Socialism |OT| The Dawn of a Red Era

umop 3pisdn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,776
Hey guys. I'm still sitting through some personal stuff, but I've managed to do writeups on some socialist tendencies and I've done a bunch of research. I've been going through chronological order, so I decided to describe three major pre-Marxist leftist tendencies that had major influence: Fourierism, Blanquism, and Mutualism. Here are those:



Any thoughts?
I thought this was really well done. I appreciate the historical approach and this struck me as a varied and incisive account of a history of thought that I am not yet familiar with. Also occult socialism and anti-lions(?!) are kind of my new aesthetic.
 

Haubergeon

Member
Jan 22, 2019
550
One thing I realized in the wake of the whole "Kamala Harris proposes hilariously convoluted meager student loan reimbursement scheme" is that socialism faces a very peculiar problem in winning over centrists/liberals, and that's just that it's so much more simple that it turns them off.

Liberals seem to love thinking of these outrageously complex plans for solving problems with relatively straightforward solutions because of their predilection for that kind of "work smarter, not harder" philosophy and how much they love affixing the "smart" onto everything like a prefix. Smart power, smart diplomacy, "put the smart people back in charge" etc. So if someone comes up with a plan that has like fifty different levels of micro-targeting to it with varying clauses, it's like their eyes just glaze over and they think "wow, this is so deep, this person has a Serious Plan" and when a socialist just says "We will just straight up abolish the student loan debt" in comparison, those same people just kind of scoff and think "oh, pff, you think it's that easy? Try being Serious for once."

It reminds me of needlessly complex gimmicky weight loss regimes. A few years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight and dropped around 30 pounds, and whenever someone in my family asked how I did it, it was like my answer actually upset them - I cut out soda and just ate less/broke smaller meals into tinier portions to sate cravings. They wanted some sort of complex secret, but the answer was just so simple and straightforward it was disappointing - you consume less calories, that's it. Socialist policy to social and economic problems is often so straightforward I think it turns some people off because so many people have internalized this silly idea that the best kind of policy is the kind with five thousand layered levels to it and anything that just proposes something like "Actually, just give poor people more money" comes off like it's childish and dumb.

Bernie has a closely related problem in how he actually identifies root causes to most issues - it annoys the hell out of some Liberals that Bernie brings up "the billionaires" in response to most issues, because he correctly draws lines between issues instead of treating every single one of them like completely separated, individual problems with no shared cause. The idea of it being that straight-forward, again, is drilled into some people as not being credible, somehow.
 

Televator

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,973
One thing I realized in the wake of the whole "Kamala Harris proposes hilariously convoluted meager student loan reimbursement scheme" is that socialism faces a very peculiar problem in winning over centrists/liberals, and that's just that it's so much more simple that it turns them off.

Liberals seem to love thinking of these outrageously complex plans for solving problems with relatively straightforward solutions because of their predilection for that kind of "work smarter, not harder" philosophy and how much they love affixing the "smart" onto everything like a prefix. Smart power, smart diplomacy, "put the smart people back in charge" etc. So if someone comes up with a plan that has like fifty different levels of micro-targeting to it with varying clauses, it's like their eyes just glaze over and they think "wow, this is so deep, this person has a Serious Plan" and when a socialist just says "We will just straight up abolish the student loan debt" in comparison, those same people just kind of scoff and think "oh, pff, you think it's that easy? Try being Serious for once."

It reminds me of needlessly complex gimmicky weight loss regimes. A few years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight and dropped around 30 pounds, and whenever someone in my family asked how I did it, it was like my answer actually upset them - I cut out soda and just ate less/broke smaller meals into tinier portions to sate cravings. They wanted some sort of complex secret, but the answer was just so simple and straightforward it was disappointing - you consume less calories, that's it. Socialist policy to social and economic problems is often so straightforward I think it turns some people off because so many people have internalized this silly idea that the best kind of policy is the kind with five thousand layered levels to it and anything that just proposes something like "Actually, just give poor people more money" comes off like it's childish and dumb.

Bernie has a closely related problem in how he actually identifies root causes to most issues - it annoys the hell out of some Liberals that Bernie brings up "the billionaires" in response to most issues, because he correctly draws lines between issues instead of treating every single one of them like completely separated, individual problems with no shared cause. The idea of it being that straight-forward, again, is drilled into some people as not being credible, somehow.
Liberals: More complex = more smarter = fulfillment of their technocrat fetish

Like, knowing what you’re doing matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Convoluted means tested plans are a way to signal to an overly emphasized trait, and it becomes a superficial and farcical characteristic.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Now the eastern body of land, the so-called old world, contained nearly all the tamable animals and all the cultivable species of grain but one; while the western continent, America, possessed only one tamable mammal, the llama (even this only in a certain part of the South), and only one, although the best, species of grain: the corn. From now on, these different conditions of nature lead the population of each hemisphere along divergent roads, and the landmarks on the boundaries of the various stages differ in both cases.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Engel's thesis is interesting because it echoes the one I read in the book Gun, Germs and Steel which advocates a kind of historical determinism based on material conditions of geography, resources and species distribution.

Reading Origins is like taking an undergrad course on anthropology except when I took Anthro 101 I wasn't tasked with reading Engels. I wonder how much of Origins actually holds up in modern day anthro.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Also it's wild reading about these alternate societal structure that have long since been crushed into a homogenous paste by capitalism, especially with Hawaii. Punaluans actually lived in Engels' day although only fragments of their culture remains in the, now prime vacation area, of Hawaii.
 

anthro

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
273
Engel's thesis is interesting because it echoes the one I read in the book Gun, Germs and Steel which advocates a kind of historical determinism based on material conditions of geography, resources and species distribution.

Reading Origins is like taking an undergrad course on anthropology except when I took Anthro 101 I wasn't tasked with reading Engels. I wonder how much of Origins actually holds up in modern day anthro.
His thesis on human reproduction following a development from the matrilineal to the patrilineal form became contentious in anthropology for decades, arguably due to red-baiting because of explicit statements made by some of his influential detractors that acceptance of a theory of early group marriage would have damaging effects on social order. It is much less contentious now, although Engels is often framed as though he believed that each particular instance of early human society ALWAYS began with a matrilineal form. This even led to the attempt of falsifying the thesis through simply trying to find an example of tribal groups that didn't show any signs of being matrilineal. I'm not a scholar on Engels or anything, but I don't read him as suggesting that in Origins of the Family, or his general point resting on that kind of belief. Rather, that the conditions of early man made it more likely that those groups would be matrilineal. I think this remains pretty defensible to this day, although some of the details and case studies in Origins of the Family may be considered inaccurate now.
 

Rupetta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
746
Boston/Helsinki
Yeah it's hard to differentiate between critique of Engels and general anti-socialism from people raised as capitalist defenders. I'm starting to veer into the rabbit hole of capitalist anthropology commentary on Marx and Engels.

To paraphrase Hal Draper, to say that Engels is rejected by modern anthropologists is as true as saying Marx is rejected by modern sociologists...

The most important marxist updates on Origins comes from Silvia Federici, I always suggest reading Caleban and the Witch as a companion to Origins...
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
To paraphrase Hal Draper, to say that Engels is rejected by modern anthropologists is as true as saying Marx is rejected by modern sociologists...

The most important marxist updates on Origins comes from Silvia Federici, I always suggest reading Caleban and the Witch as a companion to Origins...
Josh Bowen
5.0 out of 5 starsI never finished the book
November 8, 2018
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My step mom said this book was radicalizing me so she threw it in the trash when I wasn't looking.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,262
If we're on that sort of anthropological-style analysis, would the bread book be a good next book for the book club?
 

anthro

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
273
Yeah it's hard to differentiate between critique of Engels and general anti-socialism from people raised as capitalist defenders. I'm starting to veer into the rabbit hole of capitalist anthropology commentary on Marx and Engels.

Actually I think I misrepresented that whole argument. I think the contention was more that Engels had a linear notion of historical development. As in, the matrilineal always turned into the patrilineal, so that there was an attempt to find a patrilineal society transforming into a matrilineal society to show that there was no linearity there. But I think the way this misrepresents how both Engels and Marx considered history is still similar to what I was saying above, which was more like a set of material conditions that could support many different social forms. However, the material conditions change and give rise to new social forms, so that you could observe a society that could go from slave to feudal back to slave, but the feudal society may have been dependent on a set of material conditions that simply didn't exist when clan society was dominant.

In addition to that, certain modes of production may be more likely to prosper given certain material conditions, and to become the prevailing modes of production. So once capitalism has been unleashed you may find clan societies still sprinkled about in remote parts of the world, you may even see some instances of people from capitalist society retreating into an isolated agrarian society, but one form can be seen as more dominant.

Bit of a digression, but on the other hand I'm not very interested in how Engels authentically felt historical development operated. He may have been a little Whiggish, I'm not confident either way, but I figure the most charitable interpretation of historical materialism is as the development of new ways of organizing the human group to reproduce itself given some constraints, which are not necessarily progressive or linear. These new social forms have a tendency to change their material conditions, and in turn change themselves. I tend to think that what appears to be the impetus to look for the least convincing form of an argument indicates a bias, and that a lot of the anthropologists who stood against Origins of the Family had that bias and were trying to convince themselves Engels had absolutely no merit. Even if Engels made errors, the basic argument that group marriage and matrilineal kinship had characteristics which made them adaptive to the conditions of early humans doesn't seem as incredible as saying that the development from matrilineal kinship to patrilineal and from group marriage to the nuclear family was both progressive and necessarily linear.
 
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samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Actually I think I misrepresented that whole argument. I think the contention was more that Engels had a linear notion of historical development. As in, the matrilineal always turned into the patrilineal, so that there was an attempt to find a patrilineal society transforming into a matrilineal society to show that there was no linearity there. But I think the way this misrepresents how both Engels and Marx considered history is still similar to what I was saying above, which was more like a set of material conditions that could support many different social forms. However, the material conditions change and give rise to new social forms, so that you could observe a society that could go from slave to feudal back to slave, but the feudal society may have been dependent on a set of material conditions that simply didn't exist when clan society was dominant.

In addition to that, certain modes of production may be more likely to prosper given certain material conditions, and to become the prevailing modes of production. So once capitalism has been unleashed you may find clan societies still sprinkled about in remote parts of the world, you may even see some instances of people from capitalist society retreating into an isolated agrarian society, but one form can be seen as more dominant.

Bit of a digression, but on the other hand I'm not very interested in how Engels authentically felt historical development operated. He may have been a little Whiggish, I'm not confident either way, but I figure the most charitable interpretation of historical materialism is as the development of new ways of organizing the human group to reproduce itself given some constraints, which are not necessarily progressive or linear. These new social forms have a tendency to change their material conditions, and in turn change themselves. I tend to think that what appears to be the impetus to look for the least convincing form of an argument indicates a bias, and that a lot of the anthropologists who stood against Origins of the Family had that bias and were trying to convince themselves Engels had absolutely no merit. Even if Engels made errors, the basic argument that group marriage and matrilineal kinship had characteristics which made them adaptive to the conditions of early humans doesn't seem as incredible as saying that the development from matrilineal kinship to patrilineal and from group marriage to the nuclear family was both progressive and necessarily linear.
This reminds me of some of the bad faith argumentation around evolution like "why we still got monkeys?". The point of evolution leading to species diversity is that there are many possible forms of life that can exist on Earth and one is not necessarily superior to another, what matters only is how well they adapt to their immediate environment.
 

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,587
Engel's thesis is interesting because it echoes the one I read in the book Gun, Germs and Steel which advocates a kind of historical determinism based on material conditions of geography, resources and species distribution.

Reading Origins is like taking an undergrad course on anthropology except when I took Anthro 101 I wasn't tasked with reading Engels. I wonder how much of Origins actually holds up in modern day anthro.
I noticed much the same similarities, albeit the reaction couldn't be further apart. Spoopy commie energy wearing off?
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Reaction to Engels' work, versus Diamond's.
Ah, yeah, like Rupetta and anthro indicated it seems the rejection of Engels, in his day, was due to its radicalness (anthropology not being an extant field) and in the modern day, due to red scare (spoopie commies). It has very little to do with the ideas themselves, which is simply that human society is molded by their environments, something you have to accept for anthropology and sociology to exist as fields at all.

Within Engels' words I hear the fixed human nature fallacy that seems to have dominated his day, as it dominate discussion even on a center-left, educated board like this. It's perhaps human nature to attribute the status quo to human nature.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
Hype, I actually watched the draft version of that already on Patreon but I'll watch it again.
 

Eylos

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,479
Im pissed and tired of prejudice against poor people, homeless people or landless people is normalized even here. I Will start to read only the game side.
 

TheModestGun

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,329
The grossness of some of the centrist loudmouths in poliera is really starting to make me feel like they deserve the re-election of trump.

I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen, but my god I’m beginning to hate bog standard corporate liberals almost as much as I hate conservatives. At least they get social issues right I guess minus the classism.
 

samoyed

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,009
The grossness of some of the centrist loudmouths in poliera is really starting to make me feel like they deserve the re-election of trump.
The people you refer to are generally well-equipped to weather Trump (wealthy, urban, white). It's the unfortunate consequence of being political bedfellows with them. They have much less to lose than you do and, subconsciously, they're aware of it.

Hence the subliminal disdain.
 
Jun 17, 2019
397
So I’m not sure how people here feel about it, but in the face of 2 mass shootings yesterday, the existence of Socialist Rifle Association/John Brown Gun Club type people is really feeding into my complete hopeless despair that we are ever going to meaningfully stop gun violence and mass shootings. At least conservatives are generally stupid and paranoid enough you can understand why they have the insane ideas about guns that they do. SRA types, you would think should be smart enough to know better.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,262
The last time a member of the John Brown Gun Club made the news it was because he got shot to death by the police for trying to destroy ICE transports. They're on a bit of a different kick than your usual democratic socialist-- they're more the revolutionary type. So like... I guess I wouldn't despair much, unless you're a revolutionary yourself.
 

Bronx-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,559
For anyone at the DSA Convention in Atlanta right now, how you enjoying yourself? All I've heard from it so far is the votes on antifascism, and a bunch of shitheels on Twitter mocking the disabled.
 
Oct 25, 2017
478
I feel like there's a reasonable compromise between "the real working class are all archie bunkers who just got their job at the steel mill outsourced to mexico and are just reactionary balls of hate and we have to appeal to that" and "whispering is ableist"
 

Ogodei

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,370
North Jackson High
My fun fact about Charles Fourier was that he wanted to domesticate whales for shipping (being the last days of the pre-steamship era).

Engel's thesis is interesting because it echoes the one I read in the book Gun, Germs and Steel which advocates a kind of historical determinism based on material conditions of geography, resources and species distribution.

Reading Origins is like taking an undergrad course on anthropology except when I took Anthro 101 I wasn't tasked with reading Engels. I wonder how much of Origins actually holds up in modern day anthro.
Guns Germs and Steel's historical determinism is often popular on the more "respectable" sides of the right, unfortunately, because it suggests that western society is blameless for its superiority which was baked in based on what was available.

However, there's some truth to it. A pluralistic society, required for successful liberalism much less democratic socialism, requires first a certain level of centralization to create a sense of civil society and overcome tribalism. Europe and Asia typically had what was needed for the easier creation of centralized societies: horses, cattle, strong river systems, a temperate climate (to avoid tropical disease), and grain. Other places outside of Eurasia had maybe a few of these boons (like native North America having strong river systems and corn, Andean South America having llamas for pack animals), or none at all (like Sub-Saharan Africa, with tropical disease, rivers either too rough or too seasonal to be fully used as thoroughfares, no pack animals, and weak native staple crops).

But that's only about getting to a base-camp, and we can see the wide variation of quality of societies, from highly exploitative to the most inclusive societies that we've managed thus far, in Eurasia, to see that just having the standards is not sufficient to determine who becomes a liberal society and takes off from feudalism/ancient-style imperialism. Like how Japan had the right balance of decentralization to adapt to the liberal order much more easily than China.
 
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phazedplasma

Member
Oct 27, 2017
871
So I’m not sure how people here feel about it, but in the face of 2 mass shootings yesterday, the existence of Socialist Rifle Association/John Brown Gun Club type people is really feeding into my complete hopeless despair that we are ever going to meaningfully stop gun violence and mass shootings. At least conservatives are generally stupid and paranoid enough you can understand why they have the insane ideas about guns that they do. SRA types, you would think should be smart enough to know better.
Know better about what?