Old thread: https://8ch.net/marx/res/5721.html
As the title says. I figure a general "ask me questions" thread is good. Can be questions about socialism, US history, the Marxist position on religion, or whatever else.
Thoughts on the Gang of Four? were they really Mao true successors?
As far as I know, Mao had a falling out with Jiang Qing by the time he died and made Hua Guofeng his successor.
The Gang of Four were, like Lin Biao, major figures behind the Cultural Revolution and clearly sought to take power after Mao's death. I think it was correct to condemn them.
could you go more in depth on how NK wanted to spread Juche to other Parties?
The DPRK promotes Juche study groups across the world, and to this day still holds international seminars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku12MLh7KQA
There's a lengthy article on how the Eldridge Cleaver tried to get the Black Panther Party to adopt Juche in the early 70s after time spent in the DPRK: https://apjjf.org/2015/13/12/Benjamin-Young/4303.html
In Mexico there was the Revolutionary Action Movement, comprised of student guerrillas who trained in the DPRK and adopted the Juche idea.
Those are the two examples I can think of off the top of my head. The DPRK's efforts to turn Juche into an international ideology fell flat, just like Gaddafi's attempts to turn his Third International Theory (i.e. the Green Book stuff) into a global movement.
A good read on the DPRK's foreign policy during the Cold War and efforts to promote Juche can be found here: http://b-ok.xyz/book/2383302/f05f0d
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Any good books on Pol Pot / Kampuchea from a Marxist perspective?
Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
What is the Cuban system of Workplace democracy? ( I need it because there are MLMs in my mentions who claim its state capitalist)
Also do you have some sources on Poverty and Hunger in China under Mao?
I have no interest in sports.
I do have two books on Cuban democracy in general, and I have a PDF on how trade unions work in Cuba. If you register on eregime.org and send me a private message there with your email (I go by Ismail on there as on here), I'll email the PDF.
As for the two books on Cuban electoral democracy:
I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Do you know anything about the history of the Hmong people? How do we talk with Hmong people about socialism given their difficult experiences with the LPDR and the SRV?
Is liberalization really the only way to develop the productive forces? isn't there a way to attract foreign capital without having to resort to liberalization?
I don't know how you'd attract foreign capital besides liberalizing ways in which foreign capital can invest in a country. You can certainly restrict liberalization to small parts of the country (as the DPRK has tried to do since the 90s with little to show for it), but capitalists want to invest in places where they're sure their investments will be protected for a long time and where profit is all but guaranteed.
"American technicians, engineers and administrators Lenin particularly held in high esteem. He wanted five thousand of them, he wanted them at once, and was ready to pay them the highest salaries. . . .
America was so far away. It did not offer a direct threat to the life of Soviet Russia. And it did offer the goods and experts that Soviet Russia needed. 'Why is it not then to the mutual interest of the two countries to make a special agreement?' asked Lenin.
But is it possible for a communistic state to deal with a capitalistic state? Can the two forms live side by side? These questions were put to Lenin by [French journalist] Naudeau.
'Why not?' said Lenin. 'We want technicians, scientists and the various products of industry, and it is clear that we by ourselves are incapable of developing the immense resources of the country. Under the circumstances, though it may be unpleasant for us, we must admit that our principles, which hold in Russia, must, beyond our frontiers, give place to political agreements. We very sincerely propose to pay interest on our foreign loans, and in default of cash we will pay them in grain, oil, and all sorts of raw materials in which we are rich.
'We have decided to grant concessions of forests and mines to citizens of the Entente powers, always on the condition that the essential principles of the Russian Soviets are to be respected. Furthermore it will even consent—not cheerfully, it is true, but with resignation—to the cession of some territory of the old Empire of Russia to certain Entente powers. We know that the English, Japanese and American capitalists very much desire such concessions. . .
'This state property is ceded for a certain time, probably eighty years, and with the right of redemption. We exact nothing drastic of the association. We ask only the observance of the laws passed by the Soviet, like the eight-hour day and the control of the workers' organizations. It is true that this is far from Communism. It does not at all correspond to our ideal, and we must say that this question has raised some very lively controversies in Soviet journals. But we have decided to accept that which the epoch of transition renders necessary.'"
(Williams, Albert Rhys. Lenin: The Man and His Work. New York: Scott and Seltzer. 1919. pp. 103-106.)
Maybe you can make the old thread a sticky? It's a goldmine really
When the thread disappears (which will take a while at the current rate new threads are created) I can just post a saved version here or in a new thread.
What do you think of khrushchev and his reforms?
I often hear criticsms of him but I dont really know what he did and what he did wrong, I would love an explaination from you!
A lot of what Khrushchev did was based on impulse, often without even consulting his colleagues in the Politburo. So for example a good idea (disbanding the machine-tractor stations) ended up having unnecessary drawbacks (immediate abolition meant that many collective farms had to go into debt to buy the tractors, the farms now possessed tractors without storage space to put them, and most mechanics formerly employed by the MTS went to the cities rather than remain in the countryside which meant getting repairs was difficult.)
In general, Khrushchev's era saw a lot of experimentation, e.g. there was a greater emphasis on citizen participation in law enforcement and enforcing public morals against drunkenness and rude behavior. This sometimes backfired, e.g. citizen volunteers consisting largely of pensioners with too much time on their hands criticizing couples holding hands in public.
Soviet society improved under Khrushchev, but his grandiose promises of outperforming the US economy within a few years and of reaching communism by the 1980s annoyed his colleagues, who also resented his impulsive behavior. Thus, he was ousted.
He wasn't a great leader, but there's no evidence he was some secret traitor to socialism.
what about the destalinization
By every measure Soviet society improved from it: soviets at all levels were made more responsive and representative, the press was more open, the trade unions assumed a more active role, a whole bunch of revolutionaries had their reputations posthumously rehabilitated (Rudzutak, Enukidze, Béla Kun, Piatnitsky, Berzin, Lozovsky, Bubnov, Fritz Platten, Dybenko, and innumerable others), etc.
However, it's worth noting that while Khrushchev certainly sped up the process, "de-Stalinization" had already begun under Malenkov, e.g. within months of Stalin's death the CPSU began talking about how personality cults are bad, although Stalin wasn't explicitly named.
this sounds pretty good, why do so many socialists hate him?
Because they either argue that he "weakened" socialism in the USSR somehow, or they claim he was an outright traitor who presided over the establishment of "state-capitalism."
The "Secret Speech" contained omissions and distortions, and Khrushchev presented Stalin's misdeeds as if doing a sensational exposé rather than an objective, Marxist analysis, which caused unnecessary upheaval in the international communist movement. Besides that, some of his economic policies were inept (e.g. setting up sovnarkhozes.)
Otherwise though I can't think of anything he did that seriously set back the USSR. The Soviets were seen as being at their technological height under him. The launching of Sputnik and Khrushchev's boasts about reaching communism in two decades made lots of American analysts and businessmen seriously worry that the US was falling behind.
What is the general consensus on where revolutions are more likely to happen (and succeed)? Core or periphery? I think it was Mao who came up with the "weakest link" theory, but what Lenin wrote about imperialism also seems to imply that the proletariat in imperialist countries has a hard time developing class consciousness. This contrasts with Marx' belief that the revolution was going to happen in the most advanced capitalist countries.
Lenin did argue that Tsarist Russia was the "weak link" of the imperialist countries, but yeah I don't think there is a general consensus.
In Marx's lifetime and up till 1917 the international socialist movement no doubt thought that revolution would take place in the West first, although Marx and others (including Lenin) did argue it was possible Russia could have a revolution before the West.
In the 1920s-30s emphasis was still placed on revolutionary conditions maturing in the West, albeit anti-colonial revolts turning into socialist revolutions in places like China, India and Latin America received greater attention.
The triumph of the CPC in 1949 is when focus began shifting to the third world, a trend furthered by the Cuban Revolution, the Vietnam War, and the national liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, etc.
A lot of the fixation on the third world receded by the end of the 80s though, since all the socialist-oriented countries had major economic and problem problems to contend with and most dropped Marxism afterward.
Maoists still seem to focus largely on third world movements (e.g. Nepal, the Philippines, India, Peru), and anarchists have shifted a fair bit to the third world as well (hence fascination with the EZLN in the 90s and Rojava nowadays.)
But in general I don't think it makes sense to sharply divide the "core" and "periphery." Lenin argued that revolutionary situations arise independently of the will of entire classes (although the outcome of said situations obviously depends in large part on subjective factors like the proletariat's organization.)
In my experience, most communists expect revolutionary situations to develop in the West in their lifetimes. That doesn't mean they neglect the growth of revolutionary situations elsewhere, it just means there's no expectation that revolutions will only break out in one area before they break out in another.
So what are the implications of the fact that the bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries uses superprofits to "buy out" the proletariat? What about the idea that the proletariat of an oppressing nation will view the workers of the oppressed nation as enemies like Marx pointed out in English-Irish relations? I think this is essentially what we're seeing in Europe today with regards to refugees and what has driven large parts of the proletariat into the arms of chauvinist political parties.
It's certainly relevant, but at the same time there's chauvinism outside the West as well, e.g. Nigerian immigrants being treated with hostility in South Africa.
Capitalists are able to set workers against one-another not only by "buying out" the proletariat, but also through things like "if you white guys try to strike for higher pay, we'll just use non-whites who are willing to work for lower pay" and just plain ol' racism.
So it's important not to oversimplify, e.g. the British Empire still had to contend with a powerful labor movement at home, with fears among the bourgeoisie of a revolutionary situation developing in 1919 and again in 1926. The weakness of the labor movement in the US vis-à-vis Britain can't be entirely explained in terms of "buying out" either.
What's your take on the tiananmen square protests of 89?
Any reads on that last point?
The overall thrust of the protests was to replicate in China what was happening in Eastern Europe. The CPC refused to allow that to happen.
>Any reads on that last point?
Foner's history of the labor movement in the US is a good read. The first five volumes are online can be found here: https://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=202462.0
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So would you argue that Khrushchev was "better" than stalin? Or that the UdSSR was "undemocratic" under Stalin?!
No. Stalin was presented with different tasks than Khrushchev. The former oversaw the construction of socialism and rapid industrialization/collectivization of the country to meet what he (correctly) gauged was a coming invasion. Khrushchev had to deal with a "modern" society and rising expectations on the part of citizens for greater access to consumer goods and information on the outside world.
In terms of actual leadership, I don't think anyone can deny that Stalin was more competent and more intelligent than Khrushchev.
It isn't that the USSR was "undemocratic" under Stalin, it's that Soviet democracy obviously had limitations and shortcomings, much of it initially conditioned by the need to protect against the threat of counter-revolution. I would argue that the scope of democratic decision-making and the role of citizens did expand under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, although the result still fell short of what was necessary.
To give an example of expanded participation, the draft of the 1936 Soviet Constitution was widely discussed in the press and in public meetings; over 150,000 amendments were proposed to it by citizens.
However, when it came time to do the same with the draft of the 1977 Constitution, the scope of the discussion was even broader.
>The 1977 constitutional discussion does stand apart from previous discussions of legal reform, at least in terms of its scope and duration. . . . It also seems clear that the scope of what is considered permissible for public discussion in the Soviet press has grown enormously since Stalin's death. . . the discussion has brought forth a remarkable variety of proposals on a wide range of concerns. . . .
>By the end of June, the discussion had mushroomed into a great volume of citizen activity. Izvestiya, for example, reported that it had received over two and a half million letters on the Draft, while the municipal party organization in Kiev announced that exactly 41,787 groups were discussing the Constitution in that city alone. . . . A recurring pattern of issues, reflecting themes of the leadership, group interests, and individual concerns, began to emerge in the national and regional press. . . the citizen from Sverdlovsk who suggested adding to the personal property clause (Art. 12) explicit mention of an individual's right to own a car; or the pro-women's liberation letter which advocated that a phrase promising "government assistance to single mothers" be given a place in the document (Art. 35). One "old-timer," a member of the party since 1919 and a veteran of the discussion of the 1936 Constitution, simply expressed his pleasure at again having the opportunity to take part in such a great undertaking.
(Sharlet, Robert. "The New Soviet Constitution." Problems of Communism vol. XXVI, no. 5 (September-October 1977). pp. 15-17.)
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Why did the USSR dissolve? and who was to blame?
The mains factors of Soviet collapse were:
1. Perestroika tanking the economy, causing many to consider socialism a lost cause and look towards capitalism.
2. Glasnost, which at first simply meant being more forthright about problems in Soviet society, but quickly turned into "freedom" to attack the history of the USSR and to promote nationalist doctrines.
3. The CPSU's authority was eroded by the disastrous results of Perestroika and Glasnost. Numerous factions sprang up arguing over whether Marxism-Leninism was even relevant anymore, Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution (which described the CPSU as "the leading and guiding force of the Soviet society and the nucleus of its political system") was all but done away with in early 1990, and the mass exodus of members from the party meant it wasn't able to properly finance its activities.
4. In 1990 the republics of the USSR began proclaiming their "state sovereignty," meaning they would enact their own laws independent of whatever the central government thought and ignore central government laws that contradicted their own.
5. The August coup showed Gorbachev was politically impotent (he was placed under house arrest while on holiday in the Crimea and cut off from the outside world, whereas Yeltsin avoided arrest and openly defied the coup), and it gave the impression to the non-Russian republics that the Union would be held together by force. Yeltsin also took advantage of the coup to outlaw the CPSU.
Thus after the August coup those republics of the USSR that hadn't proclaimed independence rapidly did so, and in December 1991 the leaders of Russia, the Ukraine and Byelorussia declared the Soviet Union dissolved. Gorby was powerless to do anything at that point.
Gorbachev, as leader of the USSR, bore the greatest responsibility for the USSR's collapse. This is the best account on the subject: http://b-ok.xyz/book/1246151/ea7f45
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What can we learn from such a mistake and how do we prevent such a thing from happening in the future?
Do you have anything about the KPD in Weimar that isn't from a Trotskyst perspective?
Also, you should archive the old thread in case it slips out of the catalog (may take a while, but better do it now). Here:
Maybe put that in OP?
I will if the old thread dies.
There are studies of specific periods of the KPD, but as far as I know no English-language histories that aren't Trot.
There is a ML history of Germany in English from 1945: https://archive.org/details/TheLessonOfGermanyGuideHistory (the authors were soon to be academics in the GDR)
There wasn't anything inevitable in the USSR's demise. If Grigory Romanov or Yegor Ligachev had been in charge rather than Gorby, the Soviet Union would either still be around or at the very least not have fallen in 1991.
The main thing is to strengthen party democracy. The authors of the book I linked to make the point that Gorby was able to remove "hardliners" (i.e. opponents of his policies) within the Politburo with relative ease using underhanded intrigues, since the leadership of the party was pretty much unaccountable to anyone.
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Have you read Kotz and Weir's "Revolution from Above: The Demise of the Soviet System" ? Your thoughts on it?
I read it a long time ago, but I recall it being good. The authors of "Socialism Betrayed" (the book I linked to earlier) make use of it.
Kotz and Weir published a revised/updated version about a decade later.
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/942717/efc03c (original version)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/756074/af7b35 (revised/updated)
Are you aware of any serious critics of Marxism who actually understand it? All the anti-Marxists I've encountered either misinterpret Marxism and attack a strawman, or simply have totally ludicrous ideas (e.g. they think Marxism is bad because it's against God's will).
Oh, and I'm not talking about people who understand Marxism but oppose it because they see it as a threat to their power.
Leszek Kołakowski's "Main Currents of Marxism" is one of the more significant critiques of Marx, at least philosophically. But whenever he veers away from philosophy it's just standard anti-communist stuff like "Lenin thought workers were idiots and that only he and his other 'enlightened' comrades truly knew what was best for them, also communists in power merely use Marxism in order to obtain TOTAL CONTROLLLLLLLLL."
Christopher Lasch's "The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics" isn't focused on Marxism specifically, but does critique Marx and Engels alongside many others in what he regards as their flawed understanding of historical progress.
You can find those books on b-ok.org
But yeah in my experience the vast majority of critiques of Marxism are based on emotion or self-interest.
Mike Davidow, an American Communist journalist, gave an example of the sort of emotional rhetoric common in 1989-1991 (in this case quoting a well-known Soviet philosopher):
>The false idea of the possibility to build a kingdom of universal equality and to radically transform human nature with its inborn individualism has been put into life by creating a system distinguished by its spiritual and political poverty, slavery, monstrous . . . moral and social degradation.
>Chernobyl demonstrated to the world at large that the USSR is a threat to the entire humanity, that the Soviet people are incapable of living in the world of modern technologies, are incapable of mastering and turning to use the advances of contemporary science.
Check out Cornelius Castoriadis' The Imaginary Institution of Society. The first chapter is an elaborate critique of Marxism from someone who had been a Marxist for the longest part of his life and understands it better than most.
I heard on /leftypol/ that you helped start a party in USA Called American Party of Labor?
If so are you still associated with them? / do you still line up ideologically with their beliefs?
In 2007-2008 there were a few "Hoxhaists" on RevLeft, myself included. The idea of setting up a pro-Hoxha party in the US was proposed, and I was one of its founding members (although technically I wasn't a member, but part of its youth wing.)
I was in the party till 2011 or so, the most significant thing I did was help write parts of a critique of Glenn Beck's "Revolutionary Holocaust."
I left the party because I felt I wasn't actually able to do anything beyond merely write a blog post here and there. To me being involved in a Marxist-Leninist party entails more substantial work. I also thought the APL had no real future.
Nowadays the APL is a bit bigger than when I left and does do some real life organizing, although nothing compared to groups like FRSO, WWP or PSL.
>do you still line up ideologically with their beliefs?
I'm not a "Hoxhaist" anymore, so no.
What led to the very different development of the economic system of Yugoslavia in comparison with the USSR? What were the motives for straying from the model of a planned economy?
Stalin basically excommunicated them from the international communist movement, calling Tito a fascist and advocating his overthrow. The West hypocritically denounced this act of "Soviet imperialism" (even though the capitalists had previously damned Tito as supposedly the most fanatical of Eastern European communist leaders) and showered Yugoslavia with aid.
These factors led the Yugoslavs to strike out their own path, both to legitimize their break with the Soviets (they argued when Stalin was alive that the USSR had become "state-capitalist," although after relations were normalized in 1955 they seemed to call the Soviet system "bureaucratic socialism" instead) and to be more appealing to Western audiences, especially social-democrats.
But why the particular form of the path? What about the conditions present in Yugoslavia made them favour an entirely market-based approach?
It seemed okay.
Initially when the Soviet-Yugoslav break occurred the Yugoslavs wanted to show they were "more holy than the Pope" via accelerating collectivization and similar "hardline" measures. But that didn't accomplish anything.
And since it wasn't really possible to adopt a *more* centrally planned economy than the USSR's, the only other option was to adopt a more market-based approach under the argument this accorded better with workers' self-management.
Also the fact they had been denounced by the USSR meant they had no "official" ties to Soviet interpretations of Marxism-Leninism and could basically do what they wished, just like how Mao after the Sino-Soviet split sought to make Mao Zedong Thought an international ideology and launch the Cultural Revolution.
Are you in a party today?
1. There's a book you uploaded a while ago called History of the civil war in the USSR Vol 1 and 2. What is the context of this book? And, since it seems to be mostly about the October revolution itself, why is it called like that?
2. Do you know any other works on the Russian civil war besides the ones you previously recommended to me, the Armed Intervention book and the chapters from History of the USSR Era of socialism?
I never uploaded those books, but they are online.
Both books were written when Stalin was alive and were meant to be continued with additional volumes, but the project was never completed by the time of his death and had to be started anew. I'd imagine mostly being about the October Revolution is to provide context.
>Do you know any other works on the Russian civil war besides the ones you previously recommended to me, the Armed Intervention book and the chapters from History of the USSR Era of socialism?
W.H. Chamberlin's two-volume "The Russian Revolution" is the classic bourgeois account:
* https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.172837 (Volume I)
* https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ungHvjshxVvBpArvvEU6gHc9RL3YbMcv/view (Volume II)
"Red Victory" by W. Bruce Lincoln is also an important read.
>"Red Victory" by W. Bruce Lincoln
Is this available online?
Not to my knowledge. I physically own a copy. I've used it to help with the 1919 simulation I'm running: http://eregime.org/index/
Would you say that China has Private ownership of means of Production?!
Thoughts on Venezuela, the bolivarian revolution, Chavez and Maduro? What stance should western socialists and marxists take on this country and this movement?
Land is publicly owned, any private ventures are leased by the government.
I think the Venezuelan government is oriented toward socialism, as it understands the term. But the PSUV is not a Marxist-Leninist party, which means there still exists the need for a separate communist party (and there are multiple such parties in Venezuela) to critically support the government against imperialism and domestic reactionaries, while at the same time pointing out any backsliding on the part of the government and also pointing out the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
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Any chance of you scanning this sometime?
>Land is publicly owned, any private ventures are leased by the government.
But the same could be said of almost any country
If my country (Australia) leased goverment land to a privately owned capitalist business which used it in the capitalist manner isnt that basically the same as what china does?
How is that socialism?
>But the same could be said of almost any country
Is all land in your country government-owned?
>How is that socialism?
The Chinese aren't arguing that it is. They argue that it develops the productive forces, which in turn gives better material foundations for socialism.
Just like the Soviets welcomed the investments of Armand Hammer and other capitalists to the USSR during the 1920s to develop the economy, while the "commanding heights" of said economy remained in state hands.
I've seen you using that argument quite a lot. What are the actual "commanding heights" in China though? What branches of industry does the socialist mode of production encompass? Heavy industry? Transport?
Yes, heavy industry and transport is generally what's meant.
The term "commanding heights" comes from Lenin. As he put it:
>What is the plan or idea or essence of NEP?
>(α) Retention of the land in the hands of the state;
>(β) the same for all commanding heights in the sphere of means of production (transport, etc.);
>(γ) freedom of trade in the sphere of petty production;
>(δ) state capitalism in the sense of attracting private capital (both concessions and mixed companies).
Then according to Lenin, China is state capitalist.
No, because Lenin isn't analyzing China.
Lenin pointed out as early as 1918 that a socialist sector existed in Soviet Russia. It wasn't the dominant mode of production, but it did exist alongside state-capitalism and other forms of property.
In China the socialist sector is dominant.
In your opinion what are the top 10 resources for Marxism? Could be organizations, institutes, websites, youtube channels, books, etc.
I like showing people Parenti's 'Blackshirts and Reds" for an introductory busting of a bunch of anti-communist myths: http://b-ok.xyz/book/981420/378c5d
I recently scanned this intro to the very basics of Marxism which I thought was decent: https://archive.org/details/IntroductionMarxism
This is the introductory work I always show people in regards to Lenin's theories and the October Revolution: https://archive.org/details/lininandtherussi035179mbp
Yeah but that means that any hope of socialism emerging from the Chinese system hinges on the Party beuracrats (who have increased their wealth to millions maybe billions of dollars) and the national Bougies actually having the will and ability in the case of the beuracrats to transfer to a socialist model
What is the correct leftist line on freedom of speech, in your opinion? I'm not asking about what free speech rights have existed in socialist countries historically, nor what laws we would prefer to have in our ideal society. I'm more interested in your thoughts on the discourse about free speech going on in American society right now. For example, should we support affluent kids at prestigious private universities in their efforts to shut down and deplatform conservative guest speakers, like Milo Yiannopoulos, Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson? And what is the proper response to neo-fascists organizing public protests, marches, etc?
Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on both the philosophical aspect and the political/strategic aspect of this issue.
I see nothing wrong with people heckling and protesting speeches by those who seek to legitimize racist and fascist discourse. That those doing it are "affluent kids at prestigious private universities" isn't particularly relevant, considering that those listening to the speakers are also from the same background.
When the NAACP (comprised of Du Bois and other highly-educated, well-off Blacks) protested theaters in an attempt to prohibit the showing of "The Birth of a Nation," they were acting correctly.
>And what is the proper response to neo-fascists organizing public protests, marches, etc?
Counter-protests and meeting violence with self-defense.
The problem with Antifa isn't that it punches Nazis, it's that its whole strategy revolves around counter-protesting as a way to defeat fascism. Communists go beyond that and seek to organize the working-class toward political power, whereas anarchists abstain from political struggle and leave the field open to the very fascists and other ultra-rightists they protest.
>I see nothing wrong with people heckling and protesting speeches by those who seek to legitimize racist and fascist discourse.
I don't see anything wrong with it either, really. But do you think there is a distinction to be made between heckling, protesting and challenging a conservative speaker, and attempting to completely deny them a platform under the threat of violence?
How do you respond to liberals who believe all opinions ought to be allowed to be expressed, without the threat of violence or state censorship? There are different arguments for this view but a common one is that only through debate can we collectively get closer to truth, and therefore open discussion is good for society. Bad ideas will automatically be exposed in this process. Further, restricting freedom of speech is viewed as a slippery slope (who gets to decide what is and is not acceptable speech, etc).
>But do you think there is a distinction to be made between heckling, protesting and challenging a conservative speaker, and attempting to completely deny them a platform under the threat of violence?
"Completely denying them a platform" is simply what happens when the former methods are successful.
>How do you respond to liberals who believe all opinions ought to be allowed to be expressed, without the threat of violence or state censorship?
It's an idealist argument which assumes that fascist sentiments rise purely due to the strength of their arguments and not because of the inherent problems of capitalism and the willingness of sections of the capitalist class to bankroll fascist individuals and groups.
To quote historian E.H. Carr:
>The democrat who holds that democracy requires equal toleration for opinions hostile to democracy, cannot even believe in democracy as an absolute value, being bound to accept its abrogation as valid if the majority will it. It need hardly be said that the whole of this thesis is anathema to Soviet democracy, which regards the toleration shown by English-speaking democrats to fascists as a symptom of weakness and of faltering faith in democracy.
And a Sartre quote that is quite famous nowadays:
>Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.
Fascism has already been exposed as a "bad idea." The purpose of Spencer and other reactionaries speaking at colleges and other public places isn't to rationally discuss the subject of Jews or white people or whatever, it's to rally support for fascist sentiment. They have a political purpose in doing these things, which is why they whine about "freedom of speech" afterward.
>Further, restricting freedom of speech is viewed as a slippery slope (who gets to decide what is and is not acceptable speech, etc).
Switzerland, Germany, Britain, and some other bourgeois democracies penalize hate speech. Liberals do not complain about the suppression of "freedom of speech" in these countries.
Where did Soviet Union go wrong?
I don't think it ever "went wrong" until Gorbachev.
Obviously there were plenty of things that should have been done differently during the years 1924-85, but had the USSR been headed by Grigory Romanov, Viktor Grishin or Yegor Ligachev it's quite possible the country would still be around.
What are your criticisms of Deng's foreign policy, why did he do what he did, and how has China's foreign policy changed since then?
When Deng first became leader, China's foreign policy was a continuation of Hua's: extreme anti-Sovietism, to the extent Deng was calling for the US to join China in an alliance against "hegemonism" (i.e. the USSR.)
But after 1982 things began to change: the USSR no longer was referred to as having restored capitalism, relations were the MPLA government in Angola were normalized (whereas before China supported the South African-backed UNITA and Zairian-backed FNLA), etc.
But throughout the 80s China still continued a basically anti-Soviet foreign policy, such as working with the CIA to help the Mujahideen and Pol Pot.
When the USSR withdrew troops from Afghanistan and Vietnam withdrew troops from Cambodia, Sino-Soviet relations began to improve, but by that point the USSR was basically doomed.
The Chinese leadership from the 1950s till the end of the 80s saw the USSR as an ideological and military rival. In the 50s and 60s there were constant fears that the Soviets would "sell out" China's security in favor of a US-USSR alliance. Border disputes between the USSR and China led to actual fighting by 1969.
By 1990 the Chinese realized that the USSR did not pose such a threat, and that it was preferable to unite the socialist countries rather than divide them. But again, by that point the USSR was effectively doomed by Gorby's policies.
>and how has China's foreign policy changed since then?
In general, China tries not to offend the US too much, e.g. during the Gulf War China refused to veto US military action in the UN Security Council, and in more recent years it has agreed to put pressure on the DPRK (but not so much as to seriously endanger relations between China and that country.)
What do you think of "decolonization" movements in the US? Are they a necessary part of a communist movement here? Can they even truly be communist (since "decolonization" suggests a return to various systems which could very well be anti-communist)?
Do you mean the idea that the US should be dismantled and all (or the vast majority of) the land should be "given back" to indigenous peoples?
I think the idea is wrongheaded, and akin to "Third Worldists" who argue that revolutionaries from the third world should occupy the US and place the majority of its inhabitants in concentration camps in order to "reeducate" them and get them used to a lower standard of living.
You will find nothing in the writings of Marx, Engels or Lenin, or in the writings of American Marxists, suggesting such an idea.
It's more akin to bourgeois nationalism, e.g. "because we held this territory hundreds of years ago, we deserve to have it back via military force for this reason alone."
To get an idea of the communist approach toward indigenous peoples in the US, check this out: https://archive.org/details/ResolutionOnThePathToNativeAmericanLiberationAdoptedAtThe22nd
That's what I meant, yes. I mean, I personally wouldn't mind living in a Native nation, but it doesn't at all seem practical to me to give, say, New York back to the Lenape when even if every Lenape returned to their ancestral homeland they'd still be a tiny minority and the new "Lenape Nation" would be overwhelmingly non-Native. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
not him, could you maybe give a very short rundown? And what do you think of it?
Yeah most indigenous tribes in the US only number a few hundreds or thousands. The whole "decolonize the US" stuff is more a fantasy than a realistic (or even desirable) goal.
The changes reflect existing conditions in the country. "Private property" in the sense of self-employed hairdressers and auto mechanics, or tiny businesses like restaurants that employ around three employees, have been in Cuba for decades now. So it's not surprising.
Is your opinion on Cuba similar to your opinion on China? Do you think they are temporarily liberalising with the intent of returning to socialism later?
The market reforms are based on Cuba's difficult economic situation since the overthrow of the USSR, so yes. I don't think it's a question of "returning" to socialism; they already have a socialist economy. Self-employed hairdressers and foreign-run hotels for tourists do not change that.
I'm not an american, but I follow american politics pretty closely. It's becoming increasingly clear that socialist and social democratic policies are actually very popular, and that socialist and "progressive" candidates can win against mainstream democrats despite not having nearly as much money or the democratic establishment machinery behind them. There is a huge potential for a strong new left-wing movement.
If you're "just" a social democrat, the strategy seems obvious. Run candidates who support single payer healthcare, free higher education, higher minimum wage, don't accept money from corporations, etc. within the democratic party, work with groups like the DSA, Justice Democrats and Our Revolution, and attempt a hostile take over of the democratic party. This is already being done and it seems to be working pretty well. It wouldn't at all surprise me if they succeeded in pushing the democratic party mainstream to the left and got them to go back to New Deal style politics.
But if you want to go beyond social democracy, to socialism, it's more complicated. What strategy should parties like the PSL, WWP, and maybe the left wing of the DSA have? Obviously, the popularity of single payer healthcare and free higher education should be capitalized upon, but, for example, what kind of attitude should the socialist left have towards candidates like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez? I feel like this is a once in 100 years opportunity for the socialist left to build a new movement and actually accomplish something, and I hope it is not wasted.
Sanders and Cortez, while "better" than the likes of the Clintons, the Bushes, Trump, etc., are not serious alternatives to the growth of the ultra-right. Sanders himself endorsed the bombing of Yugoslavia, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (which gave the US government a legal figleaf to overthrow Saddam), and referred to Hugo Chávez as a "dead communist dictator."
The main function of figures like Sanders and Cortez are to rope people on the left into the arms of the Democratic Party. This also applies to the DSA, whose founder (Michael Harrington) was at first reluctant to oppose the Vietnam War because of the need to "fight communism" abroad.
Communists should get involved in election campaigns where it would not exhaust their organizational and financial capabilities, and they should run as communists.
The Bernie phenomenon isn't exactly new. Jesse Jackson's Democratic primary campaigns in 1984 and 88 were similar in many ways, including how many leftists were roped into backing him as a "progressive" alternative. Jackson has long since shown himself nothing more than a vote-getter for the Democratic Party.
Likewise in 1968 the CPUSA and some other left groups rallied around Senator Eugene McCarthy as an "anti-war" candidate. In 1980 he endorsed Ronald Reagan for President.
And even in 1948, the CPUSA heavily backed the third-party run of Henry Wallace, Roosevelt's first Vice-President, against the Democrats and Republicans, yet that same Wallace a few years later dropped his opposition to the Cold War and endorsed Eisenhower for President.
All this shows the futility of relying on bourgeois politicians for progress. If you want to move these politicians "to the left," you have to do it by pressuring them via running independent, class-conscious candidates for office, not by endorsing the likes of Sanders and Cortez as "lesser evils" or pretending they're great progressive figures.
>Sanders and Cortez, while "better" than the likes of the Clintons, the Bushes, Trump, etc.
Don't know what the quotation marks are supposed to mean. Someone like Bernie is obviously much better than someone like Trump. Think about the difference Bernie's policies on healthcare and education would make for millions of americans, for example.
>Sanders and Cortez [...] are not serious alternatives to the growth of the ultra-right. Sanders himself endorsed the bombing of Yugoslavia, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (which gave the US government a legal figleaf to overthrow Saddam), and referred to Hugo Chávez as a "dead communist dictator."
>all that other shit about left democrats not being reliable allies of the left
I completely agree but I feel like you're completely missing the point of my question. The popularity of Sanders (I've heard he's the most popular politician in the country right now) and Cortez, among other things, shows that americans are open to a left wing alternative to the status quo. What should the socialist and communist left be doing right now, in order to capitalize on this moment, and not let it be wasted on just electing a few social democratic politicians that will eventually be purged or start compromising? The answer can't be to join some tiny cult/party and sell a newspaper no one reads while smugly denouncing Bernie supporters for not being revolutionary enough.
>Don't know what the quotation marks are supposed to mean.
They're still bourgeois politicians. They aren't socialists.
>What should the socialist and communist left be doing right now? The answer can't be to join some tiny cult/party and sell a newspaper no one reads while smugly denouncing Bernie supporters for not being revolutionary enough.
As I said, in the field of elections communists ought to run as independent candidates, at least for local office.
But obviously just running for office isn't sufficient. Communists also have to get involved in local and national causes (trade union organizing, opposition to police brutality and racism, etc.)
The point I was making is that any sort of "new movement" involving the DSA or right-wing social-democrats like Sanders is doomed to failure. Real unity will come about in the course of struggle, not in the course of trying to unite with whomever you happen to find willing to "unite" with you for their own ends.
What's the ML view on Karl Korsch?
The ML view is that he sucked.
Obviously that isn't a very satisfying answer. There is a book International Publishers put out in 1975 titled "Marxism and The Theory of Praxis" which contains a critique of Korsch and other "Western Marxists," but it isn't online. I could obtain it in a few months and scan it.
In that other /pol/ thread on this board (which I don't want to bump so I'm asking this question here), you posted this. My question is what you think Kurdish autonomy should look like. As it stands, in three of the countries in which Kurds reside (Syria, Iraq, and Iran), there is not, as far as I know, serious repression of Kurds today. Obviously that wasn't always true (especially in Iraq), and those communities might still have some problems (such as a lack of official recognition of their languages), but it's certainly not the ethnic violence you saw in Iraq under Saddam or in Turkey for decades. So, what "autonomy" do you believe Kurds should have? Autonomous regions like in Iraq (though presumably not beholden to the US)? Independent states? Also, historically, what has been the position of communists (both in those countries and elsewhere) regarding Kurds? I know the Syrian Communist Party was founded by a Kurd and had significant Kurdish membership, but I don't know what their position on Kurds as a people was; same goes for communists in Iran and Iraq (and, for that matter, what exactly the PKK desired back when they were still communists).
The autonomy proposed for Iraqi Kurdistan in the early-mid 70s was actually a pretty good example.
To quote one author (Saad Jawad, "The Kurdish question in Iraq: historical
background and future settlement"):
>Most important is the fact that the Baath Party undertook a serious consideration of the Kurdish question in 1969 following demands by the Iraqi public to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. . . [the Ba'athists established] a Kurdish university in Sulaimaniya and the creation of a third Kurdish province, Dohuk, made up of parts of Erbil and Mosul. . . approval was granted for the teaching of the Kurdish language alongside Arabic in all Iraqi schools. Schools in Kurdish regions were given the right to use Kurdish as a language of instruction up to a specific stage, after which they would also have to use Arabic. . .
>The Autonomy Law of 1974 allowed the creation of two Chambers of Parliament, legislative and executive, made up of ‘elected representatives’, in addition to the participation of the Kurds in the central government of Baghdad with five ministers (there had previously been two). After March 1970, the KDP was licensed to operate openly and was given the right to open several branches all over Iraq. Large numbers of Kurdish students were admitted to Iraq’s military academies and part of the Kurdish militia (the Peshmerga) was merged with the Iraqi armed forces to act as frontier guards. It was also agreed that an Iraqi Kurd would be appointed vice president of the republic.
If the Ba'ath had consistently implemented such measures (which the author notes "Kurds in neighboring countries would envy") rather than undermining them in practice, and had the KDP not continued its contacts with the US, Iran and Israel and not treated Iraqi Kurdistan more as an independent state than an autonomous region, there would have been the possibility of a durable autonomy for Iraqi Kurds and much suffering averted.
I know the Iraqi Communist Party advocated Kurdish autonomy within Iraq and backed the 1974 law mentioned above. I don't know the position on Kurds taken by Tudeh and the parties in Syria and Turkey (except that the Turkish Communists also opposed an independent Kurdistan.)
What should be done about the conflict between China and Taiwan at this point? I actually lived with one taiwanese exchange student and one chinese exchange student for a year (I recently moved out and they went back home). Both of them view Taiwan as it's own thing. After hanging out with them and their other chinese and taiwanese exchange student friends, it also seems that Taiwan has started to develop it's own culture, distinct from mainland chinese culture, and the taiwanese have their ideas of what chinese people are like, and vice versa. I'm sure the older generation in both countries think that their own government should rule over both mainland China and Taiwan, but young people seem to view them as two separate countries with their own governments and, while similar, unique cultures.
I think China should just recognize Taiwan as it's own independent country and move on tbh, but I'm not an expert on this dispute in the first place so..
The PRC's position is that Taiwan ought to function as a highly autonomous region of China, similar to Hong Kong and Macau.
I agree with the PRC position. There is no reason for Taiwan to be independent. Its existence was the result of Chiang Kai-shek fleeing to a bunch of islands with the support of the US army. There is an aboriginal Taiwanese population that Chiang treated terribly, but other than that the population is Chinese.
Germans in West Germany and the GDR obviously lived quite differently by 1989, and yet events proved they were component parts of a single German nation (despite efforts by the GDR to create a separate socialist national identity.) Likewise Koreans North and South recognize they are part of a single nation.
>I agree with the PRC position.
Is there any question on which you disagree with the official CPC line?
I don't think there's a "superior" communist position on that particular subject, unless invading Taiwan counts.
If there's a position the CPC takes that I consider wrong, I'd say so.
If I were alive in earlier periods I would have found a lot to criticize as well: anti-Sovietism in China's foreign policy, the ultra-leftism of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, not using its Security Council powers to veto US aggression against Iraq in 1990-91, etc.
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Do you have any info on the Young Patriots? How did communists get away with using the Confederate flag as their symbol?
I don't think they were a communist group, they were just Southern whites who used the Confederate flag in a sort of ironic, "defiant" way (think of how homosexuals tried to reclaim the words "queer" and "faggot") as they worked with the Black Panthers and other anti-racist groups.
Historically, America's Marxists backed the GOP in the 1850s-60s, fought for the Union Army, and Joseph Weydemeyer (foremost Marxist in the US back then) even got elected county auditor of St. Louis in 1865 on a Republican ticket and backed Reconstruction. So it would indeed be a bit strange to see communists using the Confederate flag.
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What are your general thoughts on "identity politics"? How would you define that term, what are the positives/negatives of idpol, how do we critique idpol from the left without becoming crypto-reactionaries, etc?
I don't really get what "identity politics" is. If by the term one means placing issues like racism or patriarchy "above" class, in the sense that the "main task" is to abolish racism and whatnot, then that's erroneous since it creates illusions that such problems can be eliminated under capitalism, and ends up promoting class collaboration (e.g. women supporting female CEOs or female bourgeois politicians because the "main task" is to fight misogyny.)
On the other hand, one of the major errors of the American Marxist movement in the 19th and early 20th century was the idea that Black civil rights, women's suffrage, and whatnot were "distractions" from the class struggle and that Marxist parties should have nothing to do with them. This led to conciliating racist sentiments, promoting opportunism (e.g. Hillquit and other right-wing Socialists advocated restricting Asian immigration in order to win more votes in elections), and promoting sectarianism (e.g. Daniel De Leon basically blamed Black people for not moving en masse from the Republican Party to the Socialist Labor Party because the latter refused to have anything to do with anti-lynching legislation and other supposed "diversions" from the class struggle.)
As Marx, Engels and Lenin pointed out, democratic demands are a component part of the struggle for socialism, and this is a lesson the Comintern taught to the American Communist movement. So just as one shouldn't put race or sex "above" class, one also shouldn't neglect to rally all democratic forces and explain the relationship between racism and capitalism, patriarchal attitudes and class society, etc.
Another China question: My father is an intelligent, empathic and just generally very reasonable and open minded person, but he is such a (european style) liberal. Lately he seems really spooked about China. Basically he believes China is going to continue to develop their economy and peacefully expand their influence in the world while simultaneously slowly imposing their totalitarian undemocratic style of government upon us (us=europeans). He basically views the rise of China and the decline of the USA and EU as the slow fall of democracy, and that it is our own fault for trading with China, letting them invest in our countries and just letting them buy more and more influence.
I disagree with your views on China, Ismail (I'm the asshole constantly asking China questions and arguing with you about it) but I think he's being too paranoid on this issue and I also think there happens to be a lot of people who feel the same way. What would you say to or argue with people with views like this?
I've pointed out how western/american hegemony is great for small european countries that suck up to the US (we are allowed to have democracy and freedom of speech and labour rights and everything) but totally fucking disastrous for countries that attempt to go against the interests of american imperialism. So the future he imagines, where a foreign power imposes it's will upon smaller nations with complete brutality and disregard for human rights, already exists and has existed for a long time. We have just not been the victims of it, yet.
>I don't really get what "identity politics" is. If by the term one means placing issues like racism or patriarchy "above" class, in the sense that the "main task" is to abolish racism and whatnot, then that's erroneous since it creates illusions that such problems can be eliminated under capitalism, and ends up promoting class collaboration (e.g. women supporting female CEOs or female bourgeois politicians because the "main task" is to fight misogyny.)
This is generally what is meant by identity politics I think, and I agree it's bad. Another aspect of identity politics is (unintentionally) accepting a sort of race/gender "essentialism" (not sure if that's the correct word for it) similar to that of actual racists. "Cultural appropriation" is a good example of this. Some anti-racists (irl it's probably a tiny group of people tbh) claim that it's racist, problematic or wrong for white westerners to practice yoga as a form of excercise instead of a religious practice, or the same for white people to have dreadlocks, because those things "belong" to other cultures.
Not only is this stuff kinda silly and inconsequential, but it seems like in order to accuse people of cultural appropriation in this way, you would have to view humanity as made up by different races/nationalities/"volk" that all have their own unique cultures that are separate and sort of static and frozen in time, and which should not be mixed with each other. I dunno, maybe I'm reaching, but I really do get the vibe that some of these idpol people have a fundamental view of humanity that is not all too different from that of a far right nationalist.
But the biggest problem with identity politics imo usually isn't the content of it, but how it's used. Idpol focused language policing (you can't say idiot that's ableist, etc) is used opportunistically all the time in stupid twitter fights between communists and in DSA in-fighting.
Oh just thought of another example of strange idpol based analysis. There was a swedish lefty who in an article argued that all oppression throughout history has been rooted in the social norms that you're "supposed" to be white, male, heterosexual, cis and able-bodied. A swedish Marxist wrote a response in which he asked her to explain how slavery in the Aztec empire was rooted in these social norms. I don't remember specifically what her response was, but she stuck to her premise.
If countries around the world are being drawn toward a "totalitarian undemocratic style of government," he should ask himself why bourgeois democracies are so vulnerable to open dictatorships.
But yeah I don't see any evidence of European countries trying to emulate China.
Do you have a text about how communists got slaughtered in Indonesia in the 60s? How high would you estimate is number of victims? And also, why the fuck has this gotten not more attention, this sounds like a horrifying event
See chapter 31 of "Killing Hope" by William Blum: http://b-ok.xyz/book/887149/c061ac
Was Nazi Germany (at least in the beginning) anti-imperialist? Why not?
No. The Nazis rebuilt the German economy around preparing for a war of conquest across Europe. Hitler also sought to regain Germany's African colonies lost as a result of WWI.
To summarise it very briefly and in a very simplified manner, he says that Marx's focus on the economic base was historically conditioned by the times he lived in and different societies put different emphasis on the economy, so they were "in the last instance" not determined by the economic base, but by different factors. He also makes some points regarding Marx' economics that I don't remember too clearly. I personally think his critique of Marx' philosophy puts too much emphasis on a given societies' self-conception and fails to see that the foundation of every conceivable society is the reproduction of their conditions of living, no matter what they may think of themselves. He certainly has a point though when he says that Marx' thought itself was conceived within a given historical situation and as such some elements of his philosophy bear the prejudices of the 19th century.
What does that have to do with imperialism? Imperialism is about concentration and export of capital. I'd say by '38 Germany the concentration of capital and the finance sector in Germany were sufficiently big to call the country imperialist, but I'm wondering about before, with much of the industry destroyed by the war, reparations being paid, etc.
You asked if Nazi Germany was anti-imperialist, i.e. if its foreign policy was opposed to imperialism (since "anti-imperialism" is not an economic category.) And I gave my answer.
And I clarified my question. Was Germany in the early 30s an imperialist country?
That I can't answer, but acting as if I don't know what imperialism is after giving a blatantly unclear question is dumb.
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Is there another article with sources available? Links are dead in the one you provided. Or maybe you know the articles they referred to?
I forgot to check the endnotes. Opps....
Could you link me to the article and the response?
Aleksa Lundberg writes :
>In my own words I would describe [intersectionality] as the idea that all oppression stems from the social norm of the human as a white, heterosexual, cis-gender, wealthy and able-bodied man.
To be fair, she didn't say all oppression throughout history. It's still a very idealist and inadequate theory for explaining all oppression.
Malcom Kyeyune, a self-described marxist (black guy btw) quotes her in an article where he criticizes swedish anti-racism :
>When grown ups like Aleksa Lundberg at SVT Opinion can claim "[the quote above]", I don't know if I'm supposed to laugh or cry.
>Really? When the aztecs sacrificed tens of thousands of prisoners at the pyramid in Tenochtitlan there was some insidious european social norm to blame?
She responded :
>Kyeyune's comparison to the aztecs who sacrificed tens of thousands of prisoners is a bit strange - considering the aztec empire was toppled by spaniards in 1521.
I thought it was funny that, instead of just saying that social norms of being white/cis/straight/etc were not the cause of oppression at that time in that place (in other words, that her theory isn't meant to explain all oppression through the entire human history, but oppression in a specific historical period), she went with "spaniards overthrew the aztecs and spaniards=white sooooo".
Not the same guy
But what about the negotiation for the Ending of the De-Facto French-Belgo occupation of the Rhine industrial Area?
What about the Negotiation for the end of the French occupation of the Saarland?
And off topic but do you believe the Nazi claim that the Treaty of Versailles was Imperialist / Slanted against Germany?
The Bolsheviks denounced the Versailles Treaty in the strongest terms, which is why the USSR helped Germany covertly rebuild its army during the 1920s. The KPD likewise denounced the occupation of German territory by the victorious imperialist powers after WWI.
But Hitler cynically took advantage of the injustice of Versailles to build up German imperialism anew.
Litvinov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, said the following in 1938: "Germany is striving not only for the restoration of the rights trampled underfoot by the Versailles treaty, not only for the restoration of its pre-war boundaries, but is building its foreign policy on unlimited aggression, even going so far as to talk of subjecting to the so-called German race all other races and peoples. It is conducting an open, rabid, anti-Semitic policy, suspiciously recalling those times when the Teutonic Order held sway in the Baltic countries, and publicly abandons itself to dreams of conquering the Ukraine and even the Urals. And who knows what other dreams? . . . . Whether the order established after the world war is better or worse than the pre-war, we at any rate are against changing it by a new, bloody war. Besides, there are no guarantees at all that war can bring a better, more just order. It must not be forgotten that the Brest-Litovsk peace, the product of the Kaiser's Germany, was no better than that of Versailles. Still less can one expect a just peace from Hitlerite Germany, with its medieval racial theories, its anti-humanism, its belief in crude material force as the supreme law." (quoted in Jane Degras, Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy Vol. III, 1953, p. 287.)
Thoughts on the historian Moshe Lewin?
His book "Lenin's Last Struggle" is considered the standard text on the subject of relations between Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky in Lenin's final years: http://b-ok.xyz/book/1007059/518be9
"The Making of the Soviet System" and "Russia-USSR-Russia" contain useful information on collectivization and the initial Five-Year plans.
He was critical of the USSR and called himself an "anti-Stalinist," but he wasn't a Cold Warrior.
What does the trade relationship between an imperialist country and an "exploited" country usually look like? Usually when I think of imperialism it's just the military aspect and export of capital, but does the imperialist country also use it's power to ensure the exploited country is dependent on importing lots of commodities from the imperialist country?
>does the imperialist country also use it's power to ensure the exploited country is dependent on importing lots of commodities from the imperialist country?
Yes, insofar as imperialism is characterized in part by capitalist monopolies being obliged to search for new markets to sell products in.
Here's a decent intro to the subject of imperialism: https://archive.org/stream/IntroductionMarxism/Introduction%20Marxism#page/n18/mode/1up (pages 39-53 of the book)
And here's a whole book on the subject: https://archive.org/details/LogicOfImperialism
SO WAIT SO WAIT
SO YOU BE TELLING ME...
NazBols WERE RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME?
While the Bolsheviks opposed the Versailles Treaty, they also denounced the idea of German Communists making common cause with the most reactionary elements of the right and subordinating the interests of the proletariat to the interests of bourgeois nationalism.
To quote Lenin:
>It is not enough, under the present conditions of the international proletarian revolution, to repudiate the preposterous absurdities of “National Bolshevism” (Laufenberg and others), which has gone to the length of advocating a bloc with the German bourgeoisie for a war against the Entente. One must realise that it is utterly false tactics to refuse to admit that a Soviet Germany (if a German Soviet republic were soon to arise) would have to recognise the Treaty of Versailles for a time, and to submit to it. . . .
>The Soviet revolution in Germany will strengthen the international Soviet movement, which is the strongest bulwark (and the only reliable, invincible and world-wide bulwark) against the Treaty of Versailles and against international imperialism in general. To give absolute, categorical and immediate precedence to liberation from the Treaty of Versailles and to give it precedence over the question of liberating other countries oppressed by imperialism, from the yoke of imperialism, is philistine nationalism (worthy of the Kautskys, the Hilferdings, the Otto Bauers and Co.), not revolutionary internationalism. The overthrow of the bourgeoisie in any of the large European countries, including Germany, would be such a gain for the international revolution that, for its sake, one can, and if necessary should, tolerate a more prolonged existence of the Treaty of Versailles. If Russia, standing alone, could endure the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk for several months, to the advantage of the revolution, there is nothing impossible in a Soviet Germany, allied with Soviet Russia, enduring the existence of the Treaty of Versailles for a longer period, to the advantage of the revolution.
>The imperialists of France, Britain, etc., are trying to provoke and ensnare the German Communists: “Say that you will not sign the Treaty of Versailles!” they urge. . . To accept battle at a time when it is obviously advantageous to the enemy, but not to us, is criminal; political leaders of the revolutionary class are absolutely useless if they are incapable of “changing tack, or offering conciliation and compromise” in order to take evasive action in a patently disadvantageous battle.
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What do you think about the JCP (Japanese commie party)? Considering its (Don't quote me on theis) the second largest commie party behind the KPRF IIRC?
What were the main reasons the JCP Split from most of the rest international socialism after WW2?
From what I've heard, the JCP is consistent in opposing Japanese militarism, that alone makes it at least somewhat laudable.
If I recall right, the JCP took a neutral stand during the Sino-Soviet split, then in the 1970s-80s it was heavily influenced by Eurocommunism, which would account for its greater independence compared to most other "official" communist parties. But on the other hand Eurocommunism was a revisionist trend that supported reformism and criticized the USSR from the right (for being "dogmatic," "authoritarian," etc.)
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Oi, Supreme Ismail, are these two books any good? I want to know more about Stalin personal stuff. The title is anti communist as fuck and I know that Montefiore is a bourgeoisie historian but it's at least Kotkin tier (tolerable and at least reputable)?
I've read Montefiore's work on the Romanovs and it was pretty good.
Also have you read this Secondhand Times? What did you thought about it?
Grover Furr wrote that Young Stalin is a good read, so long as one ignores Montefiore's anti-communist interpretations and focus simply on his narrative of Stalin's early life. And I'd agree. So yeah, feel free to check it out.
I've never read the other Montefiore book you mention, but he does seem like a type of historian who likes to wow audiences with "revelations" (like that Stalin supposedly wanted to have John Wayne assassinated), which isn't good. That being said, I'm sure he doesn't spend hundreds of pages just constantly lying out his ass, so if any specific claim comes up, let me know.
I haven't read Secondhand Times.
>but it's at least Kotkin tier (tolerable and at least reputable)?
Well the thing with Kotkin is that he's trying to draw a "balanced" portrayal of Stalin and a fair bit of the text in his bios isn't even about Stalin but rather the historical context in which he lived. Montefiore (in "Court of the Red Tsar") seems like he'd be interested more in "look at this bad stuff Stalin did" or "look at the intrigue between his minions" and whatnot.
If you want to read up on Stalin, getting "Court of the Red Tsar" can't hurt so long as it's not your one and only source.
Is there any good information about the Democratic Republic of Madagascar and why it failed so badly? I've read that they had massive unemployment rates.
Do you have a list of links of all the stuff you've scanned anywhere?
Not every book there was scanned by me (a bunch are stuff I asked other people if they could scan.)
Enter the following two URLs into sci-hub.tw to obtain them, they should both help explain the economic and political factors that led to the demise of the socialist orientation of the Malagasy government (which was always vague and had an ambiguous relationship to Marxism):
What is your Solicited opinions on
A. Tido :D and Market Socialism (Not to be Confused with Social Market economy)
B. Budapest Uprising
C. Prauge Spring
Also did Socialist Afghanistan actually implement that many socialist reforms and if so in what ways?
A. Tito's foreign policy could be bad (particularly when Stalin was alive and you had Tito blaming the USSR for the Cold War, saying Stalin's policies were akin to Hitler's, etc.), but it had its positive moments (e.g. for a time in the early-mid 70s the MPLA in Angola was largely reliant on Yugoslav arms since the Soviets stopped supplying them, and the Non-Aligned Movement was generally a good thing in opposing imperialism and colonialism.)
The Yugoslav system of workers' self-management, while giving workers more influence in individual enterprises, was beset with its own problems (such as unemployment), see chapter 6 of this work: https://archive.org/details/ClassStruggleInSocialistPoland
The law of value exists under socialism, so every socialist economy will have a "market" of some kind. The issue is how extensive market relationships should be and when to expand or restrict them.
The Hungarian uprising was a counter-revolutionary revolt replete with the tearing down of Lenin statues and other communist symbols as well as pogroms. Here is a good read on the subject: https://espressostalinist.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/the-truth-about-hungary.pdf
Dubček was a proto-Gorbachev, who was allowing a counter-revolutionary situation to develop in his country and did nothing to stop it despite repeated warnings from the USSR, GDR and Poland. And like Gorby, Dubček ended up an open social-democrat who regarded Sweden as a great example of "socialism."
For good accounts of Czechoslovakia in 1968 see:
* https://archive.org/details/IsTheRedFlagFlying (chapter 7, which also discusses Hungary.)
>Also did Socialist Afghanistan actually implement that many socialist reforms and if so in what ways?
The People's Democratic Party argued that what was happening in Afghanistan was a national-democratic revolution to uproot centuries of feudalism and lay the foundations for socialism. Therefore the focus of the government was on land reform, expanding access to education (along with getting women to attend schools alongside men), developing trade unions, restricting foreign control over the economy, and other basic tasks.
A lot of reforms were only partially implemented, especially in the countryside, due to the Mujahideen occupying large parts of the country and the government trying after 1980 to win over as many Afghans as possible to its side. This process was accelerated when Babrak Karmal was replaced in 1986 by Najibullah, who downplayed Marxism, prayed during speeches, and urged Mujahideen supporters to lay down their arms in return for a role in a government of national reconciliation.
By the time the government was overthrown in 1992 the party had been moving towards social-democratic politics.
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Hello Ismail, I have a couple questions:
1) Very much a noob question, but how would you reply to the common counter-argument to the LTV where someone finds a diamond, which supposedly disproves that value is determined by productive labor time? Is the correct rebuttal of this to say that finding a diamond is unlikely to happen and therefore it is irrelevant? I'm not sure I really understand the LTV correctly to be honest.
2) I just came across >>8548 and thought this question merited an answer. How is the idea of a "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" something that applied to Libya but not to the USSR? Where do you draw the line between a country with corrupt bureaucrats that is still socialist, and a country endangered by such a bureaucratic bourgeoisie?
The law of value operates because there is a market (and thus commodity production), not the other way around.
And commodity production exists under socialism, hence my statement "the law of value exists under socialism." The USSR, China, Yugoslavia, Cuba, and every other socialist country past and present had/has commodity production throughout their entire existences (with the partial exception of Soviet Russia's period of War Communism which was obviously under exceptional circumstances.)
>but how would you reply to the common counter-argument to the LTV where someone finds a diamond, which supposedly disproves that value is determined by productive labor time?
The labor theory of value applies to production for the market. Someone finding a diamond and deciding to sell it in a market is generally going to give it the same (or similar) price as any other diamond recently extracted from the earth.
>I'm not sure I really understand the LTV correctly to be honest.
Here's a good read: http://www.dreamscape.com/rvien/Economics/Essays/LTV-FAQ.html
>How is the idea of a "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" something that applied to Libya but not to the USSR?
The term itself is imprecise, insofar as state employees in Libya weren't literally bourgeois (unless they also happened to own capitalist enterprises or something.)
The "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" (in Soviet terminology) either sought the restoration of inflated, colonial-era privileges for government officials, or already had inflated privileges, and thus had a vested interest in resisting policies designed to help lay the foundations for socialism. This layer would readily support a reactionary military coup against a weak, ex-colonial government oriented toward socialism.
It didn't refer to countries that had built socialism (the USSR argued no such countries existed in Africa or Asia.) It was meant to explain why there would be active resistance to the non-capitalist path of development (such as restricting the sphere in which foreign capital and domestic capital could operate) in African and Asian countries where a capitalist class barely existed.
Soviet theorists argued that there was no such privileged stratum of government employees in the USSR, which is untrue. But on the other hand bureaucratic misdeeds in the USSR were based on taking advantage of an existing socialist economy, rather than "these privileged members of the bureaucracy, or holdovers from the colonial period envious for a return to their former privileges, are trying to sabotage efforts to pursue a socialist road in [insert ex-colonial country here] and will conspire with elements of the military and/or local capitalists to overthrow the government."
By contrast, the danger of members of the bureaucracy in the USSR working with the military to overthrow the government in order to restore capitalism was basically nonexistent. When the August coup happened, it was aimed *against* capitalist restoration and the breakup of the Soviet Union.
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What's the best you have against "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" or "bureaucratic capitalism" argument of Hoxhaists and Maoists against USSR? Not only Red Flag but also other stuff
"Diamonds are of very rare occurrence on the earth’s surface, and hence their discovery costs, on an average, a great deal of labour time. Consequently much labour is represented in a small compass. Jacob doubts whether gold has ever been paid for at its full value. This applies still more to diamonds. According to Eschwege, the total produce of the Brazilian diamond mines for the eighty years, ending in 1823, had not realised the price of one-and-a-half years’ average produce of the sugar and coffee plantations of the same country, although the diamonds cost much more labour, and therefore represented more value. With richer mines, the same quantity of labour would embody itself in more diamonds, and their value would fall. If we could succeed at a small expenditure of labour, in converting carbon into diamonds, their value might fall below that of bricks. In general, the greater the productiveness of labour, the less is the labour time required for the production of an article, the less is the amount of labour crystallised in that article, and the less is its value; and vice versâ, the less the productiveness of labour, the greater is the labour time required for the production of an article, and the greater is its value. The value of a commodity, therefore, varies directly as the quantity, and inversely as the productiveness, of the labour incorporated in it."
I would answer this specific question by saying that the price of a commodity is going to be a reflection of its cost (in labor-time) which means that someone who finds a diamond could easily sell it far below the normal market price. But, if they sold it at the market price (even though it cost far less than normal) it wouldn't disprove the theory since Marx's LTV is flexible and is more concerned with the average price rather than each individual transaction.
You mean "state-capitalism" (that's the term they use, not "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" or "bureaucratic capitalism.")
It all boils down to the simple facts that:
1. There was no capitalist class in the USSR, and state officials are no substitute for capitalists.
2. The USSR after 1956 was not fundamentally different economically from the USSR beforehand.
3. The law of value did not determine production as it does under capitalism.
That's why they either have to falsify reality, or invent different conceptions of socialism (e.g. claiming socialism isn't a mode of production and that the correct line of the vanguard determines whether a country is socialist or capitalist, as many Maoists do.)
Szymanski's "Is the Red Flag Flying?" remains the best refutation of Maoist and Hoxhaist arguments.
There are two other books worth checking on as well:
* https://archive.org/details/TheMythOfCapitalismReborn (the authors take the position that the USSR was not socialist but still in transition to socialism, but otherwise their refutation of "state-capitalist" arguments is on point)
* https://archive.org/details/SocialismInTheSovietUnionByJonathanAurthur (takes the position that it is impossible for capitalism to be restored in the USSR short of the annihilation of the human race, a position which the authors of the first book I linked to pointed out was silly, but otherwise it's a decent read, albeit using simpler arguments than Szymanski or the aforementioned authors)
Are you aware of Karl Popper's criticism of Marxism, that it is no longer a science because it is unfalsifiable? If he is correct in some manner, what would it take to make Marxism falsifiable again? I don't know the specifics, just going off of what little I've read.
Is Marxism primarily a theory centered around technological determinism? If so, wouldn't it make the most sense to advocate for policies that accelerate technological advance, especially surrounding production? For example, social democratic policies such as wage increases and working hour reductions encouraging businesses to automate instead of hiring more expensive labor.
Leading from that, in the (hypothetical) scenario that most or all physical labor is automated, would capitalism naturally dissolve/change?
>Are you aware of Karl Popper's criticism of Marxism
Yes. There have been many Marxist critiques of it, e.g. Hristos Verikukis' "Popper’s Double Standard of Scientificity in Criticizing Marxism" (which you can google to find a PDF of.)
>Is Marxism primarily a theory centered around technological determinism?
Technological advances help develop new modes of production. These new modes of production conflict with the existing state of affairs, thus leading to revolutions in which the ruling class is replaced with another.
>If so, wouldn't it make the most sense to advocate for policies that accelerate technological advance
No. Capitalism, as Marx noted, drastically increases the productive powers of mankind. But like slavery and feudalism it also has its limits. To break these limits (including limits on the rate of technological advance) requires putting an end to the rule of the capitalist class and establishing socialism, similar to how America's capitalist class ended up having to violently abolish slavery to remove the fetters on capitalist development in the US.
>in the (hypothetical) scenario that most or all physical labor is automated, would capitalism naturally dissolve/change?
Under capitalism automation is used by capitalists to get rid of workers and thus save money. But you will still need workers to create the automated machinery. So you still have the basis for class struggle between capitalists and workers.
You might find this work useful for grasping the basics of Marxism: https://archive.org/details/IntroductionMarxism
And for the Marxist understanding of economics:
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>That's why they either have to falsify reality, or invent different conceptions of socialism (e.g. claiming socialism isn't a mode of production and that the correct line of the vanguard determines whether a country is socialist or capitalist, as many Maoists do.)
You have blown my minde specially with that. That's exactly what happens! What would you say against that "correct line of the vanguard" stuff?
It is very widespread nowadays.
That "Myth of Capitalism Reborn" book that I linked to (https://archive.org/details/TheMythOfCapitalismReborn) addresses it in Chapter V.
I simply say that it's inconsistent with Marxism to attribute a country's economic system to whether the leaders of the country are "really" communists or not. Gorby becoming General Secretary in 1985 did not suddenly mean the Soviet economy was capitalist, but the economic policies he enacted over the next six years did in fact lead to the restoration of capitalism.
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Thanks a lot!
What are your thoughts about Cuba? A lot of Maoists are getting against and calling it state-capitalism. I think they defended that position since the beginning but nvm
Yeah the Chinese denounced Cuba from about 1967 onward, considering it "a pawn of Soviet social-imperialism." It's rubbish. Cuba's economy was no less socialist than the USSR, and it differed with the Soviets on various occasions (e.g. it sent troops to Angola without even notifying the USSR since it wasn't sure whether or not Brezhnev would agree to the decision, since it would doubtlessly make discussions about détente with the US more difficult.)
Is there in Red Flag anything against that conception of "correct line of the vanguard"?
I don't think so, since Szymanski's purpose is to debunk the idea that capitalism was restored in the USSR after Stalin's death by looking at how its economy and foreign policy functioned.
As I said, the two authors of "The Myth of Capitalism Reborn" do a sufficient job debunking the whole "socialism is when the vanguard has the correct line" stuff.
What's China's policy on censorship of TV, internet and other forms of media? My chinese friend said he needs to use VPN/proxy to use websites like facebook, to watch certain movies and for porn. And there's been some articles lately reporting that they banned hip hop music and tattoos from TV for example. Is this really necessary? What's the purpose of banning tattoos from television?
The Chinese government tries to promote positive values in society, and also tries to prevent the circulation of imperialist, separatist and terrorist (e.g. Uighur Islamist) propaganda.
There are old-fashioned officials who think hip hop music is "bad," and I assume tattoos are associated with street crime or organized crime.
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>(the authors take the position that the USSR was not socialist but still in transition to socialism, but otherwise their refutation of "state-capitalist" arguments is on point)
Do you agree with that position that the USSR was not socialist but still in transition to socialism?
Stalin pointed out that exploiting classes had ceased to exist in Soviet society by the mid-30s. The text is wrong in claiming that he thought classes don't exist under socialism (he said that workers and peasants still exist, as indeed they did), but there clearly wasn't much room for class struggle besides the remnants of overthrown classes.
Maoists criticized Stalin on this point, arguing that he did not anticipate the rise of a "new bourgeoisie" within the party that supposedly took over after his death and "restored capitalism." This is something that Mao's Cultural Revolution was ostensibly designed to prevent.
Then you disagree with Marx's definition. And Lenin's.
Where did Marx and Lenin argue that antagonistic classes and class struggle continue under socialism?
My point was that by neither Marx nor Lenin's definition had the USSR achieved socialism. By their definition the USSR was still in a transitional phase until it reverted to capitalism.
Marx speaks of "where the peasant exists in the mass as private proprietor," whereas (as Stalin and other Soviet officials noted) the peasantry in the USSR had become collective farm peasantry, i.e. integrated into the socialist economy, no longer private proprietors.
And obviously there was no capitalist class in the USSR by the mid-30s for the proletariat to struggle against.
So Marx's words do not apply. They did before the construction of socialism (i.e. from 1917 to the early 1930s) but not afterward.
And what makes you argue that?
Class struggle continue but not in an "antagonistic classes" form.
As Stalin pointed out in 1936, "the draft of the new Constitution of the U.S.S.R. proceeds from the fact that there are no longer any antagonistic classes in society; that society consists of two friendly classes, of workers and peasants; that it is these classes, the labouring classes, that are in power; that the guidance of society by the state (the dictatorship) is in the hands of the working class, the most advanced class in society, that a constitution is needed for the purpose of consolidating a social order desired by, and beneficial to, the working people."
Stalin argued the DOTP still exists, but I haven't seen anything he wrote or said about class struggle under socialism except in the sense of attempts by foreign capitalist states to overthrow it or remnants of former exploiting classes trying to do likewise.
Erik Van Ree comments as follows in his "The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin," pp. 140-141:
>However, the proletarian dictatorship was no longer mentioned as a functioning reality in the new constitution of 1936. The text held that “all power in the USSR belongs to the toilers [trudiashchiesia] of the city and the village.” . . .
>From a practical point of view, the constitution’s failure to claim an exclusively proletarian character reflected the new reality of the introduction of general and equal suffrage, which brought positive discrimination in favour of the urban working class to an end. The proletarian dictatorship, for what it had been worth, was in practice thereby abolished. According to Molotov, Stalin admitted privately that the proletarian dictatorship was a thing of the past. In his speech of 1 October 1938, the latter observed that in its first, class stage the proletarian state served to oppress the bourgeoisie. Soviet power was now in a second stage, “when power becomes the power of the toilers. I wouldn’t say that it is now a class power, that it is the power of one class.” . . .
>In a discussion with the Polish communist Bierut in May 1946 he remarked that “in essence” there was “no dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR now either. We have a Soviet democracy.” The reason was that there were only external enemies to suppress. The party rules adopted at the Nineteenth Party Congress in 1952 removed all specific references to the working class. The party was redefined as a “union of like-minded communists, organised from people from among the working class, the toiling peasants and the toiling intelligentsia.”
There wasn't much of a leap from this to the 22nd Congress of the CPSU in 1961 which argued that the dictatorship of the proletariat had fulfilled its historical mission and that the USSR had become a state of the whole people.
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Do you know anything about the supposed "Maoist" orgs that fought against the DRA and the Soviets alongside the Mujahids?
All I could find on them was the wiki article on the "Soviet Afghan war" and a stub article on one supposed militia?
The Afghanistan Liberation Organization was the main one. They were never militarily significant and mostly ended up being killed by their fellow "anti-imperialist" Mujahideen associates.
>And what makes you argue that?
Socialism is the lower phase of communism, as defined by Lenin. The lower phase of communism abolishes money, commodities, wage-labor, as defined by Marx. The USSR at no point achieved the lower phase of communism. They retained wage-labor, money, commodities, and all the elements of capitalism during their entire history.
Lenin defines socialism as the lower phase of communist society.
What is usually called socialism was termed by Marx the “first”, or lower, phase of communist society.
Marx describes the lower phase of communist society:
Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor.
He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost.
Lenin defines the new Soviet system as transitional:
No one, I think, in studying the question of the economic system of Russia, has denied its transitional character. Nor, I think, has any Communist denied that the term Socialist Soviet Republic implies the determination of Soviet power to achieve the transition to socialism, and not that the new economic system is recognised as a socialist order.
'''Lenin claims it will take many years to build even a socialist "apparatus":
The most harmful thing would be to rely on the assumption that we know at least something, or that we have any considerable number of elements necessary for the building of a really new state apparatus, one really worthy to be called socialist, Soviet, etc.
No, we are ridiculously deficient of such an apparatus, and even of the elements of it, and we must remember that we should not stint time on building it, and that it will take many, many years.
Ismail, do you have anything to say about parties such as the Progressive Labor Party and Party of Communists, USA? And what about organizing a revolutionary party in the US, in general.
>Socialism is the lower phase of communism, as defined by Lenin.
Something Soviet authors never denied.
>The lower phase of communism abolishes money, commodities, wage-labor, as defined by Marx.
As Marx wrote in that text, "What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society – after the deductions have been made – exactly what he gives to it."
He also writes in Capital Vol. III that the law of value will continue to operate under socialism.
In the USSR money served an accounting function (i.e. it couldn't be used by individuals to create capital.) Labor-power was not a commodity, and commodities were not produced for their exchange value (as is the case under capitalism.)
As for your two Lenin quotes, again nobody would deny that in 1918 Soviet Russia was indeed merely striving toward socialism. I don't see how that's relevant twenty years later when the bourgeoisie had ceased to exist and the kulak class done away with in the countryside.
Likewise, socialism was not built in a day. As Lenin said in 1922, "Permit me to conclude by expressing confidence that difficult as this task may be, new as it may be compared with our previous task, and numerous as the difficulties may be that it entails, we shall all—not in a day, but in a few years—all of us together fulfil it whatever the cost, so that NEP Russia will become socialist Russia."
The PLP are ultra-left. They think revolutions should lead directly to communism.
The PCUSA is a pro-Stalin split of the CPUSA. It seems pretty ineffectual.
The FRSO, WWP and PSL are parties I'd consider joining if I had to do so.
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I'm in the PSL, ask me anything.
Again, the USSR retained all the key elements of capitalism for its 70 year existence. It's not a question of socialism "with the birthmarks of the old society." When Marx wrote that passage he was describing a system of equal pay using labor certificates, not a system in which prices were manipulated by state planning.
>He also writes in Capital Vol. III that the law of value will continue to operate under socialism.
>Labor-power was not a commodity
People worked and received payment for that work.
>commodities were not produced for their exchange value (as is the case under capitalism.)
A commodity is by definition created for realizing exchange value. The entire collective farm sector did exactly this and was mentioned by Stalin as being a hold-over from non-public ownership. Of course, Stalin performed a number of mental somersaults and concludes his analysis of commodity production in the USSR by saying that the use of Marxist concepts to analyze Soviet society should be abandoned since those concepts no longer apply(!).
What's interesting is that Stalin's discussion of commodity production begins with an an Engels quote describing how the seizing of the means of production would immediately do away with commodity production. Rather than answer why this hasn't happened in the USSR Stalin states that at the time in question such a transition could only have been achieved in Britain, and that the early USSR's economic conditions did not permit the transition to a non-commodity society. He never actually answers the question of why such a transition was not achieved in the following 30 years.
I think that the really interesting part of this work comes in section 4. Here Stalin makes the interesting statement that the USSR still produces for profit, but at a national level:
"...profitableness is considered not from the stand-point of individual plants or industries, and not over a period of one year, but from the standpoint of the entire national economy and over a period of, say, ten or fifteen years..."
Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR
>Again, the USSR retained all the key elements of capitalism for its 70 year existence.
Strange, then, that the USSR had no capitalist class, no unemployment, no anarchy of production, no recessions nor depressions. This is clearly a "capitalism" that looked nothing like capitalism.
>People worked and received payment for that work.
Which is in accordance with the socialist principle of distribution. That does not make labor-power a commodity. There was no reserve army of labor to drive down wages and compel workers to sell their labor-power for whatever it could get. There was no exploiting class to appropriate the surplus value of workers.
>A commodity is by definition created for realizing exchange value.
Yes, but under socialism commodities assume a new form. See: https://archive.org/stream/NikitinFundamentalsPoliticalEcon/Nikitin%20Fundamentals%20Political%20Econ#page/n153/mode/1up
Stalin's "Economic Problems of Socialism" was criticized by Soviet economists after 1953 who argued he had erred in his understanding of the law of value and commodities, his proposal to put an end to commodity circulation between the towns and countryside, etc. This doesn't mean his book is nothing but incorrect statements, but it isn't the alpha and omega of the Soviet treatment of those subjects like many ultra-leftists pretend it is.
>Here Stalin makes the interesting statement that the USSR still produces for profit, but at a national level:
Yes. I don't see your point, unless you think socialism entails operating at a loss and having a diminishing social product. Szymanski clearly explained the role of profit in the Soviet economy.
That small bit you quoted from Stalin was part of a larger point that the law of value did not regulate production in the USSR. As he explained:
>If [the law of value regulated production], it would be incomprehensible why our light industries, which are the most profitable, are not being developed to the utmost, and why preference is given to our heavy industries, which are often less profitable, and some-times altogether unprofitable.
>If this were true, it would be incomprehensible why a number of our heavy industry plants which are still unprofitable and where the labour of the worker does not yield the "proper returns," are not closed down, and why new light industry plants, which would certainly be profitable and where the labour of the workers might yield "big returns," are not opened. . . .
>These comrades forget that the law of value can be a regulator of production only under capitalism, with private ownership of the means of production, and competition, anarchy of production, and crises of overproduction. They forget that in our country the sphere of operation of the law of value is limited by the social ownership of the means of production, and by the law of balanced development of the national economy, and is consequently also limited by our yearly and five-yearly plans, which are an approximate reflection of the requirements of this law.
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What's you opinion on Pol-Pot
Do you fall more on the negative side of him for the obvious commonly stated reasons?
Or do you prefer the idea that the US bombing campaign crippled cambodias agricultural system and caused most of the deaths as I've seen some state
Also which was better
Do you mean freedomroad.org or frso.org?
Also Ismail, is there anywhere you post regularly other than /marx/ and eregime? Or more broadly, are there any other good places online for communist discussion, in your opiinon?
And if you don't mind, what brought you into imageboards, 8ch in particular?
>Or do you prefer the idea that the US bombing campaign crippled cambodias agricultural system and caused most of the deaths as I've seen some state
The Khmer Rouge reduced the population to practically slave labor. The bombings were an atrocity and gave the KR a pretext to evacuate the cities, but that doesn't absolve them of their crimes.
Pol Pot was a reactionary. He ended up becoming an open supporter of capitalism and received CIA support throughout the 1980s fighting the Vietnamese and the Cambodian government.
Ask any Cambodian and 99.99% will reply that life was better in the People's Republic of Kampuchea than it was under the Khmer Rouge.
I am mainly involved with /marx/ and eRegime (the activity of which is at a standstill since we're converting to a different forum software, but there are two active Discords that maintain the community's activity for now.)
Besides that I post on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/HysniKapo/ (not really in leftist subs though, just liberal and social-democratic ones where I try to spread the good news of Marxism-Leninism.)
frso.org (the Fightback one.)
As far as Imageboards go I almost never posted on 4Chan except in /lit/ or /pol/ to note books I had scanned (I no longer post there at all), and /marx/ is the only board on 8Chan that I post on.
/marx/ was originally admined by someone else who offered to hand it over to me. I figured it'd be a good board for people to learn about Marx and friends, so I accepted. I don't interact with imageboards otherwise.
Since you’ve been on revleft for a while and may know him better than other people from the chans, is Rafiq active anymore? Do you have any of his texts such as “our materialism”?
I've never communicated with Rafiq outside of RevLeft and don't know his current whereabouts, nor do I have his texts.
Do you know any good books on Grenada?
I do not.
For the invasion of the country, see the relevant chapter in "Killing Hope": http://b-ok.xyz/book/887149/c061ac
That’s the part I was most interested in anyway, so thank you! There’s also this book but I can’t find it anywhere online. I may have to purchase a physical copy
Yeah it isn't online to my knowledge. I have a few books from the "Marxist Regimes" series, they're pretty good intros to their subjects (although their definition of "Marxist Regimes" is quite broad, e.g. one of the volumes I have is on Guyana.)
The following combination of statements seems logically incompatible:
<1. The rate of exploitation can be measured by the labor time workers give relative to the labor time entering the goods and services they consume. (This claim, like what follows, is not about every single person, but aggregates.)
<2. Prices of goods and services don't center around labor time content, but profit-rate equalizing prices of production.
<3. Workers can't change the rate of exploitation by making different consumer decisions.
One could say that people don't get out of their way to obtain things with high labor content just for the sake of it, and that the different classes consume a huge amount of different products and services, so it stands to reason that the labor-content per consumer dollar spent is probably about the same among different sets of millions of people. So, the shares of the pie of produced stuff going to different classes is not going to change much when you change the measure from labor-value "prices" of what people consume to profit-rate equalizing prices. But it's still weird in that statements 1 and 2 together seem to imply a logical possibility that the working class pursuing the strategy of buying things with high labor content would push down the rate of exploitation.
So, which of these three assumptions would you drop?
I think you'd get a better answer if you asked the persons over at this thread: >>7739 (which is about Capital, but seems like a good thread for Marxist economics in general.)
In what period was Guyana supposedly "most" marxist? Was it ever comparable to Allende's Chile, or at least to Venezuela? I don't know anything about the country
(Not that other anon btw)
That's the thing, it never was a "Marxist regime."
There were two principal parties in Guyanese politics: the People's National Congress and the People's Progressive Party. The PNC mostly represented the Black population and had an ideology of "cooperative socialism." The PPP mostly represented Indians and was Marxist-Leninist.
The PNC had actually received CIA support in the 1960s because of the fear that Guyana would obtain independence from Britain under a pro-Soviet PPP government.
So instead the PNC ended up presiding over Guyanese independence, and in the early 70s began moving to the left in domestic and international affairs. It developed cordial relations with the USSR, Cuba and DPRK while making sure not to endanger ties with the US and UK (which viewed the PNC in power as a lesser evil since pretty much the only other alternative was the PPP.)
Some Marxist rhetoric was used by the PNC (e.g. that efforts were being made to establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat"), and nationalizations were carried out, but I'd say it was to the right of Venezuela under Chávez and Maduro. It even coalitioned with a small conservative party to keep the PPP from coming to power.
That Guyana's government was Black-led, avowedly socialist, and on good terms with the USSR and friends (and also the country is English-speaking) also led to Jim Jones setting up Jonestown there, since the government's policy was to encourage cooperative undertakings and for more Black people to enter the country (Jones' followers were mostly Black) in order to tip the scales against the country's Indian majority (who more likely to vote for the PPP.)
Thank you for clearing that up. In what way exacty were these bureaucrats in the USSR (and other ML states) able to take advantage of the socialist economy?
I should really just read Capital when i have the time, the answers to many of my questions seem to be in there. Thanks
>although their definition of "Marxist Regimes" is quite broad
That's for sure, I have their book on Democratic Kampuchea and we know how "Marxist" they were ideologically
Did the Ultraleft leadership of Albania led to Ultraleftist policies wich fucked up the economy like it did in China with the Cultural Revolution? Or any other things Ultra left policies led to
>In what way exacty were these bureaucrats in the USSR (and other ML states) able to take advantage of the socialist economy?
They gave themselves privileges tied to their jobs, e.g. chauffeured cars, access to special stores to buy imported goods, lived in residential areas closed off to ordinary people, etc.
And then of course there was corruption, e.g. overcharging the state for expenses for a birthday party, screwing with statistics to make your region's output look more glorious than it was so planners would allocate more funds and you could pocket the additional money, etc.
Yes. After 1978 Albania's economy slowly fell apart as lack of foreign trade (caused in part by a constitution which prohibited obtaining foreign investment and credits) meant lack of spare parts and other necessities to maintain economic output.
To be fair, the "Marxist Regimes" volume on Cambodia is actually about the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, not the "Democratic Kampuchea" of the Khmer Rouge.
Also the guy who wrote the book has helpfully put it online for others to read: michaelvickery.org/vickery1986kampuchea.pdf
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That's interesting. Any idea why marxism is so popular in Guyana or with the Indians in popular? What about the period in 1992-2015 where the PPP was apparently in power, did they do anything of note?
Also, can you tell me more about this "Marxist regimes" series - is it bourgeois in perspective or are the authors at least sympathetic to marxism?
>Some Marxist rhetoric was used by the PNC (e.g. that efforts were being made to establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat"), and nationalizations were carried out, but I'd say it was to the right of Venezuela under Chávez and Maduro. It even coalitioned with a small conservative party to keep the PPP from coming to power.
Sounds like classic socdem fuckery.
Do you think such abuse could have been avoided, or at least kept under control, if some kind of checks and balances against corruption had been introduced in the early years of the USSR?
>screwing with statistics to make your region's output look more glorious than it was
Doesn't this make a great deal of statistics from the USSR unreliable? This seems like a serious problem when trying to defend the accomplishments of the ML states in arguments with anticommunists.
* in particular
>Any idea why marxism is so popular in Guyana or with the Indians in popular?
It wasn't so much that Marxism was popular, it's that Cheddi Jagan and his wife (the founders of the PPP) lived in the US and became Marxists there. Jagan returned to Guyana to advocate immediate independence, whereas until then political life was in the hands of British collaborators. So his party basically became the only genuinely patriotic force.
In the 1960s-70s there was a huge shift in favor of socialist rhetoric and policies throughout the third world, so Forbes Burnham (founder of the PNC) found it easy to shift from British Labour Party-style "socialism" to mouthing the occasional Marxist phrase.
>What about the period in 1992-2015 where the PPP was apparently in power, did they do anything of note?
As a 1997 NY Times article notes, "Though Dr. Jagan said he had not abandoned his commitment to Marxism, he sought to attract foreign investors and embraced some free market policies. 'I was a Gorbachev even before Gorbachev, in the sense of what we were doing and not adopting the traditional dogmas of Marxist parties,' he said. With the cold war over, Washington's attitude by then had also changed, and Dr. Jagan's relations with the Clinton Administration were cordial."
The "Marxist Regimes" is basically bourgeois in perspective, but some the volumes are written sympathetically (e.g. the volumes on Afghanistan, Angola, the GDR and Kampuchea.)
>if some kind of checks and balances against corruption had been introduced in the early years of the USSR?
There were attempts at checks and balances, e.g. the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate, but as Lenin pointed out: "It will take decades to overcome the evils of bureaucracy. It is a very difficult struggle, and anyone who says we can rid ourselves of bureaucratic practices overnight by adopting anti-bureaucratic platforms is nothing but a quack with a bent for fine words."
>Doesn't this make a great deal of statistics from the USSR unreliable?
Depends on the statistics. Some were more reliable than others, and even when a statistic was "accurate" in terms of sheer output it could be deceptive in that a lot of the output was unsold in stores due to poor quality.
But few would deny that Soviet economic growth remained impressive until the 1970s.
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Thank you! Can you give me something to read about it???
About Albania's economic decline? There are a few books that talk about it in the context of other things, but none of them are online. If you have specific questions though, feel free to ask.
>He also writes in Capital Vol. III that the law of value will continue to operate under socialism.
Short question: can you refer me to the bit you are talking about? Thanks!
"after the abolition of the capitalist mode of production, but still retaining social production, the determination of value continues to prevail in the sense that the regulation of labour-time and the distribution of social labour among the various production groups, ultimately the book-keeping encompassing all this, become more essential than ever."
Do you have any information on Vietnam? What kind of levels of growth/industrialisation did they experience after the war? How long did it take for Vietnam to actually build socialism and would you still consider them a socialist country today (if not when did they deviate from socialism)? Have there been any big changes when it came to the leadership of the country (such as Nguyễn Văn Linh wanting to introduce market reforms)? Also wondering if there is anything distinct in "Ho Chi Minh Thought" or is it just a Vietnamese application of Marxism-Leninism
The Vietnamese government has never claimed that they've built socialism. They describe themselves nowadays as a socialist-oriented market economy.
I don't know much about Ho Chi Minh Thought, although it does indeed seem little more than the "Vietnamese application of Marxism-Leninism" (like it's not equivalent to Juche.)
As far as I know they mostly spent the 70s and 80s rebuilding, and their economy (particularly agriculture) stagnated in the mid-80s which led to the market reforms.
I haven't read it, but if you make an archive.org account you can simply click to have the book "loaned" to you, allowing you to read it in your browser for up to 13 days.
Oh I did. In fact those are pretty easy to rip. Just wanted to know if it was of the more sympathetic books of the series.
CAn you go a little more in depth on this economic decline? The restrictions of foreign trade etc?
As I said, the country gradually became bereft of spare parts, so that you'd have factories where a lot of lights didn't work, or there wouldn't be enough dynamite for mining, etc.
A lot of this was because Albania refused to normalize relations with the USSR after Khrushchev's ouster. Brezhnev and subsequent Soviet leaders offered to restore diplomatic and trade ties, but Hoxha and Alia refused until 1990.
Article 28 of the 1976 Constitution stated, "The granting of concessions to, and the creation of, foreign economic and financial companies and other institutions or ones formed jointly with bourgeois and revisionist capitalist monopolies and states, as well as obtaining credits from them, are prohibited in the People's Socialist Republic of Albania."
No other socialist country had anything like this. All it did was hinder the economic well-being of Albania.
was trade forbidden with these "revisionist" and "Capitalist" countries or just restriced and to what degree
Albania refused any trade whatsoever with the US and USSR.
It did, however, trade with France (e.g. chromium exports from Albania ended up in the US via Franco-Albanian trade), Italy, Yugoslavia, some Warsaw Pact countries, and smaller capitalist countries like Austria.
If Albania completely forbid trade with the outside world then socialism would have been overthrown years before.
Opinion on Mugabe? Is all the shit he gets deserved? Did he improve the lives of his people beyond the Rhodesian apartheid being dismantled?
Living standards were generally okay in the 1980s. They declined in the 90s as Mugabe's government implemented IMF policies. Meanwhile, ZANU-PF was under pressure from veterans and landless Zimbabweans to carry out land reform, which he finally did after years of delay when it looked like his party might lose elections.
The land reform itself has overall had a positive effect (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-11764004) but the country's economy nonetheless remained in poor straits for over a decade. Mugabe was seen as incapable of changing that around, and while the way in which he was removed can be criticized, it seems the vast majority of both ZANU-PF members and ordinary Zimbabweans approve the change.
Would you consider the Japanese goverment after the virtual takeover of it by the military until 1945 a form of Fascism or would you consider it a much more German Empire / Russian Empire / Austria-Hungarian Esque type of chauvinist imperialism?
I haven't really studied Japan that closely to give an answer. According to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia though:
>As preparations for [World War II] proceeded, there was a dramatic upsurge of reactionary forces, and the entire socioeconomic structure of Japan became fascist in nature. Trade unions were abolished in 1940. The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was created in October 1940 to replace the political parties, which had been dissolved; headed by the prime minister, the association formed the basis of the “new political structure.”
Do you have a degree in history? I don't think I know anybody who knows that much about 20th century history.
No, I just read books and articles.
I'm sure if you talked to an actual historian they'd know more about a subject than me.
I can't remember where, but I've heard somewhere that the majority of food came from small private land owners in the in the USSR. I don't recall if this was referring to the kulaks or afterwards as well.
Is it true?
If yes, why?
After collectivization, each family in a collective had the right to a small plot of land. Anything they grew on it they could eat or sell on an open market. They weren't allowed to employ labor and they couldn't expand their plot (let alone buy others), so there was no chance at creating a rural capitalist or kulak class.
Many peasants preferred to focus on these private plots rather than producing for collectives since on an open market they could sell products of the former for whatever price they'd like, whereas most of what was produced in the collective farm had to be sold to the state for a fixed (and generally low) price.
The low price the state paid collective farmers, on the other hand, helped the state subsidize food prices in urban areas (i.e. make food cheaper to buy) for consumers.
Another problem is that the USSR's distribution system generally sucked, which meant a lot of collective produce would rot in the fields before trucks came in time to deliver them to supermarkets and whatnot. By contrast, if you worked on a private plot, you yourself were responsible for determining where you took the produce (with train stops being popular locations.)
Most food wasn't produced by private plots, but certain products (like eggs) were dependent to a considerable degree on private plot production. As a Russian guy I know once said:
>Yes, people probably worked hard on their own plots, yes they were more productive per yard, and yes, they did contribute to about 15% of Soviet agricultural consumption, although for the most part they harvested fruits and vegetables hard to come by from state farms, not staple crops like potatoes.
Here's a helpful article on Soviet agriculture in general: http://www.soviet-empire.com/ussr/viewtopic.php?t=47201
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>No, I just read books and articles.
How long have you been reading up on Marxism and the history of socialist states to seem as knowledgeable as you do?
I've considered myself a Marxist since 2006, and I began purchasing books about socialist states in 2007 (a very boring collection of speeches by Todor Zhivkov, a 1975 Western academic book on the GDR, and "A Coming of Age: Albania under Enver Hoxha" by James S. O'Donnell.)
>After collectivization, each family in a collective had the right to a small plot of land
supposedly under communism would they still have a plot of land?
>They weren't allowed to employ labor and they couldn't expand their plot (let alone buy others), so there was no chance at creating a rural capitalist or kulak class.
Were they allowed to make coops?
I remember you quoted Marx in another thread where he said the land can't be divided into small plots of individual farmers. What's the deal then with this?
>supposedly under communism would they still have a plot of land?
No. Private plots were seen as transitional. With the increased productivity of collective and state farms, the need for private plots would cease.
>Were they allowed to make coops?
Out of their private plots? Not to my knowledge. Only family members could work on the private plots. They were surrounded by collective farm property, so it'd be a bit strange to make cooperatives within collectives.
>I remember you quoted Marx in another thread where he said the land can't be divided into small plots of individual farmers. What's the deal then with this?
The families belonged to collective farms. Their main task was (in theory, at least) to focus on raising the productivity of collective farm production. But they also had small private plots for their families to grow food on which could either be used to supplement their diet or earn additional income for themselves on an open market.
In practice, in the 1930s-50s when collective farm productivity was very low, private plots were viewed by peasants as vital if they weren't to suffer malnutrition or were to gain enough money to buy basic goods from the state. Afterward they were still given more attention by many collective farmers since they got more money from working on the private plot.
When peasants joined the collectives in the 1930s, their land was given up to the collective, whereas a small private plot was granted to them in return based on family size and some other factors.
Those on state farms also had private plots, but these were even smaller than their collective counterparts and there was less incentive to work on them since state farms paid wages.
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What is your opinion on the EFF in South Africa?
Their Manifesto claims their M-L but South Africans I've spoken to claim that their basically Mugabeists / Afro-NazBol?
Marry fuck Kill?
I don't know enough about them to comment.
Presumably by "Pieke" you mean Pieck, who didn't have much influence over the GDR's policies. His role in the government was mostly ceremonial, and he was honored as one of the founders of the KPD.
Ulbricht and Honecker weren't much different. The former was removed because of his old age and because he had disagreed with the USSR and Poland over diplomatic issues concerning West Germany. Honecker continued the limited liberalization promoted by Ulbricht in economics and society.
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Why do so many people defect from socialist countries? Is it overblown?
I often hear that the GDR was state capitalist with honecker and other high ranking party official controling the mop and having own private mansion etc. That the production wasn't really ruled by the proletarait but rather by party boreaucrates, to what extend is this true? Is it even true at all? How was it really?
Governments can give give money and other benefits if those from socialist countries successfully reached "the other side" (which is the case with Cubans and East Germans), or you have family abroad in a capitalist country (which applies to a lot of Cubans, East Germans, and North Koreans), or things really do just horribly suck (DPRK during the "Arduous March" of the 1990s.)
Those who leave also expect that they'll get higher wages at their jobs and greater access to consumer goods.
It isn't. The GDR's economy was fundamentally the same as the USSR's. Honecker and Co. were state officials, not capitalists. they had no ownership of the means of production, couldn't hire laborers, couldn't accumulate capital, etc.
State and party officials certainly abused the socialist system to give themselves privileges and to engage in corruption, but this isn't something that determines whether a system is capitalist or socialist. If a capitalist decides to live modestly and contribute tons of money for charity, he/she is still a capitalist. When a Bernie Madoff or Charles Keating decides to abuse the capitalist system, this doesn't mean the United States is somehow no longer capitalist.
A handy quote from a bourgeois work, There Is No Freedom Without Bread! by Constantine Pleshakov, 2009, pp. 60-61:
>The world of luxury [Soviet and Eastern European officials] created for themselves was still a far cry from that of Imelda Marcos or John F. Kennedy and their wealth was not hereditary or even for life, because a leader ousted from power lost most of the material benefits the day he as sacked, and every person in Romania knew that the Ceaușescus' prosperity was exactly as lasting as the orchids they imported.
>These were elites whose dacha furniture had metal tags nailed to it, so that when the person fell out with the leader or retired, an inventory team could count and account for every chair he left to his successor (in 2006 in the United States, a severance package for a "failed" chief executive of Home Depot was $210 million). Moguls drove around in Soviet-made Chaika limousines, their windows covered by arrogant curtains, but their children could not inherit them. Here, privileges were like fiefs and had no monetary backup: you lose power, you lose its spoils.
>In 1968, the conqueror of Warsaw, Marshal Rokossovsky, diagnosed with terminal cancer, begged a doctor to send him to the subtropical Crimea on the Black Sea, to the Ministry of Defense dacha: "I know that I can die at any moment, please make my last year good." The doctor counterfeited the paperwork, and the retired war hero got clean bedsheets, free meals, and a room with a view. When one of the most powerful men in Bulgaria, a secretary of the party's Central Committee, had a fling, he asked a subordinate—in his case, a writer, for the secretary supervised arts and literature—to lend him his apartment for the night because he couldn't take his date to a hotel: the management would have reported him to his very own Central Committee, which would have been only too happy to shred him to pieces for "moral decadence." In principle, Eastern European elites were as shackled by the rules as were their subjects, and, doubtlessly, whispered the names of freedoms they would've wanted.
>The greatest spymaster of Eastern Europe, Markus Wolf, chief of East German intelligence for thirty years, wrote in his memoir: "People who could leave the country were greatly envied by the population at large; travel fever was acute in this country of nontravelers. I had traveled less widely for pleasure than most middle-class American college students, which is something that Western commentators tend to forget when they talk about the lives of the members of the nomenklatura. For all my privileges, I had never visited the Prado, the British Museum, or the Louvre . . . I was privileged to have a fine apartment, a car and a driver, and pleasant holidays at the invitation of other secret services in the Eastern bloc. But these were always connected to my job and status; in the end, the wider world was sealed off to me, too."
And from a leftist author:
>Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, as Time magazine reported, lived in a simple five-room apartment in the same housing project near the Kremlin that once accommodated Leonid Brezhnev. Soviet political leaders, managers, and intelligentsia cannot amass great wealth from the labor of others. They cannot own the means of production nor pass ownership on to their progeny. When they retire, it is to modest living quarters on modest pensions. This hardly constitutes a "new class."
>Top-level state ministers and enterprise managers earn only about 2.7 to 4.0 times above the average industrial wage. (However, small numbers of prominent artists, writers, university administrators, and scientists make close to 10 times more.) Such income differences are not great when compared to the United States, where top entertainers, corporate owners, and other wealthy individuals annually take in several hundred times more than the average American wage earner.
(Parenti, Michael. Inventing Reality: The Politics of the Mass Media. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1986. p. 141.)
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Why the Brezhnev era is remembered as the golden era? I've listened to philosophers and people and everyone points out the Brezhnev era as the golden age of the soviet union. After stalin, de-stalinization and after cornboi, why? Plus wasn't around the era where the economy stagnated? What's up with that? There was also the war in Afghanistan.
They were the most stable years in the USSR's history. There really weren't any unpopular policies (e.g. Khrushchev had raised prices) and the Soviets were at their height geopolitically.
Everyone agrees that Brezhnev should have stepped down five years or so before he died, and the war in Afghanistan is obviously controversial, but Russians today consider the Brezhnev years the best to have lived in.
If China Is still socialist then how does one explain their Imperialism (Exportation of capital / use of the developing world as a sweatshop / seizing land with 99 year leases when debts can't be relayed like its the 1800s)
What about the "Era of Stagnation"? How bad was it?
Check out the "China and Imperialism" section in the following link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16iw83noTdWvDiECaITX83rGhP_lros8QdBTrNnCoe6c/edit
It didn't literally mean the economy stagnated. Growth continued, but slower than in preceding decades and with little hope of improvement. By 1985 many people felt that economic reform was long overdue and that a lot of problems in society were becoming worse (e.g. crime, cynicism, neglect) without any way to remedy them because the government and press preferred to ignore or downplay what was happening.
This wasn't unique to the USSR. It characterized all the European socialist to greater or lesser extents.
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Is it true that no one sung the Soviet Anthem until the 1977 revision that removed mentions of Stalin? Do you think removing him was justified? I also saw someone claim that Honecker banned the lyrics to Auferstanden aus Ruinen.
Yes, both claims are correct. The Soviet anthem was of course used in its instrumental version, but not sung until 1977 when new lyrics were adopted.
When the original anthem had been written, Stalin was still leader of the USSR. The mention of him was thus seen as part of his personality cult, hence the removal. The CPSU after 1956 did not regard Stalin as akin to Lenin (who was mentioned in both the original and 1977 versions), and I think removing Stalin from the anthem made sense.
Auferstanden aus Ruinen wasn't sung anymore (although again, instrumental version was used) because the lyrics concerned a united Germany and a single German nation, whereas after 1971 the SED argued that the GDR represented a separate, socialist German nation. Talk of reunification was therefore done away with.
This is different from North Vietnam, South Yemen and the DPRK which all argued that there was a single Vietnamese/Yemeni/Korean nation abnormally divided between two states.
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Ismail, could you rate all the Soviet leaders from favourite to least favourite?
(for example: Lenin - 9/10, Stalin 9/10, Malenkov 6/10, etc.)
>after 1971 the SED argued that the GDR represented a separate, socialist German nation. Talk of reunification was therefore done away with.
Am I correct in assuming that, contrary to what the party wanted, most citizens of the GDR wanted to reunify (whether under the government of the GDR, the government of West Germany, or under a totally new government, depending on their economic views)? Given that there were plenty of people when the wall fell who remembered a time when Germany was united I have trouble believing they could really buy into the idea of the GDR being a separate nation.
What is your Opinion on the Southern Movement / Southern Army / Southern Restoration movement in Yemen?
I Cant find virtually any information on their current political and economic beliefs? but it is Led by the Ex-President of the PDRY (And also the Vice Prez of Yemen after Unification Pre-civil war)
Also do You have any idea which goverment the Socialist Party of Yemen sides with? Aden or Sana? i could find little information
Lenin was clearly the most farsighted and outstanding of all Soviet leaders. Stalin was also a generally good leader. Malenkov actually began "de-Stalinization" before Khrushchev and probably would have been a better Soviet leader overall had he not been ousted. Khrushchev was inept and hypocritical but Soviet society continued to improve under him. Brezhnev stood in office too long but otherwise was generally competent. Andropov would have been great had he not had just two years to lead the CPSU. Chernenko died before he could do anything. Gorby sucked and presided over the destruction of socialism.
I think my mini-descriptions are more useful than merely assigning numbers.
You'd be correct. There were East Germans who considered themselves part of a new socialist German nation, but by 1989 the concept clearly hadn't succeeded, especially among the youth (most of whom admired West Germany and wanted to at least visit West Berlin.)
The Yemeni Socialist Party supports a separate South Yemen government, arguing that the southern part of the country is discriminated against. They're social-democrats.
Any leftish books on General History? Not ones that are overly Eurocentric please, a focus on Africa or Asian regions would be nice.
There's a two-volume Soviet history of the world published in 1974:
* https://web.archive.org/web/20081121220226/http://leninist.biz/en/1974/1SHW599/index.html (Volume I, from ancient times to World War I)
* https://web.archive.org/web/20081122014439/http://leninist.biz/en/1974/2SHW519/index.html (Volume II)
(I wish I had these in PDF format, but alas I do not)
There's also a Soviet history of the world covering 1917-1945: https://archive.org/details/AContemporaryWorldHistory19171945
A slimmer, revised version of the above published in the Gorby period: https://archive.org/details/ContempHistory1917
And finally a Soviet history of the world covering 1946-1990: https://archive.org/details/ContempHistory1946
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Maybe too Eurocentric but are you aware of Eric Hobsbawm? He was a Marxist and one of the most acclaimed historians of all time. Mostly known for his three-part series about the "long 19th century" and his work on the 20th century called The Age of Extremes.
Can't post Age of Capital and Age of Extremes because the files are too big, but I'm sure you can find those on libgen or elsewhere.
Would you say Brezhnev was one of the best leader-wise?
Brezhnev wasn't a "good" leader (in the sense of displaying exceptional leadership qualities), but he did promote collective leadership as opposed to Khrushchev and Stalin who took decisions without consulting others, and in that sense Brezhnev helped lay the basis for a more "normal" functioning of government. As bourgeois historian T.H. Rigby wrote in 1972, "one can identify an overall trend away from the arbitrary, structurally indeterminate pattern of decision-making characteristic of Stalin's system of personal rule. . . plac[ing] a premium on formal structures and regular procedures, thus promoting a reinstitutionalization of the supreme executive bodies of Party and State, in particular the Politburo."
>Stalin who took decisions without consulting others
Only six CC meetings were held in the last sixteen years of Stalin's life, even though it was supposed to meet every four months according to the 18th Congress.
Excerpts from "Stalin's Cabinet: The Politburo and Decision Making in the Post-War Years" by Yoram Gorlizki:
>It was some months after the war, and the formal dissolution of the State Defence Committee (GKO) on 4 September 1945, when the Politburo began to resume peacetime operations. Formally the Politburo continued in much the same vein as it had left off before the war, with a virtually identical membership and a similarly modest workload. At its meeting of 29 December 1945 the Politburo resolved to meet every other Tuesday for a short time, from 8 pm to 9 pm. . . . Meetings of the Politburo, however, tailed off following the session of 3 October 1946; over the rest of Stalin's reign there were only two further formal, enlarged sessions of the Politburo, on 13 December 1947 and 17 June 1949. The official Politburo in fact came to be overshadowed by the regular conferences of a narrow 'ruling group' which met routinely in Stalin's office. The composition of this circle. . . differed markedly from that of the formal Politburo. Excluded from [it] were those Politburo members who had either fallen foul of Stalin or who were cut off from the ruling circle for reasons of location or ill-health. For some time Stalin's suspicions had fallen on Voroshilov, Andreev, and, to a lesser extent, Kaganovich, all of whom were, despite their formal membership of the Politburo, not privy to the proceedings of the ruling group in the aftermath of the war. . . most resolutions issued in the name of the Politburo in the Stalin years were determined by this group. . . .
>A succession of leaders, including Malenkov, Beria, Voznesensky and Bulganin, gained admission to the group many months before their formal accession as full members of the Politburo. Stalin hence unilaterally elevated colleagues without having to go through the tedious formality of having them 'elected' as full members of the Politburo by the Central Committee. Stalin could also expel members from his group with unseemly ease.
Ismai, do you know where to find this letter in full and in English (or Spanish)?
You can find the original text in Russian: https://web.archive.org/web/20131014202353/http://www.zavtra.ru/denlit/050/12.html
Google Translate gives a... not good translation of it, but enough to get a gist of what it says.
What was the GDR's position on Frederich Nietzsche? What do you think of Takis Fotopoulos and his work?
The East German position on Nietzsche was the same as the Soviet one: a reactionary, anti-socialist philosopher who inspired fascism.
>What do you think of Takis Fotopoulos and his work?
I haven't read anything of his, but apparently he's a "libertarian socialist." So I'm presumably not a fan.
Hello, I've got a couple practical questions on labour vouchers:
How would you go about accessing the socially necessary labour time needed for the creation of a unique commodity like a handmade work of art, or even a commodity just entering mass production?
Don't labour vouchers leave a number of questions of the true value of a commodity by failing to take into consideration externalities like the cost of visual, auditory, and environmental pollution? or if you integrate these things into the cost of a commodity how do you quantity the value of something like waking up in the peace and quite of the wilderness before a real-estate development is put in.
You'd probably be better off asking that question on /leftypol/ since that board seems to focus more on current events and discussions on "21st century socialism" (Paul Cockshott, etc.)
Ismail, can you recommend Marxist books one could find physical copies on the cheap online? Other than the usual selected works and readers of Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc.
"Marxist books" is a rather.... broad category. Anything more specific?
Anything really. Theory, history, whatever. Thing is, I ordered a few books including a Marx-Engels selected works, Imperialism, State and Rev, some Parenti and the site I bought them from gave me a free $5 or less book. I'm looking at Wretched of the Earth and a book called Marxism and Literary Criticism by Terry Eagleton, but I really don't know if he's a good author or not. Book doesn't have to be under $5 for recommendation, anything relatively cheap is welcome.
If you can find cheap copies (I use Amazon or Abebooks to buy stuff) then I'd recommend Szymanski's "Is the Red Flag Flying?" and "Human Rights in the Soviet Union" as good reads on the USSR.
"Lenin and the Russian Revolution" by Christopher Hill is a book I've always considered to be the best short intro to Lenin's life, theories, and the October Revolution. Should be able to find cheap copies of it.
neat! Does 21st century socialism offer a sane solution to the valuation of art and complex externalities, I've been trying to think of a solution but I'm starting to think it's not even possible, certainly capitalism does a pretty horrible job.
Thanks. I'll check those out. Szymanski's books sadly are both above $60. There are copies of his "The Capitalist State and the Politics of Class" at around $7-$10. Do you know anything about that book?
I used "21st century socialism" as just a general term to describe people like Cockshott who ask the question "what could socialism look like in the US and Western Europe," not an actual ideology.
Yes, I have a physical copy and intend to scan it one of these days. It's a good read, explaining American politics and the state via Marxist categories (bourgeois democracy, etc.)
>It's a good read, explaining American politics and the state via Marxist categories (bourgeois democracy, etc.)
Please do scan this!
Alright, I'll post in this thread sometime this week after I scan it.
As a note, the other books I mentioned by Szymanski are also available online, as is Hill's book on Lenin.
>Yes, I have a physical copy and intend to scan it one of these days. It's a good read, explaining American politics and the state via Marxist categories (bourgeois democracy, etc.)
Thanks Ismail. Just ordered, found it for $3.48 in Better World Books. Free shipping too, pretty good deal. Also bought Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin from AbeBooks for about $12 shipped which is also pretty good price for that book, I think.
Are there any non-communists you're particularly fond of, or whose work you think is especially valuable to communists?
Valuable in what sense?
In terms of historians of the USSR for example there were/are many who wrote useful works: E.H. Carr, J. Arch Getty, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Peter Kenez, Moshe Lewin, Robert Thurston, David Lane, Jerry F. Hough, Stephen F. Cohen, etc.
Sorry I was getting ready to goto sleep, I know 21st century socialism is a set of responces rather than a ideology.
Ismail, how old were you when you first got interested in politics? What got you into it and more specifically Marxism?
When I first browsed the Internet back in 2001, I mostly posted on forums relating to the video game Half-Life and mods for it. There was a group on one of these forums called Communist Gamers whose members argued that Marxism is good. I tried to read the Manifesto and Capital, but I was too young to comprehend the former let alone the latter.
In 2005 I started to get more interested in politics (before then my knowledge of it was limited to "George W. Bush is dumb and the Iraq War is bad.") I quickly realized the American political system existed to serve the interests of capitalists. I went from liking Dennis Kucinich to calling myself a "democratic socialist" and having an Olof Palme avatar on a political forum I went on. This was early 2006 or so.
But there were Marxist-Leninists on that forum as well, and a conservative poster (of all people) pointed out that "democratic socialism" is impractical because capitalists would not give up their power via the ballot box. I talked with the MLs and they answered my simple questions, e.g. "what separates a proletarian from a peasant?"
So by the time I joined RevLeft in May 2007 I considered myself a Marxist-Leninist. I was 14.
Marxism simply seemed correct to me, as it still does.
Your story is really cool, Ismail.
And by the way, what is your opinion/view on Chinese "New Left" movement? In particular, about Tonghua Steel incident, Chongqing model of Bo Xilai, and more recently, Guangzhou Maoist student incident and Jiashi workers strike?
I think it is natural for workers to resent capitalists and to work to expose corruption and terrible living conditions. If workers on occasion need to force the hand of local CPC officials, that should be permitted.
The important thing is that a situation like Poland in 1980 doesn't develop where there was a huge disconnect between official trade unions and workers and the gap was filled with Solidarity, a CIA-backed, Vatican-endorsed union seeking the overthrow of socialism.
I haven't read up much on Bo Xilai.
The "Guangzhou Maoist student incident" is something else. I don't support efforts to overthrow the CPC and to revive the Cultural Revolution, and can understand the CPC trying to put a stop to that.
>having an Olof Palme avatar on a political forum I went on
What are your general thoughts on Olof Palme nowadays? Here in Sweden a lot of leftoids still glorify him and consider the Palme years like the best time period in the world's greatest country basically. Did he ever have the intention of introducing "real socialism" to Sweden (as opposed to just welfare capitalism)?
I'm more of a Marxist-Leninist but since I'm Swedish I can't help but be somewhat "proud" of the Swedish golden era of social democracy, Olof Palme and I think the "employee funds" were kind of a neat idea for a reformist path to socialism even though it didn't go anywhere.
>I was 14.
Wow, this is a surprise. I always kind of assumed you were in your 30s now because of how long you'd been around on revleft.
He seemed pretty good for a social-democrat, although he apparently had a secret military agreement with the US against the USSR in the event of war.
What are your thoughts on the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of South Africa? They claim to be a militant Marxist-Leninist vanguard organization with inspiration taken from people like Thomas Sankara and Frantz Fanon. Though many people claim that they are "anti-white" or black supremacist based on stuff like pic related or Julius Malema, their leader singing the song "Shoot the Boer". They claim to be against racism, as it is shown in their manifesto and some of their statements but I do admit that some of their actions make me suspicious. I'm sure you're familiar with their background but for anyone who's not, here're some links and images.
I don't know enough about 21st century South African politics to comment authoritatively, but I will note this:
>based on stuff like pic related or Julius Malema, their leader singing the song "Shoot the Boer".
"Kill the Boer, kill the farmer" was sung by none other than Mandela himself, after he was released from prison and emphasized national reconciliation. That's because it isn't a song against whites, it's a song against Apartheid. The National Party based its identity around the idea that God himself gave Boers permission to rule South Africa and to have control over its best land. The "Boer" in this context is the overall system.
Its lyrics torn from their context can be used against whites, but in context it's another way of saying "give Black people their land back," which is one of the stated goals of the EFF.
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>"Kill the Boer" was sung by none other than Mandela himself, after he was released from prison. It isn't a song against whites, it's a song against Apartheid. The National Party based its identity around the idea that God himself gave Boers permission to rule South Africa and to have control over its best land. That is the "Boer" the song is about.
Interesting, that makes sense, especially in connection with some of those tweet screenshots I posted above and their positions within the EFF constitution. I've done a bit of research by myself on apartheid and the bantustans but I'll have to look more into the situation there, especially with so many white supremacists / internet fascists condemning what they see to be an "imminent white genocide" (which seems to me like hyperbole over the debate over land reform and potential plans to amend the constitution to seize lands without compensation)
Ismail, I know next to nothing about the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian. What are they about, and what makes them bad?
In terms of what they believe, the RCPUSA are actually fairly mundane Maoists. They think Mao and the Gang of Four were awesome, Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping were capitalist roaders, the USSR became capitalist after Stalin died, Cuba and the DPRK are capitalist, etc.
What makes the RCPUSA unique is the "culture of appreciation" (as they put it) around Bob Avakian, who is presented as some sort of genius and whose writings constitute a new synthesis of available knowledge or whatever. You'll constantly see RCPUSA members extol him.
I don't know how much that translates into the RCPUSA itself operating as a cult (e.g. Peoples Temple, the most famous left-wing cult, used sleep deprivation and arbitrary punishments to keep members in line, had them cut off contact with family and friends, limited interaction with non-members), but the extolling of Bob is pretty stupid and bad.
Bob himself, like the RCPUSA, is fairly mundane. He isn't a moron, he's just a 1960s-70s student radical who still mostly talks like he's from those decades. He's moderately charismatic and seems alright at explaining basic concepts. But he isn't the second coming of Mao.
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>In terms of what they believe, the RCPUSA are actually fairly mundane Maoists.
>He's moderately charismatic and seems alright at explaining basic concepts.
Yeah, I read some of the stuff on their page and saw some Avakian speeches and left with the same impressions. I just thought there was something more to them, I guess. Like some crazy crap other than the "culture of appreciation" stuff.
As always Ismail, thanks for your answer.
>Like some crazy crap other than the "culture of appreciation" stuff.
Yeah, I don't know if the actual internal workings of the RCPUSA are like those of a cult. Political cults did and do exist, like the Democratic Workers Party, NATLFED, the LaRouchites, etc., but as far as I know RCPUSA members just extol Bob.
As an aside, I intend to write an article on Peoples Temple and Jonestown for the website MLToday, since November 18, 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of the mass murder-suicides. Jim Jones engaged in some pretty ridiculous stuff.
To quote one book:
>Faith [a former member] recalls a time in 1971 when [Jones] was trying to convince his flock that he was a reincarnation of Lenin. . . Jones sensed some of the people in his flock had strong doubts. He took the problem to his staff and together they worked out a scenario that would prove Lenin's spirit had found a host in Jim Jones's body. The scheme involved placing Patricia Cartmell, Patty Cartmell's daughter, in the attic of the Redwood Valley church. Carrying a day's supply of food, a jug of water, and a script, she climbed a long ladder up to the attic early on morning when no one was around and waited all day.
>During the evening service, Jim Jones went into a trance. He was in touch, he said, with "the ethereal waves." He could hear the voice of a woman who was in limbo because she had betrayed Lenin. As he meditated, the people in the congregation began to hear, with increasing clarity, a ghostly female voice. The voice spoke in Russian. Jim Jones had no trouble translating; he had been Russian in a previous life. The woman wanted Jones to help her find peace in the spirit world. She needed his divine powers to help her out of limbo. He forgave the woman for her betrayal, and she thanked him profusely. The voice faded back to the spirit word until it was no longer audible. Jim Jones came out of his trance, and Patricia Cartmell stretched out in the attic and went to sleep.
And from another book, some context is necessary. Jim Jones claimed to have a ten inch penis, and during meetings with his Planning Commission (about a hundred people ostensibly tasked with planning the Temple's activities) he was afraid to go to the bathroom to urinate lest people try to take a look at his supposedly massive penis, and was also afraid to urinate outside because his nonexistent enemies might try to snap photos and claim he was engaged in indecent exposure, ergo a Planning Commission member placed a towel in front of him as he urinated into a can during meetings.
But then, one day the towel accidentally fell.
>It was far from being the giant thing he had talked non-stop about through the years. He weakly made an attempt to excuse his lie. "That should never have happened," he said to Carol angrily. "This office has to maintain a certain image for the good of the Cause."
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Ismail, what do you think about Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assasination? I know you're very interested in Jonestown, so I'm just curious what you think about the whole thing here.
I haven't looked into the subject. It's certainly possible that sections of the government, Miami Cubans, and the Mob had their reasons for opposing JFK due to the Bay of Pigs turning out the way it did.
My main problem is when people end up prettifying JFK's record in office. While he seemed to be adopting a less bellicose attitude toward the USSR and Cuba at the time of his death, you have people who insist that if only he had lived longer miraculous domestic and foreign events would have occurred, losing sight of the fact he was a bourgeois politician with a clearly anti-communist foreign policy.
Another problem is that there are innumerable crimes linked to American imperialism and domestic government agencies. Excessively focusing on JFK can take away from focusing on repression against communists, the Black Panthers, American Indian Movement, or stuff like this: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/contingency-plans
As an aside, one of Jones' lawyers was Mark Lane, who played a major role in popularizing the notion that the government had a hand in JFK's assassination. Jones himself (like many other people on the left back then) was a fan of conspiracy theories relating to the assassinations of JFK and RFK, MLK Jr., Malcolm X, etc. I recently finished reading Lane's book "The Strongest Poison" about his experiences with Jones and Jonestown.
There's an amusing bit in the book where he and Jones' other lawyer (Charles Garry, formerly representing Huey Newton and the Panthers) are fleeing through the jungle during the mass murder-suicide. Jones wanted to have both men shot because he blamed them for Congressman Ryan entering Jonestown (they had earlier urged Jones to admit him and his media entourage into the settlement.)
Garry, being an old man, had difficulty carrying his inordinately heavy briefcase, so Lane picked up the slack for him until at one point he fell on the ground.
>When I dropped his bulging briefcase, it popped open. A large metal object protruded. I reached over to examine it and once I had done so, I said, "Charles, we are carrying a hair dryer through the jungle." He nodded affirmatively and said, "It's a good hair dryer." I said "Throw the fucking thing out, Charles. Buy a new one if we get back." He refused. I asked what else he had in the case. He said that he had the legal files for the Peoples Temple. He added, "I'm still the lawyer for the Temple. I need those files." I said that while he had not been formally fired, I thought that the dispatch of a firing squad to dispense with us could be said to have released him from further obligations. I observed that he should toss out the briefcase, hair dryer, files, and all. He said he would not.
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>It's certainly possible that sections of the government, Miami Cubans, and the Mob had their reasons for opposing JFK due to the Bay of Pigs turning out the way it did.
It is very plausible. However, I think the problem with most of the theories is they bend the physical evidence to meet the theories rather than the other way around.
For instance, when JFK is hit the first time on the Zapruder film, he raises his arms into a strange position that to a layperson may look like he's clutching his neck. Actually, if you watch a high-quality version of the film, you can see he's not clutching his throat at all; he's locked into place by a neurological reflex called Thorburn's position. This response was triggered by a bullet creating cavity near his spinal cord. You can see on the film that Jacquie actually tries to pull his arms down but can't do it because he's locked into that position; he doesn't drop his arms until the head shot. It seems to be pretty good evidence that he's not clutch his throat as a reaction to a bullet blowing through his wind-pipe from a shot in the front, as some have theorized. There was also no recorded direct damage to the spine, nor was there a rear exit wound (exit wounds are generally larger than entrance wounds).
The head shot is probably the most convincing piece of evidence that the shots did come from behind. If you watch closely you can see Kennedy's head move forward and then jerk back violently, this is the result of the jet effect and a neurological spasm that causes the body to jerk backwards when the brain is destroyed.
Three black employees on the fifth floor also heard three shots from above them; and one construction worker actually witnessed a man he described as similar to Oswald take the shots.
The theories that there were multiple shots that hit Governor Connally don't seem plausible considering the majority of witnesses heard three shots and the digital reconstructions of the flight path of the bullet that hit Kennedy show that his wounds were in line with the trajectory of the second bullet.
So, if someone wants to argue that Oswald was a force being guided by malevolent forces (this is what Parenti seems to imply) or that someone was with Oswald on the 6th floor or took the shots that were blamed on him there this seems to be Roger Stone's position then that would make sense. But overall, Lee Harvey from the Window of the 6th floor of the Schoolbook depository acting alone seems to be the most solid theory:
There is the theory that James Files (a mafia hitman) took the fatal shot from the front using a "fireball" .221 rifle that was chambered with an exploding bullet. This would seem to be bolstered by mob-boss Carlos Marcello's confession to an FBI informant that he killed Kennedy and Watergate burgler/Latin American CIA operative E. Howard Hunt's deathbed confession to the murder of Kennedy.
But the question would be are the confessions by these three legitimate? Do they fit with the available evidence? And do their stories line-up? The conventional anti-conspiracy line that "someone would have talked" would seem to no longer apply in this case.
However, I'm still skeptical due to the physical evidence in favor of the official account as well as tons of other evidence attesting to Oswald's guilt, or at the very least a major role in the assassination. It's pretty obvious that the KGB did not trust Oswald and many people who knew him well said he was too volatile to be trusted by any government with anything important.
I think the fact so many conservatives gravitate to these theories isn't an accident. JFK was a reactionary president, perhaps the most reactionary of the 60s barring his mild support for détente (which LBJ and Nixon also supported).
Of course, Roger Stone (Nixon/Trump's political operative) has now come out with a book fingering LBJ for the murder. Trump has also alluded to these theories; some extreme anti-semites like Michael Collins Piper argue that it was an Israeli-operation. I think this is tied to something you alluded to, the notion that if JFK had lived then things would somehow have been different in a major way. The fact that JFK's death marked a period of reformism unseen since the 1930s is also problematic for conservatives--Reagan once said that it was the Great Society that he was opposed to, not the New Deal. The immigration act of 1965 and the greater tolerance of immigrants in general, I think also plays a role in this conservative nostalgia--if JFK wasn't killed by
commie Jews globalists then America would have had a permanent white majority etc.
>he assassinations of JFK and RFK, MLK Jr., Malcolm X, etc.
<the assassinations of JFK and RFK, MLK Jr., Malcolm X, etc
I meant to ask, what do you think about these?
I haven't looked into any of them either. As far as I know Malcolm X was killed by Nation of Islam members angry that he criticized Elijah Muhammad for being a hypocrite and distorting Islam, and Farrakhan was one of those who at the time were denouncing Malcolm and thus indirectly contributing to his death.
Ismail even though youve made it known your OK with a State Monitored Market economy as long as the Party and State always have the Final word essentially but
A. If a Socialist state can Maintain a Economy without resorting to these Measures (DPRK) Do you believe this to be Preferable
B. How do you think the ChineseCP will be able to leave the Social Market Economy Transition stage and create a socialist economy when Very powerful class's / Groups in Chinese Society benefit from keeping the status Quo? (National / Petite Bougies Corrupt Party members being bribed etc)
C. Why do you continue to support china despite Dengs Reforms but Dislike Gorbachev when his Reform was effectively the same thing
You seem to Dislike Gorbachev but Like Yuri Andropov quite a bit
This makes little sense to me as Gorbachev and Andropov were political allies and Andropov layed the grounds for mosts of Gorbs reforms and even supported Gorbs Promotion in the Party
>If a Socialist state can Maintain a Economy without resorting to these Measures (DPRK) Do you believe this to be Preferable
If it doesn't hinder the economic development and living standards of the population, yes.
As for your second question, ultimately it will depend on the CPC's ability to ensure the continued leading role of the state sector of the economy, and to resist counter-revolutionary intrigues (as it successfully did at Tienanmen in 1989.)
>Why do you continue to support china despite Dengs Reforms but Dislike Gorbachev when his Reform was effectively the same thing
Gorbachev cheered on the overthrow of socialism in Eastern Europe and presided over the demise of the USSR, with Perestroika tanking the economy. He identifies as a social-democrat nowadays. None of this is "effectively the same thing" as Deng's reforms.
>Gorbachev and Andropov were political allies and Andropov layed the grounds for mosts of Gorbs reforms and even supported Gorbs Promotion in the Party
Gorby was also supported by "hardliners" like Gromyko and Tikhonov who saw him as a young, energetic figure. Even Molotov seemed hopeful about him.
It's important to keep in mind that Gorbachev in 1985-86 was a very different person (at least publicly) from Gorbachev in 1989-91. When Gorby first came to power he gave the impression he would continue Andropov's reforms with the aim of strengthening socialism. But before long he deviated from Andropov's path, claiming that what existed in the USSR since the 1930s was not socialism but an "administrative-command economy" and that what was necessary was the creation of a "humane and democratic socialism." He praised Dubček as a precursor.
Had Andropov lived and Gorby tried to force his hand in directions inimical to socialism, I'm sure the latter would have been removed just as Deng removed Zhao Ziyang.
What can I say about Obama to my libtard friends who seem to think he was the greatest leader in modern history, apart from pointing out that he oversaw the invasion of Libya (and obviously was not a socialist)? What's some good points to make specifically against him?
In the previous thread you posted this quote on solzhenitsyn:
>As one author put it in-re Solzhenitsyn, "I've never felt that dissident was a particularly apt title for a man given a jail sentence for criticising orders and inciting disaffection in wartime (an offence for which he could have been shot in the British Army), spending most of it in a special prison with more than tolerable conditions, having his cancer cured along the way and being released before the end of his sentence—and then doing nothing but complain. That's no dissident, that's a whinger."
I was wondering if you could provide a source for this quote?
Do you have any books on China under Mao from a leftist perspective?
Thought some people in here might find this interesting, a memoir on Albert Szymanski written by a colleague
Szymanski appears to have commited suicide in 1985 at the age of 43. Another interesting aspect about the memoir is the author's reference to "cultural Marxists" and feminists at University of Oregon sociology department having disagreements with him and Szymanski.
While I'm not a Trotskyist, WSWS usually has good articles on American politics and foreign policy. Here's a few on Obama:
>I was wondering if you could provide a source for this quote?
https://archive.org/details/QuiteRightMrTrotsky (page 88)
I scanned this a few months back: https://archive.org/details/ConciseHistoryCPC
Yeah, Szymanski was depressed over his personal life plus the seeming retreat of Marxism in the US (including academia where, contrary to right-wing claims, Marxist influence steadily declined from its height in the 1970s.)
I emailed the author of that article (who uses the phrase "cultural Marxists" in the sense academics used the term back then, not as a boogeyman), who gave me permission to scan the textbook he and Szymanski wrote on sociology. I intend to do that at some point, along with Szymanski's "The Capitalist State and the Politics of Class." Once that's done all of Szymanski's books will have been put online. You can find the five books of his that are already online here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Albert+Szymanski%22
As an aside, from another colleague of Szymanski's that I emailed:
>He was a prodigious reader and probably at the time of his tragic death, the most published scholar in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon. He was the one that attracted the really great graduate students. His set the standard for all of us for preparations for his lectures; he was magnificent in the classroom. His students are everywhere. . . When I visited Russia on a Fulbright from 1994-1995, I raised many of the issues that Al had concerning the nature of socialism with my Russian sociologist colleagues (and by the way, they all knew of Al Szymanski's work and they agreed with his analysis. One of my Russian sociologist friend who came to the US made it his duty to visit Eugene, Oregon so he see for himself where Al lived). Most felt totally betrayed by what had happened with perestroika and Gorbachev.
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Thanks a lot for the articles!
> intend to do that at some point, along with Szymanski's "The Capitalist State and the Politics of Class." Once that's done all of Szymanski's books will have been put online.
Doing god's work Ismail. Can't thank you enough.
Did Ho Chi Minh contribute anything to Marxist theory or practice?
The Communist Party of Vietnam talks about "Ho Chi Minh Thought," but as far as I know it's basically just "we gotta adapt Marxism-Leninism to Vietnamese conditions," and not much more.
What do you think about the South China Sea dispute?
I think that territorial disputes between socialist countries are bad. The US is taking advantage of it to try to make Vietnam dependent on it for arms.
What is China doing in Africa? Are they using african workforces for making profit and luindering the country?? Idk what to trust about this topic maybe you can clear things up
Do you think Apostol would have been better then Ceausescu had the "Gang of Six" succeeded?
Yes. Considering Ceaușescu's record in the 1980s I can't see how Apostol could have been worse.
In light of the Second upcoming Fascist get together in Washington DC...
Do you think it better to Condemn ANTIFA like a lot of cautious individuals on the LeftNet seem to do to save face / optics?
Or Do you side with Icepick in that fascists should be scared so shitless by AntifFa Etc that they never leave their basements again? (My Personal Opinion tbh)
I'm not going to condemn a group that opposes fascism.
I don't think Antifa is *sufficient* to prevent fascism, but it certainly has helped in limiting the street presence of fascists.
What Socialist country had the most extensive welfare-state services?
That I don't know. If I had to guess, it'd be the GDR. One anti-communist survey I have (Richard F. Starr, Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, Fifth Edition, 1988, pp. 106-107) seems to imply that its social services were more widespread (and more expensive) than others in Eastern Europe.
>Welfare programs cover virtually every aspect of daily life, including cradle-to-grave health and medical coverage, pensions, and a minimum ten years of free public education. State-operated day-care centers service 61 percent of preschool children at a cost of six dollars a month. In 1972 abortions were legalized, and women receive paid leave of fifteen to twenty days. Eighteen days of vacation a year are guaranteed for all workers; those in strenuous jobs, like mining and metal processing, have up to 30 days. These benefits are costly. Subsidies for food and consumer goods alone total almost $10 billion per annum. Housing in the form of low rents costs the government at least an additional $2 million.
>At the 1986 party congress General Secretary Erich Honecker announced the extension of several family benefits: the paid “baby year” now applies to women after the birth of their first child, all working mothers receive paid leave to tend to sick children, and loans to young married couples are available on more liberal terms. The following year the monthly child allowance was increased from 20 to 50 marks for the first, 200 to 100 marks for the second, and 100 to 150 marks for the third child. Honecker reckoned that this “important socio-political measure” would cost two billion marks annually.
How much power did the leaders of the USSR actually have?
Depended on the leader.
Lenin didn't occupy any formal leadership position within the party, but as founder of the Bolsheviks and architect of the Soviet state he could ultimately convince a majority of his associates to follow his lead on most issues, especially if he threatened to resign (as he did when it seemed agreement might not be reached to sign Brest-Litovsk.) When his physical and mental condition deteriorated sharply by the end of his life, none of his many associates proposed formally relieving him of his position as head of the Soviet government since he was seen as irreplaceable.
Stalin by the end of the 1930s had become unquestioned leader. If he wanted something, it was done (or at least attempted.) By the time of his death he carried out policy not via the Central Committee and Politburo (as he was supposed to), but via private gatherings of his closest aides. See: >>9144
Under Khrushchev there was some attempt at collective leadership (which existed under Lenin), but in practice Khrushchev would undertake actions without consulting his colleagues and would get angry if anyone contradicted him and would seek their removal.
Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko did actually function under a collective leadership. As the ambassador to the US noted in his memoirs: "In the West many believed that the general secretary of the Communist Party was a true dictator accountable to no one, and this was of course true for Stalin, but not his successors. Brezhnev was no exception. True, he was number one among the leadership, but even as first among equals he could not always impose his views on the other members of the Politburo. Each of them had a right to express his opinion on any subject on the agenda of the regular weekly meeting, which was usually held on Thursdays. Meetings could be called at any time to discuss urgent matters. . . As a rule decisions were taken by consensus, and voting was extremely rare. If there was a strong division of opinion, the general secretary usually postponed the decision for the next meeting, which was a signal for him to meet privately in the interim behind the scenes with each of his colleagues to work out a compromise. A general secretary of course had many ways of persuasion to carry his ideas through the Politburo, but he was always careful not to antagonize the other members unnecessarily. After all, they could always revolt and replace him, as they did with Khrushchev." (Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence, 1995, p. 224.)
Gorbachev intrigued to get rid of "hardliners" within the CC and Politburo, and ended up creating a separate institution of the Soviet Presidency to remove any limits the CC and Politburo would have over him.
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Any opinions on vegetarianism/veganism?
None. I eat meat. If people prefer to be vegetarians or vegans for health or moral reasons, I'm not going to damn them. I would criticize groups that think setting fire to research facilities for using animals in testing and such is revolutionary praxis though.
Agreed on all that, thanks. I asked the question because I'm vegetarian, partly for environmental reasons, but sometimes wonder if it makes a difference at all or if it's really just "lifestylism" like some marxists will claim.
>I'm vegetarian, partly for environmental reasons
Just because you don't eat meat doesn't mean the production of the product ends or that the same things won't end up in stores. You're wasting your time. It is lifestylism
Couldn't this be said for pretty much anything? One worker going on strike won't change anything. You showing up to an anti-war rally isn't going to even marginally hurt imperialism. Even in a full-on socialist revolution, your individual participation almost certainly won't lead to any success (unless you're a brilliant tactician or have some other incredible skill, but that's one in a million). Not the guy you're replying to btw.
Any opinion on the Leftcommunism "value criticism" (Wertkritik)? Basically they argue that the primary predicament of our time is not class struggle but the value form, the valorization and commodification of everything. While class seems to be less and less important as time goes on, the absolutism that prevails is the value form.
Seems nonsensical. The "commodification of everything" is the direct result of capitalism (which, after all, turned labor-power itself into a commodity) and requires class struggle to oppose it.
It sorta reminds me of how Gorby argued in the late 80s that "universal human values" (such as opposition to nuclear war and environmental destruction) would take precedence over class struggle in international relations because the former threatened all humanity. The idea that the struggle against the arms race and protecting the environment were part and parcel of class struggle was deliberately obscured for Gorby's own opportunist ends.
I agree with you, but there are more very popular points Leftcommunists raise against Marxists-Leninists:
- Marx made no distinction between socialism and communism, therefore ML is revisionist
- Marx and Engels said that the DotP and socialism are absolutely exclusive to one another as socialism must entail the "self-abolition of the proletariat"
- the fact that money, exchange value and commodities existed makes all socialist states not socialist
- Leninism is completely reliant on the conditions of the early 20th century and needs to be replaced by a more modern theory
1. Marx specifically wrote of a lower and higher stage of communism. The lower stage (which, as Marx writes, "emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges") was called socialism by Lenin and by all subsequent Soviet authors.
2. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union argued that the dictatorship of the proletariat fulfilled its historical role and had ceased to exist by the end of the 1950s. Soviet authors from the 1930s onward also noted that, strictly speaking, there was no proletariat in the USSR (there was no capitalist class to buy the labor-power of workers and threaten them with unemployment as a way to drive down wages.)
3. Money serves an accounting function under socialism; it cannot be turned into capital. Commodities were produced for their use value, not exchange value (nor was labor-power a commodity as it is under capitalism.)
4. Left-communists in that case are in no position to be accusing Leninists of revisionism.
The more people are vegetarian, the less such products will end up in stores. Also >>9247 is right.
Besides, how am I "wasting my time"? Cooking quorn balls takes exactly as long as cooking meatballs.
bit of a strange thing to ask but was Marx really an anti-semite? i've never gotten around to reading his Jewish question book but i've heard some bad things about it.
He uses stereotypes in his article to make points, and elsewhere he made derogatory references to Jews, but to quote an author who can't be accused of sympathy with Marxism:
"Crude and repulsive as Marx's and Engels' racial remarks to each other often were, there is no need to make them still worse by putting them in the same category as twentieth-century racism that has justified genocide. Marx's much criticized essay, 'On the Jewish Question,' for example, contains clear statements of his distaste for what he considered to be Jewish cultural or social traits, but in the end it was a defense of Jews' right to full political equality, written as a reply to a contemporary who had claimed that Jews should be required to give up their religion before receiving equal civil status." (The Thomas Sowell Reader, 2011, pp. 185-186.)
And to quote Jewish scholar Louis Harap:
>it must be emphasized that Marx was an advocate of political rights for the Jews. . . the Rheinische Zeitung, a Cologne paper that Marx edited from 1842 until its suppression in March 1843, was one of the strongest supporters of Jewish emancipation as one aspect of the struggle against the clerical monarchy. The article which finally brought the suppression of the paper was one by Marx in which he placed the blame for oppression of the peasants on the landowners and bureaucrats and makes no mention of the popular notion that the Jews were responsible. . .
>When new taxes against Jews or new restrictions were proposed, the paper fought against them. It published articles by Jewish liberals and the Jewish paper, Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums, in 1842 often quoted material from the Rheinische Zeitung on the Jewish question. It was probably because of the paper’s militant support of Jewish rights that the leading Jews of Cologne early in 1843 turned to its editor, Karl Marx, to draw up a petition for Jewish rights to be submitted to the Landtag.
Marx's anti-Semitic remarks are thus a relatively minor defect in his personality, unlike Bakunin (who saw his struggle against Marx partly through an anti-Semitic lens) or Proudhon (who wanted Jews expelled from France), let alone vicious anti-Semites capitalists exalt such as Henry Ford.
And while we're on the subject, Engels explicitly denounced anti-Semitism as a threat to the workers' movement. One work, discussing the Marxist movement in pre-WWI Germany, gives the following assessment:
"In theory and practice socialist labor was opposed to anti-Semitism. The Socialists never wavered in their stand against all attempts to deprive Jews of their civil rights. They treated with contempt the anti-Semitic agitators and the groups behind them. They never gave in to the temptation—considerable at times—to gain followers by making concessions to anti-Jewish prejudice. From the rise of the socialist labor movement in the 1860's to the time of its defeat by National Socialism, the statements of the labor leaders, the resolutions carried in party conventions, the methods of coping with the situations created by political anti-Semitism, testify to its unswerving opposition to any kind of discrimination against Jews."
(Massing, Paul W. Rehearsal for Destruction: A Study of Political Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1949. p. 151.)
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>unlike Bakunin (who saw his struggle against Marx partly through an anti-Semitic lens)
I don't know how else to interpret this:
>Himself a Jew, Marx has around him, in London and France, but especially in Germany, a multitude of more or less clever, intriguing, mobile, speculating Jews, such as Jews are every where: commercial or banking agents, writers, politicians, correspondents for newspapers of all shades, with one foot in the bank, the other in the socialist movement, and with their behinds sitting on the German daily press — they have taken possession of all the newspapers — and you can imagine what kind of sickening literature they produce. Now, this entire Jewish world, which forms a single profiteering sect, a people of blooksuckers, a single gluttonnous parasite, closely and intimately united not only across national borders but across all differences of political opinion — this Jewish world today stands for the most part at the disposal of Marx and at the same time at the disposal of Rothschild. I am certain that Rothschild for his part greatly values the merits of Marx, and that Marx for his part feels instinctive attraction and great respect for Rothschild.
>This may seem strange. What can there be in common between Communism and the large banks? Oh! The Communism of Marx seeks enormous centralization in the state, and where such exists, there must inevitably be a central state bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, which. speculates on the work of the people, will always find a way to prevail....
so was Bakunin a straight up anti-Semite? i never knew about this.
Bakunin was /pol/ tier
Yes. Bakunin's anarchist works aren't in themselves anti-Semitic, but he was clearly one himself and anti-Semitism was a serious problem among his Russian followers.
Marx, as I said, did write derogatory things about Jews, but there was nothing political in them, e.g. he complained of a lousy vacation in a 1871 letter to Engels: "I arrived [in Ramsgate] on Thursday amidst thunder, lightning and torrents of rain. On Friday it was fine, on Saturday it rained dogs and cats from morn till night, fine again yesterday, outlook uncertain today. Place is full of Jews and fleas."
One can accuse Marx of prejudice, but unlike Bakunin he didn't believe in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and as noted above he advocated equal rights for Jews.
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Why did Lenin support the British / Yugoslav Proposal for the formation of a Balkan Federation? (Yugo / Albo / Romani / Bulgar / Greece / Hungary)
And if the Situation between the USSR and the Poles / CzechSlovak Legion had been different do you think he would have supported the Polish-CzechSlovak Federation idea?
>Why did Lenin support the British / Yugoslav Proposal for the formation of a Balkan Federation?
As far as I know he didn't. He supported a socialist Balkan federation, which had been a traditional demand of Balkan socialists well before 1917.
>And if the Situation between the USSR and the Poles / CzechSlovak Legion had been different do you think he would have supported the Polish-CzechSlovak Federation idea?
Lenin criticized the creation of the Polish state as an attempt by the Entente to intrigue against German and Soviet Russia. I'd imagine any attempt to federate Poland and Czechoslovakia would be perceived as a way of strengthening both countries' statuses as "buffers" against the Soviets.
How do you think education should be handled, and what do you think/know about Lev Vygotsky and his works on cognitive development?
Furthermore, what do you think about the differences in thought between Jean Piaget and Vygotsky?
I'm in no position to answer those questions.
What about psychology in the USSR and the education systems that were implemented in the Eastern bloc?
Not able to answer questions about those subjects either. I could quote from books I have on the educational systems, but they're otherwise not subjects I study.
Well it would be great if you could
I'm studying up on Vygotsky (or well on him speaking about his difference from Piaget and the inconsistencies he finds in Piagets works)
But otherwise I am not familiar with the educational system in the USSR or the Eastern Bloc that much.
My understanding is that the education systems we have in most of Eastern Europe right now are a bastardization of the idea that was propped up during the time of the USSR.
Check out pages 887-928 of the following work for Soviet education in the 1920s-30s: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.217894
On Soviet education in the 1960s-70s:
* https://archive.org/details/RussiaReExamined (chapter 5)
* https://archive.org/details/CitiesWithoutCrisis (chapter 6)
>So by the time I joined RevLeft in May 2007 I considered myself a Marxist-Leninist. I was 14.
tfw Ismail is only a couple years older than you but has been reading Marxist lit and history ten times as long
Would you say it is worth the time to read the works of the various pre-Marx and Engels Utopian socialists such as Fourier, Saint-Simon and Owen or is it not worth it beyond gaining a deeper insight into the history of socialism? I just don't think they are very relevant to modern times for obvious reasons
Yeah there's not much purpose in reading them except for historical reasons, e.g. most apologists for capitalism will not defend child labor or the 12-to-15 hour workdays that the utopians denounced, and obviously their way of achieving socialism is vastly different from that of any Marxist (e.g. Owen thought he could convince his fellow capitalists of the evils of the system and have them fund cooperative settlements.)
It can be interesting reading early socialist texts, but I don't think you'll suffer from not reading them. Wouldn't hurt though.
For example, Fourierism was quite popular for a time in the US. Among its adherents were Horace Greeley (founder of the New-York Tribune, the most important paper in the country, and it employed Marx as a foreign correspondent) and Alvan Bovay (who is credited with giving the Republican Party its name.)
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Are there any documentaries (on the socialist countries or on socialism/Marxism in general), lectures or non-fiction movies you would specifically recommend? I would like to be a more productive socialist at times where I'm too lazy to read a book.
Here's one video on Soviet women recalling the 1930s USSR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=933jsB5ChlA
And there's a documentary on opposition to Yeltsin during the 90s by those who wanted a return to socialism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsjWSgoT8KI
I don't really watch documentaries, so I can't think of anything else.
Ismail, I've heard you argue that PRC is a socialist state. Is it true? And do you by any chance speak Russian? It'll be definitely easier for me to continue dialogue in my native language. I'll provide an extract from an article concerning the Chinese question, it was written in Russian, but I've tried to translate it. I apologize in advance for my English, I know it sucks.
I can't speak or read Russian.
What is you're opinion on Bukharin?
That's cool, thanks
His desire to build socialism "at a snail's pace" was not feasible in the world situation of the 1920s-30s. The USSR had to industrialize and collectivize quickly to meet its defense needs. Both of these could have been carried out better in hindsight, but Bukharin provided no answers.
What are some (as many as possible) good books concerning analysis of the NEP, the later Stalin transition years and the 30s' economy in the USSR?
The statements, considerations and conditions done in preceding years to the NEP, the policy itself, and what happened in practice. Same for Stalin's policies and the 30s.
Also what are some good soviet economists that I can look into?
What's your opinion on the goverment of Venezuela? Not just PSUV but the PCV (Venezuelan communist party) who Are M-L and in a political alliance with the PSUV?
* https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.236714 (written by British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb just before the First Five-Year Plan, thus covering the NEP as it existed)
* https://archive.org/details/DobbSovEconDev (written by Dobb in 1948, covers both the NEP and 1930s)
* https://archive.org/details/USSRStateIndustryTransitionPeriod (a Soviet work discussing aspects of the NEP)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2039288/9b6902 (Alec Nove's "An Economic History of the USSR," a standard text anyone interested in the subject should read)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2086648/94ac6b ("Farm to Factory" by Robert C. Allen, arguing that rapid industrialization and collectivization was economically justified)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2545295/8974c6 (The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913-1945)
There's also the six-volume "Industrialisation of Soviet Russia" series that goes from 1929 to 1936 (there's one final volume expected to come out some years from now, presumably going up to 1939)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2671017/9ed329 (Vol 1)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2669136/ee62a4 (Vol 2)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2939923/322898 (Vol 3)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2939711/7850c6 (Vol 4)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/1173369/1dd4cf (Vol 5)
* http://b-ok.xyz/book/2689267/701abd (Vol 6)
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>Also what are some good soviet economists that I can look into?
Strumilin, Kantorovich and Liberman are among the major ones.
I think Venezuela's government is what the Soviets back in the day would have called "socialist-oriented." Its conception of socialism isn't Marxist, and the PSUV is not a vanguard party, but it is carrying out progressive economic and political policies with the aim of strengthening the state sector and reducing the power of capitalists both foreign and domestic. So in that sense it should be supported.
I think alliance with the PSUV is justified, provided the Communists have freedom to promote the independent interests of the working-class and do not hesitate to criticize vacillations and expose any betrayals on the part of right-wing sections of the PSUV.
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Hello, Ismail. Questions on recent news
What's the perception with Erdogan? From what I heard, a populist authoritarian right wing leader, but seeing recent headlines he seems to be separating from US. I always assumed Turkey had good relations with the USA and even a vassal state, but whats going on? What purpose could Erdogan have?
Back in the 1970s Turkey grew closer to the USSR as well, even though it was under a reactionary military junta. The US didn't like Turkey invading northern Cyprus (since Greece was another NATO ally and the Greek Cypriot junta was pro-US), but Turkey did it anyway.
Turkey was never a "vassal state." Obviously its foreign policy was (and is) linked to the US via NATO, but it's still significant enough to pursue the interests of its own capitalist class, which at times conflict with US foreign policy aspirations. The same applies to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other US allies.
Erdogan presumably wants to improve relations with Russia to counter "too much" US influence, and at the same time gets to bolster his own "populist" image at home.
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But what about the main question?
Any good reads on slavery in the USA/CSA, preferably from a Marxist perspective?
Any good reads on post-feudal slavery in general, in the colonies?
Yes, I regard it as socialist.
This is a brief Marxist summary of the causes and course of the Civil War: https://archive.org/details/ApthekerAmericanCivilWar
I have a whole thread of Marxist works on US history here: https://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=202462.0
Are there any soviet accounts as it all was happening and after? Preferably in the original Russian.
>Strumilin, Kantorovich and Liberman are among the major ones.
I'll check Lieberman but could only find one work by Kantorovich on lib.gen. Any directions where to look?
>Are there any soviet accounts as it all was happening and after? Preferably in the original Russian.
You can find a lot of English-language Soviet pamphlets and some book-length works from the late 20s and 30s here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1ZP6ZurgOg-RHFPVzIzbWVjMkE
>Any directions where to look?
What did the NEP accomplish? Did it develop the productive forces? Because I thought industrialisation first sky rocketed with stlain and sweeping collectivesation and why are Capitalist Reforms necessary for deveopling hte productive forces
The purpose of NEP was to rehabilitate an economy wrecked by years of war, e.g. the level of pre-WWI industrial production was restored by 1927.
>why are Capitalist Reforms necessary for deveopling hte productive forces
There's different stages of "developing the productive forces." The USSR's main task in the 1930s was relatively simple: build up heavy industry. China had the same task in the 1950s. Both countries carried it out successfully.
But once that objective was complete, they had to deal with more complex economies and faced declining growth rates.
The path China took in the 1980s ensured that economic growth would greatly increase, as would living standards. Had it not been for this, it's far likelier that China would have fallen to counter-revolution in 1989 just as Eastern Europe had done. Instead the CPC showed that it could continue to rapidly develop the productive forces of the country.
It's also worth noting that the initial expectations of Lenin and other Bolsheviks was that foreign investment would accompany the NEP. But this ended up not happening due to the hostility of the capitalist states. Also, as the Great Soviet Encyclopedia notes, "The Russian bourgeoisie would not accept state capitalism and was therefore forcibly expropriated. By 1923–24 the share of state-capitalist enterprises in the gross output of the national economy was only 0.1 percent, and the number of persons they employed at the end of 1925 did not exceed 1 percent of the country’s workers."
Hey Ismail, please help me to figure out emigration from East bloc to West, especially from East Germany to West. According to wikipedia pages, East Germany had higher fertility rate and population rising from 1949 to 1968 and then again from 1979 to 1988. Yet same page says that it had very large emigration, even if growth was positive. Contrast that to West Germany which had negative population from 1972 and according to wikipedia Germany still has declining population
Was there emigration, but still growth?
Poorly formatted question. After taking a look at the statistics again, it shows that there were more births than deaths, rather than population growth. Still I am wondering, outside of emigration East Germany had longer Natural change and higher fertility rate? Why did West and contemporary Germany has such demographics problems? Lastly, was emigration the only reason East Germany was the only country of East Block with declining population ?
Do you think the US should be considered fascist? I think it's indisputable that the US has caused more suffering worldwide than the open fascists ever did, but some of the typical elements of fascism in the most common sense of the word (such as one-party rule and class collaboration) seem to be lacking.
According to a 1969 book I have, "A low birth rate, too many old people, too few young ones, too many employed women, too few men in the middle age group, plus a decidedly uneconomic allocation of young men to police and military duty" contributed alongside housing shortages and emigration to population decline. (Jean Edward Smith, Germany Beyond the Wall, pp. 89-92.)
Most couples only wanted one child, and since there was a (male) labor shortage caused by World War II deaths and emigration, the government encouraged as many women as possible to take up jobs in industry, which further lowered the birth rate.
No, I don't know any Marxist who would seriously consider the US a fascist country. Simply causing human suffering doesn't factor into it, otherwise the British Empire would have been fascist.
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The quote makes good points, however like the statistic shows East Germany managed to have higher birth rates than West and even from from 1985 to 1989 population growth, which might seems small, but Germany still has decling populaton which is projected to fall.
1) Why do you think West Germany and modern Germany has population decline?
2)Why did many other socialist countries, despite like discussed having many abortions, had positive and strong population growth, even Poland during hardships of Martial Law had very high birth rate.
1. I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer that.
2. Don't know.
What about emigration from other East countries. Czechoslovakia and Hungary had border with Austria. Where there many emigrants?
Additionally were there Poles moving trough East Germany to the West?
There were foreign workers from Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. who lived in the GDR to make up for the GDR's own labor shortage.
The border between Hungary and Austria was closed until mid-1989, so it was not possible for an East German citizen to leave to the West via that route.
Were there Poles migrating to West Germany?
Additionally were there any significant Czechoslovakian or Hungarian migration to Austria before the wall?
Lastly did the west did spread propaganda so in Czechoslovakians or Hungarians would want to move trough Austria to the west?
I haven't looked into those subjects. As far as i know, the borders between Austria and Czechoslovakia were closed just as the border between Hungary and Austria.
What do you think of the Communist Party of the Philippines? Are they in the right? If so, why does China have such a good relationship with the government of the Philippines?
I have no opinion.
Socialist countries have always sought to maintain good relations with states of differing economic systems.
What is specifically “wrong” with Utopian views of communist society? I understand that these are ultimately only the products of the minds of men and not an organic development from our current capitalist society, but I feel very drawn to things like the Icarian communes originally set up Étienne Cabet, as one example. Of course these weren’t perfect communities, especially in the example I gave due to its frequent schisms, but should we still not try to create these types of communities within our current system? Of course no one can be deluded enough to believe that the bourgeoisie will be won over by our “model societies” but in general I see nothing especially wrong with communities like Icaria or the Kaweah Co-Operative Commonwealth. One criticism of Icaria (whether the original, New Icaria, Jeune Icaria or Icaria Speranza) could be that they didn’t engage themselves in larger forms of socialistic political activity and many of them had arbitrary rules regarding alcohol, marriage, etc
The Communist Club of New York (aka the first acknowledged Marxist organization in the US) had cordial correspondence with the Icarians. Even Jonestown received delegations associated with the USSR, Cuba, DPRK and other socialist countries.
The main problems with the utopian communities were:
A. In practice, they drew many people away from the struggle against capitalism. Unlike the cooperative movement which could grow to benefit the mass of workers (but which by itself isn't sufficient to overcome capitalism either), utopian settlements were isolated by their very nature;
B. Due to their isolation, these communities aren't self-sufficient. They invariably end up creating businesses and breaking up altogether due to being surrounded by capitalism and being obliged to engage in the capitalist market on the latter's terms in order to survive and raise living standards.
If a bunch of people want to live communally on a settlement, I won't denounce them for the effort, but (as communists have done, including Cuban embassy staff talking to Jim Jones' associates) I will critique utopianism as a method of transforming society, and will note its inherent dangers.
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I definitely agree with the main problems you identified with Utopianism. Even though I would attempt to live in one of these communities if I were given the chance, they should never be put forth as a serious alternative to putting an end to capitalism.
>I won't denounce them for the effort, but (as communists have done, including Cuban embassy staff talking to Jim Jones' associates)
>Even Jonestown received delegations associated with the USSR, Cuba, DPRK and other socialist countries.
Do you know where I could read up on this. What were the criticisms of the Cubans?
>What were the criticisms of the Cubans?
To quote one work:
>Alfriedo Ferreira, administrator of the Cuban Embassy, complained that [Peoples Temple] leaders "tend to praise Jim Jones more than we [i.e. the Temple leaders] center our spotlight on the collective," according to notes written by a Temple member named Tony. Another Cuban Embassy official, Daniel Salas, admitted to his visitors that he had reservations about the Temple's approach to socialism. Deborah Touchette [one of Jones' aides] summarized his comments in her notes:
>>One should not engage in such a closed range approach to a political environment... This is not exactly the way the society should be changed. We [i.e. Jonestown] should not just include ourselves. We should try to get involved with the real contradictions that are in society.
In other words, they criticized the adoration of Jones (since, after all, Peoples Temple was a cult and Jonestown was its grand experiment) and gave the basic criticism of utopianism.
There are a ton of documents that were recovered from Jonestown and which the FBI gradually declassified, a bunch of them consisting of Jonestown officials discussing conversations with the staffs of embassies or meetings with medical, journalistic, etc. delegations from socialist countries.
To quote another work:
>Talk of scholarships in Russia for Temple members began to be discussed. Perhaps the Temple band and the Temple basketball team could go to Russia on a "cultural exchange," the Temple delegation forming a "scouting mission," as Jones phrased it, scouting the next "haven within a Communist paradise." Jim Jones could go with the delegation and pursue negotiations with Soviet officials in Moscow. In early May , Jones considered attending an international conference in Warsaw as part of a contingent of American Communists. . . .
>A March memorandum from Sharon Amos [a Jones aide] to Jones on a Timofeyev [member of Soviet embassy] meeting read:
>- [Timofeyev] said it is truly amazing JJ can take religious people and make them atheists because that is something USSR is having trouble with and they'd like to benefit from how JJ does it, because he must be brilliant and if they could have people use his techniques it would be helpful
>- I mentioned that JJ also wrote Errors in the Bible [aka "The Letter Killeth"] and we used to give them out/he said USSR had analysed every world in the Bible and have lots of books showing contradictions, but it is more the one-to-one communication that is needed. . . . In the USSR they have a one-one situation of one religious person to every one atheist, and they still can't get it done.
>In another such discussion with Timofeyev, Sharon Amos said, "I came [to the Temple] with a Bible in my hand and a white brotherhood card. I was very religious, but it is from that type of background that Jim has educated us to what we are today, and I'm a positive atheist."
>"Don't say you're a positive atheist," Timofeyev corrected her. "Say you're an atheist. Nothing is positive. We have gotten rid of religion in our country, but there are still at least 10 percent religious people in the country."
>"That's good," Amos said agreeably.
>"That's not good," Timofeyev retorted.
>"Well, no," Amos backtracked. "I mean by comparison to the United States, where 90 percent of the people are religious, it's good."
>The last attraction was the Temple fortune. Timofeyev must have struggled to maintain a good Communist's composure when the communards talked of their millions. By spring, discussion of a transfer of the Temple assets to Soviet banks had gotten down to the mechanics of it.
Timofeyev did get annoyed at times, e.g. he said it would take pages upon pages to explain to his superiors why Jones impregnated a woman supposedly at the request of her husband, but that both husband and wife were later revealed to be traitors who used this request to undermine the Peoples Temple on behalf of the US government. Also, on the question of having sexual relations with women out of wedlock (Timofeyev claimed Soviet officials wouldn't understand this), Amos said that Jones had mistresses just as Lenin had a mistress. Timofeyev replied by saying he had grown up reading many Lenin biographies in the USSR and had never once heard of that.
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q1: who are you, ismail? you seem pretty knowledgable. what's your background? does your m-l knowledge extend beyond q&a's on the internet?
q2: do you know of any books/resources about the intricacies of the people's republic of china? certainly there's a lot of USSR stuff on this board, however i tend to be more interested in the living breathing chinese communist party
1. I explained my ideological background here: >>9176
Besides that, I'm not a historian or history major (as some people seem to think), I just read books and articles. I don't belong to any party.
2. I recently scanned an English-language history of the CPC published in China in 1994: https://archive.org/details/ConciseHistoryCPC
To : Ismail
What do you know about the Derg / Socialist ethiopia?
Do you know if it actually undertook any real Progressive reforms?
I have a few books on Derg-era Ethiopia.
Its enduring credit was to do away with feudalism.
Here's one book I've scanned: https://archive.org/details/EthiopiasRevolution
If you have any more specific questions about Ethiopia back then, feel free to ask.
What is your opinion on the Shining Path?
Ultra-leftist Maoist group that seemed to undermine its own popularity among the indigenous population (and certainly among trade unionists and the rest of the urban strata) via brutality.
Its attacks on communists and bombing the Soviet and Chinese embassies didn't help either.
When / if the Koreas unify do you think the WPK Will remain a significant political force
The most realistic way for both Koreas to reunify is the DPRK's own "Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo" plan, in which North and South each retain their own economic and political systems: http://www.korea-dpr.com/reunification.html
In that case, yes, the WPK would continue to remain a significant political force.
This is largely a speculative question, but: Do you think there was any way that the rest of the socialist states in Europe could have remained socialist after the collapse of the USSR? Being totally dependent on the existence of a single state seems like a pretty huge weakness (though perhaps an inescapable one).
The other European socialist countries by 1989 were all suffering from economic problems and growing protests.
The USSR played a vital role in maintaining the socialist system in these countries via the threat to use military intervention against counter-revolution, as was done in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and would have been done in Poland had Jaruzelski not declared martial law.
When Gorby proclaimed the "Sinatra Doctrine," he gave the green light for counter-revolutionaries in those states to do as they wished.
The Soviets had argued from the start that without the existence of the USSR, the People's Democracies would have been imperiled.
Similarly, the DPRK would have been vastly weakened without a PRC to help it out after 1991.
How is it that the other socialist states, specifically Vietnam and Cuba, survived? I was under the impression that Vietnam and China had pretty terrible relations at that time (weren't they technically at war?), and Cuba was pretty far away from China. I know that the collapse of the USSR caused significant problems in these countries (even the DPRK, which as far as I know had the best relations with China of any socialist state at the time, entered a period of famine, correct?), but why didn't it totally destroy them as it did the states in Eastern Europe?
The Communist Party of Vietnam led the country's independence struggle and its market reforms in the 80s (as with those in China) satisfied demands for higher living standards.
Fidel Castro is legitimately popular in Cuba in a way Honecker and other Eastern European leaders weren't. The sort of "domino effect" that gripped the Warsaw Pact countries in 1989-1990 also didn't apply to Cuba, Vietnam and the DPRK.
Yes, China invaded Vietnam in 1979 (for ousting Pol Pot) and relations remained terrible until the Vietnamese withdrew from Cambodia in 1989. The DPRK indeed suffered from famine in the 90s caused by the demise of the USSR screwing with needed agricultural imports.
Do you know anything about the National Lawyers Guild? Were they actually a communist front group, or were they just progressive liberals who were attacked as part of the red scare?
It was/is a progressive group the CPUSA supported. However, "After losing a fight to gain control of the National Lawyers Guild in May 1940, anti-Communist liberals—including Attorney-General Robert Jackson. . . resigned en masse, leaving the guild an ineffectual shell." (Klehr, The Heyday of American Communism: The Depression decade, p. 402.) So when the CPUSA could be said to have largely controlled the NLG (i.e. during the 40s-50s), the NLG's influence was at its lowest due to distrust by most liberals and harassment from the government.
In the 1960s the NLG staged a comeback with the infusion of lawyers from the New Left, and by that point it became its own thing again largely separate from the CPUSA.
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I have a question about the Labor aristocracy, if the workers in the imperial core are in fact benefiting from imperialism so much, and if social democracy is, within MLism, generally regarded as 'social fascism' that is dependent upon imperialism, is it not in fact actually in the rational self-interest of the workers there to push for social-democratic reforms? Should MLs not then exclusively focus on national liberation struggles in the third world? How are first-world MLs expecting to turn the masses in the imperial core against their immediate self interest, how is this not deeply idealist? Let me know if i'm a brainlet here, i admit i do not know much about MLism, as only a few months ago i called myself an Anarchist.
>if social democracy is, within MLism, generally regarded as 'social fascism' that is dependent upon imperialism
It isn't. The "social-fascist" thesis reigned during the Comintern's "Third Period" and was openly repudiated by the CPSU, SED, and other "official" communist parties after 1956 (and obviously abandoned in practice years before that, after the "Third Period" ended.)
Some modern Maoist and "anti-revisionist" parties do subscribe to the "social-fascism" thesis, but I'd imagine most leftists regard it as wrongheaded and sectarian to consider social-democracy as nothing more than just a stepping-stone to fascism.
Communists traditionally viewed social-democratic parties as part of the workers' movement. This has its own issues (since nowadays many soc-dem parties are practically indistinguishable from their bourgeois counterparts), but the stress was laid on differentiating between left-wing social-democrats (who genuinely opposed capitalism) and right-wing social-democrats (who supported imperialism and made use of anti-communism and reformism to help capitalists protect the capitalist system.)
That's how soc-dem parties in Eastern Europe after WWII were able to be incorporated into or merged with communist parties, since the communists enlisted the support of their left-wings against rightists.
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At the PLA's 8th Party Congress in 1981, Enver Hoxha claimed that the revisionist parties in the capitalist countries were all "component parts of the structures of the bourgeois state":
>When our Party began the struggle against Khrushchovite revisionism, the communist parties which made common cause with Khrushchov looked, more or less, like a united bloc, with a single line, which was that of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Today, however, 20 years later, they are split and divided into many trends and factions, are fighting and clashing with one another and have been overwhelmed by bourgeois nationalism and social-democratic opportunism. These former communist parties have been transformed either into genuine parties of the new bourgeoisie ruling in the countries where the revisionists are in power, or into component parts of the structures of the bourgeois state, as in the old capitalist countries.
Pretty interesting claim. Aaron J. Leonard's work "A Threat of the First Magnitude: FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union - 1962-1974" seems to have actually VINDICATED Hoxha here, all these parties under close examination turn out to have LITERALLY been component parts of the state. Hoxha without FOIA documents understood this. You know of anything else on this?
Are you familiar with Michael Meier's book "WAS JONESTOWN A CIA MEDICAL EXPERIMENT?"
It's online here:
Really makes you think
Hoxha was just repeating standard Maoist verbiage that the CPSU had supposedly become a bourgeois party and that pro-Soviet parties abroad were fusing with social-democracy. The former claim is dumb, the latter is demagogic considering that Maoist and pro-Albanian parties generally ended up going down the same route. Blaming Khrushchev and his successors for the degeneration of numerous communist parties in Asia, Latin America and Europe makes little sense. The reasons for their degeneration are more complex and often go back to the Stalin era (e.g. Latin American communists during WWII sought to unite with Somoza and other right-wing, US-backed autocrats.)
I'm aware of Meier's book. I don't agree with it. Jones was a cult leader who called himself a Marxist and distorted Huey Newton's concept of "revolutionary suicide" to justify killing (via "mass suicide") his followers in response to increasing pressure against Jonestown by the US government and the cult's ex-members.
The CIA monitored Jonestown (not surprising since it was an avowedly socialist settlement of American citizens in a self-proclaimed socialist country), but there's no evidence the CIA had anything to do with the existence of Jonestown or Jones' activities. Jones himself alleged CIA conspiracies against his group.
Ironically there's a Soviet book that claims everyone at Jonestown was murdered by the CIA because it was afraid of the settlement's positive example to Americans back home. This is no more true than the claim that Jonestown was set up by the CIA as a medical experiment.
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>Jones was a cult leader who called himself a Marxist and distorted Huey Newton's concept of "revolutionary suicide" to justify killing (via "mass suicide") his followers in response to increasing pressure against Jonestown by the US government and the cult's ex-members.
It's not just Jones though, a lot of these groups have strange backgrounds e.g. the Symbionese Liberation Army
>The Violence Control Center was actually the brain child of William Herrmann as part of a pacification plan for California. A counter insurgency expert for Systems Development Corporation and an advisor to Governor Reagan, Herrmann worked with the Stand Research Institute, the RAND Corporation, and the Hoover Center on Violence. Herrmann was also a CIA agent who is now serving an eight year prison sentence for his role in a CIA counterfeiting operation. He was also directly linked with the Iran-Contra affair according to government records and Herrmann's own testimony.
>In 1970, Herrmann worked with Colston Westbrook as his CIA control officer when Westbrook formed and implemented the Black Cultural Association at the Vacaville Medical Facility, a facility which in July experienced the death of three inmates who were forcibly subjected to behavior modification drugs. The Black Cultural Association was ostensibly an education program designed to instill black pride identity in prisons, the Association was really a cover for an experimental behavior modification pilot project designed to test the feasibility of programming unstable prisoners to become more manageable.
>Westbrook worked for the CIA in Vietnam as a psychological warfare expert, and as an advisor to the Korean equivalent of the CIA and for the Lon Nol regime in Cambodia. Between 1966 and 1969, he was an advisor to the Vietnamese Police Special Branch under the cover of working as an employee of Pacific Architects and Engineers.
>His "firm" contracted the building of the interrogation/torture centers in every province of South Vietnam as part of the CIA's Phoenix Program. The program was centered around behavior modification experiments to learn how to extract information from prisoners of war, a direct violation of the Geneva Accords.
>Westbrook's most prominent client at Vacaville was Donald DeFreeze, who between 1967 and 1969, had worked for the Los Angeles Police Department's Public Disorder Intelligence unit and later became the leader of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Many authorities now believe that the Black Cultural Association at Vacaville was the seedling of the SLA. Westbrook even designed the SLA logo, the cobra with seven heads, and gave De Freeze his African name of Cinque. The SLA was responsible for the assassination of Marcus Foster, superintendent of School in Oakland and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst.
>As a counterinsurgency consultant for Systems Development Corporation, a security firm, Herrmann told the Los Angeles Times that a good computer intelligence system "would separate out the activist bent on destroying the system" and then develop a master plan "to win the hearts and minds of the people". The San Francisco-based Bay Guardian, recently identified Herrmann as an international arms dealer working with Iran in 1980, and possibly involved in the October Surprise. Herrmann is in an English prison for counterfeiting. He allegedly met with Iranian officials to ascertain whether the Iranians would trade arms for hostages held in Lebanon.
See the book "Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA" for more info
Do I have a correct understand of what ultra-leftism is? From what I can tell it is usually a group that is too far ahead of the masses or one that does not take the current conditions into account. For example I've seen Pol Pot called ultra-left or the faction of Grenada's NJM that killed Maurice Bishop be called ultra-left too for wanting to pursue a more dogmatic Leninist line in unfavorable Grenadian conditions. I've just never seen a concrete definition of this term and was wondering if you could give some more insight
Sure, but Jones' background was pretty straightforward. He was born to a poor family in Indiana, developed a fascination with religion since a fundamentalist neighbor took him to church every Sunday (his own mother was too busy working and his father was too busy going to a bar getting drunk), attended CPUSA-linked rallies in the early 50s, became a Methodist minister, and started his own church which promoted racial integration and stuff like free food and clothes to the needy while privately telling his wife that he would use religion to bring people to Marxism.
He then gradually turned his church into a cult around himself. His fears of nuclear war after the Cuban Missile Crisis made him relocate to California, and then he set up a communal settlement in Guyana where he would eventually relocate all his followers using the argument they'd be protected from the imminent threat of fascism and genocide in the United States.
It's a rather bizarre story, but then Jones was a rather bizarre person as even his childhood friends have noted. He definitely had charisma though. There's a pretty good speech he gave on capitalism and socialism that shows his simplistic but earnest understanding of both concepts, and helps explain why he'd have a working-class following: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/nas/streaming/dept/scuastaf/collections/peoplestemple/MP3/Q929.MP3
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Yeah that's correct. Ultra-leftists ignore material conditions in favor of imposing their own "revolutionary" policies or analyses. This isolates them from the masses and/or imperils their political activities (e.g. if a communist party decides one day to begin an armed insurrection in totally unacceptable circumstances, causing the party to be promptly crushed.)
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What do you think should the actual platform of a communist party in a Western country be? Free healthcare and a high minimum wage plus no more wars? Or should they go all-out and advocate the "seizing of the means of production and a planned economy" in their platform (which might be detached from the realities on the ground and discourage insecure voters from voting for them because they appear as "unrealistic").
Not Ismail, so I hope that's okay, but here is my view on it:
I think that any communist party worth its salt should advocate for the social ownership of the means of production and all that entails (regulation of production upon a definite plan, ending of anarchy in production, etc). To do any less would create a party which merely contents itself with small, day-to-day reforms while not simultaneously striving to transcend our current mode of production and emancipate the working class. If a party does not include this within its platform can it truly call itself a communist party? To advocate only for free healthcare, a higher minimum wage and an end to wars doesn't tackle the larger problem. Of course in the United States (for example) to advocate for these things in our current environment might seem "unrealistic" mainly due to the low level of class consciousness but this does not mean that we wholly discard certain tenants of our programs merely because the working class does not currently possess a high level of class consciousness. The real problem is to learn how this can be raised.
Yes, this. As Marx pointed out in the Manifesto, "The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. . . . they never cease, for a single instant, to instill into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat."
So there's no contradiction between "going all-out and advocating seizing the means of production etc." and advocating everyday things like trade union organization, better access to health care, opposition to imperialist wars, etc.
The election platform of the CPUSA in the 1936 elections is online, and gives an example of how that party dealt with both "practical" day-to-day matters as well as the ultimate aim of socialism: https://archive.org/details/CommunistElectionPlatform1936
Opinion on Saddam Hussein? Do you think Kuwaiti was actually slant-drilling like he said or was that just an excuse for invasion?
He was right-wing by the standards of Arab socialist leaders in the region. He actively persecuted Communists and practically allied with US imperialism to try overthrowing the Iranian Revolution. Even his invasion of Kuwait was done based on his belief that he had the green light from the US.
On the other hand, Ba'athist Iraq was the main benefactor of the PLO and the US still distrusted Saddam for his cordial relations with the USSR, his desire to acquire nuclear weapons to offset Israel's nuclear arsenal, and his still fairly powerful (by regional standards) army.
There were indeed legitimate disputes between Iraq and Kuwait over their borders, control of the Rumaila oil field (Kuwait was drawing oil from parts claimed by Iraq), and also Iraq had just gotten out of the war with Iran and had accumulated a large debt to Kuwait to help pay for said war, so Kuwait and the UAE exceeding OPEC production quotas to enrich themselves while driving prices down for other members hit Iraq particularly hard.
Before Iraq's invasion, its diplomatic "pressure on Kuwait and the UAE got considerable approval from other oil-producing countries. Even Iran backed Iraq on this one. . . . A senior official of PEMEX, the Mexican state oil production agency, was quoted as saying that, '[Saddam] has become something of a folk hero among us' for his actions." (Arthur Henson, The War Against Iraq: A Handbook for Anti-Imperialists, 1992, p. 47.)
Then Saddam decided to invade Kuwait, whereupon he was denounced by pretty much the entire world and gave the US a pretext to destroy Iraq's infrastructure via bombings and sanctions.
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When Marx and Engels variously talk about the demise of the political state and how how public functions will lose their political character, am I correct in thinking that they mean they will lose class character (regardless of class)?
That seems to be the case.
What are the best sources to address the claim that Lenin was a "murderous dictator"?
Also, I have a second question. Have you read the Leftcommunist work "What was the USSR" by "Aufheben"?
If yes, any critcisms?
>What are the best sources to address the claim that Lenin was a "murderous dictator"?
Depends on what specific events or phenomena they claim made Lenin murderous or dictatorial.
In general, the Bolsheviks suppressed those who carried out armed revolts against them. They were willing to coalition with other parties that accepted soviet power, hence the short-lived coalition with the Left SRs until that party staged an armed revolt in July 1918.
"The total figures of executions, published in 1921, were as follows. In the first half of 1918 [before the Red Terror] they were 22, in the second half some 6,300, and for the three years 1918-20 (for all Russia) 12,733. When it is remembered that in Rostov alone about 25,000 workers were shot by the Whites upon occupying the city, not to speak of many other towns, the Red terror will fall into rather more just perspective."
(Rothstein, Andrew. A History of the U.S.S.R. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. 1951. p. 106.)
As for the charge of being a dictator, it's silly. Lenin constantly had to argue in favor of his policies with his colleagues in the Politburo and Central Committee, the most obvious example being the debate over whether or not to sign the Brest-Litovsk treaty.
>Have you read the Leftcommunist work "What was the USSR" by "Aufheben"?
A long time ago. If I recall right they basically uphold Ticktin's claim that the USSR wasn't capitalist or socialist, but a "non-mode of production."
You can bring up specific critiques if you'd like and I'll respond to them tomorrow or the day after (since I'm a bit busy), but the "non-mode of production" stuff seems silly. The USSR alone, a large landmass that existed for some 70 years and whose economic system was adopted by other countries via revolutions in Europe, Asia and Cuba, clearly had to have a distinct mode of production to successfully build up its economy and an upcoming class to put that mode of production into place.
Ismail, how do you explain Chinese military bases inside of Africa? isn't this imperialism?
No, it isn't. The USSR had Cam Ranh Bay and naval facilities at Tartus (in Syria), that wasn't imperialism either.
Imperialism refers to an economic relationship, from which military considerations follow. The mere existence of a military base in another country is not evidence of an imperialist relationship.
But China does have economic dominance over Africa and tries to export finance capital to Africa, if these base weren't built for imperialism then for what were they built?
What is meant by "economic dominance"?
For example, pretty much all of Mongolia's trade was with the USSR by 1930. No doubt this meant the Soviets "economically dominated" Mongolia. But this is not an imperialist relationship.
Russia's capitalists engage in export of capital too, but that doesn't make Russia an imperialist country. The mere export of capital isn't sufficient: http://links.org.au/node/4629
Considering the superabundance of military bases created by the US, UK and France, Chinese bases serve two purposes: first to help secure China's defense needs at a time when the imperialists are ratcheting up military and economic pressure, second to increase the independence of African countries, whose governments are making use of China to assert themselves.
How come liberalization and introduction of more market features caused stagnation in the SU and re-introduction of Capitalism led to cratering living standards, whereas in China growth rates remained stable and even grew and improvements in living conditions were widespread under the revisionist leaderships following Mao? Is Socialism with Chinese Characteristics a thing?
Gorbachev and Deng both adopted greater market measures, but in very different ways and in different political contexts.
Gorbachev argued that what had existed in the USSR since the 1930s was an "administrative-command economy" rather than an actual socialist system, and that the potentialities of the NEP were demolished by Stalin (and would likewise have been demolished by Trotsky) in order to establish the aforementioned supposedly distorted economy.
Proceeding from that theoretical basis, Gorby in practice had no clear idea what to do. His decisions were abrupt and inept, and resulted in absurdities like factories waiting for central planners to allocate resources to them while those same planners couldn't locate resources (since suppliers were too busy trading the resources with other factories) or no longer had the requisite authority to allocate them in the first place.
Deng's reforms were far more competently carried out.
Another major difference is that Gorby's economic policies were bound up with his political policies of Glasnost and Demokratizatsiya, which of course ended up with the demise of the USSR. By contrast, the CPC became less dogmatic and allowed greater Western culture in China, but otherwise had no intention of greatly changing the political system (and showed in Tienanmen in 1989 that it was perfectly willing to use force to defend the socialist system, unlike Gorby.)
Hence why Deng's youngest son said to a journalist in 1990: "My father thinks Gorbachev is an idiot." And of course unlike Deng, Gorby ended up abandoning Marxism-Leninism altogether and today proudly identifies as a social-democrat.
The best read on Gorby's policies from a ML point of view is "Socialism Betrayed" by Keeran and Kenny: http://b-ok.xyz/book/1246151/ea7f45
>Is Socialism with Chinese Characteristics a thing?
I'd say it is.
So you don't believe that the Chinese Bourgeoisie now has control over the Party? i mean i guess we can only speculate here but it seems rather dubious given that most of the leaders are themselves now extremely rich Capitalists. I'd say at the very least for the socialist forces to take over again to eventually move away from private property its gonna require a very hard inner-party struggle.
I don't think the bourgeoisie controls the party, although of course there is always the danger of that happening. As far as I know major CPC officials can get rich from corruption, or from having rich relatives, but are themselves not formally involved in businesses.
I mean come on... I know that wealth is not necessarily connected to class but where do you think the interests of these people lie.
The National People's Congress has nearly 3,000 delegates. Of these, "about 100" (according to that link) are billionaires, and the "richest 209 parliament delegates are each worth more than" $300 million.
Considering the NPC has not only Communist Party delegates, but also delegates from the other parties (including the China Democratic National Construction Association which is explicitly for businessmen and has existed since before the PRC was even founded), I don't see the issue.
China's legislative and consultative bodies also include clergymen; nobody uses that to suggest China is a theocracy.
That article then smugly goes on to say, "By comparison, the U.S. doesn't have a single billionaire in Congress. The wealthiest member, California Republican Darrell Issa, is worth around $440 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."
That's because in the United States, the billionaires and millionaires choose the representatives. In China, billionaires and millionaires owe their existence to the policies of the CPC and those in the legislature explicitly recognize the leading role of the CPC in society and in state affairs.
Before elections the CPC comes to an agreement with other parties in the United Front as to how many representatives of business should be in the NPC and other legislative bodies, same thing with clergymen, workers, peasants, members of the intelligentsia, etc. If it was decided during next elections to reduce the number of billionaires in the NPC to zero, that could be done without much hassle.
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>in the United States, the billionaires and millionaires choose the representatives. In China, billionaires and millionaires owe their existence to the policies of the CPC
But they do have a powerful interest in reversing this relationship. And they are not just heavily overrepresented in the NPC now but in the whole government. Xi Jinping is a billionaire through his relatives, Wen Jiabaos relatives are estimated to be billionaires. They are bourgeois and have bourgeois class interests, unless all of these people are outcasts in their family, which seems unlikely. The fact that lately a lot of this type end up in prison for corruption (i.e. being political rivals of someone more powerful) shows that they are not untouchable, but it doesn't point to China being a DotP either.
I asked the question in the beginning of the argument because according to Marxist theory, Capitalism is a system that in fact fetters and eventually becomes incompatible with the MoP, a planned economy in the hand of the Proletariat is poised to replace it. This view is pretty much compatible with all historic evidence we've seen so far, except Chinas rise if one accepts that it no longer is a DotP. It would fit neatly into the theoretical framework if one accepts that it is a DotP, i think this is the reason why many MLs want to, im just very skeptical. I guess we can't find out here.
of those 100 or so billionaires, the wealth is roughly equivalent to that of 9 americans. which, looking at it in such terms of "billionaire or not billionaire", is a bit disingenuous anyway. billionaires could have their wealth seized at any moment by the state. many of them go to prison or have even been executed. chinese billionaires, rich pigs, are heavily scrutinized by the public, not worshipped or put above the legal system, as they are in the west. many of these bourgeois pigs hide their wealth in the west too because they're so afraid of the party.
it would be ignorant to pretend that after a communist revolution, the bourgeoisie just disappears or a country suddenly becomes free of imperialist pressures.
>of those 100 or so billionaires, the wealth is roughly equivalent to that of 9 americans
what is confusing about that?
my numbers were wrong anyway, it's actually 200, not 100, and it's the equivalent of 7 richest americans.
The Chinese are capitalists with red flags and anyone who believes otherwise is deluding themselves
What do you think about John Mccain?
>I asked the question in the beginning of the argument because according to Marxist theory, Capitalism is a system that in fact fetters and eventually becomes incompatible with the MoP, a planned economy in the hand of the Proletariat is poised to replace it.
It's worth recalling that China considers itself in the "primary stage of socialism," i.e. its main task is to develop the productive forces precisely due to the country's historical backwardness and poverty. Marx himself wrote that the bourgeoisie transforms pre-capitalist modes of life (of which the peasantry is obviously a part), greatly increasing productivity.
Reactionary bourgeois politician. He's actually highly regarded in Vietnam because he pushed for the establishment of normal diplomatic and trade relations back in the 1980s-90s at a time when his colleagues were like "no, Vietnam is an enemy of America and freedom." And even then, McCain justified restoring ties with the argument that the Vietnamese can be used against China.
Besides that, he was scarcely any different from other "normal" Republicans like Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, etc. He cheered on the Iraq War and other imperialist ventures, and most recently praised Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem despite near-universal condemnation from every other country in the world (as well as the Palestinians.)
He's been extolled these past few days by the media since liberals and "normal" conservatives want to encourage people to maintain faith in our corrupt, unrepresentative political system and to view Trump as just some aberration that can be corrected via voting Democrat or "upholding American values" or what have you.
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Do you listen to Chapo Trap House? I noticed you post in their subreddit a lot. What do you think about the podcast and the subreddit?
Personally I like the podcast, despite them being socdem/demsoc and me being more of a ML, but I find the subreddit to be made up of mostly the exact type of anarcho-liberals that I hate with a passion.
I don't actually listen to the podcast, but yeah I post in the subreddit. posters range from MLs to "progressive" liberals.
It's annoying when you have people who are willing to criticize the hypocrisies of American foreign policy, but "balance it out" by claiming the USSR was just as bad and pretending George Orwell died an anarcho-communist revolutionary rather than an anti-communist social-democrat who attacked left-wing Labour MPs for putting "Soviet interest" above "British interest" and claimed communist parties exist for the purpose of espionage.
They should use their millions to fund a communist party
>I don't actually listen to the podcast, but yeah I post in the subreddit.
Why post there if you don't listen to the podcast? I have a fairly low opinion of the podcast and its fanbase but I wonder if there's something worthwhile about the subreddit.
Because there's lots of leftist discussion there. Also lots of dumb discussion, but I can just ignore that.
Yo, I dig this sentiment. You GET IT comrade. Keep up the good work and I hope you'll think about joining a party someday.
Capitalist mode of production doesn't necessarily mean capitalist government (cf. Lenin)
what research have you actually done on this topic? besides youtube vids made by trots and liberals. i've literally never met a marxist offline who thought china was anything but a socialist state
>Brezhnev stood in office too long
What is "too long" in your opinion?
Do you think it would've been good to the democratic level of the USSR (and other socialist states) if the leaders had been elected for terms of a fixed length?
Do you have a source for the claim of: "econd to increase the independence of African countries, whose governments are making use of China to assert themselves."
When I say Brezhnev stood in office too long, it was because he was very visibly weak and there were suspicions he was somewhat senile. I think so long as a leader is physically and mentally healthy and things are going okay in the country,
I think term limits, while understandable in some situations, are ultimately less important than democratic control and accountability in general. For example, it was inconceivable to tell Mao during the last years of his life that he should probably step down, even though his health was clearly bad.
It was also a problem when Honecker, Kádár, Zhivkov, Ceaușescu, Husák and Hoxha remained in office forever even though by the end conditions in their countries (and in some cases their health also) were in decline.
In large part it was because the continued leadership of these leaders was treated as a crutch, e.g. Tito was proclaimed President for life because the unstated assumption was that without him, Yugoslavia would start to crumble apart (which it did, but the fact that the system was to a considerable extent perceived as dependent on one man is itself a fundamental failing.)
Mugabe is a modern example of a leader who, while mentally and physically pretty good (for a 94 year old), should have retired years ago.
I don't really know how I could "source" it. The imperialist countries clearly view China as a rising economic and military threat and want African states to be dependent on them. The existence of China provides a way for African governments to lessen this dependence, similar to how the existence of the USSR allowed the same thing.
On China and Africa in general, see the section on Africa here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16iw83noTdWvDiECaITX83rGhP_lros8QdBTrNnCoe6c/edit#
Even though their not M-L what do you think of the Zapatistas?
I've talked to a few Mexican leftists who say the EZLN is ineffectual. It's basically confined to helping improve the standard of living of Chiapas' residents and poses no real threat to the powers that be.
Also the EZLN were quite/are naïve, e.g. the Los Angeles Times back in 1994 noted,
>[Subcomandante] Marcos said he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once U.S. intelligence agencies are convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians. "Finally, they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true causes."
Not surprisingly, the US preferred to send arms to the Mexican government against the EZLN.
So in conclusion, anarchists jerking off to EZLN during the 90s and early-mid 2000s and treating them as the next big thing seems silly in retrospect.
Also here's an interesting post by a Mexican guy on reddit, giving his interpretation of EZLN's motives: https://www.reddit.com/r/mexico/comments/4796sh/what_do_you_think_of_the_zapatista_movement/d0dgjz4/
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What do you think about Stalin's allegedly antisemitic "Doctor's Plot"?
According to his daughter he was skeptical about the charges against the doctors. More significantly, Zhores Medvedev (a Soviet-era dissident and historian who has no reason to defend Stalin) argues that he was going to put an end to the case but died before he could.
In any case all talk about the "plot" was ended soon after his death, and the generally bad atmosphere Jews were in during the last years of Stalin's life was lifted.
Thoughts on the "Intellectual Dark Web"? Figures like Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, the Weinstein guys, Dave Rubin, etc. Keeping up with all the dumb things these people say and do is really just an elaborate kind of self-harm but a lot of leftists seem to get some entertainment out of it.
You post in a few non-socialist subreddits. I wanna recommend r/samharris. A pretty large chunk of the people there seem open to left wing viewpoints as a result of becoming pretty disillusioned with Harris, as it's become more obvious lately what an absolute hack the guy is.
is there a better, perhaps more academically rigorous, resource than ludo martens 'another view of stalin' to clear up misconceptions about stalin?
Maybe the works of J Arch Getty
Not as supportive as Martens but he's generally seen as pretty neutral, moreover him not being a socialist himself will make him seem more reliable in the eyes of liberals you're arguing with
I don't know much about Harris. To my knowledge he was one of the "New Atheists" (like Hitchens and Dawkins) who used the aura of being "rational" to cloak his reactionary politics.
Shapiro seems like a male version of Ann Coulter, just with a bit more "intellectual" posturing. I can't take him seriously. I haven't actually bothered watching anything by Peterson, Weinstein or Rubin except for a thing by Peterson being like "argh Marxists are hypocrites for talking about how they're fighting for the common man when in fact all they do is just kill everyone," and when confronted with Peterson's argument I cited a thing I had recently written: https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads/199846-On-the-right-wing-complaint-of-quot-Why-is-Marxism-more-acceptable-than-fascism-quot?p=2887959#post2887959
Getty is good. "Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia" by Robert Thurston is also good.
"Stalin's Wars" by Geoffrey Roberts is good on his role in WWII and the Korean War.
Ian Grey's "Stalin: Man of History" is a fairly objective (but dated) biography which I scanned last year: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-7z0YkCEOao2ZyqBenSY84ZH3uUb9FHn/view
If there are particular misconceptions you'd like cleared, let me know and I can suggest sources. Martens' book goes overboard in trying to rebut just about every single allegation made against Stalin, but it has had a somewhat useful function of showing people there is in fact another view of Stalin as opposed to the anti-communist narrative. In fact, Martens book is the first pro-Soviet work I ever read.
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Ismail, what do you know about the Ray O Light/Revolutionary Organization of Labor? They seem to have zero presence online.
Nothing, except they seem very small.
>To my knowledge he was one of the "New Atheists" (like Hitchens and Dawkins) who used the aura of being "rational" to cloak his reactionary politics.
With the exception of foreign policy, I'm not sure I would say the politics of the New Atheists was completely reactionary. Maybe I am naive but at that time it seems like they mostly tried to uphold "enlightenment values", science and rationality in the face of a growing religious right wing that used it's political power to push creationism in schools, marginalization of gay people, etc., and that's a worthy effort imo. Of course, their actual critique of religion was always very surface level ("do you think there is a man in the sky lol religion is DUMB") but I don't think I would say they were a reactionary group overall.
Anyway, none of that matters now since New Atheism is a thing of yesterday, and the only one of them who is still relevant, Harris, has gone off the reactionary deep end completely.
>Shapiro seems like a male version of Ann Coulter, just with a bit more "intellectual" posturing.
Pretty spot on.
On domestic issues they were basically liberals, but in the case of Hitchens (an ex-Trot) his foreign policy views pretty much consumed his political activities in the last ten years of his life. He supported the Iraq War, ranted about the threat of "Islamofascism" to the West, and supported Bush in 2004.
In that sense he was similar to his hero Orwell, who considered himself a socialist and yet subscribed to the view that the United States and Britain represented "freedom" against the "totalitarian" USSR, somehow concluded that Paul Robeson was "very anti-white," attacked pacifists for supposedly hating the West, and claimed the Soviets sought to sabotage the Attlee government because social-democracy represented a deadly threat to communism (rather than Soviet-British relations deteriorating due to Attlee's pro-imperialist foreign policy.)
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Ismail, was the Soviet Revolutionary Communists (Bolsheviks) an actual underground group or was it an Albanian hoax as it's often claimed?
I've never heard of it mentioned anywhere outside of Albanian and Chinese texts back when its purported existence was announced.
There were rumors back then that Molotov was involved, but he wasn't. After he was expelled from the CPSU as part of the "Anti-Party Group" he spent the next three decades trying to rejoin it, a goal finally achieved shortly before his death.
It's probable that the group existed but was very short-lived and had an insignificant number of adherents. There are plenty of cases in history where a group announces its existence and nothing else.
Don't know if this has been asked yet, but why is labour zionism looked down upon by non jewish marxists? As a jewish person this is something i have always wondered.
Because it's still Zionism. Ben-Gurion being a "socialist" did not prevent him from presiding over the mass expulsion of Palestinians or aligning Israel with American imperialism.
And there are plenty of anti-Zionist Jews who would say the same thing.
What would you say against the argument that says
>We need capitalists and his role it's almost natural. We always need direction of economic processes.
>Also if I have invest money on my own company or little company, it's mine and I don't know why Communists must get it.
It is like capitalist ideology has so much force and people tend to identify capitalist = direction of companies. So then they can't see the necessity of the revolution and why the workers should own the State and companies.
1. The present economic system (i.e. capitalism) requires capitalists. Prior systems (primitive communal living, slavery, feudalism) obviously didn't.
This person is confusing managers and capitalists. As Marx pointed out, "The labour of supervision and management is naturally required wherever the direct process of production assumes the form of a combined social process, and not of the isolated labour of independent producers. . . This is a productive job, which must be performed in every combined mode of production. . . . In a co-operative factory the antagonistic nature of the labour of supervision disappears, because the manager is paid by the labourers instead of representing capital counterposed to them."
2. It is possible for certain private enterprises to continue existing for a time. To quote from one work (Germany Beyond the Wall by Jean Edward Smith, 1969, pp. 102-104):
>The private and semi-state factories play an important role in East Germany. In 1966 there were almost ten thousand such enterprises remaining, and the government seems under no compulsion to liquidate them. For the most part they are small undertakings (the average semi-state firm employs 63 persons; the average private firm one-third that many) . . . Not only do such factories provide a yardstick for comparing production costs in state-owned concerns, they also represent considerable reservoirs of technical and managerial expertise.
>A number of private firms have changed to become semi-state firms in recent years, but this merely means that the state has been admitted as an investor; control and management are still vested in the original entrepreneur. In many respects, the manager of a semi-state firm occupies one of the smuggest sinecures in East Germany. He is paid a guaranteed salary to continue as manager of the firm, plus a fixed return on the value of his investment. If the firm makes money, his proportion of the profits equals his share of investment. . . .
>Werner Beier, the [Kamerafabrik Waldemar Beier KG] plant's present director, received me warmly. . . Why had he become a semi-state firm? "Because we needed capital, and that was the easiest way to get it." Did he resent the decision? "I really had no alternative." Was he satisfied with the arrangement? "They leave me completely free to manage the company as I see fit. My son will become manager when I retire. That was part of the agreement. I'm not satisfied, because you can see we need a great deal more capital to modernize and expand. But within the limits of the system I can't complain."
(For anyone wondering, in 1972 almost all of the GDR's private and semi-state enterprises were nationalized, including Kamerafabrik Waldemar Beier, the argument being that state ownership was more efficient in allocating resources and labor.)
>This person is confusing managers and capitalists.
But capitalists are managers, aren't they?
They can be, and that was generally the case in the early days of capitalism when the capitalist supervised his own workers in his own factory, but it isn't nowadays unless you're talking about small businesses. CEOs and the like don't manage the day-to-day activities of factories.
Managers in the socialist countries clearly weren't capitalists.
>but it isn't nowadays
Could you develop this point?
It should be fairly obvious that, say, an American capitalist with factories in Singapore and Taiwan is evidently not an omnipresent being able to personally manage factory workers in multiple places at once. Such capitalists hire management personnel.
If you worked at Microsoft back in the 90s, you wouldn't have Bill Gates coming by your cubicle asking you mundane questions about formatting reports properly or telling you to come to work on the weekend. Gates might drop in once in a while, either for the hell of it (at one point Gates decided to have fun by answering a call from a customer asking for tech support) or because he heard that productivity isn't as good as it could be and wanted to do some "hands-on" investigation and raise morale by talking to employees.
Gates didn't need to personally supervise Microsoft employees. He paid people to do that for him, as basically any major capitalist does.
But to manage doesn't mean necessarily personally manage. I think that's a conceptual trap.
Capitalists manage, are the ones who dominate productive processes. Even still having subordinates who work personally in companies, this does not mean that capitalists don't manage.
Yeah I get that "capitalists literally don't do anything except sit on their ass all day raking in money" is largely misleading, but my point was that "direction of economic processes" takes place under every system of production (e.g. slaveowners of large plantations employed overseers.) You do not need capitalists to coordinate the day-to-day operations of a factory, and modern capitalists generally don't fulfill that function anyway.
That's why I wrote that the real or hypothetical person making the argument you quoted is "confusing managers and capitalists." It's also why I gave the example of the USSR, whose factories had managers but no capitalists.
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I've seen people claim that the Incan Empire / Pre-Incan Andean societies were examples of "Primitive Communist" economies?
Do you know anything about this? / have any articles?
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia gives the following definition of primitive communalism:
>the first socioeconomic formation in human history. The foundations for the doctrine of the primitive communal system as a special socioeconomic formation were laid by K. Marx and F. Engels and were subsequently developed by V. I. Lenin. Most Soviet scientists and scholars believe that the primitive communal system existed from the appearance of the first human beings to the emergence of class society. From the standpoint of archaeology, this period basically coincides with the Stone Age. In the primitive communal system the relationship to the means of production was the same for all members of society. Consequently, the mode of obtaining a share of the social product was the same for all. For this reason, the term “primitive communism” is applied to this system, which is distinguished from succeeding stages of socioeconomic development by the absence of private property, classes, and the state.
You can find the rest of the article here: https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Primitive+Communal+System
Whereas the Incan Empire is described as follows:
>The state was a slave-holding despotate. The Incas levied a tribute from subjugated tribes and exploited the labor of ordinary commune members, artisans, and slaves— the yanacuna. The basic socioeconomic nucleus was the village commune—the ayllu. The land was regarded as belonging to the ruler—the Inca—whose power was encircled by a sacred halo. The first mythical ruler—Manco Capac—was revered as the sun’s offspring. The Incas used irrigation and erected buildings for military and administrative purposes.
In other words, the Incan Empire was based on slavery, the system that generally comes after the breakup of the primitive-communal system.
As for what specific form primitive communalism took in the ancient Andes compared to the rest of early humanity, I have no information on that.
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What is the best work about Maoist China? Feel free to include neutral works and pro-Maoist works.
Also, what do you think about the communes in China? Were they a success or was it ultimately a failed experiment?
I would say the biggest difference was that the Incan economy was centrally planned according to this Wiki article
I can't think of "the best." There are books on individual subjects that are good (like Fanshen by William Hinton), but as far as an overall history of China under Mao, I'd say Maurice Meisner's "Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic" is a good start.
As for the communes, they evidently failed to raise production on any sustained basis and were unpopular.
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Were workers actually payed with Labor vouchers in Chinas "Iron rice bowl" and if true why did Deng apparently dismantle it
>As for the communes, they evidently failed to raise production on any sustained basis and were unpopular.
Well maybe they would have if they were given a bit more time and maybe better management/infastructure.
The Dengist line of the CPCh, which you relentlessly defend here, simply provides us institutional evidence and we are supposed to eat it up. There is no telling what would have happened if China did not liberalize the economy, we are told that only capitalism could have developed the productive capabilities.
Do you know anything about the African People's Socialist Party? I've looked at their website but they don't seem to have much else of a presence online.
I do not (besides the basics like how it was founded, etc.)
They still received wages, but were also given coupons to help obtain consumer goods.
The "iron rice bowl" has declined over time in an effort to increase material incentives.
We know the spectacular growth of the Chinese economy since the 1980s. I don't see why a continuation of Mao's policies would have done almost as good.
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>We know the spectacular growth of the Chinese economy since the 1980s. I don't see why a continuation of Mao's policies would have done almost as good.
Well maybe because that spectacular growth (which also occured in countries like Japan, South Korea or Singapore) came with all the shortcomings of capitalism for the Chinese workers. Unemployment, homelessness, wage cuts, oligarchs, rent-seekers, commodification, alienation, inequality. The USSR had constant economic growth and none of this.
What is your opinion on Maurice Bishop / NJM / Socialist goverment of Grenada?
>The USSR had constant economic growth and none of this.
To quote one author, "While not actually in crisis in 1985, the Soviet regime was headed for one. . . Deprived of its past sources of growth from an expanding labor force and ever-increasing inputs of capital, the economy had poor prospects. . . and was probably fated to contract slowly. The weakness of the economy gave rise to a second vulnerability: widespread dissatisfaction and disillusion throughout Soviet society. Ordinary people no longer experienced improvements in their poor living conditions." (Myron Rush, in The Strange Death of Soviet Communism, 2008, pp. 21-22.)
Anyone who lived in the USSR in the 80s would note how conditions were deteriorating, a situation that also marked the Eastern European countries.
It is a fact that living standards have greatly increased in China and Vietnam since the economic reforms, whereas you'd probably rather live in the USSR (or GDR, etc.) of 1966 than 1986.
What is your opinion on the Taiping / Heavenly sect rebellion?
Asides from the Christ Cuck'ism and Han Nationalism was it a peasant / Progressive rebellion? (The CCP and KMT recognized it as each respectivly)
I haven't studied the Taiping Rebellion, but there is an English-language Soviet history of China covering the 1700s up to 1918 which I recently scanned. Part II discusses it and gives an overall positive assessment: https://archive.org/details/ModernHistoryChina
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia describes it as "a peasant war in China, directed against feudal oppression and the alien Manchu dynasty" and notes that "the leaders of the Taiping rebellion published the booklet Land Administration of the Heavenly Kingdom, which presented a Utopian program for transforming Chinese feudal society into a militarized patriarchal society based on 'peasant communism' and on the principle of the equality of all its members. In practice, the social and economic policies of the Taiping leaders merely decreased somewhat the rent payments the peasants made on the land and shifted a significant part of the tax burden onto landowners and the rich."
Lots of historically progressive endeavors took place under the banner or influence of religion, such as the peasant revolt under Thomas Müntzer and John Brown's anti-slavery struggle.
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So you're basically arguing that capitalism managed by a communist party is superior to socialism. Why do you call yourself a socialist again?
No, I'm arguing that Soviet-type economies had flaws which had become obvious by the 1980s. Saying that "the USSR had constant economic growth" papers over these flaws and doesn't explain why there would be any calls to reform the system.
>Saying that "the USSR had constant economic growth" papers over these flaws and doesn't explain why there would be any calls to reform the system.
But criticzing China for adopting capitalist policies does not mean to be totally uncritical of the USSR. Of course did the USSR need reforms, otherwise it wouldn't have been dissolved. But where I disagree is that liberalization was the only way for China to do it. Furthermore, I wasn't talking about the flaws of the Soviet economy, but the fact that the USSR didn't have
>unemployment, homelessness, wage cuts, oligarchs, rent-seekers, commodification, alienation, inequality
China - evidently - has all this. Of course the living standard has been growing (capitalism tends to do that over time), but the contradictions of capitalism have not been addressed. If you are concerned about average living standards only, why don't you support Luxemburg, Switzerland, Norway or Australia? These are the countries with the highest living standard. I don't think we can personally blame the leadership of the CPC that they went this way, but we have to acknowledge that they opened Pandora's box, and now there is a capitalist class with tremendous influence in the CPC, the CPC's ideology is terminally revisionist (see this https://monthlyreview.org/2007/09/01/the-state-of-official-marxism-in-china-today/) and promotes center-right conservative values and Han ethno-nationalism. If there are genuine MLs in the CPC, they are marginalized. Cockshott had been threatened that they will revoke the passports of Chinese comrades who are translating Towards a New Socialism. It is not impossible that there might be a ML coup in the CPC, or that some of the leaders are somewhat genuine, but if you are not an idealist but a materialist and look at the actual class interests of the Chinese leadership, we can not accept that China is a dictatorship of the proletariat (maybe a completely degenerated one), let alone socialism, unless you insisting that they are because they nationalized core industries and call themselves communists.
What is the difference between the fascist dictatorship and the bourgeois military dictatorship?
While it'd be silly to compare the situation before Gorby with after it, there was in fact a growing problem of "unofficial" unemployment in the USSR by the time he came to power, although it wasn't due to a capitalist class creating a reserve army of labor, instead it was due to the inefficiencies of the system.
This was especially apparent in Central Asia, where there was a "large number of people not employed in the public sector. According to one recent Soviet source, at the beginning of 1988 one quarter of the labor resources in Uzbekistan was not involved in public production. The problem is most serious among youth, especially female youth. Half of the population not working in Tajikistan, over 136,000 men and women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-nine were neither working nor studying. . . In the [Fergana] Valley's Andizhan oblast it was reported that 18,143 Komsomol members were not working in 1986." (William Fierman, "Central Asian Youth and Migration" in Soviet Central Asia: The Failed Transformation, 1991, pp. 256-257.) The author adds that Gorby's policies "seem likely to aggravate the current situation" (a bit of an understatement.)
Also a lot of potential unemployment was "solved" by overmanning enterprises. According to an American Communist journalist who opposed the destruction of the USSR, "From what I observed [living in the USSR in the 1970s-80s], there was a shocking waste of labor power almost everywhere—far too many performing the labor a fraction of their number could do. One worker would be actually engaged in making repairs while two others would be looking on." (Mike Davidow, Perestroika: Its Rise and Fall, 1993, p. 8.)
"Despite the policy of stable retail prices, open inflation was not absent. Between January 1977 and September 1981, state retail prices were increased on four occasions, the increases mostly affecting what may be regarded as luxury goods rather than necessities. The official retail price index, which fell from 100 in 1970 to 99.7 per cent in 1975, went up to 103 in 1980, to 104 in 1981, and to 108 in 1982, to remain at the 1982 level in 1983 and 1985. At the same time, this index was understated, inter alia, because it ignored the prices in the collective farm market. Collective farm market prices were 1.37 times higher than state retail prices in 1965, 1.55 times in 1970, 1.76 times in 1975, and 2.09 times in 1980.
Besides open inflation, hidden inflation was also to be found. It occurred through increases in retail prices not reflected in the official retail price index, resulting either from a substitution in the product mix of an enterprise of higher-priced products for lower-priced ones, from a reduced quality of the product, or from pseudo-innovations.
Finally, there was repressed inflation, i.e. an excess of purchasing power, caused by central regulation preventing retail prices from increasing in spite of shortages of consumer goods and services. The indicators of rising repressed inflation included worsening shortages of consumer goods and services, lengthening queues, a spread of food rationing in the first half of the 1980s, soaring prices in the second economy, mounting deposits in savings banks, and swelling food subsidies."
(J.L. Porket, Work, Employment and Unemployment in the Soviet Union, 1989, p. 86.)
While in some respects this was still a better system for ordinary people, it nonetheless contained long-term problems.
>If you are concerned about average living standards only, why don't you support Luxemburg, Switzerland, Norway or Australia?
Marx wrote that one task of the proletarian state was "to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible." In the final analysis, socialism's superiority to capitalism is based on high living standards and quality of life. China in 1949 was even more backward than Russia in 1917, and the CPC under Mao's leadership spent the next three decades alternating between sensible economic policies (Soviet-backed industrialization in the 50s) and disastrous ones (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution.) Deng argued that the main task was to develop the productive forces so that China could become a "modern" country and further develop socialism on the basis of abundance. And despite all the progress made since the end of the 70s, the government recognizes it still has some ways to go (e.g. the average Chinese person is still generally poorer than his or her American counterpart.)
I don't see what the MR article shows about "the CPC's ideology [being] terminally revisionist." It shows that academic debate in China has grown enormously since the end of the Cultural Revolution. While many academics no doubt think the market is a panacea (and no doubt some academics flat-out just want to adopt capitalism), the article notes "some comments by Chinese conference participants that swam against the private property and privatization tide."
The author of the article ominously states that the pro-market (and in some cases plainly pro-capitalist) arguments were akin to those "I had heard (and had argued against) in Moscow in 1991, the last year of the Soviet Union, coming from Soviet academics and party and state officials."
The comparison is inexact. The problem with the Soviet approach to public debates until Gorby was that there were rigid restrictions on what could be discussed. This helped the revisionists mask their own views, e.g. Georgy Shakhnazarov, an aide to Gorby, said after the USSR collapsed, "Gorbachev, me, all of us were double-thinkers, we had to balance truth and propaganda in our minds all the time. . . It was the choice between dissidence and surrender."
Thus Shakhnazarov and others like him rose through the ranks by writing and saying the "correct" things. And as problems in the economy and society accumulated, and someone like Gorby took to the helm, these revisionist forces burst out and overwhelmed academics and party officials who supported Marxism-Leninism.
The CPC's approach since the 1980s has been different: it wants pro-market and pro-centralization forces to debate openly, along with open debates about other subjects in Chinese society. So long as the Four Cardinal Principles are upheld, the CPC's approach is generally hands-off.
In this way the CPC can more easily ascertain problems facing China and the party's cadres can better respond to arguments.
A fascist dictatorship employs fascist methods of organizing the economy and society.
A military dictatorship just means the military controls the country's political life. Politically such regimes can differ quite a bit, e.g. Peru under Velasco was on cordial terms with the USSR and Cuba and carried out progressive reforms, while Ethiopia's Derg oriented the country toward socialism. As for bourgeois military dictatorships, these aim to assist the capitalist class in stabilizing a country marked by political and/or economic crisis.
This book might be of some use: https://archive.org/details/ArmiesAndPolitics
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CAn you show me how workers have the political power in China?
The working-class took power in 1949 in alliance with the peasantry and under the leadership of the Communist Party. A new state structure was established and a socialist economy built. The CPC continues to serve as vanguard of the working-class and leads the work of socialist construction and the defense of the socialist state and economy.
In the final analysis this is the basis of workers' political power, not just in China but in all socialist countries. That is why counter-revolutionaries strike first and foremost at the vanguard role of the CPC, as occurred in Tienanmen in 1989.
There's obviously other means workers exercise political power (via national and local government, the trade unions and other mass organizations, the press, etc.) but the vanguard is the apex of the system.
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but can you show me these are really controlled by workers and not by billionaires???
See the section "The socialist state’s firm control over 'bourgeois elements'" here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16iw83noTdWvDiECaITX83rGhP_lros8QdBTrNnCoe6c/edit (the other sections, e.g. on state-owned enterprises, are also relevant.)
The state controls the commanding heights of the economy and it is the CPC which has allowed Chinese billionaires to come into existence. The latter are thus dependent to a considerable extent on the policies of the party.
I can't seem to find this section ??? where is it
Would you consider the First US Red Scare (happened around 1900s-1920s) the death-nail to the US socialist movement? It was responsible for destroying most Union based movements (most notably the IWW) as it forced most Unions to “act nice” with their “employers” or risk being banned (it also formulated laws that banned cross-profession unions, hampering the IWW again)
It's in the document, page 6.
No, the Great Depression saw an upsurge in labor militancy and the Communist Party reached the height of its influence in the 1930s-40s, in part due to its significant role in organizing the CIO.
Compared to the Socialist Party of the 1900s-10s the CPUSA certainly wasn't as influential, but at the same time the Socialist Party was undone not only by government repression but also by its own right-wing, reformist leaders who expelled the more numerous left-wing in 1919 and who in earlier years had sought to keep Eugene Debs off the ballot, sabotaged consistent opposition to World War I, etc., just as the other parties of the Second International had reformist/revisionist and revolutionary wings, with the latter splitting to form communist parties after 1917.
Thoughts on the South African Communist Party? Do you think they are a legitimate (i.e. not turned into socdems/"progressives" without a substantial ideology) communist party? Would you tend to support them rather than EFF? I know that you said you don't know a lot about current South African politics, but still asking in case you have anything.
Yeah, to reiterate I don't know much about modern South African politics, but from what I've gleaned the SACP has been very close to the ANC both during and after the struggle against Apartheid, and by "very close" I mean finding excuses for every bad thing the ANC does, somewhat like how the CPUSA makes excuses for Democrats.
If the SACP are truly wedded to the ANC, and refuse to allow members to disagree with this state of affairs, then communists ought to establish their own groups or party advocating independent working-class politics.
>the SACP has been very close to the ANC both during and after the struggle against Apartheid, and by "very close" I mean finding excuses for every bad thing the ANC does, somewhat like how the CPUSA makes excuses for Democrats.
I was under the impression that they are at least very critical of Zuma though.
That's true, and it's a good thing. So long as the SACP consistently practices democratic centralism (in the sense of allowing open debate on what attitude to take the ANC), I'd probably join the party if I lived in that country.
The problem with a lot of historically pro-Soviet parties was that the process was reversed: first the leadership promulgates a line, then anyone who disagrees with it is labeled ultra-left or right-deviationist, and then the leadership's line is unanimously passed at a party congress or Central Committee meeting. The opponents of the line were not allowed to carry it out while still personally disagreeing with it; they had to make a complete renunciation of their views and confess how wrong they were or else face expulsion.
That's democratic centralism turned on its head, and was a significant factor in the development of the New Left.
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>The state controls the commanding heights of the economy and it is the CPC which has allowed Chinese billionaires to come into existence. The latter are thus dependent to a considerable extent on the policies of the party.
But we know a bunch of capitalists have significant influence in the CPC. Xi is not a worker, for example, he's a hundred-millionaire. You're making the assumption that the CPC perfectly represents the interests of the working class (and thus any and all anti-socialist policies have to be in the interests of the working class by definition). Your claim that China is still a DotP despite having a capitalist (sorry, "primary stage socialist") economy depends on this assumption, but you need to actually prove that, somehow.
>You're making the assumption that the CPC perfectly represents the interests of the working class
No, I'm making the assumption that the CPC represents the interests of the working-class.
No party has ever "perfectly" represented workers' interests.
Stalin said in 1927,
>Our state must not be confused, and, hence, identified, with our government. Our state is the organisation of the proletarian class as the state power, whose function it is to crush the resistance of the exploiters, to organise a socialist economy, to abolish classes, etc. Our government, however, is the top section of this state organisation, its top leadership. The government may make mistakes, may commit blunders fraught with the danger of a temporary collapse of the dictatorship of the proletariat; but that would not mean that the proletarian dictatorship, as the principle of the structure of the state in the transition period, is wrong or mistaken. It would only mean that the top leadership is bad, that the policy of the top leadership, the policy of the government, is not in conformity with the dictatorship of the proletariat and must be changed in conformity with the demands of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
I argue that the overall logic of the Chinese economy requires the CPC to struggle against efforts at capitalist restoration in order to maintain the existing state. If it fails (either due to incompetence or revisionism), then capitalism will be restored.
Xi Jinping has wealth due to his relatives. He himself isn't a capitalist. Furthermore plenty of leaders of socialist states lived in relative luxury; the personal lives of leaders do not constitute evidence that their states were bourgeois.
how much of a factor did germany play in the russian revolution? beyond lenin dada's infamous train trip, did germany play much of a role?
The Germans financed the Bolsheviks using the logic "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." German funds were used by the Bolsheviks towards establishing newspapers and printing propaganda against the Provisional Government.
While German funds helped the Bolsheviks, it was the popularity of Bolshevik slogans among workers and soldiers that was responsible for the October Revolution, not the machinations of the Kaiser's officials.
Such financing continued afterward, as I wrote elsewhere:
>Lenin operated on the assumption that a successful revolution in Russia would inspire revolutions in Germany and the other imperialist countries. Furthermore, Germany continued waging war on Russia even after the Bolsheviks took power until it was able to impose the Brest-Litovsk treaty on them.
>As far as I know, after Brest-Litovsk was signed the German government viewed the Bolsheviks as a "lesser evil" compared to a White Russian regime that would have rejoined the Entente and continued war against the Central Powers. The Bolsheviks knew this and took advantage of the situation till November 1918, when a republic was proclaimed and the SPD came to power with its pro-Entente, anti-Bolshevik foreign policy.
>"Count Wilhelm Mirbach, the German ambassador in Moscow, sent a cipher telegram to Berlin on 3 June 1918, one month before he was assassinated: 'Due to strong Entente competition, 3,000,000 marks per month necessary. In event of early need for change in our political line, a higher sum must be reckoned with.' Two days later, the German Foreign Ministry informed the Treasury that Mirbach had spent large sums to counter allied efforts in Russia to persuade the Bolsheviks to change their line and accept Allied demands. Since it was the German view that the new regime was hanging by a thread, Mirbach's efforts were regarded as of cardinal importance, and in order to sustain them a fund of 'at least 40 million marks' was required." (Volkogonov, Autopsy for an Empire, pp. 23-24.)
>"Chicherin fully supported Lenin's German policy as a weapon against both the Allied intervention and the White movement. As Lenin wrote in August 1918: 'No one asked the Germans for 'help', but we did agree when and how they, the Germans, would carry out their offensive against Murmansk and [the White General] Alexeev. It was a coincidence of interests. We would have been idiots not to have taken advantage of it.'" (Ibid. p. 39.)
>Richard Pipes points to an August 1918 letter Lenin sent to Jan Berzin (then Bolshevik representative in Switzerland) on the subject of distributing propaganda against Britain and France: "do not spare money and effort on publications in three (or four) languages and distribution. The Berliners will send some more money: if the scum delay, complain to me formally." (The Unknown Lenin, p. 12, 53.)
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another question. regarding the purge of bukharin: was it justified? in hindsight, he seemed like a loyal party member, if opposed to collectivization and part of the right wing of the party. seems like what i've read from him would go on to influence the CPC post-cultural revolution.
is there any evidence to indicate that stalin was regretful?
The charges that Bukharin was part of a plot with Trotskyists to overthrow the Soviet government and whatnot are false.
However, in the late 20s, according to Jules Humbert-Droz (one of Bukharin's allies in the international communist movement), Bukharin did claim the Right Opposition was prepared to assassinate Stalin. This was around the time Bukharin was desperately seeking a bloc with Zinoviev and Kamenev, calling Stalin a "Genghis Khan" who would betray everyone. But neither Zinoviev nor Kamenev, nor their ally Trotsky, ended up forming such a bloc. As Trotsky put it, "With Stalin against Bukharin maybe, but with Bukharin against Stalin never."
In the early 30s apparently some of Bukharin's younger admirers did make remarks critical of Stalin, and Bukharin didn't report on this to the Central Committee. But as I said, the Moscow Trials narrative of a giant conspiracy to engage in sabotage, assassinations, and espionage on behalf of foreign powers in bloc with Trots has zero evidence outside of the confessions of the defendants.
>is there any evidence to indicate that stalin was regretful?
In the late 50s there was a petition by a few Old Bolsheviks (notably Elena Stasova) asking the Central Committee to rehabilitate Bukharin as a man who had flawed views but was nonetheless a sincere revolutionary. Khrushchev, however, was concerned that rehabilitating him would have adverse political consequences (same reason that Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, etc. weren't rehabilitated.)
And yeah in the 1980s there was a debate over Bukharin among Chinese academics. One side argued that whatever the merits of Bukharin's more "humane," gradual road to socialism, it wasn't really a realistic option in the USSR of the late 20s. I agree with that assessment.
Have you read any books on Allende’s presidency that you could recommend?
"Allende's Chile: An Inside View" by Edward Boorstein, an American economist associated with the Communist Party USA who helped advise both the Cuban and Chilean governments. It points to both the accomplishments and weaknesses of Allende's time in office.
A.Whats your opinion on the Current government of Ethiopia and their claims of being "Marxist Radical Democrats"?
B.Whats your Opinion on Mengistu and the Derg?
C. Whats your take on this article i found?
A. Ethiopia's ruling party/coalition claims to be practicing "revolutionary democracy" and still uses vaguely Marxist rhetoric, but in practice it has been glad to cooperate with US imperialism in carrying out the "War on Terror."
To quote one work:
>"After the defeat at Shire, the Derg abandoned all of Tigray to the rebels, and the EPRDF's expanding guerrilla alliance started the military and political manoeuvres that would end in the takeover of Addis Ababa two years later. The Soviet bloc was close to casting Mengistu adrift. No belated acts of liberalization would save him. For his part Meles Zenawi, barely known outside Tigray, began introducing himself to a wider world.
>An early encounter with the western press led to an observation that has dogged him ever since. He told an interviewer at the end of 1989 that the Soviet Union and other eastern bloc countries had never been truly socialist and added, 'The nearest any country comes to being socialist as far as we are concerned is Albania.' As Meles set off in 1990 on his first venture to the United States, his aspiration to the mantle of Enver Hoxha and to run Ethiopia on Albanian lines did not inspire much confidence.
>In Washington he met the veteran Ethiopia-watcher Paul Henze. Henze was as impressed by Meles as many foreigners have been in the years since, and he made detailed notes after two long conversations. Meles had to deal first with the Albanian connection. 'I have never been to Albania,' Meles told Henze. 'We do not have any Albanian contacts. We are not trying to imitate in Tigray anything the Albanians have done.'
>Meles was equally keen to reject the Marxist tag. 'We are not a Marxist-Leninist movement,' he said. 'We do have Marxists in our movement. I acknowledge that. I myself was a convinced Marxist when I was a student at [Addis Ababa University] in the early 1970s, and our movement was inspired by Marxism. But we learned that Marxism was not a good formula for resistance to the Derg and our fight for the future of Ethiopia.'
>As the EPRDF moved out of the countryside to take over the towns and the cities, it emerged into a post-communist world, and a rapid political make-over was needed. 'When we entered Addis Ababa, the whole Marxist-Leninist structure was being disgraced,' said General Tsadkan. 'We had to rationalize in terms of the existing political order . . . capitalism had become the order of the day. If we continued with our socialist ideas, we could only continue to breed poverty.'"
(Source: Peter Gill. Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid. New York: Oxford University Press. 2010. pp. 74-75.)
B. Deserves praise for overthrowing feudalism. I wrote up an interview he conducted back in 2001: http://www.soviet-empire.com/ussr/viewtopic.php?f=133&t=54380
C. Not surprising. The EPRDF government, perhaps until very recently (I'm not aware of what the recent leadership is doing besides normalizing relations with Eritrea) was pretty autocratic and unpopular. So was the Derg in the 1980s, but at least the Derg had the excuse of fighting a gigantic rebellion.
Do you have any book recommendations on the Prague Spring of 1968? What is your assessment of events there? As I see it, there were errors made in the pattern of industrialization and rebuilding in many Eastern European countries, eg. over-emphasis on heavy industry at the expense of agriculture and light industry. This lead to some real economic hardships for the working class. The Soviets could also be overbearing at times and didn't treat other countries with the respect they deserved.
In that background, there was a real movement to reform socialism in order to make the state more authentically democratic. This process was taken advantage of by revisionists who wanted to dismantle socialized industry and public property, help every step of the way by American, UK and German intelligence. The Soviet intervention was a regrettable if ultimately necessary measure to protect socialism in Czechoslovakia during the '68 crisis.
Do you agree with that assessment? Attached is Fidel's opinion which I am sympathetic to.
I agree with your assessment.
Marcy's book is pretty good. Chapter 7 of Al Szymanski's "Is the Red Flag Flying?" is worth reading as well (it contains, among other things, a brief discussion of Prague Spring): https://archive.org/details/IsTheRedFlagFlying
Someone I know scanned two pamphlet-sized CPUSA assessments of events back then:
Coincidentally, earlier today I scanned a Soviet book criticizing the political and philosophical views of Thomas Masaryk, the founder of bourgeois Czechoslovakia whom the Czechoslovak revisionists were trying to present as a "humane" socialist. Might find it of mild interest: https://archive.org/details/CritiqueMasarykism
What are some good books that I can learn about contemporary history? Doesn't have to be strictly leftist. Stuff like Israel, or the Syrian Civil War, Putin's Presidential terms, the European Union, whatever the hell's happening in Eastern Europe etc etc.
I need to catch up.
"Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East" was published in 1990, it's a good overview of the senior Assad's life and Syrian politics and foreign policy up till then: http://b-ok.xyz/book/1190466/17bbca
I haven't read it but "Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire" by Richard Becker is said to be a good Marxist intro.
There's no shortage of critical analyses of Israel's establishment and foreign policy during the 1940s-80s from authors like Ilan Pappé, Simha Flapan, Uri Davis, Alfred Lilienthal, etc. One book you could check out is "Fateful Triangle" by Noam Chomsky which goes up to the 90s: http://b-ok.xyz/book/958050/f7145e
If you want a very accessible and short intro, there's "Arabs & Israel for Beginners" by Ron David which goes from ancient history up to the early 90s, the author being a liberal supporter of the Palestinian cause.
As for modern Eastern Europe, the EU, and Russia under Putin I can't think of any books.
Quelle chance! I'll be reading the book on Masaryk this afternoon. Thanks, Ismail.
What's your opinion of Ernest Mandel and his work? Despite that he's a Trotskyist, is he worth a read? His books are rather long so I'm not sure whether or not should I invest time in it. Although I did like his "Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory."
When he writes about Marxist economics, he's pretty good and there's no harm reading him.
When he writes 'bout the USSR and friends, naturally his analysis suffers from his Trotskyism, but at least he had the decency to be one of those Trots who, like Trotsky himself, held it was a "degenerated workers' state" to be defended against imperialism, as opposed to Cliff, Dunayevskaya and others who called it "state-capitalist" and imperialist.
Isn't Georgism the best way to reach communism?
Like, if every citizen of a country has a piece of land that is alienable and can only be rented, not sold, wouldn't that alone lead to the building of a communist society? Because think about it: you have your job, and then one day you are fired. So, you pack your shit, move from the house you have been renting to work in the city to the land you have since you became a citizen. On that land you grow your own food, you grow connections with your neighbors for trading basic food items and services, and since the job in a farm isn't really busy aside from certain times in the year, you study, a lot. Eventually you become qualified enough to take a better paying job: that's when you go back to the market! You don't go because you're starving and drive the wages down, you go when you feel you can make at least just enough to have a life better than planting crops.
So a few things happen: the workers have more levarage because they can take the risk of losing their jobs, being fired goes from a death sentence to a minor set back. More people in the fields means more people competing to sell crops, and companies will make bid wars to see who can pay more to rent the most land, which also means there will be an inbuilt UBI system in place. Rich people will join forces to build their own cities to collect rent, which means more factories will have to be built, even if just to produce materials required to build apartment complexes. And NGOs could start collective farms with zero costs, which means that while some areas are in a less competitive market, some will be living in a basic form of communism.
Here are some essays engaging with Mandel's economic theories of capitalism's "long cycle". The author, Sam Williams, argues that long cycles are directly tied to the production of the money commodity, gold. He agrees with Mandel on basic premises but disagrees on the mechanisms by which cycles are triggered. I happen to find Williams' arguments convincing. I haven't read Marxist Economic Theory, however, so take my analysis with a grain of salt. The second essay is directed at Mandel specifically:
1. Socialist consciousness is not going to be cultivated by competition to sell commodities. Socialist consciousness is created through collective struggle, co-operation and education.
2. There are finite resources on the planet. In fact, we are already running out of several important types of rare earth minerals used to make the materials by which your agricultural utopia would be possible or desirable. Do you seriously think there is enough arable land for 7 billion+ people to become petty commodity producers? What you're advocating sounds similar to Pol Pot's Yero Zero.
3. The basis of socialist production is large scale, socialized industry. How could farming communities get products to sustain themselves in the non planting seasons?
4. The anarchy of production leads to inevitable crises during which those small plots you like so much will be gobbled up by those with capital so the families living on those plots can get a scrap of bread.
I could go on, but, frankly, this is such a ridiculous notion I don't even know if it needs more of a response.
As Strat said, Georgism is incompatible with modern industry, nor does it tackle capitalism (since your suggestion is simply to give the worker a tiny, insufficient means of subsistence in between employment by the capitalist.) That's why Marx wrote that George's ideas were "simply an attempt, decked out with socialism, to save capitalist domination and indeed to establish it afresh on an even wider basis than its present one."
>Socialist consciousness is not going to be cultivated by competition to sell commodities.
Except many successful socialist countries had markets to some degree.
>enough arable land for 7 billion+ people to become petty commodity producers
1)There's enough food as it is, it's a problem of distribution, not producing.
2)I'm not advocating for Yero Zero, most people will likely just rent the land that they have the right to but aren't currently using. And people could organize more efficient boycotts by not selling a certain patch of land or refusing to renew it's rent, attacking the very process of production, which is currently an exclusivity of syndicates.
>those small plots you like so much will be gobbled up by those with capital
Like I said earlier, the land is inalienable. Maybe I read it wrong, but in Georgism you can't sell your land.
What the Marxist critique of George misses is that in capitalist the accumulation of capital is also the accumulation of land. The control of corporations on the government has much more to do with land than capital. The kulaks represented a far bigger threat to the USSR than the white army or the royal family or factory owners.
>currently an exclusivity of syndicates.
I meant unions.
1)There's enough food as it is, it's a problem of distribution, not producing.
forgot to develop it further How can there not be enough arable land if there's more than enough food being planted right now?
>The kulaks represented a far bigger threat to the USSR than the white army or the royal family or factory owners.
That was due to economic backwardness, in which the bulk of the population was peasant-based and industry too weak in the 1920s to serve as a stable source of currency for imports of food.
Also kulaks generally didn't have huge tracts of land to begin with. You're thinking of the nobility who often preferred to leave large tracts lying completely unused. Kulaks loaned money and employed hired labor.
>Except many successful socialist countries had markets to some degree.
Markets may have helped to develop productive forces in countries governed by Communist parties but these markets are retreats from fully socialized production. Some countries frame these actions explicitly as retreats, such as Cuba and Vietnam.
BTW, I noted that socialist CONSCIOUSNESS will not develop from the deepening of market relations. The aforementioned countries CPs would agree with me.
>1)There's enough food as it is, it's a problem of distribution, not producing.
If there is enough food to feed the planet right now, which I cautiously agree with, it is only because of modern, large-scale farming methods. Note how late Soviet policy makers, who favored decentralizing the economy, fetishized small farms and were surprised to see large scale farms as the basis of the US's agricultural prowess.
>Like I said earlier, the land is inalienable. Maybe I read it wrong, but in Georgism you can't sell your land.
Inalienable land is not a virtue when small scale farming keeps agricultural production at a subsistence level.
>The control of corporations on the government has much more to do with land than capital.
This is untrue. Why do you think this is the case? What is capital in your eyes?
Ismail, what are your favorite generic arguments for socialism? I'm so used to arguing against socialists of different tendencies it feels like I've forgot how to actually make a proper argument for socialism
Thoughts on /leftypol/ and /leftpol?
This is a question for /marx/ in general.
Capitalism leads to unemployment, recessions, depressions and wars, and bourgeois democracy is largely undemocratic for ordinary people as well as susceptible to disintegration and the establishment of fascism.
I don't know what leftpol is, and I basically never look at leftypol, so I can't really answer.
/leftpol/ is another board populated by people got pissed off when the BO of /leftypol/ started banning people for supporting the YPG, for being too critical Assad, for being too critical of Iran, etc.
I got kind of, sort of radicalized through leftypol but once I joined a party and started actually studying, it quickly became clear to me that the level of discourse at leftypol is at an extremely low level. I left three years ago and have absolutely no desire to return. In fact, I'm rather embarrassed of ever being sucked into that quagmire. I only hang out on /marx/ because I can find pdfs here and engage in civil discussion. Get off the internet and meet people in real life.
Sounds even worse than the normal leftypol crowd tbh
>Sounds even worse than the normal leftypol crowd tbh
Some of them are, some of them aren't. The quality of discussion at /leftypol/ has dropped significantly since a lot of good posters have been permanently banned over stupid shit like saying Russia is imperialist (whether you agree with that or not, it's not worthy perma banning people over), but the discussion at /leftpol/ is not very good either. It's rather slow first of all, and it's filled to the brim with "infantile" anarchists/leftcoms. You know, the people who say socialism has never been tried, all socialist countries were "state capitalist", "not real socialism", "red fascism", etc.
>You're thinking of the nobility who often preferred to leave large tracts lying completely unused
Yeah, actually, my b.
>modern, large-scale farming methods. Note how late Soviet policy makers, who favored decentralizing the economy, fetishized small farms and were surprised to see large scale farms as the basis of the US's agricultural prowess.
Large scale farming isn't necessarily against the georgist ideal. Like I said, you can't sell your land but you could rent it (and obviously, for agricultural purposes the rent contracts would be year long).
Also, and I'll admit I didn't not do my home work on it, if Henry George didn't plan this, a georgist gov. could create a system that allow people to trade different, equivalent, pieces of land. That way, a well organized group of people could get one big swath of lands, owned by people that do not wish to return to it anytime soon, to create a large scale farm that would operate for years. It'd be a nice inbuilt system to give an advantage to collectively owned farms, as opposed to huge farms owned by a single man.
>Why do you think this is the case? What is capital in your eyes?
I think landowners have a more firm grip on the government than capital owners because at the end of the day, they own the very territory in which the nation is based.
If you want to build anything, you need to buy the land for it from a guy, and he'll gauge the gov's eyes out because he knows that they can pay for it, and if they don't want to, he can just not sell it and leave it collecting dust.
Big landowners can control how much a city can grow, what people can have the land (not too unsimilar too housing segregation), and the production of food and the extraction of water and minerals.
Most of the foccus of inequality and social justice is on the financial side of it, but what I've managed to find so far seems to corroborate that land is directly related to wealth.
Land inequality on the US:blacks vs Whites
Land inequality on South Africa:blacks vs Whites
Which is not to say that capital isn't important, but which is to say that the function of capital is to acquire land, and not the opposite. It's not wonder that one of the richest "industries" today is financial speculation in housing and land. Because at the end of the day, the dollar inflates or deflates, gold can be sold for more or less, but land's value always increases, and while it's not sold it is a weapon to control society at your will.
Just post on both boards. The split is retarded.
What is your opinion on the conflict between Kosovo and (the rest of) Serbia? Do you think the Serbian authorities are to blame for not giving Kosovo enough regional autonomy, or would you tend to side with the Serbians?
Ever heard of Ronald L. Meek? Any thoughts on the guy's work?
Heard of him, haven't read any of his works nor have any thoughts about him.
I'll quote something I wrote elsewhere:
>Kosovo is strongly identified with the early history of the Serbian state. There was an Illyrian presence during ancient times (Albanians consider themselves the descendants of Illyrians) and some Albanian presence afterward, but it wasn't until the Ottoman period that Albanians became a majority of the population.
>Kosovo also had a role in the Albanian independence struggle, and it was assumed by those proclaiming Albania independent in 1912 that Kosovo would be part of it, but the Great Powers assigned it to Serbia. This resulted in a Kosovar Albanian guerrilla struggle that lasted till the mid-20s.
>The interwar Yugoslav state treated the Kosovar Albanians like ass and tried to "correct" the demography of the region by importing Serbian settlers. This meant that during WWII many Kosovar Albanians collaborated with the Nazis. In the late 40s and 50s the Yugoslav government was very suspicious of lingering pro-Nazi sentiments, and so Kosovar Albanians didn't have a fun time.
>The fall of Ranković in 1966 coincided with a more liberal atmosphere, but despite economic and social progress Kosovo remained the poorest part of Yugoslavia and most Kosovar Albanians wanted to either be a separate republic within Yugoslavia or to join Albania. Chauvinist sentiments grew among both Albanians and Serbs.
>By 1991 Albania's political instability and chaotic economic situation convinced most Kosovar Albanian politicians that Kosovo would be better off its own country, and this matched US designs to balkanize Yugoslavia. At this point you can consult Michael Parenti's To Kill a Nation (http://b-ok.xyz/book/2515178/c06bfb) for the role of Milošević (who appealed to Serbian national sentiment to obtain support) and rise of the Kosovo Liberation Army (which sought to ethnically cleanse Serbs and other non-Albanians living in the region.) Gibbs' First Do No Harm (http://b-ok.xyz/book/833719/f80663) is also useful.
>Basically, the idea of an independent Kosovo is rather nonsensical. Former Serbian President Dobrica Ćosić argued that a solution would be to partition Kosovo so that Albanian-majority areas go to Albania and Serbian-majority areas go to Serbia, although this would mean the Serbs would have to sacrifice a huge part of Kosovo.
>Modern Kosovo is notoriously corrupt and basically only serves as a NATO outpost.
To directly answer your question though, Kosovar Albanians definitely felt that Milošević rescinded much of the autonomy they had. An optimal solution would have been to have Kosovo remain within Serbia with a level of autonomy which Albanians could get behind. Instead the disputes between Serbs and Albanians played into the hands of imperialism, which used the Kosovar Albanians as pawns.
i got permabanned from /leftypol/ for saying you shouldn't call people the n-word.
/leftypol/ is mostly pretty bad imo, there are insightful posts but you have to wade through the /pol/ tourists, the kids who just converted from fascism and think socialism will be good because there won't be any immigrants, people arguing topics which were resolved a century ago, etc. Good memes though.
/leftpol/ is shit.
At this point /leftypol/ isn't even the leftist version of /pol/ anymore. It doesn't consist of people who at least uphold some kind of goal they want to work to (no matter how ridiculous that "goal" in the case of /pol/ may be), it's literally just kids being edgy for the hell of it. /leftpol/ is better, but I'm gradually coming to a point where /marx/ is the only imageboard I actively use. If only something along the lines of Revleft (and with a sizeable userbase) still existed, that would be great.
also fuck idiots who think /leftpol/ is the board for anarkiddies and /leftypol/ is the one for M-Ls. /leftpol/ was created for any people who are tired of /lefty/BO's antics, that is all.
Ismail, what the fuck is "Bill of Rights Socialism" which what the CPUSA and the DSA advocates for? I always thought that the Bill of Rights of the United States was created to limit the power of the government against private property.
>If only something along the lines of Revleft (and with a sizeable userbase) still existed, that would be great.
My forum (eregime.org) has areas visible to registered users to discuss politics and the bulk of the userbase are leftists, plus there are two active eRegime Discords (one of which is explicitly for leftists.)
It isn't a replacement for RevLeft, but you may be interested in it regardless.
Yeah it's just a slogan the CPUSA uses to show how "all-American" it is.
Like many revisionists they take a basic, uncontroversial concept (socialist countries will have differences in how their political and economic systems operate based on the national traditions and material conditions of each country) and then use it to justify deviating from the basic principles of socialism.
Having said that, the Bill of Rights was actually adopted under public pressure. See pages 27-28 of the following work: https://archive.org/stream/HumanRightsUSStyle/Human%20Rights%20US%20Style#page/n18/mode/1up
It was, of course, bourgeois-democratic in character, not socialist.
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Thank you, this clears things up.
Haven't several of the claims in To Kill a Nation (especially about the innocence of the Serbs) been debunked since its publication? Of course this doesn't make the book's analysis of Milosevic's policies or of NATO irrelevant, but it could be hard to draw the line between where Parenti is arguing in good faith and where not.
I made an account there a while back, this reminds me to actually go check it out.
Parenti's book tilts a bit too favorably toward the Serbs, since the rest of the media was demonizing them while downplaying ethnic cleansers among the ranks of Croatian, Kosovar Albanian and Bosnian forces, but it's still a good read on the subject of US designs against Yugoslavia and the hypocrisy of its "humanitarian" motivations in bombing the country and portraying Milošević as a threat to world peace.
As an aside, a collection of Chomsky's writings on Yugoslavia has recently been published: http://b-ok.xyz/book/3518902/69c625 (like Parenti, Chomsky was accused of "Serb apologism," which is even less justified than in Parenti's case.)
How come during Mai 68 the PCF choose to Unite with the SocialDemocrats and tell the Unionists and Students to go home when France....
>Was in the Middle of essentially General strike
>Workers had United with the Socialist student groups on Campus (Maoists / Anarcho's / Situationists etc) and had basically formed a seperate provisional gov from the French gov
>Massive Unrest over the entire country
But then they just told everyone to go home wtf?
It was Literally Perfect conditions for a Revolution
The PCF and PCI did make major miss-steps by disarming their partisan armies after WWII and thinking they could comfortably work within bourgeois constraints but I'm not so sure the state could have been overthrown in '68 because the working class didn't have military hegemony. I think it's important to note that the army was staunchly allied with De Gaulle and there were significant numbers of fascists in militarized groups such as l'Organisation armee secrete who had carried out massacres in Algeria just six years before and would not hesitate to do so again. Full scale uprising could have been a blood bath like Chile in '73, perhaps on an even larger scale.
The PCF's leadership does deserve a lot of blame. A revolutionary situation could have developed had the PCF refused elections or boycotted. Their calculus was as follows: would the consequences of a boycott be worth the potential violent backlash? 3 million Indonesian communists and progressive nationalist forces were slaughtered in '65-'66. You have to imagine that cette memoire was fresh in the minds of CPs every where at the time.
Again, not saying I'm agreeing with their decision. Just trying to express the nuance and difficulty of the choice presented at the time.
For a defense of the PCF's actions during May 1968 in France, see pages 346-365 of the following work: https://archive.org/stream/NewTheoriesOfRevolution/New%20Theories%20of%20Revolution#page/n172/mode/1up (the author was a CPGB member)
Also, in the view of pro-Soviet parties back then, Maoists were little different from Trotskyists and Anarchists: petty-bourgeois radicals with no real working-class base, whereas social-democratic parties were viewed as part of the workers' movement despite the pro-bourgeois line of their leaderships. That is why the PCF stood away from the Maoists (who in turn heaped scorn on the pro-Soviet "revisionists") while seeking to work with the Socialist Party.
That seems like a weak justification. How do you stand on this? Even if one thinks Marcuse's accusations against the PCF were overblown, the fact that the PCF argued for "more nationalization", "higher wages" and for more liberal democracy makes them literally SocDem reformists that completely missed the opportunity in 1968, especially with the unions apparently controlled by the PCF.
France has certainly showed their intention to repress protests in with appalling brutality (for Western European standards):
But to think the reaction would have been in any way similar than in countries like Indonesia or South Korea would be a bit far-fetched. With the rest I agree with, but it seems no surprise to me that the PCF is now a SocDem party working with the EU.
Hello Ismail, what do you think are the best points to bring up when arguing against people who claim:
1) that individual consumers bear basically the same amount of responsibility for the climate crisis as multinationals?
2) that neoliberal-style cutting on, for example, education is a "financially necessary" measure and that it simply isn't "viable" not to do this?
Especially looking for an answer to the second one, since I think I can tackle the first fairly well (but am just looking for important elements that I might forget to stress).
1. It's blaming ordinary people (workers, farmers, petty-bourgeoisie) for the policies of capitalists, and is dumb for the same reason as libertarian "if [insert corporation] is acting bad, then consumers will simply stop buying its products." That is hardly an option when said corporation can provide goods in greater abundance and more cheaply compared to its competitors (assuming its competitors are even in the area the boycott is taking place in.)
2. It's an excuse used to dump the economic problems caused by capitalism (recessions, etc.) onto ordinary people. It also shifts blame away from governments on the local, state and national level which do the bidding of the capitalist class by imposing austerity measures on the working people and pretend they have no choice.
For example, Michael Parenti noted what the national government could do to promote economic growth independently of private capital:
>Initiate a massive federal employment program that would shift our public wealth away from empire and toward rebuilding the republic. In 1994, Representative Matthew Martinez (D-Calif.) introduced a $300 billion jobs bill to tackle the ”highest rate of unemployment” since the 1930s. A Works Project Administration (WPA), more encompassing than the New Deal one, could employ people to reclaim the environment; build needed industries, affordable housing, and mass transportation systems; rebuild our parks, towns, cities, and a crumbling infrastructure; and provide services for the aged and infirm.
>People could be put to work producing goods and services in competition with the private market. The New Deal's WPA engaged in the production of goods, including manufacturing clothes and mattresses for relief clients, surgical gowns for hospitals, and canned meat, fruits, and vegetables for the jobless poor. The kind of not-for-profit direct production to meet human needs brings in revenues to the government both in the sales of the goods and in taxes on the incomes of the new jobs created. Eliminated from the picture is private profit for those who live off the labor of others—which explains their fierce hostility toward government programs that engage in direct production. The government subsidizes corporate interests at public expense.
>Needless to say, these reforms are easier said than done. They remain undone and largely untouched not because policymakers never thought of them. Rather it is that those who desire reform have not the power and those who have the power have not the desire for reform. If anything, they have a furious hostility toward those changes that democratize the economy and infringe upon their capital expropriations.
>a bit far-fetched
Like I said, I don't agree with their decision- France is not Korea.
>the fact that the PCF argued for "more nationalization", "higher wages" and for more liberal democracy makes them literally SocDem reformists that completely missed the opportunity in 1968, especially with the unions apparently controlled by the PCF.
I think your essential question is "why did the PCF become a euro-communist party?" That is a complex question and I don't know if I have the answer you're looking for but I'll try.
The way I see it, mass parties have a tendency to slide towards economism. Without strong ideological leadership and ML discipline, parties with a broad basis in the working class movement tend towards mimicking the average consciousness of the proletariat member of their party. Lenin constantly warned against this backsliding, urging the RSDLP (B) to develop cadres and encouraging other parties to "Bolshevize" as a way to prevent ideological degeneration into economistic social democratic parties that were social imperialist. This process of bolshevization was difficult to do in non-revolutionary situations where mass politics were dominated by reformism. Revolutionary situations could have been forced in Italy and *possibly* France immediately after WWII when the masses were solidly behind the anti-fascist fronts led by the CPs of those countries. After making the mistake of disbanding their armies and participating in the elections of 1948 in Italy, which the CP lost, because of American tampering, that revolutionary situation dissipated. The CPs couldn't operate in a new moment, leaving ideological commitment to revolutionary class struggle by the way-side, slowly abandoning Leninist organizing principles and adapting themselves to a long period of bourgeois legalism. It is only natural that during this period many people would stray away from the CP. Trying to cling onto their mass base meant making serious compromises to the lowest denomination of their membership.
Is that a satisfactory answer?
>makes them literally SocDem reformists
I disagree. Communist parties don't campaign on "vote for me and we'll start a revolution." They campaign on struggling for ways to better the working-class materially and organizationally, always having in mind the goal of putting an end to capitalism and establishing workers' power.
Reformism is generally considered to entail one or all of the following: that revolutions are harmful to socialist development (ergo they're to be opposed), the equation of socialism with "reformed" capitalism, the rejection of proletarian control over the state apparatus.
None of this characterizes the PCF, at least not in 1968 (in 1976 the party practically renounced the dictatorship of the proletariat in favor of "socialism in French colors.")
If May-June 1968 did not constitute a revolutionary situation, then the PCF was not wrong in refusing to treat it as one. If, however, there was a revolutionary situation then either the PCF simply miscalculated or the PCF leadership were opportunists and de facto reformists fearful of revolution. While the PCF clearly did have those elements within its leadership, I don't think that suffices to explain its behavior in '68.
It's worth noting also that there was a close correlation between what the CPSU advocated and what these parties called for. When Togliatti and Thorez disbanded the armed forces of their respective parties, they did so because it was in line with the CPSU's own views on what the Western European parties ought to do in the immediate postwar period.
Even Earl Browder assumed the Soviets would support his disbanding the CPUSA into the "Communist Political Association." He soon found out they didn't.
This close identification with the CPSU was a major reason lots of pro-Soviet parties collapsed circa 1991, since they were not just ideologically invested in the continued existence of the USSR but were often financially dependent on it as well. And to receive subsidies and praise from the CPSU required closely following its line.
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>It's worth noting also that there was a close correlation between what the CPSU advocated and what these parties called for.
Yes good point. By subordinating the policies of allied CPs to the USSR's own interests, the CPSU hindered the development of revolutionary situations in many parts of the world eg. China in the 20s-30s, Germany in the 30s, Western Europe from the 40s-on, Korea in the 40s and 50s, India in the 40s, inter alia. I would say that Stalin personally bears a lot of that blame.
This raises the question: given that checkered past, is a Communist International as a concept a feasible or worthy of recreation? My answer would be absolutely, but the Soviets after Lenin did not use that institution correctly and we must learn from their mistakes to create a thoroughly internationalist organization.
Also, I still can't get over how Earl Browder's grandson was the American investor most personally involved in looting previously socialized industry in the newly capitalist Russia of the 1990s. Truly one of the more amazing historical ironies out there.
I don't think recreating the Comintern is a good idea, even in a form reminiscent of the days of Lenin. The Comintern's most valuable function was to "bolshevize" parties at a time when Leninism was only vaguely grasped and many prominent communists were imbued with social-democratic or syndicalist errors.
When it came to organizing revolutionary action though, the Comintern never seemed to have any success. Its leaders regularly misjudged situations on the ground and adopted "one size fits all" prescriptions (which led to silliness like W.E.B. Du Bois being denounced by the CPUSA as a "social-fascist" during the Comintern's "Third Period.")
I think the rationales for disbanding the Comintern were sound. From Dimitrov's diary:
May 8, 1943:
>Went to see Molotov tonight, together with Manuil[sky]. We discussed the future of the Comintern. Reached the conclusion that the Comintern as a direct[ing] center for Com[munist] parties in the current conditions is an impediment to the Com[munist] parties' independent development and the accomplishment of their particular tasks. Work up a document dissolving that center.
>—Politburo meeting in Stal[in]'s office. Along with members and candidate members of the PB, Manuilsky and I also attended.
>Molotov reads out the ECCI presidium's resolution on dissolving the Comintern.
>Kalin[in] remarks that our enemies will take advantage of this step. it would be better to make attempts to transfer the CI center to some other place—London, for instance! (Laughter.)
>Stal[in] explains that experience has shown that in Marx's time, in Lenin's time, and now, it is impossible to direct the working-class movement of all countries from a single international center. Especially now, in wartime conditions, when Com[munist] parties in Germany, Italy, and other countries have the tasks of overthrowing their governments and carrying out defeatist tactics, while Com[munist] parties in the USSR, England, America and other [countries], on the contrary, have the task of supporting their governments to the fullest for the immediate destruction of the enemy. We overestimated our resources when we were forming the CI and believed that we would be able to direct the movement in all countries. That was our error. The further existence of the CI would discredit the idea of the International, which we do not desire.
>There is one other reason for dissolving the CI, which is not mentioned in the resolution. That is the fact that the Com[munist] parties making up the CI are being falsely accused of supposedly being agents of a foreign state, and this is impeding their work in the broad masses. Dissolving the CI knocks this trump card out of the enemy’s hands. The step now being taken will undoubtedly strengthen the Com[munist] parties as nat[ional] working-class parties and will at the same time reinforce the internationalism of the popular masses, [an internationalism] whose base is the Soviet Union.
(Source; Banac, Ivo (ed). The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov: 1933-1949. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2003. pp. 270-271, 275-276.)
I do support the idea of international conferences, seminars, and organizations where communist parties and whatnot can agree on common approaches and share their knowledge and experience. But not a centralized entity like the Comintern.
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You're right. I suppose my vision of a reformed international is similar to the theoretical-ideological workshop you are proposing but with some funding included. For example, countries that have had a revolution can pay any amount they would like into a fund that is independently administered by elected representatives from the various CPs. This money could be used to fund activities where the international movement needs it most. Say there is a major general strike in South Africa. The money from the "New International" could be used for the strike fund, for books to the striking workers, or something similar to that. Dimitrov's point about playing into the hands of bourgeois propaganda regarding "international communist conspiracy" is well-taken, however.
>The Comintern's most valuable function was to "bolshevize" parties at a time when Leninism was only vaguely grasped and many prominent communists were imbued with social-democratic or syndicalist errors.
I recall how the Comintern had to almost single handedly stitch the CPUSA together in the early days...
I know this is idle speculation but don't you think that if a major industrialized country had a socialist revolution tomorrow the movement would be in a similar place to 1919? Perhaps it's impossible to say from this vantage point.
>don't you think that if a major industrialized country had a socialist revolution tomorrow the movement would be in a similar place to 1919?
It depends. What made the Third International unique is that it sought to popularize Marxism-Leninism, a doctrine initially not very well understood, whereas the Second International popularized Marxism (which its founders generally well understood) and the First International was comprised of various ideologies popular among the working-class.
So unless some guy comes along and we end up with Marxism-Leninism-Someguyism, I don't think the need to "bolshevize" parties will be as strong as it was in the 1920s. We have the last 100 years of Leninist experience to draw from.
It was actually Stalin's, but yeah.
any thought to making 'general' type threads pertaining to specific topics?
would perhaps bring more discussion to the board outside of this q&a thread
Can you TLDR the economic system of Kadar's Hungary for me?
Was it M-L? or not?
What was the Balance between Public and Private Enterprises?
It meant you could open small businesses and there was a limited market economy.
A while back I scanned a book written by a Hungarian economist involved in creating the New Economic Mechanism (i.e. the system Kádár introduced in the late 60s), although the book came out at the end of the socialist period and the author is therefore quite critical of the whole project: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Lcm9UaHi9N4WhdHs2lBwiVd8bkQc8Dzo
>Was it M-L? or not?
I don't know what "M-L" means in this context. It was a socialist economy, just like the USSR, GDR, Cuba, China, Yugoslavia, DPRK, etc. The ruling party explicitly identified itself as Marxist-Leninist.
>What was the Balance between Public and Private Enterprises?
The government still gave priority to investments in heavy industry, and public enterprises still completely dominated the economy.. The small businesses that were allowed to open up functioned more like businesses in modern Cuba (self-employed hairdressers, restaurants with like three employees, etc.) rather than major businesses.
Don't we already have generals? There's one for Albania, one for China, and one for reading Capital.
So basically the state Maintained dominance over Industry / Agriculture / Natural resource extraction but some Petite bougies were allowed to exist in the Service sector / Consumer good sector?
Yes, and enterprises were given more autonomy compared to their counterparts in other Warsaw Pact countries.
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How powerful and prominent were the Stasi in the GDR? Did people have less liberty due to an unnecessary secret police?
Did Stalin really take some weird Right-Wing turn at the end of his life and try to Purge / Forcibly deport Jews to the Jewish-AO?
Or is that just more Khrushchev power feud / Secret speech shit?
Khrushchev didn't mention Jews in his "Secret Speech."
Life for the Jewish intelligentsia did become difficult in the late 40s and early 50s, and there were unjust executions whose victims were rehabilitated after 1956, but as far as the specific charge of Stalin wanting to deport Jews to Siberia, I think Zhores Medvedev (a Soviet-era dissident historian, no reason whatsoever to make Stalin look good) wrote a decade ago that Stalin didn't intend to do so.
Most East Germans thought the Stasi a minor annoyance which never caused them trouble. If the Stasi thought that someone was liable to get involved in anti-state activities, it would warn them what they were potentially getting themselves into.
The Stasi had a huge network of informers and collected an often absurd amount of information on people it suspected of anti-state activities, so much so that it couldn't really keep up with the sheer number of reports.
To give an example of the sort of methods used as revealed by the opening of Stasi archives after 1990, here's the testimony of someone who belonged to the tiny, clandestine East German section of the KPD/ML, a pro-Albanian party active in West Germany.
>Workplace assessments were collected in a conspiratorial manner. The earliest assessment of me was one from the 6th grade. Furthermore, all possible assessments had been compiled, that had been ascertained from various sources (e.g. unofficial collaborators), whether in my neighbourhood, workplace, etc. Medical reports had been compiled and hobbies had been ascertained. Postal surveillance had been initiated. My whole family circle had been included in the OV.
>It did not take long until the first 'conspiratorial search of my house' was made.
>Such a house search was performed in an extremely careful manner. All residents of the house were 'screened' before the search. Files were made of each of them. The break-in was planned precisely so as 'not to be interrupted,' i.e. at that time no resident of the house was to be home. Each resident was closely observed. Fictitious cadre discussions were set up, doctor visits were scheduled, etc. . .
>The purpose of such a house search was to collect information about me. Photographs were made of the apartment, of books and letters. Newspapers and books were listed, etc. . .
>In the mid-1970s, my apartment was bugged. Initially there were technical problems, and an announced renovation of my apartment really made the eavesdroppers sweat. Only with great difficulty did they succeed in time in removing the bugging devices for a few days. From that time on, the sound recording devices of the MfS were working. In the following period, apartment break-ins were done again and again. The MfS made master keys, and thus I had, so to speak, a 'public' dwelling. . .
>At the same time, I was visually observed: the round-the-clock spying because of my 'negative attitude' toward the GDR can be read as follows:
>'5:10 AM - Afro (the investigation name given me by the [Stasi]) gets up.
>5:11 - Shaves, brushes teeth.
>5:15 - Oase (my wife) gets up. Yawns.
>5:15 - Listens to West German radio - NDR 2 [North German Radio channel 2].
>5:18 - Oase does her morning toiletry.
>5:29 - Afro leaves view.
>5:44 - Oase leaving view.
>5:45 - Silence reigns in the area. (...)'.
>One observation team 'accompanies' me to the workplace. There I am under 'watch' by the IMs 'Bernd' and 'Dreher' (turner). 'No special incidents', is the succinct comment.
>'2:00 PM - At the main gate. Observation continues.
>2:32 - Afro strolls along the street.
>2:39 - Afro enters a konsum [state-owned food store]. Buys 11.47 marks worth of goods.
>3:01 - Afro enters into view.
>3:04 - Afro listens to Albanian music.
>4:00 - West German TV is on. A programme about F.J. Strauss is on ARD [working pool of broadcasting corporations of the Federal Republic of Germany].
>4:10 - Afro laughs at Strauss [Prime Minister of Bavaria].
>4:13 - Afro criticizes comrade Erich Honecker [President of the GDR State Council]. (...)
>10:39 - Silence reigns in the area.'
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Whats your Opinion on Subcontinent Communists? (the Nepalese Communist's / the *Multiple* Indian Communist-P's / Bangla WP etc)
Do you ascribe to the idea of them simply being Social-Democratic Parties at this point?
First off, this is a very good post someone made on /leftypol/.
Secondly, here is an archive of sources with former MfS officials, if you speak German:
Short correction: Konsum wasn't actually state-owned, it was cooperative property.
>After German reunification in 1990, Konsum was not dissolved, as it was not a state-owned enterprise like Handelsorganisation. Today, it exists in limited capacity, mostly as a real estate management cooperative.
It actually still exists in Germany today. I went past one yesterday.
What of these "moral certificates"?
You're correct, although the brackets calling it "state-owned food store" were in the original source, I didn't add it.
I have no opinion since I haven't read up on them. The CPI-Marxist apparently has problems with corruption, but besides that I simply don't know.
>What of these "moral certificates"?
Guevara was a big fan of moral (rather than material) incentives for increasing productivity. It's one of the reasons he felt himself more in line with China and the DPRK rather than the USSR. Cuba's economy in the 60s was big on moral inducements to work hard, and Castro temporarily revived Guevara's moral incentives stuff in the late 80s to cope with economic decline caused by reduced Soviet trade, but as you might guess neither produced the intended results.
For a sympathetic account of Guevara's economic views, see: http://b-ok.xyz/book/929498/f0177f
> Most East Germans thought the Stasi a minor annoyance which never caused them trouble. If the Stasi thought that someone was liable to get involved in anti-state activities, it would warn them what they were potentially getting themselves into.
For the Stasi, what was usually regarded as anti-state activity? If the surveillance was on such a large scale what made people largely tolerative of it rather than worried?
>what was usually regarded as anti-state activity?
Trying to spread anti-socialist sentiment among the population, distributing anti-socialist or anti-state materials, divulging confidential information, etc.
Basically standard stuff that the KGB and other intelligence agencies also guarded against.
>If the surveillance was on such a large scale what made people largely tolerative of it rather than worried?
Because unless they went out of their way to denounce socialism or engage in similar acts, they didn't really face problems.
It isn't like if someone said unkind words about Honecker to a coworker, they'd suddenly end up arrested a day later, tortured, and imprisoned for decades. If the coworker was an informant, the Stasi would simply start investigating and compiling a file on the person who said those words.
Here are two standard bourgeois works on the Stasi:
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CPI-M panders to nationalism and neoliberalism and has subverted itself to bourgeois parties in India.
Read about some of their revisions here:
also worth noting that CPI-M has never once in its history had a member of the Dalit caste as part of its politburo. 3 of its 5 general secretaries have been brahmins.
so how can a communist party be so infected with caste chauvinism and call itself marxist? they preach "it's about class, not caste" it strikes me (an american) as being similar to an american communist party which excludes blacks and chicanos from its decision-making bodies, then preaches to them "it's not about race, comrade, leave it up to us petit bourgeois white men to make the decisions"
Whats your opinion on Rojava / The SDF?
Do you think their continued Involvement is just Pragmatism similar to the USSR during the Second World war or do you think thats just an excuse for Imperialist Collaboration?
I think the Kurds of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran have legitimate grievances. The problem is that the imperialists, as well as each of these states, manipulate Kurdish groups for their own ends, and the leaders of these groups readily enter into "pragmatic" relationships with anyone who is willing to send them arms. This has resulted in an inglorious record of betrayals and opportunism.
The alliance between the USSR, US and UK was between three major countries. It was conducted in conditions of equality; such collaboration did not endanger the Soviet peoples. When Kurdish groups accept US bases in Syria, and promote US involvement in that country, they are assisting American imperialism which is against the interests of both Kurds and Arabs.
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I'm pretty much an ML (although I don't care to uphold every dusty old Soviet dogma) but I've realized I don't really give a shit about communism. Here I mean communism as in "full communism", "mature communism", a stateless, classless, moneyless society. It feels too abstract, too far away and disconnected from the real issues that people face today. It's over 100 years since the Russian revolution and nowhere has full communism come close to being achieved on a large scale.
I just want a socialist state where the productive forces are under collective control and ownership on both the local/workplace and the national level, where there's not insane wealth inequality, where politicians are not compelled (directly or indirectly) to work in the interests of the capitalist class despite the appearance of democracy, where there is true equality of opportunity, an end to imperialist wars, etc. I could care less about an imaginary perfect society at the end of history.
Am I still a communist/marxist or is this some unforgivable heresy? Are there any marxist theorists/authors who have expressed skepticism of the communist end goal?
Also what's wrong with what Eduard Bernstein said about caring more about the movement than the end goal? If we only cared about the end goal, communism could safely be declared a failure by now, as it's never been achieved despite endless attempts during the 20th century. The reason I don't think it's a failure is precisely because I think the movement is more important than the end goal. The various socialist and communist movements of the 20th century achieved a lot even though they didn't achieve communism. Anti-fascism, anti-war activism and anti-imperialism, reducing poverty, bringing land reform, health care, education and other social services to populations that had never had such things before, etc, etc. The "direction" (if that makes sense) is much more important than any predetermined utopia or end goal.
>If we only cared about the end goal, communism could safely be declared a failure by now, as it's never been achieved despite endless attempts during the 20th century.
how the fuck is it supposed to be achieved when capitalist and imperialist powers still exist
>how the fuck is it supposed to be achieved when capitalist and imperialist powers still exist
that's kind of the point. read the entire post.
>It's over 100 years since the Russian revolution and nowhere has full communism come close to being achieved on a large scale.
That's because it isn't possible to simply will "full communism" into existence. It presupposes a level of development of productive forces far in excess of anything seen today.
>Also what's wrong with what Eduard Bernstein said about caring more about the movement than the end goal?
Because it was an excuse to junk the establishment of a socialist society altogether by equating "socialism" with reforms to capitalism. Bernstein's revisionism became the theoretical basis for the degeneration of the SPD, which culminated in it officially abandoning Marxism in the 1950s. He rejected class struggle, denounced revolutions as harmful, ridiculed Marx's claims that capitalist industry would be in the hands of monopolies, etc.
>achieved a lot even though they didn't achieve communism
Sure, but they achieved these things because they kept to a line of representing the interests of the working-class, whereas Bernsteinism represented the forerunner to modern-day, right-wing social-democracy with its fear even of partial nationalizations, its claims to represent "society" as a whole, support for "humanitarian" imperialism, etc.
Marxists have always emphasized the importance of day-to-day demands. The difference is that they understood such demands were part and parcel of the struggle for socialism. When "the movement" is everything and the end goal nothing, the leading role of the working-class and its independent class position are compromised; you end up with a bunch of isolated "goals" amounting to minor reforms to capitalism, and will try to achieve these through whatever way seems most expedient (which is how you end up with "progressive" groups in the US tailing the Democratic Party because "how else can we get better health care," and being willing to overlook or excuse its reactionary foreign and domestic policies because "we're going to make progress on [insert issue here] unlike if Republicans were in power," etc.)
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>I've realized I don't really give a shit about communism.
There is never going to be a moment when you wake up one morning and are suddenly living in a communist society, i.e. one that has abolished states, is moneyless, is classless, has abolished racism,disability and gender oppression. It will take decades, maybe centuries of struggle to reach that point. Think of how long it took capitalism to overthrow feudalism the world over- and even still there are relicts of feudal ideology in the superstructure of American life, namely extreme religiosity and gender oppression. The communist society does not develop spontaneously out of a capitalist one, or even a socialist one, but must be consciously constructed.
I would say that one of the reasons that soviet socialism failed was because revisionists (a term I use hesitantly if only because of its continued misuse by ultralefts) believed that they could construct a communist society by simply out producing the West. There was a belief that Soviet citizens, going about their daily lives, could create a communist society. This in practice demobilized the masses and took them out of active political life. Bureaucracy and undemocratic practices by the CPSU played a part as well, allowing anti-popular cliques to establish a power base in the party and force through their agenda against the will of the people, but if the masses were properly drawn into the real political life of the country, as Lenin advocated, then tearing down the state would have been impossible.
>Am I still a communist/marxist or is this some unforgivable heresy?
You're still a marxist, but you are a little demoralized.
>Also what's wrong with what Eduard Bernstein said about caring more about the movement than the end goal?
I think Ismail responded to this point very well. I just want to add that there is a dialectical relationship between movement and end goal. These seemingly separate phenomena are really a unity. Having an end goal without a movement or plan to reach it is ultraleftism; being devoted to the movement without consciously directing your activity to reach the end goal is empty right-opportunism (aka movementism or economism). Understanding what the end goal is, making an objective appraisal of the concrete conditions within which you are struggling and taking the requisite steps to advance towards the end goal is what constitutes a scientific socialist plan of action.
Let's bring in the discussion on Cuba and material incentives vs. moral incentives (see here: >>9706)
What was the link in the chain that needed to be grasped during the 60s and 80s in Cuba? It was the low level of the productive forces in the country. Ismail is right in saying that moral incentives did not work during that period. For creating the material basis for a socialist society, material incentives are necessary. For deepening the process of socialist construction, for mobilizing the masses, for developing the consciousness of the people and laying the basis for a communist society, moral incentives are necessary. I think this applies to your discussion because the socialist state needs to educate and explain to the people that the next stage of their development is the abolition of work AS work. A CP can't just say to it's people, "Look at how much you have! You should be happy!" It must lead the people to the next stage of development. That means that we have to give a shit about communism as an idea.
>It feels too abstract, too far away and disconnected from the real issues that people face today.
That's because the question of building a communist society is not on the near term agenda of a ML party in a capitalist state. For the people of the USSR in the early 80s, the question of "how will we get to communism?" was a pressing question that needed to be answered. There was a series of interviews with Buzgalin and the Real News about this very topic earlier this year.
Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFc43mcIe8&list=PLhvPB4lyc4dSck2uVkUIb34nnO-UxnfMw
Buzgalin explains that the contradiction of soviet society in the 80s was the development of the objective basis for a communist society but the lacking of the subjective factor necessary for the transition to take place. The CPSU acted as a break on the activity of the class conscious workers and fostered consumerist ideology which decayed the socialist consciousness of the working class. The fundamental contradiction became too much for the USSR to handle.
I think the above examples prove that communism is an important idea and is even realizable given the correct conditions. We are currently not living under those conditions but if you want to be theoretically sound, you must understand the importance of communism to the development of our ideology.
What sort of opinion are you looking for? Thoughts on how the USSR could have made labor more productive?
just on whether or not that article is genuine or not. i had an anti-communist link it to me so i'm sort of sceptical about it and was hoping Ismail could post some stuff about productivity in the USSR.
Yes, it's genuine. A while back I quoted a work on the hoarding of labor by Soviet enterprises: >>7708
In this thread I've also noted the observation of Mike Davidow, a CPUSA journalist who lived in the USSR (and continued to defend it after 1991): "From what I observed [in the 1970s-80s], there was a shocking waste of labor power almost everywhere—far too many performing the labor a fraction of their number could do. One worker would be actually engaged in making repairs while two others would be looking on." (Davidow, Perestroika: Its Rise and Fall, 1993, p. 8.)
Do you have any readings on the Lebanese Civil War?
I can't think of any good books all about the Civil War, but one book that does discuss it and which I've seen praised is "A History of Modern Lebanon" by Fawwaz Traboulsi: http://b-ok.xyz/book/876225/03a9e1
"Israel's Lebanon War" by Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari is considered a good exposé of the 1982 Israeli invasion.
It seemed to me that the article took a favorable view of the Soviet economy. Even with some bureaucratic distortions, it was a superior form of organization compared to the most highly developed capitalist state, the US. And the USSR was able to develop itself on its own, without exploiting the resources and labor of half of the world.
to what extent can we call conquests like those of napoleon, mongols, abbasids, etc "progressive"? just reactions to material conditions or fundamentally base-changing?
is military conquest inherently reactionary?
Coincidentally, I just scanned a collection of Lenin's writings discussing what constitutes just and unjust wars: https://archive.org/details/LeninJustUnjustWars
To quote him, "A national war might be transformed into an imperialist war and vice versa. Here is an example: the wars of the Great French Revolution began as national wars and indeed were such. They were revolutionary wars—the defence of the great revolution against a coalition of counter-revolutionary monarchies. But when Napoleon founded the French Empire and subjugated a number of big, viable and long-established national European states, these national wars of the French became imperialist wars and in turn led to wars of national liberation against Napoleonic imperialism."
Soviet historians argued that Napoleon's conquests did have progressive consequences, insofar as Napoleon's men forced a legal code on conquered territories that weakened feudal elements, but this was still in the context of aggressive campaigns to subdue rival countries and peoples.
You can find a Soviet analysis of the French Revolution and Napoleonic period here: https://archive.org/details/ModernHistory16401870
This is how the Great Soviet Encyclopedia describes the Mongol conquests: "The Mongol conquests were a calamity for the peoples of Asia and Eastern Europe. They were accompanied by wholesale slaughter, the devastation of large areas, the razing of cities, and the decline of farming, particularly in irrigated areas. The conquests long retarded the socioeconomic and cultural development of the countries that had been incorporated into the Mongol feudal empire."
This was a source of disagreement between Soviet and Chinese historians, the latter arguing the Mongol conquests were historically progressive.
As for the Abbasids, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia states: "In the Abbasid Caliphate, as in the Umayyad one, feudal relations predominated, preserving powerful slave-owning and patriarchal ways. . . The intensification of feudal oppression in the Abbasid state and the rise in taxes provoked numerous popular uprisings. . . The process of disintegration of the Abbasid state intensified in the ninth century. . . The Abbasids tried to counteract the reduction in revenues resulting from these processes by a redoubled exploitation of the remaining regions, which led to the regions’ economic decline."
good answer and thanks for the books.
i think the mongol empire is an interesting one. genghis basically attracted his followers by appealing to lower classes and having them defect from other tribes, then bureaucratized the nomadic tribes and created a state. of course then you have unprecedented mass killings in expanding that empire...i read something like iran's population didn't reach the same levels until the 20th century.
You might be interested in this joint Soviet-Mongolian academic history that I scanned a while back: https://archive.org/details/HistoryOfTheMPR (despite the title it's a history of Mongolia from ancient times to the early 70s)
thanks. will check it out. keep up the good work!
why were there so many anti-socialist protests in the late 80s? i get that there were reforms and stuff under Gorbachev but most of the unrest seemed to be towards the Soviet system in general.
As a result of Glasnost, restrictions on talking about historical subjects were lifted. This meant that both academics and ordinary people began speaking about the more controversial aspects of Soviet history: dekulakization, the Great Purges, the WWII deportations, etc.
This climate encouraged both "victims of communism" (those who suffered from or knew those who suffered from the aforementioned events) as well as anti-communists to protest the system. And since so many issues were bottled up for decades, Soviet journals and magazines were now flooded with interviews with academics, eyewitnesses and the like, plus recently-released material from Soviet archives, which anti-communists took advantage of. They'd argue the CPSU lied to the people and that it tried to shift blame on one man (Stalin) rather than examine the role of the party and its founder in anything anti-communists considered bad.
It also didn't help that the USSR was beset in the late 80s with economic, ecological and societal woes which Gorby's policies weren't exactly fixing. So anti-communism had a fertile base to grow, and by 1990 you had many academics more or less openly attacking Leninism and even Marxism as either outdated or fundamentally wrong.
If you read Gorby's speeches from 1987 onward he was often put on the defensive and had no idea how to stem the rising anti-communist tide (which his own inept policies and slide towards social-democracy contributed to.) An example is his October 1987 speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the revolution, which when evaluating the past doesn't sound drastically different from something Khrushchev or Brezhnev would have said. Here are excerpts I've written down: https://pastebin.com/uEDZGgHq
Gorby in that speech used the same argument that Khrushchev and Brezhnev would have made: whatever Stalin did, whatever bad things happened, the CPSU didn't really bear responsibility. Many citizens by the late 80s saw that argument as dishonest and self-serving, and this fed into anti-communist sentiment.
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Best biography on Castro?
"Fidel: A Critical Portrait" by Tad Szulc is generally considered the best bio, as far as I know.
And of course there's Castro's autobiography: http://b-ok.xyz/book/1062200/d8e6c4
why didn't cpsu just copy "reform and opening up" (socialism w/ chinese characteristics) rather than deciding on glasnost e perestroika?
Nowadays it's very obvious that Deng's reforms were successful. That sort of obviousness didn't really exist in 1985; there was still plenty of skepticism.
Also, there were many who argued that the CPC's economic reforms would reach a dangerous impasse due to lack of "political reform." This is why when Tienanmen happened, Gorbachev told associates, "Some of those present here have promoted the idea of taking the Chinese road. We saw today where this road leads. I do not want Red Square to look like Tiananmen Square."
Of course, the CPC was able to overcome the problems relating to that, whereas the CPSU entered into ever deeper crisis and the USSR itself broke apart two years later, but for a brief period it seemed that Deng's reforms were either about to be reversed under pressure by "conservative" (i.e. anti-reform) elements, or the CPC's days in power were numbered.
Then there's the simple fact that the USSR wasn't China. The Soviet workforce was structured differently, was less numerous, and would not have worked at the same wages as their Chinese counterparts, and it was very unlikely that foreign capitalists would invest huge sums in the Soviet economy like they did in China.
So while the USSR's reforms could have gone far better, simply copying Deng's reforms wouldn't have worked.
>The prestigious Peking University effectively banned the students’ Marxist Society after its members came to the support of protesting workers.
You claimed earlier that China is doing its best to protect workers' rights. How would you respond to this article?
I didn't claim it's "doing its best," no doubt on various levels CPC cadres fail to adequately defend the interest of workers for a variety of reasons.
However, I don't think the stuff you're mentioning has to do so much with workers' rights as it does with concerns that youthful "Maoists" are pursuing ultra-left or pro-imperialist lines. One of them, Yue Xin, sought to import the #MeToo movement from the United States.
>mfw when he posts an article from this trot rag
>mf-again-w this trot rag cites the economist and financial times
this bullshit has been making the rounds in western media lately (well, since the bolshevik revolution, but in particular the past week), where they try to paint these pure "literally marx come to life" students as the true purveyors of marxist philosophy. this is of course done so as to paint china as "autocratic capitalism restorers" and demoralize and balkanize the left around the world.
of course, these "young marxists" do not understand the concepts of democratic-centralism, intra-party democracy and the mass line. as i see it, it's a matter of their hearts being in the right places (that might be too kind), but their minds have yet to catch up. tends to be the problem with student activists. either they'll figure it out eventually or morph into outright liberals. certainly the party should not let that happen.
Thank you, very much!
When/how did the Red Army come out from under control of the party? I suppose it was restructured after WWII, but was there a specific rationale for the armed forces no longer being partisan?
I don't understand what you mean. The Soviet Army was always "under control of the party," including political instructors to teach soldiers 'bout the joys of Marxism-Leninism. Khrushchev and his successors headed the USSR Defense Council and it seems General Secretaries were unofficially regarded as commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.
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my understanding is that it was basically apolitical by the 80s.
or: why wasn't there a reaction to yeltsin?
>or: why wasn't there a reaction to yeltsin?
Yeltsin was a member of the Politburo until resigning from the party in 1990.
By then the army was demoralized. Cynicism about the official ideology existed in the armed forces just as it existed in the civilian population. Dedovshchina and other practices undermined discipline. The war in Afghanistan was also seen as having dealt a blow to the army's prestige in Soviet society.
Perhaps even more important, the CPSU was hardly in a position to firmly lead the Soviet Army by the time Yeltsin became President of the Russian SFSR. It had been divided into various groups (supporters of Gorby, supporters of "hardliners" like Ligachev, supporters of Yeltsin, etc.) and the party branches in the republics were going their own way as well (e.g. Algirdas Brazauskas, head of the party in the Lithuanian SSR, broke its ties with the CPSU.)
Having said all that, if Gorby ordered the army to be used against Yeltsin, it would have obeyed (at least up to an extent.) He did use the army to try to exert pressure on the Baltics: https://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/15/world/soviet-crackdown-overview-gorbachev-puts-blame-for-clash-on-lithuanians.html
But using the army to depose Yeltsin (who was elected President of the Russian SFSR) would have had huge consequences, both domestically and abroad, so it's understandable why Gorby wouldn't have done that.
So let's hear it, what exactly did these students do that makes them liberals or not in line with Marxist Philosophy™? Supporting the working class is liberal?
The idea of #MeToo isn't wrong just because it is imported from the US. I don't see the problem with a movement that addresses the way power relations perpetrate sexism, and you don't support imperialism by supporting an anti-establishment movement either.
>you don't support imperialism by supporting an anti-establishment movement either.
#MeToo isn't anti-establishment, and there's no reason for Chinese officials to think that its importation into China isn't being done with assistance from the imperialists.
The US has had no problem supporting "anti-establishment" movements abroad, e.g. http://inthesetimes.com/uprising/entry/15945/wikileaks_docs_expose_famed_serbian_activists_ties_to_shadow_cia
Thoughts on Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek? (Assuming you're at all familiar with their work.)
I'm not familiar with their work. From a quick glance they seem to be "left-liberal" types who criticize US foreign policy and reactionary going-ons at home. In other words, they're okay.
>they seem to be "left-liberal" types who criticize US foreign policy and reactionary going-ons at home.
I think they're all some kind of socialists, leaning more towards traditional ML positions than trot, anarchist or dem soc positions, although they never describe themselves as anything specific. All three of them did a podcast episode together were they discussed the tendency of "anti-anti-imperialist" trotskyists and democratic socialists to become supporters of US imperialism, bashed the DSA and the ISO while speaking positively of the PSL. But they mostly focus on foreign policy and rarely talk about socialism, so they're easily lumped together with left liberals like, I dunno, Glenn Greenwald.
Anyway I'm not sure how interested you are in new podcasts, etc. but since you weren't familiar with them I thought I'd recommend their (Norton and Blumenthal) podcast, "Moderate Rebels", and also the news website "the grayzone project" which is edited by Blumenthal.
Not very educated on this issue myself but here's an article you might find useful:
Do you know anything about the ICP / Hadash in Israel and their Policies
the Hadash has Fie seats in the Knesset with 4 of them belonging to the ICP
And Both(?) Are also members of "Joint List" Which is basically the most Anti-Zionist Front still legal
Not a whole lot. Someone I know scanned a 1976 Soviet academic work a while back with a chapter titled "The Communist Party of Israel in the Struggle for a Peaceful and Democratic Alternative for Their Country" giving a brief history of the CPI in the 1960s-70s and its views: https://archive.org/details/ZionismPastPresent/page/n0
Thoughts on the Russia-Crimea situation from a few years ago? My liberal father compared Putin to Hitler when it was going on, and to this day I can't even get him to agree that the Iraq war was by far a greater crime than the annexation of Crimea. "something something iraq good intentions something crimea international law"
I think they do good reporting. Max was the first western journalist to interview people who were attacked by anti-FSLN protestors during the attempted color revolution in Nicaragua earlier this year. Their counter propaganda is valuable. While all three of them had bad positions on Syria, they did a public mea culpa. You could argue about the sincerity of their apologies but seeing how going against the grain on the HEAVY anti-Syria propaganda means complete ostracism from the left-liberal establishment, I think their change of heart is legit.
Max goes on radio shows hosted by PSL leaders with some frequency, like By Any Means Necessary and Loud and Clear. Ben attended the People's Congress of Resistance in 2017 which was organized by the PSL/ANSWER. They are like Abby Martin in that they are in the PSL's orbit but want to maintain their journalistic independence.
Lenin is right when he said we need people to put aside their desire for individual accolades and contribute seriously to the creation and propagation of the party's literature but given the stifling totality of modern propaganda, I'm just glad there are people out there debunking and questioning the imperialist narrative.
>While all three of them had bad positions on Syria, they did a public mea culpa. You could argue about the sincerity of their apologies
I listened to all three talk about how they used to be wrong and what changed their minds, and I don't see any reason to doubt they're sincere. Nowadays they're probably more strongly opposed to regime change in Syria than any other western journalists, and are regularly smeared as "Assadists" and paid Russian shills. The only people I see question their sincerity are pro-regime change liberals who claim they changed their position after recieving them sweet sweet rubles straight from the Kremlin.
There are some ultras on twitter that attack that crew regularly but yeah I'm with you. That series of episodes of Moderate Rebels was a fun listen. I DETEST ISO so it was fun to listen to them get shit on.
>That series of episodes of Moderate Rebels was a fun listen. I DETEST ISO so it was fun to listen to them get shit on.
I don't have any experience with the ISO (im not a burger) but yeah that was entertaining.
The corrupt but democratically elected president of Ukraine, Yanukovich, was overthrown in a US sponsored coup because he wanted to take a trade deal with Russia instead of accepting a European enforced austerity package. There is evidence that neo-cons in the state department went above the White House's head and that Obama was privately very upset with Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state, and Geoffery Pyatt, former ambassador to Ukraine, for orchestrating that coup and placing fascists in very high positions in the new government.
The new nazi-worshipping government passed anti-Russian language laws and began pogroms against Jews, Roma, communists and trade unionists. More important for Russia, however, was the talk about revoking the lease of Russia's only warm water port in Sevastopol. This was a major provocation against Russia. How could they not respond to this situation which was spiraling wildly out of control? The US coup d'etat was an act of aggression against the people of Ukraine and the government of Russia. The puppet masters behind that coup should be tried for conspiracy to violate the sovereignty of another country.
>compared Putin to Hitler
This is incredibly ironic given that the Azov battalion, the most effective fighting force associated with the Ukrainian state is made up of admirers of OUN and other Nazi collaborators. The Russians are literally fighting Nazis.
>I can't even get him to agree that the Iraq war was by far a greater crime than the annexation of Crimea.
1. Crimea voted to join Russia overwhelmingly.
2. The population of the peninsula is mostly Russian speaking, has historically associated with Russia and belonged to the RSFSR until Khrushchev, himself a Ukrainian, gave the Crimea to the Ukraine.
3. More than a million people died because of the Iraq war. Even more were displaced. The whole fabric of society was ripped asunder. ISIS is a direct result of the US invasion. I have no idea how you could argue anything of a similar scale has happened in Crimea.
Thanks for that summation.
>I have no idea how you could argue anything of a similar scale has happened in Crimea.
Yes it's completely ridiculous. We were talking and I said that in the last few decades it's completely undeniable that american foreign policy has been far more aggressive and destructive than russian foreign policy. That's when he brought up the annexation of Crimea. I pointed out that that doesn't even come close to the horrors of the Iraq invasion, to which he replied something about how at least with the invasion of Iraq there might have been some good intentions, while the annexation of Crimea was illegal under international law and basically just the dictator Putin flexing his muscles.
He's a liberal, often critical of the foreign policy of the US and it's allies, but he also has a cold war mentality (which probably comes from living through the actual cold war and hating the USSR). He hates Russia and he is very concerned about the rise of China. His line is always something like "yes the US does terrible things around the world, supports Saudi Arabia, supports Israel, overthrows democratically elected governments and kills a bunch of innocent people, but it's still a democracy at it's core which Russia and China aren't". When Russia or China do something bad it's always them showing what power hungry, evil, anti-democratic authoritarians they really are. When the US (together with it's allies) does something that's objectively ten times worse we should criticize it but still remember that they are a friendly democracy just like us, who will protect the world from evil dictators and totalitarianism.
I really don't know how to cure his liberalism.
I think Strat is correct here: >>9788
>until Khrushchev, himself a Ukrainian
Just a nitpick, but he was Russian. He worked in the Ukraine and knew its culture well though.
>at least with the invasion of Iraq there might have been some good intentions
The problem with that argument is that anything can be excused as having "good intentions." It's blatantly self-serving. The US didn't care about Noriega's human rights record when he functioned as a CIA asset. It didn't care about Saddam when he was fighting Iran. All imperialists try to showcase "good intentions" when waging aggressive wars, such as the Entente "defending innocent Belgium" in World War I, or the Western powers increasing their colonial presence in Asia by justifying it as protecting against attacks on Christian missionaries.
why do you maoism (and MZT) became so popular during the 60s and onwards among americans? i remember seeing somewhere that someone said it had to do with lots of american students getting radicalised but still jumped onto the anti-soviet bandwagon that existed during the cold war.
maoism also seems to be really popular among the modern left too, as well as general "anti-revisionism" and i just can't seem to understand how so many of these people can genuinely believe in all these anti-soviet lies about "big bureuacracy of the fascist type"
what is your take on it?
Al Szymanski summed it up well:
>The new left movement of the 1960’s grew up independently of the Marxist-Leninist tradition. Its roots were in the pacifist and social democratic tradition. It moved to Marxism-Leninism because of identification with the struggles of the Cubans, Vietnamese and Chinese (during their Cultural Revolution). The characteristics of these three revolutions did not seem to us to have anything in common with the image of Communism/Soviet Union that we had been conditioned to accept, and thus we became strongly predisposed to a Maoist type argument that the Soviet Union’s brand of “Communism” really was a capitalism of the Nazi type, i.e., what we had believed all along, while the “Communism” of China, Cuba and Vietnam was a qualitatively different phenomenon – people’s power, or the realization of the true; socialist ideas of equalitarianism, democracy and control of production by the common people. The Maoist alternative allowed formerly strongly anti-communist youth to easily make the transition to Marxism without having to question the fabricated stereotype of Soviet communism they had grown up with, while romanticizing Cuban, Vietnamese and Chinese Communism, portraying the two types as having nothing in common.
I also think being able to point to at least a few examples of socialist construction (namely the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, and Albania under Hoxha) gives "anti-revisionists" a greater attraction than other ultra-leftist groups like left-coms who pretty much glory in their own irrelevance and inability to affect anything.
Having said that, "anti-revisionism" at its worst does engage in the sort of obsessing over specific events and obscure personalities that also characterize ultra-leftism, which distorts one's own politics. For example, I've met many "anti-revisionists" who focus on the minutiae of the Moscow Trials, but can't coherently explain Trotsky's own views and why Trotskyism sucks beyond "argh they lie about Stalin."
So when it comes time for debate, and Trots are like "this is why we think the USSR was a degenerated workers' state" or whatever, a lot of "anti-revisionists" will just be furiously copy-pasting stuff by Grover Furr on the Trials or using weird arguments that basically boil down to "Stalin couldn't accumulate autocratic control over the CPSU and government because his official positions didn't formally give him any such authority." And rather than tackle the wider claims of Trots on the nature of socialism and the Soviet Union, they'll just focus on defending Stalin as a person.
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Are there democratic elements to the political system of China? Is it mostly similar to that of the old eastern bloc countries or is it different? Is there more democracy on the local/regional level than the national level?
I haven't actually studied how China's state structure works that much. It definitely has differences though, e.g. the People's Political Consultative Conference doesn't really have a counterpart in other socialist countries, and elections to the National People's Congress and provincial People's Congresses combine both direct and indirect methods (whereas in other socialist countries, with the notable exceptions of the USSR before 1936 and Yugoslavia, direct elections were/are the norm.)
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Alright. I'm interested because although I am not such a huge fan of China (they're not a socialist country in my opinion and nothing seems to indicate they will be going in that direction any time soon), it is always assumed that the people there don't have any influence over their government at all, and it's just controlled by one guy at the top. When I was a child I remember literally being taught that in China you have to go vote but there's only one option, the Communist Party (of course that's based on the misunderstanding that in elections in one party states people vote on the one party, not on individual candidates).
I'm pretty sure I heard Yanis Varoufakis say somewhere that there's been a recent upsurge in local democracy in China, while it's still very undemocratic on the national level.
Your opinions run contrary to facts, liberal
is your opinion well-informed? by what? western news? what research have you done?
there are plenty of posts about china on this board and in this very thread.
>there are plenty of posts about china on this board and in this very thread.
Yeah I've stated my view on why China currently doesn't have a socialist mode of production, on this board, on /leftypol/, on reddit, many times. I have no interest in discussing it further. If China is socialist or not wasn't remotely the point of my post so, uh, fuck off please.
your "view" is based on faulty premises and liberal propaganda.
probably your questions could be answered by reading the constitution:
indirect elections are more relevant than direct elections; higher bodies are elected by lower bodies. local congresses and village chiefs are directly elected.
Keep your friends close and your enemies close
Would it dialectical for Socialist country to maintain a very close and very friendly relationships with imperialistic countries, even join EU,NATO etc, to avoid any sanctions like Cuba, Venezuela or Korea and slowly peacefully build socialism while also aiding developing countries in literacy campaigns,building education and industrialization.
To quote something I wrote elsewhere,
>there is a point made by Michael Parenti in regard to the socialist countries: "Our policymakers have argued that right-wing governments, for all their 'deficiencies,' are friendly toward us, while Communist ones are belligerent and therefore a threat to US security. But every Marxist or left-leaning country, be it a great power like the Soviet Union or small powers like Vietnam, Cuba, Angola, and Nicaragua, or a mini-power like Grenada (under the New Jewel Movement), has sought friendly diplomatic and economic relations with the USA. They do so not necessarily out of love for the United States but because of a self-interested desire not to be menaced by US military power, and to enjoy the opportunities of trade that come with friendly relations. As they themselves point out, their economic development and political security would be much better served if they could improve relations with Washington." He gives as one example, "Between 1981 and 1984 alone, the Reagan administration passed up at least four initiatives by the Cuban government to normalize relations." (The Sword and the Dollar, 1989, p. 89.) Bruce Cumings in North Korea: Another Country gives examples of the DPRK's efforts at negotiations throughout the 90s for the normalization of relations and even an agreement to keep US troops in South Korea.
If membership in an organization can be used to strengthen a socialist country diplomatically, economically and/or militarily, I don't see the issue, although I can't see joining the EU or NATO as contributing to those objectives.
What about being deceptive to maximum effect, but calling ruling party Social Democratic and claiming to be fallowing "Nordic model"?
Additionally why is USA still sanctioning Cuba,attacking Venezuela but is more friendly with Vietnam and China?
>What about being deceptive to maximum effect, but calling ruling party Social Democratic and claiming to be fallowing "Nordic model"?
As Marx pointed out, "Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims." Lying to the working-class, to the extent the party leading them is hiding its own ideology, is bad. That was the sort of trickery that Pol Pot engaged in, or Jim Jones (although he had a church rather than a party.)
Furthermore any actual socialist policies would immediately set the crypto-communist party apart from reformist ones. If Corbyn can cause concern among sections of the British ruling-class, I'd imagine communists who pretend to be social-democrats would be immediately exposed.
>Additionally why is USA still sanctioning Cuba,attacking Venezuela but is more friendly with Vietnam and China?
Because China and Vietnam are important sources of investment, whereas Latin America is the United States' "backyard" and the US fears the spread of governments in those countries following the Venezuelan or Cuban examples.
Good analysis, thank you.
do you have any good books about czechoslovakia under socialism? particulary about the living standards and economy? if you don't could you just give me a general rundown on these things? thanks.
What info do you want to know? I physically own a bunch of books.
There's a British guy who visited Czechoslovakia in 1985 or so, and wrote an amusing and brief book about it: https://archive.org/details/CzechoslovakiaBelieveItOrNot
just how their economy ran and how successful it was along with living standards in comparison to other warsaw pact states and pre/post-socialism