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View Diary: Why you're wrong about communism? (With Poll) Updated (41 comments)

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  •  Neither of these examples (0+ / 0-)

    are communism. These are more appropriately state capitalism with a heavy dose of authoritarianism.

    And social democrats began as socialists, but now seems to mean just reformist capitalists.

    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

    by ZhenRen on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 12:59:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  You're welcome to your own sectarian, (0+ / 0-)

      particularistic definition of "communism." Recognize, however, that when you enter real world conversations you need to translate.

      Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

      by another American on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:03:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't my "own" definition (0+ / 0-)

        Your definition has its own built-in bias from a capitalist perspective. But capitalists do not have any special privilege in defining socioeconomic theory.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:10:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it's my own thought-through viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

          from a social democratic perspective. And, yes, I'm familiar with state capitalist, bureaucratic collectivist, and other denunciation of Stalinist "deformations" of Communism. But one finds the same anti-democratic theory and conduct in both Lenin and Trotsky, also in Mao. Indeed, one is hard-pressed to think of any significant counter-example among Communists who have led actually-existing national governments.

          Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

          by another American on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:40:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's because... (0+ / 0-)

            the creation of a central government predisposes the system to nationalization of business, and it retains the hierarchical top-down style throughout.

            An example of true communism is what was achieved in anarchist regions of Spain during the Spanish Civil War, where for nearly three years, involving 3 to 8 million persons, industry and agriculture were collectivised using a system of federation, which was horizontal, and bottom-up in organization, without the creation of a top down state which controlled people from above.

            This is done using recallable and mandated delegates to form councils who do not simply represent the people, but rather serve as conduits for their collectively made decisions from below.

            It worked. Unfortunately, the fascists, with help from Hitler, Mussolini, the US, and Britain, as well as Stalinist Russia, crushed the egalitarian people-based self-government.

            There are other examples.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 09:49:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Here's some information (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes, TiaRachel

        Basically, state capitalism is the state taking over possession of the property used in the means of production, and continuing to conduct the affairs of production, substituting the State in place of private management. Employees still have the same relationship with the employer, whether it is the State or a private boss. There is still wage labor, still a lack of employee self-management of the workplace, and thus they remain as wage-slaves, but with a different master.

        True communism is worker self-management, using direct democracy, with horizontal, reciprocal relationships, based on free assocaition. The USSR was not based on free association, with people at liberty and without coercion to form their own worker collectives, based on freely made agreements with other workers, with each having an equal voice in the workplace and the community.


        There are various theories and critiques of state capitalism, some of which have existed before the 1917 October Revolution. The common themes among them are to identify that the workers do not meaningfully control the means of production and that commodity relations and production for profit still occur within state capitalism. Vladimir Lenin notably described the economy of Russia as state capitalism. Socialists of a libertarian or anarchist persuasion, such as Noam Chomsky, use the term "state capitalism" to refer to economies that are nominally capitalist, such that the decisive research and development is performed by the public sector at public cost, but private owners reap the profits.[4]

        Marxist literature typically defines state capitalism as a social system combining capitalism—the wage system of producing and appropriating surplus value—with ownership or control by a state. By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[5] Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argued that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism, consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[6] Anarchists, libertarian socialists and some left communists use the terms "state socialism" and "state capitalism" interchangeably, with the latter intended to be pejorative.

        Libertarian socialist view:
        Socialism or State Capitalism?

        So what did the Bolsheviks aim to create in Russia? Lenin was clear, state capitalism. He argued this before and after the Bolsheviks seized power. For example, in 1917, he argued that "given a really revolutionary-democratic state, state-monopoly capitalism inevitably and unavoidably implies a step, and more than one step, towards socialism!" He stressed that "socialism is merely the next step forward from state-capitalist monopoly . . . socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly."3

        The Bolshevik road to "socialism" ran through the terrain of state capitalism and, in fact, simply built upon its institutionalised means of allocating recourses and structuring industry. As Lenin put it, "the modern state possesses an apparatus which has extremely close connections with the banks and syndicates, an apparatus which performs an enormous amount of accounting and registration work . . . This apparatus must not, and should not, be smashed. It must be wrestled from the control of the capitalists," it "must be subordinated to the proletarian Soviets" and "it must be expanded, made more comprehensive, and nation-wide." This meant that the Bolsheviks would "not invent the organisational form of work, but take it ready-made from capitalism" and "borrow the best models furnished by the advanced countries."4

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:43:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is that there are no other examples (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JJ In Illinois

      of communism working on large scale.

      •  Actually, if that is a "problem" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it is a problem created by the violence of both capitalists and fascists as well as statist socialists like the Stalinists which all have used extreme force of violence to crush attempts to create large scale examples of true communism.

        The Spanish anarcho-socialist areas during the Spanish Civil War which lasted nearly three years were doing very well, and people who had once been wage slaves, or out of work, deprived of food and education and other basic needs, and in some cases starving, had found work, income, and all their needs met, and actually enjoyed increased consumption. These changes came about rather quickly once the working class and peasants took control over their own lives, until the fascists, capitalists, and the Stalinists crushed them with overwhelming force from all sides.

        This was a large scale society, involving three to eight million in the anarchist regions of Spain.

        As I recall, I've explained this to you before. And so far, the large scale examples of capitalism are not working so well, and have unstable economies, poverty, exploitation, wage slavery, unemployment, loss of income, lack of adequate pensions, inequality, racism, patriarchy, militarism, colonialism, and wide-scale, massive environmental destruction.  The long term prospects for working people are at the moment rather miserable, with a future of horrific consequences awaiting them. Most work in near corporate totalitarianism, with little realistic freedoms in personal life.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:58:14 PM PST

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        •  Yeah, you talked about them. (0+ / 0-)

          There were also smaller communities like that during Russian Civil war. Major war messes things up though. Things that would not be sustainable in peacetime are ok.

          It doesn't mean that capitalism is the best type of society going forward. New types of society can and do develop over time.

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