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Communism

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Communism - the only hope for humanity or a big bag of bollocks?

Yes
42
36%
No
48
41%
I'm not sure
15
13%
If i'm honest i don't really know what it is
12
10%
 
Total votes : 117

Communism

Postby circle_ruler on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:17 am

following on from the Marx thread, and due to comments recently made my a certain drunk antipodean, i thought it might be a good idea to start a discussion about Communism.

there is a massive amount of confusion regarding this thing, not least amongst those who see themselves on the left-wing of politics (i'll stick my hand in the air on that one) so let's thrash this one out. maybe if we achieve a little more clarity then we can explain it better to people who have no knowledge of it whatsoever.
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Re: Communism

Postby Wood Goblin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:06 am

I assume we're talking Communism as it was actually implemented, correct?

About the best that can be said about Communism in that regard is that, at its absolutely most successful, it wasn't as brutal as the regime it replaced. There was also a generally progressive attitude about the role of women in society and a high regard to education and the availability of health care.

But otherwise, I'm pretty much on board with the status quo view: communism was one of the greatest disasters of the 20th century.
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Re: Communism

Postby Mick Shrimpton on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:52 am

Educate yourselves, people!
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Re: Communism

Postby dabrasha on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:55 am

Crap. Zero waffles (because the waffles are rotting in the distribution center and people are starving).
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Re: Communism

Postby Colonel Panic on Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:30 pm

Yeah, Communism (as outlined by Marx and Engels) is pretty awful in basic theory, but even worse in actual practice.

CRAP.
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Re: Communism

Postby Ernest on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:09 pm

Wood Goblin wrote:I assume we're talking Communism as it was actually implemented, correct?


You mean bureaucratic collectivism, a la Soviet Union?

Communism as the ideal is not crap, but it's a distraction from real world circumstances, and the necessity for the left to organize for socialism.

Colonel Panic wrote:Yeah, Communism (as outlined by Marx and Engels) is pretty awful in basic theory


Neither had much to say about what communism would be (maybe Engels wrote more, I'm not sure), or look like, apart from using it as a destination. Marx, for the most part, had no political programme, nor focused on communism nearly as much as his work on capitalism.

As far as it being the only hope for humanity, I couldn't say. Mankind has a talent for surviving it's own self imposed misery time and again.
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Re: Communism

Postby Ernest on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:16 pm

As far as actually implemented communism- why are we taking any regime's self-identification for what it actually is? You can't lump all of the supposed communist regimes together, the same way you can't honestly say that practice reflected theory.
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Re: Communism

Postby countwatula on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:36 pm

Crap, but the clueless art students who believe in it tend to form pretty good bands.
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Re: Communism

Postby czero on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:08 pm

Just a personal opinion, but for reasons I can't quite pin down, Communism as it is represented in most discussions just irks me. It makes me intuitively hate it, not just because of its "role" in the preceding events of history, but also because, in nearly all facets of discussion, it is spoken about in the midst of a debased lexicon.

Case in point -- walking around university campus and having dimwitted assholes hawking their Socialist alternative magazines or whatever, and failing to have an engaging discussion due to their adherence to some "restrictive" model (a model -- in its most adherent form -- incommensurate with the multitude of present-day issues) and their lack of impetus.

But maybe if I read those Frankfurt school philosophers I'd probably feel important as well.
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Re: Communism

Postby Wood Goblin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:45 pm

Ernest wrote:As far as actually implemented communism- why are we taking any regime's self-identification for what it actually is? You can't lump all of the supposed communist regimes together, the same way you can't honestly say that practice reflected theory.


Certainly. But I'm sure you'll also disagree with the bad-faith argument made by campus communists that Marxism was the only form of communism, when there was also Marxism-Leninism, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and so forth. The Soviet Union was a very real attempt to implement capital-C Communism (ha-"capital"!) and was recognized as such at the time by radicals around the world.

And no, you can't lump together the Soviet Union in with Tito's Yugoslavia or Mao's China or the Cuban Aristocracy of the People, but there are characteristics and aims those countries all shared, and those can be broadly defined as Communism.
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Re: Communism

Postby BClark on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:48 pm

tariq ali's book the idea of communism deserves to be read. came out just a few years ago, when (as now) communism seemed as ancient a relic as ever.

the book emphasizes the early emphasis of engels on maintaining a free press and the right to free assembly ("the oxygen" a society needs to breathe). fully acknowledges the failure of the chinese, russian, and korean experiments, and the shortfalls of the more humanist cuban experiment (expressing hope that bolivia and venezuela for instance might provide an example to cuba of a much more open, democratic society with a similar commitment to social program). makes no excuses for the communist-state boogeymen of past, but suggests that the "triumph of capitalism" since 1989 has turned out to be such a disaster that re-examining the original ideals of marx and engels is long overdue.
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Re: Communism

Postby kerble on Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:14 pm

CRA
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Re: Communism

Postby BClark on Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:58 pm

amelia wrote:You know, I think it would of worked in Cuba had it not been for the embargo and Castro's paranoia. They could of been a contender, man. I still believe it can be done, not following any of the previous installments and also having a really carefully placed system of checks and balances. But I am an idealist so :smt019

i basically agree -- they did achieve quite a bit in education and healthcare. a more open society is what they need. but that relates to what you mentioned, the paranoia of the castro brothers and the rest of the revolutionary leadership. independent, international observers have conducted various polls in cuba (a difficult task of course) and, as far as their results can be taken as representative, it seems that the pro-revolution leaders could easily win elections. they should have to reason to fear elections. but they have a paranoia that allowing elections, independent press/parties and civil society groups outside of the communist party, would just be another (and a still more effective) way for the US to destabilize them. open democracies in the socialist latin american countries have to contend with that all the time: when populist leaders emerge, the national endowment for democracy openly bankrolls highly unpopular elites and putchists in venezuela, bolivia and haiti.
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Re: Communism

Postby Cranius on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:07 pm

Colonel Panic wrote:Yeah, Communism (as outlined by Marx and Engels) is pretty awful in basic theory, but even worse in actual practice.


Care to elaborate as to what the basic theory is? I'm betting that no one on this thread that votes crap can even outline the fundamentals.

Anyone here a betting person?
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Re: Communism

Postby geiginni on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:49 pm

I'd like to see some ideologies that have been specifically derived for and adapted to the ecological and social realities of this century, rather than continued devotion to ideologies based on perceived economic and political realities of the 19th century.
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Re: Communism

Postby Cranius on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:50 pm

amelia wrote:Hey Cranius, you have any modern communism books you care to recommend?


There's lots out there to read, certainly some of which is soporific.

In terms of 'communist theory', rather than traditional Marxist theory, you could start with:

The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee

Or

Theory of a Girl by Tiqqun

They're one set ideas about anarcho-communism (perhaps not mine) but nonetheless provocative.

Otherwise, this article by Micheal Hardt summarises contemporary concerns within autonomous Marxism:Reclaim the common in communism

David Harvey is a favourite theorist for me: Interview

Here's Jodi Dean, who is a contemporary Leninist, explaining why democracy is not getting us anywhere: The Communist Horizon ("Goldman Sachs doesn't care if you're raising chickens").

And I'm looking forward to this film that surveys current Marxist thought: Marx Reloaded
Last edited by Cranius on Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Communism

Postby NiceOne on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:54 pm

Cranius wrote:
Colonel Panic wrote:Care to elaborate as to what the basic theory is? I'm betting that no one on this thread that votes crap can even outline the fundamentals.

Anyone here a betting person?


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Re: Communism

Postby lemur68 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:55 pm

kerble wrote:CRA


CCCraP
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Re: Communism

Postby Cranius on Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:14 pm

geiginni wrote:I'd like to see some ideologies that have been specifically derived for and adapted to the ecological and social realities of this century, rather than continued devotion to ideologies based on perceived economic and political realities of the 19th century.


We live in a world that continues to believe in the standard classical bullshit model of economics, as laid down in the 18th century. If we want to get beyond that we must understand Marx first. There can't be a overcoming of this retrogressive worldview, until we tackle the problem as outlined by Marx. Marxism determines capitalism, that is to say, it diagnoses, names and defines it. If we want to go beyond this pathological backwardness, as a species, we must first dismantle the present system.

Marx himself wasn't understood in his own time (Das Kapital sold 1,000 copies in the first edition and less than 200 copies in the second). He also was poorly understood by many of his adherents. And whilst I agree with Wood Goblin's initial post that communism as enacted in the 20th c. was utterly disastrous, this doesn't mean that Marx isn't a thinker who's time has come.

As long as capitalism exists (which won't be forever), it'll call forth its shadow, communism.
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Re: Communism

Postby kerble on Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:14 pm

Cranius wrote:And I'm looking forward to this film that surveys current Marxist thought: Marx Reloaded


Saw it. it sucked. Keanu didn't even have a beard:
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