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The Offtopicgrad Soviet: A Place to Discuss All Things Red

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Sure, they were "sentenced according to the law," that's exactly the problem. Snowden is facing charges that are perfectly in accord with the law.

    In Russia you also have outspoken critics of government corruption being murdered, very much not "according to the law." Hell, Putin had Alexander Litvinenko murdered all the way in England.
     
  2. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    But the law is not about government critics. It's about desecrating temples.
    If they did the same action outside of the temple, they wouldn't be arrested and you wouldn't know anything about this group.

    Putin most likely didn't even know who that man was, before he was killed.
    Neither did I or you.
     
  3. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Imperialism certainly takes place under the auspices of social formations other than capitalism, unless you want to claim that the Romans were not imperialists.
    The USSR engaged in a foreign policy which was basically the mirror image of US imperialism during the cold war. If you think all those armament sales to foreign countries were not about exporting surplus capital, you're dreaming.

    Okay, by this definition I'd say the US is far, far more socialist than China, or the USSR for that matter. The whole story of the Chinese economy is that the low wages, lack of labor standards, and docile character of the working class due to independent organization being strictly verboten makes it attractive for capitalists to manufacture there. I mean, things got so bad for the capitalists in the West that they had to resort to a combined strategy of outsourcing production and importing status-less undocumented immigrants to form a docile underclass.

    You claim that CEOs who manufacture lethal products in China get "the firing squad." Okay, what is the basis for this claim? AFAIK China regards details on who it executes as a state secret, so I'm unsure how much information is actually available with regard to who is executed and why.

    But judging from the smog engulfing Chinese cities something tells me that gross neglect of public safety isn't a capital crime there, at least not for the Party elite or its favored cronies.

    Sure, and in the US Jasmine Richards was charged with felony lynching, under a law that was designed to punish lynching. But actually, she was charged and punished for interfering with the police.
    Point being, the law can be nominally "about" all kinds of things that have nothing to do with how it's actually used.

    :lol: This is obvious nonsense.
     
  4. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    Hey, we were talking about posting stuff online, not about Sex Pistols (or rather a much crappier version of them) singing "God Save the Queen" in St.Paul's Cathedral during a holiday service. Being uninvited.

    In fact I can't quite figure an analogue fitting the American environment...

    However...
    Dammit, I was going to argue you saying exactly it before you said it and now it's yet another confirmation to that Russians never argue here...
     
  5. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    It means, there should be other cases of similar "performance" inside temples, which didn't mention Putin and go unpunished because of that.

    It's not "obvious nonsense" to me. I'm not quite sure what were Putin's motives to murder a harmless ex-FSB officer in a way which surely would draw a lot of media attention to the case.
    His deals with Russian organized crime seems to me as more plausible explanation.
     
  6. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    I have vague suspicions on who'll be killed in a similar manner obviously by Putin. I hope I'm wrong, but there is one "pilot" who got high but didn't get quiet, and it's very inconvenient to have her like that. As a martyr she would serve much more valuable role.
     
  7. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    What I was saying was obvious nonsense, was your claim that Putin probably didn't even know who Litvinenko was before he was murdered.
     
  8. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    It's always a possibility. But she will probably fit well into Ukrainian parliament.

    I don't think it's a nonsense either - unless you seriously think that Putin personally maintains list of his enemies and gives assassination orders, like some dark lord.
    But more important part is that he simply didn't need to do that, much less in such scandalous way.
     
  9. ReindeerThistle

    ReindeerThistle Zimmerwald Left

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    Of course, the practice of investing in foreign lands and extracting value is as old as civiliation. But Rome's reach was only as far as its armies and navies. But the mobile nature of Capital itself lends a different character -- entities that make money through interest, not simply stripping the trees from the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia, or taxing subjects

    I am not dreaming. The USSR was fighting capitalist encirclement. Where were the banks and finance capital extracting interest? The USSR got nothing in return for all of their work on the Aswan dam. They gave billions in aid and business to Cuba, Viet Nam (even China in the beginning).

    Seriously? The Chinese lifted 650 million people out of poverty since 1983. Wages went up 10% annually from 2005 - 2010, and 19% from 2010 to the present (according to The Economist)

    The executions were published in Xinhua.

    China is actually dealing systemically with smog. The crony argument is a tiresome trope, and the yearly National Political Convention proceedings are broadcast on TV. The local organizations, regional and provincial groups, including civil societies, provide input.

    Jeez, have you seen the poll numbers in the US? Congress has a 7% approval rating.


    This supports MY argument.

    Here's a great Engels quote on the US political system:

    "Nowhere do 'politicians' form a more separate, powerful section of the nation than in North America. There, each of the two great parties which alternately succeed each other in power is itself in turn controlled by people who make a business of politics, who speculate on seats in the legislative assemblies of the Union as well as of the separate states, or who make a living by carrying on agitation for their party and on its victory are rewarded with positions.

    "It is well known that the Americans have been striving for 30 years to shake off this yoke, which has become intolerable, and that in spite of all they can do they continue to sink ever deeper in this swamp of corruption. It is precisely in America that we see best how there takes place this process of the state power making itself independent in relation to society, whose mere instrument it was originally intended to be.

    "Here there exists no dynasty, no nobility, no standing army, beyond the few men keeping watch on the Indians, no bureaucracy with permanent posts or the right to pensions and nevertheless we find here two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most corrupt ends – and the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians, who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality exploit and plunder it." - Friedrich Engels 1891
     
  10. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    More like a mafia boss. I don't doubt for one moment that Putin "personally maintains a list of his enemies and gives assassination orders."

    The state was the entity extracting surplus value.

    Not even remotely a counter to my argument.

    What argument?
     
  11. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Alright then. This is the statement which I, in turn, consider obvious nonsense.
     
  12. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    The one that conforms to reality (which is b). Imperialism is a distinctly capitalist relationship, but even hegemonic powers in the pre-capitalist era that called themselves empires reduced and local rivals to conditions of subservience benefited materially from the vassal states.

    In contrast, the living standards and level of technology in the supposed "vassal states" of Eastern Europe was typically higher than in the Soviet Union, and Soviet trade balances with other countries like Cuba and Vietnam were extremely negative for them, costing the Soviet Union a great deal of money. It would be a strange empire indeed that invested and built up its empire to a level of socioeconomic development superior to its own. Indeed, it would match no definition of imperialism known to exist.

    The only way you can even pretend the USSR was an empire is to deny reality. And even then you are only at best equating it with the criminal regimes of the West, whose empires pillaged the world over to build supposedly "great civilizations" in Europe.

    Yes exactly. Whose labor? Is it the labor of the people benefiting from the products, or is it someone else? Capitalist empires exploit Third World labor for the benefit of the First World. They constitute a net drain of wealth from the Third World to the First. That is not "sharing our wealth" that is sharing booty. In contrast, the wealth enjoyed by socialist societies is wealth from the people who are benefiting from it. They all created the wealth, and they all share in it, the products of their own labor.

    That's the difference. The British welfare state just spread around the benefits of a capitalist empire more evenly in the homeland. Socialism, in the USSR or China or wherever, spreads around the wealth among the people who created that wealth.

    If a capitalist welfare state were really the same thing, they would be returning the wealth their empires stole back to their former colonies. You would see a vast, vast investment from Britain into Zimbabwe, and Egypt, and India, and Jamaica, and everywhere else, to bring them up to the same level of social wealth as Britain enjoys.

    In other words, the relationship between the USSR, China, and other socialist states, whose nature I described above.
     
  13. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    In that case, it seems to me the US can't be called an imperialist power either, since many countries in its imperial orbit have attained higher living standards than the US itself. Looking at the list of countries by HDI, the US is only #8 despite its position as global hegemon - and every country ranked higher is firmly inside the US empire.

    This is more or less exactly what I'm seeing, albeit in slow motion. Huge improvements are being made in the third world, and a lot of those improvements are tied to foreign investment from the first world. I mean, you claim that empire siphons wealth from the third world to the first, but living standards in the third world are rising everywhere. Fewer children are dying, fewer people are malnourished or starving.

    What your analysis seems to be missing, is that when the sinews of imperialism change from trade (as was the case with every premodern empire, and capitalist empires up until the 20th century) to investment the game stops being zero-sum. In effect, this is exactly like what economic growth does to a national economy. If the pie grows, you don't have to take anything from me to have more yourself.

    So we're seeing wealth being looted from the third world by the first, but at the same time the total wealth being generated is enough to make the third world richer.

    And imo that represents the fulfilment of Marx's vision, though of course not Lenin's - but I regard Lenin's arguments about imperialism as a function of his commitment to revolutionary socialism, rather than a commitment to accurate analysis.

    Well, I'd say that is completely untrue. In the socialist states you mention as examples wealth was (once again) diverted from consumption to investment. In proportional terms the 'starvation' of the labor force to free up resources for investment was unparalleled anywhere in history. That's the case for the USSR, anyway. I know less about China but as I've said before in this thread their system currently is predicated on starving consumption to fund investment- which is basically the opposite of "spreading wealth among the people who created that wealth."
     
  14. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    That's objectively false. The US' position as global military hegemon, and its position as head of a capitalist empire, are different things. For example, the US can military dominate Europe, but it cannot economically dominate (Western) Europe because most of those countries are imperialist themselves, with their own economic empires spread across Eastern Europe and the Third World.

    That's....not a thing that's possible. You can't steal from someone but insist that no really, they're actually getting richer for it.

    Where countries are able to develop, it is because their national bourgeoisie is able to keep an increasing share of the wealth produced by the country for themselves instead of allowing it to be siphoned off to Europe or America. That's not "development" that's just a different section of the bourgeoisie getting ahold of it. That's akin to saying that Apple taking a larger share of the market from Microsoft is some kind of step forward, when it's really just a reshuffling of which elites get the wealth.

    It's no coincidence that such governments are often identified by imperialists as "socialist" or "undemocractic" even if they're really neither of those things, and then they overthrow them.

    You really work hard to stay as clueless as possible.

    Moderator Action: This is trolling. Argue respectfully, or do not argue at all.
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889

    I really don't know how to have a conversation with someone so utterly clueless about the world. Read a book for God's sake. You think this is something that happened in communism (lol) but is not something ever true of capitalism (mega LOL)? You're either dishonest or clueless, or both.

    There comes a point where I'm not longer obliged even by kindness to try and educate someone, and you've reached it.
     
  15. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Not objectively, just according to your own system of thought. Which I now get. I disagree with you on what imperialism is, but we'll have to put that aside for now.

    That's also not (quite) what I'm saying, it's not the stealing per se that's making the third world richer, it's other stuff going on that's facilitating both the Third World being richer and the First world stealing from it at the same time. I mean, basically you're seeing the first world make huge investments in the third world, which increase the total wealth, which enables them to steal more, but also enables the workers in the third world to see more wealth as well.

    If it's your position that the first world is stealing from the third world in a zero-sum game, then explain the huge advances made by the third world in virtually every measure of health or well-being in the last 20 years? I mean, the story since 1945 has been the first world growing poorer relative to the third world. So that doesn't seem to square very well with your view, at least if I'm understanding you correctly.

    I'm trying to get to a point where I understand where you're coming from, and I would appreciate not being insulted and demeaned at every turn. Of course I think the same thing happens under capitalism. The industrial revolution was essentially defined as a shift from, like, 5% to 15% of GDP going to capital goods rather than consumer goods. The starvation of consumption to fund investment happened under capitalism in a big way. And the supposed necessity of this starvation is still what dominates the discourse in the United States today, which is why we can actually look at tax cuts for the rich as a sensible public policy. It's why the discourse focuses so much on the "job creators," and why we've tied social benefits like health insurance to having a job.

    But, just as Marx predicted the laws of capitalist development threw a monkey wrench into the capitalist system, and the more we starve workers to fund investment, the more the capitalist system itself comes under threat- the simple reason being that consumption is what causes investment now, and not the other way round. So attempting to spur investment to create economic growth is pointless, because the only way to get investment is by increasing consumption.

    So, ultimately, this represents (again) the fulfillment of Marx's vision, because the success of 'capitalism' is now inextricably linked with ensuring that workers get a sufficient share of national income, to buy the things they produce. If that's not 'social production controlled by social foresight,' I don't know what is.
     
  16. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Is real purchasing power going up or down in developing countries?
    Do these developing countries have favorable or unfavorable bargaining positions for trade with the hegemon?

    hmm what's the problem with having a lens that says the correct answer set to that question matrix can only be "stealing from/stolen from"?
     
  17. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Excuse me?
    I really don't see how pointing out Labour embarked on a wide variety of nationalization and public good initiatives with the goal to "build a New Jerusalem" -many of which lasted until Maggie Thatcher decided to kill the post-war consensus- is arguing "governments work like a civilization game".
    If anything you are the one following the civilization game school of governments. Didn't shoot the capitalists? Must be imperialist scum. A one-party state calls itself communist and kept some socialist iconography? Looks like the dictatorship of the proletariat is here guys!

    Wait, an Imperial power cannot dominate other imperial powers? In the 50s and 60s France was political and economically dominant over Belgium, but Belgium was still ruling a colony roughly the size of western Europe. While I'm sure the mental gymnastics showing Belgium wasn't in fact an imperial power would be impressive, I have the impression that isn't what you meant by that statement; could you elaborate?
     
  18. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Actually, if you want a real example of Putin's crackdown on the opposition, I would consider a Khodorkovsky case.
    He committed real crimes in 90-s (when he along with other oligarchs earned all his money by essentially robbing the country), but was sent to prison for that only after he tried to use his money to seize political power in the country. While most of oligarchs who remained loyal to Putin, were not punished in any way. So this can be considered as the case of selective justice similar to what you described.
     
  19. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish Deity

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    How come capitalists have produced so many great bands, and the best communists can do is Rage Against the Machine (which was hypocritically signed to a capitalist major record label)?
     
  20. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    I'm not a red, though many modern artists who have had a significant cultural influence are distinctively anti-capitalist, albeit much more subtly so than Rage Against the Machine. Aram Khachaturian and Sergey Prokofiev were in good standing with the Soviet authorities. Despite I do not approve of Soviet communism myself, they were definitely great composers.
     

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