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Man of upper class birth/upbringing - can become Commie?

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Post 10 Jan 2015, 02:43
Can someone of priveleged background, let's say wealth, private schools etc... but of a left leaning mindset - can he still become a Socialist/Communist in the modern world?

famous examples include people like Orwell, but in the real world I meet many socialist types who are fairly upper class - however, I suspect most are really far left liberals

what's the chances of these guys throwing rocks at the cops for example?
Post 10 Jan 2015, 11:05
Is there some secret correlation between lobbing rocks at coppers and being a commie that I have been hitherto unaware of?

I would argue yes, if they understand that the formalised baseness of class society is something that can only be eradicated by a humongous paradigm shift in politics, culture, economics. More importantly, they have to *want* to help realise it by whatever means they can. I reckon we are 400 years away from gradually changing society, even though we're now in retreat in the West, and the question to that is whether or not I am a communist for recognising and prefering gradual subtle changes.
Post 10 Jan 2015, 11:11
Communists from well-off backgrounds include: Lenin, who was an attorney (labor aristocrat or petit-bourgeois depending on his independence) and whose father was lesser aristocracy raised to nobility from the bourgeoisie, who definitely fits "wealth and private schools." The Castros, with a bourgeois plantation-holding father and Fidel was a lawyer, also from wealth and a private education. Mao Zedong, a petit-bourgeois merchant's son, though as a librarian he probably counts as a prole. Leon Trotsky, from a petit-bourgeois independent-farmer background. Che Guevara, the MD son of a political bureaucrat, so labor aristocrat I guess and again a private school graduate. Also, in the US at least, most private schools are church-led (often Catholic) ones and contain just decently well-off middle-class (in the American sense) families, one bad paycheck away from poverty instead of in it. Parents often go private if their local public school has a worse academic reputation, or is in a bad area. Otherwise they're no different from good public schools. My local public school was better than the local Catholic one, even.

Vanguard parties are frequently led by the people with the free time and education to study things like Marxist theory and revolutionary tactics. And while often Marxists from well-off backgrounds are very social democrat-esque, history shows that isn't always the case. Nor, though the "let's stop the bourgeoisie by voting for Nader" crowd annoy me too, is it always necessarily a bad thing. If revolution isn't at all likely, the only thing one can do is push further in that direction through tactical political alliances and gradual measures. Right now, in the US, ending Taft-Hartley which massively restricts union organizing would be a big deal for example.

Quote:
I reckon we are 400 years away from gradually changing society, even though we're now in retreat in the West, and the question to that is whether or not I am a communist for recognising and prefering gradual subtle changes.

[satire]Eeeeeeeevil Menshevik! I bet you think Obama's a communist too! Go vote Democrat, you're not tr00 like the 10 cosplayers organizing in my mom's basement. We are the vanguard and you'll rue the day you made fun of us![/satire]
Post 11 Jan 2015, 03:51
Erichs_Pastry_Chef wrote:
Is there some secret correlation between lobbing rocks at coppers and being a commie that I have been hitherto unaware of?


taken literally, there isn't a secret link as such, lol, but what I mean is that if one is comfortable financially they will not be inclined to risk that comfort by breaking the law.

And Age is a factor of course as is one's natural propensity towards obedience - these people often turn into conservatives or stiff libs later in life.

But how many people brought up in a nice environment, would then turn into a radical in their early 20's? My contention is 'not many'.

Take Orwell as my example - he joined the Spanish civil war but couldn't handle the communist reality, likely because he liked the 'idea' but not the thrust!
Post 11 Jan 2015, 03:56
MissStrangelove wrote:
Communists from well-off backgrounds include: Lenin, who was an attorney (labor aristocrat or petit-bourgeois depending on his independence) and whose father was lesser aristocracy raised to nobility from the bourgeoisie, who definitely fits "wealth and private schools." The Castros, with a bourgeois plantation-holding father and Fidel was a lawyer, also from wealth and a private education. Mao Zedong, a petit-bourgeois merchant's son, though as a librarian he probably counts as a prole. Leon Trotsky, from a petit-bourgeois independent-farmer background. Che Guevara........
tire]


I'd say that leaders will be leaders regardless - so all the greats that you mention here, are actually exceptional men that would likely have achieved a lot even if born in another time and place

ok, so let's say one was a leftist, communist but then came into a large sum of money when they were around 30, by dint of inheritance - what to do then?
Post 11 Jan 2015, 10:55
They can be, but I would imagine it is harder for them to really embrace communism because it may technically be against their material interests. However, there are some important historical exceptions as MissStrangelove mentioned. For example, Camilo Torres Restrepo was born into an upper-middle class family in Colombia (his father was a doctor) and he was a Roman Catholic priest. Seems like the perfect background for a conservative, right? But Restrepo joined the National Liberation Army (ELN) and became a supporter of liberation theology and Marxism. Father Restrepo was killed in action by the Colombian military while serving as a guerilla!

So you never know what kinds of people will join the Left. I think there is a need for comrades from all kinds of backgrounds so long as they are serious and genuine in their beliefs.
Post 11 Jan 2015, 12:05
Dictator77 wrote:
ok, so let's say one was a leftist, communist but then came into a large sum of money when they were around 30, by dint of inheritance - what to do then?


Surely that's a matter of their character and little else? The greatest PM that never was, Tony Benn, eschewed a hereditary title through a long legal battle so that he was able to continue serving as a Labour MP and continue fighting for the extremely pungent type of social democracy that he was renowned for. On the other hand, one of my former local Labour MPs, John Prescott (formerly hugely principled and pro-working class) said he would never accept a peerage out of principle - years later he is now a Lord. His reasoning was to extend his period of influence on legislation.
Not precisely talking about people who start rebellions, mutinies and topple states, but about integrity.
Post 15 Jan 2015, 09:51
How about people like George Orwell - ie: they like the idea of communism/anarchism (not the same I know) but couldn't handle the reality in Spain?
or the student Trotskyist miner supporter, who couldn't handle the real life, rough miner that wanted to fight?
or the perhaps middle class Thai student that trooped over to Cambodia but couldn't handle the real life Khmer Rouge?
or how about the Communist parties of today not supporting direct action?

that kind of thing
Post 15 Jan 2015, 16:17
Communism isn't a lifestyle. So yes.
Post 15 Jan 2015, 19:11
Dictator77 wrote:
or the perhaps middle class Thai student that trooped over to Cambodia but couldn't handle the real life Khmer Rouge?

That's most of us, and good thing too.

Quote:
or how about the Communist parties of today not supporting direct action?

"Direct action" while we're this impotent a movement means RAF-style terrorism. It mostly would drive people against us, at needless risk to our own lives and ability to organize.
Post 16 Jan 2015, 01:21
You said it sister!

What are you actually trying to get at Dictator77? All those examples you gave were just about the character of individuals who were unable to cope in an extreme circumstance. In the spirit of this nonsense, I ask you:

Would you be able to handle a Nazi brigade bearing down on yours?

That is about as facetious as it gets, your examples are as weird.
Post 16 Jan 2015, 04:35
There were plenty of well-off persons who "betrayed their class." Enver Hoxha's family were technically merchants and landowners, and although Hoxha's dad was in a financially bad situation (he had to work abroad in the USA when Enver was young) he was able to give his son a privileged education for an Albanian back in the day (being able to study in a French university.) It was there that Enver was able to read Marxist literature and attend PCF meetings where workers and whatnot spoke.

The important thing is class. If the bourgeoisie as a class decides to agitate for socialist revolution then you know something's amiss. If a bunch of sons and daughters of this class decide to become Marxists then that's not surprising at all, any more than a worker can side with the bourgeoisie.
Post 17 Jan 2015, 08:01
Erichs_Pastry_Chef wrote:
Would you be able to handle a Nazi brigade bearing down on yours?

That is about as facetious as it gets, your examples are as weird.


Actually, a better example, in the modern day would be: Can an educated person, of working class origin, having propelled himself into the middle class, actually become a Communist?

The Nazi brigade is out of proportion here
Loz
Post 17 Jan 2015, 14:31
Quote:
Actually, a better example, in the modern day would be: Can an educated person, of working class origin, having propelled himself into the middle class, actually become a Communist?

Yeah because a lot of communists are middle class. Where do you live, in a cave or something?
Post 18 Jan 2015, 01:45
Engels.

/thread.
Post 18 Jan 2015, 17:05
Dictator77 wrote:
Actually, a better example, in the modern day would be: Can an educated person, of working class origin, having propelled himself into the middle class, actually become a Communist?

The Nazi brigade is out of proportion here


Then your examples are as ridiculous as mine, as I asserted. As far as I see it, the "middle class" today is a decently educated and paid "salariat", yet those people are not at all in the actual position of economic power so just working class, but merely a political tool to turn one section of the population against another. As I said before, it's a matter of character and perhaps contingency.
Post 27 Nov 2015, 11:49
Yes! Marx was born to bankers, Engels owned a factory, Harpal Brar owns a company, Hoxha's parents where merchants, Mao was born into a somewhat wealthy family. We should support people of well-of backgrounds who betray their class and fight for what's right.
Post 28 Nov 2015, 00:26
lol Harpal Brar exploits his sweat-shop workers just like David North of the SEP does with his "Grand River Publishing and Imaging". Neither are good examples of communists.
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