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What is communism ?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by carniflex, Oct 11, 2005.

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What is communism ?

  1. A. An economic system based on centrally-planned economy

    7.9%
  2. B. A political system based on single-party dictatorship

    4.3%
  3. C. A social system based on: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need"

    20.0%
  4. A. and B.

    7.1%
  5. A. and C.

    30.0%
  6. B. and C.

    2.1%
  7. A. and B. and C.

    10.7%
  8. Other (please explain)

    11.4%
  9. I dont know

    2.9%
  10. I dont care

    3.6%
  1. carniflex

    carniflex Stratêgos

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    I think that the idea that every country is more or less communistic is right.

    The part of the fruits of work dealt the way "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" would be the indication of how communistic a country is.

    However, the relation taxes/BNP cannot be this indicator. Because:
    1. Only part of the taxes is more or less dealt the way "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need"
    2. BNP is a very unperfect way of measuring the fruits of the work of a country.
     
  2. timfi

    timfi Chieftain

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    - Other.

    Basically, it has 3 possible meanings:

    1. A socioeconomic model, described by Carl Marx, an implementation of his concepts of free, just and harmonious society.

    2. A political ideology, which is the method of political thinking along the lines of Marxism, while the Communist system of social organization is the final political aim of this system of thought. (Indirect quotation of Mao)

    3. An ideological concept. A late-USSR-style state.
     
  3. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    For the benefit of quality discussion in the forum (since the topic of Communism invariably comes up again and again), I think this thread and especially FredLC's first post should be stickied.

    The problem of Communism is the achievement of the unity of theory and practice (i.e. the realisation of praxis). Some have attempted, through practice (particularly through the use of arms) to force the theory to come into being. Others have come up with more and more theoretical constructs in order to create better models for practice to follow. I think praxis is a lot more sophisticated and precludes any simplified one-sided approach. But right now, before anything solid can be done, we first need to roll back mass culture and its emasculating powers.
     
  4. civver_764

    civver_764 Deity

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    Why's that?

    Neither A, B, or C are particularly accurate. C is only a part of it and the others have nothing to do with it.

    edit: And people saying/implying Marx said the state should own the means of production: Just stop.
     
  5. Colonel

    Colonel Rule of Law

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    There is a simple answer to this question! Communism is an evil that is nearly vanquished by the United States of America.
     
  6. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Communism is a word. Everyone has their own definition of it, though some have never read anything about it (much less a definition). At best it's a blanket term to cover things that fall to the left of the political compass, at worst its what those fall to on the right to push their goals.
     
  7. civver_764

    civver_764 Deity

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    Nothing about socialism necessitates a hierarchical government of any form. You're(and many others are) mixing it with state capitalism.
     
  8. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    IMO the difference is teleological. Capitalism, including state capitalism, seeks to perpetuate itself. Socialism, however, is a transitionary state. Very important difference in terms of ideology (i.e. state capitalism features self-justifying ideology while some might say socialism that lacks ideology in the sense that there is no fetishisation and mystification).
     
  9. SG-17

    SG-17 Deity

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    Its evil, thats what it is. Damn commies gonna come here and take our freedoms!

    Wolverines! Wolverines! Wolverines!
     
  10. civver_764

    civver_764 Deity

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    But socialism doesn't necessarily have to be statist. I think you could make a good argument that Marx intended "dictatorship of the proletariat" to be non-hierarchical in nature.

    Nah, they're just taking theirs back.
     
  11. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Not statist =/= not hierarchical. Socialism requires direction and therefore hierarchical structure. The state is just a very likely candidate.
     
  12. Gustave5436

    Gustave5436 Emperor

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    Communism, in economic terms, is merely a socialist system which discards with the concept of money and personal ownership of goods. It stands in relation to, for instance, the labour vouchers of collectivism (and is, I would argue, a rather arbitrary and irrelevant distinction, becoming essentially identical in practice).

    In political terms, it may refer to the authoritarian methods of Marxism-Leninism, but since the game of politics is a universally bourgeois, conservative affair, Marxism-Leninism is not relevant to a purely economic discussion.
     
  13. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    That depends how one understands "hierarchy". Anarchists and Syndicalists certainly don't entertain a model that bears much resemblance to capitalist hierarchies.
     
  14. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    I guess not, but I understand hierarchy to be more or less implying the existence of structure and authority and not inherently capitalist.
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Oh, it's certainly not inherently capitalist (it's not as if medieval society was particularly libertarian!), I'm just suggesting that it's not innate to socialism, either, if we are to allow socialism the broad definition of "a society in which the means of production are collectively owned and directed". "Structure", at least, doesn't necessarily imply the imposition of authority.
     
  16. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Yes, but hierarchy implies the existence of levels. If no authority is involved whatsoever then why have levels?

    I'd say that socialism as a transitionary stage from capitalism to communism requires hierarchical structure. After all, a body has to manage the transition and distribute the means of production, and that body needs the authority to do so.
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    That depends on whether one interprets the "levels" as being top-down or bottom-up, doesn't it? ;)

    Well, setting aside those forms of socialism which are not viewed as a transitions to communism, that still assumes a certain model which is not universally adhered to. Syndicalist, Autonomists and Council Communists would certainly disagree, arguing that direction may be attained through voluntary democratic management.
    Of course, you can argue that successful socialism demands heirachy, but that's a slightly different debate. You can argue that Bakunin was wrong, but you can't argue that he never existed.
     
  18. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Authority is still present in a bottom-up hierarchy, since the will of the people in a large scale society is typically mediated by institutions that are thus given the authority to act (though perhaps not make decisions) in the interests of the people.

    But to my understanding the socialism in the context of FredLC's post refers to the transitionary society, and that's why I said what I said. The basic point is socialism as a transitionary stage is distinct from state capitalism even though it is hierarchical or even statist.
     
  19. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Well, arguably that depends on structures in place. Delegative democracy lends less authority than representative democracy, for example.

    That's what I'm saying- not all communists believe that. Libertarian Marxists hold that socialism can be achieved in a manner that demands no imposed hierarchies.
     
  20. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Yeah, but there is still authority. And in fact I was referring more to delegative democracy, since in representative democracy institutions and agents are given the authority to make decisions, which is at a different level and might arguably not be quite that bottom-up in structure.

    I'd be interested to see an explanation of how that works. My conception of socialism as a transitionary stage (as opposed to one that has some permanence) presumes the existence of hierarchy before it fades away in a communist society.
     

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