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What kind of communist movement would you like to see?

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Soviet cogitations: 9396
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 06 Jan 2011, 08:37
*I'm focusing on the United States (plus Canada, America's hat) here.

Hey comrades,

I don't know how interested people here are in actually doing something to advance the goals of communism, so I'm going to pose this as a series of questions and my own meditations on them.

What is our view on communist revolution, in general?

In my view, we are already living in a post-revolutionary society as communism has swept the entire world, with movements both successful and unsuccessful appearing on every continent (except Australia duh). Of course the revolution has failed in most places at this point, especially with it being unable to spread in the US, the linchpin of global imperialism, which has also prevented any meaningful independent existence for a communist state due to its isolation from the world's resources outside its own borders and political pressure. On the other hand, it has had enormous responses, both progressive and reactionary.

Progressively, we have seen an enormous advancement in Marxist theory from the primitivism of the second international to actual working models of communist states. Second, we have been able to overcome many of the petty-bourgeois superstitions about socialist society such as the "debatable" inevitability of revolution, working models of economies based on the idea of central planning (though not actual planned economies), and working models of states that did not have endless political deadlock or mob rule as extremes. Third, we have overcome our own superstitions such as "the new man" in society, an idealistic, communistic proletarian (the same way many emerging capitalist states call an idealistic capitalist bourgeois their "new man"), and the idea of the party being a sort of super-structure for the state that through its own wisdom can evolve itself and guide the masses to "communism," which is apparently a state of things. (!)

Regressively, we have also seen capitalist states adopt social-democratic ideology as a form of concession to the working classes to allow a model where they were not constantly being defrauded by bankers, salesmen, employers, and the state. Of course this system itself folded as the Fordist industrial model that it was built on top of became obsolete and replaced by the same one that came before it, liberalism, except more flexible as a single center of capital, in the face of the United States emerged, taking over the previous multi-polar capitalist world with imperialist nations that were wealthier - France, Germany, Britain (to a lesser extent, as it still controls a great deal of capital), and others that were poorer. Another result of this was the temporary rise of the sub-petty-bourgeois middle class, especially in the United States, which was able through credit, rather than direct state support to provide itself with automobiles, housing, education (through both discriminatory school funding and paying for the university level that this provided), and later everything. This is not to be confused with the working class who since the 1980s have been hooked on a usury plan of 12-25% credit card rates replacing installment plans and layaways, as well as the expansion of easy credit that allowed them to take similarly usurious car loans and gasoline (supply shocks of which handily benefited the oil companies) and "subprime" home mortgages where they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for what is today worthless houses. The expansion of the petty bourgeois class was in this sense even more reactionary than the temporary support of the proletariat, as rather than doing nothing besides splitting away more of the shitty moderates from the communist movement which weakened it numerically, it created a class of people who glorified consumption of shitty mass-produced cars, homes, and "consumer goods" and were happy to stay in their place rather than use the opportunity to challenge the class above them at least through the sphere of direct personal competition. That of course helped destroy them as a class and push them more and more into the "hooked on credit" working poor today.

What is our view of the party as a revolutionary communist force, in general?

From the originally rigid force based on Lenin's idea of basically copying the SDP's structure, we have seen several evolutions to the form, from Stalin's idea of purging ineffective leaders, to Mao's idea of the party as a purely political force whose goal is to continually challenge the state, not become one and the same with it. The best lesson that can be learned from the Cultural Revolution is that the only way to have the Party be a continuously revolutionary force is to split it entirely from everything that is an instrument of power, besides its functional purpose, political work. We have seen, here in the US, all too much parties that were initially engaged in political work become overgrown behemoths burdened with having a newspaper, an ideological debate team, a protest group, etc. etc. that make political work only a minor portion of their activity. Worse yet, the party's "organs" become lobbyists for themselves, requiring more attention and funding. I don't see this as necessary at all, sure things like debate, a newspaper, protest actions, youth groups, etc is necessary, but in the modern world they are too important to be part of the party. The solution? Make them arms instead of organs. If a party needs a newspaper, let members take minor portions of its time and contribute to it, or if that's all they want to do, quit and take full time involvement with it. The same goes for ideological debates. They are not something that the "leaders" should be overburdened with rather than actual coordination. If people want to argue over how they see things, let them do it through an ideological journal, sure, but keep that argument outside the actual party, where instead cooperation is needed. This is the purpose of think-tanks. If the party doesn't like the way the current one is going, it can either purge it or defund it entirely and start over with new cadres. However, the best cadres absolutely can't be wasted on these things just because they were able through their hard work and ability to assume leadership positions.

What is the goal of having socialism?

Communism is in nature a centrist position, standing between anarchism which believes in simple abolition of state structure (though most of them don't actually think this will work anymore, preferring some sort of weak state) and right-wing socialism which believes in socialism as an end. However, as communists, we simply believe in the abolition of the current state of things, an abolition which makes sure that this state of things will never be needed again. For us, the goal of having socialism is not equality, or even the abolition of the state. It is simply to make the working class the ruling class in society. Once this is achieved, we will probably be all about equality, not having state power, (as it's not necessary when there are no class contradictions) and all that jazz. However, let us not get ahead of ourselves as we have often done!

Who are the proletarians and what do they want?

The proletarians are people who sell their ability to work for a living. As members of society, their goal is the same as that of the bourgeois - to become the wealthiest individual. However, every year their class gets bigger, and they get smaller. They are often angry about those who try to enter their class from below (as in the case of immigrants) or in some cases from above (as in the case of hipsters most of whom are actually pretty poor for the most part but are better able to fit into society because of their white privilege and allegiance to middle class values), as that only makes their ability to work worth less. Proletarians do not share petty-bourgeois views or "pettiness" in the sense that they don't want to stop at that level but do want the things that they have as they are better and are whether you like it or not status symbols.

Then, what is the purpose of having socialism, with regards to the proletarian?

With the goal of socialism making the working class the ruling class in society, its purpose has to be to create a society where any proletarian can rise to the absolute top. That is, not only accumulating a large income from being the best at his job, (which I think would at the equivalence of what the 95-99th percentile makes today), but also a rise in political position as such a person already has public prestige through having a high income and a work ethic that allows this.

As such, the goal of socialism is to provide the proletariat with the absolute best of things. This is inevitable, really, as every class society has an elite, it's just a question of whether the most dedicated and efficient workers deserve to have the best things more than party members, artists, etc. who end up having them anyway. Of course ownership should be limited, bit as the goal of every person tends to be having their future generation do better, it would give their children a slightly advantageous position, but once again the question is if we want them to have this position or bureaucrats and other people who are in capitalist society petty-bourgeois and therefore hold possible allegiances to that class. This was already done in Stalin's USSR where workers were often given apartments with 3m ceilings and able to own in some circumstances things like cars though the USSR was at the time a comparatively poor country and those things were reserved for the bureaucrats, doctors, artists, engineers, etc more to keep them from leaving the country and creating an educated labor shortage as was the case in the 1920s.

The main thing to avoid would be creating a functional petty-bourgeois class as was the case in the USSR who were interested in nothing but consumer goods and how to get them, as they ended up being reserved to elites like party members who they antagonized. The proletarian on the other hand, is interested in his class status as a leader, and not a useless middle class blowing raspberry on the sidelines of history. If the ethic that we allow is that the key to success is getting an education and working for the state, we will end up with nothing but shitbags like literally the main character of 1984 as a growing group that has allegiances to the petty-bourgeois class and antagonizes the regime.

Of course, our ability to provide the proletariat with the absolute best of things (to quote Engels on the various "socialist intellectuals," "If these gentlemen only knew that Marx thought his best things were still not good enough for the workers, how he regarded it as a crime to offer the workers anything but the very best!") is limited by what the workers can create, but if someone works their very hardest, is it a crime to reward them with slightly more than their portion to encourage the rest and show that everything is possible? This brings the issue of the economy and our responsibility to ensure that such persuasion has consequences beyond an increase in production that the system cannot actually handle or benefit from in any meaningful fashion.

How should the economy be managed in socialism?

The socialist idea of efficiency is quite different from the capitalist one as it states that things are judged by their utility and not by the profit they bring to the owner. This means placing things where its cheapest and most efficient to place them. This means both increasingly strong trade links everywhere and a decentralization of the actual economy first to regions and then to communities. For both of these things, a planned economy is needed so that a) the most efficient links with regards to production costs, transportation, etc can be found, and b) to allow enterprises to function on the idea of production rather than the idea of cannibalistic competition where capital centralizes simply because it is able to accumulate more profit in one place than another, attracting more capital, the goal is to use surpluses produced to make production more efficient across the board. Of course, for this, the resources of production/consumption have to be stretched to a reasonable maximum to avoid production bottlenecks and resulting shortages as resources are not used optimally.

This would require a pull system similar to the one today, reliant on consumption information rather than the Fordist model that relied on production maximization, and while the logic was great for developing heavy industry in the USSR, it could not handle light industry which had many problems in production once it became dominant as the economy could not simply be one conveyor belt for each product. The solution for this is the information economy, as we call it today, except in the form of real-time economic planning which would be able to monitor consumption patterns and simultaneously make appropriate decisions on where to get resources (for a store, which factory, for the factory, which factories for what part, for parts factories which heavy industry, etc).

Having the system stretched to the limit, with regards to resources, and therefore with regards also to the labor staffing the machines would mean that any increase in productivity that is not due to investments in the means of production, creates resources which then can be used for that increase, meaning that the subsequent steps of production become less costly and having more produced would mean not more work for everyone else, as this system would actually reduce the need for human labor. While today working more means that others' labor is less needed and hours can be reduced, in socialism this happens without loss to income. A reduction in the availability of labor just means that more machines are needed to replace it, and the resources for making these machines are created by working over quota in the first place.

How would the politics of socialism work?

Our goal is nothing but direct democracy. However, as direct democracy stems from people's immediate surroundings, our goal is to make the questions of national politics that exist today cease to be questions (through our program) and make new questions that arise be as much as possible solved through the lowest possible levels of government such as neighborhood meetings and town halls. There was a time in America when this is exactly what was done, but capital has increasingly pushed things in the opposite direction where 95% of us when hearing the phrase "town hall" think of when a presidential (or in some cases congressional) candidate comes to their town to discuss how changes in federal budgeting will affect things, in rare cases the actual local economy and those people's lives. In the case of congressional candidates also what earmarks they promise to put on bills to support local development. We basically want to move things in the opposite direction where issues can only be decided at the local level as it's the only one that matters, and that requires on our part a) creating not a plan but a system of economic development and b) taking over national leadership to facilitate this and rearrange the said leadership in a way that it can be phased out as effectively as possible, disintegrating the whole country into regions that economically cooperate with other regions worldwide as the economy becomes more decentralized and the planning network spans the entire globe as focusing resources on a national level into specific industries no longer becomes necessary.

So, what do we do now?

Our goal today, I think, is political work with a goal of a) attracting more political workers to our cause and b) organization and empowerment of people to our cause. The other things while being catalysts for the movement are not critical enough to actually be part of it. The way I see it, our goal is to explain to people what it means to be empowered, what it means to achieve this, and why they should help us do what we need to do to help us overthrow the current conditions and take power so that we can give it to all of them rather than any one person or group.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 2
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Jan 2011, 22:39
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 07 Jan 2011, 22:48
I personaly would like to see a communist movement in the UK aswel but something that is big not a revelution but major marches through major cities so people realise that we communists still are out there. Also we could do with something to happen in favour of us to catch peoples eye on the news.
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Soviet cogitations: 24
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 11:07
Pioneer
Post 01 Mar 2011, 11:19
A Communist movement needs to show the capitalists what communism actually is. A Communist movement needs to shows the common man that, in fact, he is more powerful than capitalism. The policy needs to be directed at efficiency in the economy (Absolute, relative advantage espc.). Communism has to first over the stereotype of neo-fascism that it has taken up because of one or two individuals.

It also needs to focus on what capitalism has done to the world. The Slavic nations. Africa. Asia.
Etre communiste, on doit comprendre les gens. Etre un vrai communiste, on doit comprendre des habitudes de gens, la vie, le terre et l’histoire. C'est les damnés de la terre qui sont le plus important dans ma vie, et je les aiderai vite, aucun doute.
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