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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 24 Aug 2014, 21:31
Hi again to all comrades,
You may remember me from around 2011-12. It was an interesting couple years, during which I left the PSL (partly because I moved back to Canada for University) and finally abandoned Socialism as a viable alternative. I have since been exploring different aspects of the traditionally right political ideas along with various positions in Liberalism. I decided to returnto SE so I can explore these new positions and ideas under the duress of a truly left critique. Its good to see that the usual posters are still very active and look forward to engaging with you once more.
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In the Soviet Union you destroy free-market, In America free-market destroys you
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Soviet cogitations: 1201
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 May 2008, 14:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Forum Commissar
Post 24 Aug 2014, 22:46
Well, welcome back. Don't be shy about your ideological change. Pretend you're on a board and dive right in.
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Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 25 Aug 2014, 05:55
Red Armenian wrote:
Hi again to all comrades,
You may remember me from around 2011-12. It was an interesting couple years, during which I left the PSL (partly because I moved back to Canada for University) and finally abandoned Socialism as a viable alternative. I have since been exploring different aspects of the traditionally right political ideas along with various positions in Liberalism. I decided to returnto SE so I can explore these new positions and ideas under the duress of a truly left critique. Its good to see that the usual posters are still very active and look forward to engaging with you once more.


Good to see you again. Have you returned to Orthodoxy? It seems a lot of former comrades in the region (and some in the Western world as well) are reaching back to traditional positions in order to fight against the reanimated corpse of Islam. In any case, welcome back.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Soviet cogitations: 4430
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 25 Aug 2014, 06:34
Welcome back, Red Armenian! I hope you find what you're looking for as far as ideology and worldview, although of course it would be nice if we could return you to the left.
It would be interesting to find out exactly what it is that changed you. I know that in Western countries many young guys jump into leftism and then leave spouting erroneously quoted Churchillian rhetoric about 'people in their twenties not being commies being heartless, not being conservatives in their forties being brainless', but given that you come from Armenia -part of the massive country where socialism first succeeded and entrenched itself, I'd figure that you'd be more solid in your ideals. I know that for me, a simple knowledge of the key events in 20th century history, along with some basic statistics, is enough to keep me a leftist for the rest of my life. What has changed for you?
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 25 Aug 2014, 08:44
Comrade Gulper wrote:
Good to see you again. Have you returned to Orthodoxy? It seems a lot of former comrades in the region (and some in the Western world as well) are reaching back to traditional positions in order to fight against the reanimated corpse of Islam. In any case, welcome back.


Well actually I am only ethnically Armenian, born of post-soviet emigré parents. I grew up in Montréal. Concerning the religious aspect, yes I did return to Orthodoxy, primarily to be close to the Armenian community, here, in Vancouver and become involved in the the Armenian Diaspora, as well as the political development of Armenia.

However, as I abandoned Socialism, I also became repulsed by the very concept of ideology and its grounding in some so-called reason. I feel that reason when politicised, or otherwise, becomes extremely dangerous. It is on these grounds that I have also become repulsed by atheism and continue everyday to move closer to the absolute acceptance of God. Hence my raprochement with Orthodoxy and Catholicism, which I see as not terribly different.

As for Islam, I don't see it as a threat and I think there are many enlightening aspects to it.

soviet78 wrote:
Welcome back, Red Armenian! I hope you find what you're looking for as far as ideology and worldview, although of course it would be nice if we could return you to the left.
It would be interesting to find out exactly what it is that changed you. I know that in Western countries many young guys jump into leftism and then leave spouting erroneously quoted Churchillian rhetoric about 'people in their twenties not being commies being heartless, not being conservatives in their forties being brainless', but given that you come from Armenia -part of the massive country where socialism first succeeded and entrenched itself, I'd figure that you'd be more solid in your ideals. I know that for me, a simple knowledge of the key events in 20th century history, along with some basic statistics, is enough to keep me a leftist for the rest of my life. What has changed for you?


I can still consider myself left on many positions although more out of realpolitik than ideological grounding. You are quite right on the Churchillian rhetoric. Even on exploring different economic formations, I still see the Soviet Union and Socialism as massive success having turned a famine-ridden failed tsarist state into a space pioneering superpower.

The lack of enthusiasm for socialism everywhere in the world first moved me away from it. Rousseau's quote still resonates in me: "People born in Slavery are born for Slavery". It is then that I understood that I was fighting for revolution for selfish reasons: Socialism was a world I wanted to live in, a desire not shared by the vast majority of people. It would be cruel to force my desires upon them. I also felt that socialism, and my commitment to it, distorted my world view by forcing it through the narrow lens of class struggle. And there was a great spiritual wealth to be collected if I could shed my ideology. So far I was right.

Since I abandoned ideology entirely, I am exploring more organic alternatives, ones closer to basic humanity, something more balanced. This is what led me to take interest in certain aspects of Conservatism(French, Canadian and British variants): the foundation of social and political life on a plurality of institutions such as the family, religion, unions, businesses, academia, the military; each playing a significant and specific role in Man's life, none completely dominating. This balance seems closer to reality, humanity and biology than the stringent, and apologetic postulations of political implementations Marxism-Leninism.
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In the Soviet Union you destroy free-market, In America free-market destroys you
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Soviet cogitations: 260
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Dec 2011, 00:54
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 25 Aug 2014, 18:40
The Conservatives of the UK are a strange thing to look to for guidance if you have admiration for Humanism.

It will be interesting to learn more about why you have changed your views.

Acceptance socially seems to have driven your shift to some degree. Is this the case?
"A shiny bauble from Capitalism is worthless when the cost is Children & the Elderly going hungry, The Infirm & Sick dying because of Greed & Education reduced to a token few to placate the masses with Illusions of freedom."
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Soviet cogitations: 1354
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Party Member
Post 25 Aug 2014, 21:53
soviet78 wrote:
'people in their twenties not being commies being heartless, not being conservatives in their forties being brainless'


That quote always reminds me of something Kim Philby once said when he was living in Beirut.

Nicholas Elliott, an MI6 officer and a friend of Philby's, was stationed in Beirut with the task of securing Philby's full confession that he was a communist spy.

During one of their discussions regarding the matter, Elliot would ask Philby as to why he had not abandoned the communist cause in his youth, claiming communism to be simply a teenage rebel phase, and that it should have come and went "Just like acne".

To which Kim Philby being the proud communist that he was sublimely answered "I don't know. I never had acne."
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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 26 Aug 2014, 01:49
omnimercurial wrote:
The Conservatives of the UK are a strange thing to look to for guidance if you have admiration for Humanism.


I was refering to basic humanity or human sentiment or human decency rather than the academic conception of Humanism. I am not looking at the Conservatives of the UK but more at different currents in British Conservatism such as Burkean Conservatism, Toryism which have a narrative on "organic" society, one where traditions are important and all modernity is established on these traditions. But aside from the British variant, this Canadian one was the most interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Tory

omnimercurial wrote:
Acceptance socially seems to have driven your shift to some degree. Is this the case?

Assuming you are a communist, aren't you tired of fighting for something that no one so much wants to hear about, and when they do demonise it, especially that the possibility of realisation recedes everyday?

Also I have moved away from the concept that capitalism is the most detrimental system to human dignity. I think the most dangerous ideology ecologically, socially and psychologically is Neo-Liberalism and I think that all political efforts should be directed to numbing, paralysing or destroying the latter.
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In the Soviet Union you destroy free-market, In America free-market destroys you
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Soviet cogitations: 4430
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 26 Aug 2014, 09:15
Red Armenian wrote:
However, as I abandoned Socialism, I also became repulsed by the very concept of ideology and its grounding in some so-called reason. I feel that reason when politicised, or otherwise, becomes extremely dangerous.


But is it not validating for you to see how many important processes and problems in the world are explainable by Marxian logic (such as the concentration of wealth, monopolization, and the drive to humanity's ruin)? I ask this seriously, because I have come across many non-leftists who nonetheless agree that the ruling class are a threat to humanity -only they see the ruling class as some conspiracy of Jews, or Freemasons, or Illuminati, or some other such group. Is there no positive effect for you to being confident that the Marxian version of the root of global problems and processes is more rational and sensible?

Red Armenian wrote:
Socialism was a world I wanted to live in, a desire not shared by the vast majority of people. It would be cruel to force my desires upon them.


Well for one thing, it depends on what country/civilization you are talking about. I personally find that in Russia, the vast majority of people deep down do want socialism -the tenants so nicely and succinctly put by the French revolutionaries -Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Socialism here has its roots going back hundreds of years to primitive communist ideals. As for how many people may want socialism in the First World, and particularly in the protestant countries, I think it's a matter of material circumstances. Sure it can be said that Anglo-Saxon culture, with its protestant traditions, is inclined toward the hierarchical, market-based order of things. The question is whether these countries could survive and prosper with such a mentality in a world that's independent from imperialism and neocolonialism in all their forms, direct and indirect (i.e. military as well as financial).

It's difficult for contrarian ideals to survive when in the material world you are surrounded by ideas and values that seem to disprove your own. However, if you're living in an elite gated community on the outskirts of some Third World slum, you have to remember about that slum once in a while, even if you don't necessarily want to go there.

Red Armenian wrote:
the foundation of social and political life on a plurality of institutions such as the family, religion, unions, businesses, academia, the military; each playing a significant and specific role in Man's life, none completely dominating. This balance seems closer to reality, humanity and biology than the stringent, and apologetic postulations of political implementations Marxism-Leninism.


If you believe that Soviet society was completely dominated by ML thought in every sphere, you are mistaken. The institutions you mention, apart from business, and religion, and here again with regional and other exceptions, played a huge role in the formation and societal functioning of each individual human being. Only in the fantastical imaginations of many anti-Soviet commentators (and, admittedly, some idealist early Marxians themselves -who had some pretty radical ideas about ways to mold the new man) could one imagine a world where ideology and the all powerful state would run and dominate people's lives. A reversion to traditional family and household social and material values began under Stalin, and only softened from there. Even in Lenin's time all of these ideas -the boarding school, new minimalistic housing proposals, marriage, and abortion laws, etc., were left mostly on the drawing board in the wake of civil war and famine.

Red Armenian wrote:
I am not looking at the Conservatives of the UK but more at different currents in British Conservatism such as Burkean Conservatism, Toryism which have a narrative on "organic" society, one where traditions are important and all modernity is established on these traditions. But aside from the British variant, this Canadian one was the most interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Tory


You want to talk about Red Tories -look no further than the CPSU.



Edit:
Red Armenian wrote:
Also I have moved away from the concept that capitalism is the most detrimental system to human dignity. I think the most dangerous ideology ecologically, socially and psychologically is Neo-Liberalism and I think that all political efforts should be directed to numbing, paralysing or destroying the latter.


But do you not realize that Keynesianism and neoliberalism are all part of the same system, interchangeably applied based on demands of the time, societal pressures, and changing circumstances? In times of extreme crisis even neoliberalism can be replaced by something even worse -fascism, which is the expression of capitalism in crisis. In all its forms, soft or hard, the main purpose of this system is to preserve the capitalist elite's hold on society, and you better believe that in times of threat, this system will opt for fascism before opting for a progressive alternative.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 26 Aug 2014, 22:36
soviet78 wrote:
But is it not validating for you to see how many important processes and problems in the world are explainable by Marxian logic (such as the concentration of wealth, monopolization, and the drive to humanity's ruin)? I ask this seriously, because I have come across many non-leftists who nonetheless agree that the ruling class are a threat to humanity -only they see the ruling class as some conspiracy of Jews, or Freemasons, or Illuminati, or some other such group. Is there no positive effect for you to being confident that the Marxian version of the root of global problems and processes is more rational and sensible?


I was confident in the Marxian version and I found it quite limiting. I share that view still in many respects. The problem with this view is that in Communist ideology it is applied far too rigidly. Saint-Exupéry said in his book «Terre des Hommes» that when the tool becomes the objective then judgement becomes misguided. Marxist Analysis is a tool, a model we build and use to determine the next course of action, the problem arises when it is the only model you use.

The greatest shortfall of this Marxian model, or rather the way it is distorted in the communist movement, is the oversimplification of many societal structures in a dehumanising way. Yes, classes exists and production relations to a very large effect determine one's limitations and role in society but to then say that everything is divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a convenient dichotomy of good and bad, is to ignore that this system is composed of people, human being subject to the same shortfalls as you and I. This view that capitalism is this central, omnipresent evil computer that does everything to only accentuate oppression and no one is safe from it is too far from the reality that the oppressor class is not as uniform as we make it to be, far more fragile than we think it to be simply because it is composed of different human beings, with their passions, their shortfalls, their fears and their virtues. That's why I find the calls to «Kill the Bourgeoisie», «Eat the Rich», «Off with their heads» misguided and shameful. The communists who rant like this are calling for the destruction of a class system, that's why they do it so casually, if they thought these were human beings, they would less inclined to do so.

soviet78 wrote:
Well for one thing, it depends on what country/civilization you are talking about. I personally find that in Russia, the vast majority of people deep down do want socialism -the tenants so nicely and succinctly put by the French revolutionaries -Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

The desire of socialism shouldn't be limited just to «do you want a system where ALL exploitation has disappeared?». The process to achieve should also be considered. How many are ready to go through years if not decades of disastrous civil war, famine, economic and societal collapse, murder and all sorts of death and destruction to achieve that goal.

People, the vast majority of the planet, have become addicted to peace, provided largely by nuclear weapons, and very few would be ready to give up that peace and security for the hazardous possibility of socialism.

soviet78 wrote:
If you believe that Soviet society was completely dominated by ML thought in every sphere, you are mistaken.


I don't and the plurality of Soviet society is very much apparent in the quality of its art, music, cinema and literature. The Soviet case is puzzling to me and frankly I don't know how to analyse it and break it down. Although hardly satisfactory, I have one theory which would also explain why the Soviet Union, and also China, are plural societies : The remainder of ideological attitudes from the ancien régime in the general populace. Both Imperial Russia and Imperial China were deeply rooted feudal societies and undoing the conditioning of centuries of feudal rule is not as easily accomplished. Hence the destruction of pure M-L ideology at some point in time in both these countries and the establishment of some sort of compromise between M-L ideology and «organic» elements in society.

soviet78 wrote:
But do you not realize that Keynesianism and neoliberalism are all part of the same system, interchangeably applied based on demands of the time, societal pressures, and changing circumstances?

They are not part of the same system. They are different variations of the same mode of production. To say that all capitalist societies are the same is too much of a stretch. I judge that outside of its economic models, the «System» is determined to a very large extent by the society's feudal history, political psychology of the population, religious history, technological advancement, etc... My point being that there are many societies where capitalism only forms a part(by supplying the economic mode of production) and not the other way around and these systems are very complex and very complete. Marxist Analysis is insufficient to explain all events in those specific political and economic systems.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 26 Aug 2014, 22:58
Wellcome back !

Quote:
Well actually I am only ethnically Armenian, born of post-soviet emigré parents. I grew up in Montréal. Concerning the religious aspect, yes I did return to Orthodoxy, primarily to be close to the Armenian community, here, in Vancouver and become involved in the the Armenian Diaspora, as well as the political development of Armenia.


Whats wrong with being socialist and having a spiritual belief ? We are contradictory entities, we believe contradictory things. I believe in God, i believe in Christ yet i am socialist. I believe i found some ways to solve the contradiction, but this is a debate in itself.

Quote:
However, as I abandoned Socialism, I also became repulsed by the very concept of ideology and its grounding in some so-called reason. I feel that reason when politicised, or otherwise, becomes extremely dangerous. It is on these grounds that I have also become repulsed by atheism and continue everyday to move closer to the absolute acceptance of God. Hence my raprochement with Orthodoxy and Catholicism, which I see as not terribly different.


You cannot escape ideology. You are now under the ideology of Ortodoxy and the ideology of capitalism. You escaped a tyrant to fall for other. I suggest you read Gramsci and Oliver Reboul (This last one is not exactly socialist but is not much against socialism). We all build ideologies. What happens is that a certain set of ideologies becomes a binding element for a certain group. Orthodoxy for the orthodox church, socialism for people in the party etc. Ideology is a part of our identity.

Quote:
I can still consider myself left on many positions although more out of realpolitik than ideological grounding. You are quite right on the Churchillian rhetoric. Even on exploring different economic formations, I still see the Soviet Union and Socialism as massive success having turned a famine-ridden failed tsarist state into a space pioneering superpower.


URSS was more a state commanded burgeoise revolution than true socialism.

Quote:
The lack of enthusiasm for socialism everywhere in the world first moved me away from it. Rousseau's quote still resonates in me: "People born in Slavery are born for Slavery". It is then that I understood that I was fighting for revolution for selfish reasons: Socialism was a world I wanted to live in, a desire not shared by the vast majority of people. It would be cruel to force my desires upon them. I also felt that socialism, and my commitment to it, distorted my world view by forcing it through the narrow lens of class struggle. And there was a great spiritual wealth to be collected if I could shed my ideology. So far I was right.


Your text looks like capitalism doesnt have his supporters, as if capitalism could keep on going without any human intentional interference. Capitalism is not something neutral, it is actively constructed and reconstructed all the time. Its hard to be neutral, if not impossible. Besides, convincing your peers, convincing other people, is the root basis of communication ("to make something become common, shared"). If you say "the sky is blue", you are trying to convince the listenner that the object sky has a color blue (something that is not actually hard to convince - its just a stupid example to make a point). So we all convince and are convinced all the time. And a lot of times we are convinced and convince others of ideas that are not true.

Quote:
Since I abandoned ideology entirely, I am exploring more organic alternatives, ones closer to basic humanity, something more balanced. This is what led me to take interest in certain aspects of Conservatism(French, Canadian and British variants): the foundation of social and political life on a plurality of institutions such as the family, religion, unions, businesses, academia, the military; each playing a significant and specific role in Man's life, none completely dominating. This balance seems closer to reality, humanity and biology than the stringent, and apologetic postulations of political implementations Marxism-Leninism.


Like i said earlier, you cannot abandon ideology by yourself. Else you would become an all knowing entity that can see reality as itself. You are not God. We all have our own interests and agenda that cloud our judgement.

"Indoctrination" (original: L'endoctrinement.) Reboul, Olivier. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. 1977.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Gramsci
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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 26 Aug 2014, 23:17
Quote:
I was confident in the Marxian version and I found it quite limiting. I share that view still in many respects. The problem with this view is that in Communist ideology it is applied far too rigidly. Saint-Exupéry said in his book «Terre des Hommes» that when the tool becomes the objective then judgement becomes misguided. Marxist Analysis is a tool, a model we build and use to determine the next course of action, the problem arises when it is the only model you use.


Marx whole idea is to be a tool ! Thats the whole point ! Praxis !

Quote:
The greatest shortfall of this Marxian model, or rather the way it is distorted in the communist movement, is the oversimplification of many societal structures in a dehumanising way. Yes, classes exists and production relations to a very large effect determine one's limitations and role in society but to then say that everything is divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a convenient dichotomy of good and bad, is to ignore that this system is composed of people, human being subject to the same shortfalls as you and I. This view that capitalism is this central, omnipresent evil computer that does everything to only accentuate oppression and no one is safe from it is too far from the reality that the oppressor class is not as uniform as we make it to be, far more fragile than we think it to be simply because it is composed of different human beings, with their passions, their shortfalls, their fears and their virtues. That's why I find the calls to «Kill the Bourgeoisie», «Eat the Rich», «Off with their heads» misguided and shameful. The communists who rant like this are calling for the destruction of a class system, that's why they do it so casually, if they thought these were human beings, they would less inclined to do so.


Thats why i proposed you to read Gramsci.

Quote:
The desire of socialism shouldn't be limited just to «do you want a system where ALL exploitation has disappeared?». The process to achieve should also be considered. How many are ready to go through years if not decades of disastrous civil war, famine, economic and societal collapse, murder and all sorts of death and destruction to achieve that goal.


You cannot end all exploitation. We exploit people even without knowing we are exploiting. What marxism can do is end ONE specific mode of exploitation, one that arose with capitalism itself. And thats all.

Quote:
People, the vast majority of the planet, have become addicted to peace, provided largely by nuclear weapons, and very few would be ready to give up that peace and security for the hazardous possibility of socialism.


Justice is peace. And besides that, capitalism will keep on creating crysis after crysis becouse capitalism is an unstable system that, like all unstable systems, creates the conditions for its own downfall.

Quote:
I don't and the plurality of Soviet society is very much apparent in the quality of its art, music, cinema and literature. The Soviet case is puzzling to me and frankly I don't know how to analyse it and break it down. Although hardly satisfactory, I have one theory which would also explain why the Soviet Union, and also China, are plural societies : The remainder of ideological attitudes from the ancien régime in the general populace. Both Imperial Russia and Imperial China were deeply rooted feudal societies and undoing the conditioning of centuries of feudal rule is not as easily accomplished. Hence the destruction of pure M-L ideology at some point in time in both these countries and the establishment of some sort of compromise between M-L ideology and «organic» elements in society.


Thats one precise element of Gramsci thought about URSS. Cultural elements of tsarism persisted in URSS.

Quote:
They are not part of the same system. They are different variations of the same mode of production. To say that all capitalist societies are the same is too much of a stretch.


You are confusing, they are the same system under the leadership of different groups. Liberal crysis foment the rise of social democrates due to hegemonic crysis. Later, when problems are solved, the liberals slowly seep in the system promoting "austerity" reforms. Those austerity reforms turns out of to be flawed and a new crysis sends us back to social-democracy, repeatedly. This is becouse a crysis levels the playfield, allowing new companies to start. But, over time, the profit margin falls and the burgeoise need to set bigger exploitation levels over the proletariat. Those more exploitative policies generates concentration of capital, decreasing proletariat purchasing power and starting a new crysis, and so on. Both groups, the neo-liberals and the social democrates are essentially two faces of the same coin, one replacing the other when an hegemony crysis kicks in.

Quote:
I judge that outside of its economic models, the «System» is determined to a very large extent by the society's feudal history, political psychology of the population, religious history, technological advancement, etc...


You cannot say if first came the egg then later came the chicken or vice versa. Specific material conditions creates ideologies that persist over time, being reinterpreted and adapted to new conditions, and those ideologies justify and recreate conditions similar to those found in the era and place that they were created. Etc. They are modus operandi just as modus of thinking. In society we have many voices and ideas floating around. Certain material needs, specific set of conditions etc, facilitates the adoption of one idea and the rejection of others. Ideology is then a defense of our psychism against material conditions. A way to culturally adapt to new conditions and old ones.

Quote:
My point being that there are many societies where capitalism only forms a part(by supplying the economic mode of production) and not the other way around and these systems are very complex and very complete. Marxist Analysis is insufficient to explain all events in those specific political and economic systems.


Marx is not God. He wrote a bunch of good ideas about how capitalism work and what might consist of a better society. But marxian ideology evolved over time. Stalinists and Trotskists are the ones who are stuck in time discussing the same thing all the time. A lot happened since Marx died.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 27 Aug 2014, 09:47
Welcome back and sorry for your loss.


No but really, interesting discussion here.
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Soviet cogitations: 4430
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 27 Aug 2014, 10:51
Red Armenian wrote:
This view that capitalism is this central, omnipresent evil computer that does everything to only accentuate oppression and no one is safe from it is too far from the reality that the oppressor class is not as uniform as we make it to be, far more fragile than we think it to be simply because it is composed of different human beings, with their passions, their shortfalls, their fears and their virtues. That's why I find the calls to «Kill the Bourgeoisie», «Eat the Rich», «Off with their heads» misguided and shameful. The communists who rant like this are calling for the destruction of a class system, that's why they do it so casually, if they thought these were human beings, they would less inclined to do so.


As far as I understand it, most long-term Marxists are not inclined toward such radical positions toward the bourgeoisie. Marx himself made a point to mention all the good that capitalism had done in progressing societies forward, dramatically improving the scale and productivity of production, ending feudal relations. For me Marxism has made it very clear that many of the evils resulting from capitalism come about not because of the wicked intentions of the capitalists, but by the very logic of the system itself. Like in Monopoly -it is the rules of the game, not the cartoonish greed and wickedness of the players, which often results in a horrible outcome.

Red Armenian wrote:
The desire of socialism shouldn't be limited just to «do you want a system where ALL exploitation has disappeared?». The process to achieve should also be considered. How many are ready to go through years if not decades of disastrous civil war, famine, economic and societal collapse, murder and all sorts of death and destruction to achieve that goal.


I agree, it is very difficult. The currently entrenched power systems are not so quick to give up, and in places where they have been partially or fully defeated they will fight a never-ending battle to get back into power. Zyuganov was forced to make precisely that decision -of conceding electoral defeat in a thoroughly rigged election, vs. potential civil war, in 1996. But that does not mean that having a strong enemy need result in defeatism. Humanity cannot stall in the present stage of development -capitalism as an economic model is already showing objective signs of being an antiquated method of production in a world where mechanization, automation, and the flow of information are creating new, potentially unsolvable problems for its successful functioning. I look at the unlikely fates of many revolutionaries in times past -the Bolsheviks in Russia, the German and Eastern European communists going through the hells of fascist Europe, Castro and his crew in Cuba, other perhaps non-socialist but nevertheless progressive forces in Latin America, Africa. In most of these cases, it was just small groups of dedicated people who by the looks of things wouldn't have a chance in hell of achieving anything, yet as things turned out many of them became some of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, and the world was changed for the better because of them. Circumstances change, attitudes too. Transition to socialism does not necessitate a bloody civil war.

Red Armenian wrote:
Hence the destruction of pure M-L ideology at some point in time in both these countries and the establishment of some sort of compromise between M-L ideology and «organic» elements in society.


I very much agree with you that each of these variants of socialism had their 'organic' roots; herein perhaps lie some of the negative 'totalitarian' elements of Soviet socialism which anti-communists may present as part and parcel of communist ideology itself (a theory disproved by changes within the Soviet model over time, and in other places, such as Cuba). The thing is, it's natural and very positive that radical left ideals and personalities will be different depending upon the country in which they're implemented -otherwise it would be the attempted implementation of a foreign system with no genuine common identity with the people it's meant to serve. Each country and people have their own national identity, their own history, traditions, culture, religious and other influences, and in each country the local communists and socialists must account for all of this if they want any hope of success.

Red Armenian wrote:
They are not part of the same system. They are different variations of the same mode of production.


Yes, but in times of change based on pressures or crises, one variation can and will be replaced by another, less pleasant variation. Take Canada for instance; the social democratic values once held even by the liberals and conservatives has now been largely replaced by a situation where even the social democratic NDP are arguably further to the right in many areas than the governing Liberals of the Trudeau years, not even to speak of the Conservatives, and how much further to the right they have moved in comparison to someone like Joe Clark. As I understand it, the move toward neoliberalism is a natural direction for capitalism and the power broker actors involved, and the less resistance there is at home, and the fewer successful examples of threatening alternatives abroad, the more likely they are to abandon social protections, unions, etc. and to move further and further to the right. And again, it's not necessarily because these people are greedy and wicked, but because according to the rules of the game, those who don't move toward measures that negatively affect working people face destruction at the hands of those who will take those measures.

Red Armenian wrote:
My point being that there are many societies where capitalism only forms a part(by supplying the economic mode of production) and not the other way around and these systems are very complex and very complete. Marxist Analysis is insufficient to explain all events in those specific political and economic systems.


I can agree with this, just as I agree that it would be extremely simplistic, and ridiculous really, to reduce all social conflicts to the conflict between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. That still doesn't make Marxist theorizing and analysis wrong though, in explaining the roots of crises, the causes of elite behaviour that results in social harm, etc. Furthermore, it doesn't make the proposed socialist alternatives any less valuable or desirable.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 28 Aug 2014, 07:46
AldoBrasil wrote:
Whats wrong with being socialist and having a spiritual belief ? We are contradictory entities, we believe contradictory things. I believe in God, i believe in Christ yet i am socialist. I believe i found some ways to solve the contradiction, but this is a debate in itself.

It shouldn't be and as I said before the great relief of the existence of God is that it is beyond human reason and pesky analysis.

AldoBrasil wrote:
You cannot escape ideology. You are now under the ideology of Ortodoxy and the ideology of capitalism. You escaped a tyrant to fall for other. I suggest you read Gramsci and Oliver Reboul (This last one is not exactly socialist but is not much against socialism). We all build ideologies. What happens is that a certain set of ideologies becomes a binding element for a certain group. Orthodoxy for the orthodox church, socialism for people in the party etc. Ideology is a part of our identity.

I disagree with this. When I was a communist, I was serving an ideology and that meant that I had to distill nearly all my views and feelings and associations to fit with the worldview I had selected. I woke up in the morning as a communist, I went to sleep as I communist. Everything I did was dominated and restricted by my ideals. I know what ideology is and I know I have none right now. Its a great relief to see the world without an ideological filter.

I would further disagree: Orthodoxy is not an ideology because it is not political and practised like I do is also none restrictive. As for Capitalism, it is not an ideology either because it does not have a specific worldview and people with widely different views can support capitalism as a mode of production.

AldoBrasil wrote:
Your text looks like capitalism doesnt have his supporters, as if capitalism could keep on going without any human intentional interference. Capitalism is not something neutral, it is actively constructed and reconstructed all the time.

Capitalism is status quo which means it exists whether we like it or not. You can hate the system as much as you want, you're part of it and frankly there is very little you can do to stop because most of the world is against you. Object in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest stay at rest unless there is an outside acting force. That force does not exist in the case of capitalism
AldoBrasil wrote:
Like i said earlier, you cannot abandon ideology by yourself. Else you would become an all knowing entity that can see reality as itself. You are not God. We all have our own interests and agenda that cloud our judgement.

I think ideology is a systematic form of thinking which is essential political in nature. I can have a subjective view of reality but it doesn't have to go through an ideological filter.

AldoBrasil wrote:
Thats why i proposed you to read Gramsci.

will look into as soon as I have time.

AldoBrasil wrote:
You cannot end all exploitation. We exploit people even without knowing we are exploiting. What marxism can do is end ONE specific mode of exploitation, one that arose with capitalism itself. And thats all.

I said all to exagerate. Even in the case of ALL exploitation, people would be unwilling to give up their security to destroy it.

AldoBrasil wrote:
Justice is peace. And besides that, capitalism will keep on creating crysis after crysis becouse capitalism is an unstable system that, like all unstable systems, creates the conditions for its own downfall.

I don't buy into this doomsday thinking anymore, thats what marxists have been saying since marx was around. Capitalism will not create its own downfall it will just shift and adapt to technological progress. Being an avid physics student, I would suggest avoiding the term unstable system. You can't say that there exists some kind of Equilibrium in economic organisation towards which capitalism is moving. If you do, you have many many arguments to write.

AldoBrasil wrote:
You are confusing, they are the same system under the leadership of different groups. Liberal crysis foment the rise of social democrates due to hegemonic crysis. Later, when problems are solved, the liberals slowly seep in the system promoting "austerity" reforms. Those austerity reforms turns out of to be flawed and a new crysis sends us back to social-democracy, repeatedly. This is becouse a crysis levels the playfield, allowing new companies to start. But, over time, the profit margin falls and the burgeoise need to set bigger exploitation levels over the proletariat. Those more exploitative policies generates concentration of capital, decreasing proletariat purchasing power and starting a new crysis, and so on. Both groups, the neo-liberals and the social democrates are essentially two faces of the same coin, one replacing the other when an hegemony crysis kicks in

I would argue against drawing quick conclusions such as these, we simply haven't had capitalism around for that long to make a statements like that. Since the advent of industrial capitalism, the political trend has been towards «Social-Democratic» policies starting with the ban on child labour in the 19th century to the 8 hour day in the 20th. However the rise of neo-liberalism is a phenomenon of the past 30 years. Part of my fear of it is grounded in no knowing where it will lead society.
Last edited by Red Armenian on 28 Aug 2014, 08:34, edited 1 time in total.
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In the Soviet Union you destroy free-market, In America free-market destroys you
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Soviet cogitations: 381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 28 Aug 2014, 08:30
No 14 wrote:
No but really, interesting discussion here.

Feel free to jump in at anytime, I'd love to hear more views.

soviet78 wrote:
For me Marxism has made it very clear that many of the evils resulting from capitalism come about not because of the wicked intentions of the capitalists, but by the very logic of the system itself.

All system has its flaws and I do agree that there many, many problems arising from organising economies around private ownership. But I also uphold that capitalism can be incorporated into as complete political, economic, social system where the proletariat lives in a significant material and social comfort and that their interests can match that of their national bourgeoisie based on this mutual relationship. Since the material comfort is lacking in many places in the world, and knowing that it is possible to achieve, I say that these are caused by specific ideological strands in specific bourgeois classes (i.e. the anglo-saxon bourgeoisie) and not purely by capitalism itself.

soviet78 wrote:
The currently entrenched power systems are not so quick to give up, and in places where they have been partially or fully defeated they will fight a never-ending battle to get back into power.

They will nuke you and whatever movement you can muster before they go away.

soviet78 wrote:
capitalism as an economic model is already showing objective signs of being an antiquated method of production in a world where mechanization, automation, and the flow of information are creating new, potentially unsolvable problems for its successful functioning.

In which ways would you say mechanisation, automation, etc are going to bring capitalism down? I would argue that on the contrary these are making it more global and more entrenched in all societies.

soviet78 wrote:
Circumstances change, attitudes too. Transition to socialism does not necessitate a bloody civil war.

Too much of a leap of faith for me to wait on changing attitudes and circumstances. The people has shown itself in history to be extremely callous in its choices and often thirsty for the blood of those who tried to save it. It would be a cruel decision for a mistress. The proletariat will kill you before the bourgeoisie gets to you, because you are trying to take away their security and that of their children, and rightfully so. I know I won't be able to send millions to their deaths because of the singularity that some form of socialism will arise out of the bloodshed. Transition to socialism does require bloody civil war because capitalism has become very entrenched and with modern armies, nuclear weapons and constant spying, if any violence erupts it will be so swiftly repressed that you can be sure that you won't achieve anything by it.

soviet78 wrote:
I very much agree with you that each of these variants of socialism had their 'organic' roots; herein perhaps lie some of the negative 'totalitarian' elements of Soviet socialism which anti-communists may present as part and parcel of communist ideology itself (a theory disproved by changes within the Soviet model over time, and in other places, such as Cuba). The thing is, it's natural and very positive that radical left ideals and personalities will be different depending upon the country in which they're implemented -otherwise it would be the attempted implementation of a foreign system with no genuine common identity with the people it's meant to serve. Each country and people have their own national identity, their own history, traditions, culture, religious and other influences, and in each country the local communists and socialists must account for all of this if they want any hope of success.

Absolutely. But my theory is incomplete because I can't quite determine where these organic elements were hidden when there was severe repression of said elements such as during the Cultural Revolution. Its almost unthinkable that they could have survived years of indoctrination and political repression and moved to actually overthrow pure M-L ideology in the political system of their respective country.

soviet78 wrote:
And again, it's not necessarily because these people are greedy and wicked, but because according to the rules of the game, those who don't move toward measures that negatively affect working people face destruction at the hands of those who will take those measures.

I disagree with this. The capitalism is only the way of organising production in a society. How measures taken by the political body of a society negatively affect working people largely depends on its political organisation. The reason why I decry neo-liberalism as far more dangerous than fascism is because it destroys ALL organic elements and institutions in society and replaces them with one institution: the market. The contrast is enormous, between say Victorian Britain or Gaullist France and current Neo-Liberalism. All these are capitalist societies but they are enormously different from the neo-liberal model because they are plural, they are based on a wide range of institutions working with each other. In the neo-liberal model everything revolves around the market, all institutions are bound to it and those that aren't, are destroyed. An example would be traditional, Christian families, which were the back-bone of the the labour movement in capitalist societies, being eroded through years of political and social changes, sponsored largely by progressive political movements. neo-liberalism destroys the plurality of institutions balancing the market, making it a chief concern.

Quote:
That still doesn't make Marxist theorizing and analysis wrong though, in explaining the roots of crises, the causes of elite behaviour that results in social harm, etc.

My view is that marxist theorising doesn't fully explain why the behaviour of the elite is what it is. There complements and models which should be used in conjuntion with marxist views, i. e. Louis Hartz's fragment theory.

I only quoted and responded to the stuff I disagreed or felt needed to be clarified. I pretty much agree with everything else you wrote.
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