Author Topic: Why Socialism can never die  (Read 18422 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

couchcommander

  • Guest
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2006, 04:08:26 »
Sad to say, but incrimental change will not save the day, but who would want to suggest violent revolution to clear the decks and enact changes?

Agreed, peaceful democratic revolution in the spirit of "couchism" it is! ;)
« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 04:10:59 by couchcommander »

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 195,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,724
  • Freespeecher
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2006, 12:08:42 »
Agreed, peaceful democratic revolution in the spirit of "couchism" it is! ;)

So, how do you suggest this gets done? Don't forget, "Socialism" as an ideology has a religious hold on people, and we have some first hand knowledge what societies run by religious zealots are like (and what it takes to remove them).  :(
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline van Gemeren

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • 660
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 390
  • Milnet coin # 038
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2006, 12:23:26 »
Read this recently on BBC news:

Calcutta takes cue from China
By Humphrey Hawksley
BBC News, Calcutta 


After seven consecutive election victories, the Indian state government in West Bengal is taking tips from China on how to improve people's lives.
The walls of the ruling party's headquarters in one of Calcutta's poorer districts are decorated with iconic portraits of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

From the building where policies were once drawn up to try to turn India into a one-party state, communist leaders are devising a new plan, neither looking west towards Moscow or Wall Street, but east towards Beijing.

"Chinese government has initiated new programmes," says the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

"They say the socialist economy should also allow different types of ownership - state ownership and private ownership and foreign investment."

Capitalism v communism

While Lenin's statue presides in a central Calcutta park, skyscrapers, flyovers and consumer billboards mark the real city landscape and its aspirations.


 They are bargaining from a position of strength. We cannot compete with China
Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, West Bengal Chief Minister 

It is at least a generation behind China, but the idea is to woo the growing middle-class which will, in turn, give confidence to foreign investors.

"Previously what happened was that the communists had a very strong rural base so they used to keep winning in the villages," explains 25-year-old IT consultant Ruhin Chatterjee, one among millions of young middle-class voters who support the communists. "But in the cities they never won. This latest election has seen a change in that."

One of the marks of increased wealth is the creation of shopping malls with advertising hoardings for high-rise dream homes, designer labels and massage therapy.

But the truth is that they are a rarity.

About 80% of Indians still live on less than $2 a day, whereas in China that figure has dropped to less than 50%.

While mobile phones seem to abound in Calcutta, 13 Chinese have one to every one Indian.

The statistics in other areas bear out the same story - China has outpaced India in just about every level of development.

And in the crucial area of direct foreign investment, China receives almost $60bn a year compared to just $5bn for the whole of India.

"Chinese economy has an inner strength," admits Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, whose plan for development depends on attracting billions of dollars in foreign investment.

"They are bargaining from a position of strength. We cannot compete with China."

Fierce competition


Central to the debate is the Chinese argument that democracy stops development.

But a straw poll in the middle-class Calcutta mall brings out a definitive response.

"China does not practice human rights," said a middle-aged woman, to which a young man next to her added, "We are not ready to sacrifice our human rights to get people out of poverty. No."

Thirty miles outside of Calcutta, in a village where 90% of the people voted for the communists, the response is the same.

"Vote," says one farmer. "Vote is best."

West Bengal has been in a 30-year experiment in running a communist administration within a democracy.

It is way behind China and has not delivered much more than any other Indian state.

Its literacy rate of just under 70% is about mid-way among all the Indian states.

If the state's ruling communists do begin to follow China as they once followed the Soviet Union, their supporters - rich or poor - would draw a line on the Chinese formula of curtailing rights in order to create wealth.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/5012946.stm

Published: 2006/05/24 14:52:30 GMT
"It's tough being paranoid and having someone out to get you"
-Journeyman
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,59309.msg555623.html#msg555623

Offline exsemjingo

  • Member
  • ****
  • -120
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 202
  • Waitin' at the end of time for you...
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #53 on: June 20, 2006, 01:01:30 »
Ignorance is strength.
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.

Sound familiar?
That's the tricky thing.  Orwell already wrote a book about the Soviet Union with Animal Farm.  1984 on the other hand was more general, and the reader is meant to find strains of that society in his own.

I could say more on Socialism, but many economists have already written better material.  The best arguments against Socialism are it's own results.
"Syria should (have) stop(ed) this crap" 

"Not all of us conservatives are Jonny Hate-Mongers, Charlie Bible-Thumps, or, God forbid, George Bushes."
-Sideshow Bob

Offline Cliff

  • Member
  • ****
  • 0
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 106
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #54 on: June 20, 2006, 01:20:32 »
Quote
After seven consecutive election victories, the Indian state government in West Bengal is taking tips from China on how to improve people's lives.
I needed a good laugh ;)

Offline exsemjingo

  • Member
  • ****
  • -120
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 202
  • Waitin' at the end of time for you...
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2006, 00:54:04 »
I just got a good lesson in the importacne of reading threads closely.  I did not realize most of this thread agreed with my political sensibilities and that there was no need for over-the-top, inflammatory rhetoric.

That said, the BBC article on Calcutta neglected to mention one important fact: India was closed to outside investment and foreign trade until 1990.
Calcutta really did take a page from relative Chinese prosperity.  The state had been Communist in earnest. 
"Syria should (have) stop(ed) this crap" 

"Not all of us conservatives are Jonny Hate-Mongers, Charlie Bible-Thumps, or, God forbid, George Bushes."
-Sideshow Bob

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 195,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,724
  • Freespeecher
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2006, 22:41:11 »
The link is to the full article, which political junkies can read at their leisure, but the excerpts should whet your appetite:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19302

Quote
Kolakowski's thesis, driven through 1,200 pages of exposition, is straightforward and unambiguous. Marxism, in his view, should be taken seriously: not for its propositions about class struggle (which were sometimes true but never news); nor for its promise of the inevitable collapse of capitalism and a proletarian-led transition to socialism (which failed entirely as prediction); but because Marxism delivered a unique —and truly original—blend of promethean Romantic illusion and uncompromising historical determinism.

The attraction of Marxism thus understood is obvious. It offered an explanation of how the world works—the economic analysis of capitalism and of social class relations. It proposed a way in which the world ought to work—an ethics of human relations as suggested in Marx's youthful, idealistic speculations (and in György Lukács's interpretation of him, with which Kolakowski, for all his disdain for Lukács's own compromised career, largely concurs[6] ). And it announced incontrovertible grounds for believing that things will work that way in the future, thanks to a set of assertions about historical necessity derived by Marx's Russian disciples from his (and Engels's) own writings. This combination of economic description, moral prescription, and political prediction proved intensely seductive—and serviceable. As Kolakowski has observed, Marx is still worth reading—if only to help us understand the sheer versatility of his theories when invoked by others to justify the political systems to which they gave rise.[7]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Main Currents of Marxism is not the only first-rate account of Marxism, though it is by far the most ambitious.[10] What distinguishes it is Kolakowski's Polish perspective. This probably explains the emphasis in his account on Marxism as an eschatology —"a modern variant of apocalyptic expectations which have been continuous in European history." And it licenses an uncompromisingly moral, even religious reading of twentieth-century history:

The Devil is part of our experience. Our generation has seen enough of it for the message to be taken extremely seriously. Evil, I contend, is not contingent, it is not the absence, or deformation, or the subversion of virtue (or whatever else we may think of as its opposite), but a stubborn and unredeemable fact.[11]
No Western commentator on Marxism, however critical, ever wrote like that.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One of the causes of the popularity of Marxism among educated people was the fact that in its simple form it was very easy; even [sic] Sartre noticed that Marxists are lazy....[Marxism was] an instrument that made it possible to master all of history and economics without actually having to study either.[13]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As the example of the fiercely independent Aron suggests, the attraction of Marxism goes well beyond the familiar story, from ancient Rome to contemporary Washington, of scribblers and flatterers drawn to despots. There are three reasons why Marxism lasted so long and exerted such magnetism upon the best and the brightest. In the first place, Marxism is a very big idea. Its sheer epistemological cheek —its Promethean commitment to understanding and explaining everything —appeals to those who deal in ideas, just as it appealed for that reason to Marx himself. Moreover, once you substitute for the proletariat a party that promises to think in its name, then you have created a collective organic intellectual (in the sense coined by Gramsci) which aspires not just to speak for the revolutionary class but to replace the old ruling class as well. In such a universe, ideas are not merely instrumental: they exercise a kind of institutional control. They are deployed for the purpose of rescripting reality on approved lines. Ideas, in Kolakowski's words, are communism's "respiratory system" (which, incidentally, is what distinguishes it from otherwise similar tyrannies of fascist origin which have no comparable need of intelligent-sounding dogmatic fictions). In such circumstances, intellectuals— Communist intellectuals—are no longer confined to speaking truth to power. They have power—or at least, in the words of one Hungarian account of this process, they are on the road to power. This is an intoxicating notion.[16]

The second source of Marxism's appeal is that Marx and his Communist progeny were not a historical aberration, Clio's genetic error. The Marxist project, like the older socialist dream which it displaced and absorbed, was one strand in the great progressive narrative of our time: it shares with classical liberalism, its antithetical historical twin, that narrative's optimistic, rationalistic account of modern society and its possibilities. Marxism's distinctive twist—the assertion that the good society to come would be a classless, post-capitalist product of economic processes and social upheaval—was already hard to credit by 1920. But social movements deriving from the initial Marxian analytical impulse continued for many decades to talk and behave as though they still believed in the transformative project.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But there was a third reason why Marxism had appeal, and those who in recent years have been quick to pounce upon its corpse and proclaim the "end of History," or the final victory of peace, democracy, and the free market, might be wise to reflect upon it. If generations of intelligent men and women of good faith were willing to throw in their lot with the Communist project, it was not just because they were lulled into an ideological stupor by a seductive tale of revolution and redemption. It was because they were irresistibly drawn to the underlying ethical message: to the power of an idea and a movement uncompromisingly attached to representing and defending the interests of the wretched of the earth. From first to last, Marxism's strongest suit was what one of Marx's biographers calls "the moral seriousness of Marx's conviction that the destiny of our world as a whole is tied up with the condition of its poorest and most disadvantaged members."[17]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Today, however, things are changing once again. What Marx's nineteenth-century contemporaries called the "Social Question"—how to address and overcome huge disparities of wealth and poverty, and shameful inequalities of health, education, and opportunity—may have been answered in the West (though the gulf between poor and rich, which seemed once to be steadily closing, has for some years been opening again, in Britain and above all in the US). But the Social Question is back on the international agenda with a vengeance. What appears to its prosperous beneficiaries as worldwide economic growth and the opening of national and international markets to investment and trade is increasingly perceived and resented by millions of others as the redistribution of global wealth for the benefit of a handful of corporations and holders of capital.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In recent years respectable critics have been dusting off nineteenth-century radical language and applying it with disturbing success to twenty-first-century social relations. One hardly needs to be a Marxist to recognize that what Marx and others called a "reserve army of labor" is now resurfacing, not in the back streets of European industrial towns but worldwide. By holding down the cost of labor—thanks to the threat of outsourcing, factory relocation, or disinvestment[18] —this global pool of cheap workers helps maintain profits and promote growth: just as it did in nineteenth-century industrial Europe, at least until organized trade unions and mass labor parties were powerful enough to bring about improved wages, redistributive taxation, and a decisive twentieth-century shift in the balance of political power—thereby confounding the revolutionary predictions of their own leaders.

Read the rest





Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Alcibiades

  • New Member
  • **
  • -30
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 27
    • Virtual Battlespace 2
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2006, 10:10:07 »
I hope socialism (or Marxisant theories of the global political economy) never dies.  While I disagree with so many of their assumtions, ideals and conclusions I do find it useful, from time to time, to try and look at a situation through their lenses or 'eyes'.  When I do, I find that some of what they have to say on subjects such as captialism, imperialism, globalization, East/West/North/South relations and/or hegemony to be insightful and sometimes instructive.   

Most modern Marxisant theories do not advocate the type of traditional revolution that classical Marxists do, rather they offer unique alternatives, some of which are very much in effect through out the world (West and East, North and South).  Some of the most benign of which, are represented in social, liberal democracies like Canada, where the emphasis is not only on democracy and liberal tenets but also social responsibility(ies) to the citizenry.  Depending on your bent, this may swing too far to the left but it is interesting in that it is something that a democracy selected and was not imposed, as it often appears to be in recent 'socialist' states.

Anyway, I like to think of it as a tool in my toobox (or lense) that I can take out and use to question some of my own assumptions and perspectives.

Cheers,

Mike

Edit - spelling :-[
« Last Edit: September 15, 2006, 10:36:21 by Alcibiades »
"In difficult ground, press on. In encircled ground, devise stratagems. In death ground, fight" -Sun Tzu.

Offline exsemjingo

  • Member
  • ****
  • -120
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 202
  • Waitin' at the end of time for you...
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2006, 00:22:21 »
Yeah, I like to hold onto old tools too: dull chisels, ratchets that don't turn anymore, phillips screwdrivers with the corners rounded off...
Marxism did not work for a while and then loose relevance; it never worked in the first place.  Even the economic examples listed in the Communist Manifesto do not last past the first few generations.

I've taken a job at a Union shop, and from time to time I talk with my co-workers about paying the bills, making ends meet, etc.  I find myself having to argue (nicely) over elementry concepts, like the existence of inflation.
How could any ideology to the left of union ideas ever be useful?
"Syria should (have) stop(ed) this crap" 

"Not all of us conservatives are Jonny Hate-Mongers, Charlie Bible-Thumps, or, God forbid, George Bushes."
-Sideshow Bob

Offline TCBF

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 13,760
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,941
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2006, 00:49:04 »
"The Civil Rights act was passed and enforced mostly through provisions of the Congress having power to regulate interstate commerce, and this was the wedge which was used to enact many other "Great Society" bills and expand the governmet since the 1960s."

- A good point.  The Gun Control Act of 1934 was "Taxation" legislation: placing a $200 USD transfer fee on silencers, full-autos and 'short' firearms.

- In Canada, the REAL money out of the taxpayers arcs is commited to government funded 'foundations' which are beyond the vision and control of Parliament - and thus: the Auditor General.

You can bet a list of contracts to suppliers and consultants is a veritable 'who's-who' of the 'progressive elite ' of Canada.



"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline RangerRay

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 13,345
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 843
  • Kloshe Nanitch
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2006, 02:01:03 »
*yawn*

I stopped reading at "Sigh". :salute:

That's too bad.  You might have learned something.

You don't find it odd that beside Cuba and North Korea, Canada is the only country that has universal health care?  The conditions in our hospitals are strikingly similar.

Before someone drags out the "Evil AmericansTM", many European countries (France, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, etc.) operate a mixture of private and public healthcare.  No one pays out of pocket, health care costs to the state are much lower than Canada's, and health outcomes are much higher than in Canada.  We should be exploring European models of health care, that the Canada Health Act do not allow, which to me, indicates that this archaic piece of legislation should be put down.

As an aside, I have no problem with someone paying to access faster health care.  If I could afford it, and I could get a portion of my taxes returned, I would do it too!
"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." - Sir Winston Churchill

Offline TCBF

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 13,760
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,941
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2006, 03:41:23 »
" I find that some of what they have to say on subjects such as captialism, imperialism, globalization, East/West/North/South relations and/or hegemony to be insightful and sometimes instructive."

- What a load of commie B.S.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline paracowboy

  • I keep sayin' it...
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 285
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,190
  • Make The Voices Stop!
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #62 on: September 17, 2006, 14:48:47 »
Quote
Why Socialism can never die
we're not shooting enough Socialists.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Mr.Newf

  • King of the Granite Planet
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 12,335
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,681
  • Fuc*in Eh!
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2006, 14:51:05 »
we're not shooting enough Socialists.
:rofl:
That is a good one.
I am the one and only

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 65,175
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,737
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2006, 01:53:22 »
>Why Socialism can never die

Because one is born every minute.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline TCBF

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 13,760
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,941
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #65 on: September 18, 2006, 20:25:45 »
... and two to take him.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

couchcommander

  • Guest
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #66 on: September 18, 2006, 22:39:44 »
Anyway, I like to think of it as a tool in my toobox (or lense) that I can take out and use to question some of my own assumptions and perspectives.

Indeed, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Marxist historical perspectives are just as narrow and innaccurate as most other narrow historical perspectives. At the same time, they can be very useful for understanding a certain, and often times very prominent, aspect driving certain events.

In the end, historical change is not the result of one force, its a result of the whole spectrum of human experience. And just like the human experience is not encompassed within one perspective, historical change cannot be encompassed within one perspective; it's a process involving the comingling of countless factors, some more prominent than other however (no, not implying Marxist perspectives here).

In the end though, it can actually be very interesting. Try analysing early post-confederation Canadian history from a Marxist perspective, very intriguing.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2006, 01:09:55 by couchcommander »

Offline Gunnerlove

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • -45
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 313
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #67 on: September 19, 2006, 00:20:15 »
Quote
You don't find it odd that beside Cuba and North Korea, Canada is the only country that has universal health care?  The conditions in our hospitals are strikingly similar.

Easy there. Only three countries in the world have universal health care? You would be right if you were not wrong. What about Australia since 1976?

Socialism can be taken to all kinds of extremes, kind of like Capitalism. I like to think of economic systems as religions, people will defend all facets of their religion and make excuses for all the bad parts while trumpeting the good  parts. Kind of like full on Capitalists and Communists.

Ask yourself what is the total value of the oil being extracted from Canadian deposits. Where does the money go? I mean most of it, not the stupid $400 keep the peasants happy cheques in Alberta. Look at Hibernia. We backed the project as a Nation and what is our current pay back? 8% wow. Past governments have given the rights to our natural resources away. Instead of running the extraction as an exploitation of a public resource demanding maximum return on investment our property was given away in the hope of future tax income.
"If after walking into your house I throw a roll of nickles at you while leaving with your TV have you just been robbed or did we just engage in a business transaction?" Question asked by an economics Prof regarding resource extraction

In my opinion Norway would have made a far better model than the US for our national energy policy. Or I could be out to lunch and we should continue to toss our resources away (China is buying up our oil rights and fast) in exchange for small short term gains. They may be pink but carry no debt and still have universal health care, and mandatory military service.
"Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty." Unknown

"In a gunfight four rounds in four inches in 4 seconds will always be a better grouping than two rounds through the same hole in twice the time" My father

Offline DBA

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • 7,520
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 341
Re: Why Socialism can never die
« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2006, 03:07:18 »
The Hibernia royalty scheme was negotiated in the era of under $20/barrel oil. It also went over budget and took a long time to start production. So an overgenerous royalty scheme that allows a high return on sunk costs before increasing beyond low levels means not much money for the provincial government. A decent article about it in The Independent Inc.

The problem isn't really royalty rates as how to attract the investment needed without giving away the farm. From what I can tell landing some of these projects becomes a political issue and the economics of the project or royalty schemes takes a second seat. It's frustrating the way government tends to accept so much of the risk through loan guarantees and tax breaks yet leaves so much potential windfall on the table. They way overpaid for the investment dollars just like for the Upper Churchill fiasco.
It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority.  By definition, there are already enough people to do that. --  G.H. Hardy