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The idea behind this one, failing the false logic of "Omigod the Soviet Union," is that if socialism has never happened before it will never happen.  "Name a society where your version of socialism has actually occurred," the debaters challenge me.  This sort of challenge is supposed to be part of a proof that socialism is impossible.  The people who argue this kind of stuff reason that there will always be some sort of ruling class, because some people (an elite few) were destined to rule while others (the great masses) were destined to follow.  Socialism is, then, against human nature.

 I suppose in one major sense this diary is a variation on a previous diary -- the "socialism is a utopian fantasy" diary.  If socialism (at least of the conception discussed here, with public ownership and control over the means of production) has never happened before, this must be because it's impossible to enact, and so it's just a utopian fantasy. Right?  Right?  Never mind, of course, that social invention is still possible, and that the past may be no indicator whatsoever as to how the future will turn out.

(And of course if people had gotten to the Wright brothers and told them that nobody had yet found a way to make practical aircraft, they would still have invented an airplane, but only by ignoring what such people said.)

The world could possibly be socialist.  Here's how it would happen:

First, there would have to be some sort of revolutionary change in the way power operated.  This is the hard part.  We'd need to have some sort of new willingness to try economic arrangements that didn't just prop up old and dying power structures.  Government would have to be reoriented -- it would have to be something other than a mechanism for reinforcing the privileges of the few.  Government would have to be a place where the popular will was exercised rather than being a commodity traded among business interests, their lobbyists, and politicians.

Second, the governments of the world would nationalize all of the "means of production" -- the factories, mass production farms, mines, and so on.  Small cottage industries can stay in private hands -- they're owned by the public already.

Third, each government would set up a scheme for genuinely PUBLIC control over the means of production.  This would have to mean that everyone would be given the right to participate in basic production decisions.  There might be votes, but votes (as David Graeber points out in his book on democracy) are in themselves not ways of establishing people power -- there would have to be some elements of consensus process added to the processes of public control.  (If some of you were still wondering, this is why the Occupy movement was run with a consensus process in place.)

Lastly, there would have to be some scheme for the distribution of benefits from public control over the means of production.   Our governments know how to do this already.

There are plenty of small-scale "socialisms" already in the world.  These include co-operatives and communes.  They've had some degree of success even with an outside world putting enormous pressures upon them.

So socialism is clearly possible.  The first condition is quite daunting, however, and reasonable readers are likely to ask, "do we really need to go through all that?"  Must we reorient the functions of government in order to solve basic social problems?  If you want to end hunger, feed the hungry.  If you want to mitigate global warming, develop alternative energy.  So why socialism?  Aren't these problems simple?

The standard progressive proposals for change through government are typically mediated through the "knight in shining armor" theory of government.  We'll elect someone who will solve our major problems -- never mind the incredible power of money over our elected officials and our government.  Meanwhile it's socialism, in the minds of those putting forth the standard progressive proposals, that is the utopian fantasy.

It's easy to see, then, why there will be no knights in shining armor.  It's common knowledge among the political class already that the standard progressives are easily fooled.  Politicians can get up on stage, pretend that they're going to solve everyone's problems, and then cash in once they're in office.  Voters are going to elect Candidate A and Party A for fear that Candidate B and Party B will be elected, and things will be worse.  Rinse and repeat.

So, yes, we have to go through all that.

Originally posted to Postcapitalism on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So you completely agree with your critics that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    your version of socialism has never been implemented before? I agree that it is possible that cultural or technological changes may lead to its implementation in the future. Or they may not. Nobody knows.

  •  A Christian nation has never existed. (8+ / 0-)

    A society, that is, where the love of Christ prevails and actions like giving your possessions to the poor and following Him are the rule.

    Never ever ever.

    Therefore, I reject the possibility of a Christian nation.

    I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

    by MrJayTee on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:04:22 AM PDT

    •  So did the Founders. n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Klusterpuck, aliasalias, MrJayTee
    •  Never on a national scale. (0+ / 0-)

      But most medieval monasteries started with something very like this, and became perfectly organized little fiefs similar in power to the fiefs around them, that were organized on the basis of Big Guy ordering Bullies around.  The monasteries tended to get a lot more support and friendship from the local farmers, and Big Guy often found that running afoul of Father Abbott was counterproductive in anything but the shortest term.

      Eventually the abbeys accepted Big Guy's little brothers and second sons, who ended up becoming the Father Abbott, and the two systems merged.  But the monasteries continued to be organized around principles of communal self-government, mutual poverty, and service to others, even when they stopped following them very well.

  •  Ideal Socialism is as likely and as desirable as (7+ / 0-)

    Ideal Capitalism.
    That is, not at all.
    One of the most interesting/frustrating things about humans is that we are complicated creatures. We are capable of stuff that gives us advantages that other creatures don't have. But we also have vulnerabilities. We use tools and weapons and clothing because we don't have fangs and claws and fur. We are social animals that can survive limited autonomy. We are colonies of individuals.
    We are both socialist and capitalist right to the core of every person.
    We can not long survive without our tribe but we are also somewhat selfish.
    The key to our personalities and our societies is how we balance this dichotomy. Too much selfishness and we lose our tribe, too much generosity and we starve.
    As a political/economic system, neither Socialism nor Capitalism is viable in pure form. In all of recorded history and probably since well before that, there is no long term successful society that has perfected either one.
    Successful societies are characterized by the balance of those two tendencies.
    Why did the "Socialist" experiment of Twentieth Century Eastern Europe fail? Because the inherent selfishness of people finds a way to exert it's influence whether there is a currency or not.
    Why do Capitalist systems crash? Because the Socialist controls are relaxed.
    Neither system is inherently evil. It's when they get out of balance that the trouble starts.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:13:16 AM PDT

    •  Which suggests a Mixed Economy. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV, AaronInSanDiego

      A robustly regulated market economy that herds cooperate decision-making into regions where they all must make decisions not just on the P&L, stock price and making the rich richer, but upon other issues as well, including social well-being, the general welfare, and the environment.

      This requires the regulations, the budget and enforcement. Can regulations be onerous? Yes. But unregulated markets are even more so.

      “Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers -- and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers." - Chris Hedges

      by Klusterpuck on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:12:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There may be other approaches than (0+ / 0-)

        simply mixing the two systems, but that certainly would be better than what we currently have. Although what you describes sounds more like a more regulated capitalist system than a mixed economy.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:27:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Whatev. (4+ / 0-)
      Why did the "Socialist" experiment of Twentieth Century Eastern Europe fail?
      Is it relevant?  See "Omigod the Soviet Union."
      Because the inherent selfishness of people
      "Selfishness," here, is the empty set.  "Selfishness" is compatible with whatever behavior you hope to observe, and thus excludes nothing.  Do a study of how the Soviet Union was actually run, taking into account its role as a contender state.
      Why do Capitalist systems crash? Because the Socialist controls are relaxed.
      Did you even bother to find out what my definition of "socialism" was?

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course it's relevant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        Just as the existence of slavery, the dispossession and decimation of the native peoples and imperialism are relevant to assessing the significance of the democratic ideals expressed by the Declaration of Independence.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:58:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're making a lot of... (3+ / 0-)

      "just so" statements based on your assumptions about what works. Your statements reflect common cultural memes which are absorbed in a capitalist society.

      There are studies which indicate people have evolved the trait of teamwork for more efficient survival. It isn't that we don't have selfish motives, but that these selfish motives are counterbalanced by egalitarian motives as well.

      The notion that we should institutionalize selfishness to exalt one human trait over the rest is ludicrous. One might as well argue that we should allow slavery due to the notion some of us have evolved a trait that requires us to be masters.

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

      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:51:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Substantially agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen, AaronInSanDiego
        It isn't that we don't have selfish motives, but that these selfish motives are counterbalanced by egalitarian motives as well.
        What you call egalitarian, is what I call socialist and selfishness is the personal version of capitalist.
        Both traits are inherent and necessary for survival, but must be in balance, at the personal level and at the societal level.
        I'm not advocating for one over the other at all, but that both be balanced against each other for all of our health and prosperity.
        What I am opposed to is extremism, black&white, binary thinking.
        As for slavery, we ARE all masters at the personal level, that's why slavery is such an abomination to us.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:25:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And yet... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrJayTee, isabelle hayes

          capitalism could not exist if it did not allow a form of slavery, which is the boss/servant relationship between those who are privileged to own the means of production and the majority who are not. Capitalism is, if anything, slavery to the working class.

          Capitalism is entirely based on exploitation, which is not eliminated by "safety nets".

          In a collective society, there will still be plenty of self interest going on, but it won't be institutionalized into doctrine. People can still excel at what they do, people can still influence, people can lead with their ideas, if not their positions of exclusive authority.

          Making selfishness an institution by virtue of law is a particularly bad idea. And any society that opens that door will always have people jostling for more and more power, and a bigger and bigger portion of the pie. As long as some individuals can accumulate power and wealth at the expense of the rest, the tendency will be for those few to consolidate control over others.

          Here's an interesting article about the evolution of teamwork in humans: http://www.commondreams.org/...

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

          by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:38:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is not slavery. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AaronInSanDiego
            boss/servant relationship between those who are privileged to own the means of production and the majority who are not
            Calling it slavery is that binary thinking again.
            If you work for someone that owns your living quarters, controls your life and that doesn't pay you, THAT'S slavery.
            And that's illegal in this and most other countries.
            If you work for someone who pays you, from whom you can walk away without being captured and dragged back, that's not slavery. It may be pitiful wages, it may not be a living wage, it may suck, but don't exaggerate.
            This tendency to push the rhetoric into the extremes is one of the real problems we have in the current socio/political climate, don't feed it.

            If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

            by CwV on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:36:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The prevalent illusion (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus, Tommye

              is that a worker can "walk away" from a job and get another one. That is completely, utterly false. If that were true, there would have been no reason for all the labor struggles throughout the history of feudalism and industrialism. Why strike or protest or form unions if it were true that people could just get another job? But that isn't reality. The choices which people imagine to exist don't exist for most of the working class. When you are lucky to get a halfway decent paying job (scarce even in the best of times) you hang onto it with your life, and are forced to accept the bad treatment and inequality lest you end up homeless. And all of this exists just to allow the top percentage of the owner class to have lives of relative luxury at the expense of the rest of us.

              This is not an exaggeration.  It is slavery. Workers don't get remunerated according to the value of what they produce, but rather get the lowest that the market will bear, even if the wages are insufficient to survive, as if they are not living people who have a right to live, but commodities no different from a forklift or jackhammer which can be bought at a certain market price.

              As Kropotkin wrote, "The wealth of the wealthy always springs from the poverty of the poor. "

              The only people who think workers have freedom to quit and go elsewhere are people of economic privilege who have never experienced the realities of the working class. And retrain? Really? As one gets older, retraining becomes harder and harder. Employers have no obligation to hire you just because at age 55 you went back to school. And have you seen the cost of education lately? It's too expensive for most workers, and just adds more debt slavery.

              And the debt slavery is certainly part of this as well. Why do you think so many lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis? They weren't making enough from their jobs to pay their debts, including mortgages and student loans. Losing a job usually means losing your home and good credit history. One can pay hundreds of thousands in the form of interest on a home loan, only to lose it all in a few months time because of losing a job.

              And there is a plethora of ways workers are dominated, in many cases right down to when they can eat, go to the bathroom, what they can openly discuss, what they do with their spare time, whom they associate with, even whom they vote for.  Most workers spend their entire working lives under the corporate form of totalitarianism of the American workplace.

              Apparently you've never been thrown to the wolves the way some of us have.

              And look at the other side of the equation. My employer goes out and plays golf when the weather is warm and dry, lives on a vast estate, travels the world, eats rich foods, while I am left to labor to provide him with this wealth at my expense. He takes lunch when he pleases, decides when I get a raise (never), acts as if he is a lord (and in fact he is the modern equivalent), treats me as if I should be seen and not heard. I'm far smarter than he is, but if he says the sky is green, I nod my head and agree, even if my eyes say it's blue.

              I could go on at length with example after example of the inequality in the relationships between owner and worker. Most of the working class spends most of their adult working lives under the watchful dictatorship of the owner class.

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

              by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:54:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It may be reality for some, or even most. (0+ / 0-)

                It isn't the reality for others. I don't think it's true for me, but perhaps it's because I'm privileged. If more people were in a position such as mine, maybe it would no longer be privilege. I think the increasing costs of education are a major barrier to allowing more people to achieve this. Does that necessitate a change from capitalism to socialism? I don't know, but it seems as if things used to be more equitable, and that was also under a capitalist system.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:44:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, the history of capitlaism (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassiodorus

                  is written with the misery of the working class from the very beginning. It has its ups and downs, but for the working class (and thats most people, not just manual laborers) its been mostly exploitation all along. Look at the way the US was founded, when only something like 6% of the population was able to vote in the beginning. Look at the murders of people in the labor movement. Look at the lack of workers rights that still are being fought for.

                  Capitalism is built on exploitation. And if you're doing well, it is coming at the expense of someone else. One person's privilege derives from the lack of privilege of others.

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

                  by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:15:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  We shouldn't institutionalize selfishness (0+ / 0-)

        above other human traits, but should we do that with "sharing", as Cassiodorus has described socialism? I'm wary of viewing selfishness as bad and sharing as good, and therefore valuing sharing more, just as I am opposed to the converse. It seems clear to me that both traits have some value in society.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:35:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if sharing isn't to be the norm (0+ / 0-)

          please don't have any kids. Due to the lack of sharing, the human race may have only one or two hundred years left.

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

          by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:17:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sharing is a norm, but not the only one (0+ / 0-)

            and it never has been, in my estimation, and I don't foresee that it will be.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:22:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sharing is the norm? (0+ / 0-)

              Good to know. Maybe you can get Obama to share some of that power with me. I've got some ideas. But it seems I can't get elected unless I'm rich, like the average member of congress, as well as the executive branch, including the cabinet members.

              No, the wealthy class does a lot of sharing amongst themselves at the expense of the rest of us, but I haven't had any caviar since the days when my extremely wealthy girlfriend of years ago had a birthday party and imported 3,000 per oz caviar from Russia. Amazing shit, it truly is, and I'll likely never have it again, since I turned down her gracious marriage proposal. ;)

              The natural sharing that should take place is outlawed by the ruling class. They get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, get to be bailed out with my tax dollars, and they get to buy seats in congress, but the rest of us are mostly excluded from that club.

              I have not been bailed out by the treasury. I owe student loans and will pay them until my death, and even then I will die owing money.

              So... the only sharing I see is that which occurs among family and friends, but they aren't rich either, because times are tough. Meanwhile, the wealthy class have increased in wealth during the worst economic crisis since the great depression. Economic disparity is greater than it has been for decades.

              I'll take you on a tour of my city and show you the homeless shelters, and the tent cities under bridges, and you can inform them that in our society, there is "mostly sharing".

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

              by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:44:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I said "a norm" (0+ / 0-)

                meaning a social norm, and a normal part of human behavior. I wasn't talking about the president or politicians or the wealthy, specifically. It appears you're taking every comment I make as if it were intended to be a defense of capitalism, which isn't the case.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:50:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Fine... (0+ / 0-)

                  "Norms" can mean anything. Thanks for clarifying.

                  I'm glad you agree sharing is a cultural norm. I would go further and say it is an evolutionary norm.

                  But in capitalist society, sharing is not part of the plan. Competition and mutual struggle, in which the person who beats down the rest gets to sit on top of his mountain of wealth, while employing the rest of us and giving us table scraps, is deliberately built into society.

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

                  by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:55:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I agree about evolution, but (0+ / 0-)

                    I also think competition and selfishness are evolutionary norms. Some people seem to think that capitalism can be modified to incorporate the value of sharing. It's clear that you don't agree with that, and I think I understand why, but I'm not convinced either way.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:59:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Since capitalism is defined (0+ / 0-)

                      by private ownership of the means of production, and is based upon economic warfare (competition in the market place) it is by its very essence based on inequality. Ask any CEO if he makes any decision based on anything except crushing competition in the "free market" in order to increase revenue, morality be damned.

                      Pretty hard to fix that and still keep private ownership. And its next to impossible to change the system when the rich will always have, one way or another, disproportionate access to power, which will always be true in capitalism.

                      Have you ever faced homelessness? Or hunger? Or awful living environments? Or illness without healthcare? No benefits from your lousy job? No?

                      It is a crime for people of means to allow this to exist, but I don't know of many democrats in office losing sleep over this. This is the face of capitalism that all wealthy persons (and their enablers) see when they look into the mirror.

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

                      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:12:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Also, I would appreciate it if you (0+ / 0-)

            didn't personalize comments that way. I'm not talking about whether I personally endorse or engage in sharing. I thought we were talking about the larger society.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:29:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sometimes... (0+ / 0-)

              breaking through the fog of abstraction can make things ever more clear. One way to do that is to use an unconventional manner of speech. I meant what I said: The institutionalized lack of sharing in capitalism is on the brink of causing our demise. And there is no way that isn't personal to me, and to all of us.

              My god... this is extremely personal. It doesn't get more personal.

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

              by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:49:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK, I can see that. (0+ / 0-)

                Comments about whether I may or may not have children push some buttons for me.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:51:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Discussions about... (0+ / 0-)

                  whether I must be a wage slave or not push my buttons, as well.

                  Sorry if I offended you.

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

                  by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:57:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I said nothing about you, personally. (0+ / 0-)

                    The only person I spoke about directly was myself.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:01:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I understand you did not (0+ / 0-)

                      But it is personal to me, as it well should be. It should be personal to any waking human on the planet.

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

                      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:15:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I do think the issues are important. (0+ / 0-)

                        I can't honestly say it's personal, since the issues of homelessness and poverty are not ones that have affected me personally, but that doesn't mean I don't take them seriously. But in addition, recognizing the importance and seriousness of these problems doesn't necessarily imply that I agree about the diagnosis or prescription for solving them, and disagreeing about the solution doesn't imply that the problems aren't important.

                        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:29:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I've noticed (0+ / 0-)

                          that experiencing poverty more directly and personally goes a long way in helping a person to grasp what inequality really means.

                          This is why working people should have the right to self manage their own workplaces and communities: They are the only who are actually, literally, in touch with life on the local level.

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

                          by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:36:39 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Ask them if they grew up in a family. (8+ / 0-)

    Or are they true capitalists and raised themselves.

  •  What does this mean? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck, Simplify

    "Small cottage industries can stay in private hands -- they're owned by the public already."

    •  Private ownership of the means of production (5+ / 0-)

      is when the things everyone uses are produced by industries owned by an elite few -- the owning class.

      "Peasant production" -- when people produce their own stuff -- is perfectly compatible with socialism.

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:09:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about public ownership (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, Cassiodorus

        of just resource extraction? That would put a handy limiting principle on government control of the economy, and it would enact an environmental principle that what nature provides belongs to everyone. Who knows, maybe it could prevent the next BP Macondo well oil disaster.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:37:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sure any limitation upon the owning class (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrJayTee

          would be welcome at this point.  Mostly at this point I'm trying to clear away the standard misconceptions about socialism that occlude public debate about the topic in the US.

          "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

          by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:49:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So once again I struggle with a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        'terms of reference' problem.

        Such as 'the things everyone uses': Not everyone uses many tangible items (sprinkler systems, doorbells, crosscut saws, etc.). Where's the cutoff? Whether you can make it yourself? I'm not being facetious here.

        Similarly, many (perhaps all) use intangible things like ideas, concepts, methods, etc. How does socialism manage these? How does it control implementation of those the consensus doesn't approve?

        There are others, such as if everyone's an owner, there is no ultimate responsibility or accountability. How does socialism apportion these, if at all? I know how Stalin et. al did it, but presumably that's what you are trying to avoid.

        Finally, I note once again that the socialism proponents tend to focus very much on production and its organization, but very seldom on on how socialism would manage pricing, particularly if 'small cottage industries' could under sell publicly-owned entities.

        •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)
          There are others, such as if everyone's an owner, there is no ultimate responsibility or accountability. How does socialism apportion these, if at all?
          A valid concern to be sure.  There are plenty of people working on this, too.  Maybe they can be the subject of another diary.
          Finally, I note once again that the socialism proponents tend to focus very much on production and its organization, but very seldom on on how socialism would manage pricing, particularly if 'small cottage industries' could under sell publicly-owned entities.
          You might be interested in the writings of the proponents of social credit?  I can also recommend Hutchinson, Mellor, and Olsen's book "The Politics of Money."

          "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

          by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:48:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and -- (0+ / 0-)
          Such as 'the things everyone uses': Not everyone uses many tangible items (sprinkler systems, doorbells, crosscut saws, etc.). Where's the cutoff? Whether you can make it yourself? I'm not being facetious here.
          Well okay.  Should we have a system of all peasant producers?  If so, do we do without things such as automobiles, which are typically made in factories?  This is a valid concern, and one which I'm sure can be addressed in honest discussion.

          "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

          by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:55:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In anarchist Spain during... (4+ / 0-)

      the Spanish Civil War, if a small family farm or urban family enterprise did not hire employees, they were in effect already socialist since a family tends to behave as a commune.

      "The idea" (as the anarcho-socialist concept was known in Spain) was to have a society based on free association in the work place, with worker self-management in which all have a voice.

      The family enterprise pretty much meets that requirement.

      Real socialism is liberating, not enslaving. The difference between libertarian socialism and state socialism is just that: Instead of the socialist state becoming your master, people join together in worker collectives and form participatory communities self-managed by general assemblies which form, in turn, local, regional and international federations. It's all bottom up in organization, rather than top down.

      This worked very well in Spain. True socialism is about liberating the working class from wage slavery as well as liberating people from being servants to the owner class. In state socialism the owner class is the state bureaucracy, and one is trading in the capitalist boss for the elite socialist class of the upper echelons (likely a gaggle of Marxist academics who think they're indispensable to the masses for their management abilities -- saying this with tongue in cheek).

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

      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:15:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Time to re-read (0+ / 0-)

        Family, Property and the State.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:01:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By all means... (0+ / 0-)

          do so.

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

          by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:15:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it guards against absurdities, (0+ / 0-)

            such as equating the patriarchical peasant family with a commune.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:36:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That isn't accurate (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus

              But I've debated with you before, and frankly I'm not interested in investing in this little personal feud with me you have going.

              I've read extensively on the anarchist uprising during the Spanish civil war, and while it wasn't uniformly anarchist in all communities, whether industrial or agrarian, it was largely successful. I know that the communist press (especially the Stalinists during the Spanish civil war), as well as the capitalist press during those times, have written slanted histories about the anarchists that you have very likely ingested, but there is another side to the story in several accounts by reliable people who have written about those years.

              Carry on without me. I realize you will respond indefinitely, as is your bent, with some slur of one kind or another, and with more inaccuracies, but as a working stiff I've got to work on this glorious Sunday. Even now I am playing hooky from my obligations. I'll leave you to it.

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

              by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:08:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You mean like Murray Bookchin? (0+ / 0-)

                The Spanish Anarchists is a great read. Much better than Listen Marxist! Then there's The Anarchist Collectives by Sam Dolgoff. A grand old fellow.

                Of course I had the privilege of knowing George Sossenko, a veteran of the Spanish struggle. I attended his memorial two weeks ago. If your Spanish is up to it, you might try his Adventurero Idealista.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:24:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  See, this is my problem. (5+ / 0-)
    Third, each government would set up a scheme for genuinely PUBLIC control over the means of production.
    I don't think the public should have control over the means of production; I think the producers should have control over the means of production. That is, I support worker-owned cooperatives, in which those who do the labor, and who understand what goes into that production, are making the decisions. (In situations where those cooperatives are using publicly-owned resources, like water or fuel, then the public should reap the profit from those resources before any value is added to them by the production process.)

    There can and should be a place for other stakeholders in that decision-making process, but ultimately, I no more like the idea of the public getting to decide what happens in my workplace than I like the idea of a disconnected "owner" getting to decide what happens in my workplace. My fellow workers and I should get to make that decision.

    For me, that notion flows from what I consider to be the fundamental right in a democracy: personal autonomy, the notion that each individual gets to make his or her own decisions, as long as those decisions do not violate the rights of others. Freedom of association flows from that right; if individuals get to make their own decisions, individuals who band together into an organization get to make decisions for their organization, so long as that organization does not violate the rights of any other person.

    It doesn't seem like a large step from deciding that the public gets to start making decisions for an organization of autonomous individuals, to deciding that the public gets to start making decisions for the autonomous individuals themselves. And that would be tyranny.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:07:44 AM PDT

    •  What you're describing... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJayTee

      sounds a lot like anarcho-socialism.

      One point: working for owners is not at all autonomy for the individual. Thus the "freedom" to own the means of production and thus use that ownership to hire employees is just another form of enslaving people, and is not a "freedom" one would have in anarcho-socialism.

      Any so-called freedom that entitles one class to deprive another class of freedom isn't really freedom.

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

      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:41:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Objections to your objections (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen
      I don't think the public should have control over the means of production; I think the producers should have control over the means of production.
      I'm not clear on the conceptual gymnastics wherein the public is not to be synonymous with the working class.  Is there some important reason we must look at the public otherwise?
      It doesn't seem like a large step from deciding that the public gets to start making decisions for an organization of autonomous individuals, to deciding that the public gets to start making decisions for the autonomous individuals themselves.
      1) I'm not clear on how "autonomous" individuals really are.  Pregnant women for instance, or the fetuses within them.  How "autonomous" are they?  Homeless people also.  They're more "autonomous" than the rest of the population under capitalism because they don't have to pay rent or mortgages, but they're easier for the cops to spot if they haven't taken a shower and are committing some egregious "crime" like dumpster diving.  So how autonomous are they?

      2) What counts as a "decision"?  People are going to do what they do, and the point of socialist meetings is so they can self-organize into larger groups and do bigger things.  What "decision" under socialism would constitute "tyranny"?

      3) People worry about "tyranny" under socialism as if the tyranny of the owning class under capitalism weren't enough to worry about already.

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:44:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I took the comment to mean... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        that he didn't want a "public" (one which is above, separate, and apart from the workers in a factory) telling them how to run the factory.

        Generally the workers have a better idea of how to self-manage than a distant "public".

        On the other hand, the people in a community have a right to decide collectively how resources will be used. Hence the need for federations to help facilitate cooperation between worker managed enterprises.  

        My two cents.

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

        by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:03:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "The working class" ≠ individual workplaces (0+ / 0-)
        I'm not clear on the conceptual gymnastics wherein the public is not to be synonymous with the working class.  Is there some important reason we must look at the public otherwise?
        I'm not saying the public is not synonymous with the working class; I'm saying the "working class" is not synonymous with the workers in a particular production organization. Those who are actually working in a given workplace should be making the majority of the decisions (as I mentioned, with other stakeholders being brought into the decision as applicable).

        Why should those whose lives will by far be the most affected by a decision about what happens in the workplace—i.e., the workers—not have the lion's share of the decision-making power? Is a member of the general public really going to lie awake at night if they make my job harder by imposing a ridiculous requirement on it? If they're not affected, they should have no say.

        Also, why should those who are ignorant about what happens in my workplace have an equal voice to those who are knowledgeable about what happens in my workplace—i.e., me and my fellow workers? I don't know anything about how to run a production line at an auto factory; why should my opinion about production lines be equal to that of the worker on that line, who knows a great deal about it?

        I'm not clear on how "autonomous" individuals really are.
        They are autonomous to the extent that they are able to make informed decisions about the conditions of their own lives, insofar as those decisions do not affect the rights of others. The pregnant woman, for example, is autonomous insofar as she has the power to decide whether or when she wants to become pregnant and bear a child. Many homeless people, on the other hand, lack autonomy because they have been denied the ability to make decisions about their life conditions, either because of untreated mental illness or lack of opportunity.

        When a person is denied the ability to make a decision for him- or herself that does not abridge the rights of others, then he or she is oppressed. That is true whether that denial is economic or political, whether it's because of right-wing religious tyrants, the bosses of capitalism setting up systems that create or perpetuate inequality, or "the public" deciding they should get to impose their will on the individual. I think that property translates to the organizations and associations that individuals form.

        In other words, I think "the public" should only control what it owns. Since "the public" owns the natural resources, the public should control and oversee those resources and reap the rewards from those resources. But since "the public" doesn't own individuals, their labor, or the organizations they form, the public should not get to control them, except insofar as those individuals, labors, or organizations affect resources owned by the public.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:08:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  some further thoughts (0+ / 0-)
          Those who are actually working in a given workplace should be making the majority of the decisions (as I mentioned, with other stakeholders being brought into the decision as applicable).
          I'm sure this would happen.  
          In other words, I think "the public" should only control what it owns.
          You may want to work on the exact wording of this one a bit further.  The public already controls what it owns under capitalism, which is damned little.
          But since "the public" doesn't own individuals, their labor, or the organizations they form, the public should not get to control them, except insofar as those individuals, labors, or organizations affect resources owned by the public.
          I'm sure that any successful version of socialism will see to it that there's an ongoing role for direct action -- you don't get much traction when people can't do stuff without asking the group for permission.  When people just act on their own behalf, however, they can't legitimately claim to represent the group in doing so.

          "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

          by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:21:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  De facto isn't enough for me. (0+ / 0-)
            I'm sure this would happen.
            ...until someone convinced enough of the public that it shouldn't happen. What I don't get is why it's any of the public's business in the first place what happens in my workplace, as long as what happens in my workplace isn't affecting the rights of others.

            I'm not interested in the de facto here; if we're really talking about setting up systems, then I don't understand why the system would suggest that the average member of the public, who is generally more ignorant about what goes on in others' workplaces than those who actually work there, and who isn't directly affected by what happens in the workplaces of others, should have an even theoretically equal voice in that workplace with someone who knows the workplace and is directly affected by all decisions made about that workplace.

            Why do you think the public should have any say at all in the workplace, except insofar as the public regulates those resources which are owned by the public?

            You may want to work on the exact wording of this one a bit further.  The public already controls what it owns under capitalism, which is damned little.
            Which is why I think that we need to significantly expand our notion of what is held in common and owned by the common whole, to include natural resources, land, etc. What I don't think is appropriate is to suggest that the public has any right to interfere in the decisions of others, except insofar as those decisions affect either a commonly-held resource or another person's rights.
            When people just act on their own behalf, however, they can't legitimately claim to represent the group in doing so.
            I'm not interested in who can "legitimately claim to represent the group." I'm interested in everyone being able to legitimately claim that they have the power to decide for themselves what path their life will take, and what kind of lifestyle they want.

            The way I see it, there are only a few possible reasons why "the public" could claim that it should have any say at all in the decisions of free associations of individuals. One of these reasons, the one I consider quite legitimate, is that the public should have a say insofar as the decisions of the smaller group directly affect the rights of others, or directly affect something that is owned by the public. The second reason, which I consider illegitimate, is the idea that the public should be able to impose its will by fiat on the smaller group regardless of whether the smaller group's decisions directly affect something that is legitimately in the realm of the public, simply because of some notion of the public (or the "working class" as a whole) as having an inherent sovereignty over all of its members.

            The latter position seems to be what you're suggesting here—and, in my opinion, its being problematic on its own is only secondary to the fact that I don't see any real barriers between imposing the fiat of the sovereign majority on a group, and imposing the fiat of the sovereign majority on individuals.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:05:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There's still the matter of social coordination (0+ / 0-)
              I'm interested in everyone being able to legitimately claim that they have the power to decide for themselves what path their life will take, and what kind of lifestyle they want.
              These days, our lifestyles are contingent upon other people's lifestyles -- consumer lifestyles, for instance, are largely contingent upon access to cheap goods produced by unfree Chinese labor.  How would that change with socialism?

              "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

              by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 07:09:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I would posit that the vast majority of what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, ZhenRen

    humans in civilized societies do is 'against human nature', unless you're specifically defining things as 'natural' for humans that have nothing to do with nature.  From a cynical viewpoint, you could argue that pretty much every 'sin' out there goes right along with 'human nature'.  It's 'natural' for (at least some, and probably most) humans to be greedy, slothful, prideful, lustful, etc, etc, etc.  That suggests that things that are 'part of human nature' are not always good for us either as individuals or as a society.

    So socialism being contrary to human nature strikes me as an extremely weak argument in the first place.

  •  But it's so easily reversed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, ZhenRen

    Ask them if their version of conservatism has ever been implemented, and if it worked.  Be sure that you get their definition of "worked".

    -----
    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:26:24 PM PDT

    •  Well today we have two versions of conservatism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen

      dominating the US political landscape, as I discussed in this diary.  And they're both pretty much blind to the future, despite their obvious successes in electoral politics.

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:33:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Conservatives do seem to not believe in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        cause-and-effect.

        Actually, given their rosy predictions of pretty much every godawful mess they've made -- politically, economically, militarily, diplomatically -- the evidence suggests they believe in the best-case scenario, and have no idea what to do when reality kinda sorta gets in the way of it.

        -----
        Tom Smith Online
        I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

        by filkertom on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:14:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cass... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    I really appreciate this series and the topics you choose. Most peole have no idea what socialism really is, and they ignorantly equate it to the USSR style of "socialism" that is rather misleading, since the Bolsheviks are widely seen to have suppressed real socialism.

    You're delving into the myths that abound about socialism, and that is a highly useful approach.  I have to remember some of the illusions I once had so that I can be tolerant of people still pushing the erroneous capitalist notions that are so prevalent.

    Thanks.

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

    by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:11:24 PM PDT

  •  I think the problem is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    most people don't want the government or the people to own the means of production. Myself included. Regulated capitalism is the only proven system that actually got this world to such a high level of development - high standard of living, high life expectancy, incredibly advanced medicine, science, etc.

    Why would we want to change from what works to something most people don't want, and something that most likely doesn't work?

    This is science fiction for the future, and I hope I never see a future where everything is nationalized and some "people" own my stuff.

    •  Would you care to share with us -- (0+ / 0-)
      I hope I never see a future where everything is nationalized and some "people" own my stuff.
      -- how much of the means of production you own?  Do you own a controlling share of any of the Fortune 500 corporations, for instance?

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:53:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about that (0+ / 0-)

        Those who created the business have the natural right to own it, not anyone else, not some public, not some government. Additionally it only helps that business is be owned and led by those who have a stake in it succeeding really well. Government producing and stifling competition leads to the drab garbage that came out of Soviet Union.

        I know, I know, Soviet Union is not supposed to be an example of Socialism. But Soviet Union is a great example of a government owning the means of production. The stuff that government produced was subpar garbage. From the Clothing to the Cars to the Electronics. Something that would never be on the level of even Walmart Quality. Yes, that's right.

        The people who come up with the idea of how to produce something, should get the chance to produce it and reap the benefits. Otherwise you don't have the incentive to work like a maniac to produce it, and all you get is mediocre garbage. And eventually mediocre garbage falls apart like Soviet Union did.

        •  You mean -- (0+ / 0-)
          Those who created the business have the natural right to own it, not anyone else, not some public, not some government.
          like the working class whose members built the building, staffed the positions, and made the machines which they used to make the products?

          "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

          by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 07:25:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (0+ / 0-)

            I mean the person who had the idea and funded it. If all you had was just workers, they wouldn't know what to build. Sorry, just the facts.

            •  "Workers wouldn't know what to build." (0+ / 0-)

              How condescending, and wrong.

              "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

              by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:08:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The person/people who had the idea is/are not (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus, WB Reeves

              necessarily the same as the person or people who fund it. Usually they are not. Creative people are typically employees of the owners, who are often random stockholders if it's a public company. The initial capitalists are often professional investors, not inventors. Of course, this isn't always the case.

              Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:07:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not necessarily talking about one particular (0+ / 0-)

                idea, or a product. It could be the general thrust of a company which enables people to create and develop. Of course I was simplifying the idea.

                But the evidence of individuals driving a lot of the current technology / industry is all around us. Sure the government should encourage and regulate it, but to take over is absurd, unfair, and well historically bad.

        •  I personally am not persuaded by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WB Reeves

          the idea that there is any sort of "natural right" to own a business. I think that line of thinking is more religious than anything else. Your arguments about the pragmatic benefits are more reasonable, I think, although I think they are a bit simplistic.

          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:04:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The flawed assumption is that since capitalism has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, WB Reeves

    ..."failed", then something else(socialism, communism, fascism, anarchism, libertarianism, etc...) will succeed.

    I think it is just an easy way around reality to believe that changing the system without changing the people in it is going to lead to an improvement over our current situation. You have to either persuade people that your anarchism/socialism is better or you have to force it upon them.

    The Left doesn't want to do sustained coordinated ground-level work over many cycles. How in the world is it going to prevail in revolution? There is still too much focus on D.C. and not who can be organized and mobilized down the street or in the next town over.

    Even assuming that we can predict the outcome of revolution is about as ahistorical as it gets. In fact, it is not at all clear to me who the sides would be in this revolution. The Occupy movement did a fantastic job of raising awareness of inequality, but it failed to cultivate the masses. The 99% are hot homogenous even though the math works in our favor.

    Shorter: Assholes are going to remain assholes no matter the system. Who is going to be in charge of rounding them up and keeping them in line?

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:03:05 PM PDT

    •  But assholishness (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, AaronInSanDiego

      can be substantially reduced if a culture based on mutual aid is emphasized rather than institutionalizing the worst assholish traits.

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

      by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps it could incorporate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        redirecting the impulses that lead to "assholishness" in more beneficial ways.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:58:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism is inherently assholish (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus

          Pretty hard to fix that while still keeping the wage slavery, the debt slavery, the worker exploitation, the inequality, which can't be effectively eliminated without eliminating private ownership of the means of production, the existence of which creates the problem.

          And no, "safety nets" whereby people get a little more cat food per month isn't a fix.

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

          by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:22:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not talking in that comment about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sebastianguy99

            capitalism.

            Although I'm curious why something along the lines of safety nets, but perhaps a more robust welfare state, can't be a fix.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:25:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus

              People are then treated as if begging for something they didn't earn in a welfare state. In my preferred system, everyone has worth, everyone eats, everyone has a job if they can work, everyone is taken care of in old age, everyone gets to go to school all the way through college, and thus no one is demeaned by being "on welfare".

              Cut out all the profiteering and middlemen and corporate parasites and there would be plenty of goods available to accomplish this.

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

              by ZhenRen on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:22:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  When I say welfare state, (0+ / 0-)

                I don't mean the kind of welfare that we have in this country. I don't see why benefits provided by the government have to be seen as demeaning. That's a frame the right seems to push.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:50:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Well you have to start somewhere. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      I like the idea of DailyKos.com as a vehicle for discussing basic orientations to the idea of socialism, conceived as public ownership/ control over the means of production.  I do other stuff elsewhere.

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:23:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While it is true that there are no Socialist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves

    Utopias in the world, there are plenty of countries with a considerable degree of Socialism, with extensive government services, strong labor rights, and social safety nets, and a fair degree of regulation of business. Of course, there have always been Capitalists and Communists attempting to take them down and either privatize or nationalize everything in sight, too. Among other problems. There are also active Democratic Socialist parties in even more countries, usually in competition with Conservative parties of one kind or another.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:21:32 PM PDT

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