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Socialism |OT| The Dawn of a Red Era

Oct 28, 2017
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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?
Can't say I know anything about it but I'd also be interested if anyone has any material.
The reference from October is Kamp, M. (2015). Debating Sharia: The 1917 Muslim Women’s Congress in Russia. Journal of Women’s History, 27(4), 13–37.

That article also references some other books that sound like they are more broad, and some non-english sources.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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North Jackson High
I've had anarcho-syndicalism on the brain lately and am wondering if folks here could recommend some reading. I'm interested in the theory of it as well as historical praxis (which would really just be Revolutionary Catalonia and maybe Makhno in Ukraine although I'm not sure how much his group actually controlled).
 
Oct 29, 2017
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There are a couple of really dumb comments, and the Deng apologia is garbage, but the discussion of organization and party politics is interesting. Especially the concept that the class seems to have learned, that the revolutionary simply taking power is not sufficient and does not complete the revolution.

https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4133-alain-badiou-we-are-at-a-new-beginning-of-marxist-thought


The subtitle of your book – ‘Les deux révolutions du XXe siècle’ – suggests that there were only these two revolutions. Why not bring in the German revolution of 1918, for example, or the Spanish revolution of 1936?

AB: As Lenin said, the twentieth century would be the century of victorious revolutions. This statement should be understood as meaning that ‘interesting’ revolutions, ones that we can learn from, could no longer be, after 1917, ones that collapsed. The Leninist criterion here is clearly the question of taking power. After 1917, we were no longer in a situation like that of the young Lenin, reflecting on the lessons of the Paris Commune, perhaps the main revolution of the nineteenth century, even though one in the modality of bloody failure. What we must reflect on now is a success of communist thought in terms of taking power.

For, however moving and, in some respects, admirable were the actions of the Spartakists in Germany in 1918 or the anarchists in Catalonia in the late 1930s, they were still, in terms of their rapid and catastrophic end, a kind of echo of the nineteenth century in the twentieth. Which is why we can say that what has educational value in the twentieth century, when the criterion is taking power, is essentially the Chinese experience, and secondarily that of North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam… It is striking, moreover, that none of these cases was one of urban working-class insurrection in the classical sense, such as dominated the nineteenth century, including the Paris Commune, and finally October 1917. It was rather the process of war – ‘revolutionary war’ – in a peasant milieu. The newness thus already shifts to questions around taking power.

But, with the degeneration of the socialist states throughout the world in the late twentieth century, the newness shifted again: what we have to reflect on, above all, are the reasons for this degeneration, and how to relaunch the communist movement beyond the strict and necessary question of taking power. The question becomes: what to do so that the communist movement continues and imposes its law even on the new state established by the protagonists of that movement? And here, the major reference is indeed the Cultural Revolution, including its failure. Exactly as that of the Paris Commune, including its failure, was for Lenin. The Cultural Revolution was the Paris Commune of the era of the socialist states and their disappearance.

Revolutionary militants throughout the world have been enduringly affected by the experience of ‘really existing socialism’, such as that of Maoist China. Do recent experiences make you optimistic as to the permanence of a global current of communist thought?

AB: Precisely because the question of communist politics is no longer reducible to the question of the revolutionary taking of state power, however necessary this may be, we are at a new beginning, a new accentuation of the fundamental points of Marxist thought. In particular, questions of the egalitarian transformation of the organization of work, the industrialization of the countryside, the advent of the polymorphous worker beyond the division between manual and intellectual work, questions of real internationalism, the permanent existence of popular assemblies at all levels, exercising supervision over the state: all this – which in Marx and Lenin was at a theoretical level, but which was experimented and tested in Mao’s China – must govern the reconstitution of a global communist current. This will happen, in the conditions of a new beginning that are always severe.

One of the lessons you draw from the failure of the Cultural Revolution is that ‘any politics of emancipation must finish with the party model, or the model of parties, must assert itself as a “non-party” politics, though without falling into the anarchist pattern, which has never been anything but vain criticism, or a double, or a shadow, of the communist parties.’ What do you see as the right balance? What forms of organization do you have in mind?

AB: This is a fundamental question, but it will have to give rise to real experiments. The whole point is that we have to escape from the simple opposition between party-state on the one hand and popular masses on the other. The political dialectic must involve three terms, as we see already in Mao’s text from the 1920s, ‘How Can Red Political Power Exist in China?’ There must be popular organizations, with their assemblies, their meetings, able to inspire independent mass movements at every level; there must be a political organization that is present everywhere, explicitly bearing the communist project, not as a description or dogma, but as a system of appropriate slogans and a vision of the future. And there must be a state, at least for a long period.

The most complex point is the following, how to make sure that the dialectic of popular movements and assemblies on the one hand, and the political organization on the other, operates vis-à-vis the state not to obey it, but in a sense to force it to encourage everything that leads in the direction of a communist society? This is clearly impossible if the political organization fuses together with the state, as was the case with communist parties in power. How to maintain the threefold character of instances of collective decision? That is our problem after the Cultural Revolution, just as, after the Paris Commune, Lenin’s problem was how to build a communist organization capable not only of taking power but of keeping it.

That is why we are now in what my friend Emmanuel Terray has called the ‘third day’ of communism. With Marx, we had the first day: formulation of principles in a context of repeated failure of workers’ insurrections. With Lenin, the second day: victory is possible, but the genuinely communist character of this victory is precarious. Today, after Mao, the third day: to invent the communist organization of the era of failure of socialist states.
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
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The reference from October is Kamp, M. (2015). Debating Sharia: The 1917 Muslim Women’s Congress in Russia. Journal of Women’s History, 27(4), 13–37.

That article also references some other books that sound like they are more broad, and some non-english sources.
Thanks!

I've had anarcho-syndicalism on the brain lately and am wondering if folks here could recommend some reading. I'm interested in the theory of it as well as historical praxis (which would really just be Revolutionary Catalonia and maybe Makhno in Ukraine although I'm not sure how much his group actually controlled).
I guess all the anarcho-syndicalists fell into a Thanksgiving food coma or died.
 
May 8, 2018
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I am a Nurse Assistant in a Skilled Nursing Facility in Southern California and I see the census everyday, 90% of these patients are on Medicare or Medical. Their care and stay is still constantly compromised by the for-profit healthcare system in the US, they are being gouged and manipulated for profits at just about every turn. I wasn't a hard socialist for a while, but seeing this shit, and realizing the power of worker co-ops in a fair and just society has turned me into quite the progressive. My biggest issue is making the argument for others.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I've had anarcho-syndicalism on the brain lately and am wondering if folks here could recommend some reading. I'm interested in the theory of it as well as historical praxis (which would really just be Revolutionary Catalonia and maybe Makhno in Ukraine although I'm not sure how much his group actually controlled).
Maybe Pyotr/Peter Kropotkin's writing and George Woodcock's Anarchism (1962) would be up your alley?
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
6,587
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Here's one that will probably make House kill himself.

The Socialist Memelords Radicalizing Instagram

Meet the people behind the accounts challenging capitalist rhetoric on Instagram.

Before she started posting memes on Instagram, the person behind the account @gayvapeshark“didn’t know shit about socialism,” she said

“I was raised by parents and society to think socialism was the worst possible thing,” she told me in a direct message on Instagram. However, like a growing number of millennials, the dominant pro-capitalist narrative left her feeling disillusioned. “I always had this sense that everything was wrong, and we lived in a sick world but I didn’t have any answers,” she said. “Eventually I started reading communist literature and began to purge myself of anti-communist rhetoric.”


...

According to Jenson Leonard, known online as @coryintheabyss, socialist Instagram is on the rise. “I see a new socialist meme page pop up everyday,” he told me. “Lots of people are getting radicalized and brought into political consciousness through memes, and I think the beauty of that is a real ambience of revolutionary intent is fomenting. At bare minimum it feels like an inevitable, dialectal moment of contestation.”

...

Anyone with internet and a smartphone can make and share memes, and Leonard believes they “possess a socialist character.” As Constable said, “We steal, repurpose, re-examine, and ultimately redefine everything from celebrities to politicians to corporate logos and redistribute these skewed ideas to the public for free.” Memes are an easily accessible, widely shareable, and independent medium that exists outside the confines of cultural gatekeepers and media conglomerates, Leonard added. “Memes have an undeniable motility that you just don’t get from other mediums. They are mass media communes,” he said.

Leonard believes memes function as a form of “social corroboration,” an affirmation of a truth or moment that grows more powerful the more it’s shared, and often, more dangerous. Many of Instagram’s socialist meme pages share a DIY aesthetic that subverts and satirizes the hegemony of mega meme culture and its typical aesthetic format—black text on a white background above a photo or tweet. “Compared to most memes, mine are overproduced,labored over in the adobe suite for hours, sometimes weeks. I craft ‘auteur memes.’ I don’t like to follow meme trends, as that capitulates conformity,” Leonard said.


https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ev3vgz/the-socialist-memelords-radicalizing-instagram
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Putting macro text on top of a picture is not a meme. A meme is defined by its virality. Yes, some memes contain image macros, but mere formal characteristics do not result in virality. An image with macro text is, in being called a meme, an act of transforming the freedom of the internet into a mode of capital production. The macro image is reliant on the value of someone else's labour, which it repurposes for one's own gain--in this case, the title of memelord, which is, to be clear, a further abomination. It is the height of exploitation. Once, the virality of memes was an example of the democracy of the internet. Now, even memes are manufactured, and the internet is dead, and I've made myself nauseous.
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
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Of course. Because moderates aren't shit.

Even MLK knew that shit.
Whenever I see this quote I'm just stupified how some people here in the US who post it and claim to agree with it can like the Democratic Party. I can understand how people can hold their nose and vote for them, but the stanning I see for it sometimes and the pushback when we're critical or it just doesn't make sense to me.

I guess it has an internal logic to it if one is a liberal and thinks the solution to racism is more liberalism (by itself).

If MLK were alive he'd be tearing the party apart for their imperialism and capitalism apologia, and some of these same people would say he's Naive and Just Doesn't Get It.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Whenever I see this quote I'm just stupified how some people here in the US who post it and claim to agree with it can like the Democratic Party. I can understand how people can hold their nose and vote for them, but the stanning I see for it sometimes and the pushback when we're critical or it just doesn't make sense to me.

I guess it has an internal logic to it if one is a liberal and thinks the solution to racism is more liberalism (by itself).
The problem i see there, is more a cause of the FPTP model that both our countries have. So there isn't viable alternative.

A proportional representation system using the Single Transferable Vote method. Would solve a lot of problems.
If MLK were alive he'd be tearing the party apart for their imperialism and capitalism apologia, and some of these same people would say he's Naive and Just Doesn't Get It.
That's precisely why he isn't alive. They killed him when he started calling out that shit.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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If MLK were alive he'd be tearing the party apart for their imperialism and capitalism apologia, and some of these same people would say he's Naive and Just Doesn't Get It.
He'd be called a Bernie Bro or he'd be considered another Cornel West.

Whenever I see this quote I'm just stupified how some people here in the US who post it and claim to agree with it can like the Democratic Party. I can understand how people can hold their nose and vote for them, but the stanning I see for it sometimes and the pushback when we're critical or it just doesn't make sense to me.
I think the same thing when people defend Democrats using bigoted language in order to get more votes. Or I've seen some who want to make it more difficult for those living in rural areas to vote and view black people and other minorities living in those areas as collateral damage.
 
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sphagnum
Oct 25, 2017
6,587
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I've been thinking, was Stalin a Nazi? Since he advocated Socialism in One Country, which is like national socialism, right?!?
I actually can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not because of the punctuation, but Stalin certainly had a lot of policies adjacent to fascism. The economic structure was significantly different, but the authoritarian single party state, oppression of various minorities, extrajudicial violence etc. were all there. Ideological justifications underpinning it were different though.