come nobody who cites the original article, cites the original keywords too?
I certainly wouldn’t want to question the integrity of Russell Brand as being an “identitarian!” And for Fisher calling Michael McIntyre a “preposterous ultra-posh nincompoop,” he might be called an antisemite in return!
How in the world is Brand a “pro-immigrant, pro-communist, anti-homophobic, saturated with working-class intelligence” kind of guy? Fisher is likely one of those people who would say that Hasan Doğan Piker is a real fight against “fascism,” when he means he’s fighting against “anti-liberalism.” Fisher fails to cite De Benoist or Guillaume Faye with his use of the word “identitarian” and throws it at the “post-structuralist ‘left.’”
What’s even more gaslighting, is that Fisher dares to put quotation marks over the “left,” as being inauthentic and fake. Fisher is questioning the validity of Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Judith Butler, and Jean Baudrillard as all being fake “leftists.” This would be perfect for the likes of Arktos and Counter-Currents, who peddle the notion of Antonio Gramsci-style “metapolitics,” where it’s rooting back to Trotsky, and nothing matters unless you work within the capitalist system and try to sell the best subculture. This creates people like John B. Morgan who believe there is a spiritual, occultist, and Evolian “right,” against the decadence of fictional leftists that Fisher calls out. Fisher hypocritically believes in the axiom of a Gramscian right against the fabrication of a fake and fabricated “identitarian” left, only pushing forward a legitimate PragerU “culture war” for the right.
For Fisher, Malcolm X and Che Guevara were only cool because they were a “psychedelic dismantling of existing reality.” Forget praxis and politics! If it breaks down reality, then that must be “leftist.” If someone wants to be labeled as “insane” and call it a consensual identity politic and subcultural name, that’s all in the name of “leftism,” and its purpose is to dismantle reality through psychedelic hipster aesthetics.
“…the moralising left specialises in making people feed bad, and is not happy until their heads are bent in guilt and self-loathing.”
Christianity is to blame for this cultural guilt. Otherwise, it could be the nature of European people and their effort to be the best “gentle giant,” where they have to take care of everyone else out of paternal altruism. If being a “leftist” means to “feel good about [yourself],” then what’s stopping anyone from being a serial killer? Fisher seems to conflate ethical hedonism with a binary political grouping.
“It is right that Brand, like any of us, should answer for his behaviour and the language that he uses.”
Right. But wouldn’t that make Fisher the police officer instead? If leftism is about Christian guilty and gentle giant altruism, how come it’s mandatory to have some condescending liberal, managerial boss, or referee decide what is the right Helgian way to go? Sounds to me like the obsessive nature of Socrates constantly trying to seduce Alcibiades for gay sex. “You need me as your teacher!” What “comradeship” and “solidarity” could ever be established if it’s about a bunch of nonreproductive Guardian journalists bickering on about how they will get their power relationships over one another?
Individualism seems to be the only thing that Fisher thinks of. Just like that “anarchist” David Graeber, nothing matters unless the individual says so. One determines if it’s sexist or racist if the individual symbolizes it. Funny, because the entire Austrian school of economics and philosophy of libertarianism is about this conundrum. At this point, it makes me wonder if both Fisher and Graeber were Trojans trying to turn over sects of socialism and Eurocommunism into the softcore interest of Americanism.
Fisher’s all-out soyboy interest in the Despicable Me actor is cringe and cannot be taken seriously by any hardcore political science professor. If anyone takes Exiting the Vampire Castle seriously as a rallying cry to unite against cancel culture, what you have left is cute yellow minions and the subculture itself around it. Nothing has changed, and in all honestly, the minions did leave the castle, only then to return to it at day because the truth shines so much, it burns.
Fisher often projects about his own guilt,
“The petit bourgeoisie which dominates the academy and the culture industry has all kinds of subtle deflections and pre-emptions which prevent the topic even coming up, and then, if it does come up, they make one think it is a terrible impertinence, a breach of etiquette, to raise it. I’ve been speaking now at left-wing, anti-capitalist events for years, but I’ve rarely talked – or been asked to talk – about class in public.”
“Petit bourgeoises?” Do you mean Fisher who tried to make it as an electronic musician, and then went into academia as a “visual cultural” theorist because nothing else was making money? Kode9 did it because he tool realized there was a dead-end street trying to get signed on a major label. Might as well get a Ph.D. in some soft creative writing and call it a trade instead.
Would these same petit bourgeoise professors dare talk about Arthur Jensen, J. Philippe Rushton, Jared Taylor, or Charles Murray?
And why is Fisher assuming that the left already is in academia, but they just don’t think the same way as “class” the way he does? Fisher is certainly not talking about the English white working class, because he’s too fixated on the ambiguous and malaise nature of blank slate “individuals” who come in all shapes and sizes.
And what about Caleb Maupin, Jackson Hinkle, Haz, and Gabriel Rockhill, the real “leftists” who are talking about class, by Fisher’s definition? Some would say they are “tankies” and not legitimate “leftists” because tankies are mean, authoritarian, and genocidal “fascists.” What is “class” then if it’s joining a club called being a “leftist?” “Cultural Marxism” isn’t a conspiracy for Fisher. He believes it!
The “petit bourgeoises” to Fisher are “ex-private school people on the left.” That’s right. If you go to a private school, you are not a leftist. It’s a fight between the nerds and the preps.
As for the “psychiatrist assessing a patient” while being a “leftist,” explain the recent phenomena of trans people hating on anyone critical of men who pretend they are women. Are we supposed to celebrate that? Where are Fisher’s morals? Men who are pretending to be women are calling straight people crazy!
To Fisher, leftism is the white man’s burden of converting the world into white supremacy.
“This isn’t some colonial bureaucrat writing about his attempts to teach some ‘natives’ the English language in the nineteenth century, or a Victorian schoolmaster at some private institution describing a scholarship boy, it’s a ‘leftist’ writing a few weeks ago.”
So what is the solution then if leftism is just white supremacy?
“Where to go from here? It is first of all necessary to identify the features of the discourses and the desires which have led us to this grim and demoralising pass, where class has disappeared, but moralism is everywhere, where solidarity is impossible, but guilt and fear are omnipresent – and not because we are terrorised by the right, but because we have allowed bourgeois modes of subjectivity to contaminate our movement. I think there are two libidinal-discursive configurations which have brought this situation about. They call themselves left wing, but – as the Brand episode has made clear – they are many ways a sign that the left – defined as an agent in a class struggle – has all but disappeared.”
Notice he points out that desires as a foundation for political thought. I believe the same thing. However, for some odd reason, he has to attach “class” to “desires,” to make it feel as if he is a real socialist thinker. He makes sure to use the plural pronouns of “we” and “our movement.” …What “movement?” His movement? What feels like an attack on egalitarianism as a bait and switch becomes too obvious it’s an argument for liberal criticism instead against drone behavior. He tries to sound like Lacan, yet he uses the pseudo-Freudian language as a scapegoat to negate political praxis. According to the silly and goofy Dr. Nefario, we need to bring back the yellow minions because no one cares about the movie industry anymore.
Not once is the word “vampire” used to describe a bloodsucking gentleman. Fisher only describes a singular “vampire castle” without the context of what exactly is a “vampire.” Why is a “vampire castle” more dangerous than a normal castle?
“The first configuration is what I came to call the Vampires’ Castle. The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.”
Again with the interest in “desire.” There is no historical account of an actual vampire castle propagating guilt. For all I know, Fisher could have been artsy enough to say “Dr. Doom’s Den,” or “The Fisherman’s Cave.” Why did he choose “vampire?” He probably likes He-Man or Mighty Max, I don’t know. Likely it has to do with him trying to emulate Jean-François Lyotard’s crafty wordplay semantics of “Little Girl Marx,” but unfortunately does not translate well with the English. Fisher's coinage comes off as pretentious and random.
To assume that this is just an “academic’s pendant” or a “hipster desire to be one of the in-crowd” suggests that Fisher thinks of reality as being for twenty-something white kids. The adult world philosophy of Martin Heidegger or Gottlieb Frege does not register with Fisher and the only innocent reality for him is living in Neverland with Peter Pan. To strip all political and ethical interests to the subjective point if someone is into Oneohtrix Point Never is a horrible philosophy.
And why should we be against “heterosexism” as a leftist cause?
But no! You see, the He-Man playset makes you think you are going against it when in return, it enforces heterosexism!
This “castle” talk sounds a lot like the distortion of Eric S. Raymond’s “The Cathedral,” which was also lifted by one of his close associates, Nick Land. “Acid Communism” also reeks of the same cloning as “Acid Right,” which predates Fisher’s envious compromise. When the anti-left has a cooler and more exciting alternative against the state, Fisher has to make it kosher for his own “Now That’s What I Call Left!” rebranding. “You wanted Mitski this Christmas, but here’s Japanese Breakfast!” Even the “lost futures” terminology is rooted in some level of liberal individualism above all else. “You wanted this future so bad, but instead, you can create it through your art! You should be happy now!”
Things turn for the worse when Fisher writes this,
“The privilege I certainly enjoy as a white male consists in part in my not being aware of my ethnicity and my gender, and it is a sobering and revelatory experience to occasionally be made aware of these blind-spots. But, rather than seeking a world in which everyone achieves freedom from identitarian classification, the Vampires’ Castle seeks to corral people back into identi-camps, where they are forever defined in the terms set by dominant power, crippled by self-consciousness and isolated by a logic of solipsism which insists that we cannot understand one another unless we belong to the same identity group.”
Fisher admits he’s not “woke” like everyone else. The term “woke” started to appear in popular vernacular around 2017. So Fisher admits he was “woke” before everyone else woke from their sleep. Here again, Fisher admits a love for Faye’s concept of the “identitarian” without citation. Unfortunately, he twists it to mean Republican complaints around “identity politics” and something Dennis Prager would cry about. This “dominant power” was never hostile to begin with, nor was it “power” according to the Human Bio-Diversity advocate or Ethnopluralist. It’s also hypocritical that this “logic of solipsism” does not work for white people. You can be guilty for being a white male, just don’t have this logic that makes you belong to the same group. I’m sure African Americans or Chinese would like Fisher to explain to them why their own solipsism blocks them from understanding the floating He-Man playset in the sky.
“Castle” for Fisher just means “the state.” And what is a “vampire,” a bloodsucking entity, is some Chicken Soup For The Soul allegory for white yuppies who can’t get a job. This might as well be called “the state that hurts you.” It’s not Lyotard, folks.
And to give it that young adult reader’s edge,
“The Vampires’ Castle feeds on the energy and anxieties and vulnerabilities of young students, but most of all it lives by converting the suffering of particular groups – the more ‘marginal’ the better – into academic capital. The most lauded figures in the Vampires’ Castle are those who have spotted a new market in suffering – those who can find a group more oppressed and subjugated than any previously exploited will find themselves promoted through the ranks very quickly.”
That sounds like why the word “mental health” is popular with today’s dysfunctional middle class. So why “young students?” Why not “old students?” Is Fisher a homosexual? Does he like young boys? The state feeds into what young people want, and Fisher is here to tell you that’s not the real Neverland!
Has it ever occurred to the reader that Fisher is the state?
Fisher makes a simple liberal conclusion: “Stop feeding in your snowflake desires for the state, when you should feed your snowflake desires somewhere else!” The argument does not make sense and relies on a redistribution of the upper middle class to be polite and liberal yuppies rather than tardy ones who went into college debt. It’s like Jordan B. Peterson, but only worse.
In your best Kermit the Frog impression, say:
“Time to exit the vampire’s castle, bucko! Identity politics is killing your mental health. Those evil petit-bourgeois are destroying our society! It’s time to take it like a leftist and see a brighter future!”
Oh, the irony.
Why can’t we be proud to be race-realists? If someone is not afraid to say “black people are different than white people,” is that leaving the vampire castle too? Or is that “bourgeois” behavior? How can Fisher ever be sincere and guilt-free if he questions his identity as a white male?
…He did, after all, kill himself.
And here’s some more self-projection,
“It’s not surprising, then, that so many neo-anarchists come across as depressed. This depression is no doubt reinforced by the anxieties of postgraduate life, since, like the Vampires’ Castle, neo-anarchism has its natural home in universities, and is usually propagated by those studying for postgraduate qualifications, or those who have recently graduated from such study.”
How can he cite Jodi Dean and not call her a neo-anarchist? The hypocrisy is real.
“it is imperative to reject identitarianism…”
Ok, but WHO? Alain De Benoist? Explain. But of course, you won’t get that from him, because Fisher is playing dumb, or is actually dumb with his personal and pretentious neologians that let him chase his own tail. Fisher belongs to the same crowd of Korean racial nationalists who advocate the DPRK and believe that Korea is not united because of white-male-Asian-female that support the south, and its supposed “WMAF mind virus” that continues to downplay global comrades.
To further explain Fisher’s obsession with Lacan,
“…and to recognise that there are no identities, only desires, interests and identifications.”
But why does he want “Acid Communists” or a subcultural and self-identified left? Where is the sincerity in this? Is an Asiansexual desire against identity? What do you make of desires that become popular, and those desires which are unpopular? Wouldn’t that create congregations of supply and demand cycles of “natios,” or “nations” of identity? And how come is it that animals are ignored an identity when PETA believes animals have human rights? Stuart Hall supposedly went against “identitarianism,” yet I wonder why he’s black. Fisher fabricates evidence as personal theory.
I can go on about how a class is a part of the concept of identitarianism, but I am tired of this annoying feedback loop that Fisher is glitching under.
“We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for it by condemning and abusing each other. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must always agree – on the contrary, we must create conditions where disagreement can take place without fear of exclusion and excommunication. We need to think very strategically about how to use social media – always remembering that, despite the egalitarianism claimed for social media by capital’s libidinal engineers, that this is currently an enemy territory, dedicated to the reproduction of capital. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t occupy the terrain and start to use it for the purposes of producing class consciousness. We must break out of the ‘debate’ that communicative capitalism in which capital is endlessly cajoling us to participate in, and remember that we are involved in a class struggle. The goal is not to ‘be’ an activist, but to aid the working class to activate – and transform – itself. Outside the Vampires’ Castle, anything is possible.”
But what is “comradeship” or “solidarity” if it requires identity? We all know that profit in command is bad, as that is a universal truth. Fisher’s answer is obnoxious; everyone should become a YouTube liberal and debate. Everyone should shake hands and let a socialist marketplace happen where all ideas are plausible because it’s “left.” It’s even more sad that Fisher believes that Twitter can be used as another “culture war” tool for “class consciousness.” In other words, buy his books at Hot Topic. That’s exactly what a pro-capitalist libertarian would argue for!
Fisher continues to use communist semantics without understanding their sincerity of them. This is what Partisan Review and Telos Journal always wanted; a compatible left.
I highly recommend Caleb Maupin’s 2021 book, “BreadTube Serves Imperialism: Examining The New Brand of Internet Psuedo-Socialism.” I’m curious if Fisher would throw a pity party and cry that Maupin and his work never left the vampire castle.
In 2023, ten years later from Fisher’s proclamation, I believe his fanbase did in fact, leave the metaphorical “vampire castle,” only then to return to it. What did we get in return? Vaush. Thought Slime. ContraPoints. NonCompete. You name it.
And what about the “anti-woke left” that also left the castle? Do they count? No. But they should! Haz is the invention of Fisher’s dream for an anti-woke left, and now it’s too much to handle. And the whole “dirtbag left” thing that Amber Frost danced on about? Nope, not a chance. Dasha and Bronze Age Pervert kicked her to the side.
The truth is those who left just returned to the castle. They want to be in the castle because that’s the only reality they know. “The synthetic left” is what Fisher is referring to, not some Raymond-esque hacker-reactionary terminology.
My best guess is that Fisher is nothing more than an English agent meant to stir up confusion and trouble by pushing the belief that anti-capitalism is a fringe and crazy ersatz religion like Jehovah's Witnesses. Or, in all honestly, he couldn’t make it as an electronic musician, and double-down on the easy way out for easy money, exactly what Eugene Thacker did in New Jersey. Get a soft Phd, say a bunch of creative shit till a donor class uses it for their liberal propaganda.
No one left the Vampire’s Castle. Everyone is enjoying their time playing Ravenloft, and Fisher should have respected that.
Remember, get individual “consent” first!