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Ask a Red III

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Feb 6, 2012.

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  1. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    up yours!
    You are talking to someone whose way of reducing violence is giving guns to everyone and make vigilantism compulsory.
     
  2. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    I approve of Lenin.
    I do not approve of the things Lenin is popularly known for doing.
     
  3. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I also approve of Lenin's fancy beard and ability to stare vaguely-yet-charismatically into the middle distance, if that helps.
     
  4. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    I'm going to quote myself,

    What is the correct way to understand the Jewish Question? Would you agree with this or is there a better interpretation?
     
  5. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    More or less. Marx adopts an ironic (and somewhat clumsy, if we're honest) anti-Semitism for rhetorical purposes to challenge the liberal secularism of German democrats. His argument is that the bourgeois individuality they simplistically identify with "freedom" is no such thing, but rather a distilled form of unfreedom. Marx's Jew is a function of capitalism, and his emancipation can neither taken the form of simple legal emancipation or of assimilation as espouser by Bauer and his colleagues, but only of the destruction of the social order which demands this function.

    I don't think that the comparison to the sort of populist race-baiting you describe earlier in your post is valid, though- what they propose is that existing society is basically good, but is corrupted by an alien minority (ethnic or, as in Chavez's vulgar socialism, class), while what Marx argues is that it is the existing society itself that demands overthrow, and the activities of any such minorities is simply an expression of that order- as is the supposedly "noble" labour of the workers themselves!
     
  6. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    Well its not just that he was a communist, I was under the impression that he was also a cruel dictator, although maybe my knowledge is lacking?

    What do you guys like about him?

    Not exactly.
     
  7. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    On that topic, Lenin has a pretty widespread appeal in the developing world as one of the only communist writers to ever explicitly address the nature of imperialism and the developing world in a way that appealed to local revolutionaries.

    I recall visiting Malaysia not so long ago and I was at a friends house and I walk into their house and guess whose picture I see on the wall gazing charismatically into middle distance? None other than Vladimir Ulyanov himself, complete with garland around the picture.
     
  8. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I appreciate you not automatically rolling one into the other.

    Lenin's contributions to communist theory and our understanding of capitalism are invaluable. He provided important updates to Marx to cover developments following Marx's death, most notably on the impact of finance capital, and the imperialist stage of capitalism. He made the first successful socialist revolution in the world, and laid the foundation for what would become the first socialist society. Whether or not his successors followed in his footsteps correctly or not is a matter of contentious debate, but then we cannot fault men for what happens after their death, beyond their control.

    More personally, I admire Lenin for his strength of character, his ability to see through the haze and see what must be done, as well as having the stomach to follow his conclusions. And I'm not just talking about dictates on his part during the revolution. Another example is in his family: Lenin loved children, but he always regretted that, because he and Nadezhda had chosen the revolutionary's life, they would never be able to raise kids properly in that environment, and so he remained childless. He was modest and unassuming, even when he was Premier of the USSR, but still had that persona that made him seem big (he was 5'4'').
     
  9. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    I mostly dislike Lenin and what he represents but I'll give him some credit for our independence. Had it been a less sympathetic leader to our cause the declaration of independence would've been responded by military actions. That said, it should be mentioned that also Lenin hoped & assumed that there were to be a communist revolution in Finland sooner rather than later and with that Sweden would be more likely to join in the revolutionary wave.

    Even with the deep dislike of the Soviet Union & it's leaders there has been a Lenin museum in Finland since 1946, the 1st outside the SU & the only one in western world and not funded by a communist party of any county.

    G
     
  10. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    Yeah, I know that communism doesn't automatically = the USSR or Maoist China. And I'm well aware that that's not what communists are trying to attain, however little else I may know about it.


    Did Lenin have any serious flaws (In your estimation) that may make it harder to respect him? What would you consider the most valid criticisms to his leadership, if any?
     
  11. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    The anarcist-hyphenated-somethingsists usually cite the vanguard party, democratic centralism, the crushing of the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Free Territory/Free State/Anarchist Ukraine, and Kronstandat along with the establishment of the Cheka, loss of independence of the Soviets and war communism as their main issues with Lenin and the Bolsheviks in general.
     
  12. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    See, thing is: that's not really true. Plenty of Marxists discussed imperialism and Lenin's work isn't all that exceptional or frankly even very good, it's more that his work later became the canon of the Party and of the Official Communist movement more generally. Most of what's really worthwhile in it is borrowed from Trotsky's work on uneven and combined development, and those are the bits which the Official Communists largely ignored in favour of a zombie-Orthodox stageism.

    I'm going to contradict Cheezy here and say that Lenin was an active participant in the euthanasia of the Russian revolutionary movement, which, yeah, makes it hard to lend him altogether too much respect. He was a capable organiser and advocate during the period of dual and soviet power, but as the Civil War dragged on and the European revolution failed to materialise, he shifted his loyalties pretty entirely to the party-state, suppressing independent soviets and committees, suppressing strikes, and suppressing opposition outside of (and increasingly within) the Party. By the time of his exit from politics, he was in practical terms a counter-revolutionary. I would tend to attribute this to the party-state structures in which he embedded himself, rather than to any personal failings of morality or character, though, so I don't know how far that can be taken as a comment on Lenin-as-individual. (Possibly the implication that Lenin-as-individual isn't all that important a consideration?)
     
  13. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    He showed a willingness to utilize extreme force where, in my opinion, it was not yet required. He also showed a personal disdain for people with different opinions than he.

    From the perspective of Lenin, after the success of the revolution in Russia, and the failure of the revolution in Europe, there was no need for a Russian revolutionary movement, was there? There was only the need to ferment and guide revolutionary movements in other countries, and to preserve the bulwark of socialism they had achieved in Russia, so as to aid in the success of those foreign revolutions. And that is precisely what Lenin undertook to create.
     
  14. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Well, see, that's the problem: there was no socialism in Russia. Socialism means the abolition of the wage-relation, which persisted uninterrupted in Russia throughout the entire period. Granted, this was not due to any sort of malicious Bolshevik scheming, but to the impossibility of producing socialist relations within the borders of a single country, even one as large as Russia. But the Bolsheviks, in gutting the soviets and the factory committees, participated in the destruction of the means by which they revolution could have been furthered, or indeed maintained, and laid the groundwork for the collapse of the precarious regime of progressive intellectuals in favour of Stalin's bureaucracy, which sealed the fate of the movement of 1917 for good. They bought the rope with which they hung themselves.
     
  15. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I didn't say socialism, I said The Revolution. I understand your point, that the revolutionary mindset is what will carry us from the revolution into socialism (and, in my opinion, that's a spirit that pervaded the Soviet mindset right up to the Purges, and might even have been retroactively extended through the death of Stalin, had his successors not blown their lead, so to speak - but I also understand that a different mindset existed between 1917-1922 and after 1922 as well), but I also think you're projecting an expectation of success at building socialism in a country wholly unready for it, regardless of the path Europe followed, which is in reality a more complete endorsement of Socialism in One Country than I am prepared to give!
     
  16. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    It's not even mind-set I'm getting at, it's organisation. The revolution was the soviets and factory committees: they represented the working class organised as a political subject, as the "real movement", and their usurpation by the Bolshevik party-state represented the practical termination of the revolution.
     
  17. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I feel like I'm reading Godzilla vs Mothra here.
     
  18. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Since, fortunately, most of the Reds here are also keen on history, I have a question about Red History.

    I'm rereading Elliot Gorn's Manly Art, which is both a work of Labor History, and a repudiation of Labor History as it exists.

    "If in the 1950s scholars assumed that America's working class was merely an extension of the petit bourgeoisie," writes Gorn "then those of the 1970s and 80s threaten to reduce culture to politics. I will state this baldly: most workers did not spend their free time reading the Rights of Man, toasting Tom Paine, and struggling to resist opression. Probably more hours were consumed at cockfights than at union meetings during the nineteenth century."


    He doesn't tarry on this point for too long, but I think the elaboration of his point is very easy to follow. Working class history is more or less the history of leftist politics. The anarchist in me feels that any political history is necessarily the history of the ruling class.

    On top of that, it seems to me that looking only at the politics of the radical left leaves us with a rose tinted view of the working class of the past. Oswald Mosely certainly made an impression on plenty of working class men and women the same as any number of figures on the left.

    On the other hand, any conscious history of the working class by it's nature has to be politically subversive because the political status quo does not want to acknowledge these people exist except as an "ambulatory vegetable." So it does seem that leftism and working class history are joined at the hip, for better or for worse.

    Do you think depoliticizing the history of the working class is productive? Is it even possible? Is it good for the working class, and is it good for history?
     
  19. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    There's definitely a tendency in Marxist history to over-emphasise formal politics, an expression I think of the Orthodox and Marxist-Leninist conception of the Party as the privileged bearer of some proletarian "essence"; the Party, for them, is the working class insofar as the class is worth talking about. Even dissident and heterodox Marxists had/have a bad habit of wandering down similar paths, because so much of their own understanding of political organisation revolved around somehow rescuing or reviving the Party of 1917.

    On the other hand, the political dimension in the broader sense, of power relations within society, is inescapable, because the working class is necessarily constituted within those power relations. Proles are the subordinate class within capitalist social relations; no power relations, no class, just a bunch of shop-keepers without much to sell. (I think this is also why moments of resistance demand so much attention; it's in the nature of power-relations to camouflage themselves, and it's only really as they begin to break down that we start seeing them for what they are.)

    I think the trick is in retaining a sense of this latter sense of politics, what you might awkwardly call "real" politics, without reducing it to formal politics (which I would say are not simply non-identical to "real" politics, but serve primarily to obscure it). A history of the working class that is all party-meetings but refuses to acknowledged the existence of cock-fights and beer isn't really a history of the working class, it's just a history of parties, but at the same time a history of the working class that talks about cockfights and beer without talking about the the power-relations between classes isn't really a history of the working class either, it's just a history of cockfights and beer.
     
  20. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish Deity

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    Would you guys consider "Imagine" by John Lennon to be a Communist song?

    What do you think of "Rage against the machine"?
     
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