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View Diary: Marx for Dummies 1 (193 comments)

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  •  And you think the USSR was truly Marxist? (9+ / 0-)

    Or even communist? They certainly do not seem to fit within a democratic Marixst perspective which Marx was essentially not in conflict with.

    Those in power and at the top of the Politburo had much greater access to wealth than those doing the actual labor (in Marx's use of the term; work) and essentially were little different than those they replaced. They used the working class and wrapped their "socialism for me, austerity for you" ideology in the flag of Marxism.

    I'm not even advocating for a communistic version of society, but let's be realistic when we're evaluating the Soviet Union. Those who benefited from its policies either were the elite themselves, or were the underclass who benefited anyway because the alternative was rural feudalism. This is sadly one of the great propagandic triumphs of the American right. Anyone remotely associated with Marx is evil, but let's still work 40 hours a week for the same wage as our father even while productivity increases! This is not what the Soviet Union did and I have little doubt that Marx would be appalled by Stalinism.

    •  No, I don't think it was "capitalistic". (4+ / 0-)

      The post I was responding to suggested that human destruction of environment was particular to capitalism, and I was merely disputing that suggestion.  The USSR's destruction of environment was government directed.  I don't wish to engage in the very tired debate about whether the USSR was truly Marxist or truly Communist.

    •  Anarchists tend to view the USSR as (10+ / 0-)

      ...state capitalism. The working class still work for a boss in the workplace, the fruits of labor are still stolen from the workers by an owner class which in state-socialism is the central state bureaucracy.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 05:19:00 PM PDT

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      •  And not without reason. (6+ / 0-)

        The original meaning of the term "soviet" was "worker managed and democratically managed".  Things quickly began to go south when Lenin abolished the soviets by appointing managers.  That was the first betrayal of both communism and socialism.  Of course, this betrayal was already embodied in Leninist theory which claimed there had to be an intellectual elite and avant garde to lead the unwashed masses.

        •  I dispute just about everything you wrote.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeffersonian Democrat

          Yes, the function of the soviets was suspended during the civil war (really, a version of the contra war the U.S. sponsored against Nicaragua in the '80s, as the European capitalist powers contributed arms, materiel, and even troops to a counter revolution against the fledgling soviet state) but Lenin campaigned for the restoration of functioning soviets at the conclusion of the war.  

          This goal, however, was unsuccessful due to the domination of Stalin's apparatus in the soviets and Lenin's poor health, which limited his effectiveness.

          I assume your second point relates to the notion of a vanguard in the revolutionary movement.  I think characterizing it as an "elite" is a tad misplaced:  The point of the vanguard was (and is) to spread the word about revolution and educate the masses and draw them in to participate fully in the movement, as not all members of the working class come to same full understanding of the workings of their oppression at the same time and to the same degree.  The vanguard is very much an educational tool of the revolution, and hardly an "elitist" project.

          Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

          by caul on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 02:08:41 AM PDT

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          •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

            The Soviets had been the original centers of democratic political power during the initial stages of the revolution. Are you suggesting that Lenin was prepared to surrender the political monopoly of the Bolshevik Party to democratically elected Soviets?

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 02:29:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  btw, nice argument you two (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Guyer, Dustin Mineau

              I mean argument in the sense of expressing competing ideas, that's good pedagogy

              Don't be a dick, be a Democrat! Oppose CPI cuts! Support Social Security and Veteran Benefits!

              by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 02:48:30 AM PDT

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            •  Read the book. He did just that. (0+ / 0-)

              Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

              by caul on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:49:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is a cop out (0+ / 0-)

                I'm well acquainted with Lenin's final efforts against Stalin, his alliance with Trotsky and his recognition, expressed in his suppressed testament, of his own guilt in the corruption of the revolution via bureaucratization. I've no need to wade through another SWP pamphlet consisting of excerpts pre-selected to serve a particular agenda.

                If you actually know of any instance where Lenin stated that he wished to surrender the Bolshevik's monopoly on state power to freely elected, democratic Soviets as a matter of policy, you ought to be able to cite it directly. Don't hide behind party propaganda.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:25:13 PM PDT

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                •  The book is a collection of Lenin's letters (0+ / 0-)

                  and speeches to the Party during this period, hardly "party propaganda" but the man's actual concrete proposals for what the fledgling Soviet Union needed to do to recover from the years of WWI and the civil war.  

                  Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

                  by caul on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:30:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

                    If you've actually read the book, you ought to be able to quote where he said anything that supports your contention.

                    Figuratively waving the book while claiming it proves you correct doesn't get the job done.

                    I am familiar with other books of this sort produced by Pathfinder over the years. How such historical materials are interpreted depends entirely on their completeness and the accuracy of the context in which they are placed.

                    I've never seen a publication released by Pathfinder that has contradicted the current party line of the SWP. In fact, when their line has changed, they have withdrawn publications that were no longer in sync with the party's positions.

                    Historical facts do not morph to accommodate the vagaries of political positioning. OTOH, partisan propaganda pieces do.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:27:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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