Socialism |OT| The Dawn of a Red Era

DrSlek

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,482
Activism is like placing a small candle on the dark road. It can never be the sun, but it helps. Which isn’t to say all of us can be activists. But there’s always something to do.

Anyways, I’m ready to read if you all are. I guess we should start with concepts instead of books themselves, right? I’m sure there’s a lot to cover.
I started out reading up on socialism and communism only a few months ago, so like many others here I don't feel educated enough to advocate for a particular theory.

My initial foray started out by watching Philisophy Tubes Steve Bannon video.

Then onto other breadtube contributors like DoNotEat01

I'm currently listening to Volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx.

 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,192
Activism is like placing a small candle on the dark road. It can never be the sun, but it helps. Which isn’t to say all of us can be activists. But there’s always something to do.

Anyways, I’m ready to read if you all are. I guess we should start with concepts instead of books themselves, right? I’m sure there’s a lot to cover.
Well, if we're starting with concepts, there's a deceptive number of places to start, though the basic concepts for most of this community are specifically dialectical materialism and the resulting concept of base and superstructure. From there you'd branch out to discuss capital relations in the modern age, and that sets the stage for how the material conditions that allowed for capitalism to sprout eventually (allegedly) give way to socialism.

Dialectical materialism is Marx's innovation on Hegel's formulation of the dialectic, which can most simply be described as there being a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis. Samoyed's "corn and bread makes cornbread" post is silly, but honestly not that far off the mark here. Marx extends that concept into a social reality where the conflicts between classes end up defining societies, and capitalism is just the latest stage of that endless dance that has been going on previously-- previously mercantilism, then feudalism, then empires, and so on and so on.
 
OP
OP
sphagnum

sphagnum

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,354
It turns out The Cornbread Manifesto is a real thing.

 

Eylos

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,252
talking about china i said to house last year i would read mao, shit, i'm a lazy bastard shame of a communist. Dammit, Games are the new opium of the people.
 

Pekola

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,614
The In-Between
Well, if we're starting with concepts, there's a deceptive number of places to start, though the basic concepts for most of this community are specifically dialectical materialism and the resulting concept of base and superstructure. From there you'd branch out to discuss capital relations in the modern age, and that sets the stage for how the material conditions that allowed for capitalism to sprout eventually (allegedly) give way to socialism.

Dialectical materialism is Marx's innovation on Hegel's formulation of the dialectic, which can most simply be described as there being a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis. Samoyed's "corn and bread makes cornbread" post is silly, but honestly not that far off the mark here. Marx extends that concept into a social reality where the conflicts between classes end up defining societies, and capitalism is just the latest stage of that endless dance that has been going on previously-- previously mercantilism, then feudalism, then empires, and so on and so on.
What kind of witchcraft have you invoked on me!? This feels like reading patois.

Is this the part where I run away screaming?
 

umop 3pisdn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,699
What kind of witchcraft have you invoked on me!? This feels like reading patois.

Is this the part where I run away screaming?
From Hegel? Might be wise (semi joking). I think it was William James who said that Hegel was a better seer than he was an arguer. Which is to say that thorough Hegel scholarship is kind of for crackpots, but if you are a crackpot he is quite honestly hot shit. Like the Phenomenology of Spirit as a whole seems to have this weird essentially holographic self-interpenetrating dynamic structure that imo makes it meant to be read through some lens of intuition and impressionism. So if I am indeed able to speak to the more Hegelian side of this, specifically, you tbh aren't exactly wrong lol.

I remember saying something in a paper on Hegel to the effect that Hegel intends to present a whole conception of human life, as something lived through many registers simultaneously, shot through with complex and dynamic interdependencies, and committed to time. The dialectic is essentially a process of self-reflective insight and intelligence that begins with what appears to be a simple concept or existence apparently expressing itself as such a simple unity (the 'in-itself'), and this supposedly simple object is then interrogated by reflective investigation and judgement whereby its formerly naive boundaries and integrity essentially break down or the entire concept or existence essentially overturns itself (the 'for-itself' or 'for-consciousness'). Finally, the essence of both moments is somehow maintained (that which was initially valuable in its simple assertion, as well as its overturning) by adopting a new conception that sublates the old ones, or holds them into a sort of dynamic harmonious tension with each other. The dialectic is basically the common thread that unites Hegel's holistic project as the reflective individual moves through different shapes of consciousness. So it's really like this whole thing, but you have nerds who think it's really neat, me admittedly being one of them.
 
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Foofaraw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
315
I think BSA's resource guide does a good job of giving a guide to start learning without being gate keeping.

 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,192
What kind of witchcraft have you invoked on me!? This feels like reading patois.

Is this the part where I run away screaming?
Well, I'm going to second running away screaming from Hegel, but that's the basics, IMO. That's what you're going to find at the functioning philosophical heart of any Marx-delineated theories. The end result is the struggle between the working class and the capitalist class, which is maybe less theoretical and more concrete to think about. The capitalist class exploits the working class by reaping the fruit of their labor, which causes alienation in the working class. Eventually they get agitated enough, in theory, to do something about it. Out of that successful struggle you get the working class dictating the terms of society and making a society for themselves. Hypothetically the state apparatus exists essentially to ensure that the working class don't get screwed over by the remaining rich-- eventually once that becomes obsolete a stateless society forms. That's the essential shape of what Marx formulated. The struggle between proletariat and bourgeois thus creates socialism, in Marxist theory. For any number of reasons, that hasn't happened yet.
 

Rupetta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
638
Boston/Helsinki
You can be a socialist w/o having read Capital. It helps to position the concepts in a historical context - but reading the Vol.1 is no more a necessity than reading vol.2 and I have perhaps met three people IRL or online who have actually read vol.2, and my work is such that I meet hundreds of marxist academics as well as socialist community organizers on a monthly basis. In the contemporary US context, it might actually be more valuable to be well-versed in the original discourse of DuBois than Marx.

In order to get the central concepts you can read any of David Harvey’s Marx interlocutions which include slightly more accessible language, or watch through his Reading Capital videos, which also help a great deal if you are trying to read the original works. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlpc6eFEd8osVlCfKCrP6H2F9NJDPCcEq His Anticapitalist Chronicles are also good if you want concepts as starting point: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPJpiw1WYdTPmOmC2i3hR4_aR7omqhaCj

The BSA resource posted above, which also contains videos is also very good.
 
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Pekola

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,614
The In-Between
It's been a while since I've made graphics and I originally used Photoshop and now I’m relegated to the mess that is GIMP, but I made this for the thread. I don't actually know if its accurate or not, but I figured its a good a place to start as any. The image is on a temporary host, so it needs to be rehosted. What do y'all think? sphagnum
 
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Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,192
It's been a while since I've made graphics and I originally used Photoshop. But I made this for the thread. I don't actually know if its accurate or not, but I figured its a good a place to start as any. The image is on a temporary host, so it needs to be rehosted. What do y'all think?
That looks great!
 

DrSlek

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,482
It's been a while since I've made graphics and I originally used Photoshop and now I’m relegated to the mess that is GIMP, but I made this for the thread. I don't actually know if its accurate or not, but I figured its a good a place to start as any. The image is on a temporary host, so it needs to be rehosted. What do y'all think? sphagnum
You dare suggest replacing the sacred corn!?

I love it.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,014
I like the logo too but might I suggest replacing the hammer and sickle with corn or something more neutral. Era is a global forum and there's probably people here who've lived in the Baltic states. It is not a neutral symbol for them and could give people a poor impression or lead them to think tankies are allowed in our secret corn clubhouse.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,192
I like the logo too but might I suggest replacing the hammer and sickle with corn or something more neutral. Era is a global forum and there's probably people here who've lived in the Baltic states. It is not a neutral symbol for them and could give people a poor impression or lead them to think tankies are allowed in our secret corn clubhouse.
That is true. A red star is typically seen as a good replacement and would go well with the theme of the banner, that could be subbed in.

I'd suggest a hammer and compass as an alternative that's not so strongly tied with trauma in the Baltic states, but it's way too strongly tied with East Germany specifically and literally nothing else outside of it. Shame, it's a nice symbol.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,192
The starry plough might be a viable alternative.

I mean, I guess, but it's also deeply tied to a specific nation. A single red star might be better unless we just have a *pile* of communist insignias, which could be neat too! I'm fine with whatever Pekola comes up with.

I personally love the rose so wouldn't want to lose that, and definitely think the fist needs to stay. The HnS is the only real point of contention. Given some of the replies from people that came from Baltic states in that one thread, it bears a little thinking about.
 

DrSlek

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,482
I mean, I guess, but it's also deeply tied to a specific nation. A single red star might be better unless we just have a *pile* of communist insignias, which could be neat too! I'm fine with whatever Pekola comes up with.

I personally love the rose so wouldn't want to lose that, and definitely think the fist needs to stay. The HnS is the only real point of contention. Given some of the replies from people that came from Baltic states in that one thread, it bears a little thinking about.
Its been used by a bunch of Asian countries too, but I guess it might also be too tied to Mao Zedong.
 

Old_King_Coal

Member
Nov 1, 2017
149
I've recommended dozens of things to read in this thread and I think samoyed is the only person who ever did so so why bother participating in a new thread?
I’ve been reading through the China links! Just takes time is all and I mostly lurk. Also I recently got a copy of capital volumes 1 and 2 so that’s a chonky tome to be dealing with for now.

Edit: with regards to the function of this thread and what socialists do, I don’t really think of this place as a socialist activity hub. We’re on a video games forum after all. I’m here to learn. Through discussion, reading posts of people like sphagnum, House et al, and finding links to more sources. Everyone is a beginner at some point. (And on that note, don’t be disheartened if it feels like good posts or links aren’t getting replies sometimes. I’m sure there are lots of people lurking this thread who find it useful.)
 
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OP
OP
sphagnum

sphagnum

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,354
Too big, as in the file size? Where are you trying to upload it?
I should have clarified. Thread makers can upload a cover photo directly to the board, it doesn't need to go through an image host. But the size limit for the cover photos is 1000x600 pixels, and it looks like the resolution of the image is 1079x205. So we just need it trimmed slightly!
 

Pekola

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,614
The In-Between
I should have clarified. Thread makers can upload a cover photo directly to the board, it doesn't need to go through an image host. But the size limit for the cover photos is 1000x600 pixels, and it looks like the resolution of the image is 1079x205. So we just need it trimmed slightly!
Oh that’s not a cover photo, silly! That’s just to replace the ugly Coca Cola header that’s currently there.

I can make a cover photo those specifications to match, however. But I like the corn as it is 😂
 

Rupetta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
638
Boston/Helsinki
I was looking through the OP and was going to suggest International Socialist Review to be added - and noticed to my horror that they just suspended publication - still they have a lot of excellent stuff worth reading up on: https://isreview.org/
 
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BuddyDharma

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,415
From Hegel? Might be wise (semi joking). I think it was William James who said that Hegel was a better seer than he was an arguer. Which is to say that thorough Hegel scholarship is kind of for crackpots, but if you are a crackpot he is quite honestly hot shit. Like the Phenomenology of Spirit as a whole seems to have this weird essentially holographic self-interpenetrating dynamic structure that imo makes it meant to be read through some lens of intuition and impressionism. So if I am indeed able to speak to the more Hegelian side of this, specifically, you tbh aren't exactly wrong lol.

I remember saying something in a paper on Hegel to the effect that Hegel intends to present a whole conception of human life, as something lived through many registers simultaneously, shot through with complex and dynamic interdependencies, and committed to time. The dialectic is essentially a process of self-reflective insight and intelligence that begins with what appears to be a simple concept or existence apparently expressing itself as such a simple unity (the 'in-itself'), and this supposedly simple object is then interrogated by reflective investigation and judgement whereby its formerly naive boundaries and integrity essentially break down or the entire concept or existence essentially overturns itself (the 'for-itself' or 'for-consciousness'). Finally, the essence of both moments is somehow maintained (that which was initially valuable in its simple assertion, as well as its overturning) by adopting a new conception that sublates the old ones, or holds them into a sort of dynamic harmonious tension with each other. The dialectic is basically the common thread that unites Hegel's holistic project as the reflective individual moves through different shapes of consciousness. So it's really like this whole thing, but you have nerds who think it's really neat, me admittedly being one of them.
So... an apple as a tasty fruit ("in-itself"), is
I’ve been reading through the China links! Just takes time is all and I mostly lurk. Also I recently got a copy of capital volumes 1 and 2 so that’s a chonky tome to be dealing with for now.

Edit: with regards to the function of this thread and what socialists do, I don’t really think of this place as a socialist activity hub. We’re on a video games forum after all. I’m here to learn. Through discussion, reading posts of people like sphagnum, House et al, and finding links to more sources. Everyone is a beginner at some point. (And on that note, don’t be disheartened if it feels like good posts or links aren’t getting replies sometimes. I’m sure there are lots of people lurking this thread who find it useful.)
Yep, I don't post much, but I give many of the links a least a skim. Stuff is generally a little over my head for me to contribute meaningfully to. I feel like I understabd the Hegel stuff posted earlier, but I got nothing to add.
 

umop 3pisdn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,699
So... an apple as a tasty fruit ("in-itself"), is

Yep, I don't post much, but I give many of the links a least a skim. Stuff is generally a little over my head for me to contribute meaningfully to. I feel like I understabd the Hegel stuff posted earlier, but I got nothing to add.
That would be an 'in-itself' for the epistemological shape of consciousness that Hegel refers to as perception, which itself follows from or is a refinement of sense certainty (which is the affirmation that ‘this’ (a simple universal presence) exists). Perception is a refinement of that prior shape of consciousness in that it actually seeks to identify objects not as a simple universal (a ‘this’) but seeks to collapse this universal into something more specific by identifying it with its perceptual qualities (let's say by its sweetness, crunchiness, redness, what have you, as an 'in-itself'). The essential problem with this shape of consciousness is that we use sensible qualities not only to distinguish our chosen object, but also those objects that we don't choose (or the set of objects that fall into the background, the 'for-itself') essentially creating a paradox where an apple is both distinct from and yet common to all other sensible objects by virtue of identifying both on what is essentially the same basis. So the two enter into conflict with each other (an apple in one turn seems to be its sweetness while in the next it becomes apparent that it must have a being distinct from its sweetness), so then to resolve this perpetual contradiction, we're required to move into the next shape of consciousness that begins to address the unseen (natural law for empiricists, natural kinds for rationalists), which in turn have their own flaws and have to be amended by another epistemological refinement (say that empirical law is an a posteriori articulation and therefore doesn't exist apart from our observation of it, and therefore 'natural law' as the product of our practices of generating knowledge can't be actually causally prior to the phenomena which it is meant to articulate or generalize.) That's what I remember that can sort of speak to your question, anyways. Anything beyond that and I'd definitely have to brush up on my Hegel. But arguably the most interesting thing about Hegel's epistemology is that it essentially rehabilitates Kant's phenomenon/noumenon distinction, but that's a whole other topic.
 
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BuddyDharma

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,415
That would be an 'in-itself' for the epistemological shape of consciousness that Hegel refers to as perception, which itself follows from or is a refinement of sense certainty (which is the affirmation that ‘this’ (a simple universal presence) exists). Perception is a refinement of that prior shape of consciousness in that it actually seeks to identify objects not as a simple universal (a ‘this’) but seeks to collapse this universal into something more specific by identifying it with its perceptual qualities (let's say by its sweetness, crunchiness, redness, what have you, as an 'in-itself'). The essential problem with this shape of consciousness is that we use sensible qualities not only to distinguish our chosen object, but also those objects that we don't choose (or the set of objects that fall into the background, the 'for-itself') essentially creating a paradox where an apple is both distinct from and yet common to all other sensible objects by virtue of identifying both on what is essentially the same basis. So the two enter into conflict with each other (an apple in one turn seems to be its sweetness while in the next it becomes apparent that it must have a being distinct from its sweetness), so then to resolve this perpetual contradiction, we're required to move into the next shape of consciousness that begins to address the unseen (natural law for empiricists, natural kinds for rationalists), which in turn have their own flaws and have to be amended by another epistemological refinement (say that empirical law is an a posteriori articulation and therefore doesn't exist apart from our observation of it, and therefore 'natural law' as the product of our practices of generating knowledge can't be actually causally prior to the phenomena which it is meant to articulate or generalize.) That's what I remember that can sort of speak to your question, anyways. Anything beyond that and I'd definitely have to brush up on my Hegel. But arguably the most interesting thing about Hegel's epistemology is that it essentially rehabilitates Kant's phenomenon/noumenon distinction, but that's a whole other topic.
lol, I had a whole spiel written out, but deleted it. I was on my phone so I guess I deleted everything but the first sentence on accident. I think I mostly get it, which is a victory for me. Thank God I literally just finished some philosophy video on Youtube (Zero Books talking about Chomsky and Zizek) that primed be for Hegelian mind twisting. I appreciate the follow up.

Do you happen to have any recommended books from a Buddhist perspective? I'm mostly just familiar with Soto Zen by way of America. I'm curious about perspectives from other traditions.
 
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Oct 29, 2017
5,043
For those of you who know what I'm talking about: What are your thoughts on that DSA leader showing a meme that, in the spirit of her comment, was about racial working class unity?

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about: Be glad.
 
Oct 29, 2017
5,043
"We need to reappropriate stuff that has a right wing origin if it helps us get our point across"

Yeah, maybe, but you could have easily gotten the same point across without using something that has isn't rooted in Russianbot ops.
 

umop 3pisdn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,699
Do you happen to have any recommended books from a Buddhist perspective? I'm mostly just familiar with Soto Zen by way of America. I'm curious about perspectives from other traditions.
I'm somewhat of a committed Theravadin, so my recommendations will reflect that bias, but if Buddhism is something that you wish to study of and by your own accord (as I mostly have), then a more Theravadin approach is arguably the best (perhaps only) route to take. Zen might be okay, too, but it's typically quite meditation heavy (Zen is the 'Japanification' of Chan which in turn is the 'Sinologization' of jhana which is the Pali term for essentially a virtuous meditative trance), which is fine, but I also find that its conceptual framework is a little too free-flowing given the subject matter for me to make very good heads of on my own. And most of Mahayana or Chinese Buddhism has a skillful means doctrine, which means that many of the concepts in texts are actually purely pedagogical (they're proximate or analogical to the truth, essentially) which means that you're effectively learning it under a teacher who can illuminate the esoteric to the student and keep them centered on the path.

But the 'OG' suttas don't have quite that same distinction, and are canon for every Buddhist (even if they think there's some later revealed doctrine that points the way more effectively), so everyone benefits from reading the sutta pitaka. It also seems to retain a lot more clarifying etymology when kept in that Indo-European language (Pali or Sanskrit) versus being translated into Chinese. At least maintaining a connection to that text seems more precise for inventorying and naming a bunch of novel or newly articulated skillful or unskillful mental states/emotions, mental factors or capacities, components of the human person as aggregate of name and form ('mind and matter'), penetrating realizations, etc (b/c compound words that have their word order or grammatical function expressed in their form). So for an individual studying this stuff, I think it's easiest to get a grip on philosophically, because if you want to you can google this one specific 30-letter long word and get specific and narrow use cases that can be really useful for learning the extension of a particular concept or subject. But I suspect the schools of Buddhism thing might very well boil down to taste or some kind of individual praxis, so ymmv.

Bhikku Bodhi is well lauded as a scholar monk, and for good reason. I also like Bhante Punnaji a lot (and Sri Lankan Buddhism in general, perhaps because it's the most orthodox or I find it has a good balance between scholasticism and jhana/meditation focus). I also can't recommend Piya Tan's The Sutta Discovery Series enough, and it's incredible how often I've turned to him as a secondary source in developing an understanding of some more obscure subject or framework. And as for where to start start, admittedly it's been a while since I started studying Buddhism, so I sort of forget what it's like to start with it, but I think Bhikku Thanissaro's website gives a pretty good primer:


Others mentioned:


Also, if you have any specific questions, I can do my best to answer them.
 
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samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,014
Some new twentyfirst century one from a French guy and I wanted to be more than a brocialist
Ah, Piketty.

Piketty is fine... for the data and historical insights. His conclusions are, however, ideologically neoliberal/capitalist.

He shows you what the wealth disparity is like accurately then he tells you it's because capitalism isn't doing enough for everyone. I use his charts a lot when I argue on this board but I don't argue his ideological positions. As long as you can separate those two it should be fine.



I especially like this one. It tells us that the greatest income redistribution scheme in the last 100 years was actually World War II and the wartime economy (which has some similarities to command economies).


You can see how concentration of wealth at the top rapidly eroded across the world when WWII started and then rapidly reasserted itself since the Reagan/Thatcher era.

It is the brosocdem bible though, you're right about that, because its still ideologically capitalist.
 
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whiskeystrike

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
212
Since I'll try to be less of a lurker I might as well make a formal introduction.

My stance on everything at the moment is "I don't know and I'm not sure if I'll ever know enough to be sure about anything"

I'm an uneducated (for now) and stupid white southerner who got out of the military last year and am now a full-time student studying computer science.

My mom has worked her whole life (nearly) and can't afford to live in the city she grew up in due to insane housing costs and that frustrates the hell out of me.

The benefits I enjoyed in the military is what pushed me towards brocialism but for a long time I've only repeated platitudes and whatnot.

All those political quizzes put me pretty far left but I'm uncomfortable about joining the internet fray however anarcho-syndicalism sounds really cool.