Discussion in 'Community' started by 3sm1r, Aug 31, 2020.
Indeed. I'm still amazed this only comprises of one page as of yet.
Weren't there already like 2 other leftism threads?
Well, this one has started a good thing. Of course, I liked how socialism was presented to me in college by Ms. Payne. She said, "Socialism can be helpful and peaceful....or it can be violent." Of course, she would disagree with the assessment of some on this thread that there is a difference between Marxism and socialism. I would say many UNT professors are Marxists insofar as they are cognizant of the class struggles endured in this society. Marxism is very useful in terms of sociology and criminology. Emma Goldman once said that you can learn a lot about a society by seeing how it labels as criminals. In the end, we are all criminals. We're all deviants. Every individual in this world as done something odd or illegal, if you want to talk about it in terms of labeling theory or social constructivism. So, class struggle is, indeed, an accurate form of historical analysis. Marx was perceiving the world as it was. Hegel talked in terms of abstract-negation-absolute. Marx was more direct in saying that those who control wages and resources tend to manipulate those who don't have those things. Now, he had a tendency to believe that working classes taking all the power would fix everything for all time and space. It really depends on who one would choose. Some people would be benevolent, whereas others will not. One cannot eradicate human nature. That said, it is better for societies to care for each other despite their differences. That sort of collectivist compassion is preferable. Right now, American is addicted to individualism that causes people to hurt one another, and that's not good. That's an example of corporations and other social forces manipulating us against one another.
Here are some quotes from 'American Amnesia: Business, Government and the Forgotten Roots of Our Prosperity' on this very topic. I recommend this book BTW as it really does set out the simple truth that huge government spending in the US was the order of the day once upon a time.
Now of course, there are important social factors to consider here, not least racial segregation and women's rights, but at least in the middle of the 20th Century, the US could justifiably claim to be number one in many areas of education, health, and science; but crucially it didn't achieve that through low taxes, or neo-liberal economic policy. Quite the contrary.
Socialism is a destination. Some people believe that it's best to get there peacefully, others that violent revolution is the right way to go.
If we want to have a meaningful conversation, it's important to discuss separately the destination and the way to get there, because they are two different topics.
So you're saying the Russian and Mexican revolutions (just to name a couple) would have been peaceful if people had just believed it was "best to get there peacefully"?
It depends on the historical context, of course.
I actually disagree with this, actually. Communism is the destination. Socialism is a road to get there. Anarchism is another road to get there.
Destination, indeed. However, the destination has yet to be reached.
Yeah, technically speaking, communism is a state of affairs where everyone is sharing resources without governments. As such, communism has never truly existed. Only anarcho-communism would be true communism. The totalitarian governments were more like warped forms of socialism.
I guess it depends on each person's personal taste. I feel that I'd be largely ok with a state-regulated system in which workers have ownership on the means of production, and there are the proper redistributive measures to control wealth inequality, but I can probably be convinced otherwise, by some persuasive argument.
So, in a way, you and I are both in the socialism track (as opposed to the anarchism track) ;-)
Ghost, I like you, I really do... but you're being that guy, here. Don't be that guy.
Yes absolutely. At the end of the day I believe that, putting the online drama aside, our views are probably rather similar on many issues.
@harpua heels liked your post in which you had the idea. I considered it as a mod approval.
I think it might be time to put our hands on an actual text.
I'm going to make some posts about Lenin's pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.
I chose to start with this text in particular because I believe it contains several ideas that are extremely useful even in the present, even though obviously there will be aspects that we'll consider outdated, and also because it's short enough that I think I can cover it from the beginning to the end, without the risk of losing the plot.
The book was published in 1917, the same year of the revolution, but it was written in 1916 while Lenin was in Zurich. It was largely motivated by the First World War, that Lenin considered as an outcome, somehow inevitable, of the capitalist system and the consequent development of the imperialist trend of the most industrialized countries.
Something that definitely surprised me is how clear the text is. There is a general belief that leftist authors tend too often to make the mistake of being too academic to be understood by the general public, but it seems to me that here he manages to express his idea in a rather smooth and not too complex way, and most of his claims are backed by actual data.
In case there is little feedback, I might double-post few times -and I hope it won't be too much of a problem- but posting a single endless post would be much worse. I don't know, we'll see.
I'll soon post a summary of Chapter 1, about the concentration of enterprises and the emergence of monopolies.
You could just post a link, preferably to a free copy, and have people discuss a few pages at a time. That would save you a lot of work, and would be less likely to kill the thread.
You are absolutely right. I'm trying to decide the best way to do this. I wouldn't know where to link 'cause I don't have a blog or website, so perhaps what I could do is prepare everything and then post it here in a single post, properly using the spoiler tags in order to make it look concise (I really don't like huge walls of text, I think they are intimidating).
It's available on Marxists.org.
When 3smir asks extremely online leftists to read Marx and Lenin
I can't access it, it's hidden behind a paywall
Are paywalls Marxist?
Just subscribe to the ad-supported version.
Mister Gorbachev, tear down this paywall!!
Regarding the Lenin work: I’m tempted to just start reading at the sections on imperialism and decay, since it seems like that’s where we’re at. Will those sections not make sense if I don’t read the whole thing?
This weekend I'll make a very brief summary of what each of the ten chapters is about, very roughly, so that there won't be the need to read the whole book. It's what I had in mind since the beginning, but I didn't explain myself very well.
Alright, here is a synthetic (well, I did my best) summary of what the book is about.
Writing this down has been quite instructive for me. i should take this habit more often when I read a good book.
1) Concentration of Production and Monopolies
Lenin challenges an idea common among some economists that capitalism is the economic system of free competition. Indeed, the reality is that in a capitalist society there is a natural tendency toward the formation of monopolies, with larger enterprises overpowering smaller ones. This happens because handling the productive process with large sums of capital turns out to be, in general, more effective.
Large companies very often start expanding vertically, taking control over different stages of the productive chain. Moreover, once they coordinate through the formation of trusts and cartels, they have several ways to throw the competition out of the market.
2) Banks and Their New Role
This phenomenon happens for the banks as well. When banks start assuming a monopolistic position, they move from having a passive role as mere middlemen to taking a more active control over the industrial sector, since they become the main provider of capital.
Lenin spends some time discussing this situation, that apparently is kind of new to him, in which those who provide the capital are not the same actors as those who take the main decisions concerning the production.
The capital in money form that the banks provide and the industrialists use is called finance capital.
3) Finance Capital and the Financial Oligarchy
Through the use of finance capital the capitalists have a powerful method for controlling means of production worth a significantly larger value than the capital they can provide, called holding system.
It works as follows. In order to have control over an enterprise there is no need to own its totality, but it’s sufficient to have a significant portion of its shares. In addition to be an extension of finance capital, this mechanism also allows mother enterprises to dodge the responsibilities over what their daughter enterprises do.
In terms of geopolitical movements, we note that four countries have the largest finance capital (at the beginning of 20th century): UK, US, France and Germany. While UK and France are the older capitalist states and they control the biggest fraction of the colonies, US and Germany are more rapidly expanding.
4) Export of Capital
We are at a new stage of capitalism, in which the export of capital is becoming more important than the export of goods.
The need for exporting capital is an inevitable consequence of the fact that there is a surplus that cannot be effectively invested in the home state. Someone might then wonder why there are still people starving, while there is a surplus of capital that needs to be exported. The answer is simple: using it to decrease starvation would decrease profit, and this is the opposite of what capitalism is about.
5) Division of the World Among Capitalist Associations
In this chapter some examples of international cartels are made. There is a particular attention to the case of Standard Oil of the Rockefeller family, and their struggle to conquer the whole oil market, clashing in particular with Deutsche Bank.
6) Division of the World Among the Great Powers
Imperialist countries have completed their seizure of unoccupied territories on the planet. Therefore, the competition for raw materials and more generally for outputs to invest the finance capital gets harder, naturally resulting in conflicts.
7) Imperialism as a Special Stage of Capitalism
This is a useful summary chapter. The whole process is as follows:
– emergence of monopolies out of competing enterprises and banks
– merging of bank capital with industrial capital
– need for use of the surplus capital
– export of capital from the greatest powers
– conflict among them for the control over the capital importing countries
8) Parasitism and Decay of Capitalism
Monopolies are intrinsically prone to stagnation and decay. The export of capital alienates the exporting countries, or rentier countries, from the production. They have, in this sense, a parasitic role toward the debtor countries.
9) Critique of Imperialism
Those who believe that imperialism is just a policy of capitalism, and that in principle the exporting countries could just agree among themselves over how to partition the world, fail to understand that there will always be a disparity in the way the spheres of influence are distributed with respect to how the finance capital is distributed, leading to friction among the great powers. For example, in the period in which Lenin was writing, Germany was growing faster than Britain but it had significantly less colonies, and thus fewer solutions to invest their surplus capital.
Even if we assume that a fair deal is temporarily possible among rentier countries, the strength of each country will change unevenly, so that the agreement is nothing but a truce, when we consider longer timescales.
10) The Place of Imperialism in History
This new stage of capitalism, the monopoly capitalism, is a stage in which the contradictions of capitalism are intensified.
Sup, useful idiots?
I see you’re climbing over one another to read the red or dead bible. Best of luck with that.
I was thinking of starting a thread about the transfer of wealth, but I guess this thread is as good a place.
What are your thoughts on a Billionaire tax? Billionaire’s pandemic wealth gains are pretty sickening.
According to this report they made like bandits:
@3sm1r you’re welcome