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Socialism |OT| The Dawn of a Red Era

Jan 2, 2018
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I take solace in the fact that since this was aired on Fox Business it’s just preaching the gospel to their choir.

Also I fucking hate the term “crony capitalism”, it’s evasive af and obscures the fact that capitalism in whatever form it takes is inherently cronyism for the ruling class.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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What I don't understand (by the way this is not specific or limited to ERA) are those who want to maintain capitalism, yet criticize corporations for exploiting their workers. Capitalism's entire existence necessitates exploitation of workers for their labour.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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What I don't understand (by the way this is not specific or limited to ERA) are those who want to maintain capitalism, yet criticize corporations for exploiting their workers. Capitalism's entire existence necessitates exploitation of workers for their labour.
Those ppl have an inadequate (or no) conception of capital as a social relationship. Without understanding that it’s impossible to understand why exploitation is necessary for capital(ism) to exist.

So for those folks it always boils down to individualistic violations of human rights or decency, and no kind of systematic account for why society is organized along capitalist lines in the first place.
 
Oct 29, 2017
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What I don't understand (by the way this is not specific or limited to ERA) are those who want to maintain capitalism, yet criticize corporations for exploiting their workers. Capitalism's entire existence necessitates exploitation of workers for their labour.
Because we only now what's in front of us and our lived experience. See the meme I posted on this page. The concept of "what lies beyond" Capitalism is inherently foreign to everyone (hence why setting an ideal and building to it is a fool's errand). And, similarly, going back to previous discussions in this thread the concept that those bourgeoisie who overthrew the aristocracy would never have predicted what life in 2018 looks like.

I'm torn between who is worse though. Those who outwardly maintain that "capitalism sucks but what else can we do *shrug*" versus the strata of "socialists" (aka Left Capitalists) that wish to maintain capitalism but simply rebrand it as socialism: those who want to maintain capitalism by simply making the workers themselves the capitalists (worker owned means of production), nationalized within the Capitalist state, naked oppression of the working class through nebulous taxation, or Stalinism or etc. In both instances neither is willing to give up commodification and the pursuit (see the meme I posted on the previous page).

"Left of Capital" is still Capitalism.

In spite of my dismissiveness the limits of the modern day "Socialists" imagination is understandable.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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Also (and sorry for the double post) I learned a long time ago that trying to argue with people on this forum on the merits of Marxism and socialism is a fool’s errand. You’re not going to convince or dissuade the committed ideologues who have received their anti-Marxist, anti-socialist Starter Packs from Econ 101 classes and fancy themselves self-appointed philosophers casting a priori judgement on all things.

At the end of the day that isn’t who needs to be convinced to a socialist position. What makes my time here much easier is that I remember who actually needs to be won and that’s the mass of the working class. But working people are only going to be convinced if we can prove our arguments in practice, no amount of arid discussions with ERA “traditional intellectuals” is going to change that. Ultimately only organizing the working folks into a force that can fight for their political interests is the way to win people over to ending capitalism.

Build the mfing revolutionary party.
 
Oct 29, 2017
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I think it's the other way around though. You're right in that no amount of pontification is going to usher in Socialism, but no amount of formal "Party" building will either, as the goals and methods of the working class will never be fully known to a Party that, ultimately, revolves around formalisms and orthodoxy. The Professional Party is, ultimately, adjacent to the Working Class and its goals. The Vanguard of the working class is dynamic and resistant to formalism.

Even Lenin, the man who understood this and was able to put this concept down on paper was not above the eventual corruptible influence of the Party Platform over the Socialist Platform.

The "Revolutionary Party" already exists. The Working Class is the Party. Only it can decide the revolutionary program and when the time is right.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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The working class are the ones who are being exploited, and it's important to always keep that in mind. As soon as the working class are viewed as a threat or target or inadequate or incompetent is when we've betrayed our values.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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I disagree with your conflation of class and party, to say that the working class is the party (this formulation doesn’t make complete sense to me) is to disregard the fact that this state of affairs only exists as a potentiality, as a contingent result of the class struggle. In actuality the working class is politically and ideologically fragmented and dispersed, this is evidenced by the fact that there is no (at least in the US) political party that organizes itself on explicit working class interests and is independent of either capitalist party.

Judging by how you’ve problematized it (“formalism and orthodoxy”) you seem to have criticisms of the party as an organization as such. I would say that there is nothing inherent in the Marxist conception of political organization that means a party would or should be a straitjacket on the working class. That this is the historical experience of the traditional CPs doesn’t change that fact (an argument that goes for the idea socialism itself). It’s a matter of how this relationship between party and class is conceived and then put into practice.

It also isn’t true that the interests and goals of the class are somehow not able to be grasped by a party. The goal is precisely for the party to base itself and immerse itself in the class and it’s struggles to internalize and systematize the experiences and lessons of these struggles in a way that ensures the continuity of a revolutionary tradition. Otherwise the class as it typically exists under capitalism will be thrown from crisis to crisis under the leadership of the bourgeois class.

In some sense I discern a kind of left-com, Luxembourgist idea of ultra-“spontaneity” from what you’re saying. A kind of “the class will make revolution when it’s ready” kind of thing. We see from history that a revolutionary crisis does not necessarily mean a victory for the working class. Without the experience embodied by a class that has acquired the necessary political maturity to press that forward, a maturity embodied by an independent organization, then what you’ll find in the that faithful moment is confusion and dispair (Germany 1919) or a missed opportunity as capital manages to rehabilitate itself on a new basis (1968).
 
Oct 29, 2017
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The goal is precisely for the party to base itself and immerse itself in the class and it’s struggles
"From the outside in". The Party must become of the working class. As I mentioned above, the formal Party is adjacent of the working class and, ultimately, can not have the interest of the class at heart.

Otherwise the class as it typically exists under capitalism will be thrown from crisis to crisis under the leadership of the bourgeois class.
To be expected. Hegel, Engels, and Marx all spoke of the transformation of revolutionary struggle from the quantity of failed revolutions to successful ones. The aforementioned, consistent failure of formal Party's in the past is historical proof. Can the Working Class and their abandonment of formal "Communist Party's" be a symptom of the advancement of political consciousness? Has the true class party not demonstrated its democratic thought and rejected the organizational structures that speak of representing the working class but in action have completely abandoned the working class time and time again? Why should we assume it is because they lack education, need to be taught, need to be advertised their political situation when only the working class can determine for itself the Socialist Program.

It has nothing to do with "spontaneity". The working class will revolt at the time that "this state of affairs" is no longer tenable and the ruling class can no longer justify or maintain its hold on power. Just because I do not expect the working class to march when a formal Party demands it doesn't mean I expect everything to be thrown into the wind.

Without the experience embodied by a class that has acquired the necessary political maturity to press that forward, a maturity embodied by an independent organization, then what you’ll find in the that faithful moment is confusion and dispair (Germany 1919) or a missed opportunity as capital manages to rehabilitate itself on a new basis (1968).
"There are decades where nothing happens, there are weeks when decades happen". Revolutionary praxis spans generations and I don't know what the formal Party is supposed to provide for the working class to reach political maturity that which it can't obtain itself through living the life as a member of its class.

It is interesting that you bring up 1919 and 1968, two Revolutionary moments where the Working Class was betrayed by the formal Party Organizations.

I'd like to reiterate that your language is couched in verbiage of someone outside of the working class. "We must teach them" "we must advertise to them" "we must pass the Party experience to the working class" etc etc.

Also, Luxembourg wasn't a Leftcom.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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"From the outside in". The Party must become of the working class. As I mentioned above, the formal Party is adjacent of the working class and, ultimately, can not have the interest of the class at heart.



To be expected. Hegel, Engels, and Marx all spoke of the transformation of revolutionary struggle from the quantity of failed revolutions to successful ones. The aforementioned, consistent failure of formal Party's in the past is historical proof. Can the Working Class and their abandonment of formal "Communist Party's" be a symptom of the advancement of political consciousness? Has the true class party not demonstrated its democratic thought and rejected the organizational structures that speak of representing the working class but in action have completely abandoned the working class time and time again? Why should we assume it is because they lack education, need to be taught, need to be advertised their political situation when only the working class can determine for itself the Socialist Program.

It has nothing to do with "spontaneity". The working class will revolt at the time that "this state of affairs" is no longer tenable and the ruling class can no longer justify or maintain its hold on power. Just because I do not expect the working class to march when a formal Party demands it doesn't mean I expect everything to be thrown into the wind.



"There are decades where nothing happens, there are weeks when decades happen". Revolutionary praxis spans generations and I don't know what the formal Party is supposed to provide for the working class to reach political maturity that which it can't obtain itself through living the life as a member of its class.

It is interesting that you bring up 1919 and 1968, two Revolutionary moments where the Working Class was betrayed by the formal Party Organizations.

I'd like to reiterate that your language is couched in verbiage of someone outside of the working class. "We must teach them" "we must advertise to them" "we must pass the Party experience to the working class" etc etc.

Also, Luxembourg wasn't a Leftcom.
The process of education is a dialectical process, it’s as much a matter of the class educating the revolutionaries as it is the other way around. I’m not aware of any moment in which I put it differently. The pivotal point here is that socialist conclusions of the class struggle are not necessarily given, so there has to be an active intervention in order to draw those connections for people. I’m more struggling against the residues of mechanistic thinking in your position than anything else.

It’s more interesting to me that you interpret 1919 as a betrayal as I was speaking from the perspective of the Spartikusbund which threw itself headlong into a revolutionary period without the numbers and cohesion necessary to actually win, that’s the main point I was getting at. I never argued that the PCF was the authentic revolutionary force in 1968, but more arguing what the absence of a revolutionary pole will mean for the resolution of the crisis.

I mentioned Luxemburg vis a vis left-coms because that political tradition frequently uses Luxemburg as a political polemic in an anti-Leninist fashion without ever considering that she was politically committed to building a revolutionary organization her entire life (as well as always having been a member of an organization). The way you were framing it is very reminiscent of that.

Again I don’t know where you’re getting this “we must teach them” stuff from, I’m explicitly positing the party as an organization that strives achieve the unity of the class it’s trying to represent. You’re essentially misrepresenting my position in a way that many left-coms and anarchists chariature so-called “statist” Leninists.
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
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It’s more interesting to me that you interpret 1919 as a betrayal as I was speaking from the perspective of the Spartikusbund which threw itself headlong into a revolutionary period without the numbers and cohesion necessary to actually win, that’s the main point I was getting at.
SPD was the betrayal.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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SPD was the betrayal.
Sure and I agree with that, but the SPD was not a revolutionary party.

Again, I want to emphasize that the problem of organization is a central one and I don’t mean so in a typically vilified “What Is To Be Done“ orientation where the class is supposed to be the passive receptacle of whatever the party decides. If Marxism is supposed to be the unity of theory and practice then we need to seriously consider the way in which we move from a conception of class-in-itself to class-for-itself, how does the working class become a self-actualizing force? This means building organizations that allow working class members to decide, collectively and democratically on the basis of a shared assessment of the objective conditions they face and the lessons of the struggles what the best way forward is. Anything less is essentially giving up.
 
Oct 29, 2017
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it’s as much a matter of the class educating the revolutionaries as it is the other way around.
Who is more Revolutionary than the class? What can a "Revolutionary", outside of the class, teach the class about itself that it doesn't already know?

It’s more interesting to me that you interpret 1919 as a betrayal as I was speaking from the perspective of the Spartikusbund which threw itself headlong into a revolutionary period without the numbers and cohesion necessary to actually win
You had two self proclaimed formal parties of the working class bitterly bickering over who had the "right" Party Program. One used the Democratic Social State to liquidate the other, the other eventually used the Democratic Social State to liquidate their rivals, and the Working Class, when they eventually came to power. Just like with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the Party of Luxemburg became Statist and counter revolutionary in spite of Karl and Rosa's honorable work and political ambitions.

Both the SPD and the Spartacus League sold the working class out for Statist ambitions. And now the remnants of the Spartacus League are firmly NatBol.

Again I don’t know where you’re getting this “we must teach them” stuff from
Well, the bellow two comments you made seems to reinforce my assumption:

it’s as much a matter of the class educating the revolutionaries as it is the other way around.
to draw those connections for people.




so-called “statist” Leninists.
You mean Marxist-Leninists?

I hope I'm not obligated to explain why they're wrong.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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I don’t know if you’ve been looking around comrade but the class isn’t very revolutionary these days, and if you bulk at this and the fact that yes you need revolutionaries to lead a revolution then you’re much more stuck in the weeds than I ever expected.

Socialist consciousness is not a given, nor a simple matter of a mechanical process that will inexorably lead to a “come to Jesus” moment for the working class. To counter pose the actual process by which the working class acquires this consciousness with voluntarist notions of revolutionary self-identification is not only dangerous at it’s core it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what Marxism is. To ignore the question of organization doesn’t make it go away and it’s a question that will continue to reassert itself as social contradictions prevent the resolution of capitalist crisis.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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I don’t know if you’ve been looking around comrade but the class isn’t very revolutionary these days, and if you bulk at this and the fact that yes you need revolutionaries to lead a revolution then you’re much more stuck in the weeds than I ever expected.

Socialist consciousness is not a given, nor a simple matter of a mechanical process that will inexorably lead to a “come to Jesus” moment for the working class. To counter pose the actual process by which the working class acquires this consciousness with voluntarist notions of revolutionary self-identification is not only dangerous at it’s core it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what Marxism is. To ignore the question of organization doesn’t make it go away and it’s a question that will continue to reassert itself as social contradictions prevent the resolution of capitalist crisis.
"Socialist consciousness is not a given", so are you a utopian socialist? I personally fall into the belief that it's much more likely that material conditions are the key to revolution and not ideals (although they can help, but only to a certain extent). People are not going to revolt because they read Karl Marx's works, they are going to revolt because they're fed up with how life is and the way things are.
 
Jan 2, 2018
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No I’m not a utopian socialist...

I mean I don’t really understand where you would be getting that from? I’m saying that it’s unrealistic to think that people just automatically come to socialist conclusions based on their experience of capitalism. This is demonstrably false, ppl come to all kinds of conclusions based on their experiences, they range from reactionary racism to unrepentant revolutionary and everything in between. You also can’t say that ppl necessarily become socialists because of material conditions either, instead the right way to think about it is that both material and ideological conditions interplay in order to produce consciousness (ie dialectical conception of these two factors).

Nowhere did I ever suggest that it simply a matter of ideology (seriously, where are you getting this from?). Again people get fed up with capitalism but do not necessarily come to anti capitalist conclusions, this much is irrefutable. What’s necessary is an organized section of the working class that can draw lessons and pull in the members of their class that have not yet come to those same conclusions. They need to be able to demonstrate the validity of their theory IN PRACTICE. How is any of this utopian?
 
Oct 29, 2017
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I don’t know if you’ve been looking around comrade but the class isn’t very revolutionary these days, and if you bulk at this and the fact that yes you need revolutionaries to lead a revolution then you’re much more stuck in the weeds than I ever expected.

Socialist consciousness is not a given, nor a simple matter of a mechanical process that will inexorably lead to a “come to Jesus” moment for the working class. To counter pose the actual process by which the working class acquires this consciousness with voluntarist notions of revolutionary self-identification is not only dangerous at it’s core it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what Marxism is. To ignore the question of organization doesn’t make it go away and it’s a question that will continue to reassert itself as social contradictions prevent the resolution of capitalist crisis.
Tell me what Marxism is.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Boston/Helsinki
Finished Miéville' 'October' a while back (while I realize he takes some dramaturgical liberties, I thought I had a fairly good grasp of the events, I didn't) and followed up with a biography on Kollontai who I was fairly unfamiliar with - her timeline seems like the revolution in a nutshell, what a waste of great mind her life became....

October also peaked my interest in reading more on the people around the All-Russian Muslim Women's Conference- anyone have some additional reading around this topic to suggest?
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
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October also peaked my interest in reading more on the people around the All-Russian Muslim Women's Conference- anyone have some additional reading around this topic to suggest?
Can't say I know anything about it but I'd also be interested if anyone has any material.