UFOs and revolution: J. Posadas' crazy story of the socialist galaxies
The legendary Trotskyist was known for his delusional ideas about communist aliens and an enemy of Castro. His movement, "Posadism," has re-emerged in times of pandemic.
The Argentinean J. Posadas -his real name was Homero Cristalli, "Posadas" was more like the collective entity to which he gave life- has been a very well known character in the memesphere since 2010, when all kinds of memes began to circulate around his most picturesque ideas about the communist utopia, especially in connection with UFOs. The Argentinean not only believed in them, but was also convinced that they were proof that there were civilizations more advanced than ours in the outer space. Of course, of a socialist nature. Revolutionary aliens.
However, for A. M Gittlitz, author of I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism, beyond the delirious prophecies of the leader of a movement that the Trotskyists themselves considered a madman, Posadas' life and ideas not only refer us to the most tragic history of socialism in Latin America, but are more timely than ever in a period like ours, where uncertainty has given rise to all sorts of conspiracies and wild catastrophism.
After learning about their history, perhaps they would like, as I do, for Netflix to produce a documentary about their delirious utopia that is still alive on the Internet.
This is how the crazy history of the galaxies through a socialist lens begins.
J. Posadas is often taken as a sinister ascetic. Before becoming a political activist, he wanted to be a footballer, but before that he was just a poor, orphaned boy with nine siblings who lived through malnutrition and begging in Argentina. For this reason, said Gittlitz, he was left with the idea that one had to be austere to fight capitalism.
So much so, that after joining the Socialist Workers' Party's Trotskyist branch, some of his comrades began to consider him a maniac. Especially because as he moved up the ranks in the party, his unique routines took over. Among them was the idea that non-reproductive sex had no place in the socialist struggle and that sexual desire would vanish, as would jokes, after the revolution because of technology.
The Argentinean's essay on Marxist UFOs, "Flying Saucers", was published in 1968 in Spanish and in 2012 in English.
But among all the crazy theories he is credited with, there was one that was not his own, but Dante Minazzoli's - the other half of that entity called "Posadas" and the main believer in life on other planets. With Minazzoli, Homer Cristalli founded a small Trotskyist circle in Argentina in the 1940s -the time of the Roswell incident and when many UFO sightings were reported in the country. Together, they began to address the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Two decades later, when the Trotskyists denied him leadership of the Fourth International, Posadas lit a fuse for his revolutionary morality and wrote his now-famous essay on intergalactic communism -a socialist utopia in the stars that was coming to Earth. The UFOs were his proof.
Although the Argentine Posadistas played a relevant role in the Cuban Revolution, they did so more as supporters of Che than of Fidel, who, especially after the Bay of Pigs invasion, severely rebuked the Trotskyists. The latter did not agree with Cuba's radical posture towards the United States -the USSR was in favor of "peaceful coexistence." In fact, if Posadas and Che agreed on anything, it was that nuclear war could be "a necessary disease" to destroy capitalism and start their new communist utopia.
"[The Posadistas] saw his conception of the foco guerrilla cell as a third-world variant of the Soviet workers’ council. Posadas experimented with this idea in Guatemala, where he became the ideological figurehead of the MR-13 rebels, pushing them to form armed revolutionary peasant councils," said A. M Gittlitz.
He added: "When Guevara resigned from the government and disappeared, the Posadists wrote that Castro, under pressure from the Soviets, had killed him," but his body was found a year later in Bolivia and Posadas called it a "forgery."
Things began to take an even more messianic and sectarian turn in the 1970s. J. Posadas had to go into exile in Rome to escape Uruguayan repression and it was during this exile that his utopia was forged in a real way. His followers -most of them, the author points out, had not even read Marx- became acolytes and J. Posadas' texts turned into apocalyptic revelations that spoke about the advent of a new society in which even the dolphins would have a leading role.
While the Fourth Posadist International once had more than 15 member parties around the world, now there are only a few supporters left and only one political party in the Revolutionary Workers Party of Uruguay.
" One way to read the Posadist memes, in the absence of a potential world war between communism and capitalism, is that 'we're screwed, give up nuclear weapons, get it over with."
Most socialists will say of Posadas that it was a joke, an absolute ridicule, if not a puppet show from the past. But his shadow is cast from that distant Roman exile, where he died in 1981, onto the Internet.
About ten years ago, memes began circulating on the net with his ideas about the longed-for nuclear catastrophe that would destroy capitalism or his eccentric idyll with the dolphins. His essay on the Trotskyist UFOs was even translated into English in 2012. A phenomenon that has produced, according to Gittlitz, that Posadas' character rivals in popularity that of Trotsky himself in Google searches. But why?
"For decades, Posadas was like a funhouse mirror at which sectarian leftists would laugh at their own distorted image. The humor around Posadas today is totally different. The people who are into the memes aren’t mocking a strange sect of Trotskyism, or Trotskyism in general, or Leninism in general, but the entirety of the failed revolutionary socialist tradition, " concluded Gittlitz, who had set out to write a trilogy on illuminati sects with Posada as the background.
"One way of reading the Posadist memes, in the absence of a potential world war between communism and capitalism, is that 'we're screwed, put down your nuclear weapons, get it over with," he wrote.