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Thoughts on how to improve the current system
01-06-2012, 08:48 PM (This post was last modified: 01-06-2012 09:27 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #41
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-06-2012 07:52 PM)kandrathe Wrote:  
(01-06-2012 06:37 PM)eppie Wrote:  Yes I know what you mean kandrathe. Just that he is at least a serious person and someone that at least seems to be intelligent.
I still think he was too green for the job. He is articulate, and very intelligent, but does not lead very well. There is the problem... When it comes to leadership, you seek someone inspirational with the intestinal fortitude of a MacArthur, or a George Patton, but also the shrewd intelligence of a Harry Truman, or a John F. Kennedy. He sold himself generically as a unifier during his campaign which had broad appeal, but in action has only fanned the flames of political division during the past few years. 100 years ago, a President Calvin Coolidge warned, "Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong."

But, whether he's chosen, or has been forced, Obama's 1st term has mostly walked the GWB policy line. From the Geitner/Paulsen plan for dealing with the imploding banking sector, to the Clinton/Bush neocon foreign policy doctrines. The latest is the ( resurrected Rumsfeld) plan for downsizing the military. I guess "change" means something different in Washington DC, than it does where I live. His two Progressive stakes in the ground were the badly timed health care fiasco, and attempting to implement a Consumer Credit watchdog czar. The health care bill may unravel when it goes before the Supreme Court shortly, and the unprecedented recess appointment (bypassing Senate oversight) of his crony into the credit czar has already politically weakened that post before it's launched. We live in an era of banana republic politics, in a police state worthy of a banana republic. We are merely a hunta away from becoming exactly what we oppose.

Quote:Anyway, also in Europe we have to deal with this 'smooth red Khmerisation' of the countries. Anti-intellectualism is hot and the new big thing in politics.
The two ways you can appeal to populism are through reason, or passion. As your heroes Fidel, and Che learned, passion is far easier to ignite, and it makes the debates very short. As short as the firing of a pistol shot through the brain pan.

The same can be said for your reactionary buddy, Mr. Hitler himself. Except for him gassing people to death was far more fun than shooting them.

Two cold, hard facts which I know will piss you off, but are true nonetheless:

1. The United States has the largest penal system in the world

2. More people are incarcerated in the US than Cuba (both absolutely and relatively).

Castro and Che > all American presidents

Good day sir.

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01-07-2012, 07:31 AM
Post: #42
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-06-2012 07:52 PM)kandrathe Wrote:  As your heroes Fidel, and Che learned, passion is far easier to ignite, and it makes the debates very short. As short as the firing of a pistol shot through the brain pan.

I don't have heroes.
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01-12-2012, 02:52 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2012 02:56 AM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #43
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
I have heroes, but most of them are unnamed in the history books. The ones who fought and died (and still continue to) to improve the conditions of the society in which we live, for the downtrodden.

But my main political influences, besides the obvious Marx and Engels, would probably be Howard Zinn, Malcolm X, Rosa Luxemburg, John Rawls, Thomas Paine, and Noam Chomsky. V.I. Lenin, and Che to a lesser extent also.

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01-12-2012, 06:06 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2012 06:07 AM by Taem.)
Post: #44
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-12-2012 02:52 AM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  I have heroes, but most of them are unnamed in the history books. The ones who fought and died (and still continue to) to improve the conditions of the society in which we live, for the downtrodden.

But my main political influences, besides the obvious Marx and Engels, would probably be Howard Zinn, Malcolm X, Rosa Luxemburg, John Rawls, Thomas Paine, and Noam Chomsky. V.I. Lenin, and Che to a lesser extent also.

I think I'm finally starting to understand you. You don't care about leaders or political systems or what each government stands for. What your interested in is personal freedoms at any cost; equality for everyone. That makes your views hard to understand in a world that needs leaders to shepherd its people. Think about it, the truth is the vast majority of people in this world want to be lead and don't know any other way. How could they not? They [we] go to schools and learn to follow the rules made by the society we live in, adhere to our laws, even choose to go to church to be lead. Your logic is based on the simple assumption that everyone wants to be free, but that is simply not the case, hence your vision of a perfect world is already flawed - most people want to be told what to do. That's why leaders are so effective at what they do in our society, and why the world has not "evolved" as per your vision of a perfect society (i.e. everyone as their own person, capable of helping one another and there are no laws because everyone has mutual respect for each other).

I'm rambling; wife watching TV next to me, distracting. Took me like 40-min to write. Might as well post this. Reread it once, sort-of; looks alright, lol.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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01-12-2012, 08:12 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2012 10:02 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #45
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
You are partially correct, Comrade Taem. It is my view (and the fundamental view of pretty much all Marxists in general) that all political systems and institutions, regardless of what they stand for, be they liberal or conservative, or theocratic, are designed only to uphold the interest of those who control and run society, i.e. the Capitalists in our current society. This is why it baffles me that so many conservatives, and especially Libertarians want virtually almost no government other than providing national security and infrastructure purposes, but are all for keeping the Capitalist system intact. You cannot keep this system intact WITHOUT having a large and powerful centralized state. To keep the interests of the ruling class intact, a elected set of delegates is needed to make sure the rules and laws of society carry this out. A large and powerful government is necessary for Capitalism, or any other system of rulers and ruled, to keep it intact. There are two components to society as we (Marxists) see it: the Base (the mode of production and the social relationships manifested by it) and the Superstructure (political systems and institutions, culture, etc). The Superstructure is a product of the Base, and exists to keep the Base intact. Although the Superstructure does have some impact on the course of society, the Base is the predominant factor in how society is organized. For us, the Base must be changed so that ALL of society controls and shares the means to production rather than a select few. As a result, the Superstructure will thus no longer be needed, because the Proletarian (the vast majority of society) has achieved economic democracy.

You are overstating my "perfect" society though. Marxists do not promise a perfect society. Only a better one than what we currently have, albeit much better. But perfect? No. Even if we had a successful Socialist revolution, we would still be a ways off from achieving the ideal society where humanity would be emancipated from the shackles of Capitalism. The transformation from Socialism into full-blown Communism itself would be lengthy and complex, and there is great debate on how this process would be carried out....some Marxists think this transformation would be as long and difficult as the transformation from Capitalism into Socialism although I don't necessarily agree.

As for people wanting to be led, I am not so sure this is completely true. But even if so, this is because they are CONDITIONED to think that way, as your post mentions. Our society implies and indoctrinates us (falsely) that Capitalism and Democracy go hand in hand, or that religion needs to be the foundation for our morals and guiding us in how we treat our fellow citizens. We are not born this way however, and thus my vision isn't flawed, because people have the ability to change. If people were born this way, you would be right. But they are not: As material conditions in society change, so do the behavior, actions, and nature of the people in that society. If people are indoctrinated, they can be un-indontrinated as well (is that a word?). All the revolutions in the fabric of history are proof of this. But of course, many things must happen first for these changes to take place - it won't just happen spontaneously. Right now, most of society is in a state of "false consciousness", and needs to reach "class consciousness". But on the other hand, to think Capitalism is universal and is thus eternal, is not only deterministic, but incorrect as well if we go by history since every previous system has reached an apex, then replaced with a new system where the previous ruled class became the new ruling class. The class antagonisms though have become much more simplified under Capitalism, compared to prior modes of production. A Socialist society, being the next stage in history after Capitalism, will end this trend by not merely simplifying class distinctions, but by eliminating them entirely....and thus leading to the highest (note: not perfect) form of society possible - Communism. I should note that Marx used the terms Socialism and Communism interchangeably, but contemporary Marxists have made a distinction between the two, that Socialism is the transitory stage between Capitalism and Communism. Communism only occurs when Socialism becomes so deeply embedded into society that all elements of the former Bourgeois society are no longer existent, and when "from each according to his ability to each according to his needs" is in fact the defining element of the mode to production and the social relationships resulting from it. So what happens after Communism then? From that point, humanity can keep progressing, until it reaches its maximum potential - however close to "perfect" that may be, is impossible to say but such measures at that point would probably be trivial anyway (if there even is a so-called maximum potential). We use "utopian" principles not to achieve a utopian society, but as a MEANS to creating the best POSSIBLE society. Under Capitalism, we have absolutely no reason to believe this is the best we have or can get. Other then the fact that those who have the game rigged in their favor tell us this is the best we can do, which leads me to....

The leaders of society control all aspects of it: Economics first and foremost, but also culture, politics, education, information and mass media, technology, and so forth. This does indeed make change very difficult, but not impossible. And as long as anything is possible, I see no reason to stop fighting for it, no matter how daunting or long it may be. Indeed, my views are probably very difficult for most to understand, let alone get on board with - we have lived under oppression, social/cultural/and psychological brainwashing, misinformation, and barbarism for so long now, under a system that claims this is the best we got or can have, that to think anything else is possible is absurd to many individuals - but this in itself is absurd to me. The elites WANT you to think this way - because this hinders progress and prolongs their stay in power. I used to think that way a couple years ago myself - before going back to school, as well as through my own research and analysis, that there is indeed a better way for us. It is truly a higher level of thinking and vision for society. American leadership has pounded into our heads so deeply that Communism is totally evil and that Capitalism is so great, that it is difficult for many to get past this propaganda and misinformation. It takes very serious critical thinking and careful research to be able to have views like mine, but I think it is possible for everyone to achieve. Marxism is only radical in the sense of viewing society in the current context of the conditions in which we currently live - when viewed from what is possible for the human condition, it is second nature, and in fact, I am at the point where I cannot imagine myself being anything other than a Communist. It isn't just about achieving equality - it is something much deeper and more fundamental than that. It is the emancipation of humanity from our lives being robot commodities in a system that requires us to simply work 9-5 everyday just to pay bills because our survival depends upon it, and maybe if we are lucky we can retire at age 65 and live out what is left of our twilight years in peace IF we still have our health and our sanity. Can our full potential as humans be reached under such strife conditions? I do not believe so. In fact, I KNOW they cannot.

I wish we could just somehow go straight into a Communist society so we would never ever have to talk about politics, religion, or social injustice ever again, and people like me would have no longer have a need to be Marxist anymore, heh. Instead, we could focus on far more positive and important things like science, technology, culture and ethics, traveling, art, and most importantly, love. Not that society would be perfect, but the problems would be so much more trivial than the ones we have now. Capitalism is so anti-human, and I am positive that the morale and dignity of human beings would be far better off emotionally, physically, and psychologically in a Communist world. Sorry for the long post, but I think I put everything on the table now.

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01-17-2012, 08:03 PM (This post was last modified: 01-17-2012 09:49 PM by Taem.)
Post: #46
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Quote:You cannot keep this system intact WITHOUT having a large and powerful centralized state.

Right, you need to have the same currency over an entire area (such as the USA) to allow for free trade, else tariffs and bartering get in the way. I fail to recognize the point on this one. Are you suggesting we use a one-world currency, or perhaps no currency at all?

Quote:To keep the interests of the ruling class intact, a elected set of delegates is needed to make sure the rules and laws of society carry this out. A large and powerful government is necessary for Capitalism, or any other system of rulers and ruled, to keep it intact.

In a completely non-Capitalist society, there is no private sector; instead the Government controls all aspects of production, services, and private ownership. You’re making Capitalism out to sound negative, when what you’re actually promoting is slavery by giving everything up to the government for complete control. Capitalism.

Quote:For us, the Base must be changed so that ALL of society controls and shares the means to production rather than a select few.

Case and point. No one owns anything, yet everyone is forced to work a supposed equal amount, when in reality some pigs will do virtually nothing and reap all the benefits while the workers live in poverty. What a dream…

Quote:You are overstating my "perfect" society though. Marxists do not promise a perfect society. Only a better one than what we currently have, albeit much better.

You should have stopped while I had a “perfect” idea about what you wanted for our society. The more you explain to me your utopia, the more I realize how backwards it really is. On that note before I continue, I’d like to stress that I really hope you don’t take any offense to my reactions or what I’m saying, this is merely my opinion. I greatly enjoy hearing about other people points of view, and yours is exceptional and it's been a real pleasure to read your responses, however its one I don’t agree with.

Quote:The transformation from Socialism into full-blown Communism itself would be lengthy and complex, and there is great debate on how this process would be carried out....some Marxists think this transformation would be as long and difficult as the transformation from Capitalism into Socialism although I don't necessarily agree.

An interesting thought and I can see how the conclusions where drawn on the transformation from Barbarism to Feudalism to Democracy to Socialism. I think there could be a new evolution in our society that supersedes Socialism, however I don’t think it’s Communism, and I honestly don’t believe Socialism is the correct answer either. I think there needs to be more independence of the states, of the cities, of the individual. Equal rights, of course, but forced equality through conformity in the sense that everyone does equal work and has the same stuff in their home as everyone else, no. It is the natural tendency of the individual to do better than your neighbor and coworkers, hence competition, hence why Communism failed the first couple times around. People are inherently greedy and will always be, unless you somehow find a way to rewire our DNA. This alone is the main reason Communism could never work. Star Trek TNG has a pretty similar thread of logic for its vision of the future, but that will never happen.

Quote:As for people wanting to be led, I am not so sure this is completely true. But even if so, this is because they are CONDITIONED to think that way, as your post mentions. Our society implies and indoctrinates us (falsely) that Capitalism and Democracy go hand in hand, or that religion needs to be the foundation for our morals and guiding us in how we treat our fellow citizens.

Not true. I myself am the victim of my own crime! My wife got pregnant early when we were both young, I started working right away, moved up to management, and when I had the opportunity to go back to school and get a higher paying job, found I was making just what I needed and was complacent. I “could” improve, do more for myself and family, but I’m content. And I’m not the only one. I’d say I represent the vast majority. Having said that, the reality is, once people get used to their current conditions, they DON’T WANT TO CHANGE! It’s not that they are conditioned to think otherwise or that they don’t even know the truth, it’s because they are comfortable with where they are in life. Here’s a great example: I’ve tried to show my mother the truth of my biblical research over and over, and no matter how many ways I try and show her, she blocks it out because – in all honesty, she doesn’t want to know the true. She’s happy believing what she believes and even though she’s now aware its not be everything she thought it was, she doesn’t care and why? Because she’s content; she will never change. You could make the argument that she was conditioned to believe what she believes over a lifetime of indoctrination, but after showing her the pudding, I digress this is not the case.

Quote:As material conditions in society change, so do the behavior, actions, and nature of the people in that society. If people are indoctrinated, they can be un-indontrinated as well (is that a word?). All the revolutions in the fabric of history are proof of this.

That is an absurd statement. Many revolutions took place to overthrow a tyrant or dictator whom many times cared little about brainwashing their citizens and more about collecting goods/money (think Africa for example).

Quote:Right now, most of society is in a state of "false consciousness", and needs to reach "class consciousness".

It’s of our own design, an evolution of society, and one we choose. Throughout, I’ve gotten the idea that you want to de-evolutionize us to a state more akin to the Native American Indians, more tribal and more family centered. It’s a beautiful thought, but not the wave of the future, and certainly not the way society is set to evolve. A system like this may work for tribes on a small scale, but on a large scale, it could never work, and I highly doubt would foster much societal improvements such as scientific and scholastic advancements, hence its [government] benefits over our current system would be questionable at best. Liberate our minds? I’d say shackle our interests.

Quote:But on the other hand, to think Capitalism is universal and is thus eternal, is not only deterministic, but incorrect as well if we go by history since every previous system has reached an apex, then replaced with a new system where the previous ruled class became the new ruling class. The class antagonisms though have become much more simplified under Capitalism, compared to prior modes of production.

All forms of society use Capitalism to a degree. You’re stating it as if the USA is not a Democracy, but a purely Capitalistic society hell-bent on controlling everyone’s lives, which is itself ironic in that a truly Capitalistic society would have government own very little, and the private sector own much of everything.

Quote:A Socialist society, being the next stage in history after Capitalism, will end this trend by not merely simplifying class distinctions, but by eliminating them entirely....and thus leading to the highest (note: not perfect) form of society possible - Communism.

I could not disagree more, on many aspects of this sentence. True socialism across the board is true slavery, plain and simple. Most societies today have evolved to include a healthy mix of Democracy and Socialism. To conclude that the next phase of society, just because we’ve adopted a few hints from the Socialists handbook, is to convert to Communism is irrational fallacy. I’m not even sure there is a next step. We might have already reached the crux of government as we know it. From this point on, it’s more about reaching and enlightening the people, but a full on conversion to Socialism or Communism is not required for this to happen.

Quote:We use "utopian" principles not to achieve a utopian society, but as a MEANS to creating the best POSSIBLE society. Under Capitalism, we have absolutely no reason to believe this is the best we have or can get. Other then the fact that those who have the game rigged in their favor tell us this is the best we can do, which leads me to...

Again, total disagreement; I believe the exact opposite of what you are stating here, that only under Capitalism can we do better. I see no incentive to do better in a system where everyone has total equality without room to be better than your fellow man.

Quote:[propaganda…]The elites WANT you to think this way - because this hinders progress and prolongs their stay in power.

Again, we have choice. If we so choose in this country, we could revolt (like the Occupy camp) and make a change in this country – but guess what, not enough people really care or over half of Americans would have been out protesting and change would have occurred. Now think about this – had we [Americans] attempted a gathering like that in Egypt, Iran, Syria, etc. we’d be shot and killed. No, we have choice in this country. We can make a difference. We can make a change. But again, as I’ve been trying to explain to you all along: nobody cares enough! The price of living is not big enough yet for the majority to make a stink, only a small minority. Believe me, if there were something worth fighting over, Americans would be first in the fray. You give your own country too little credit.

I don’t really have anything to add to the rest of what you said in your post. Thank you for sharing. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s points of view.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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01-17-2012, 10:27 PM (This post was last modified: 01-18-2012 10:11 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #47
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Quote:Right, you need to have the same currency over an entire area (such as the USA) to allow for free trade, else tariffs and bartering get in the way. I fail to recognize the point on this one. Are you suggesting we use a one-world currency, or perhaps no currency at all?

I wasn't really speaking about currency here, just that Capitalism by its very nature cannot operate without a large set of political institutions - which is some utopian dream world that Libertarians live in. But if there is no centralized authority, how can the ruling class be protected from the possibility of the uprising by the ruled class? But to answer your other question, yes, in a Communist society, there would be either one currency or no currency at all (I tend to believe in the former, some other Marxists believe the latter) - because Communism is "internationalist" and not "nationalist" in structure, but I will explain this in more detail later.

Quote:In a completely non-Capitalist society, there is no private sector; instead the Government controls all aspects of production, services, and private ownership. You’re making Capitalism out to sound negative, when what you’re actually promoting is slavery by giving everything up to the government for complete control. Capitalism.

Because Capitalism IS negative. In Communism, that is just it: there IS NO government - because the state no longer exists. It doesn't need to exist, because there is no longer a system of class antagonisms and there is no ruling class to dictate how society is ran as there is in Capitalism. The people, not a government, control the all aspects of the economy and equally share the means of production. Again, there is NO centralized political power in a Communist society, except for the Proletarians themselves (who consist of oh, 98% of society give or take). I don't have to make Capitalism sound negative, the self-evident material conditions which result from it speak plenty of volumes about its negative aspects without my help^^

Quote:Case and point. No one owns anything, yet everyone is forced to work a supposed equal amount, when in reality some pigs will do virtually nothing and reap all the benefits while the workers live in poverty. What a dream…

^^The society you described there to a near perfect T, ironically enough, is Capitalism - Big Grin. In Communism: Everyone equally shares in the means to production, and everyones basic needs for survival are provided. You can still own a house and a car privately. You just can't own A FACTORY or place of business - all institutions, as well as resources (including raw materials) that appropriate the products and services of society are owned by the public. Communism doesn't deprive any person the ability to distribute the products of society, it only deprives them the ability to subjugate the labor of others, nothing more. Thus, there is no poverty in a Communist society. Any disparities in wealth will be because some people CHOOSE to have less than others (some people will want to simply own a Toyota and not a Bentley, even if they have the means to own the latter), but at least it is due to their own choice, unlike under Capitalism - where it is economically forced. Democracy and Capitalism are not compatible, nor have they ever been or ever will be. Unless of course, you are referring to Bourgeois Democracy.

Quote:You should have stopped while I had a “perfect” idea about what you wanted for our society. The more you explain to me your utopia, the more I realize how backwards it really is. On that note before I continue, I’d like to stress that I really hope you don’t take any offense to my reactions or what I’m saying, this is merely my opinion. I greatly enjoy hearing about other people points of view, and yours is exceptional and it's been a real pleasure to read your responses, however its one I don’t agree with.

No problem, and thank you for taking the time to listen. Most are not open minded enough to to even consider hearing let alone listening to the principles of Marxism, and in the rare cases they do, we are usually dismissed as 'nutjobs', due to close minded ignorance. As I stated before, I do not expect most people to understand much less agree with these views - because they are views that would radically change the world in which we live from anything we have ever seen before. It is pretty hard to imagine for most. That being said, I find it interesting that me and you can have this discussion in a civil manner (despite that we disagree for the most part), but the likes of Jester, Kandrathe and others cannot accept a radical point of view to stir up things a little bit around here, lol. Somehow being a radical to them equates to being a troll. Of course, according to them, it is all my doing, though I think our discussion proves otherwise. Bottomline: if you are civil with me, I am civil with you. You treat me with respect, and I do the same for you - even if we disagree. If one patronizes me or talks down toward me - then I am not so nice anymore. Anyways...

I don't consider Marxism to be utopian, because it involves and calls for revolution. Now, something like Fabian Socialism, an idea that we can achieve socialism through peaceful means and everyone will just automatically get along without the need for revolution - THAT is utopian. Anarchist Syndicalism - another branch of Socialism - is also utopian though in a different way. Marxism isn't utopian socialism, it is Scientific Socialism, centered around the epistemology of Materialism. There is one huge difference though, between all previous revolutions and The Marxist Revolution: the former, generally, were revolutions of the minority. The Revolution us Marxists call for is a revolution by the MAJORITY, rather. Thus our revolution will take much longer to materialize.

Quote:An interesting thought and I can see how the conclusions where drawn on the transformation from Barbarism to Feudalism to Democracy to Socialism. I think there could be a new evolution in our society that supersedes Socialism, however I don’t think it’s Communism, and I honestly don’t believe Socialism is the correct answer either. I think there needs to be more independence of the states, of the cities, of the individual. Equal rights, of course, but forced equality through conformity in the sense that everyone does equal work and has the same stuff in their home as everyone else, no. It is the natural tendency of the individual to do better than your neighbor and coworkers, hence competition, hence why Communism failed the first couple times around. People are inherently greedy and will always be, unless you somehow find a way to rewire our DNA. This alone is the main reason Communism could never work. Star Trek TNG has a pretty similar thread of logic for its vision of the future, but that will never happen.

But people are NOT inherently greedy or even competitive for that matter - people are greedy because they live in a system of class antagonisms that promotes shallowness and consumerism. It has nothing to do with DNA or genetics, and almost everything to do with the material conditions that determine the social relationships of our existence. Besides the will to survive and procreate, there is NO such thing as individual human nature, and if there is, I would like to see the proof. Human nature and behavior is determined almost entirely by environment and social conditions. Communism never failed, because it is a material condition which has never been reached. But what are the alternatives to Socialism or Capitalism, besides the previous stages of society (which I think we can agree are not desirable to return to)? Either a small amount of people control the means to production and thus determine how society is organized and ran in all other aspects (Capitalism), or all the citizens control the means to production and society is ran in the interest of everyone collectively (Socialism). As far as I can tell, it is that cut and dry - There are no possible alternatives. You will never see more interdependence and cooperation in a Capitalist society - because Capitalism itself is a system that REQUIRES the exploitation of one class by another class - and thus in turn they have conflicting self-interests. The same was true for all previous modes of production, but the class antagonisms under Capitalism are much more simplified and thus more pronounced. It (Capitalism) literally, in a sense, plants the seeds to its own destruction - the working class. Interdependence among individuals is also hindered - for in a Capitalist society, the individual him/herself becomes a commodity - in addition to both their labor power and the products which it produces.

You are scared of the loss of private property, but we already live in a society where 90%+ of the population owns nothing anyway. Communism does away with Bourgeois property only, since they are the only ones who own anything to begin with. Nor does it imply that everyone must have the exact same house, same car, or same products in general. In fact, under Communism, you would have more choice as to what you can or want to own than you do under Capitalism. Another misconception about Communism is that it promotes laziness and thus could never work. However, this is debunked by the fact that laziness doesn't necessarily lead to a completely idle society - because in that case our society would have been such long ago. Capitalism promotes laziness more than Communism does: In a Capitalist system, most of those who work for a living have to, and they own nothing, and many of those who own a lot do little or even no work.

As far as Socialism never happening, don't be so sure. I highly doubt that Capitalism marks the end and zenith point in history. I bet southerners back in 1850 never imagined that slavery would ever come to an end - but it did. The same goes for hereditary Monarchs of the Middle Ages - their demise was probably never conceivable to them - until the French Revolution took place and they saw it happen right before their very eyes when those guillotine blades came sliding down. Capitalism almost certainly will too - it is even pretty safe to say we are in the beginning stage of its demise right now.

The DNA and genetics argument also works in my favor, for the simple fact that genetics itself can and has been altered by the material aspects of environmental and social conditions - both physically and cognitively. A good example was the Spanish Inquisition. Native Americans in general were very healthy, and outside of occasional battles with other tribes or dangerous encounters with nature (such as bears), they lived pretty healthy and for a decent length of time. Because they were very clean and didn't often become ill, they had weak immune systems against foreign diseases. When the Spanish came here and imposed one of the earliest forms of germ warfare on them (Small Pox) and brutally enslaved them, naturally, over time, their life span and overall health deteriorated....their vitality and overall life expectancy decreased over generations due to these harsh material circumstances. Slavery is another one: During the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848, slavery was acceptable by most in American society, now it is not - and this is also a result of the changing historic social conditions between that time and now. The same is true in species other than our own as well. A known example are male lions of Tsavo. They are maneless, because of the harsh vegetation and brush in that sector of Africa. Thus over time male lions in Tsavo evolved to be born without manes.

All Capitalism is, is Social Darwinian theory in economic form. Social Darwinism - the notion that other races are genetically inferior with lesser life expectancies so their poor social status is justified - has long been discredited - in particular by the Great Depression when the majority (whites included) began to suffer. Bottomline: Economic and Social conditions, not genetics, produce human nature, behavior and consciousness.

Quote:Not true. I myself am the victim of my own crime! My wife got pregnant early when we were both young, I started working right away, moved up to management, and when I had the opportunity to go back to school and get a higher paying job, found I was making just what I needed and was complacent. I “could” improve, do more for myself and family, but I’m content. And I’m not the only one. I’d say I represent the vast majority. Having said that, the reality is, once people get used to their current conditions, they DON’T WANT TO CHANGE! It’s not that they are conditioned to think otherwise or that they don’t even know the truth, it’s because they are comfortable with where they are in life. Here’s a great example: I’ve tried to show my mother the truth of my biblical research over and over, and no matter how many ways I try and show her, she blocks it out because – in all honesty, she doesn’t want to know the true. She’s happy believing what she believes and even though she’s now aware its not be everything she thought it was, she doesn’t care and why? Because she’s content; she will never change. You could make the argument that she was conditioned to believe what she believes over a lifetime of indoctrination, but after showing her the pudding, I digress this is not the case.

Anecdotal evidence. You should be careful about being complacent. You might be happy where you are at, and EVEN IF YOU are a part of the majority (which I certainly have doubts about), there are still plenty who are not satisfied with their station in life (and rightfully so) and do not have the means or power to improve their circumstances. If that were the case, every black and latino single mother out there would be as wealthy as every white person in society, but the material conditions show this is not the case. The social forces and structures of society control people from having personal autonomy, but use talking points, the media, and institutions of society to give us the illusion we that we do. Your mom not changing is also anecdotal evidence. I was taught in middle and high school that Communism was completely evil and that all Communists were dictators who wanted to control people - believe me, they POUNDED that shit into our heads like nobodies business. But here I am 15+ years later, and not only did I end up questioning what they taught me, but I ended becoming a die-hard Communist - to the point where I cannot imagine being anything else! I discovered that at least half the stuff I learned in my high school history classes, was taught in a very slanted/revisionist way - if it wasn't complete bullshit altogether. I realize that my case is also anecdotal evidence, but nevertheless change for people is possible. Even just as recently as 3 years ago, this discussion would have never taken place, as it has only been in the last couple years that I became a Marxist - and most who know me personally know a completely different person from the one they knew before the change took place. It is much more difficult for some than others, perhaps even impossible for a select few. But if the material conditions of society changed, believe me, everyones way of thinking would change also - maybe not immediately, but over time, absolutely it would. I look at people being complacent as another form of selfish apathy that is a result of the system we live in: "I got mines, so screw everyone else" mentality. Why should I or anyone else have to suffer because some privileged jackass has the game rigged in his favor? There is no justification you can produce that will convince me otherwise.

Quote:That is an absurd statement. Many revolutions took place to overthrow a tyrant or dictator whom many times cared little about brainwashing their citizens and more about collecting goods/money (think Africa for example).

Nope, it isn't, and history is on my side. All forms of tyrannical governments used some sort of brainwashing to control society somehow. In Fuedal society/middle ages for instance, it was religion, which was the center point and Base of society that determined the social relationships of society at the time. The Super Structures of course, where The Church, the Monarch, and the Aristocracy. But the Scientific Revolution put to question the notion that religion or a deity controlled all social phenomena around us, and even though religion still exists and is prominent today, there is much more freedom now to practice what religion you want in the countries where you previously could not, or not practice it at all - as in my case. Back then, to even question the Church or be an open Atheist was pretty much an automatic death sentence. Today, religion is still used as a form of oppression in many nations but in the wealthier ones like ours, it probably takes a back seat to Nationalism. Flag burning or threatening the government with revolution is much more frowned upon than being an Atheist nowadays. The brainwashing of citizens isn't an end - it never was in ANY society. Rather, it is used as a means to an end - and that end is preetty much what you said - to collect goods, money, and control society. Think about it, they HAVE to use some form of brain washing to keep society controlled, because an educated and socially astute society will rebel. Slavery as I mentioned before was another example. At one point it was acceptable in our society, now it is not. At least not in a direct fashion.

Quote:It’s of our own design, an evolution of society, and one we choose. Throughout, I’ve gotten the idea that you want to de-evolutionize us to a state more akin to the Native American Indians, more tribal and more family centered. It’s a beautiful thought, but not the wave of the future, and certainly not the way society is set to evolve. A system like this may work for tribes on a small scale, but on a large scale, it could never work, and I highly doubt would foster much societal improvements such as scientific and scholastic advancements, hence its [government] benefits over our current system would be questionable at best. Liberate our minds? I’d say shackle our interests.

A Communist society right now would resemble tribalism in almost no context, because our society today is so much more advanced in every way since then, especially in technology. Modern (Civil) Communism however, NEEDS a large scale population to operate, not a small population as in Tribalism. The reason is, Communism by its very necessary conditions is Internationalist. In other words, you CANNOT have Communism in one town, city, or country. The reason is, a Communist country would be exploited and invaded and eventually taken over by the imperialist Capitalist nations that would literally devour the said Communist country and exploit its resources, as well as its citizens. Therefore it is really the opposite of what you think: Communism MUST have a very large scale population (preferably the entire globe) to work, or the Capitalist countries will attack and consume it much in the same way a pack of Hyenas do to their prey. Communism only shackles the interest of the Bourgeois, no one else. Capitalism on the other hand, shackles the interest of the Proletarian, or the overwhelming majority of society. Communists don't want to move history backward, we want to move it FORWARD. Reactionaries are the ones who want to move history backward, because they dwell in the romanticism of the past and are mad at the fact that society has become more democratic, or that groups of people they do not like and view as the causes of their troubles now have more political power and economic stability. It is much easier to point a finger at a particular group of people (Latino immigrants or Muslims for example) as being the cause of our problems than identifying the REAL problem: the shortcomings and failures of Capitalism. They want to stop history from pursuing its natural course - which is forward only - and go backwards instead. It is important to differentiate between reactionaries (Fascists) and revolutionaries (Communists) here, because their principles and view of how society should be ran are essentially on opposite ends of the spectrum. The very philosophies of Fascism and Communism are also in direct conflict with one another - the former is centered around a type of Idealism, the latter is based on Materialism.

Quote:All forms of society use Capitalism to a degree. You’re stating it as if the USA is not a Democracy, but a purely Capitalistic society hell-bent on controlling everyone’s lives, which is itself ironic in that a truly Capitalistic society would have government own very little, and the private sector own much of everything.

All you described there is two different types of Capitalism: Private, competitive Capitalism, the kind we are all familiar with. The other is State Capitalism, in which the state monopolizes the means to production and creates a large bureaucracy to protect its own interests directly - this was basically what occurred in the Soviet Union post-Lenin. It has nothing to do with Communism or Socialism - a society where both the "free market" AND the state are eliminated - and the people, not private institutions OR the State, controls all appropriations. Private Capitalism hides under the veil of "Democracy", State Capitalism hides under the veil of "Socialism". But neither one is either of those things, respectively. I will give you this, State Capitalism IS worse than private Capitalism, but from a Marxist perspective, both are greatly undesirable and are very destructive to the human condition and its development.

The difference between Europe and the USA is that Europe has a much larger social welfare state within their Capitalist society. Europe attempts to create a more level and fair playing field for their citizens, and their view of how things should be is much closer to my line of thinking - equality is far more important to them than individual freedom, though even by their leftist standards my views are still extremely radical. That being said, please do not confuse a 'welfare state' with Socialism - they are NOT the same thing and it is important that people understand this. The welfare state is merely an inevitable byproduct of Capitalism, to give the working class enough to survive and to satisfy them enough that they do not rebel - it is a tool merely designed to keep Capitalism intact. Now, I am not saying we should not have a welfare state to eliminate Capitalism (this would be most selfish if not reactionary of me!) - to get rid of the welfare state, you need to get rid of Capitalism first. The welfare state is merely a creation caused by Capitalism, as is the State itself. The USA is no more democratic than Cuba or Denmark. As mentioned before, how can a society that holds 25% of all the worlds incarcerated citizens, along with being the wealthiest and most powerful nation but having the paradox of 40 million+ citizens living in poverty (and this doesnt include the working class and near poor, or the unemployed/underemployed), a heavy police state that pepper sprays innocent protesters, and bases its economy on war politics and the exploitation of weaker/less developed nations, and a nation that fundamentally, was founded upon slavery and racism be considered a Democracy? Communists have a very different understanding of Democracy I think, than how most people interpret the meaning of that word.

Quote:I could not disagree more, on many aspects of this sentence. True socialism across the board is true slavery, plain and simple. Most societies today have evolved to include a healthy mix of Democracy and Socialism. To conclude that the next phase of society, just because we’ve adopted a few hints from the Socialists handbook, is to convert to Communism is irrational fallacy. I’m not even sure there is a next step. We might have already reached the crux of government as we know it. From this point on, it’s more about reaching and enlightening the people, but a full on conversion to Socialism or Communism is not required for this to happen.

Also a misconception. Democracy and Socialism are basically synonymous. You cannot have Socialism without having Democracy first. If there isn't Democracy for all, then Socialism, let alone Communism, cannot be reached. Reaching and enlightening people isnt the end phase, it is a means rather, and probably a requirement of material conditions if you ask me, that must take place for society to transfer into Socialism. In other words, Socialism isn't used to to enlighten people (though people can always continue to learn under Socialism, just as they can under Capitalism - learning is a life long process!), the enlightenment of people would be required to achieve socialism. Capitalism, not Socialism, is slavery - both economic and mental - because it makes peoples survival dependent on the economy - and also implies that somehow the most evil of persons, for the most evil of reasons, will somehow work to the benefit of all of society. An absurd and ridiculous notion if you ask me. But hey, I'm just a crazy radical Communist that wants to control everyones lives and make everyone miserable. Capitalism is democracy of a very specific kind - Bourgeois Democracy. The only difference between a Proletarian and a Communist is that the latter has achieved class consciousness and intellectually understands that the relations of production and the resulting distribution of societies goods/services determines the material circumstances of his existence.

Quote:Again, total disagreement; I believe the exact opposite of what you are stating here, that only under Capitalism can we do better. I see no incentive to do better in a system where everyone has total equality without room to be better than your fellow man.

Your argument seems to imply that people are lazy by nature and expect handouts - a unfair (and rather bleak) outlook to have on our species I think. This is a common critique of Socialism, but it has two major flaws. First, people are NOT lazy by nature, and for the most part, people like to be proactive and do things and contribute to society in some way, shape or form. But we also have different likes, people want to be able to do what they love, and not necessarily what brings in the highest amount of monetary value. But under a Capitalist society, this isn't possible - you have to do something that can pay the bills, or you starve - whether it is something you enjoy or not matters little. The second flaw is the belief that Socialists just want free handouts. Not so. We just want to be able to have autonomy over our lives so that our survival isn't dependent on a caste system that randomly chooses winners and losers at the roll of a dice. In a Socialist society, since every citizen controls the means to production, there is no need for a 'welfare state', which is a result of Capitalism. There is no reason to want to do better under Capitalism, when only a select few truly prosper regardless. As I stated before, it is Capitalism, not Socialism, that promotes laziness. But laziness doesn't necessarily make an idle society anyway, otherwise Bourgeois society would have stopped functioning a long time ago. The reason it still functions though is because we have an army of wage slaves that work to keep society going, while those who control society can sit on their big fat asses and enjoy life without a worry in the world. But the expense of keeping society intact under a Capitalist system is that the majority of people are alienated from reaching their true potential, and alienated from themselves, eachother and from the forces that control the conditions of their very existence. It is sad to see really. Maybe from your perspective this isnt a heavy price to pay, but from mine it is. Guess we just have to disagree here. But a more fundamental and philosophical question is, why desire to be better than the next man IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why does it have to be all about competition, and survival of the fittest? Why does someone have to be better than someone else? I have no desire to be better than the next man, for the simple fact that I AM NOT and can never be. We are all equal. But society is NOT ran equally. What makes YOU so special, and so much better than anyone else? What makes ME so special, and so much better than anyone else? The simple answer is this: nothing at all. Sure we may all have different interests and talents, but this is trivial at the end of the day. None of it matters. The quality of a person is not measured by his/her talents or utility, but by their CHARACTER, and their ethics.

Quote:Again, we have choice. If we so choose in this country, we could revolt (like the Occupy camp) and make a change in this country – but guess what, not enough people really care or over half of Americans would have been out protesting and change would have occurred. Not think about this – had we [Americans] attempted a gathering like that in Egypt, Iran, Syria, etc. we’d be shot and killed. No, we have choice in this country. We can make a difference. We can make a change. But again, as I’ve been trying to explain to you all along: nobody cares enough! The price of living is not big enough yet for the majority to make a stink, only a small minority. Believe me, if there were something worth fighting over, Americans would be first in the fray. You give your own country too little credit.

We don't have a choice, but only in the current craptastic system of Capitalism is this so, since the ruling class controls all political parties and all cultural aspects of society. I wouldn't really call the Occupy movement 'revolutionary', at this time. They might have a few members who have that line of thinking, but I would say the vast majority of them are not nearly as Radical as I am. In fact, I would say most of them fall under the 'Classical Liberal', 'Social Democrat' or 'Fabian Socialist' label...but certainly not under the 'Revolutionary Marxist' label - they want to reform the policies and institutions to achieve social justice while keeping Capitalism intact, or at the most wish to achieve Socialism through reform and peaceful, democratic means. They think fundamental change can come without a workers movement that leads to revolution. Wishful thinking if you ask me. Protesting will never bring about fundamental change, such demonstrations, AT BEST, usually only bring about very small and often insignificant changes that can easily be rolled back by austerity or other reactionary policies. I agree to the extent that the material conditions in America at the moment are probably not adequate for a revolution just yet. They are ready economically, but not psychologically or intellectually. And as much as I hate to say it, I have a sneaky suspicion that things may have to get even worse for a revolution to take place, perhaps something even worse than the Great Depression. It is really a sad state of affairs that it takes beyond rock bottom for people to realize they are being duped. But such is society I guess. Centuries of false consciousness, mental slavery, miseducation, indoctrination and oppression cannot be overturned at will (something Utopian Socialists believe). The circumstances to allow such change must be in place first.

And I don't care if "Americans" would be the first or last to fight for something that is worth changing. The nationality of the workers movement is less than trivial to Communists. The working man has no country anyways - countries rather, have working men. Your nationality has nothing to do with what you see is worth fighting for and when, the material conditions which determine your existence are also what determine what you think is worth fighting for and when. I am not an American citizen, I am a WORLD citizen. The Egyptians rose up not because they were Egyptians, but because of the circumstances of which they lived under, and the particular material conditions at the time allowed for such a revolution to take place. I do not want to be proud of my country, I want to be proud of my WORLD. Such conditions also determine the success and overall outcome of Revolutions. For the Paris Commune in 1848, the result proved that the material conditions at the time of the revolution were not correctly in place, or that some aspect of the revolution was not carried out properly. In the case of the Bolshevik Revolution, the material conditions, at the very least, were able to see that the initial phase of the Revolution was successful, thus Lenin ended 400 years of Tzarist oppression. While I do not subscribe to the Marxist-Leninist branch of Communism, I think the course of Soviet history would have turned out quite differently had Lenin lived longer or Trotsky came into power instead of Stalin, who is probably the most fundamental traitor of the Proletarian movement and of Marxist principles in general.

Quote:I don’t really have anything to add to the rest of what you said in your post. Thank you for sharing. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s points of view.

Great discussion. I love intellectual debates like this because I learn not only more about what the other side thinks, but also more about my own perspectives. Thank you, and take care. Cheers Smile

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"The state is nothing but an organ of opression of one class by another - no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy" - Friedrich Engels
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01-19-2012, 05:40 PM
Post: #48
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-17-2012 10:27 PM)FireIceTalon Wrote:  
Quote:Case and point. No one owns anything, yet everyone is forced to work a supposed equal amount, when in reality some pigs will do virtually nothing and reap all the benefits while the workers live in poverty. What a dream…

^^The society you described there to a near perfect T, ironically enough, is Capitalism - Big Grin. In Communism: Everyone equally shares in the means to production, and everyones basic needs for survival are provided. You can still own a house and a car privately. You just can't own A FACTORY or place of business - all institutions, as well as resources (including raw materials) that appropriate the products and services of society are owned by the public.

Its an interesting thought, but I stick with my assertions that without honest competition, there will be no variety. Without incentive, people *will* do a bare minimum required to survive. This also means factories that *could* get a cheaper rate on materials (and the labor thereof) will settle for whatever is the status quo because there is no incentive to improve. I suppose I'll have to provide links instead of anecdotal evidence, however I'm reminded of some of the social workers I've met in my life who work for the city and hit their glass ceiling and I wonder, if these people with these attitudes worked in the private sector, they'd be fired in a heartbeat, but because they work for the city and are protected by not only the city but powerful unions, they can do whatever they want, close shop early despite their listed hours, and treat you like crap; lovely system.

Quote:Any disparities in wealth will be because some people CHOOSE to have less than others (some people will want to simply own a Toyota and not a Bentley,

This is a pipe-dream in your system. There will be a car. It will transport people. It will be fuel efficient and roomy for a family of four and space to fit groceries. Without access to cheap materials to create goods, private businesses like Toyota will dry-up. And then of course if all materials are available for everyone, expect to see mad-men using all of Earth's mineral resources to build a tower of babble to the moon and back, or mega car companies hogging all the resources. You talk of true freedom, but you will still need rules because people will still do stupid things, even at an evolved state of consciousness.

Quote:
Quote:An interesting thought and I can see how the conclusions where drawn on the transformation from Barbarism to Feudalism to Democracy to Socialism. I think there could be a new evolution in our society that supersedes Socialism, however I don’t think it’s Communism, and I honestly don’t believe Socialism is the correct answer either. I think there needs to be more independence of the states, of the cities, of the individual. Equal rights, of course, but forced equality through conformity in the sense that everyone does equal work and has the same stuff in their home as everyone else, no. It is the natural tendency of the individual to do better than your neighbor and coworkers, hence competition, hence why Communism failed the first couple times around. People are inherently greedy and will always be, unless you somehow find a way to rewire our DNA. This alone is the main reason Communism could never work. Star Trek TNG has a pretty similar thread of logic for its vision of the future, but that will never happen.

But people are NOT inherently greedy or even competitive for that matter

Quote:The DNA and genetics argument also works in my favor,

Quote:Bottomline: Economic and Social conditions, not genetics, produce human nature, behavior and consciousness.

I don't believe that. If you ever read my view on altruism, you'd know why. I think everything we humans do we do for survival rather we realize it or not. As proof of concept, (I'll find some links to New Scientist when I get home ~ at work), scientists infused a salt mineral with RNA and it exhibited signs of life we consider sacred (i.e. 10-commandments) such as protection of its reproduced self amongst others. I believe the concepts of protecting children from harm or exploitation, laws against murder or theft or even rape, these are things we consider (myself included) to be wrong but even stop to think why? Did GOD tell us this? No, the concept is thus because its written in our DNA - we cannot avoid it. Our actions, our logic is survivalistic by its very nature - just being alive. We only "give" things to others because it make us feel good inside; how selfish. If we felt nothing at all, we would not give for no reason. And why do we give? To those less fortunate perhaps our need to help our species. To relatives on special occasions to fit in to the social conformity of which you speak. There is no altruism, only survival, and hence there could never be an evolved state of consciousness to form a Communistic society as you describe. Just being aware of it does not change the fact that its an inescapable truth.

Quote:I discovered that at least half the stuff I learned in my high school history classes, was taught in a very slanted/revisionist way - if it wasn't complete bullshit altogether.

As has always been the case. The victor is the hero, the looser the villain. Had Hitler won, he'd be the "savior" of the East.

Quote:
Quote:That is an absurd statement. Many revolutions took place to overthrow a tyrant or dictator whom many times cared little about brainwashing their citizens and more about collecting goods/money (think Africa for example).

Nope, it isn't, and history is on my side. All forms of tyrannical governments used some sort of brainwashing to control society somehow.

Think about it, they HAVE to use some form of brain washing to keep society controlled, because an educated and socially astute society will rebel. Slavery as I mentioned before was another example. At one point it was acceptable in our society, now it is not. At least not in a direct fashion.

I really don't understand how you to came to this conclusion. Pre-Feudalism times, and even today in 3rd world countries, you have war-lords who control small pockets of areas and often just rule - nothing more. They fight each other for more power, and sometimes innocents get caught up, sometimes not, but the revolution happens not because of constant brainwashing, but because the people are sick of living in decrepit, war-like conditions constantly. Ironically, it's really no different that how it was with native Indians here in the states, except these people nowadays are poor as hell and have no way to improve, but this is not because the people have been brainwashed into thinking this, but because they literally have nothing to give and hence no way to improve. Their lot in life is sealed unless a factory from a first world country opens in their province.

Quote:
Quote:Again, total disagreement; I believe the exact opposite of what you are stating here, that only under Capitalism can we do better. I see no incentive to do better in a system where everyone has total equality without room to be better than your fellow man.

Your argument seems to imply that people are lazy by nature and expect handouts - a unfair (and rather bleak) outlook to have on our species I think.

I'll edit my post and try to find links to prove my point, but for the most part, once we've hit our glass ceiling, incentive is gone and interest wanes. At this point, boredom seeps in. How many times have you seen someone you know take up a job they "love" only to find it's turned into a 9-5 "grind" after a few years. Work is work. Monotony, no matter how challenging, is still the same thing over and over after awhile. People will not continue to challenge themselves under these circumstances. In a society where everything they want is handed to them, and there is no competitive reason to improve or ability to do so because all resources are owned by the government, I'm 100% sure people will get lazy, vastly more than you are willing to accept.

I wanted to give this more time, but I have to return to work. Hope it came out the way I think it sounds.

Religion is all about maintaining belief in the absence of proof and rationalizing that belief in the face of contradicting evidence, hence why it is called "faith".
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01-20-2012, 02:06 AM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2012 02:17 AM by kandrathe.)
Post: #49
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-19-2012 05:40 PM)Taem Wrote:  Their lot in life is sealed unless a factory from a first world country opens in their province.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/20...y-in-2010/

Contrast with "The Census of 1790, revealed 59,557 Free Negroes and 697,624 slaves in a population of 3,929,625, the most slaves being in Virginia (292,627) and the least in New Hampshire (157). "

Brainwashing is often not neccesary when a light rinse will do. Most of us don't fret about modern slavery, yet it exists all around us and supplies us with things we take for granted like chocolate, coffee, seafood, clothing, etc.

Who has the moral umbrage to launch a modern abolitionist movement? Who is our John Brown?

To add to your reading list; "The authority of government, even as such as I am willing to submit to … is still an impure one: to bestrictly just it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over myperson or property but what I concede to it…. There will never be a really free and enlightened State,until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all itsown power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. " Henry David Thoreau - Resistance to Civil Government

"I love your soul, oh liquid ebony, The clouds of your aromatic vapors, which burst in a embellished cruse, When boiling of your grains makes me a tenant of entire globe; Here you rest in white porcelain, Daughter of Arabic deserts, black coffee!" - Antoni Lange
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01-20-2012, 02:25 AM
Post: #50
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 02:06 AM)kandrathe Wrote:  Who has the moral umbrage to launch a modern abolitionist movement? Who is our John Brown?

Why don't we make slavery illegal, then!

Oh, wait. It *is* illegal, almost everywhere.

Whatever it is we lack to stop widespread human trafficking, it's not "moral umbrage." What we don't have is anyone capable of policing the chaotic and underdeveloped areas of the world, which is where the overwhelming majority of actual modern slavery happens.

As for sex trafficking, that's a tough issue we've talked about before, but I suspect more stringent enforcement would actually harm, rather than help, most of those involved. It's a shady world and difficult to study, but I strongly suspect most of the women involved prefer having made the move to not. Where they end up sucks, but where they came from sucks worse.

Maybe if we had open borders, this would stop being such a problem?

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01-20-2012, 03:01 AM (This post was last modified: 01-21-2012 01:59 AM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #51
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
Quote:Its an interesting thought, but I stick with my assertions that without honest competition, there will be no variety. Without incentive, people *will* do a bare minimum required to survive. This also means factories that *could* get a cheaper rate on materials (and the labor thereof) will settle for whatever is the status quo because there is no incentive to improve. I suppose I'll have to provide links instead of anecdotal evidence, however I'm reminded of some of the social workers I've met in my life who work for the city and hit their glass ceiling and I wonder, if these people with these attitudes worked in the private sector, they'd be fired in a heartbeat, but because they work for the city and are protected by not only the city but powerful unions, they can do whatever they want, close shop early despite their listed hours, and treat you like crap; lovely system.

If by variety you mean the goods appropriated in society, then this is a trivial issue for Communists. We couldn't care less how much variety in the world there is, so long as you do not subjugate the labor of others. If not subjugating the labor of others means less variety, so be it^^ Remember, we seek a better society - not a utopian one since that indeed is a pipe dream.

Another myth is that under Socialism, the quality of goods will decline, which I very strongly disagree with. If anything, the quality of goods will IMPROVE, for the following reasons. First, under Capitalism, products and services are distributed for a bottomline purpose: Profit. Under Socialism, they are distributed for the sake of themselves. Because the idea of Capitalism is to make a profit - minimum labor, maximum capital, and cheaper resources are desired, so production costs are less. How many companies out there cut corners in quality to distribute more goods for less? A lot. Under Socialism, the products are made with the highest possible quality the first time around, and only as technology itself improves will new products replace older ones. In Capitalism, new products are already often made well before being distributed, so that people buy the older ones first and then buy the new ones when they come out - again, profit maximization is the order here. Some people are wary of this, and they will wait for the Ipad 3 to come out rather than buy the Ipad 2, but this is the exception and not the rule. Capitalism: buy more junk that you dont need. Socialism: but less, higher quality goods that need to be replace only once in a while. Why do you think there is so much advertising in our world? Corporations know that people, deep down, prefer leisure time over material goods - so they have to shove this stuff down our throats to make sure we keep consuming, and consuming, and consuming. Numerous polls have shown this. A Socialist society is much more compatible, whether people believe it or not, with what they really want - more leisure time, and less material goods. Interestingly enough, you could actually have more material goods in a Socialist society than in our current society, because there no longer be any such thing as a 'budget'. But nevertheless, that is not Socialism's purpose, at least not its fundamental purpose. Furthermore, resources would be allocated much better and wasted far less in Socialism, than in Capitalism. The amount money spent on raw materials that ended up being wasted in the military industrial complex alone is staggering.

As far as public and private sectors go, I do not see a huge difference in how employees treat customers in either sector. It is the same thing regardless. That being said, Labor Unions are just like the 'welfare state' - a product of Capitalism. As long as you have a system of class antagonisms, you are going to have institutions that protect or help the little guys to some extent - to keep our Capitalist system intact. I am of the opinion that in a Communist society, labor unions probably would no longer be needed - though some other Communists may disagree with me. I would see them being needed in Socialism - during the dictatorship of the proletariat, during a time when there were still reactionary elements within society - but in the latter stages of Socialism when "from each according to his ability to each according to his need" has been reached, I think they would phase themselves out. But in short, to hell with the private sector: our goal isn't in the interest of those who own private property anyway (it isn't meant to be) - it is in the interest of the PROLETARIAN - the working class, aka the majority of society. "Privatization" is a dirty word for us Commies, just like "Socialism" is for Capitalists.


Quote:This is a pipe-dream in your system. There will be a car. It will transport people. It will be fuel efficient and roomy for a family of four and space to fit groceries. Without access to cheap materials to create goods, private businesses like Toyota will dry-up. And then of course if all materials are available for everyone, expect to see mad-men using all of Earth's mineral resources to build a tower of babble to the moon and back, or mega car companies hogging all the resources. You talk of true freedom, but you will still need rules because people will still do stupid things, even at an evolved state of consciousness.

You make it sound like people are too dumb to live in a Socialist society. I don't think this is true. Yes, in our current society, many are brainwashed - but there is a difference between not understanding the material circumstances in which we live and flat out being "stupid". No one will be allowed to "hog" resources - remember "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" - would be the governing law on the distribution of resources.

Quote:I don't believe that. If you ever read my view on altruism, you'd know why. I think everything we humans do we do for survival rather we realize it or not. As proof of concept, (I'll find some links to New Scientist when I get home ~ at work), scientists infused a salt mineral with RNA and it exhibited signs of life we consider sacred (i.e. 10-commandments) such as protection of its reproduced self amongst others. I believe the concepts of protecting children from harm or exploitation, laws against murder or theft or even rape, these are things we consider (myself included) to be wrong but even stop to think why? Did GOD tell us this? No, the concept is thus because its written in our DNA - we cannot avoid it. Our actions, our logic is survivalistic by its very nature - just being alive. We only "give" things to others because it make us feel good inside; how selfish. If we felt nothing at all, we would not give for no reason. And why do we give? To those less fortunate perhaps our need to help our species. To relatives on special occasions to fit in to the social conformity of which you speak. There is no altruism, only survival, and hence there could never be an evolved state of consciousness to form a Communistic society as you describe. Just being aware of it does not change the fact that its an inescapable truth.

Most of our actions we do because of survival yes - but that is the whole point of transferring into a Socialist society to begin with - so we do NOT have to base our life around our survival as we do in a Capitalist society. While some labor will still be required for our survival, our lives would no longer be centered around it. There would be much more time to focus on the quality of our living and improving our society instead of just trying to pay the bills and put food on the table every day. Of course, if that is what you like to do, in a Socialist society I don't think anyone would stop you from doing so. But regardless, we would no longer would be commodities of a a system that we depend upon for our survival, and our labor power would fully be within our own control instead of being subjugated by a factory owner.

Altruism DOES exist, but it isn't really what is needed to establish a Communist society anyway. Altruism in fact, would likely become more prominent from Communism itself - not the reverse. As I have said many times, history has shown time and again that peoples behavior and nature change as material conditions change - this isn't my opinion....this is one of the defining elements in every era of society thus far. You are still thinking in terms of Idealism - but we live in a Material world! What is needed to reach Communism is for people to shake all the different forms of Idealism that prevent them from realizing the material conditions of their existence - which is certainly possible. If it weren't - none history's previous revolutions would have ever taken place! The material conditions can be horrible as possible, but only when the revolutionary class realizes the conditions of its existence will revolution take place. The Bourgeois is reactionary now, but in Feudal society they were the revolutionary class.

We do not always give things to others because it makes us feel good. Most of the wealthy only donate to charity to use it as a tax write off so they can pay less in taxes - Most of them aren't doing it to make themselves feel good or out of the kindness of their hearts. The problem with the whole DNA argument is that it relies too much on Nature in the so-called "Nature vs. Nurture" debate, and it has long been proven that Nurture plays a VERY substantial role in human behavior and development, both physically and cognitively as my earlier examples stated.

Quote:As has always been the case. The victor is the hero, the looser the villain. Had Hitler won, he'd be the "savior" of the East.

Hitler was the villain regardless of the result. Only in the minds of reactionaries, self-righteous demagogues, and sociopaths would Hitler be seen as a hero. Now, the perspective on someone like Vladimir Lenin would probably be a lot more debatable, or the abolitionist that Kandrathe mentioned, John Brown.

Quote:I really don't understand how you to came to this conclusion. Pre-Feudalism times, and even today in 3rd world countries, you have war-lords who control small pockets of areas and often just rule - nothing more. They fight each other for more power, and sometimes innocents get caught up, sometimes not, but the revolution happens not because of constant brainwashing, but because the people are sick of living in decrepit, war-like conditions constantly. Ironically, it's really no different that how it was with native Indians here in the states, except these people nowadays are poor as hell and have no way to improve, but this is not because the people have been brainwashed into thinking this, but because they literally have nothing to give and hence no way to improve. Their lot in life is sealed unless a factory from a first world country opens in their province.

I didn't come to this conclusion - it is simply a fact of history. Indeed, revolution does take place because of unsatisfactory material conditions - the brainwashing isn't a reason for the revolution (or is a secondary reason at best) - it is a METHOD and tool used by the ruling class to prevent revolution by the ruled class from occurring to begin with. It is used to create an illusion that distracts or blinds the oppressed class from realizing the circumstances of the material conditions that their existence is contingent upon. Native Americans never did receive the justice they deserved, sadly. I would say there are few if any groups that have had it worse than they have. But during the Spanish Inquisition, we most certainly did brainwash them (with Christianity), and they never really have recovered or saw any real progress in the same way that other marginalized groups have for various material reasons.

The problem is right now, not only are people divided by class, but they are also divided within in their own class - in both the Bourgeois and the Proletarians. The former are divided in that they are competing against one another for economic and political supremacy, and the latter are divided by nationalism and religion and other social/cultural factors. Because the Bourgeois are in competition with one another, they have to keep the Proletarians interests divided - by illusion - even though all Proletarians have the same interest economically regardless of their nationality, gender, religious beliefs, and so forth. Reactionary ideals are forced upon them through a system of conditioning. Example: In Iran - their conditioning is anti-Americanism....on the other side of the same coin, ours is Islamaphobia. Working class Americans are being taught that all Muslims are the enemy and the line between normal Muslims and radical ones is becoming blurred. Muslims, for their part, are often unable to distinguish American policy from normal Americans themselves. They are taught to think we are all the enemy, that their actions are justified (though they are just as wrong as the actions of American Leadership) when the truth is many of us deplore US foreign policy. But this is a tool in both societies by the ruling class to keep their respective powers intact. And of course, they use the poor to fight their wars against eachother. This is why nationalism (and religion) has absolutely no place in Marxist thought - because nationalism is reactionary and is a tool used by the very powers we seek to abolish. This divide and conquer tactic is very effective. As I said before, it is much easier for the working class to blame another sector of the working class for their problems - because we are taught to view them as different, or as being "the enemy" - when in reality this is far from the case. These intrinsic divisions must be eliminated - and only then can the Proletarian break the shackles of false consciousness and indoctrination to achieve class consciousness and begin its revolution vs the Bourgeois. This in itself will be a long process, but as Capitalism and its imperialistic nature slides further into crisis, more jobs are lost and become more scare, food becomes harder to put on the table, the cost of living rises, times in general get tougher, and in the meantime, the rich get richer - it is only a matter of time before they wake up and realize they are being duped. As the saying goes, "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time" (I think that's how it goes). Although Marxism is Internationalist, when the Proletarian revolution occurs, it will begin on a national level - because naturally they will have to deal with their immediate enemy first, the local Bourgeois - meaning that American Proletarians will revolt not versus Bourgeois of other nations, but against the American Bourgeois. The same holds true in other nations also.

Quote:I'll edit my post and try to find links to prove my point, but for the most part, once we've hit our glass ceiling, incentive is gone and interest wanes. At this point, boredom seeps in. How many times have you seen someone you know take up a job they "love" only to find it's turned into a 9-5 "grind" after a few years. Work is work. Monotony, no matter how challenging, is still the same thing over and over after awhile. People will not continue to challenge themselves under these circumstances. In a society where everything they want is handed to them, and there is no competitive reason to improve or ability to do so because all resources are owned by the government, I'm 100% sure people will get lazy, vastly more than you are willing to accept.

I wanted to give this more time, but I have to return to work. Hope it came out the way I think it sounds.

Again, there is NO State in Communism, thus resources will be controlled by all of society, not a select few. And if laziness meant the end of society, than Bourgeois society would have ended long ago since the majority of them, besides finding more ways to leech off and exploit the labor of the working class, do very little labor yet have everything - and those who work for a living usually have very little. As far as boredom goes, A simple remedy to this would be that people could rotate between the types of labor they take part in, within a Socialist society - in our current system this isnt really possible. But some people truly love what they do and wouldn't want to give it up also, thus working for them isnt a chore since they enjoy what they do. Even the most undesirable of jobs in a Socialist society would have more meaning to them, since no persons labor is subjugated anymore and their survival is no longer contingent on economic conditions. Any job will eventually become a "chore" after awhile if people lack self-autonomy over the means of production that defines their existence.

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"The state is nothing but an organ of opression of one class by another - no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy" - Friedrich Engels
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01-20-2012, 05:42 AM
Post: #52
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 02:25 AM)Jester Wrote:  
(01-20-2012 02:06 AM)kandrathe Wrote:  Who has the moral umbrage to launch a modern abolitionist movement? Who is our John Brown?

Why don't we make slavery illegal, then!

Oh, wait. It *is* illegal, almost everywhere.

Whatever it is we lack to stop widespread human trafficking, it's not "moral umbrage." What we don't have is anyone capable of policing the chaotic and underdeveloped areas of the world, which is where the overwhelming majority of actual modern slavery happens.

As for sex trafficking, that's a tough issue we've talked about before, but I suspect more stringent enforcement would actually harm, rather than help, most of those involved. It's a shady world and difficult to study, but I strongly suspect most of the women involved prefer having made the move to not. Where they end up sucks, but where they came from sucks worse.

Maybe if we had open borders, this would stop being such a problem?

-Jester

Tomatoland

"The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States."

Good read, but not while you are eating.

"I may be old, but I'm not dead."
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01-20-2012, 08:00 AM
Post: #53
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 05:42 AM)LavCat Wrote:  Tomatoland

"The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States."

Good read, but not while you are eating.

I'll have to take a look at it. The "modern-day slave trade" is not just a metaphor for trafficked workers?

-Jester
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01-20-2012, 09:10 AM
Post: #54
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 08:00 AM)Jester Wrote:  
(01-20-2012 05:42 AM)LavCat Wrote:  Tomatoland

"The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States."

Good read, but not while you are eating.

I'll have to take a look at it. The "modern-day slave trade" is not just a metaphor for trafficked workers?

-Jester

If you keep your workers in shackles.

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01-20-2012, 11:20 AM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2012 11:54 AM by Jester.)
Post: #55
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 09:10 AM)LavCat Wrote:  If you keep your workers in shackles.

Scary stuff. I'll look into it.

In somewhat snarky defense of myself, I did say: "What we don't have is anyone capable of policing the chaotic and underdeveloped areas of the world, which is where the overwhelming majority of actual modern slavery happens." Surely Florida qualifies as both chaotic and underdeveloped... Dodgy

Apparently, if one wants to find "modern abolitionists" in this context, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is fighting the good fight.

Without more open migration laws, anyone who has already migrated is left with the threat of being turned in to La Migra. That makes organizing and resisting very difficult, and creates a space for abuse - apparently including slavery. Just like so many stupid "wars" the US is fighting, the war against "illegals" is inhumane and destructive.

-Jester
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01-20-2012, 10:43 PM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2012 10:45 PM by kandrathe.)
Post: #56
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 11:20 AM)Jester Wrote:  Just like so many stupid "wars" the US is fighting, the war against "illegals" is inhumane and destructive.
I liked the words of one of the anti-slavery prosecutors... Which is a larger crime, the 16 year old selling dope, or the selling of a 16 year old?

But, really, yes the third world is all around us. Whenever anyone is so disenfranchised as to make laws inaccessible. This is excacerbated for foreigners by language barriers, discrimination and impoverishment. But, take any one of us, or our children to another land and you'd have the same situation.

We tolerate it because it lets us get cheap stuff. The availability of illegal jobs makes human trafficing and exploitation inevitable.

"I love your soul, oh liquid ebony, The clouds of your aromatic vapors, which burst in a embellished cruse, When boiling of your grains makes me a tenant of entire globe; Here you rest in white porcelain, Daughter of Arabic deserts, black coffee!" - Antoni Lange
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01-21-2012, 12:48 AM
Post: #57
RE: Thoughts on how to improve the current system
(01-20-2012 10:43 PM)kandrathe Wrote:  I liked the words of one of the anti-slavery prosecutors... Which is a larger crime, the 16 year old selling dope, or the selling of a 16 year old?

I believe one of them shouldn't be a crime at all.

Quote:We tolerate it because it lets us get cheap stuff. The availability of illegal jobs makes human trafficing and exploitation inevitable.

Where it is discovered, it is prosecuted. But, of course, it stays hidden, because it is twinned with harshly enforced migration laws. Workers will put up with a lot of abuse, if the alternative is deportation to Guatemala.

We get cheap tomatoes just fine without quasi-slavery, give or take a few pennies the pound. I don't think it's the consumer pushing this, nor can the consumer be reasonably expected to solve the problem. Even the producers face perverse incentives - if even one of their competitors exploits their labourers, they gain an unfair advantage in a razor-thin margin business. This is about the system of migration laws - that's the only place real lasting change can be effected.

-Jester
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