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Ask A Red V: The Five-Year Plan

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    "I have no idea but let me deflect it back onto you so it looks like I do" would have been more concise.

    Would you like to try again?
     
  2. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    So basically you're saying most socialists are incorrect. What type of socialism would be correct in your opinion?

    Corbyn called Irish Republicans "heroes" and advocates withdrawing from NATO.

    That sounds pretty incorrect, seeing as both are rather unrelated to anything socialist. (Alternatively, of course, one could opt to simply to reduce its defense budget to the point of uselessness, such as the Netherlands have been doing.)
     
  3. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    No, because I refuse to give a meaningless answer, which is what any attempt to answer your question will yield.

    I'm a Marxist-Leninist.

    The Republicans fighting for national liberation from imperialism, and NATO being the military enforcer of European imperialism, both subjects are quite relevant to socialism.
     
  4. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    The only answers are meaningless? What does that even mean?

    It's kind of the most important question for most people in deciding if Marxism is a good path to go down. I thought this would be the place to ask(?)
     
  5. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    People will do them because they need to be done because it's part of what keeps society functioning and provides some kind of greater service or living standard or whatever that people want to keep.

    How precisely jobs get allocated outside of that is entirely up to individual communities.

    That's the complete answer.
     
  6. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    I wonder, what you mean by gross jobs? And why not to use the similar mechanism of job allocation, which exists in modern high-income countries? Nobody forces people, say in Switzerland or Canada to become garbage collectors, they always have a choice. Amount of professions to choose from, depends on person's education and natural capabilities. Not everyone can become a rockstar, but everyone can try.
     
  7. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    Serious question: Can you explain a bit what "materialism" and "idealism" mean in Marxist discourse? My impression is that it's not about metaphysics, but I'm not quite sure what it does mean.

    Non-serious question: I'm using communism-themed football puns for my fantasy team name. So far I've used Goaletariat Kicktatorship and Stalin the Play Clock. In the future, I'm thinking of Ho Chi Minhterceptions, Great Pass Forward, Little Red Playbook, and, during the playoffs, Super Bowlsheviks. Do you have any other suggestions?
     
  8. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    'I don't know' is not a meaningless answer.

    So basically there is no real existing socialism today - in your view. Which would be an extremely limited view of socialism, which, I'm sure you know, started out as social democracy.

    Eire has been free from imperialism almost a century now. That doesn't make current Irish Republicans heroes, all the more so since Irish Republicans haven't been doing much fighting of imperialism in the meantime. So I don't quite see what's supposed to be socialist about such a statement. Secondly, NATO isn't a European organization, as far as I know. In addition, I haven't noticed much of NATO fighting for European imperialism; in fact, the US (a rather conspicuous member of NATO) has been actively supporting dismantling European colonial empires. But again, I don't quite see how any of this is related to NATO. Possibly because I'm not familiar with the ML definition of imperialism you maintain. I know what Lenin meant by it, though.
     
  9. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Hegel thought that ideas give form to society but Marx argued that it is society that gives form to ideas. Thus what drives history is not the conflict and resolution between competing ideas, but rather the conflict and resolution between competing material interests, i.e. class struggle.

    No, but these sound good.

    Nor is it an answer I'm afraid to give. But my ignorance is not the problem. The issue is that it should not be decided right now.

    I wonder why you said any of this.

    The US is a European settler nation, so it is included in the context of "European" here.

    If you don't see how British imperialism in Ireland is related to either NATO or Lenin then there isn't much I can do for you.
     
  10. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Why should anyone struggle to change systems when there's no proposed new system to change to?
    How do you measure success in efforts toward change when there's no defined "toward"?
     
  11. ReindeerThistle

    ReindeerThistle Zimmerwald Left

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    Actually, the most important question for people to consider any alternative to the current system is a rrejection of the current system as unworkable, unsustainable and intolerable. History moves off of its negative side, and if you materially do not need to give up on capitalism, or if you subjectively don't give up on Capitalism, then you will not choose socialism subjectively.

    I though you studied economics. The world has only been under capitalism for 300- 400 years, and capitalists have only been the ruling class for the last 200 or so. The elements of capitalism itself grew out of changes in the modes of production under feudalism, making capitalism "revolutionary" for a time. Nobody knew how those modes of production would turn out, it was just better than the old system.

    If you are clearly not ready to give up on capitalism, why shop around for something else.
     
  12. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    While it took 600 years before capitalism got named as such, the mechanism with which it supplanted the previous order was understood very early on. After all, the profit motive has existed as a key mediating force since the beginnings of agriculture. Once empowered by labor-time commodification (thank you mechanical clocks) it took off, and with the political realities of Europe (competing factions), the profit motive showed its efficacy in organizing people into united blocks, vastly enhancing their wealth.

    What I'm trying to understand is what the mechanism would be in a post-capitalist redtopia to create and distribute human wealth. "Communities will decide" just moves the current equation from the individual to a collection of individuals. Safety in numbers, perhaps, but it leaves questions unanswered: what if I don't want to do what my community wants me to make? What if I want to try something else? What if one community does such a good job they get way richer than the others? What if people want to move to other communities and those communities aren't down (with either immigration or emigration)?


    It's easy for me to be partial to Volume III of Capital when Marx's best guess for an ideal future is a 20 hr work week to man the machines, as freedom begins at the point of afforded leisure-time. But such a system doesn't necessarily do away with price, which in turn maintains a unit of trade and account, which means money and material differences.

    aelf make the case that money and wealth differences would still exist, but that the means of production would be owned by [community/everyone/no one] and employment would be done by roster.

    In that case, the same profit mindedness and mediation by price would be the system, only socio-politically very different.

    I'm trying to figure out who is going to clean the portable toilets at festivals. Right now people do it for money for material. "I'll give you useable bathrooms in exchange for stuff you made". But in a "the community decides" no-credit/money system, how does that work? What motivates me to suction-hose out the waste from the portable toilet?
     
  13. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton King, Warrior, Prophet, Magician, Lover

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    I understand that an important, yes crucial, element of communism is grass-roots democracy, not a top-down autocracy and that as a consequence, it is inherently impossible to "decide" beforehand how communism would actually look like.
    However, what I don't understand is, why this would be any reason to not concern oneself with how communism could actually look like and could actually work. This question appears to me not any less relevant than if Communism meant the rule of a small elite deciding everything.

    Hygro already said a few words about why this question is important, from his POV.
    From my POV, it is the single most important question on which everything hinges. And I know that this is the case for the vast majority of people.

    I simply have no reason to trust in mere ideals and every reason to distrust them.
    And incidentally, such distrust in ideals is actually a very Marxian way to look at things, isn't it?
     
  14. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Seems like a valid point.

    The answer still seems to be 'I don't know'. And there's really nothing wrong with that answer.

    Right.

    Sure.

    That neither doesn't really relate to what I said nor does it make much sense in itself. But feel free to explain why it would.
     
  15. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    They will struggle to end capitalism. Socialism will inevitably follow as the working class assert their own class interest. There's no "convincing people" involved. They'll see it themselves, as they have in dozens of other countries.

    Someone asked earlier about idealism vs. materialism: well this is it. Workers pursuing their own material interest in ending the system that exploits and oppresses them is what will drive society into a post-capitalist world, not some magical good idea that must spread the world one convinced person after another.

    See above to understand why even asking this question is idealist.

    Not to someone who feels entitled to an answer despite their flippant behavior.
     
  16. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald 老仁森林

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    Maybe I shouldn't chime in, but basically: It won't happen that everybody sits at home practicing guitar hoping to make it big, while at the same time their sewers clog and food supplies stops.

    A question: what does anti-humanism mean? It connotes something misanthropic, but I don't think that's what it means
     
  17. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    But what's not to stop the system from merely resetting? The system gets toppled. Some leaders rise above the fold from the masses. These leaders re-establish old order only with they and their own on top.

    Much like Hygro I'm down with the idea of capitalism as an idea being [fornicated]. But the question of what do you replace it with? short some utopic world where everything is automated and scarcity is nonexistent supply/demand will always be what drives the engine.

    I need this toilet cleaned. You're going to do it. Why? What happens if I don't want to? Or I say I'll do it and I don't? Why do I have to do this while other people get to pursue their dreams? Can I leave if I don't want to do this work you're asking me to do?

    We have 5 loaves of bread and 7 people. Who doesn't get a loaf of bread? Also Jerry is a farmer so he consumes more calories.Should he get 2 loaves while everybody else (save 3 people) gets one? Who gets what? What if Jeb the baker made 10 loaves of bread but doesn't want to give them away?
     
  18. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Because things don't go back to square one? Things don't just "get toppled," someone does the toppling. Marxism proves that there's really only one way out of capitalism, short of some sort of calamity destroying life on Earth itself: socialism. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat is antithetical to capitalism and will overthrow it.

    From that simple fact, all your answers flow. What does working-class rule entail? It entails replacing "living to work" with "working to live." Machines, products, all the labors of mankind will exist to service the needs of mankind, not the needs of profiteers who maintain an exploitative system over everybody else through violence. That means no long work weeks if they're not needed, no harsh working conditions unless they're needed, no artificial shortages, no insulting barely-survivable compensations for jobs performed.

    I return to my original point, which Hygro curiously rejected: if you can't imagine a world where people won't do things unless they're forced to then that's your fault and not mine.

    People have this curious ability, even under the oppressive burdens of capitalism, to do what is necessary in things they care about, and to care about things if they are given a reason to. Do parents require compulsion to wipe their baby's bum? What is the compulsion for volunteers to clean up litter, or feed soup to the poor, or rebuild houses on the weekends for people, or play music at the retirement home, or serve on their neighborhood landscape committee? There are already a great number of people who do dirty or thankless jobs under capitalism, where we are conditioned from birth to regard everything in life as a business transaction and to never care about community...just think about how many people will do all the dirty and thankless jobs you're needlessly panicking about, once we have socialism and people have real reasons to think and care about their community.

    I don't think it does at all. Anti-humanism doesn't mean being anti-human, it means being anti-Humanism. Humanism posits a very specific narrative about humanity, most notably that an innately good human nature exists, but also other idealistic things like that atheism is the product of Free Thinking and a faith in science and empiricism to furnish all the truths of the universe. Anti-Humanism rejects these assertions as liberal and idealist. Althusser in particular used anti-humanism to reassert dialectical materialism as the best method social analysis. Diamat brings with it a malleable human consciousness decided by material relations in place of an innate "human nature" that extends across time and space, and applies critiques of, for example, religion, through the same framework of material relations in society.
     
  19. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    This sounds like true idealism. 60 years of communism in Russia did not result in the establishment of socialism, but in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent establishment of capitalism in its rawest form. Obviously this example has not gone unnoticed by their Chinese brethren (nor even on Castro). Workers around the world are not interested in any dictatorship of the proletariat (another idealistic term), but in improving their lot. It would seem this capitalism is a tougher nut to crack than even the ML catechism would have it. But of course one can always hope it will, at some point, collapse. This was the official doctrine of the USSR and it did not live to see that day. Following Marx, the CPSU fulfilled their historic task: they managed to establish capitalism in Russia. With that, however, they seemed lost. I think the question on how to proceed deserves a more honest answer than 'the Dictatorship of the Proletariat' will prevail. So far it has done nothing of the sort. It's time to face up to the facts of the 20th century. A new answer is needed. And this time 'I don't know' won't suffice.

    I guess that's the closest to 'I don't know' we can expect. So we can stop pretending now this is a Q & a thread. Honesty is a good thing after all.
     
  20. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton King, Warrior, Prophet, Magician, Lover

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    I am going to have to recapture and reformulate what you are saying here to me so that I can be certain to understand it:

    The idea of the working class creating an economic / political system fundamentally different to those produced by capitalism and moreover a system adhering to the ideas of communism, can not be discussed in its potential actual realizations because those realizations would just be ideas, at this point, and hence pointless.

    As a consequence, to be a Communist means to assume that the various ideas of Communism would necessarily be realized, somehow, as soon as the working class is aware of them and starts to try to execute them.

    I have to say that I find this POV not entirely satisfying or logically consistent, but since this is not a discussion thread, I will accept this as your answer (edit: assuming I got it right, of course! Please correct me if I misrepresented your position) and would like to ask a different question:

    What I see implied in such a POV is a very strong agency of a very large group, i.e. the working class.

    Why is such agency assumed? You may say due to the common interests of the working class, unifying it and enabling it to more or less act as one person/agent (hence: agency). But as soon as the working class has more or less abolished other classes and there is only one class left, why is it assumed that such agency persist beyond the stage of class struggle?

    I am asking because to me a very large group of people engaging in intense cooperation on the basis of a common goal for an indefinite amount of time is a far from trivial thing to assume. If I, personally, look at human history, I see close-knit cooperation only under special circumstances and/or in fairly small groups. Whereas I see the opposite as the general status quo of large groups. Yet in communism, the whole of the working class, which ultimately will be the whole of humanity, is working together to do nothing but write history (am using this expression in accordance to what Marx said about history only really beginning when Communism arrived). So, I think it is fair to say, they will have to cooperate well enough to achieve the most monumental task imaginable. So they will have to cooperate very well. They will not just have to have great agency, but really really great agency as a group.

    To repeat: Why is this assumed?
    Or alternatively, why is my question wrong?
     

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