J. Posadas, the Trotskyist Who Believed in Intergalactic Communism
Posadas (1912–1981) is one of the most famous – and ridiculed – of Trotskyists, notorious both for the cults he named after himself and his claim that UFOs were evidence of communist societies in other galaxies. Together with his belief that nuclear war might hasten the advent of communism (and his hopes that dolphins could be integrated into the new society), Posadas’s xenophilia has in recent years fed his legendarisation by countless meme pages, or even outright LARPing in the form of the Posadist Caucus in the Democratic Socialists of America.
For A.M. Gittlitz, author of a new book on J. Posadas, this ironic veneration of the Argentinian Trotskyist also has something to say about our political moment. In times in which it’s hard to believe in the future, Posadas’s wild optimism appears as a caricature of an earnestness and sheer sense of belief now almost lost to us. In his richly researched I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism, Gittlitz documents the more serious side of Posadas’s activism in postwar Latin American Trotskyism, while suggesting that even his strangest claims were not so detached from the UFOlogy of the time.
David Broder is the translator of J. Posadas’s Flying saucers, the process of matter and energy, science, the revolutionary and working-class struggle and the socialist future of mankind. He spoke to Gittlitz about Posadas’s interest in the extraterrestrial, his comrades’ involvement in the Cuban Revolution, and how he became an online legend.