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The Socialism/Communism Discussion Thread

socialism communism Marxism MLM anarchism leftism class war dialectical materialism USSR Stalin

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431 replies to this topic

#21
joe00uk

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^^^ Well, I am sorry if my posts have caused you flashbacks of whatever traumatic experiences that you suffered while reading the works of Sir Conquest.  

Is this you trying to troll?

 

I do feel it noteworthy to point out how many of my sources are from the east of folk well acquainted with Marxist theory. For the purposes of this discussion, I count Poland as being of the east (Deutscher and Kolakowski).  Bukharin was a communist who at one point vied with Stalin for leadership of the Soviet Union. Ditto Trotsky.  When Kruschev gave his speech, he was in the process of consolidating his leadership of the USSR.  I doubt that any of these individuals were MI5 operatives.   

Just because they're well acquainted with Marxist theory, that doesn't mean they're psychic visionaries into the past who are totally infallible. Again, this whole thing of "Oh look they have met the two requirements: 1. They vied with Stalin for power and 2. They were purged - this undoubtedly means the two are linked" - no, not necessarily. You don't need to be an MI5 operative to produce lies about Stalin. Like I said, just because Khrushchev says it doesn't mean its true. A lot of people just use him as evidence for the "crimes of Stalin" despite the lack of actual evidence outside of his speech. Khrushchev was also a revisionist anyway and had a relatively petty-bourgeois outlook on politics. He had his own motives. 

 

As for PhoenixRu's explanation, his chart shows that the number of political prisoners during the time frame it covers fluctuated between 104,826 to 578,912.  Even if you accept those numbers as accurate, and I have no basis at this point to challenge them, that still amounts to a regime that was highly repressive. Toward what end?

He didn't just provide a chart. There's another post earlier on. The research by Viktor Zemskov, whom he cites, indicates that only 2.5% of the Soviet population were victims of *any kind* of repression. Most were unaware it was going on, that's if I recall correctly from the post. 

 

In his speech, Kruschev is also critical of Trotsky and Bukharin.  Trotsky and Bukharin were also rivals to each other.  The one thing that all  of these sources seem to agree on is the dictatorial nature of Stalin, and the opportunistic nature that allowed him to rise to power. Given the cynical and self-serving nature of Stalin's methods, it is difficult to believe that only he truly channeled the Marxist-Leninist spirit, or that if he did, that it can be taken as anything but a severe condemnation of Marxist-Lenist methods. The one defense that does seem open to Marxist-Leninists is that Lenin's testament warnings regarding Stalin should have been taken more seriously.

Khrushchev's speech and quotations from Bukharin shouldn't directly be used as actual evidence for political repressions in the USSR in the 1930s. "Cynical, self-serving nature of Stalin's methods" - what? Building thousands of schools, hospitals, libraries, etc, is "cynical and self serving"? I never said Stalin was absolutely perfect, by the way, there are criticisms of him any good Marxist-Leninist should have, but this doesn't mean we should accept any old source that demonises him "because totalitarianism" or whatever.

 

At any rate, while the rest of us wait for what will undoubtedly be a rapid response from you to these point, I thought that by way of the link below, I would bring in a musical interlude for our entertainment.  Please forgive the bourgeois commercials that have to be waded throught to get to that entertainment.

Lol okay. :p


"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#22
Logically Illogical.

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*sigh*

 

I wonder why humans incessantly quarrel on about politics.


De chacun selon ses facultés, à chacun selon ses besoins.


#23
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#24
joe00uk

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*sigh*

 

I wonder why humans incessantly quarrel on about politics.

Actually, caltrek and I are having a good debate. It's not the same thing as just a "quarrel".


  • caltrek likes this

"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#25
caltrek

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Is this you trying to troll?

 

 

Perhaps. Still, it seems to have helped you to understand my point as you demonstrate here:

 

 

Just because they're well acquainted with Marxist theory, that doesn't mean they're psychic visionaries into the past who are totally infallible. Again, this whole thing of "Oh look they have met the two requirements: 1. They vied with Stalin for power and 2. They were purged - this undoubtedly means the two are linked" - no, not necessarily. You don't need to be an MI5 operative to produce lies about Stalin. Like I said, just because Khrushchev says it doesn't mean its true. A lot of people just use him as evidence for the "crimes of Stalin" despite the lack of actual evidence outside of his speech. Khrushchev was also a revisionist anyway and had a relatively petty-bourgeois outlook on politics. He had his own motives. 

 

 

 

Ok, finally you have got Conquest out of your system and we are focusing on other sources I have provided.

 

So lets look at your rebuttal in more depth:

 

 

Just because they're well acquainted with Marxist theory, that doesn't mean they're psychic visionaries into the past who are totally infallible

 

This is a little confusig in that "pyschic visionaries" normally have visons of the future not the past.  It may be necessary for you to believe in Stalin's total infallibilty in regards to his relations with his contemporarires, but it is not necessary for me to believe in their total infallibility.

 

 

Again, this whole thing of "Oh look they have met the two requirements: 1. They vied with Stalin for power and 2. They were purged - this undoubtedly means the two are linked"

 

Linked only in the sense that their assessments coroborated each other. One thing they did agree upon was Stalin's opportunism. Anopportunism that I would maintain was quite cynical in nature.

 

 no, not necessarily. You don't need to be an MI5 operative to produce lies about Stalin.

 

 

True. But this in and of itself says nothing about whether they lied.

 

 Like I said, just because Khrushchev says it doesn't mean its true

 

 

Yet Khruschev's statements again corroborate Trotksy and Bukharin on some key points, even as he hastens to distance himself form those two on other matters.

 

A lot of people just use him as evidence for the "crimes of Stalin" despite the lack of actual evidence outside of his speech.

 

 

Yet we have that haunting statistic of a range of 104,826 to 578,912 political prisoners each year, depending on the year in question.  A statistic you seem to agree is valid.  Is that not evidence "outside of his speech"?

 

He didn't just provide a chart. There's another post earlier on. The research by Viktor Zemskov, whom he cites, indicates that only 2.5% of the Soviet population were victims of *any kind* of repression. Most were unaware it was going on, that's if I recall correctly from the post. 

 

 

 

Again "only" 2.5%?

 

We are to accept that the imposition of a Marxist-Leninist society will result in the repression of 2.5% of the population. 

 

I know you hate novellas, particularly those by Gearge Orwell, but think of 1984.  The victim/protagist in that novel belonged to an elite, an elite that in turn ran the government. Control that elite through repression (or an associated threat of oppression) and you control government. Control the government and you control society.  I suggest that was the essence of Stalin's dictatorial technique of control.

 

Khrushchev's speech and quotations from Bukharin shouldn't directly be used as actual evidence for political repressions in the USSR in the 1930s

 

 

Of course, Only Stalin's opinions should count.  *Rolls eyes*

 

 

Building thousands of schools, hospitals, libraries, etc, is "cynical and self serving"?

 

Stalin did not do that, it is the workers who did the building.  What was "cynical and self-serving" was his method of gaining and holding power.

 

 

I never said Stalin was absolutely perfect, by the way, there are criticisms of him any good Marxist-Leninist should have, but this doesn't mean we should accept any old source that demonises him "because totalitarianism" or whatever.

 

It is not any old source. It is a wide variety of sources.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#26
caltrek

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Speaking of sources, I am getting a little tired of doing all of the heavy lifting in regards to the introduction of sources and evidence.  All I get for you is a whining and complaining about the "biases" of the sources I use. The exception being Zemskov, who was first introduced by PhoenixRu who indicated that he was "defending not Stalin".  So if PhoenixRu is not defending Stalin, then why are you?

 

At any rate, if you are so dissatisfied with my evidence, or with what you might consider my lack thereof, then why don't you introduce some evidence of your own?  

 

At least then I can get a feel for what you consider to be legitmate "evidence".

 

Hopefully, it will be more than just quotes form Uncle Joe.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#27
joe00uk

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Speaking of sources, I am getting a little tired of doing all of the heavy lifting in regards to the introduction of sources and evidence.  All I get for you is a whining and complaining about the "biases" of the sources I use. The exception being Zemskov, who was first introduced by PhoenixRu who indicated that he was "defending not Stalin".  So if PhoenixRu is not defending Stalin, then why are you?

 

At any rate, if you are so dissatisfied with my evidence, or with what you might consider my lack thereof, then why don't you introduce some evidence of your own?  

 

At least then I can get a feel for what you consider to be legitmate "evidence".

 

Hopefully, it will be more than just quotes form Uncle Joe.

I already did in the 2016 thread (at least, for two of them)?...

 

Anyway, I can repeat them here: Getty, Ritterspom, and Zemskov, “Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence” http://sovietinfo.tr...enal_System.pdf

 

Hellmut Andics, “Rule of Terror”

 

 Amy Knight, “Beria, Stalin’s First Lieutenant” http://www.ucis.pitt...4-08-Knight.pdf

 
Robert Thurston, “Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia”
 
Douglas Tottle, "Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard"
 
Stephen Wheatcroft, “More Light on the Scale of Repression and Excess Mortality in the Soviet Union in the 1930s” http://ebooks.cambri...80511626012A025
 
Sarah Davies, “Popular Opinion in Stalin’s Russia” http://books.google....wgC&redir_esc=y
 
John Arch Getty, “Origins of the Great Purges” http://books.google....A4C&redir_esc=y
 
Edwin Bacon, “The Gulag at War: Stalin’s Forced Labour System in the Light of the Archives”
 
I refrain from citing Grover Furr, I hear he's not too reliable a source, also, he denies that Stalin did *anything* wrong at all - which of course I vehemently disagree with. I just think Stalin's net effect on the world was positive.

"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#28
caltrek

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@joe00uk,

 

Gosh, these are some really ringing endorsements of Stalin that you have brought forth.

 

From:

 

http://www.ucis.pitt...4-08-Knight.pdf

 

 

In Stalin’s development a complex interaction of cultural and familial experiences contributed to a deeply neurotic, paranoid personality, alienated and out of touch with normal human emotions

 

 

From:

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Origins_of_the_Great_Purges.html?id=R5zx54LB-A4C&hl=en

 

 

 

Avoiding the usual concentration on Stalin's personality, the author puts forth the controversial hypothesis that the Great Purges occurred not as the end product of a careful Stalin plan, but rather as the bloody but ad hoc result of moscow's incremental attempts to centralise political power

 

 

What I have described is not in conflict with the idea that the purges were "the bloody but ad hoc result of Moscow's incremental attempts to cdntralize power".  In fact, it was the bloodines of it all that has been a main theme of mine.

 

 

Then there is:

 

http://sovietinfo.tripod.com/GTY-Penal_System.pdf

 

This source is in regards to the argument regarding number of victims. My beef here is the “only” nature of the conclusions as to what the actual numbers were, not a straight forward dispute of those numbers.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#29
PhoenixRu

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To Caltrek.

 

The problem with your "even other commies told how bad Stalin was" sources is that they are all either comes from his direct rivals in fight for power (Trotsky, Bukharin...) and their followers (Isaac Deutscher) or from Khrushchev - once the loyal Stalin's follower, who tried to discredit and demonize "stalinism" later, for purely political reasons, to get rid of remained "stalinists" which could challenge his newly acquired power... it's not a good idea to judge some politician basing on memoirs of his political enemies. In case of Trotsky and Bukharin, there was also a personlal hate. Both were the refined intellectuals & deeply despised the "rude and half-educated upstart" Stalin. Initially, they couldn't even imagine him as serious competitor & later expressed their butthurt in memoirs.

 

Even if you accept those numbers as accurate, and I have no basis at this point to challenge them, that still amounts to a regime that was highly repressive.

 

Well, these were the harsh times... I'm damn sure if they (Trotsky or Bukharin... and especially Trotsky) came to power instead of Stalin, this score wasn't any less.


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--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

"And the Russian land, let God keep it! Under heavens, there is no other land like this. And although Russian nobles are not righteous neither kind, let God arrange the Russian land and give us enough justice" - Afanasy Nikitin, medieval traveler of XV century.


#30
joe00uk

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@caltrek:
"Gosh, these are some really ringing endorsements of Stalin that you have brought forth."
They're not necessarily supposed to be "endorsements" as such. You would only ever find them from specifically Marxist-Leninist sources, which you would never trust.

"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#31
caltrek

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To Caltrek.

 

The problem with your "even other commies told how bad Stalin was" sources is that they are all either comes from his direct rivals in fight for power (Trotsky, Bukharin...) and their followers (Isaac Deutscher) or from Khrushchev - once the loyal Stalin's follower, who tried to discredit and demonize "stalinism" later, for purely political reasons, to get rid of remained "stalininsts" which could challenge his newly acquired power... it's not a good idea to judge some politician basing on memoirs of his political enemies. In case of Trotsky and Bukharin, there was also a personlal hate. Both were the refined intellectuals & deeply despised the "rude and half-educated upstart" Stalin. Initially, they couldn't even imagine him as serious competitor & later expressed their butthurt in memoirs.

 

 

 

What I object to in your post is the way you and Joe have whittled down what are acceptable sources.  Western sources should be discounted because...well they are western.  Trotsky, Bukharin and their followers should be discounted because they were opponents of Stalin.  So, only Marxists-Leninists who think that Stalin was the one true believer are valid sources.  Using that apporach, of course Stalin is going to end up looking good.

 

You may be right about how Trotsky and Bukharin looked down upon and thereby underestimated Stalin.  Still, to me that all illustrates the weakness of the Marxist-Leninist approach as embraced by Trotsky, Bukharin and Stalin.  This endless debating about who is the true believer.  In this, ideological purity becomes more important than the plight of the workers and the taking of actions to improve their plight. Marxist-Leninists have nobody to blame but their previous leaders in being distrusted.  From Stalin's purges of other leaders of the revolution to the forming of tremporary alliances with other leftists with an eye to one day removing those other leftists from the scene.  With that philosophy at their core, how can any alliance with Marxist-Leninists be treated as anything less than problematic?

 

In the U.S. this led to nearly endless sectarian splits and to the discrediting of those on the left who at least initially supported the revolution in Russia. That extremism of the left also led to a justification of extremism on the right.  That extremism on the right was not by any means justified, but arguing against it became more problematic. 

 

Democratic socialism seeks to put those problems behind us.  It tolerates opposing opinions and does not demand a one-party system. Persuasion is accented in importance and the idea that power only flows from the barrel of a gun is discredited.  With that re-definition of socialism, one arrives at a socialism that is far more palatable to the sensibilities of the American public, not to mention the European public.  Ironically, this renders Marxist-Leninism utopian, while socialism becomes the rightful and effective heir of those on the left.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#32
joe00uk

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What I object to in your post is the way you and Joe have whittled down what are acceptable sources.  Western sources should be discounted because...well they are western.  Trotsky, Bukharin and their followers should be discounted because they were opponents of Stalin.  So, only Marxists-Leninists who think that Stalin was the one true believer are valid sources.  Using that apporach, of course Stalin is going to end up looking good.

No, among my source citations were plenty of Westerners... it's just I would doubt the ones that take the line similar to Conquest. Discrediting Trotsky and Bukharin isn't because they were "opponents of Stalin", it was more than that - they actually competed with him for power and, to co-opt PhoenixRu's words, got "butthurt" when they lost. 

 

You may be right about how Trotsky and Bukharin looked down upon and thereby underestimated Stalin.  Still, to me that all illustrates the weakness of the Marxist-Leninist approach as embraced by Trotsky, Bukharin and Stalin.  This endless debating about who is the true believer.  In this, ideological purity becomes more important than the plight of the workers and the taking of actions to improve their plight. Marxist-Leninists have nobody to blame but their previous leaders in being distrusted.  From Stalin's purges of other leaders of the revolution to the forming of tremporary alliances with other leftists with an eye to one day removing those other leftists from the scene.  With that philosophy at their core, how can any alliance with Marxist-Leninists be treated as anything less than problematic?

There's this annoying tendency among many on the left to reduce the issue of ideological struggle within leftism down to "a popularity contest" over whose favourite dead leader was the best. This is ignorance and an anti-materialist "great man" interpretation of struggle and history. The debate isn't over "dead leaders", but over the political lines that such leaders represented. Just because one leader dies doesn't mean we go back to square 1 and pretend these debates never happened and are no longer relevant. They will remain relevant so long as imperialist capitalism and the proletarian revolutionary struggle exist. Lenin and Kautsky, Stalin and Trotsky, Mao and Khrushchev, Hoxha and Tito are all long dead, but the things they talked about back then are still relevant. Nothing has changed on a fundamental level. We're still engaged in the same struggle they were engaged in 50 or 100 years ago. Monopoly capitalism still rules and the proletariat still struggles against it, still struggles for socialism and communism. Within the communist movement, the struggle between revolutionary and opportunist political lines, the struggle over how to make revolution and what revolution even is, still takes place. These are not trivial issues. In fact the stakes are extremely high, as high as they were 50 and 100 years ago. Perhaps even higher now that capitalism is destroying the ecosystem and the need to end capitalism is more urgent than ever. Therefore the debates between leftists over the last century are still entirely relevant. The notion that we should all just bury the hatchet and pretend there are no significant differences between us any more, forget the debates of the past and all the victories and defeats that made Marxism what it is, is an invitation to revisionism and opportunism, which kills revolution more thoroughly than any imperialist bombs. As the famous saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. If we fail to learn from the history of the communist movement, and dismiss it as nothing more than "a bunch of dead guys arguing a century ago", then we doom ourselves to repeating the errors they learned from and corrected back then. If we want to make revolution, defeat capitalism, defeat imperialism, build socialism and communism, and prevent counter-revolution once we do so, then it is not only correct but absolutely essential that we learn from the past, learn the history of Marxism, learn from the victories and defeats and mistakes and corrections in the history of the communist movement, and not dismiss it as just "a bunch of dead men". Oh, and which leftists has Marxism-Leninism made alliances with and then "suddenly" betrayed, without any good reason?

 

Democratic socialism seeks to put those problems behind us.  It tolerates opposing opinions and does not demand a one-party system. Persuasion is accented in importance and the idea that power only flows from the barrel of a gun is discredited.  With that re-definition of socialism, one arrives at a socialism that is far more palatable to the sensibilities of the American public, not to mention the European public.  Ironically, this renders Marxist-Leninism utopian, while socialism becomes the rightful and effective heir of those on the left.

The capitalist version of "democracy", where people get to vote to choose which candidate gets to represent the ruling class for a few years, where all parties represent the top layer of society and none represent the masses, where policies remain essentially the same, with minor little tweaks but nothing more, no matter who occupies the top office. The fact is, a state with a single party that represents the masses is more democratic than a state with a hundred parties that represent a small, parasitic exploiting class. Marxism-Leninism is far from utopian - it's a scientific philosophy, based on materialism. 

"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#33
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An important essay on Socialism by none other than Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is the world-famous physicist. This article was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949). It was subsequently published in May 1998 to commemorate the first issue of MR‘s fiftieth year.

—The Editors

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called “the predatory phase” of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: “Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?”

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept “society” means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is “society” which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished—just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human being which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society. Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly-centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time—which, looking back, seems so idyllic—is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.

http://monthlyreview.../why-socialism/

#34
caltrek

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Joee00uk said: No, among my source citations were plenty of Westerners... it's just I would doubt the ones that take the line similar to Conquest.

 

Another traumatic flashback concerning Conquest?  :closetema:

 

 

Joee00uk said: Discrediting Trotsky and Bukharin isn't because they were "opponents of Stalin", it was more than that - they actually competed with him for power and, to co-opt PhoenixRu's words, got "butthurt" when they lost. 

 

 

They  didn't just get "butthurt", they lost their lives because of the encounter.

 

It is one thing to “discredit” them in the sense of concluding that they were wrong on a few points, it is entirely another to then throw in the trash can everything they said, observed, predicted, and in the case of Trotsky, saved as evidence.  This is especially the case when such observations have been corroborated both by non-Marxist-Leninist scholars as well as by the leaders of the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death. Further, if you continue to insist that these sources offer nothing but biased opinions not supported by evidence, then I suggest you read at least the second book Deutscher’s trilogy. It is an evaluation of the era in question with footnotes as to sources, including Trotsky’s archives.  

 

 

Joee00uk said: There's this annoying tendency among many on the left to reduce the issue of ideological struggle within leftism down to "a popularity contest" over whose favorite dead leader was the best. This is ignorance and an anti-materialist "great man" interpretation of struggle and history. The debate isn't over "dead leaders", but over the political lines that such leaders represented. Just because one leader dies doesn't mean we go back to square 1 and pretend these debates never happened and are no longer relevant. They will remain relevant so long as imperialist capitalism and the proletarian revolutionary struggle exist. Lenin and Kautsky, Stalin and Trotsky, Mao and Khrushchev, Hoxha and Tito are all long dead, but the things they talked about back then are still relevant. Nothing has changed on a fundamental level.

 

Leaving Trotsky to one side (and possible Kautsky who I am not familiar with) all these leaders were replaced by systems which, as far as I can tell, you condemn as “revisionist” or are in some way deeply unsatisfactory to you. Shouldn’t we ask the question: why is that so?  Why did all these single party Marxist-Leninist systems fall apart or otherwise get replaced by such “revisionist” systems? 

I would present the argument that it precisely because there is something about a one-party Marxist-Leninist system which leads to and becomes dependent upon strong arm dictators. That once these dictators pass away, sooner or later they are replaced by something that is no longer “purely” Marxist-Leninist. That the new leaders that take their place decide that there is some virtue to a mixed system of public/private ownership after all. That we should think twice about concluding that all of these succeeding leaders are wrong.

 

 

Joee00uk said: We're still engaged in the same struggle they were engaged in 50 or 100 years ago. Monopoly capitalism still rules and the proletariat still struggles against it, still struggles for socialism and communism.

 

 

As I tried to argue in the other thread, democratic processes and the attainment of universal suffrage is not wholly a matter of a completely capitalist dominated system.  Such suffrage represents an accomplishment of the left that should be built upon, not swept aside.

 

 

As I tried to argue in the other thread, democratic processes and the attainment of universal suffrage is not wholly a matter of a completely capitalist dominated system.  Such suffrage represents an accomplishment of the left that should be built upon, not swept aside.

 

 

If we accept my premise that democratic processes are desirable, then that really begs for the question as to whether a “revolution” is either needed or desirable. At least we need to carefully describe what the nature of that revolution would be, what it would preserve and what it would overthrow.

 

 

Joee00uk said: These are not trivial issues. In fact the stakes are extremely high, as high as they were 50 and 100 years ago. Perhaps even higher now that capitalism is destroying the ecosystem and the need to end capitalism is more urgent than ever.

 

Certainly those elements within the capitalist system that are destroying the ecosystem need to be replaced or modified so as to prevent further destruction. That ought to be a premise behind which we can rally a majority within our respective societies

 

 

Joee00uk said: Therefore the debates between leftists over the last century are still entirely relevant. The notion that we should all just bury the hatchet and pretend there are no significant differences between us any more, forget the debates of the past and all the victories and defeats that made Marxism what it is, is an invitation to revisionism and opportunism, which kills revolution more thoroughly than any imperialist bombs.

 

Well my argument has been that the supreme example of opportunism was in fact Stalin.

 

Joee00uk said: As the famous saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. If we fail to learn from the history of the communist movement, and dismiss it as nothing more than "a bunch of dead guys arguing a century ago", then we doom ourselves to repeating the errors they learned from and corrected back then.

 

 

Yes, and this is why I agree that this debate is an important one to have.

 

 

Joee00uk said: If we want to make revolution,

 

Yes, but should we want to “make a revolution”?

 

Joee00uk said: defeat capitalism, defeat imperialism, build socialism and communism, and prevent counter-revolution once we do so, then it is not only correct but absolutely essential that we learn from the past, learn the history of Marxism, learn from the victories and defeats and mistakes and corrections in the history of the communist movement, and not dismiss it as just "a bunch of dead men".

 

 

I have no problem here, as qualified by my earlier remarks and the remarks that follow.

 

Joee00uk said: Oh, and which leftists has Marxism-Leninism made alliances with and then "suddenly" betrayed, without any good reason?

 

Well, first, as much as you are in denial on that point, Stalin himself operated that way.  The same Stalin that you seem to want to keep holding up as the one true Marxist-Leninist produced in the USSR.

I am of course referring to Stalin’s leadership in ousting Trotsky based on Trotsky’s support of a strong program of industrialization, followed by the “betrayal” of his former ally Bukharin on the grounds that Bukharin did not support a program of industrialization that was even stronger than that previously advocated by Trotsky.

 

Of course, one could defend Marxist-Leninist thought by arguing that Stalin was not the true and rightful heir to such thought:

 

 

Lenin goes on to outline how critical support should be given to the mass workers’ parties that are reformist (non revolutionary but progressive) to win the confidence of the reformist workers and show in practice that it is the communists that have nothing but the interests of the class at heart.

Lenin…called for Joseph Stalin’s removal from the post of General Secretary, so as to try to overcome the bureaucratic strangulation of the country. This change of personnel could only be a band-aid, for the causes were essentially the poverty and cultural backwardness that the Bolsheviks had inherited from Tsarism. It was up to his co-thinker, Leon Trotsky, to make a long-range attack on the bureaucratic reaction by analyzing, in detail, why Stalin came to power and what to do about it.

 

 

Source:

http://workerscompas...tionary-theory/

 

 

Joee00uk said: The capitalist version of "democracy", where people get to vote to choose which candidate gets to represent the ruling class for a few years, where all parties represent the top layer of society and none represent the masses, where policies remain essentially the same, with minor little tweaks but nothing more, no matter who occupies the top office.

The fact is, a state with a single party that represents the masses is more democratic than a state with a hundred parties that represent a small, parasitic exploiting class.

 

 

Problem is: I have not seen a state with a “single party that represents the masses.”  The single-party states that I have seen were dominated by dictators.  In such states, the tendency has often been to develop a cult of personality in order for a dictator to rule supreme.

 

Yes, your argument does point to the need to either establish or take over a political party that does in fact “represent the masses”.  I would argue that we do not need a revolution to do that, or at least that the “revolution” would be to do precisely that by using non-violent electoral means..

 

 

Joee00uk said: Marxism-Leninism is far from utopian - it's a scientific philosophy, based on materialism. 

 

Yet, as I pointed out before, your man Stalin backed Lysenko at the expense of other legitimate scientists.  As you may recall, Lysenko had serious disagreements with the genetic theory of inheritance:

 

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lysenko/works/1940s/report.htm

 

The Polish historian of Marxism Leszek Kolakowsky also points out that under Stalin "the theory of relativity was attacked and proscribed as contrary to official ideology."

 

So much for the aspirations of Marxism-Leninism to be “scientific”.

 

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#35
caltrek

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From the essay by Einstien: Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

 

 

Good questions indeed.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#36
joe00uk

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1. No, it's just that many of these things you say about Stalin being some sort of "mad opportunist" etc, come from the likes of Conquest. He's a representative of all the "History" that really isn't much other than propaganda.

 

2. Some lost their lives, yes, but beforehand they did get to produce such memoirs expressing their grudge. You've replied to PhoenixRu's post on the matter I see but it still withstands.

 

3. And this is a criticism that I have, too. I think corruption checks need to be little and often, rather than just one big "Great Purge".

 

4, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Voting must be a secondary tool of the socialist struggle. If we use Sanders as a representative of your more social-democratic ideas: I think the key thing is to point out that the change workers want and need can only come from the workers themselves, through organising against capital, rather than merely voting. Voting is secondary. Nothing has ever come from voting alone. What makes change is popular struggle, organising, pressuring the ruling class. Even if Sanders wins, he's not going to achieve even the limited reforms he's put forth if he doesn't have a mass movement at his back.

 
This is why social-democratic politics is a dead end; it limits the struggle to narrow electoralism, which doesn't change anything on a fundamental level. It demobilises the masses and renders the workers politically and ideologically dependent on the parties of the ruling class, and therefore ideological captives who are incapable of mobilising in defence of their own interests. This is what killed the left in Europe and the US, which is why concepts like universal healthcare sound so exotic now rather than taken for granted; the workers have been demobilised for so long that the right has killed these concepts over its half-century of unchallenged rule. Social-democratic politics did more damage to leftism, and therefore to both the short-term and long-term goals of leftism, than the Cold War and McCarthyism ever did, because it demobilised the proletariat.
 
Sanders' supporters credit him for popularising concepts like universal healthcare, etc, or even for using the word "socialism" (however much he perverts its meaning), but in fact what's really doing that is the mass movement that's arising in the form of Occupy (which was stillborn as a movement but nonetheless marked a rebirth of mass politics), Black Lives Matter and the fast food workers' movement, among other forms. This return to popular organisation is raising class consciousness, which is the only reason why someone like Sanders is now even able to have a platform to say the mildly reformist things he's saying. A few years ago it wouldn't have been possible. We can't look just at Sanders and ignore the wider social context.
 
It's important to avoid becoming politically and ideologically dependent on people like Sanders, who is a demagogue that seeks to corral the workers into the Democratic Party to keep them under control. Vote however you want, but don't lose sight of the fact that voting is secondary, that the only ones who really fight for the workers are the workers themselves, and only organising on the ground level can bring about the changes we want, both short-term (e.g universal healthcare) and long-term (social revolution). The real arena of struggle isn't electoral politics, but the streets and workplaces. That's where the workers wield power, even if they haven't yet realised it.
 

6. Yeah, it needs to be replaced - with socialism.

 

7. Okay, I will partially concede here and admit that there have been examples of Stalin displaying opportunistic behaviour but I wouldn't go so far and summarise his entire political career as primarily "opportunist".

 

8. Mhm, yes, quite.

 

13. When did I say Stalin was the one true Marxist-Leninist ever in the USSR? That's just a straw man argument... and like I've said before, Lenin's Testament is something he wrote when he was a sick and dying man and was only angry at Stalin because he'd been rude to his wife after disobeying their doctor's orders. This isn't something you decide the leadership of a country or a Party over and why should Lenin alone be allowed to choose the next leader of the USSR?

 

14. Okay, I will concede here (slightly) too. This can belong in my collection of criticisms I have of Stalin because he did have many flaws - just like anyone else has flaws. No-one's perfect. Marxism-Leninism is a political and philosophical theory/system, not a man. Stalin is not the sole representative of Marxism-Leninism, so why are you judging the entire ideology/philosophy/system/etc and all its applications all across the world and at across all different times in history based on a few mistakes by one man?


"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#37
caltrek

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On voting:  I would agree that voting is but one tool that should be utilized.  It hs the virtue af being a tool whereby elected governmental leaders can actuallybe removed and replaced.  I do agree with the importance of "organizing on the ground level" and the importance of struggle in "the streets and workplaces."

 

On Sanders:  I do not think Sanders is a demogogue.  Nor do I feel politically or ideologically dependent upon Sanders. Rather, Sanders is simply a politician who has come along that who I find myself agreeing with.  An agreement that has come from my own understanding of the issues independent of Sanders, except perhaps that Sanders and I do share in common that we are both long-time readers of The Nation.  A journal of the left for which I have developed a definite trust.

 

On Occupy:  Yes, I pretty much agree with your analysis here as well as on black lives matter, etc.  I happen to believe that Sanders is sincere in his embrace of these movements and aspirations.  Also, Sanders is trying to claim the Democratic Party for the workers.  He has run as an Independnet in the past more or less because of some of the frustrations with the Democratic party that you express. He contemplated running as an independent for president, but decided he a had a far greater chance of winning the presidency by first winning the Democratic nomination.  I think that he made a wise choice in that regard.

 

On Stalin as the "one true Marxist-Leninist".  I came to the conclusion that this was the thrust of your argument because of how dismissive you were of Trotsky, Bukharin, and even Lenin as in your reaction to his testament concerning Stalin.  I am glad to see that you have softened your position somewhat in that regard. 

 

You are right, Lenin alone should not have been the one to "choose the next leader of the USSR".   Unfortunately, by the time he died, democratic practices had been eviscerated in the name of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".  An unfortunate phrase if ever there was one.  It allowed the system to morph from being "of the proletariat" to being over the proletariat, and all other segments of society as well. 

 

Also, the testament was but one piece of the puzzle. It needs to be understood in the context of other events and developments. It certainly should not be dismissed as arising solely from some personal grudge concerning his wife.  Lenin's complaints about the rudeness of Stalin was in regards to relations with many other fellow Communists, not just Stalin's treatment of his wife.  As such, there are many indications that it resonated with many other elements of the party. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#38
joe00uk

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On voting: Yes, I mostly agree, but we must always remember who owns this electoral system and most of the time, it can't be trusted to produce genuinely progressive results. And when it does - well, look no further than what happened to Salvador Allende in 1973 and what is currently happening to Venezuela. This excessively reformist tactic buys the bourgeoisie time to retaliate. 

 

On Sanders: Well, no, not you in particular perhaps, but Sanders-supporters as a whole may be at risk of this ideological dependency. Also, people always forget that Sanders isn't a socialist. He's a Scandinavian-style welfare capitalist which, unfortunately, many people take to mean as actual, legitimate socialism where the working class have seized both power and the means of production and it's quite blatant that this isn't the case in Scandinavia. As I've said many times in the 2016 thread, again, Sanders only criticises the excesses of capitalism, imperialism, etc, without getting to the fundamental root of the problem which is the system itself. It literally just is this mentally of thinking somehow that you can "tame" capitalism. Sanders doesn't advocate actual socialism. Even Denmark's Prime Minister wants Sanders to stop calling his country "socialist": http://www.vox.com/2...-bernie-sanders. Also, the thing is, if Sanders does get elected, do you really think many of his policies will actually come to pass through the Congress and the Senate, etc? 

 

On Lenin's Testament: Dictatorship of the Proletariat simply means rule by the workers, nothing could be more democratic than that! The CPSU was a party that represented the interests of the masses until the Gorbachevite reforms. Yes, there are wider circumstances around Lenin's Testament and Stalin was probably rude to some fellow Party members but what does that mean, really? "Oh, he's been a bit rude to a few people he disagreed with a few times, let's bar him from rising to General Secretary" but I think it's unlikely Lenin would have included this in his final will and testament had he not been so sick. Lenin had always been closer to Stalin than he had been to, say, Trotsky. Stalin and Lenin were both Bolsheviks from Day 1 whereas Trotsky spent years as a Menshevik exchanging venom with Lenin.


"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#39
joe00uk

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Does that same thing as rightists where they go "Don't like it? Move to [X country]!!!" North Korea wouldn't actually be that bad but I prefer Cuba. But anyway, why should I go? It's not me that sucks, it's capitalism. Nothing will change if people just decide to leave for wherever else has it better.

 

Lunix 688:

 

LOL what? "North Korea isn't that bad"
 
Honestly isn't this sort of offensive? I mean you live in a developed, liberal, democratic country that has a high degree of political freedom compared to others. You are able to use the internet, have CHOICE - you get to have, because of capitalism, gadgets, a plethora of food options, computers, and general choice of things to consume. In Venezuela - they don't even have toilet paper. Is it really that difficult to see that capitalism at the basic level has worked pretty well for people? 
 
Now I'm expecting you to say something like 'exploitation of workers', but what exploitation? People have a choice of where to work, and I agree that a lot of people choose jobs not because they enjoy them, but because they need them - however, they are still paid, they still live a pretty nice life. The bottom in the United States are the 1% of the world. If someone is in poverty in a developed country, that person may be poor and have a lower quality of life compared to those in their country - however they are a hell of a lot better off then many in the world. So really, this is getting offensive. Capitalism really doesn't suck that much, also if we do not like capitalism, we should stop using this forum considering the company that makes this software didn't make it for a humanitarian purpose - they charge money. Why not just stop using Google, Yahoo, Bing or what ever dozen search engines we have. (Why so many choice of search engines? I dont know, maybe because they see they can profit from giving us a good product - how EVIL)

1. No, North Korea is not that bad. It's the single most demonised country in the history of the world and there is so much bullshit propaganda around it that I could say tomorrow "Kim Jong-un eats mentally disabled babies with a silver spork whilst he urinates on the head of a concubine" and everyone would believe me. If I made a blog post on that, it would make world headlines within a few days. Here is a good article on the matter: http://anti-imperial...en-racist-lies/


2. Neither Britain nor any capitalist country can ever be really democratic. The masses don't have a say in the day-to-day running of the country or any other issue apart from once every five years electing a politician who is inevitably only there to serve the interests of the ruling class.

 

3. I have a choice because I am from a relatively wealthy background. My family can afford to buy expensive things - for most people, this is not the case. All they can afford are cheaper products that are of a poorer quality. The situation in Venezuela is due to the excessively reformist route to socialism they are taking - they are leaving the bourgeoisie with plenty of time to retaliate and the businesses have declared economic war on the progressive government of Venezuela: http://www.counterpu...r-in-venezuela/ It's under economic siege and the shortages they have there are  nothing to do with socialism. Capitalism has been disastrous for many people and at the best, it's suboptimal for anyone not a member of the ruling class. Look at Africa, South America, South Asia. Has capitalism worked there? Look at Detroit. New Orleans. Brooklyn. These are examples even in the richest country in the world of the failures of capitalism. Think of how many people die as a result of capitalism each year - whether it be due to starvation, poverty, preventable disease, etc - it must be in the millions.

 

4. "What exploitation?" Perhaps the reaping of most of the value the workers create by their 'higher-ups'? People have a choice of where to work a lot of the time but either way, they'll be exploited, so that doesn't actually matter. The bottom 1% of the USA aren't necessarily in a better position than others relatively near to the bottom of the percentile categorisation system or whatever you want to call it although it is more likely they will be. Just because they may have a better life than their LEDC counterparts doesn't suddenly lift them from economic oppression - this sounds like Third-Worldism. Err... how am I being offensive? That doesn't even make any sense... Capitalism is inherently based upon exploitation and oppression, so yes, it does suck. A lot. 

 

5. Lol, communism isn't some sort of religion where we have to reject all modern technology. If we're going to get into that then why don't capitalists stop using satellites because it was the Soviet Union that sent the first satellite into space?


"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#40
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Joe, why are you defending a racist, sexist, totalitarian dictatorship?

Okay. Nazi Germany is the most demonized nation in history, and the Nazis are a persecuted minority.

Makes no sense, right? You won't even attempt to deny THAT. But because the DPRK lied about being communist once, that's okay?
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Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: socialism, communism, Marxism, MLM, anarchism, leftism, class war, dialectical materialism, USSR, Stalin

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