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Incels of the world, unite! Presenting the not-so-glorious new science of Marxism-Incelism

By David Futrelle

A specter is haunting the IncelsWithoutHate subreddit, a specter who calls himself leftexincel, and he’s bringing with him the glorious science of Marxism.

Leftexincel, a former incel who now boasts that he’s had “a couple of girlfriends” whom he’s “had sex with on multiple occasions” showed up on Reddit’s main hangout for supposedly non-hateful incels last week to warn them of the dangers of losing their true selves in what he sees as a pointless quest “to obtain what is today arguably the most important form of social capital, a female companion … .”

The weird thing is that he kind of, sort of, has a point, or at least half of one. But in the end the small bits of truth in his critique become buried underneath a pile of bullshit. The problems isn’t really his turgid Marxist language — though this doesn’t help — but rather his lingering hatred of both himself and the women he’s apparently convinced to date him.

Leftexincel introduces himself as a “by no means very attractive” twentysomething who,

with an inhuman amount of effort, [has] ‘ascended’ to being a normie, with my own day job’s income and place, a halfway finished BA at a university, a couple of girlfriends (none higher than a ‘4’) and a current girlfriend I’ve had sex with on multiple occasions (also probably no higher than a ‘4’ or maybe ‘4.5’ if I asked the layman), all met at work and school.

Despite his newly-won status as a “normie,” and what he correctly calls “the ‘reactionary’ character of the online incel community,” leftexincel informs the IncelsWithoutHate crowd that

I highly sympathize with it and believe that it is the product of legitimate structural failures of modernity against men and that the cause lies in the increased social demand to be more than just an authentic individual and partner to a woman, but a full ‘product’ that needs to be valorizable as more than a partner but as a commodity and status object in general.

Here leftexincel is basically reiterating the old critique, articulated perhaps most clearly by sociologist David Riesman in the 1950s, that modern capitalism has transformed people from “inner-directed” characters, living according to moral codes, to “other directed” personalities more concerned with impressing others and fitting in. Back in the 50s, cultural critics complained about other-directed up-and-comers trying to curry favor by glad-handing at the office and holding well-attended dinner parties; today, the critics lament all those wannabe influencers building their brands on Instagram.

But leftexincel quickly loses the plot, insisting that, in our excessively materialistic world, money not only can buy you love but that you really can’t find love without it.

With the decline of old rigid patriarchal structures this subjectivity in relations has opened up but in a world where, increasingly, value must come from socioeconomic status, which can primarily be sold materially in the form of: disposable income or other forms of capital, a conformed physical appearance and outwardly matching confidence and (sexually enticing) personality; all elements that improve one’s ability to sell oneself and acquire the means to purchase others. 

Never mind that most poor people the world over end up finding love — and that some rich people never do.

Attraction is a financial transaction exchanged for either financial or social capital, and one must have both or be able to acquire either one with the other to succeed in obtaining intimacy.

Bullshit.

I strongly believe that ‘neurodivergent’ incels in reality fail to find intimacy because they would never want to sacrifice their authenticity for conformity, and that this is then communicated through a resentment of the object of desire (an authentic female companionship).

Close, but very much not it. He’s right about the resentment part, but he doesn’t realize how poisonous the incels; “authentic” selves are to begin with. To put it in Reisman’s terms: While excessive other-direction is both phony and manipulative and in the end rather shallow, incels tend to embrace a reductive form of inner direction, castigating women for not seeing their supposed sterling inner qualities and focusing instead on their supposedly sub-par physical features. What incels don’t realize, of course, is that the toxic attitudes they exude are the real turn-off, not their allegedly inferior bone structure.

Now leftexincel wants these resentful dudes to know that they won’t be happy even if they do finally manage, like him, to “ascend.”

I’m not much happier now that I’ve improved myself, but in effect that is the real problem: anyone can ‘ascend’ if they truly try hard enough, but it will never really fulfill any real needs … .

Well it won’t if you have that attitude, mister!

So why doesn’t leftexincel believe in life after love? (Sorry, Cher.) Is it because the relationships he’s stumbled into so far haven’t lived up his exaggerated hopes? Or that they were objectively shitty relationships? Is he resentful that the women he’s dated haven’t been as “hot” as he would like? That’s got to be at least part of it, given that he managed to bring up their allegedly worse-than-average looks of his various girlfriends twice in a single sentence.

Leftexincel follows this dispiriting take on love with the least-inspiring utopian vision I’ve seen in a long time:

My ideal would not so much be a world in which society itself coerces women to (once more) conform to being the guaranteed other to men (enforced monogamy, arranged marriage, social division in sex, etc.) … but rather a world in which propertied social capital is an impossibility and … sex and romance is then reduced purely to its own, non-vital element of life.

Well that’s rather depressing. There are people who live happy lives without sex or romance — because they honestly don’t desire those things. It’s considerably less healthy to abandon such things because you’ve basically given up in despair.

Essentially this means that for all intents and purposes incels are right about the present state of things, and do identify a problem, and are right when saying that, objectively, when one is an incel, there is little more to do than try to ‘looksmaxx’ or whatever oneself to be as close to a ‘normie’ as possible. And likewise I share the agreement that this is a decrepit state for a society to be in.

I’ll give him points for at least recognizing that returning to patriarchy would be both impossible and a bad thing for women. But I don’t think he’s going to win over many incels — or anyone else, for that matter — by proclaiming that the world sucks and love is an illusion and there’s pretty much noting we can do about it.

His message certainly didn’t win him many fans in the IncelsWithoutHate subreddit. One regular proclaimed that he’d

rather work my ass off and save some money so that I can finally go to Eastern Europe or Thailand on a sex vacation, and cope by indulging in all of my perverted fantasies, than live at the mercy of a benevolent communist state that would pretend to take care of all my material needs, in exchange for conformity of thought and abandoning my personal freedom … .

Another complained that under communism

the same Chad who used to bully us will be able to use his charisma to get elevated into Comrade Chad, worker’s council representative and valuable member of the party .. .

Meet the new Chad. Same as the old Chad.

For what it’s worth, leftexincel insists that the “the violent power fantasies” of Stalinists and other totalitarian communists

are just re-imaginings of their own particular resentment through a modern lens.

As far as he’s concerned,

any hypothetical future communism is guaranteed to have nothing to do with historical Stalinism in the slightest … .

But let’s set all that aside for the moment. Because in the end what undermines leftexincel’s critique isn’t so much its Marxism, which is somewhat attenuated to begin with. It’s that, to paraphrase his own rhetoric, leftexincel’s new science of Marxism-Incelism is basically little more than a re-imagining of the same old incel resentment through a quasi-Marxist lens. And that’s not very revolutionary at all.

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Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Well, at least this guy isn’t a “communist” in the sense of wanting to equally share the “resource” of women. That’s something I guess.

leftexincel
leftexincel
1 year ago

Hey there, I’m the OP of that thread, alias ‘exleftincel’.

First of all I’d like to thank whoever runs this blog for actually giving my post some attention and critique, much of which I agree with, though there are also some things I feel are read in my post that are interpreted improperly, which I may have been able to prevent.

First of all, the whole 0 to 10 scale rating women thing is something I don’t stand by at all. I purposely put the ‘ratings’ in quotation marks in an attempt to communicate the fact that I don’t abide by such ‘rating’ systems myself, and do not judge people by their appearance (besides myself, who I have always considered hideous not so much in physical appearance, but in my facial expressions, which I soberly always anticipate make me come across as freakish).

I also do not have any hatred of women and believe I have communicated that enough. My point was that modernity increasingly coerces women, just (but now also) like men, to valorize themselves in matters that lie beyond whatever authentic selves they may have otherwise exclusively had were they not, well, coerced into that in order to perform as optimally as possible on the market, and thus a better standing in their lives.

‘My’ vision of communism also doesn’t involve a collectivisation of women or some bizarre appropriation of their agency by men in order to ‘guarantee everyone pussy’. The situation communism would produce would precisely be one where romance becomes a freely pursuable endeavour, just like communism would make any endeavour an entirely autonomously decided upon decision, even the decision not to want to live anymore (capital penalizes suicide because it needs living labour to valorize, and cares most about the subsistence of individuals that prove most valorizable, while on the other hand feeling no impulse whatsoever to prevent suicide when the subject in question has proven not be valorizable in its eyes; or rather the eyes of the capitalist social relation in general, i.e on the societal level). More than anything I would like to strip society from all impulses that render love or efforts in love to be forced impulses and efforts, and have a society where it would only be a necessity insofar as one personally comes to consider it one and would thus labour to achieve it as such.

Finally, in my mind I did not present anything new in Marxism that would merit being dubbed a ‘Marxism-incelism’, but rather simply put the Marxist critique of social relations in the realm of the incel phenomenon. Surely, the first thing then I would certainly know I’m not perfectly versed in, though I read a lot of Marxist theory, is Marxist theory itself. I had already rejected the Stalinist falsifications Marxism is often presented as, and if anything it would be in historical Stalinism that patriarchal policy (‘Soviet New Man’ archetype, Stakhanovist and Udernici workerism and workerism in general, the introduction of the ‘nuclear’ family to accomodate State-led primitive accumulation in the USSR, etc.) was truly expressed.

I’m taking much of this critique in serious consideration and I would again like to thank this blog and its commenters for giving my post the time of day. For what it’s worth I would also like toassure you that I am highly content with my girlfriend and that, in spite of the fact that I see having my girlfriend as a real asset of social capital for me, I nonetheless love her for all she is and wish modernity didn’t treat the fact that I am in a relationship with her as a positive aspect for my ability to thrive and valorize myself in it.

Best regards,
leftexincel

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

So, it’s just meant to be a criticism of neoliberalism then?

(goes to get popcorn)

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I also do not have any hatred of women and believe I have communicated that enough.

Uh-huh.

I see having my girlfriend as a real asset of social capital for me

🤔

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

There is no such thing as non-misogynistic incel. You’re comfortable identifying with a misogynistic movement, you’re a misogynist.

IgnoreSandra
IgnoreSandra
1 year ago

Women aren’t a resource, not for sex, not for social capital, not for anything else. We’re equal people, and can’t be “redistributed”. To think we can be is itself misogynistic.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

even the decision not to want to live anymore (capital penalizes suicide because it needs living labour to valorize

Um, that you just brought this topic up out of left field is concerning. I know that during my depressive episodes that suicide starts to sound pretty good, but if you’re experiencing anything similar, please don’t listen to those thoughts. There’s help available out there. Please don’t die, not because you’re a useful cog in a capitalist machine, but because your life is precious and the only way that things can improve is if we stick around.

Now, that having been said…

The removal of the capitalist framework and the societal pressure to have a partner act as an object to increase one’s status (not to mention the removal of a standard of conventional attractiveness that is leveraged to enforce the purchase of a wide variety of consumer goods) will indeed allow for a wider range of relationships to be formed. Not to mention the effect that no longer needing to scrabble desperately for subsistence will have on people’s moods and ability to spend time with one another.

However, this shift still won’t help the incels. It may just make their situation worse, in fact, since there will (hypothetically) be even less patriarchal power available to them to coerce women into relationships.

Because even if there’s a massive culture shift that dissolves the alleged desire that women have for tall blond rich muscular chads, women still won’t want to date entitled, violent, hateful little turds that don’t even view women as fellow humans. That’s nothing to do with social capital, and everything to do with not being abused.