Nihilistic Socialism "Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos...” What is Nihilism? The nihilism in this entry is centered on a Russian breed of anti-government activism that wholly rejected the policies of Imperial Russia. As time went on, the movement began to speak against the authorities that ruled them, the government, the Church and the Tsar. Secret societies popped up all across Russia composed of indebted lawyers, resentful students, and zealous philosophers. After the government began to crack down on nihilist counterculture, the movement soon united under the idea that a revolution must happen no matter the cost. This led to a decade long era of political terrorism which resulted in multiple protests, bombings, revolts, and the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. What made them different from your everyday anarchist was their belief that norms and restrictions brought upon by society assisted in the oppression of human freedom. Like many other ideologies, it has gone through multiple interpretations by multiple philosophers from multiple groups, so we’ll try to generalize it as best as we can. Mikhail Bakunin, an anarchist activist believed that the nihilist movement contradicted the principles of anarchism. The main principle being that man should respect the liberty and humanity of his fellow man. The nihilists, on the other hand, had other notions. A common cry by nihilists was to proclaim their "hate of a great and holy hatred" regarding authority and aesthetics. Another key difference between nihilist and anarchist philosophies was utilitarianism, the belief that a society's main purpose is to maximize the happiness of its people. To create a society that will cater to the needs of the people, civilization must be rebuilt from within by any means necessary. Nihilists made utilitarianism a key feature of their philosophy, but how they interpreted it differed. Some students believed that uninhibited hedonism would be the path towards maximum pleasure. Others practiced asceticism and abstained from sensual pleasures in their quests to rebuild their minds. Revolutionaries such as Nikolay Chernyshevsky spread nihilism amongst the peasantry to intertwine the ideas of nihilism and revolutionary socialism. Chernyshevsky believed that Obshchinas, rural peasant communities should serve as a blueprint for a revolutionary Russia. He believed that these communities managed to prosper thanks to policies such as communal ownership and democratic governance. Soon, he would be praised by all sorts of people, from Marx, to Lenin, to (possibly) Ayn Rand. But none of them would be more affected than Sergey Nechayev, the fellow whose picture can be found above. Nechayev believed that the greatest obstacle preventing a utilitarian society was the inherent wants, conventions, and morals imbued in human nature. By studying the work of Machiavelli, he concluded that ruthless immorality was what allowed for total control of Russia by the church and the state. By that logic, the destruction of the Empire could only be achieved by a revolution led by an even more ruthlessly immoral leader. A revolutionary himself would need to become a truly dedicated man, rejecting mortal pleasures, ties to loved ones, and his old moral code. This was all done their minds would be consumed by one thought, the revolution. So basically, think them of Jedis that really, really hate the government. Nechayev married the ideas of Blanquism and Chernyshevsky’s writings, believing that a group of highly organized conspirators would be the ones to bring about the revolution. After infiltrating all levels of the government, from the army, to the law, to the bourgeoisie, they would lead the common people towards revolution and overthrow the said government. The revolution would be brought about by any means necessary, including violence and terrorism. After the fall of the old order, a Committee would be chosen to rebuild the nation, oversee workers councils, and abolish private property. Women would be given the freedom of mobility and the Obshchina would become the model of a new Russia. People would live in communal dormitories and feast in communal eating places, except those who refused to support the new government. Karl Marx wrote a brief essay criticizing Nechayev’s philosophy, calling it “barracks communism” and “purely a form of authoritarianism, overseen by regulating offices and an anonymous dictator in the form of a committee.” However, the students of Marx would soon rehabilitate Nechayev’s image during the Stalin era, praising his unyielding devotion for the revolution. To put it bluntly, a political nihilist wouldn’t be used to describe your Rick and Morty obsessed roommate who believes that all life is meaningless. A true nihilist would be your roommate who believes that the only thing worth living for is being a part of the movement that will see common prejudice, aesthetic morals, and the social order burnt to ashes. As Collectivist Goodies: After the revolution, the oppressive aesthetics of the Empire have been replaced by a greater moral order. An order that seeks to reform the government into an apparatus that serves the people and the people into loyal men who serve one another before themselves. Local worker's councils will have their policies and leaders decided by the ballot and the will of the people. The Committee itself will have its goals decided by the commune leaders but often resort to popular referendums. The constitution has been lovingly crafted to ensure that the people will be given as much freedom as possible, without threatening their greater happiness. From a young age, children are taught to treat their fellow countryman as brothers and sisters. The citizens spend their lives by the side of their fellow countrymen, working for the greater good of their fellow countrymen. Prejudice in sexual and racial forms is frowned upon in the nation where all men are born equal. The nation has converted towards agarian socialism, but industry is accepted as a means to improve the happiness of the people. Private property, a concept which turned society against pursuing maximum happiness has been abolished. The masses live full, content lives, knowing that their deeds have been done so that their nation may prosper long after their deaths. As Individualist Goodies: The communes of the post-revolution have become quite a pleasant place. After the overthrow of the Tsar, the communes have begun to drift apart as populist, reformist, and religious ideologies became more and more common. Now, they have become a loose confederation of agarian communes, free from the influence of some autocratic leader. Private property and industry have been abolished in exchange for a nation of democratic rural communities. The communes have become remarkably tolerant of outsiders and other ideologies, welcoming both with open arms. In the event of an ideological split or a disagreement, the commune leaders will solve it through a popular referendum. In the event of a famine, the other communes will do their best to help their fellow countrymen during these desperate times. Oppressive and authoritarian aesthetics have been eliminated during the revolution, and the people are free to practice their freedom of love and speech. Children are raised to reject the backward notions that allowed for the rise of the bloody Tsar and are instead encouraged to pursue personal freedom and pleasure. In the Land of Do-as-you-please, the people are wholly content, with nothing but full bellies and sunny skies for years to come. As Collectivist Baddies: The Tsar has died decades ago, but the revolution continues on. It is the revolution against reactionaries, infiltrators, and aesthetics. It is a revolution that will see a new nation born from the ashes of triumph. The nihilistic state is Orwell's nightmare given life, with a faceless Committee ruling over the masses. The intelligentsia are focused on purging reactionary industrial aesthetics from language, culture, and society with a fervor that would make Pol Pot proud. Ancient aesthetics such as religion, culture, and family have no purpose in a nihilist society, serving as distractions from the revolution. Children are only born to rid the mind of sexual desire and to provide new revolutionaries for the next generation. The youth are raised in schools, where they will learn from a young age to cast aside personal attachments and private interests in the name of the revolution. They are crowded into gloomy barracks where they will live, work, and die amongst their brothers and sisters. Every so often a few "traitors" and "spies" will be found by the government and are sentenced to die by the hands of the people. Lynch mobs parade the streets as the people release their anger, their loathing, their resentment onto some poor unfortunate souls. In short, it is a nation which sustains itself on hate. Hate has become its lifeblood, its mother's milk, the very essence which gives it life. Because after all, what is a revolution without an enemy? As Individualist Baddies: They say that the only thing separating man from beast is law and order. In that case, the country has become a savage jungle. Every so often, a revolution wracks the nation to its core, overthrowing the communes, and building a new government, waiting to be overthrown. If the leader fails to amass enough followers to fight the revolution, then he has lost the support of the people and will be sentenced by the new government. While the first couple of years were quite bloody, the country has stabilized into a series of communal city-states. These communes resemble a series of agarian GULAGs, working its people to death in an attempt to outcompete their rivals. Meanwhile, the revolutionary committee presides over it all having remained true to the nihilist belief that all people if mistreated, should be free to rise against the social order. Their soldiers remain on the sidelines while militias fight against one another in their own revolutions unless national security is threatened. Famines and starvation is an everyday part of life, with most people dependent on black markets for survival. Radicals, demagogues, and fanatics have begun their own revolutions before facing a guillotine. Hell, even some nutjob claiming to be Genghis Khan took over for a while. Yes, the world may balk at them, but in a savage jungle, the fittest survive and the weak die. Neutrals: The neutered committee is constantly divided as the members constantly bicker with one another on policies regarding land distribution, communal living, and direct democracy. For the people, voting is mostly a formality to show loyalty to one's political faction. Hunger strikes and labor movements have broken out across the country as the people wish for an end to this constant deadlock. The attempted ruralization of the country has been met with some resistance from the bourgeoisie, unwilling to hand over their property, and the peasantry, angered by the recent socially liberal policies. The nation has become a bleak place fraught with nothing but stagnation, radicalism, and social upheaval for years to come.