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Feb 04 2016

Bernie Sanders Supporters Struggle to Define Socialism

We all know that Bernie Sanders is a socialist because that’s what he has been calling himself for many years. But given the general decay in political awareness, do we know what that means? Sanders’s own supporters don’t seem to:

Here’s a definition of socialism: A system under which you work not for your own benefit or your family’s benefit, but as a cog in a government-dominated machine, so that the wealth you create can be handed over to others by tyrants helped to power by the sort of cretins on display in this video.

On a tip from Eddie_Valiant.



141 Responses to “Bernie Sanders Supporters Struggle to Define Socialism”

  1. AFDQ says:

    Soviet definition of socialism: “from each according to his abilities to each according to his labor contribution”. It was considered a “first phase” of the coming glorious future – communism.
    Of course, because the reward based on “labor” was being determined by government bureaucracy whose goal was to keep everybody equally poor, the “according to his abilities” part became a total joke. So the Soviet socialism ended up as de-incentivized, poor society, similar to two-class feudal societal hierarchy…really glorious future towards which we all are steaming ahead.

  2. AFDQ says:

    Soviet definition of socialism: “from each according to his abilities to each according to his labor contribution”. It was considered a “first phase” of the coming glorious future – communism.
    Of course, because the reward based on “labor” was being determined by government bureaucracy whose goal was to keep everybody equally poor, the “according to his abilities” part became a total joke. So the Soviet socialism ended up as de-incentivized, poor society, similar to two-class feudal societal hierarchy…really glorious future towards which we all are steaming ahead.

  3. Joseph T Major says:

    What I keep on seeing is all these posters about how police and fire departments and roads and the like are “Democratic Socialist’. When I don’t see the ones explaining how Christian living like Jesus requires government poverty and health care programs.

  4. Joseph T Major says:

    What I keep on seeing is all these posters about how police and fire departments and roads and the like are “Democratic Socialist’. When I don’t see the ones explaining how Christian living like Jesus requires government poverty and health care programs.

  5. Eddie_Valiant says:

    Yes, there’s more. It’s one thing when the MRC does these interviews, but to have CNN embarrass their few viewers…well…..

    I propose that anyone starting a sentence with the word “So” be made to clean chewing gum off public sidewalks with a Q-tip. In this video, the tall kid in the blue T-shirt will be cleaning sidewalks.

    https://youtu.be/PJL_FeMdpLw

  6. Eddie_Valiant says:

    Yes, there’s more. It’s one thing when the MRC does these interviews, but to have CNN embarrass their few viewers…well…..

    I propose that anyone starting a sentence with the word “So” be made to clean chewing gum off public sidewalks with a Q-tip. In this video, the tall kid in the blue T-shirt will be cleaning sidewalks.

    https://youtu.be/PJL_FeMdpLw

  7. J.j. Cintia says:

    If you want something for free go out on Garbage Day, but get out early cause the garbage man is up before the crack of dawn. These socialists need someone to pick them up and take them to the trash-heap of history. Maybe, someday archaeologists can find out what is wrong with them.

  8. J.j. Cintia says:

    If you want something for free go out on Garbage Day, but get out early cause the garbage man is up before the crack of dawn. These socialists need someone to pick them up and take them to the trash-heap of history. Maybe, someday archaeologists can find out what is wrong with them.

  9. Torcer says:

    MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal http://louderwithcrowder.com/myth-busted-actually-yes-hitler-was-a-socialist-liberal/ via @scrowder

    MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal
    A favorite tactic employed by leftists is to describe the Nazis as “right wing,” with Adolf Hitler, their leader, as the grand leader of this “right wing” movement. Rewriting history is pretty common for leftists, as their history is littered with injustice (the KKK was founded by Democrats, did you know?). Injustices they claim to fight against today. Awkward.

    Adolf Hitler wasn’t “right wing.” If you take nothing else from this post, just remember Hitler was a socialist. With terrible facial hair. There’s an easy way to remember it, too. NAZI stands for National Socialist German Workers‘ Party. Associate it with blunt mustaches.

    What does National Socialist German Worker’s Party mean? Glad you asked. Is it different from “Democratic socialism”? Only in semantics. A Democracy is mob rule, which is why America is actually a constitutional, representative republic, NOT a democracy. A representative republic protects the minority from the majority, whereas a democracy is the rule of the majority. Leftists get caught up in words, getting tripped up over “National Socialism” as opposed to “Democrat Socialism.” But it’s just that. Semantics. So when Hitler ginned up hatred for the Jews, he could get the mob to agree with him. He could get the mob to believe him. There were no representatives to stop Hitler. He was one man helming the desperation of a majority of people. Spot the difference?

    When we examine Hitler’s Nazi Germany through the lens of history, most, if not all of us, think of the Holocaust. In fact the holocaust might be the only thing we associate with Hitler’s Nazis. We’ve all been told of the Jews being marched off to death camps where they were worked, tortured, then gassed. We’ve also heard of the experiments conducted by Hitler’s Dr. Mengele. All terrible practices which we rightly find horrifying. Unless you’re one of those people who think Planned Parenthood is great.

    What we don’t often hear or learn about is how Hitler ruled the rest of Germany, what his domestic policies were for the German people he didn’t march off to death camps. Hitler’s domestic, socialist policies will be the focus of this post. Trigger warning: they’re eerily similar to what American Democrats tout today. Double trigger warning? He initially had the support of the mob of people. So replace many of Hitler’s policies with something you hear from Bernie Sanders…
    [..]
    Employment for All
    After that depression, Hitler made a huge promise to his people: employment for all. How did he do it?
    http://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/hitler-s-domestic-policies-between-1933-1939-engaged-widespread-popularity-among-german-people-how-far-would-you-agree.html
    So Hitler created jobs…through government. While at the same time, he criticized certain segments of the population, demeaning them, blaming the countries woes upon them. The rich, they just ruin everything. Sound familiar?
    Big Education
    If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch http://louderwithcrowder.com/holocaust-survivor-draws-chilling-similarities-between-nazism-and-obama/
    […]
    The Police State
    If you dared oppose the Nazis or Hitler politically, especially with your words, you better watch out.
    http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007675
    In Conclusion

    Hitler was a horrible human being. But aside from how he treated the Jews, aside from his monstrous ways, his policies were anything but “conservative.” He wanted big government, he wanted big education, he wanted thought control. He hated political dissidents. He loathed free-speech. He feared an armed citizenry.

    So stop saying “Hitler was right-wing.” No, he wasn’t. If anything, he was a full-fledged left-winger. With a horrible mustache.
    http://louderwithcrowder.com/myth-busted-actually-yes-hitler-was-a-socialist-liberal/

  10. Torcer says:

    MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal http://louderwithcrowder.com/myth-busted-actually-yes-hitler-was-a-socialist-liberal/ via @scrowder

    MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal
    A favorite tactic employed by leftists is to describe the Nazis as “right wing,” with Adolf Hitler, their leader, as the grand leader of this “right wing” movement. Rewriting history is pretty common for leftists, as their history is littered with injustice (the KKK was founded by Democrats, did you know?). Injustices they claim to fight against today. Awkward.

    Adolf Hitler wasn’t “right wing.” If you take nothing else from this post, just remember Hitler was a socialist. With terrible facial hair. There’s an easy way to remember it, too. NAZI stands for National Socialist German Workers‘ Party. Associate it with blunt mustaches.

    What does National Socialist German Worker’s Party mean? Glad you asked. Is it different from “Democratic socialism”? Only in semantics. A Democracy is mob rule, which is why America is actually a constitutional, representative republic, NOT a democracy. A representative republic protects the minority from the majority, whereas a democracy is the rule of the majority. Leftists get caught up in words, getting tripped up over “National Socialism” as opposed to “Democrat Socialism.” But it’s just that. Semantics. So when Hitler ginned up hatred for the Jews, he could get the mob to agree with him. He could get the mob to believe him. There were no representatives to stop Hitler. He was one man helming the desperation of a majority of people. Spot the difference?

    When we examine Hitler’s Nazi Germany through the lens of history, most, if not all of us, think of the Holocaust. In fact the holocaust might be the only thing we associate with Hitler’s Nazis. We’ve all been told of the Jews being marched off to death camps where they were worked, tortured, then gassed. We’ve also heard of the experiments conducted by Hitler’s Dr. Mengele. All terrible practices which we rightly find horrifying. Unless you’re one of those people who think Planned Parenthood is great.

    What we don’t often hear or learn about is how Hitler ruled the rest of Germany, what his domestic policies were for the German people he didn’t march off to death camps. Hitler’s domestic, socialist policies will be the focus of this post. Trigger warning: they’re eerily similar to what American Democrats tout today. Double trigger warning? He initially had the support of the mob of people. So replace many of Hitler’s policies with something you hear from Bernie Sanders…
    [..]
    Employment for All
    After that depression, Hitler made a huge promise to his people: employment for all. How did he do it?
    http://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/hitler-s-domestic-policies-between-1933-1939-engaged-widespread-popularity-among-german-people-how-far-would-you-agree.html
    So Hitler created jobs…through government. While at the same time, he criticized certain segments of the population, demeaning them, blaming the countries woes upon them. The rich, they just ruin everything. Sound familiar?
    Big Education
    If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch http://louderwithcrowder.com/holocaust-survivor-draws-chilling-similarities-between-nazism-and-obama/
    […]
    The Police State
    If you dared oppose the Nazis or Hitler politically, especially with your words, you better watch out.
    http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007675
    In Conclusion

    Hitler was a horrible human being. But aside from how he treated the Jews, aside from his monstrous ways, his policies were anything but “conservative.” He wanted big government, he wanted big education, he wanted thought control. He hated political dissidents. He loathed free-speech. He feared an armed citizenry.

    So stop saying “Hitler was right-wing.” No, he wasn’t. If anything, he was a full-fledged left-winger. With a horrible mustache.
    http://louderwithcrowder.com/myth-busted-actually-yes-hitler-was-a-socialist-liberal/

  11. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Hitler and Mussolini were Marxist socialists. Hitler merely replaced class struggle with race struggle. Marx himself was a self-hating Jew; his ‘capitalist’ was a thinly veiled reference to the “evil Jew”.

  12. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Hitler and Mussolini were Marxist socialists. Hitler merely replaced class struggle with race struggle. Marx himself was a self-hating Jew; his ‘capitalist’ was a thinly veiled reference to the “evil Jew”.

  13. Jack Bauer says:

    This just in…….

    In an interview of Sanders supporters this week it was discovered that the overwhelming majority, in addition to the concept of socialism, couldn’t explain the concepts of “self-responsibility” nor “working for a living”. Additionally, a full 65% couldn’t give a correct definition of “personal hygiene” either.

  14. Jack Bauer says:

    This just in…….

    In an interview of Sanders supporters this week it was discovered that the overwhelming majority, in addition to the concept of socialism, couldn’t explain the concepts of “self-responsibility” nor “working for a living”. Additionally, a full 65% couldn’t give a correct definition of “personal hygiene” either.

  15. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Feel the Bernouts.

  16. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Feel the Bernouts.

  17. TED says:

    THE VERY SAME…it’s a wonder they have the IQ enough to BREATHE.

  18. TED says:

    THE VERY SAME…it’s a wonder they have the IQ enough to BREATHE.

  19. jarhead says:

    may God help us all!

  20. Torcer says:

    One only has to look at the political spectrum in terms of Government control – the further Left you go the more there is.

    They may have trifled with the terminology, but it was the same old leftism.

  21. jarhead says:

    may God help us all!

  22. Torcer says:

    One only has to look at the political spectrum in terms of Government control – the further Left you go the more there is.

    They may have trifled with the terminology, but it was the same old leftism.

  23. TED says:

    Bernie is the guy that PREACHES Socialism, CLAIMS to be a SOCIALIST, but the LEFT is STILL trying to figure out if he’s a Socialist…

  24. TED says:

    Bernie is the guy that PREACHES Socialism, CLAIMS to be a SOCIALIST, but the LEFT is STILL trying to figure out if he’s a Socialist…

  25. Mr. Freemarket says:

    Using taxes that I pay to support roads, police, and fire departments isn’t the same as using taxes that I pay to support single mothers or kids sitting in the basement playing computer games.

  26. Mr. Freemarket says:

    Using taxes that I pay to support roads, police, and fire departments isn’t the same as using taxes that I pay to support single mothers or kids sitting in the basement playing computer games.

  27. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Jesse Watters talks to Bernouts. Priceless!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08btFP9sf50

  28. MicahStone says:

    “Bernie Sanders Supporters Struggle to Define Socialism”
    –PERHAPS THIS WILL HELP THEM….

  29. Giorgio Palmas says:

    Jesse Watters talks to Bernouts. Priceless!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08btFP9sf50

  30. MicahStone says:

    “Bernie Sanders Supporters Struggle to Define Socialism”
    –PERHAPS THIS WILL HELP THEM….

  31. MicahStone says:

    Only one way to buy it…

  32. MicahStone says:

    Only one way to buy it…

  33. TED says:

    HOPEFULLY, posting this EVERY DAY will help it to come true!

  34. TED says:

    HOPEFULLY, posting this EVERY DAY will help it to come true!

  35. whotothewhat says:

    Not me! I will be high ranking member of the Proletariat,

    Third Lead Comrade in charge of Technology Aggregation and Disbursement for the Peoples Knowledge Collective District 10. .

    At least till I am sent to the Gulag by Chairmen Sanders for crimes against the peoples, for hording and having illegal capitalist deodorant (Axe Dry) hidden in my storage cubicle located under my People’s Bed 2A.

  36. whotothewhat says:

    Not me! I will be high ranking member of the Proletariat,

    Third Lead Comrade in charge of Technology Aggregation and Disbursement for the Peoples Knowledge Collective District 10. .

    At least till I am sent to the Gulag by Chairmen Sanders for crimes against the peoples, for hording and having illegal capitalist deodorant (Axe Dry) hidden in my storage cubicle located under my People’s Bed 2A.

  37. 762x51 says:

    They will be busy looking for those of us who pose a more direct threat for quite awhile before they get to deodorant searches.

  38. 762x51 says:

    They will be busy looking for those of us who pose a more direct threat for quite awhile before they get to deodorant searches.

  39. 762x51 says:

    Of course Hitlers policies were similar to American Democrats. The modren Democrat Party has been hijacked by Progressives who, in the early 20th century exported their fascistic ideas all over the world. Read the writings of Himmler and Goebbels, American Progressives are who taught the Nazis how to be Nazis. Progressives Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger established death clinics targeted specifically at blacks before Hitler was even a corporal. They were conducting widespread genocide of black babies decades before the Beer Hall Putsch.

    The enemy we face today is not the enemy our fathers and grandfathers faced in the 1940’s, it is the teachers of that enemy. Nazis were the students, Progressives are the masters.

  40. 762x51 says:

    Of course Hitlers policies were similar to American Democrats. The modren Democrat Party has been hijacked by Progressives who, in the early 20th century exported their fascistic ideas all over the world. Read the writings of Himmler and Goebbels, American Progressives are who taught the Nazis how to be Nazis. Progressives Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger established death clinics targeted specifically at blacks before Hitler was even a corporal. They were conducting widespread genocide of black babies decades before the Beer Hall Putsch.

    The enemy we face today is not the enemy our fathers and grandfathers faced in the 1940’s, it is the teachers of that enemy. Nazis were the students, Progressives are the masters.

  41. Torcer says:

    Exactly, the funny thing is that so-called progressives are advocating ideas born in the 1840’s.

  42. Torcer says:

    Exactly, the funny thing is that so-called progressives are advocating ideas born in the 1840’s.

  43. Jacquelinejberger2 says:

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  44. 762x51 says:

    They just repackage the same ideas than have failed every where they have been tried for the last 150 years and sell those ideas to imbeciles. Anyone who wants socialism has never been to a real socialist country, think eastern Europe, Venezuela, etc.

  45. 762x51 says:

    They just repackage the same ideas than have failed every where they have been tried for the last 150 years and sell those ideas to imbeciles. Anyone who wants socialism has never been to a real socialist country, think eastern Europe, Venezuela, etc.

  46. 762x51 says:

    Just like Geroge Soros. Can’t blame them though, both are despicable human beings as are all Marxists.

  47. 762x51 says:

    Just like Geroge Soros. Can’t blame them though, both are despicable human beings as are all Marxists.

  48. 762x51 says:

    Or Abortion or paying illegals to break into America or birth control, or militarized police forces, etc., etc.

  49. 762x51 says:

    Or Abortion or paying illegals to break into America or birth control, or militarized police forces, etc., etc.

  50. 762x51 says:

    It is but the way they manipulate the language is what allows them to sell this steaming pile of deceit to the weak minds.

  51. 762x51 says:

    It is but the way they manipulate the language is what allows them to sell this steaming pile of deceit to the weak minds.

  52. Torcer says:

    Exactly – George Orwell pegged it exactly.

    Example: Fed court rejects Maryland gun reform law http://nydn.us/1nPwehn

    Taking away the people’s civil rights has become..’ reform’

    It’s no longer ‘Gun Confiscation’ but reform…

  53. Torcer says:

    Exactly – George Orwell pegged it exactly.

    Example: Fed court rejects Maryland gun reform law http://nydn.us/1nPwehn

    Taking away the people’s civil rights has become..’ reform’

    It’s no longer ‘Gun Confiscation’ but reform…

  54. Torcer says:

    And what is especially irksome is that those who have repackaged ideas from the 19th century as brand new ‘progress’.

  55. Torcer says:

    And what is especially irksome is that those who have repackaged ideas from the 19th century as brand new ‘progress’.

  56. […] fans of the socialist Bernie Sanders are asked to define socialism, they stutter and drool. When prominent Democrats like Shrillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are […]

  57. […] fans of the socialist Bernie Sanders are asked to define socialism, they stutter and drool. When prominent Democrats like Shrillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are […]

  58. Torcer says:

    What Is Communism?
    The term “communism” originated in France in the 1840’s but it acquired a modern meaning only in 1918 when Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, having seized power in what used to be the Russian empire, named his party Communist.

    Communism is a variant of socialism. But differs from it in this important respect: while socialists believe in democracy and assume that they will come to power democratically and rule democratically, Lenin and his Communist followers did not.

    On one occasion, Lenin frankly defined his government as “power that is limited by nothing, by no laws, that is restrained by absolutely no rules, that rests directly on coercion” — an excellent definition of what later came to be labeled a “totalitarian regime.”

    The Communists, like the socialists and anarchists, assert that their dictatorship is only a temporary regime, established to destroy the propertied classes and the entire socio-political order founded by them. Once the bourgeoisie has been crushed, the state will “wither away” and yield to a free association of communities.

    But this objective has in fact not been achieved by any Communist regime. For one, even after the old propertied classes have been dispossessed, new ones emerge or are ready to emerge to take their place. Secondly, in order to maintain the “proletarian dictatorship” it is necessary to create a privileged caste, called in Russia nomenklatura, that arrogates itself the rights and privileges of the old bourgeoisie.

    As a result, the Communist state everywhere atrophies: it stays in place, unable to change yet unwilling to yield. Examples of such atrophied Communist regimes today are Cuba and North Korea. The Soviet Union, the oldest and largest of these regimes, collapsed only because the ruling elite started making changes that brought the whole edifice down.

    Experience indicates that a Communist regime can dissolve only if its rulers are no longer willing to maintain it. It cannot be dissolved from below.
    http://blog.victimsofcommunism.org/what-is-communism/

  59. Torcer says:

    The Communist Manifesto

  60. Torcer says:

    Communism Killed 94M in 20th Century, Feels Need to Kill Again
    According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautiful entitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000. The 94 million that perished in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe easily (and tragically) trump the 28 million that died under fascist regimes during the same period.

    During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism’s total by only 9 million.
    http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/13/communism-killed-94m-in-20th-century

  61. Torcer says:

    Doug Ross @ Journal: Why Socialism Always Fails http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-socialism-always-fails.html?

    Why Socialism Always Fails
    Socialism is the Big Lie of the last century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.

    In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.

    A pyramid scheme is ultimately unsustainable because it is based on faulty principles. Likewise, collectivism is unsustainable in the long run because it is a flawed theory. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives.

    In a capitalist economy, incentives are of the utmost importance. Market prices, the profit-and-loss system of accounting, and private property rights provide an efficient, interrelated system of incentives to guide and direct economic behavior. Capitalism is based on the theory that incentives matter!

    Under socialism, incentives either play a minimal role or are ignored totally. A centrally planned economy without market prices or profits, where property is owned by the state, is a system without an effective incentive mechanism to direct economic activity. By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail. Socialism is based on the theory that incentives don’t matter!

    In a radio debate several months ago with a Marxist professor from the University of Minnesota, I pointed out the obvious failures of socialism around the world in Cuba, Eastern Europe, and China. At the time of our debate, Haitian refugees were risking their lives trying to get to Florida in homemade boats. Why was it, I asked him, that people were fleeing Haiti and traveling almost 500 miles by ocean to get to the “evil capitalist empire” when they were only 50 miles from the “workers’ paradise” of Cuba?

    The Marxist admitted that many “socialist” countries around the world were failing. However, according to him, the reason for failure is not that socialism is deficient, but that the socialist economies are not practicing “pure” socialism. The perfect version of socialism would work; it is just the imperfect socialism that doesn’t work. Marxists like to compare a theoretically perfect version of socialism with practical, imperfect capitalism which allows them to claim that socialism is superior to capitalism.

    If perfection really were an available option, the choice of economic and political systems would be irrelevant. In a world with perfect beings and infinite abundance, any economic or political system–socialism, capitalism, fascism, or communism–would work perfectly.

    However, the choice of economic and political institutions is crucial in an imperfect universe with imperfect beings and limited resources. In a world of scarcity it is essential for an economic system to be based on a clear incentive structure to promote economic efficiency. The real choice we face is between imperfect capitalism and imperfect socialism. Given that choice, the evidence of history overwhelmingly favors capitalism as the greatest wealth-producing economic system available.

    The strength of capitalism can be attributed to an incentive structure based upon the three Ps: (1) prices determined by market forces, (2) a profit-and-loss system of accounting and (3) private property rights. The failure of socialism can be traced to its neglect of these three incentive-enhancing components.
    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-socialism-always-fails.html

  62. Torcer says:

    “The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy
    without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to
    do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. “ Ronald
    Reagan

  63. Torcer says:

    In certain basic respects – a totalitarian state structure, a single party, a leader, a secret police, a hatred of political, cultural and intellectual freedom – fascism and communism are clearly more like each other than they are like anything in between.
    Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Associate Professor of History at Harvard

    Let’s address the spurious assertion that the Socialist German Workers’ Party were supposedly ‘conservative’ – as absolutely incongruous as that is:

    Nazi
    German Nationalsozialistische [deutsche Arbeiter-Partei] (National Socialist [German Workers’ Party])
    The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition

    right wing: the part of a political group that consists of people who support conservative or traditional ideas and policies : the part of a political group that belongs to or supports the Right
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/right%20wing

    It should obvious that Right=Conservative

    Definition of CONSERVATISM
    1capitalized
    b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conservatism

    So people who claim this need to show where the Socialist German Workers’ Party was calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)

  64. Torcer says:

    “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers(administrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  65. Torcer says:

    The Communist Manifesto after 100 years
    The first theoretical expression of a genuinely socialist position came in Thomas More’s Utopia, written in the early years of the 16th Century — in other words, at the very threshold of what we call the modern period. But Utopia was the work of an individual genius and not the reflection of a social movement. It was not until the English Civil War, in the middle of the 17th Century, that socialism first began to assume the shape of a social movement.

    Gerrard Winstanley (born 1609, died sometime after 1660) was probably the greatest socialist thinker that the English-speaking countries have yet produced, and the Digger movement which he led was certainly the first practical expression of socialism. But it lasted only a very short time, and the same was true of the movement led by Babeuf during the French Revolution a century and a half later. Meanwhile, quite a number of writers had formulated views of a more or less definitely socialist character.

    But it was not until the 19th Century that socialism became an important public issue and socialists began to play a significant role in the political life of the most advanced European countries.

    The Utopian socialists (Owen, Fourier, St. Simon) were key figures in this period of emergence; and the Chartist movement in Britain, which flourished during the late 1880s and early 1840s…
    http://archive.monthlyreview.org/index.php/mr/article/view/MR-001-04-1949-08_2/0

  66. Torcer says:

    “The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public
    debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered
    and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed
    lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of
    living on public assistance.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

  67. Torcer says:

    Socialism
    Socialism, social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members.

    This conviction puts socialism in opposition to capitalism, which is based on private ownership of the means of production and allows individual choices in a free market to determine how goods and services are distributed. Socialists complain that capitalism necessarily leads to unfair and exploitative concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of the relative few who emerge victorious from free-market competition—people who then use their wealth and power to reinforce their dominance in society. Because such people are rich, they may choose where and how to live, and their choices in turn limit the options of the poor. As a result, terms such as individual freedom and equality of opportunity may be meaningful for capitalists but can only ring hollow for working people, who must do the capitalists’ bidding if they are to survive. As socialists see it, true freedom and true equality require social control of the resources that provide the basis for prosperity in any society. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels made this point in Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) when they proclaimed that in a socialist society “the condition for the free development of each is the free development of all.”

    This fundamental conviction nevertheless leaves room for socialists to disagree among themselves with regard to two key points. The first concerns the extent and the kind of property that society should own or control. Some socialists have thought that almost everything except personal items such as clothing should be public property; this is true, for example, of the society envisioned by the English humanist Sir Thomas More in his Utopia (1516). Other socialists, however, have been willing to accept or even welcome private ownership of farms, shops, and other small or medium-sized businesses.

    The second disagreement concerns the way in which society is to exercise its control of property and other resources. In this case the main camps consist of loosely defined groups of centralists and decentralists. On the centralist side are socialists who want to invest public control of property in some central authority, such as the state—or the state under the guidance of a political party, as was the case in the Soviet Union. Those in the decentralist camp believe that decisions about the use of public property and resources should be made at the local, or lowest-possible, level by the people who will be most directly affected by those decisions. This conflict has persisted throughout the history of socialism as a political movement.

    Origins

    The origins of socialism as a political movement lie in the Industrial Revolution. Its intellectual roots, however, reach back almost as far as recorded thought—even as far as Moses, according to one history of the subject. Socialist or communist ideas certainly play an important part in the ideas of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, whose Republic depicts an austere society in which men and women of the “guardian” class share with each other not only their few material goods but also their spouses and children. Early Christian communities also practiced the sharing of goods and labour, a simple form of socialism subsequently followed in certain forms of monasticism. Several monastic orders continue these practices today.

    Christianity and Platonism were combined in More’s Utopia, which apparently recommends communal ownership as a way of controlling the sins of pride, envy, and greed. Land and houses are common property on More’s imaginary island of Utopia, where everyone works for at least two years on the communal farms and people change houses every 10 years so that no one develops pride of possession. Money has been abolished, and people are free to take what they need from common storehouses. All the Utopians live simply, moreover, so that they are able to meet their needs with only a few hours of work a day, leaving the rest for leisure.

    More’s Utopia is not so much a blueprint for a socialist society as it is a commentary on the failings he perceived in the supposedly Christian societies of his day. Religious and political turmoil, however, soon inspired others to try to put utopian ideas into practice. Common ownership was one of the aims of the brief Anabaptist regime in the Westphalian city of Münster during the Protestant Reformation, and several communist or socialist sects sprang up in England in the wake of the Civil Wars (1642–51). Chief among them was the Diggers, whose members claimed that God had created the world for people to share, not to divide and exploit for private profit. When they acted on this belief by digging and planting on land that was not legally theirs, they ran afoul of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate, which forcibly disbanded them.

    Whether utopian or practical, these early visions of socialism were largely agrarian. This remained true as late as the French Revolution, when the journalist François-Noël Babeuf and other radicals complained that the Revolution had failed to fulfill the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Adherence to “the precious principle of equality,” Babeuf argued, requires the abolition of private property and common enjoyment of the land and its fruits. Such beliefs led to his execution for conspiring to overthrow the government. The publicity that followed his trial and death, however, made him a hero to many in the 19th century who reacted against the emergence of industrial capitalism.

    Utopian socialism

    Conservatives who saw the settled life of agricultural society disrupted by the insistent demands of industrialism were as likely as their radical counterparts to be outraged by the self-interested competition of capitalists and the squalor of industrial cities. The radicals distinguished themselves, however, by their commitment to equality and their willingness to envision a future in which industrial power and capitalism were divorced. To their moral outrage at the conditions that were reducing many workers to pauperism, the radical critics of industrial capitalism added a faith in the power of people to put science and an understanding of history to work in the creation of a new and glorious society. The term socialist came into use about 1830 to describe these radicals, some of the most important of whom subsequently acquired the title of “utopian” socialists.

    One of the first utopian socialists was the French aristocrat Claude-Henri de Saint-Simon. Saint-Simon did not call for public ownership of productive property, but he did advocate public control of property through central planning, in which scientists, industrialists, and engineers would anticipate social needs and direct the energies of society to meet them. Such a system would be more efficient than capitalism, according to Saint-Simon, and it even has the endorsement of history itself. Saint-Simon believed that history moves through a series of stages, each of which is marked by a particular arrangement of social classes and a set of dominant beliefs. Thus, feudalism, with its landed nobility and monotheistic religion, was giving way to industrialism, a complex form of society characterized by its reliance on science, reason, and the division of labour. In such circumstances, Saint-Simon argued, it makes sense to put the economic arrangements of society in the hands of its most knowledgeable and productive members, so that they may direct economic production for the benefit of all.

    Another early socialist, Robert Owen, was himself an industrialist. Owen first attracted attention by operating textile mills in New Lanark, Scot., that were both highly profitable and, by the standards of the day, remarkably humane: no children under age 10 were employed. Owen’s fundamental belief was that human nature is not fixed but formed. If people are selfish, depraved, or vicious, it is because social conditions have made them so. Change the conditions, he argued, and people will change; teach them to live and work together in harmony, and they will do so. Thus, Owen set out in 1825 to establish a model of social organization, New Harmony, on land he had purchased in the U.S. state of Indiana. This was to be a self-sufficient, cooperative community in which property was commonly owned. New Harmony failed within a few years, taking most of Owen’s fortune with it, but he soon turned his attention to other efforts to promote social cooperation—trade unions and cooperative businesses, in particular.

    Similar themes mark the writings of François-Marie-Charles Fourier, a French clerk whose imagination, if not his fortune, was as extravagant as Owen’s. Modern society breeds selfishness, deception, and other evils, Fourier charged, because institutions such as marriage, the male-dominated family, and the competitive market confine people to repetitive labour or a limited role in life and thus frustrate the need for variety. By setting people at odds with each other in the competition for profits, moreover, the market in particular frustrates the desire for harmony. Accordingly, Fourier envisioned a form of society that would be more in keeping with human needs and desires. Such a “phalanstery,” as he called it, would be a largely self-sufficient community of about 1,600 people organized according to the principle of “attractive labour,” which holds that people will work voluntarily and happily if their work engages their talents and interests. All tasks become tiresome at some point, however, so each member of the phalanstery would have several occupations, moving from one to another as his interest waned and waxed. Fourier left room for private investment in his utopian community, but every member was to share in ownership, and inequality of wealth, though permitted, was to be limited.

    The ideas of common ownership, equality, and a simple life were taken up in the visionary novel Voyage en Icarie (1840; Travels in Icaria), by the French socialist Étienne Cabet. Icaria was to be a self-sufficient community, combining industry with farming, of about one million people. In practice, however, the Icaria that Cabet founded in Illinois in the 1850s was about the size of a Fourierist phalanstery, and dissension among the Icarians prompted Cabet to depart in 1856.

    Other early socialists

    Other socialists in France began to agitate and organize in the 1830s and ’40s; they included Louis Blanc, Louis-Auguste Blanqui, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Blanc, the author of L’Organisation du travail (1839; The Organization of Labour), promoted a scheme of state-financed but worker-controlled “social workshops” that would guarantee work for everyone and lead gradually to a socialist society. Blanqui, by contrast, was a revolutionary who spent more than 33 years in prison for his insurrectionary activities. Socialism cannot be achieved without the conquest of state power, he argued, and this conquest must be the work of a small group of conspirators. Once in power, the revolutionaries would form a temporary dictatorship that would confiscate the property of the wealthy and establish state control of major industries.

    In Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (1840; What Is Property?), Proudhon memorably declared, “Property is theft!” This assertion was not quite as bold as it appears, however, since Proudhon had in mind not property in general but property that is worked by anyone other than its owner. In contrast to a society dominated by capitalists and absentee landlords, Proudhon’s ideal was a society in which everyone had an equal claim, either alone or as part of a small cooperative, to possess and use land and other resources as needed to make a living. Such a society would operate on the principle of mutualism, according to which individuals and groups would exchange products with one another on the basis of mutually satisfactory contracts. All this would be accomplished, ideally, without the interference of the state, for Proudhon was an anarchist who regarded the state as an essentially coercive institution. Yet his anarchism did not prevent him from urging Napoleon III to make free bank credit available to workers for the establishment of mutualist cooperatives—a proposal the emperor declined to adopt.

    Marxian socialism
    Despite their imagination and dedication to the cause of the workers, none of the early socialists met with the full approval of Karl Marx, who is unquestionably the most important theorist of socialism. In fact, Marx and his longtime friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels were largely responsible for attaching the label “utopian,” which they intended to be derogatory, to Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Owen, whose “fantastic pictures of future society” they contrasted to their own “scientific” approach to socialism. The path to socialism proceeds not through the establishment of model communities that set examples of harmonious cooperation to the world, according to Marx and Engels, but through the clash of social classes. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” they proclaimed in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. A scientific understanding of history shows that these struggles will culminate in the triumph of the working class and the establishment of socialism.

    According to Engels, the basic elements of Marx’s theory are to be found in German philosophy, French socialism, and British economics. Of these, German philosophy was surely the formative influence on Marx’s thinking. Born in Trier in the German Rhineland, Marx was a philosophy student at the University of Berlin when the idealism of G.W.F. Hegel dominated German philosophy. Hegel maintained that history is the story of the unfolding or realization of “spirit”—a process that requires struggle, agony, and the overcoming of obstacles to the attainment of self-knowledge. Just as individual persons cannot realize their potential—especially the potential for freedom—if they remain forever in a childish or adolescent condition, so spirit must develop throughout history in a dialectical fashion. That is, individuals and even nations are characters in a drama that proceeds through the clash of opposing ideas and interests to a greater self-awareness and appreciation of freedom. Slavery, for example, was long taken for granted as a natural and acceptable practice, but the slave’s struggle to be recognized as a person was bringing an end to slavery as master and slave came to recognize their common humanity—and thus to liberate themselves, and spirit, from a false sense of the master’s superiority.

    Like Hegel, Marx understood history as the story of human labour and struggle. However, whereas for Hegel history was the story of spirit’s self-realization through human conflict, for Marx it was the story of struggles between classes over material or economic interests and resources. In place of Hegel’s philosophical idealism, in other words, Marx developed a materialist or economic theory of history. Before people can do anything else, he held, they must first produce what they need to survive, which is to say that they are subject to necessity. Freedom for Marx is largely a matter of overcoming necessity. Necessity compels people to labour so that they may survive, and only those who are free from this compulsion will be free to develop their talents and potential. This is why, throughout history, freedom has usually been restricted to members of the ruling class, who use their control of the land and other means of production to exploit the labour of the poor and subservient. The masters in slaveholding societies, the landowning aristocracy in feudal times, and the bourgeoisie who control the wealth in capitalist societies have all enjoyed various degrees of freedom, but they have done so at the expense of the slaves, serfs, and industrial workers, or proletarians, who have provided the necessary labour.

    For Marx, capitalism is both a progressive force in history and an exploitative system that alienates capitalists and workers alike from their true humanity. It is progressive because it has made possible the industrial transformation of the world, thereby unleashing the productive power to free everyone from necessity. Yet it is exploitative in that capitalism condemns the proletarians, who own nothing but their labour power, to lives of grinding labour while enabling the capitalists to reap the profits. This is a volatile situation, according to Marx, and its inevitable result will be a war that will end all class divisions. Under the pressure of depressions, recessions, and competition for jobs, the workers will become conscious that they form a class, the proletariat, that is oppressed and exploited by their class enemy, the bourgeoisie. Armed with this awareness, they will overthrow the bourgeoisie in a series of spontaneous uprisings, seizing control of factories, mines, railroads, and other means of production, until they have gained control of the government and converted it into a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. Under socialism or communism—Marx and Engels drew no clear or consistent distinction between the two—government itself will eventually wither away as people gradually lose the selfish attitudes inculcated by private ownership of the means of production. Freed from necessity and exploitation, people will finally live in a true community that gives “each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions.”

    Marx maintained that the revolution by which socialism would be achieved was ordained by the logic of capitalism itself, as the capitalists’ competition for profits led them to create their own “grave diggers” in the proletariat. Even the role of the revolutionary, such as Marx, was confined to that of “midwife,” for revolutionaries could do no more than speed along the inevitable revolution and ease its birth pangs.

    This, at least, was Marx’s more or less “official” doctrine. In his writings and political activities, however, he added several qualifications. He acknowledged, for example, that socialism might supplant capitalism peacefully in England, the United States, and other countries where the proletariat was gaining the franchise; he also said that it might be possible for a semifeudal country such as Russia to become socialist without first passing through capitalist industrialism. Moreover, Marx played an important part in the International Working Men’s Association, or First International, formed in 1864 by a group of labour leaders who were neither exclusively revolutionary nor even entirely committed to socialism. In short, Marx was not the inflexible economic determinist he is sometimes taken to be. But he was convinced that history was on the side of socialism and that the equal development of all people to be achieved under socialism would be the fulfillment of history.

    Socialism after Marx
    By the time of Marx’s death in 1883, many socialists had begun to call themselves “Marxists.” His influence was particularly strong within the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), which was formed in 1875 by the merger of a Marxist party and a party created by Marx’s German rival, Ferdinand Lassalle. According to Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme (1891), Lassalle had “conceived the workers’ movement from the narrowest national standpoint”; that is, Lassalle had concentrated on converting Germany to socialism, whereas Marx thought that socialism had to be an international movement. Even worse, Lassalle and his followers had sought to gain control of the state through elections in hopes of using “state aid” to establish producers’ cooperatives. Marx’s belief in the revolutionary transformation of society soon prevailed in the SPD, but his controversy with Lassalle and the Lassalleans testifies to the existence of other important currents in socialist thought in the late 19th century.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/socialism

  68. Torcer says:

    Socialism
    Origins
    The origins of socialism as a political movement lie in the Industrial Revolution. Its intellectual roots, however, reach back almost as far as recorded thought—even as far as Moses, according to one history of the subject. Socialist or communist ideas certainly play an important part in the ideas of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, whose Republic depicts an austere society in which men and women of the “guardian” class share with each other not only their few material goods but also their spouses and children. Early Christian communities also practiced the sharing of goods and labour, a simple form of socialism subsequently followed in certain forms of monasticism. Several monastic orders continue these practices today.

    Christianity and Platonism were combined in More’s Utopia, which apparently recommends communal ownership as a way of controlling the sins of pride, envy, and greed. Land and houses are common property on More’s imaginary island of Utopia, where everyone works for at least two years on the communal farms and people change houses every 10 years so that no one develops pride of possession. Money has been abolished, and people are free to take what they need from common storehouses. All the Utopians live simply, moreover, so that they are able to meet their needs with only a few hours of work a day, leaving the rest for leisure.

    More’s Utopia is not so much a blueprint for a socialist society as it is a commentary on the failings he perceived in the supposedly Christian societies of his day. Religious and political turmoil, however, soon inspired others to try to put utopian ideas into practice. Common ownership was one of the aims of the brief Anabaptist regime in the Westphalian city of Münster during the Protestant Reformation, and several communist or socialist sects sprang up in England in the wake of the Civil Wars (1642–51). Chief among them was the Diggers, whose members claimed that God had created the world for people to share, not to divide and exploit for private profit. When they acted on this belief by digging and planting on land that was not legally theirs, they ran afoul of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate, which forcibly disbanded them.

    Whether utopian or practical, these early visions of socialism were largely agrarian. This remained true as late as the French Revolution, when the journalist François-Noël Babeuf and other radicals complained that the Revolution had failed to fulfill the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
    Utopian socialism

    To their moral outrage at the conditions that were reducing many workers to pauperism, the radical critics of industrial capitalism added a faith in the power of people to put science and an understanding of history to work in the creation of a new and glorious society. The term socialist came into use about 1830 to describe these radicals, some of the most important of whom subsequently acquired the title of “utopian” socialists.

    One of the first utopian socialists was the French aristocrat Claude-Henri de Saint-Simon. Saint-Simon did not call for public ownership of productive property, but he did advocate public control of property through central planning, in which scientists, industrialists, and engineers would anticipate social needs and direct the energies of society to meet them.

    Another early socialist, Robert Owen, was himself an industrialist. Owen first attracted attention by operating textile mills in New Lanark, Scot., that were both highly profitable and, by the standards of the day, remarkably humane: no children under age 10 were employed. Owen’s fundamental belief was that human nature is not fixed but formed.
    Thus, Owen set out in 1825 to establish a model of social organization, New Harmony, on land he had purchased in the U.S. state of Indiana. This was to be a self-sufficient, cooperative community in which property was commonly owned. New Harmony failed within a few years, taking most of Owen’s fortune with it, but he soon turned his attention to other efforts to promote social cooperation—trade unions and cooperative businesses, in particular.

    Similar themes mark the writings of François-Marie-Charles Fourier, a French clerk whose imagination, if not his fortune, was as extravagant as Owen’s. Modern society breeds selfishness, deception, and other evils, Fourier charged, because institutions such as marriage, the male-dominated family, and the competitive market confine people to repetitive labour or a limited role in life and thus frustrate the need for variety. By setting people at odds with each other in the competition for profits, moreover, the market in particular frustrates the desire for harmony. Accordingly, Fourier envisioned a form of society that would be more in keeping with human needs and desires. Such a “phalanstery,” as he called it, would be a largely self-sufficient community of about 1,600 people organized according to the principle of “attractive labour,” which holds that people will work voluntarily and happily if their work engages their talents and interests. All tasks become tiresome at some point, however, so each member of the phalanstery would have several occupations, moving from one to another as his interest waned and waxed. Fourier left room for private investment in his utopian community, but every member was to share in ownership, and inequality of wealth, though permitted, was to be limited.

    The ideas of common ownership, equality, and a simple life were taken up in the visionary novel Voyage en Icarie (1840; Travels in Icaria), by the French socialist Étienne Cabet. Icaria was to be a self-sufficient community, combining industry with farming, of about one million people. In practice, however, the Icaria that Cabet founded in Illinois in the 1850s was about the size of a Fourierist phalanstery, and dissension among the Icarians prompted Cabet to depart in 1856.

    Other early socialists

    Other socialists in France began to agitate and organize in the 1830s and ’40s; they included Louis Blanc, Louis-Auguste Blanqui, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Blanc, the author of L’Organisation du travail (1839; The Organization of Labour), promoted a scheme of state-financed but worker-controlled “social workshops” that would guarantee work for everyone and lead gradually to a socialist society. Blanqui, by contrast, was a revolutionary who spent more than 33 years in prison for his insurrectionary activities. Socialism cannot be achieved without the conquest of state power, he argued, and this conquest must be the work of a small group of conspirators. Once in power, the revolutionaries would form a temporary dictatorship that would confiscate the property of the wealthy and establish state control of major industries.

    In Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (1840; What Is Property?), Proudhon memorably declared, “Property is theft!” This assertion was not quite as bold as it appears, however, since Proudhon had in mind not property in general but property that is worked by anyone other than its owner. In contrast to a society dominated by capitalists and absentee landlords, Proudhon’s ideal was a society in which everyone had an equal claim, either alone or as part of a small cooperative, to possess and use land and other resources as needed to make a living. Such a society would operate on the principle of mutualism, according to which individuals and groups would exchange products with one another on the basis of mutually satisfactory contracts. All this would be accomplished, ideally, without the interference of the state, for Proudhon was an anarchist who regarded the state as an essentially coercive institution. Yet his anarchism did not prevent him from urging Napoleon III to make free bank credit available to workers for the establishment of mutualist cooperatives—a proposal the emperor declined to adopt.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/socialism

  69. Torcer says:

    Thomas More Biography
    Philosopher, Journalist, Saint, Lawyer (1478–1535)
    Thomas More is known for his 1516 book Utopia and for his untimely death in 1535, after refusing to acknowledge King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. He was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint in 1935.

    Synopsis

    Thomas More wrote Utopia in 1516, which was the forerunner of the utopian literary genre.

    More is noted for coining the word “Utopia,” in reference to an ideal political system in which policies are governed by reason. He was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint in 1935, and has been commemorated by the Church of England as a “Reformation martyr.”

    ‘Utopia’

    In 1516, More published Utopia, a work of fiction primarily depicting a pagan and communist island on which social and political customs are entirely governed by reason. The description of the island of Utopia comes from a mysterious traveler to support his position that communism is the only cure for the egoism found in both private and public life—a direct jab at Christian Europe, which was seen by More as divided by self-interest and greed.

    Utopia covered such far-reaching topics as theories of punishment, state-controlled education, multi-religion societies, divorce, euthanasia and women’s rights, and the resulting display of learning and skill established More as a foremost humanist. Utopia also became the forerunner of a new literary genre: the utopian romance.
    http://www.biography.com/people/thomas-more-9414278#the-legal-profession-and-the-monastery

  70. Torcer says:

    Digger
    English agrarian movement
    Digger, any of a group of agrarian communists who flourished in England in 1649–50 and were led by Gerrard Winstanley and William Everard.
    In April 1649 about 20 poor men assembled at St. George’s Hill, Surrey, and began to cultivate the common land. These Diggers held that the English Civil Wars had been fought against the king and the great landowners; now that Charles I had been executed, land should be made available for the very poor to cultivate. (Food prices had reached record heights in the late 1640s.) The numbers of the Diggers more than doubled during 1649. Their activities alarmed the Commonwealth government and roused the hostility of local landowners, who were rival claimants to the common lands. The Diggers were harassed by legal actions and mob violence, and by the end of March 1650 their colony was dispersed. The Diggers themselves abjured the use of force. The Diggers also called themselves True Levelers, but their communism was denounced by the leaders of the Levelers.
    https://www.britannica.com/event/Digger

  71. Torcer says:

    Utopia
    [yoo-toh-pee-uh]
    noun
    1.
    an imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.
    2.
    (usually lowercase) an ideal place or state.
    3.
    (usually lowercase) any visionary system of political or social perfection.
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/utopia?

  72. Torcer says:

    How do communists differ from socialists?
    [ Democratic Socialists: ]

    Finally, the third category consists of democratic socialists who favor some of the same measures the communists advocate, as described in Question 18, not as part of the transition to communism, however, but as measures which they believe will be sufficient to abolish the misery and evils of present-day society.

    These democratic socialists are either proletarians who are not yet sufficiently clear about the conditions of the liberation of their class, or they are representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, a class which, prior to the achievement of democracy and the socialist measures to which it gives rise, has many interests in common with the proletariat.

    It follows that, in moments of action, the communists will have to come to an understanding with these democratic socialists, and in general to follow as far as possible a common policy with them – provided that these socialists do not enter into the service of the ruling bourgeoisie and attack the communists.

    It is clear that this form of co-operation in action does not exclude the discussion of differences.
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htm

  73. Torcer says:

    ……………….

    Digger
    English agrarian movement
    Digger, any of a group of agrarian communists who flourished in England in 1649–50 and were led by Gerrard Winstanley and William Everard.
    In April 1649 about 20 poor men assembled at St. George’s Hill, Surrey, and began to cultivate the common land. These Diggers held that the English Civil Wars had been fought against the king and the great landowners; now that Charles I had been executed, land should be made available for the very poor to cultivate. (Food prices had reached record heights in the late 1640s.) The numbers of the Diggers more than doubled during 1649. Their activities alarmed the Commonwealth government and roused the hostility of local landowners, who were rival claimants to the common lands. The Diggers were harassed by legal actions and mob violence, and by the end of March 1650 their colony was dispersed. The Diggers themselves abjured the use of force. The Diggers also called themselves True Levelers, but their communism was denounced by the leaders of the Levelers.
    https://www.britannica.com/event/Digger

  74. Torcer says:

    1966, 1917, and 1818:
    ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’
    by Bernard D’Mello

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia. And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries. The three anniversaries will doubtless be occasions when, illuminated by their vision of a decent human society, the works of Marx and his close comrade and friend Friedrich Engels will be re-interrogated. Surely questions will be asked as to why subsequent socialist revolutionaries inspired by that vision — most of all, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades in Russia, and Mao Zedong and his close comrades in China — despite their best efforts, could not lay the basis for a socialist society — a society of equality, cooperation, community and solidarity.1

    ‘Bombard the Headquarters’

    The March 1966 issue of Red Flag, the theoretical political journal of the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried an article on “The Great Lessons of the Paris Commune” of 1871, explaining how one can learn from the communards as to how to prevent the party-state bureaucracy from repudiating their assigned role of “serving the people” and instead becoming the masters of the people. This theme of the Paris Commune was picked up and communicated on 25 May with a big character poster (BCP) from Beijing University that boldly declared the need for a “Chinese Paris Commune,” the significance of which, the poster claimed, “surpasses” that of the original Paris Commune. Indeed, this BCP won Mao’s applause, and on 5 August, he released his own BCP, titled “Bombard the Headquarters.” Then, three days later, on 8 August, the Central Committee of the CCP adopted a “Decision . . . Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which, in its view, was “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution,” “to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” The Cultural Revolution also intended to “transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base.”

    Indeed, if one goes by this Central Committee decision, which came to be known as “the 16 points,” there was an expression of the intention “to institute a system of general elections [my emphasis], like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary congresses,” which were to be “permanent, standing mass organisations.” Indeed, the Central Committee even intended to give the people the right to recall, a principle of the Paris Commune. The “boldly aroused masses” that it hailed were, of course, the student-intellectual Red Guards and the workers. The workers very soon rose up in early 1967 in China’s main industrial-heartland city, Shanghai, in what came to be known as the “January Storm,” which overthrew the Shanghai municipal government, and, on 5 February at a million-strong rally, proclaimed the formation of the “Shanghai Commune.” Here was the first time that a post-revolutionary society was seriously confronting bureaucratism and elitism, or, at least, initiating radical trial runs in direct democracy to find a viable solution to these problems.2

    Sadly, though, this time Mao did not applaud. Indeed, he summoned the main leaders of the Shanghai Commune, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, to Beijing, called them “anarchists,” and ordered them to disband the commune. Tragically, all the other Paris-type communes in the making also met with premature extinction. Mao’s alternative to the commune was the tripartite “revolutionary committee,” composed of unelected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel, CCP cadres, and representatives of the “revolutionary masses.” Those who held on steadfastly to the Paris Commune-like original ways of the Cultural Revolution were now deprecated and dismissed as the “ultra-left,” to be dealt with harshly by PLA personnel in alliance with rival Red Guard groups.

    Clearly, the fresh shoots of radical democracy were nipped in the bud, and as for those “communards” who persisted, worse was in store. The so-called ultra-left’s time was up. Unprincipled factional strife, excessive violence, personal tragedies, a lot of ugly features, and the cult of “Mao’s thought” — this last being ridiculous and harmful to scientific temper — had muddied the waters. Of course, the context was that of a protracted political struggle between the “capitalist roaders,” headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, and the “proletarian roaders” headed by Mao. But, even as Mao seemed to be in the lead politically, the Liu-Deng faction dominated organisationally, and tactically it even paid lip service to Mao’s thought and ideals. Very soon, the struggle was no longer about what it was meant to be: the student-intellectual Red Guards and workers (both guided by Maoist intellectuals) taking on the elites of the party, the state, and the PLA. The Maoist principles of handling contradictions among the people and those of the “mass line” (the leadership norm, “from the masses, to the masses”) went for a toss.

    Had the voyage through the rough and stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution brought the vessel of the party-state perilously close to shipwreck? Mao retreated. At the Party Congress in April 1969, he justified the pulling back from the Paris Commune-inspired agenda he had himself applauded and decided upon in the 8 August 1966 Central Committee meeting. The Cultural Revolution, in its original form, was over, but Mao promised that the future would bring more cultural revolutions. He probably did not think a “People’s Commune of China” with a commune state was, theoretically and practically, a coherent proposition. So, the powerful and privileged stratum that had emerged in the party, the government, the PLA, the enterprises, the communes, and the educational system, which had developed a stake in maintaining its favoured position and passing it on to its progeny, won the day. But, some of the measures taken to reduce the differences arising from the division of labour between city and countryside, manual and intellectual labour, and management and employees were persisted with, until, of course, the capitalist roaders decisively took over and stymied them.

    Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution’s central idea that political, managerial, and bureaucratic power-holders entrench themselves as a ruling elite and, over a period of time, assume the position of a ruling class, and that the people have to be constantly mobilised to struggle against this tendency should never be forgotten. Even otherwise, and more generally, given the existence of class, patriarchy, racism and caste over millennia, power and compulsion are deeply rooted in social reality. Indeed, they have almost become a part of the basic inherited (but not unchangeable) “human condition,” which leads one to make a very strong case for civil liberties and democratic rights (gained through historic struggles waged by the underdogs) that should not be allowed to be abrogated, come what may.

    At this point, I need to mention that part of the problem faced by the Chinese Maoists existed because the earlier New Democratic Revolution had failed to dismantle the central bureaucratic state. This state had been inherited from Chinese history and had thrived under Chiang Kaishek, whose hierarchical apparatus — administered from the top down and predicated on separation from the people — was taken apart but reconstructed in another bureaucratic form after 1949. Like in any other central bureaucratic state, conformity and loyalty brought promotions, personal well-being, power, prestige and privileges. Even the Cultural Revolution with its attacks on Confucian culture had failed to usher in a modern state, let alone one that could have been a democratic role model as far as the Chinese people were concerned. The earlier agrarian revolution demolished merely the local institutions of semi-feudalism without doing away with the central bureaucratic state, leaving the consolidation of power by the forces of New Democracy incomplete.

    ‘All Power to the Soviets’?

    What about the 1917 revolutions? In the first, the February Revolution, the popular masses overthrew the monarchy and its totalitarian regime, and allowed liberals representing the capitalists and the nobility to form a Provisional Government. The second, the October Revolution, came on the anvil when the workers and soldiers (the latter, mainly peasants) were convinced that their February demands of a democratic republic, radical agrarian reform, renunciation of Russia’s imperialist war aims, taking the country out of World War I, and an eight-hour workday will not see the light of day with the propertied classes in power. In the face of growing counter-revolutionary manoeuvring by those classes, the workers and peasant-soldiers demanded a transfer of power to a government of the Soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies who were elected in the course of the February Revolution. It was the Bolsheviks who, from April-end onwards, repeatedly called for and worked towards the replacement of the Provisional Government with Soviet power, which turned them into a major force that was able to lead the masses to victory in October (November by the Western Julian calendar).

    The “Transition Period” (the period between the political overthrow of capitalism and the consolidation of socialism) that followed was a very difficult one: bloody civil war over four years, imperialist blockades and interventions, massive United States, British, and French military aid to the White armies up to late 1919, lack of food, complete disarray, the workers scattered and decimated. In the face of such circumstances, the Bolsheviks adopted emergency measures — political repression, complete suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights, centralisation and monopoly of power, reliance on the conservative bureaucracy and specialists of the old regime, Taylorism and one-man management of the enterprises — that turned the commune state with the Soviets of 1917 into an authoritarian party-state (dictatorship of the party and the state over the whole people) in late 1918.

    Rosa Luxemburg in Germany, though enthusiastically supportive of October, was among the first of the revolutionary socialists to write that the Russian Revolution — in its suppression of what should have been a democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned — would not lead to socialism. But, she still hoped that October would help ignite social revolutions in the developed capitalist nations, especially in Germany, though tragically, these revolutions were nipped in the bud, leaving the Russian Revolution desperately isolated in an impoverished, war-ridden country. Lenin, in his last writings — he died in 1924, seven years after October — expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people.

    A cultural revolution, so that ultimately an educated, cultured, and enlightened working class might democratically take control of the intended workers’ state? But, this was not to be. The year 1921 had already witnessed the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion and the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party; 1927, the defeat of the left opposition; 1929-30, the forced collectivisation that broke the worker-peasant alliance; and the 1930s saw political trials and purges, especially the Great Purge of 1937-38 — all of which paved the way for the defeat of the socialist project.

    At this point, I think I need to add something. Bourgeois revolutions are, comparatively speaking, less difficult compared to socialist revolutions. The former simply put in place a capitalist “superstructure” — institutions of the capitalist state, law, education, culture and ideology — to match an already existing capitalist economic base. Moreover, the original (“primitive”) accumulation of capital has already taken place. The socialist revolution, in sharp contrast, not only has to dismantle the capitalist superstructure and put in place a socialist superstructure, but it has no prior developing socialist economic base already in place, and therefore has to create this too, de novo. All this makes the transition period in the aftermath of the seizure of power more complex and difficult to successfully carry through.

    Moreover, in Russia, the February Revolution was not followed by the institutionalisation of a capitalist superstructure, for it was rapidly surpassed by October. The subsequent immediate superstructure of the transition period was, thus, not a capitalist-socialist hybrid, with the former being rapidly superseded. In fact, when the transition project following October suffered severe setbacks, what was left was much of the previous tsarist superstructure. The envisaged democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned was a far cry. Much of what happened was perhaps against the will and intentions of most of the original Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    ‘Revolutionary Practice’

    About 1818, in desperate brevity, regarding Marx’s revolutionary ideas, we need to articulate the essence of the last and the third of the “Theses on Feuerbach,” penned by the young Marx in 1845.3 The purpose of struggling to gain a thorough understanding of the world — which is what Marx spent his whole working life doing, and which was a deep struggle, this through “learning truth from practice” — was to lay the basis for revolutionary change. Learning truth from practice, of course, means, as Paul M Sweezy once wrote, learning truth “from history, from economics and politics, from culture in the broadest sense — in a word, from the real world of social relations and class struggle, as distinct from the imaginary worlds of revelation and pure thought.”

    The creation of a decent human society might ultimately come about, after many defeats and setbacks, but only in a process of struggle by people, ordinary people, who may not as yet be ready to emancipate themselves, but who can become capable of emancipating themselves by repeatedly launching and sustaining revolutionary struggles. Marx expected that the transitional period between capitalism and socialism would witness a negation of capitalism, which would develop its own positive identity through a revolutionary struggle in which ordinary people would remake society and in the process remake themselves.

    It must, however, be remembered that the workers, more generally, the masses (the majority), the ones who Marx and Engels expected would emancipate themselves in the course of remaking society, are society’s foremost productive force, but the advance of their capabilities is hindered by the relations of production (exploitative relations at work, and ownership relations that bestow capitalist control over the forces of production and the product) and corresponding educational, health, and cultural deprivations they are made to suffer. In the circumstances, the guiding and leading role of middle-class revolutionaries in the vanguard party is indispensable until an enlightened working class emerges, of course, with the proviso that the middle-class educators must themselves be educated by “learning truth from practice.”

    ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom’

    The anniversaries of 1966, 1917, and 1818 call for hard questioning. For instance, why did Lenin and his close Bolshevik comrades, when the harsh conditions of civil war and imperialist intervention had abated, not bring back the Soviets to fulfil the role Lenin had assigned to the commune in his State and Revolution? Why did Mao desert the “communards” in the course of the Cultural Revolution, after, at first, applauding them? Was the view of Marx and Engels of the Paris Commune really an embryonic form of a coherent workers’ state? Perhaps it is time we discard the halo around these three “prophetic” intellectuals once and for all. Marx, Lenin and Mao would never have claimed that they had said the last word on anything. Did Marx not write, in part, unadulterated twaddle about the Chinese Taipings (in Die Presse, Vienna, 7 July 1862) influenced as he seemed to be by official British propaganda?

    But, on a more serious note, though he was light-heartedly responding to his daughters Laura and Jenny Marx’s questions, Marx once “confessed” that it was his “favourite motto” to “doubt everything.” Clearly, in approaching all the serious questions that the anniversaries throw up, we should ask how Marx himself would have reacted if he were alive, for here was a brilliant intellectual, passionate about making a contribution to a worldwide struggle to liberate humanity from the miseries of capitalist exploitation, domination, and oppression. In the spirit of mutual learning, the best approach to the three commemorations would be to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” I, however, do not want to hide the unacceptable under the carpet. Given the vast divide between Leninist political theory and the reformist political practice of the Indian communist parties wedded to parliamentarianism, the necessity of smashing the rotten bourgeois state is being paid no heed to. Lenin in theory, Kautsky in practice! “Bombard the headquarters” might indeed be the need of the hour.

    Notes

    1 This piece first took shape in the form of what would have been an unsigned editorial to mark the 50 years of the Cultural Revolution in China, but I had to rewrite it as a “Commentary.” I have retained part of the editorial form and eschewed “References,” but need to add that I draw from essays in What Is Maoism and Other Essays (edited and with an Introduction by me; Kharagpur: Cornerstone Publications, 2010), by Paul M Sweezy, Ralph Miliband, William Hinton, and my own essay. The other pieces that I draw from are my “Did Lenin and Mao Forsake Marx?” (Economic & Political Weekly, 29 May 2010), Hugh Deane’s “Mao: A Lamentation” (Science & Society, Spring 1995), and William Hinton’s “The Chinese Revolution: Was It Necessary? Was It Successful? Is It Still Going On?” (Monthly Review, November 1991). More generally, the influence of Paul M Sweezy’s and William Hinton’s works is perhaps the most marked.

    2 Of course, the leaders of the Shanghai Commune were neither democratically elected, nor were mechanisms put in place for the people to control them, nor did the people have the “right to recall” them, all three of which were basic democratic principles of the Paris Commune.

    3 The last, the 11th thesis, the famous one, reads: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.” And, the third, not that famous but equally important, thesis, in part, reads: “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be educated. . . . The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.”
    Bernard D’Mello (bernard@epw.in) is on the editorial staff of the Economic & Political Weekly and is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. This article first appeared in Economic & Political Weekly 51.33 (August 13, 2016).

  75. Torcer says:

    How to Persuade
    Politics is the art of persuasion. The goal is to persuade people to act on your behalf—to vote, to volunteer, to contribute.

    Even though persuasion is central to political success, progressives rarely talk about how to do it better. That’s the point of this book. It suggests how candidates, lawmakers and allies can improve the way they talk about a wide range of issues, from the economy, healthcare and immigrants’ rights, to marriage equality, reproductive rights and gun violence. But no matter the issue, there are three basic principles that make any argument more persuasive.
    First, always begin in agreement with your audience.
    It is extremely rare, in the short term, to change anyone’s belief. Everyone has biases, stereotypes, and other preconceptions that they carry around in their heads. When a new “fact” doesn’t fit people’s preexisting beliefs, they are almost certain to reject the fact, not their preconceptions.

    So to persuade, you have to find a point of agreement and work from there. You need to provide your audience with a bridge from their preconceptions to your solutions. The goal is not to change people’s minds, it is to show them that they agree with you already. The way to begin is by expressing empathy and shared values.

    The most direct and essential method of connecting with voters is to empathize. Demonstrate that you understand their problems and concerns. Voters quite reasonably conclude that you can’t fix their problems if you can’t understand them.

    Before you make your pitch, find out what voters think. If you’re walking door-to-door or talking to individuals one-on-one, ask them what the community needs to fix. If you’re speaking at a meeting, find out the audience’s concerns ahead of time. And obviously, if you’re paying for mass media, research public opinion first.

    You never have to compromise your political principles to demonstrate empathy. Rather, you need to search for some element of the debate where you sincerely agree. For example:

    If a voter complains about taxes (even in a conservative fashion), agree that our tax system is unfair.

    If the voter worries about government budgets (even when there’s really no problem), agree that our government has an obligation to be careful with taxpayer money.

    If the voter is concerned about crime (even in a very low-crime community), agree that personal safety must be a top priority for the government.

    If the voter thinks the neighborhood is going downhill (even when that doesn’t seem to be the case), agree that we need to preserve the quality of life.

    Start any political conversation this way, and then reinforce your empathy with shared values.

    In politics, values are ideals that describe the kind of society we are trying to build. The stereotypical conservative values are small government, low taxes, free markets, strong military and traditional families. It is important to understand that these oversimplified conservative values are extremely popular, and too often progressives have no effective response.

    Here’s how progressives can answer. When you’re talking about an issue where government has no proper role—like free speech, privacy, reproductive health or religion—declare your commitment to freedom or use a similar value from the chart below. When you discuss an issue where government should act as a referee between competing interests—like court proceedings, wages, benefits, subsidies, taxes or education—explain that your position is based on opportunity or a value from that column. When you argue about an issue where government should act as a protector—like crime, retirement, health care, zoning or the environment—stand for security or a similar value.

    Say . . .
    Freedom Opportunity Security
    or similar values: or similar values: or similar values:
    Liberty Equal opportunity Safety; protection
    Privacy Justice; equal justice Quality of life
    Basic rights Fairness; fair share Employment security
    Fundamental rights Level playing field Retirement security
    Religious freedom Every American Health security

    Why . . .
    You can also put these values together and say you stand for “freedom, opportunity and security for all,” a progressive statement of values that polls very well. But more important, it’s an accurate and politically potent description of what we stand for. The right wing favors these principles for some—the affluent. Progressives insist on providing freedom, opportunity and security to each and every American. (For a more detailed discussion of freedom, opportunity and security, see How to Talk About Progressive Values.)

    Empathy and values alone can win over persuadable voters. Let’s say you are a candidate for state legislature and you are asked what you’re going to do to clean up the stream that runs through that neighborhood. Let’s also say it’s not really the state legislature’s job; it’s the county or city that has jurisdiction over the stream.

    A typical progressive candidate would launch into an explanation of the clean water legislation he or she supports. A particularly inept candidate might say the stream is the responsibility of the city or county and there’s little the state can do. A good candidate would start with empathy:
    Say . . .
    I’m running for office because I want to fight for cleaner streams and safer parklands. I’m going to work to protect the quality of life in our community.

    Why . . .

    These are values that you share with every voter: cleaner, safer, and a better quality of life. At this point you are welcome to explain your clean water legislation, but keep it simple; you have probably already won that vote. A persuadable voter is listening for one thing, really: Is this candidate on my side? You’ve already proven that you are.

    Every time you have the opportunity to speak to a persuadable audience, don’t forget to express empathy and values. This is especially true when you are asked a question because that person is focused on what you are saying. Even if the listener disagrees with your policy solution, you might very well win his or her vote if you have made clear that you share the same concerns and are trying to achieve the same goals. Again, that’s what persuadable voters want to hear—that you are on their side.

    Second, show your audience how they benefit.
    Progressives favor policies that benefit society at large. We want to help the underdog. We wish that a majority of Americans were persuaded, as we are, by appeals to the common good. But they aren’t.

    In fact, it’s quite difficult to convince persuadable voters to support a policy that appears to benefit people other than themselves, their families and their friends. Celinda Lake, one of our movement’s very best pollsters, explains that “our culture is very, very individualistic.” When faced with a proposed government policy, “people look for themselves in the proposal. People want to know what the proposal will do for me and to me.”

    That means, whenever possible, you need to show voters that they personally benefit from your progressive policies. This may sometimes be a challenge. For example, if you’re arguing for programs that benefit people in poverty, do not focus on the way your proposal directly helps the poor, instead highlight the way it indirectly benefits the middle class. Persuadable voters are rarely in poverty themselves and they will relate better to an argument framed toward them.

    For example, when arguing for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, say something like:
    Say . . .
    It will benefit everyone. It will energize our local economy and create thousands of new jobs. It will save millions in taxpayer dollars that are currently spent treating uninsured people in emergency rooms. And it will help our own hard-working families and friends who are hurting in this economic downturn.

    Or when you argue for an increase in the minimum wage:
    Say . . .
    Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hard-working Americans who will spend it on the things they need. This, in turn, generates business for our economy and eases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. It’s a win-win. Raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for everyone.

    Why . . .

    Every progressive policy benefits the middle class, often directly but at least indirectly. In contrast, nearly every right wing policy hurts the middle class, even if it more directly hurts the poor. Since persuadable voters want to know how policies affect them personally, you must tell them.

    That does not mean you can explain your positions without mentioning program beneficiaries. In fact, the examples above mention them. The important thing is to connect with persuadable voters and frame the beneficiaries, in one way or another, as deserving.

    Americans are not very kind to the poor. Outside of the progressive base, a lot of voters assume that people in poverty did something wrong: they didn’t study in school, did drugs, got arrested, got pregnant, or something else. Voters who are not poor think, “I didn’t get government assistance,” (even when they did) “so why should they?” They think the poor need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    So you need to go out of your way to describe them as deserving. It is fairly simple to defend aid to children because they cannot reasonably take care of themselves. This is also true of some elderly and disabled Americans, and voters are generally sympathetic when they are the beneficiaries. But when program recipients are able-bodied adults, suggest that they are hard-working and/or supporting families. Bill Clinton’s steady repetition of “work hard and play by the rules” was designed to communicate that a program’s beneficiaries are deserving of assistance, and that phrase still works.
    Third, speak their language, not ours.

    Persuadable voters aren’t like partisan activists. They don’t pay much attention to politics, public policy or political news. They don’t understand political ideologies. They don’t care a lot who wins elections. In general, they’re the citizens who are least interested in politics. After all, with America’s highly polarized parties, anyone who pays attention has already taken a side.

    In talking to these less-enlightened and less-interested fellow citizens, candidates and lawmakers tend to make three mistakes.

    (1) Progressives often rely on facts instead of values to persuade. Advocates will pack a speech with alarming facts and figures like: “50 million Americans are uninsured;” or “one in five children live in poverty;” or “32 million Americans have been victims of racial profiling.” When you speak this way, you are assuming that listeners would be persuaded—and policy would change—if only everybody knew what you know.

    But that’s not how it works. Facts, by themselves, don’t persuade. Statistics especially must be used sparingly or listeners will just go away confused. Your argument should be built upon ideas and values that the persuadable voters already hold dear. A few well-placed facts will help illustrate why the progressive solution is essential. Too many facts and figures mean your argument will fall on deaf ears.

    (2) Progressives often use insider language instead of plain English. Incumbents especially tend to speak the technical language of lobbying and passing legislation. Insiders carry on a never-ending conversation about bills from the past, measures under consideration and current law. You probably realize that Americans don’t know anything about CBO scoring or Third Reader or the Rules Committee. But average voters also don’t know an amendment from a filibuster. Insiders tend to use abbreviations freely, like ENDA for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or TABOR when talking about a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. They refer to SB 234, paygo requirements, the ag community and the Akaka amendment. It’s a tough habit to break.

    Insider jargon serves a useful purpose. It is shorthand—it allows those who understand the shorthand to communicate more efficiently. But it is also a way to be exclusive, to separate insiders from nonmembers of the club. That’s exactly why such language is pernicious; you can’t expect persuadable voters to understand a language that was designed, in part, to exclude them.

    (3) Progressives often use ideological language even though persuadables are the opposite of ideologues. You should not complain of corporate greed because Americans don’t have a problem with corporations. You should not say capitalism or any ism because most Americans don’t relate to ideology. And please don’t say neo- or crypto- anything. Like technical policy language, ideological language is a form of shorthand. But to persuadable voters, this just sounds like the speaker isn’t one of them.

    You need to accept persuadable voters as they are, not as you wish they were. They don’t necessarily know what you know or believe what you believe. And yet, if you empathize with persuadable voters and use language they understand, you have the upper hand in any argument. Progressive policies benefit nearly all Americans, the 99 percent. Progressive values reflect the aspirations of the vast majority of our fellow citizens. You’re absolutely on the voters’ side. You simply need to sharpen your persuasion skills a bit so they will understand and believe that.
    http://www.progressivemajorityaction.org/how_to_persuade

  76. Torcer says:

    About Monthly Review
    “At a time when many people have fallen into despair, when our opponents seem invulnerable, it’s critical to have a magazine that challenges us to think, inspires us to action, and makes us realize that the impossible is only difficult, not insurmountable. That magazine is Monthly Review.”
    —Danny Glover

    HISTORY — Monthly Review began publication in New York City in May 1949. The first issue featured the lead article “Why Socialism?” by Albert Einstein. From the beginning, Monthly Review spoke for a critical but spirited socialism, independent of any political organization. In an era of Cold War repression, the magazine published pioneering analyses of political economy, imperialism, and Third World struggles, drawing on the rich legacy of Marxist thought without being bound to any narrow view or party line. The McCarthy-led inquisition targeted MR‘s original editors, economists Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman, who fought back successfully. Against these odds, the magazine’s readership and influence grew steadily, and in 1952, Monthly Review Press published its first title, I. F. Stone’s Hidden History of the Korean War.

    In the subsequent 1960s upsurge against capitalism, imperialism, and inequality, MR played a global role. A generation of activists received no small part of their education as subscribers to the magazine and readers of Monthly Review Press books. In the decades since, which have seen the rise of neoliberalism and successive capitalist crises, MR has kept its commitment both to radical critique and to the building of a just economy and society.

    For a more detailed look at MR‘s long history, please consult this essay, published in 1999 on the occasion of the magazine’s fiftieth anniversary.

    “Monthly Review can show an impressive record of committed left publishing. Through the thick and thin of American politics it has continued to carry the standard of thoughtful and critical radicalism. International in scope, it has combined the best of the old left with creative insights of new social movements.”

    —Sheila Rowbotham

    In its more than sixty-five-year history, Monthly Review has had only six editors. The original editors were Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman. After Huberman’s death in 1968, Harry Magdoff joined Sweezy as coeditor, and together they led the magazine for the next thirty years. Ellen Meiksins Wood served as editor from 1997 to 2000, and in May 2000, John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney took over primary editorial duties. Founding editor Paul Sweezy died in 2004, and later that year, Robert W. McChesney ceased to be formally designated as an editor, while continuing as a contributor and a Director of the Monthly Review Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports both MR and Monthly Review Press. Harry Magdoff died in 2006, and a special issue focusing on his contribution to the understanding of capitalism and imperialism appeared in October 2006.

    TODAY — Under the current editorial committee, led by John Bellamy Foster, the magazine continues its long tradition of analyzing what is new with the equally vital task of seeing the longer process. That tradition, as summarized by Paul Sweezy, is to see “the present as history.” In 2006, MR began a daily web magazine, MRzine, featuring a broad range of articles, reviews, and commentary.

    Revenues from subscriptions and the book sales have always fallen short of the demands on MR‘s resources. The contributions and gifts of a global community of several thousand people sustain MR. Today the magazine makes most of its articles available for free online, and our daily web magazine has attracted a substantial and growing readership. If you have found our website of value, please consider subscribing to the magazine or, better yet, becoming an Associate.
    http://monthlyreview.org/about/

  77. Torcer says:

    Celebrating More’s Utopia 500 years on
    Thomas More’s Utopia, first published in Latin in 1516, is one of the world’s most famous books. It has given us the adjective ‘Utopian’, a mode of thought (‘Utopianism’), a literary genre. Yet, at some point in its 500-year history, the concept of ‘Utopia’ became detached from More’s book. It came to express an ideal, which has its own legacy in the brand names it inspires: there are cafes and a pdf reader named after More’s imaginary land, a travel agent I used to cycle past on Leman Street, even a barber’s shop in Ely.

    More strikingly, ‘Utopia’ also came to express what the Oxford English Dictionary defines as an ‘unrealistic belief in the perfectibility of society’: a belief that is ‘excessively idealistic’, ‘impracticable’, ‘illusory’—a meaning that is evident in its almost daily use to dismiss ideas and the possibility of change.

    Throughout the 500th anniversary year, the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies will be hosting a blog, curated by Cathy Shrank, which looks in detail at specific passages from More’s work, putting them in their historical context, and addressing some commonly held assumptions about Utopia.

    Not least of these (mis)conceptions is that More presents the island as an ideal. The title-page declares that the book will discuss ‘the best state of a commonweal and the new island of Utopia’. Not only is ‘best’ a more relative, contingent term than ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’, there is no suggestion—here at least—that Utopia is in fact the ‘best’ form of government that can be achieved. This ambivalence towards Utopia is also expressed in the name that More chose for his imagined island, which is a pun on the Greek ‘Outopia’ (no place) and ‘Eutopia’ (good place).

    Thomas More was in his late 30s when he wrote Utopia. He was born in 1478 to a prominent and wealthy London family: his father Sir John More was a judge; his maternal grandfather, Thomas Graunger, was sheriff of the city in 1505. Thomas followed his father into the law. By the time he wrote Utopia, he was known for his legal expertise in dealing with matters of international trade and was taking a prominent role in London affairs as one of the under-sheriffs of the city (a role to which he was appointed in 1510). He was also an intimate friend of leading scholars—men with reputations and contacts that extended across Europe—such as John Colet (founder of St Paul’s School), the royal physician Thomas Linacre, and the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus.

    The first of our series of blogs reflects this wide range of contacts, looking at the opening to Utopia: a letter from More to his friend Peter Giles in Antwerp which shows the way in which the book blends fact and fiction (and Greek puns!). If you’d like to read more, then please do visit the anniversary blog.

    Cathy Shrank is Professor of Tudor and Renaissance Literature in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. She is the author of Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530-1580 (Oxford University Press, 2004) and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature (Oxford University Press, 2009). She is currently on a Major Leverhulme Research Fellowship, researching a book about late medieval and early modern dialogue (the form in which More’s Utopia is written). You can find Cathy on twitter @cathy_shrank.
    http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/celebrating-mores-utopia-500-years/

  78. Torcer says:

    Celebrating More’s Utopia 500 years on
    Thomas More’s Utopia, first published in Latin in 1516, is one of the world’s most famous books. It has given us the adjective ‘Utopian’, a mode of thought (‘Utopianism’), a literary genre. Yet, at some point in its 500-year history, the concept of ‘Utopia’ became detached from More’s book. It came to express an ideal, which has its own legacy in the brand names it inspires: there are cafes and a pdf reader named after More’s imaginary land, a travel agent I used to cycle past on Leman Street, even a barber’s shop in Ely.

    More strikingly, ‘Utopia’ also came to express what the Oxford English Dictionary defines as an ‘unrealistic belief in the perfectibility of society’: a belief that is ‘excessively idealistic’, ‘impracticable’, ‘illusory’—a meaning that is evident in its almost daily use to dismiss ideas and the possibility of change.

    Throughout the 500th anniversary year, the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies will be hosting a blog, curated by Cathy Shrank, which looks in detail at specific passages from More’s work, putting them in their historical context, and addressing some commonly held assumptions about Utopia.

    Not least of these (mis)conceptions is that More presents the island as an ideal. The title-page declares that the book will discuss ‘the best state of a commonweal and the new island of Utopia’. Not only is ‘best’ a more relative, contingent term than ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’, there is no suggestion—here at least—that Utopia is in fact the ‘best’ form of government that can be achieved. This ambivalence towards Utopia is also expressed in the name that More chose for his imagined island, which is a pun on the Greek ‘Outopia’ (no place) and ‘Eutopia’ (good place).

    Thomas More was in his late 30s when he wrote Utopia. He was born in 1478 to a prominent and wealthy London family: his father Sir John More was a judge; his maternal grandfather, Thomas Graunger, was sheriff of the city in 1505. Thomas followed his father into the law. By the time he wrote Utopia, he was known for his legal expertise in dealing with matters of international trade and was taking a prominent role in London affairs as one of the under-sheriffs of the city (a role to which he was appointed in 1510). He was also an intimate friend of leading scholars—men with reputations and contacts that extended across Europe—such as John Colet (founder of St Paul’s School), the royal physician Thomas Linacre, and the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus.

    The first of our series of blogs reflects this wide range of contacts, looking at the opening to Utopia: a letter from More to his friend Peter Giles in Antwerp which shows the way in which the book blends fact and fiction (and Greek puns!). If you’d like to read more, then please do visit the anniversary blog.

    Cathy Shrank is Professor of Tudor and Renaissance Literature in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. She is the author of Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530-1580 (Oxford University Press, 2004) and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature (Oxford University Press, 2009). She is currently on a Major Leverhulme Research Fellowship, researching a book about late medieval and early modern dialogue (the form in which More’s Utopia is written). You can find Cathy on twitter @cathy_shrank.
    http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/celebrating-mores-utopia-500-years/

  79. Torcer says:

    Debate Makes It Official: Democrats Really Are Socialists http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101415-775602-as-debate-showed-democrats-have-lurched-into-socialism.htm #IBDEditorials via @IBDinvestors

    Debate Makes It Official: Democrats Really Are Socialists
    2016: The Democratic debate shows just how far left the party’s lurched. Capitalism was on trial, and self-ID’d socialism was literally front and center. Stop the charade. Just change your name to the Democratic Socialist Party.

    No. 2 candidate Bernie Sanders said that he’s no capitalist, proudly describing himself as a “democratic socialist.” He cited socialist Denmark as a model for America.

    Front-runner Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, refused to identify herself as a capitalist. She agreed with Sanders that our capitalist system is out of control and that the country must be “saved” from it, as if it were Ebola.
    [..]
    None of the five Democrat candidates on stage forcefully said, “I am not a socialist.”

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked them how their policies would differ from President Obama’s. Despite stagnant economic growth, slow wage growth and skyrocketing health care premiums, they’d all march his historically leftist agenda even harder left. Here’s their laundry list:

    1. Free college for everyone, courtesy of Wall Street.

    2. A $15 minimum wage.

    3. Paid family leave, courtesy of small business.

    4. Guaranteed health care as a “right.”

    5. Expanded Social Security benefits.

    6. ObamaCare for illegal immigrants.

    7. In-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

    8. Legalized pot.

    9. De-incarceration.

    10. Expanded executive amnesty for illegals.

    One thing never came up: the national debt. Under Obama, it’s soared from 60% to over 100% of GDP, meaning our national IOU is bigger than our $18 trillion economy. To anybody but Democrats, that’s a crisis.
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101415-775602-as-debate-showed-democrats-have-lurched-into-socialism.htm

  80. Torcer says:

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics via @returnofkings

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics
    First, understand that capitalism is NOT an option. It’s not an “opinion.” It’s not a “belief.” It’s not a “theory.”

    It’s a law.
    You have no choice but to abide by it just as you have no choice to abide by gravity.

    You may not “like” that statement. You may not agree with it, but none of that changes the fact that the economic phenomenon known as “capitalism” or “free markets” has naturally formed within humanity throughout it’s entire history.
    [..]
    Government as a means of protection rather than production

    All economic success derives from the protection and enforcement or private property. Understand that governments do not produce anything of economic value. The only thing that can produce something of economic value is people. Without a people, there is no point or purpose to have a government. But how do you incentivize the people to produce?

    Well, in the olden days you captured them and made them slaves, threatening them with torture, beatings, starvation, and death. Today, obviously, we need a new incentive. Enter private property.

    If I’m not a slave, I’m allowed to keep the majority of the fruits of my labor. This income will go to pay for necessary things like food, clothing, and shelter, but any excess earnings can be saved up and used to buy assets. These assets are also called “wealth,” and if I build up enough “wealth” then I can become “rich” and never labor again.

    This is a huge and VITAL cornerstone of capitalism because it provides not just one person, but all people with the key to their own freedom. They are allowed to work as much and as hard as they want, become as rich as they can, all of which invigorates and mobilizes billions of people to produce (resulting in the economic powerhouses of yesteryear western civilization). However, it was all contingent on the legal guarantee that their property would be their own and not confiscated for political purposes.
    http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics

  81. Torcer says:

    1966, 1917, and 1818:
    ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’
    by Bernard D’Mello

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia. And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries. The three anniversaries will doubtless be occasions when, illuminated by their vision of a decent human society, the works of Marx and his close comrade and friend Friedrich Engels will be re-interrogated. Surely questions will be asked as to why subsequent socialist revolutionaries inspired by that vision — most of all, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades in Russia, and Mao Zedong and his close comrades in China — despite their best efforts, could not lay the basis for a socialist society — a society of equality, cooperation, community and solidarity.1

    ‘Bombard the Headquarters’

    The March 1966 issue of Red Flag, the theoretical political journal of the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried an article on “The Great Lessons of the Paris Commune” of 1871, explaining how one can learn from the communards as to how to prevent the party-state bureaucracy from repudiating their assigned role of “serving the people” and instead becoming the masters of the people. This theme of the Paris Commune was picked up and communicated on 25 May with a big character poster (BCP) from Beijing University that boldly declared the need for a “Chinese Paris Commune,” the significance of which, the poster claimed, “surpasses” that of the original Paris Commune. Indeed, this BCP won Mao’s applause, and on 5 August, he released his own BCP, titled “Bombard the Headquarters.” Then, three days later, on 8 August, the Central Committee of the CCP adopted a “Decision . . . Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which, in its view, was “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution,” “to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” The Cultural Revolution also intended to “transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base.”

    Indeed, if one goes by this Central Committee decision, which came to be known as “the 16 points,” there was an expression of the intention “to institute a system of general elections [my emphasis], like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary congresses,” which were to be “permanent, standing mass organisations.” Indeed, the Central Committee even intended to give the people the right to recall, a principle of the Paris Commune. The “boldly aroused masses” that it hailed were, of course, the student-intellectual Red Guards and the workers. The workers very soon rose up in early 1967 in China’s main industrial-heartland city, Shanghai, in what came to be known as the “January Storm,” which overthrew the Shanghai municipal government, and, on 5 February at a million-strong rally, proclaimed the formation of the “Shanghai Commune.” Here was the first time that a post-revolutionary society was seriously confronting bureaucratism and elitism, or, at least, initiating radical trial runs in direct democracy to find a viable solution to these problems.2

    Sadly, though, this time Mao did not applaud. Indeed, he summoned the main leaders of the Shanghai Commune, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, to Beijing, called them “anarchists,” and ordered them to disband the commune. Tragically, all the other Paris-type communes in the making also met with premature extinction. Mao’s alternative to the commune was the tripartite “revolutionary committee,” composed of unelected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel, CCP cadres, and representatives of the “revolutionary masses.” Those who held on steadfastly to the Paris Commune-like original ways of the Cultural Revolution were now deprecated and dismissed as the “ultra-left,” to be dealt with harshly by PLA personnel in alliance with rival Red Guard groups.

    Clearly, the fresh shoots of radical democracy were nipped in the bud, and as for those “communards” who persisted, worse was in store. The so-called ultra-left’s time was up. Unprincipled factional strife, excessive violence, personal tragedies, a lot of ugly features, and the cult of “Mao’s thought” — this last being ridiculous and harmful to scientific temper — had muddied the waters. Of course, the context was that of a protracted political struggle between the “capitalist roaders,” headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, and the “proletarian roaders” headed by Mao. But, even as Mao seemed to be in the lead politically, the Liu-Deng faction dominated organisationally, and tactically it even paid lip service to Mao’s thought and ideals. Very soon, the struggle was no longer about what it was meant to be: the student-intellectual Red Guards and workers (both guided by Maoist intellectuals) taking on the elites of the party, the state, and the PLA. The Maoist principles of handling contradictions among the people and those of the “mass line” (the leadership norm, “from the masses, to the masses”) went for a toss.

    Had the voyage through the rough and stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution brought the vessel of the party-state perilously close to shipwreck? Mao retreated. At the Party Congress in April 1969, he justified the pulling back from the Paris Commune-inspired agenda he had himself applauded and decided upon in the 8 August 1966 Central Committee meeting. The Cultural Revolution, in its original form, was over, but Mao promised that the future would bring more cultural revolutions. He probably did not think a “People’s Commune of China” with a commune state was, theoretically and practically, a coherent proposition. So, the powerful and privileged stratum that had emerged in the party, the government, the PLA, the enterprises, the communes, and the educational system, which had developed a stake in maintaining its favoured position and passing it on to its progeny, won the day. But, some of the measures taken to reduce the differences arising from the division of labour between city and countryside, manual and intellectual labour, and management and employees were persisted with, until, of course, the capitalist roaders decisively took over and stymied them.

    Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution’s central idea that political, managerial, and bureaucratic power-holders entrench themselves as a ruling elite and, over a period of time, assume the position of a ruling class, and that the people have to be constantly mobilised to struggle against this tendency should never be forgotten. Even otherwise, and more generally, given the existence of class, patriarchy, racism and caste over millennia, power and compulsion are deeply rooted in social reality. Indeed, they have almost become a part of the basic inherited (but not unchangeable) “human condition,” which leads one to make a very strong case for civil liberties and democratic rights (gained through historic struggles waged by the underdogs) that should not be allowed to be abrogated, come what may.

    At this point, I need to mention that part of the problem faced by the Chinese Maoists existed because the earlier New Democratic Revolution had failed to dismantle the central bureaucratic state. This state had been inherited from Chinese history and had thrived under Chiang Kaishek, whose hierarchical apparatus — administered from the top down and predicated on separation from the people — was taken apart but reconstructed in another bureaucratic form after 1949. Like in any other central bureaucratic state, conformity and loyalty brought promotions, personal well-being, power, prestige and privileges. Even the Cultural Revolution with its attacks on Confucian culture had failed to usher in a modern state, let alone one that could have been a democratic role model as far as the Chinese people were concerned. The earlier agrarian revolution demolished merely the local institutions of semi-feudalism without doing away with the central bureaucratic state, leaving the consolidation of power by the forces of New Democracy incomplete.

    ‘All Power to the Soviets’?

    What about the 1917 revolutions? In the first, the February Revolution, the popular masses overthrew the monarchy and its totalitarian regime, and allowed liberals representing the capitalists and the nobility to form a Provisional Government. The second, the October Revolution, came on the anvil when the workers and soldiers (the latter, mainly peasants) were convinced that their February demands of a democratic republic, radical agrarian reform, renunciation of Russia’s imperialist war aims, taking the country out of World War I, and an eight-hour workday will not see the light of day with the propertied classes in power. In the face of growing counter-revolutionary manoeuvring by those classes, the workers and peasant-soldiers demanded a transfer of power to a government of the Soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies who were elected in the course of the February Revolution. It was the Bolsheviks who, from April-end onwards, repeatedly called for and worked towards the replacement of the Provisional Government with Soviet power, which turned them into a major force that was able to lead the masses to victory in October (November by the Western Julian calendar).

    The “Transition Period” (the period between the political overthrow of capitalism and the consolidation of socialism) that followed was a very difficult one: bloody civil war over four years, imperialist blockades and interventions, massive United States, British, and French military aid to the White armies up to late 1919, lack of food, complete disarray, the workers scattered and decimated. In the face of such circumstances, the Bolsheviks adopted emergency measures — political repression, complete suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights, centralisation and monopoly of power, reliance on the conservative bureaucracy and specialists of the old regime, Taylorism and one-man management of the enterprises — that turned the commune state with the Soviets of 1917 into an authoritarian party-state (dictatorship of the party and the state over the whole people) in late 1918.

    Rosa Luxemburg in Germany, though enthusiastically supportive of October, was among the first of the revolutionary socialists to write that the Russian Revolution — in its suppression of what should have been a democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned — would not lead to socialism. But, she still hoped that October would help ignite social revolutions in the developed capitalist nations, especially in Germany, though tragically, these revolutions were nipped in the bud, leaving the Russian Revolution desperately isolated in an impoverished, war-ridden country. Lenin, in his last writings — he died in 1924, seven years after October — expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people.

    A cultural revolution, so that ultimately an educated, cultured, and enlightened working class might democratically take control of the intended workers’ state? But, this was not to be. The year 1921 had already witnessed the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion and the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party; 1927, the defeat of the left opposition; 1929-30, the forced collectivisation that broke the worker-peasant alliance; and the 1930s saw political trials and purges, especially the Great Purge of 1937-38 — all of which paved the way for the defeat of the socialist project.

    At this point, I think I need to add something. Bourgeois revolutions are, comparatively speaking, less difficult compared to socialist revolutions. The former simply put in place a capitalist “superstructure” — institutions of the capitalist state, law, education, culture and ideology — to match an already existing capitalist economic base. Moreover, the original (“primitive”) accumulation of capital has already taken place. The socialist revolution, in sharp contrast, not only has to dismantle the capitalist superstructure and put in place a socialist superstructure, but it has no prior developing socialist economic base already in place, and therefore has to create this too, de novo. All this makes the transition period in the aftermath of the seizure of power more complex and difficult to successfully carry through.

    Moreover, in Russia, the February Revolution was not followed by the institutionalisation of a capitalist superstructure, for it was rapidly surpassed by October. The subsequent immediate superstructure of the transition period was, thus, not a capitalist-socialist hybrid, with the former being rapidly superseded. In fact, when the transition project following October suffered severe setbacks, what was left was much of the previous tsarist superstructure. The envisaged democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned was a far cry. Much of what happened was perhaps against the will and intentions of most of the original Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    ‘Revolutionary Practice’

    About 1818, in desperate brevity, regarding Marx’s revolutionary ideas, we need to articulate the essence of the last and the third of the “Theses on Feuerbach,” penned by the young Marx in 1845.3 The purpose of struggling to gain a thorough understanding of the world — which is what Marx spent his whole working life doing, and which was a deep struggle, this through “learning truth from practice” — was to lay the basis for revolutionary change. Learning truth from practice, of course, means, as Paul M Sweezy once wrote, learning truth “from history, from economics and politics, from culture in the broadest sense — in a word, from the real world of social relations and class struggle, as distinct from the imaginary worlds of revelation and pure thought.”

    The creation of a decent human society might ultimately come about, after many defeats and setbacks, but only in a process of struggle by people, ordinary people, who may not as yet be ready to emancipate themselves, but who can become capable of emancipating themselves by repeatedly launching and sustaining revolutionary struggles. Marx expected that the transitional period between capitalism and socialism would witness a negation of capitalism, which would develop its own positive identity through a revolutionary struggle in which ordinary people would remake society and in the process remake themselves.

    It must, however, be remembered that the workers, more generally, the masses (the majority), the ones who Marx and Engels expected would emancipate themselves in the course of remaking society, are society’s foremost productive force, but the advance of their capabilities is hindered by the relations of production (exploitative relations at work, and ownership relations that bestow capitalist control over the forces of production and the product) and corresponding educational, health, and cultural deprivations they are made to suffer. In the circumstances, the guiding and leading role of middle-class revolutionaries in the vanguard party is indispensable until an enlightened working class emerges, of course, with the proviso that the middle-class educators must themselves be educated by “learning truth from practice.”

    ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom’

    The anniversaries of 1966, 1917, and 1818 call for hard questioning. For instance, why did Lenin and his close Bolshevik comrades, when the harsh conditions of civil war and imperialist intervention had abated, not bring back the Soviets to fulfil the role Lenin had assigned to the commune in his State and Revolution? Why did Mao desert the “communards” in the course of the Cultural Revolution, after, at first, applauding them? Was the view of Marx and Engels of the Paris Commune really an embryonic form of a coherent workers’ state? Perhaps it is time we discard the halo around these three “prophetic” intellectuals once and for all. Marx, Lenin and Mao would never have claimed that they had said the last word on anything. Did Marx not write, in part, unadulterated twaddle about the Chinese Taipings (in Die Presse, Vienna, 7 July 1862) influenced as he seemed to be by official British propaganda?

    But, on a more serious note, though he was light-heartedly responding to his daughters Laura and Jenny Marx’s questions, Marx once “confessed” that it was his “favourite motto” to “doubt everything.” Clearly, in approaching all the serious questions that the anniversaries throw up, we should ask how Marx himself would have reacted if he were alive, for here was a brilliant intellectual, passionate about making a contribution to a worldwide struggle to liberate humanity from the miseries of capitalist exploitation, domination, and oppression. In the spirit of mutual learning, the best approach to the three commemorations would be to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” I, however, do not want to hide the unacceptable under the carpet. Given the vast divide between Leninist political theory and the reformist political practice of the Indian communist parties wedded to parliamentarianism, the necessity of smashing the rotten bourgeois state is being paid no heed to. Lenin in theory, Kautsky in practice! “Bombard the headquarters” might indeed be the need of the hour.

    Notes

    1 This piece first took shape in the form of what would have been an unsigned editorial to mark the 50 years of the Cultural Revolution in China, but I had to rewrite it as a “Commentary.” I have retained part of the editorial form and eschewed “References,” but need to add that I draw from essays in What Is Maoism and Other Essays (edited and with an Introduction by me; Kharagpur: Cornerstone Publications, 2010), by Paul M Sweezy, Ralph Miliband, William Hinton, and my own essay. The other pieces that I draw from are my “Did Lenin and Mao Forsake Marx?” (Economic & Political Weekly, 29 May 2010), Hugh Deane’s “Mao: A Lamentation” (Science & Society, Spring 1995), and William Hinton’s “The Chinese Revolution: Was It Necessary? Was It Successful? Is It Still Going On?” (Monthly Review, November 1991). More generally, the influence of Paul M Sweezy’s and William Hinton’s works is perhaps the most marked.

    2 Of course, the leaders of the Shanghai Commune were neither democratically elected, nor were mechanisms put in place for the people to control them, nor did the people have the “right to recall” them, all three of which were basic democratic principles of the Paris Commune.

    3 The last, the 11th thesis, the famous one, reads: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.” And, the third, not that famous but equally important, thesis, in part, reads: “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be educated. . . . The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.”
    Bernard D’Mello (bernard@epw.in) is on the editorial staff of the Economic & Political Weekly and is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. This article first appeared in Economic & Political Weekly 51.33 (August 13, 2016).

  82. Torcer says:

    Utopias, past and present: why Thomas More remains astonishingly radical
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/10/15/1444924861304/4380b15d-853a-4bb1-8524-b49974a57992-bestSizeAvailable.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=ff9d267e0568f32c71747bb622f3c732

    Thomas More’s Utopia, a book that will be 500 years old next year, is astonishingly radical stuff. Not many lord chancellors of England have denounced private property, advocated a form of communism and described the current social order as a “conspiracy of the rich”. Such men, the book announces, are “greedy, unscrupulous and useless”. There are a great number of noblemen, More complains, who live like drones on the labour of others. Tenants are evicted so that “one insatiable glutton and accursed plague of his native land” may consolidate his fields. Monarchs, he argues, would do well to swear at their inauguration never to have more than 1,000lbs of gold in their coffers. Perhaps this is one reason why Utopia is not bedside reading in Buckingham Palace. Instead of being worshipped, gold and silver should, he suggests, be used to make chamber pots. War is fit only for beasts, and standing armies should be disbanded. Labour should be reduced to a minimum, though the TUC might balk at the suggestion that workers would use some of their leisure time to attend public lectures before daybreak.

    Not all More’s proposals would delight the heart of Jeremy Corbyn. The perfection of his utopia is not tarnished in his view by the fact that it contains slaves. On certain festive days wives would fall down at their husbands’ feet, confessing that they have performed some domestic duty negligently. Adultery would be punished by the strictest form of slavery. One should recall that More, far from being the liberal-cum-existentialist portrayed in Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons, showed not the slightest compunction in torturing and executing heretics. In choosing one’s mate, men should be allowed to see their prospective wives naked, since who wants goods that aren’t on show? Feminists, however, should note that women would enjoy the same prerogative. Brothels would be abolished, but so would alehouses. There would be no lawyers (a generous-hearted proposal, since More was one himself), but no tolerance for those who waste time, either.

    More’s book, in some ways a work of early science fiction, gave rise to a whole new genre of writing. Judging from that literature, there are really two kinds of utopia. There are carnivalesque societies in which, instead of working, everyone will drink, feast and copulate from dawn to dusk. In one such 18th-century fantasy, men and women bereft of all body hair leap naked into fountains, while the progressively minded narrator watches on. Whether his pleasure is entirely theoretical remains unclear.

    There are also more austere utopias, in which everything is odourless and antiseptic, intolerably streamlined and sensible. In these meticulously planned countries of the mind, the natives tend to jaw on for hours about the efficiency of their sanitary arrangements or the ingenuity of their electoral system. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is in some ways an exercise of this kind, as Crusoe, marooned on a desert island, potters about, chopping wood and staking out his enclosure as if he were in the home counties. It is reassuring to see him practising a very English rationality in such exotically unfamiliar circumstances. More’s fantasy is an odd mixture of both visions, rational and libidinal. On the one hand, his ideal society is a high-minded, fairly puritanical place, one likely to appeal to the stereotypical Hampstead vegetarian; on the other hand, its inhabitants are genial, laid-back and agreeably disinclined to do much work.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/16/utopias-past-present-thomas-more-terry-eagleton

  83. Torcer says:

    Mises’s insight was confirmed as early as the mid-1950s, when the British economist Peter Wiles visited Poland, where Oskar Lange was helping to plan Polish socialism. Wiles asked the Polish economists how they planned the economic system. As reported, “What actually happens is that “world prices”, i.e. capitalist world prices, are used in all intra-[Soviet] bloc trade. They are translated into rubles … entered into bilateral clearing accounts.”[5]
    Other critiques

    Before Ludwig von Mises raised the calculation problem in his celebrated 1920 article (see in full), everyone, socialists and non-socialists alike, had long realized that socialism suffered from an incentive problem. If, for example, everyone under socialism were to receive an equal income, or, in another variant, everyone was supposed to produce “according to his ability” but receive “according to his needs,” then, to sum it up in the famous question: Who, under socialism, will take out the garbage? That is, what will be the incentive to do the grubby jobs, and, furthermore, to do them well? Or, to put it another way, what would be the incentive to work hard and be productive at any job?

    The traditional socialist answer held that the socialist society would transform human nature, would purge it of selfishness, and remold it to create a New Socialist Man. That new man would be devoid of any selfish, or indeed any self-determined, goals; his only wish would be to work as hard and as eagerly as possible to achieve the goals and obey the orders of the socialist State. Throughout the history of socialism, socialist ultras, such as the early Lenin and Bukharin under “War Communism,” and later Mao Tse-tung and Che Guevara, have sought to replace material by so-called “moral” incentives. This notion was properly and wittily ridiculed by Alexander Gray as “the idea that the world may find its driving force in a Birthday Honours List (giving to the King, if necessary, 165 birthdays a year).” At any rate, the socialists soon found that voluntary methods could hardly yield them this robotic New Socialist Man, nor could the most determined and bloodthirsty methods. And it is a testament to the spirit of freedom that cannot be extinguished in the human breast that the socialists continued to fail dismally, despite decades of systemic terror.

    Ever since 1917, or at least since Stalin’s great leap forward into socialism in the early 1930s, the defenders of the possibility of socialism had one final, fallback argument. When all the arguments had been hashed over, the defenders of socialism could simply fall back on one point: Well, socialism exists, doesn’t it? When all is said and done, it exists, and therefore it must be, for one reason or another, possible. Mises must clearly be wrong, even if the “practical” arguments of Hayek or Robbins, arguments of mere degrees of efficiency, need to be soberly considered.

    This triumphal conclusion now rings hollow, since the economies of the Soviet Union and the other socialist bloc countries have now manifestly broken down. And it also turns out that the Soviet GNP and production figures that have been taken at face value for decades have been nothing but a pack of lies, designed to deceive not the United States, but the Soviet managers’ own ruling elite.

    But apart from all that, this sort of seemingly decisive empiricist counter to the Misesian critique reveals the perils of using allegedly simple and brute “facts” to rebut theory in the sciences of human action. For why must we assume that the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries ever really enjoyed full and complete socialism? There are many reasons to believe that, try as they might, the communist rulers were never able to impose total socialism and central planning. For one thing, it is now known that the entire Soviet economy and society has been shot through with a vast network of black markets and evasions of controls, fueled by a pervasive system of bribery known as blat to allow escape from those controls. Managers who could not meet their annual production quotas were approached by illegal entrepreneurs and labor teams to help them meet the quotas and get paid off the books. And black markets in foreign exchange have long been familiar to every tourist. Long before the Eastern European collapse of communism, these countries stopped trying to stamp out their black markets in hard currency, even though they were blatantly visible in the streets of Warsaw, Budapest, and Prague. Without uncontrolled black markets fueled by bribery, the communist economies may well have collapsed long ago. This historical point has also been bolstered by Michael Polanyi’s “span of control” theory, which denies the possibility of effective central planning from a rather different viewpoint than Mises’s.[5]
    Polylogism

    Until the middle of the nineteenth century no one ventured to dispute the fact that the logical structure of mind is unchangeable and common to all human beings. All human interrelations are based on this assumption of a uniform logical structure. Men enter into discussions; they speak to each other; they write letters and books; they try to prove or to disprove. Some men can think deeper and more refined thoughts than others. There are men who unfortunately cannot grasp a process of inference in long chains of deductive reasoning. But as far as a man is able to think and to follow a process of discursive thought, he always clings to the same ultimate principles of reasoning that are applied by all other men. There are people who cannot count further than three; but their counting, as far as it goes, does not differ from that of Gauss or Laplace. Daily, it is true, people violate logical principles in reasoning. But who­ever examines their inferences competently can uncover their errors.

    Yet, in the course of the nineteenth century has this been contested. Marx and the Marxians, foremost among them the “proletarian philosopher” Dietzgen, taught that thought is determined by the thinker’s class position. What thinking produces is not truth but “ideologies.” This word means, in the context of Marxian philosophy, a disguise of the selfish interest of the social class to which the thinking individual is attached. It is therefore useless to discuss anything with people of another social class. Ideologies do not need to be refuted by discursive reasoning; they must be unmasked by denouncing the class position, the social background, of their authors. Thus Marxians do not discuss the merits of physical theories; they merely uncover the “bourgeois” origin of the physicists.

    The Marxians have resorted to polylogism because they could not refute by logical methods the theories developed by “bour­geois” economics, or the inferences drawn from these theories demonstrating the impracticability of socialism. As they could not rationally demonstrate the soundness of their own ideas or the un­soundness of their adversaries’ ideas, they have denounced the accepted logical methods. The success of this Marxian stratagem was unprecedented. It has rendered proof against any reasonable criticism all the absurdities of Marxian would-be economics and would-be sociology. Only by the logical tricks of polylogism could etatism gain a hold on the modern mind.

    Polylogism is so inherently nonsensical that it cannot be carried consistently to its ultimate logical consequences. No Marxian was bold enough to draw all the conclusions that his own epistemological viewpoint would require. The principle of polylogism would lead to the inference that Marxian teachings also are not objec­tively true but are only “ideological” statements. But the Marxians deny it. They claim for their own doctrines the character of abso­lute truth. Thus Dietzgen teaches that “the ideas of proletarian logic are not party ideas but the outcome of logic pure and sim­ple.” The proletarian logic is not “ideology” but absolute logic. Present-day Marxians, who label their teachings the sociology of knowledge, give proof of the same inconsistency.

    We may reasonably assume as hypothesis that man’s mental abilities are the outcome of his bodily features. Of course, we can­not demonstrate the correctness of this hypothesis, but neither is it possible to demonstrate the correctness of the opposite view as ex­pressed in the theological hypothesis. We are forced to recognize that we do not know how out of physiological processes thoughts result. We have some vague notions of the detrimental effects pro­duced by traumatic or other damage inflicted on certain bodily organs; we know that such damage may restrict or completely de­stroy the mental abilities and functions of men. But that is all. It would be no less than insolent humbug to assert that the natural sciences provide us with any information concerning the alleged diversity of the logical structure of mind. Polylogism cannot be derived from physiology or anatomy or any other of the natural sciences.

    Neither Marxian nor Nazi polylogism ever went further than to declare that the logical structure of mind is different with various classes or races. They never ventured to demonstrate precisely in what the logic of the proletarians differs from the logic of the bour­geois, or in what the logic of the Aryans differs from the logic of the Jews or the British. It is not enough to reject wholesale the Ri­cardian theory of comparative cost or the Einstein theory of rela­tivity by unmasking the alleged racial background of their authors. What is wanted is first to develop a system of Aryan logic different from non-Aryan logic. Then it would be necessary to examine point by point these two contested theories and to show where in their reasoning inferences are made which—although correct from the viewpoint of non-Aryan logic—are invalid from the viewpoint of Aryan logic. And, finally, it should be explained what kind of conclusions the replacement of the non-Aryan inferences by the correct Aryan inferences must lead to. But all this never has been and never can be ventured by anybody. Polylogism, whether Marxian or Aryan, or whatever, has never entered into details.[6]

    Main article: Polylogism

    References

    ↑ 1.0 1.1 Encyclopædia Britannica. “socialism.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online, referenced 2010-07-06.
    ↑ Robert Bradley, Jr. “Market Socialism: A Subjectivist Evaluation” (pdf), The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. V, No. 1 (Winter 1981). Referenced 2010-07-06.
    ↑ Ludwig von Mises. “XXVI. The Impossibility of Economic Calculation under Socialism: Quasi-market”, online version of Human Action, referenced 2010-07-07.
    ↑ David Gordon. “Gray’s Anatomy: Selected Writings”, Mises Daily, September 10, 2009. Referenced 2011-03-06.
    ↑ 5.0 5.1 Murray N. Rothbard. “The End of Socialism and the Calculation Debate Revisited”, Mises Daily, reposted from The Review of Austrian Economics in 1991. Referenced 2010-07-07.
    ↑ Ludwig von Mises. “Omnipotent Government: The Peculiar Characteristics of German Nationalism” from Omnipotent Government, 6. Polylogism. Referenced 2010-07-09.

    Bibliography

    Heilbroner, Robert (2007). “Socialism”. In Henderson, David R.. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Fund. pp. 466-468. ISBN 978-0-86597-665-8. OCLC 123350134.
    Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (2007). A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-933550-73-2. OCLC 664723901.
    Mises, Ludwig von (2009). Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-933550-51-0. OCLC 747266802.

    External links

    Socialism at Wikipedia
    Socialism by Robert Heilbroner at The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian by George Reisman, November 2005
    Why Intellectuals Still Support Socialism by Peter G. Klein, November 2006
    The Intellectuals and Socialism (pdf) by F.A. Hayek, 1949
    Socialism and Famine by Henry Hazlitt, August 1964
    National Socialism by Ralph Reiland, September 1998
    Socialism vs. Market Exchange by Ludwig von Mises, August 2002
    Socialism versus European Democracy by Ludwig von Mises, 1943
    Nationalism and Socialism by Faustino Ballve, March 2008
    Nazism is Socialism by Adam Young, September 2001
    The Nature of Socialism by Mateusz Machaj, January 2010
    Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism by Ludwig von Mises, 1950
    Socialist Calculation by Friedrich A. Hayek (excerpted from Individualism and Economic Order)
    Socialism as a Reaction to State Corruption by Anders Mikkelsen, September 2010
    Communism in Capital Markets by Illana Mercer, October 2002
    Collectivism (video) by Milton Friedman
    http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Socialism

  84. Torcer says:

    Socialism
    Socialism is the system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; it also refers to the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice.

    Origins

    The origins of socialism as a political movement lie in the Industrial Revolution. Its intellectual roots, however, reach back almost as far as recorded thought — even as far as Moses, according to one history of the subject. Socialist or communist ideas certainly play an important part in the ideas of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, whose Republic depicts an austere society in which men and women of the “guardian” class share with each other not only their few material goods but also their spouses and children. Early Christian communities also practiced the sharing of goods and labour, a simple form of socialism subsequently followed in certain forms of monasticism. Several monastic orders continue these practices today.

    Christianity and Platonism were combined in More’s Utopia, which apparently recommends communal ownership as a way of controlling the sins of pride, envy, and greed. Land and houses are common property on More’s imaginary island of Utopia, where everyone works for at least two years on the communal farms and people change houses every 10 years so that no one develops pride of possession. Money has been abolished, and people are free to take what they need from common storehouses. All the Utopians live simply, moreover, so that they are able to meet their needs with only a few hours of work a day, leaving the rest for leisure.

    More’s Utopia is not so much a blueprint for a socialist society as it is a commentary on the failings he perceived in the supposedly Christian societies of his day. Religious and political turmoil, however, soon inspired others to try to put utopian ideas into practice. Common ownership was one of the aims of the brief Anabaptist regime in the Westphalian city of Münster during the Protestant Reformation, and several communist or socialist sects sprang up in England in the wake of the Civil Wars (1642–51). Chief among them was the Diggers, whose members claimed that God had created the world for people to share, not to divide and exploit for private profit. When they acted on this belief by digging and planting on land that was not legally theirs, they ran afoul of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate, which forcibly disbanded them.

    Whether utopian or practical, these early visions of socialism were largely agrarian. This remained true as late as the French Revolution, when the journalist François-Noël Babeuf and other radicals complained that the Revolution had failed to fulfill the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Adherence to “the precious principle of equality,” Babeuf argued, requires the abolition of private property and common enjoyment of the land and its fruits. Such beliefs led to his execution for conspiring to overthrow the government. The publicity that followed his trial and death, however, made him a hero to many in the 19th century who reacted against the emergence of industrial capitalism.[1]
    Economic calculation debate

    Main article: Economic calculation problem

    The seeds of the calculation debate had been planted by a host of economists before Ludwig von Mises posed the central question “in such a form as to make it impossible that it should ever again disappear.” Mises’ article, adapted from a lecture of a year earlier, appeared in the spring of 1920 entitled “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” (pdf). The famous challenge of Mises was uncompromising and to the point: “Where there is no free market, there is no pricing mechanism: without a pricing mechanism, there is no economic calculation.” Two years later the argument was enlarged in a wide-ranging critique of socialism, entitled Die Gemeinwirtschaft (“Socialism”, html, pdf).

    The main effect of Mises’ arguments has been best summed up by the renowned socialist economist Oskar Lange: “It was [Mises’] powerful challenge that forced the socialists to recognize the importance of an adequate system of economic accounting in a socialist economy. Even more, it was chiefly due to Professor Mises’ challenge that many socialists became aware of the very existence of such a problem.” But the real effect, was to force the socialists to retreat from a pure advocacy of Marxian socialism to a compromise watered down with “competitive” infusions-market socialism.[2]

    Even if the socialists have been able to create a mighty army of citizens all eager to do the bidding of their masters, what exactly would the socialist planners tell this army to do? How would they know what products to order their eager slaves to produce, at what stage of production, how much of the product at each stage, what techniques or raw materials to use in that production and how much of each, and where specifically to locate all this production? How would they know their costs, or what process of production is or is not efficient?

    In any economy more complex than the Crusoe or primitive family level, the socialist planning board would simply not know what to do, or how to answer any of these vital questions. Developing the momentous concept of calculation, Mises pointed out that the planning board could not answer these questions because socialism would lack the indispensable tool that private entrepreneurs use to appraise and calculate: the existence of a market in the means of production, a market that brings about money prices based on genuine profit-seeking exchanges by private owners of these means of production. Since the very essence of socialism is collective ownership of the means of production, the planning board would not be able to plan, or to make any sort of rational economic decisions. Its decisions would necessarily be completely arbitrary and chaotic, and therefore the existence of a socialist planned economy is literally “impossible” (to use a term long ridiculed by Mises’s critics).

    In the course of intense discussion throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the socialist economists were honest enough to take Mises’s criticism seriously, and to throw in the towel on most traditional socialist programs: in particular, the original communist vision that workers, not needing such institutions as bourgeois money fetishism, would simply produce and place their products on some vast socialist heap, with everyone simply taking from that heap “according to his needs.”

    The socialist economists also abandoned the Marxian variant that everyone should be paid according to the labor time embodied into his product. In contrast, what came to be known as the Lange-Lerner solution, acclaimed by virtually all economists, asserted that the socialist planning board could easily resolve the calculation problem by ordering its various managers to fix accounting prices. Then, according to the contribution of Professor Fred M. Taylor, the central planning board could find the proper prices in much the same way as the capitalist market: trial and error. Thus, given a stock of consumer goods, if the accounting prices are set too low, there will be a shortage, and the planners will raise prices until the shortage disappears and the market is cleared. If, on the other hand, prices are set too high, there will be a surplus on the shelves, and the planners will lower the price, until the markets are cleared. The solution is simplicity itself!

    Set aside the obvious absurdity of trusting a coercive governmental monopoly to act somehow as if it were in “perfect competition” with parts of itself. Another grievous flaw in the Lange model is thinking that general equilibrium, a world of certainty where there is no room for the driving force of entrepreneurship, can somehow be used to depict the real world. The actual world is one not of changeless “givens” but of incessant change and systemic uncertainty. Because of this uncertainty, the capitalist entrepreneur, who stakes assets and resources in attempting to achieve profits and avoid losses, becomes the crucial actor in the economic system, an actor who can in no way be portrayed by a world of general equilibrium. Furthermore, it is ludicrous, as Hayek pointed out, to think of general equilibrium as the only legitimate “theory,” with all other areas or problems dismissed as mere matters of practicality and degree. No economic theory worth its salt can be worthwhile if it omits the role of the entrepreneur in an uncertain world. The “equations” are not simply excellent theory that faces problems in practice; for in order to be “good,” a theory must be useful in explaining real life.

    Moreover, in his later rebuttal to the champions of the Pareto-Barone equations, Mises points out that the crucial problem is not simply that the economy is not and can never be in the general equilibrium state described by these differential equations. In addition to other grave problems with the equilibrium model (e.g.: that the socialist planners do not now know their value scales in future equilibrium; that money and monetary exchange cannot fit into the model; that units of productive factors are neither perfectly divisible nor infinitesimal-and that marginal utilities, of different people cannot be equated-on the market or anywhere else), the equations “do not provide any information about the human actions by means of which the hypothetical state of equilibrium” has been or can be reached. In short, the equations offer no information whatever on how to get from the existing disequilibrium state to the general equilibrium goal.

    Another grave flaw in the Lange-Taylor trial-and-error approach is that it concentrates on consumer goods pricing. It is true that retailers, given the stock of a certain type of good, can clear the market by adjusting the prices of that good upward or downward. But, as Mises pointed out in his original 1920 article, consumers goods are not the real problem. Consumers, these “market socialists” are postulating, are free to express their values by using money they had earned on a range of consumers’ goods. Even the labor market — at least in principle — can be treated as a market with self-owning suppliers who are free to accept or reject bids for their labor and to move to different occupations. The real problem, as Mises has insisted from the beginning, is in all the intermediate markets for land and capital goods. Producers have to use land and capital resources to decide what the stocks of the various consumer goods should be. Here there are a huge number of markets where the State monopoly can only be both buyer and seller for each transaction, and these intra-monopoly, intra-state transactions permeate the most vital markets of an advanced economy — the complex lattice-work of the capital markets. And here is precisely where calculational chaos necessarily reigns, and there is no way for rationality to intrude on the immense number of decisions on the allocation of prices and factors of production in the structure of capital goods.

    Mises discussed in Human Action the “trial-and-error” method, and pointed out that this process only works in the capitalist market. There the entrepreneurs are strongly motivated to make greater profits and to avoid losses, and further, such a criterion does not apply to the capital goods or land market under socialism where all resources are controlled by one entity, the government.

    This was a critique, not only of socialism, but of the entire Walrasian general equilibrium model. The major fallacy of the “market socialists,” Mises pointed out, is that they look at the economic problem from the point of view of the manager of the individual firm, who seeks to make profits or avoid losses within a rigid framework of a given, external allocation of capital to each of the various branches of industry and indeed to the firm itself. In other words, the “market socialist” manager is akin, not to the real driving force of the capitalist market, the capitalist entrepreneur, but rather to the relatively economically insignificant manager of the corporate firm under capitalism.

    They consider the structure of industrial production and the allocation of capital to the various branches and production aggregates as rigid, and do not take into account the necessity of altering this structure in order to adjust it to changes in conditions. They fail to realize that the operations of the corporate officers consist merely in the loyal execution of the tasks entrusted to them by their bosses, the shareholders. The operations of the managers, their buying and selling, are only a small segment of the totality of market operations. The market of the capitalist society also performs those operations which allocate the capital goods to the various branches of industry. The entrepreneurs and capitalists establish corporations and other firms, enlarge or reduce their size, dissolve them or merge them with other enterprises; they buy and sell the shares and bonds of already existing and of new corporations; they grant, withdraw, and recover credits; in short they perform all those acts the totality of which is called the capital and money market. It is these financial transactions of promoters and speculators that direct production into those channels in which it satisfies the most urgent wants of the consumers in the best possible way.

    But no “market socialist” has ever suggested preserving or carrying over, much less understood the importance of, the specifically entrepreneurial functions of capitalism:

    Nobody has ever suggested that the socialist commonwealth could invite the promoters and speculators to continue their speculations and then deliver their profits to the common chest. Those suggesting a quasi-market for the socialist system have never wanted to preserve the stock and commodity exchanges, the trading in futures, and the bankers and money-lenders as quasi-institutions. One cannot play speculation and investment. The speculators and investors expose their own wealth, their own destiny. This fact makes them responsible to the consumers, the ultimate bosses of the capitalist economy. If one relieves them of this responsibility, one deprives them of their very character. They are no longer businessmen, but just a group of men to whom the director has handed over his main task, the supreme direction of the conduct of affairs. Then they–and not the nominal director–become the true directors and have to face the same problem the nominal director could not solve: the problem of calculation.[3]

    For Mises, in short, the key to the capitalist market economy and its successful functioning is the entrepreneurial forecasting and decision-making of private owners and investors. The key is emphatically not the more minor decisions made by corporate managers within a framework already set by entrepreneurs and the capital markets.

    For Hayek, the major problem for the socialist planning board is its lack of knowledge. Without a market, the socialist planning board has no means of knowing the value-scales of the consumers, or the supply of resources or available technologies. The capitalist economy is, for Hayek, a valuable means of disseminating knowledge from one individual to another through the pricing “signals” of the free market. A static, general equilibrium economy would be able to overcome the Hayekian problem of dispersed knowledge, since eventually all data would come to be known by all, but the ever-changing, uncertain data of the real world prevents the socialist planning board from acquiring such knowledge. The knowledge which is yielded by market-pricing cannot be collected by a central authority or programmed into a mechanical device, not just because it is too complex, but rather because it is knowledge given only in use. Unhampered markets transmit this knowledge, which is otherwise irretrievable, dispersed in millions of people.[4]

    Hence, as is usual for Hayek, the argument for the free economy and against statism rests on an argument from ignorance. But to Mises the central problem is not “knowledge.” He explicitly points out that even if the socialist planners knew perfectly, and eagerly wished to satisfy, the value priorities of the consumers, and even if they enjoyed a perfect knowledge of all resources and all technologies, they still would not be able to calculate, for lack of a price system of the means of production.

    In a critique of socialism by Professor Georg Halm:

    Because capital is no longer owned by many private persons, but by the community, which itself disposes of it directly, a rate of interest can no longer be determined. A pricing process is always possible only when demand and supply meet in a market…. In the socialist economy … there can be no demand and no supply when the capital from the outset is in the possession of its intending user, in this case the socialistic central authority. Now it might perhaps be suggested that, since the rate of interest cannot be determined automatically, it should be fixed by the central authority. But this likewise would be quite impossible. It is true that the central authority would know quite well how many capital goods of a given kind it possessed or could procure…; it would know the capacity of the existing plant in the various branches of production; but it would not know how scarce capital was. For the scarcity of means of production must always be related to the demand for them, whose fluctuations give rise to variations in the value of the good in question… If it should be objected that a price for consumption-goods would be established, and that in consequence the intensity of the demand and so the value of the means of production would be determinate, this would be a further serious mistake…. The demand for means of production, labor and capital goods, is only indirect.

    Halm then adds that the central authority, contrary to his above concession, would not even be able to find out how much capital it is employing. For capital goods are heterogeneous, and therefore how “can the total plant of one factory be compared with that of another? How can a comparison be made between the values of even only two capital-goods?” In short, while under capitalism such comparisons can be made by means of money prices set on the market for every good, in the socialist economy the absence of genuine money prices arising out of a market precludes any such value comparisons. Hence, there is also no way for a socialist system to rationally estimate the costs (which are dependent on prices in factor markets) of any process of production.

    But the decisive rebuttal has been leveled by Mises in Human Action: the Soviet Union and Eastern European economies were not fully socialist because they were, after all, islands in a world capitalist market. The communist planners were therefore able, albeit clumsily and imperfectly, to use prices set by world markets as indispensable guidelines for the pricing and allocation of capital resources.

  85. Torcer says:

    The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
    The Basic Principles of Socialism
    1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (i.e. land, factories, railways, etc) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class by whose labour alone wealth is produced.

    “You take my life if you do take the means whereby I live”, wrote Shakespeare. This is precisely the position today for the great majority of people. The means whereby they live — society’s natural and industrial resources — are monopolized by a minority who thus form a privileged class. This is the basis of present-day society the world over, In countries like Britain this class monopoly takes the form mainly of legal property titles granted to individuals. In countries like Russia the predominant form is actual control of access to the means of production through control of the State. But, whatever the form, the position of the excluded, non-owning majority is basically the same; to live they must sell their mental and physical energies for a wage or salary; they are dependent on the owning class for a livelihood. But more. They also produce all the wealth of society, including that consumed by the owning class. So they, like the slaves of the ancient world, work to maintain in privilege and dominance a minority class who monopolize the means of production; they are, in short, wage slaves. Because they produce the wealth of society they are properly called the working class. A word of caution is in order here.: The term “working class” is often used in ordinary conversation in a narrower sense than this, to mean industrial workers only. But in the scientific sense used here it is much broader than this and includes all those who depend on a wage or salary to live, irrespective of the kind of job they are employed to do. So the vast majority of those who are popularly regarded as “middle class”, professional and white collar employees of all kinds, are really working class. In fact the middle class is a myth. In the industrialized parts of the world there are only two classes: this working class, comprising over 90 per cent of the population, and the monopolizing or capitalist class (so called because they use the means of production as capital, that is, to extract from the labour of the producers a profit which is accumulated as more capital).

    2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce, and those who produce but do not possess.

    Built-in to present-day society is a struggle between these two classes over the possession and use of the means of production. The one, using political power and ideology, to maintain its dominant position; the other, at first somewhat blindly and without fully realizing it, struggling against it. At the moment the obvious signs of the class struggle are trade-union negotiations and strikes when workers bargain over how much they shall be allowed to have of the wealth they produce. But the class struggle is not about the division of the newly-produced wealth between wages and profits; it is about the ownership and control of the means of production themselves, as the next Principle makes clear.

    3. That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into the common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.

    The class struggle will only end when the working class take over the ownership and control of the means of production from the capitalist class (a political act, as a later Principle explains). This done, classes are abolished and the means of production become common property under the democratic control of all the people; Socialism has been established. So ultimately the class struggle is a struggle over whether there should be capitalism or Socialism, class or common ownership of the means of production, with the working class championing common ownership, even though at first they don’t realise this.

    4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.

    “The history of all hitherto existing society”, wrote Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, “is a history of class struggles”. Like everything else, human society has been subject to constant change. The basis of any society is the way its members are organized to produce and reproduce their basic conditions of life. This has two aspects, the actual technical methods of production and the social relations of production by which classes are defined according to how they stand with regard to the control and use of the means of production. As technology develops, so this social organization of production changes too: old classes lose their dominant position as new classes, based on new more productive methods, arise to challenge them. In the course of history, at least in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, class society has evolved, very broadly, through the following states: ancient slave society, feudalism and now capitalism. The presently dominant capitalist class, the last class to have won its freedom, had to fight its way to power against the landed aristocracy whose power rested on their private ownership of the land, the main means of production till the growth of modern industry. But the revolutions in which the capitalist class seized power — Britain in 1688, France in 1789 — were, despite all their talk of “freedom” and “liberty”, changes from rule by one minority class to rule by another minority class. The mass of the people remained unfree, downtrodden and exploited; these were later to develop into the modern wage-earning working class of today. This working class is now itself engaged in a struggle for its freedom. Its struggle is not simply one to replace one ruling class by another since, as we saw, the working class can only free itself by establishing the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, so abolishing all classes (including itself). The working class can only achieve its freedom by establishing a classless society in which every member of society, no matter what their race or nationality or sex, will stand in the same position with regard to the control and use of the means of production and will have an equal say in the way social affairs are conducted. This is why Socialism necessarily involves what is called “women’s liberation”, “black liberation”, “national liberation”, etc. and why all other oppressed groups; should recognise that they are the working class and struggle for Socialism, a frontierless world community where the resources of the world, natural and industrial, will become the common heritage of all mankind;

    5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.

    This is the shortest, but perhaps the most important Socialist Principle. It expresses the fact that Socialism can only be established by the action of the working class (remember, all those compelled to work for a wage or salary). It is a decisive rejection of all leadership and an assertion of confidence in the ability of the working class to act for itself and work out its own salvation without needing to be guided by condescending or “intellectual” leaders or vanguards. History shows that leadership a conscious minority at the head of an unconscious majority — has been the feature of those revolutions that have merely transferred power from one minority ruling class to another, as was the case in France in 1789 and again in Russia in 1917, The very nature of Socialism, as a society based on common ownership run by and for all the people, means that it can only be established by people who have already learned to do without leaders and to manage their affairs democratically. Socialism cannot be established by an élite, but only by a conscious, participating working class. ‘

    6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exist only to conserve the monopoly of the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.

    The establishment of Socialism must be a political act. Not in the sense of being legislated into being by professional politicians (or of being legislated into being at all), but in that the socialist-minded and democratically – organized working class will have to use political power to do it. For one simple reason. Once the vast majority of workers have become socialist-minded there will only be one obstacle in the way of establishing Socialism: the fact that the machinery of government will still be in the hands of the capitalist class. One of the biggest political myths of today is that governments exist to serve the interest of all the people. In class society this is impossible; the government’s job is to preserve the status quo, to maintain the established basis of society: at the moment, the capitalist class monopoly of the means of production and their exploitation of the working class. Parliament passes laws in the interests of the capitalist class, and the civil service, the courts, and if necessary the armed forces, carry out and enforce those laws. But in countries like Britain Parliament is elected by all the people, the great majority of whom are workers. At the moment, unfortunately, they elect people pledged to maintain and work within capitalism. But it needn’t be like this. Once the workers have become Socialists they will obviously stop electing capitalist politicians and parties. Instead, they will have to think about how to take control of the machinery of government out of the hands of the capitalist class. The way to do this will be to organize themselves in a mass, democratic, Socialist party and to themselves put up candidates for parliament and the local councils. In accordance with the previous principle that “the emancipation of the working class . . . must be the work of the working class itself”, these candidates must be mandated delegates under the strict democratic control of the politically-organized working class outside parliament. Their task will be to carry out the democratically-expressed will of the working class outside Parliament, they will take over the machinery of government, convert it for Socialist use by lopping off its many undemocratic features and then use it to end capitalist ownership and control of the means of production (along with any vestiges of aristocratic privilege, such as the monarchy, that may still be existing at that time). Should there be any attempt on the part of an undemocratic minority to use violence to resist the abolition of capitalism, then the Socialist working-class majority will have to be prepared, as a last resort, to deal with them by employing armed force (suitably re-organized on a democratic basis of course). But there is no question of there being a “socialist government”. This would be an absurd contradiction in terms. The Socialist working class will simply be using the machinery of government for the one purpose of replacing class ownership by common ownership. This done there is no longer any need for a coercive governmental machinery to protect the interest of a ruling class. With the establishment of Socialism government over people gives way to the democratic administration of social affairs by and for all the people.

    7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.

    A political party is an organization seeking to win control of the machinery of government. Since, in the end, such political power can only be used for one of two basic purposes — either to maintain capitalism or to abolish it — then parties either represent the interest of the capitalist class (or rival or would-be sections of it) or they represent the interest of the working class. The major parties in Britain today (and, for that matter, the various minor parties too) all stand for the interest of the capitalist class because they stand for the maintenance of capitalism. They all in practice accept class ownership and production for the market with a view to profit; they all work within and seek only to patch up and reform the capitalist system. For this reason the working-class, socialist political party, envisaged by the previous Principle, must be uncompromisingly opposed to all other parties.’

    8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action, determined to wage, war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.

    The Socialist Party of Great Britain, as the one uncompromising, Socialist, working-class party operating in Britain, declares its opposition to all other British political parties and calls on the working class here to join with a view to quickly establishing Socialism, a society of freedom and equality in which no one will go without adequate food, clothing or shelter. Socialism of course cannot be established in Britain, but the working class in any particular nation-state must organize to take control of that State out of the hands of its capitalist class. At the same time as the Socialist Party is organizing here so will similar Socialist parties be organizing in the other countries of the world. At a certain stage these Socialist parties will unite as a world socialist movement — and, most likely, a single World Socialist Party — to co-ordinate the final establishment of world Socialism.

    Adam Buick
    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1970s/1973/no-827-july-1973/basic-principles-socialism

  86. Torcer says:

    State Capitalism – Why the USSR Wasn’t Socialist – Amy Leather …
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0NmhFO31Y8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0NmhFO31Y8

    Aug 27, 2012 … State Capitalism – Why the USSR Wasn’t Socialist – Amy Leather. swpTvUk.

  87. Torcer says:

    Is Cuba Really a Socialist Country?
    August 24, 2011
    HAVANA TIMES, August 23 — If there’s one thing I understand clearly, it’s that I wouldn’t like to live in a country that wasn’t my own, nor one under a capitalist regime. But what’s capitalism, really? And is Cuba truly a socialist country?

    These are questions I ask myself over and over again, because every year that goes by I realize that our way of life isn’t changing. We’re a people stuck in time.

    I’m 38 and I’ve never traveled abroad, and I don’t know my country very well either. Practically all I know about capitalism is what I see on TV. But then too, I remember my grandmother’s anecdotes; she used to tell me about life under the Batista dictatorship, about stores full of food and clothes…for those who could afford them.

    That was capitalism.

    But what can I say about present-day Cuba if when you go into a hard currency “dollar stores” — almost always spellbinding with their rows of glittering goods and colorful signs — and you find them packed with food and clothes…for those who can afford them.

    The problem is that many of us don’t have someone abroad who can send us money to help out with our expenses. The little that an ordinary worker can afford at a dollar store are basic toiletries, the cheapest items, which on today’s salaries are impossible if you have children depending on you. Likewise, if you have a sick relative who needs things like fruit, milk, meat and juices, which are very expensive.

    When I was working my salary was always 12 pesos a day ($0.50 USD), meaning that though I work eight hours a day, my monthly pay isn’t enough for the most basic necessities. I don’t even think about buying a sweater, a pair of shorts or some flip-flops.

    Nor does my check give me the pleasure of buying pork, because right now it costs 40 pesos a pound, enough for three sandwiches, which is way too expensive given my other expenses.

    You can still get six pounds of rice off the ration book, but that’s not enough to last a month either. Nor are the beans – they give each person around a pound a month, just enough for about one lunch and a dinner.

    To really understand, it’s necessary to be in Cuba, to experience Havana. You’d have to live with any family for it all to register.

    Today’s Cuban isn’t interested in anything else other than “struggling” for their family. The fact is that they don’t know much about politics; it’s all about struggling to bring home food for you and yours.

    What’s sad is that as time goes by, we’re growing older here without even being able to dream about the situation changing. In fact, I believe that Cubans have stopped having dreams of the future, since through day-to-day life we recognize that we have very few possibilities, few chances for the young or for those who aren’t so young. That’s where we’re at; and we’ve been there for a good while.

    Watching TV we’re able to keep up with the economic crisis hitting Europe. They report to us over and over again about other people’s deaths and miseries. But now I wonder, what about our misery? How much longer will our crisis last?
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=49416

  88. Torcer says:

    ……………………………………….

    Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf
    (English translation)
    TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION

    Finally, I would point out that the term Social Democracy may be misleading in English, as it has not a democratic connotation in our sense. It was the name given to the Socialist Party in Germany. And that Party was purely Marxist; but it adopted the name Social Democrat in order to appeal to the democratic sections of the German people.

    JAMES MURPHY.
    Abbots Langley, February, 1939
    http://www.magister.msk.ru/library/politica/hitla002.htm

  89. Torcer says:

    1966, 1917, and 1818:
    ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’
    by Bernard D’Mello

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia. And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries. The three anniversaries will doubtless be occasions when, illuminated by their vision of a decent human society, the works of Marx and his close comrade and friend Friedrich Engels will be re-interrogated. Surely questions will be asked as to why subsequent socialist revolutionaries inspired by that vision — most of all, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades in Russia, and Mao Zedong and his close comrades in China — despite their best efforts, could not lay the basis for a socialist society — a society of equality, cooperation, community and solidarity.1

    ‘Bombard the Headquarters’

    The March 1966 issue of Red Flag, the theoretical political journal of the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried an article on “The Great Lessons of the Paris Commune” of 1871, explaining how one can learn from the communards as to how to prevent the party-state bureaucracy from repudiating their assigned role of “serving the people” and instead becoming the masters of the people. This theme of the Paris Commune was picked up and communicated on 25 May with a big character poster (BCP) from Beijing University that boldly declared the need for a “Chinese Paris Commune,” the significance of which, the poster claimed, “surpasses” that of the original Paris Commune. Indeed, this BCP won Mao’s applause, and on 5 August, he released his own BCP, titled “Bombard the Headquarters.” Then, three days later, on 8 August, the Central Committee of the CCP adopted a “Decision . . . Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which, in its view, was “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution,” “to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” The Cultural Revolution also intended to “transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base.”

    Indeed, if one goes by this Central Committee decision, which came to be known as “the 16 points,” there was an expression of the intention “to institute a system of general elections [my emphasis], like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary congresses,” which were to be “permanent, standing mass organisations.” Indeed, the Central Committee even intended to give the people the right to recall, a principle of the Paris Commune. The “boldly aroused masses” that it hailed were, of course, the student-intellectual Red Guards and the workers. The workers very soon rose up in early 1967 in China’s main industrial-heartland city, Shanghai, in what came to be known as the “January Storm,” which overthrew the Shanghai municipal government, and, on 5 February at a million-strong rally, proclaimed the formation of the “Shanghai Commune.” Here was the first time that a post-revolutionary society was seriously confronting bureaucratism and elitism, or, at least, initiating radical trial runs in direct democracy to find a viable solution to these problems.2

    Sadly, though, this time Mao did not applaud. Indeed, he summoned the main leaders of the Shanghai Commune, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, to Beijing, called them “anarchists,” and ordered them to disband the commune. Tragically, all the other Paris-type communes in the making also met with premature extinction. Mao’s alternative to the commune was the tripartite “revolutionary committee,” composed of unelected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel, CCP cadres, and representatives of the “revolutionary masses.” Those who held on steadfastly to the Paris Commune-like original ways of the Cultural Revolution were now deprecated and dismissed as the “ultra-left,” to be dealt with harshly by PLA personnel in alliance with rival Red Guard groups.

    Clearly, the fresh shoots of radical democracy were nipped in the bud, and as for those “communards” who persisted, worse was in store. The so-called ultra-left’s time was up. Unprincipled factional strife, excessive violence, personal tragedies, a lot of ugly features, and the cult of “Mao’s thought” — this last being ridiculous and harmful to scientific temper — had muddied the waters. Of course, the context was that of a protracted political struggle between the “capitalist roaders,” headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, and the “proletarian roaders” headed by Mao. But, even as Mao seemed to be in the lead politically, the Liu-Deng faction dominated organisationally, and tactically it even paid lip service to Mao’s thought and ideals. Very soon, the struggle was no longer about what it was meant to be: the student-intellectual Red Guards and workers (both guided by Maoist intellectuals) taking on the elites of the party, the state, and the PLA. The Maoist principles of handling contradictions among the people and those of the “mass line” (the leadership norm, “from the masses, to the masses”) went for a toss.

    Had the voyage through the rough and stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution brought the vessel of the party-state perilously close to shipwreck? Mao retreated. At the Party Congress in April 1969, he justified the pulling back from the Paris Commune-inspired agenda he had himself applauded and decided upon in the 8 August 1966 Central Committee meeting. The Cultural Revolution, in its original form, was over, but Mao promised that the future would bring more cultural revolutions. He probably did not think a “People’s Commune of China” with a commune state was, theoretically and practically, a coherent proposition. So, the powerful and privileged stratum that had emerged in the party, the government, the PLA, the enterprises, the communes, and the educational system, which had developed a stake in maintaining its favoured position and passing it on to its progeny, won the day. But, some of the measures taken to reduce the differences arising from the division of labour between city and countryside, manual and intellectual labour, and management and employees were persisted with, until, of course, the capitalist roaders decisively took over and stymied them.

    Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution’s central idea that political, managerial, and bureaucratic power-holders entrench themselves as a ruling elite and, over a period of time, assume the position of a ruling class, and that the people have to be constantly mobilised to struggle against this tendency should never be forgotten. Even otherwise, and more generally, given the existence of class, patriarchy, racism and caste over millennia, power and compulsion are deeply rooted in social reality. Indeed, they have almost become a part of the basic inherited (but not unchangeable) “human condition,” which leads one to make a very strong case for civil liberties and democratic rights (gained through historic struggles waged by the underdogs) that should not be allowed to be abrogated, come what may.

    At this point, I need to mention that part of the problem faced by the Chinese Maoists existed because the earlier New Democratic Revolution had failed to dismantle the central bureaucratic state. This state had been inherited from Chinese history and had thrived under Chiang Kaishek, whose hierarchical apparatus — administered from the top down and predicated on separation from the people — was taken apart but reconstructed in another bureaucratic form after 1949. Like in any other central bureaucratic state, conformity and loyalty brought promotions, personal well-being, power, prestige and privileges. Even the Cultural Revolution with its attacks on Confucian culture had failed to usher in a modern state, let alone one that could have been a democratic role model as far as the Chinese people were concerned. The earlier agrarian revolution demolished merely the local institutions of semi-feudalism without doing away with the central bureaucratic state, leaving the consolidation of power by the forces of New Democracy incomplete.

    ‘All Power to the Soviets’?

    What about the 1917 revolutions? In the first, the February Revolution, the popular masses overthrew the monarchy and its totalitarian regime, and allowed liberals representing the capitalists and the nobility to form a Provisional Government. The second, the October Revolution, came on the anvil when the workers and soldiers (the latter, mainly peasants) were convinced that their February demands of a democratic republic, radical agrarian reform, renunciation of Russia’s imperialist war aims, taking the country out of World War I, and an eight-hour workday will not see the light of day with the propertied classes in power. In the face of growing counter-revolutionary manoeuvring by those classes, the workers and peasant-soldiers demanded a transfer of power to a government of the Soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies who were elected in the course of the February Revolution. It was the Bolsheviks who, from April-end onwards, repeatedly called for and worked towards the replacement of the Provisional Government with Soviet power, which turned them into a major force that was able to lead the masses to victory in October (November by the Western Julian calendar).

    The “Transition Period” (the period between the political overthrow of capitalism and the consolidation of socialism) that followed was a very difficult one: bloody civil war over four years, imperialist blockades and interventions, massive United States, British, and French military aid to the White armies up to late 1919, lack of food, complete disarray, the workers scattered and decimated. In the face of such circumstances, the Bolsheviks adopted emergency measures — political repression, complete suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights, centralisation and monopoly of power, reliance on the conservative bureaucracy and specialists of the old regime, Taylorism and one-man management of the enterprises — that turned the commune state with the Soviets of 1917 into an authoritarian party-state (dictatorship of the party and the state over the whole people) in late 1918.

    Rosa Luxemburg in Germany, though enthusiastically supportive of October, was among the first of the revolutionary socialists to write that the Russian Revolution — in its suppression of what should have been a democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned — would not lead to socialism. But, she still hoped that October would help ignite social revolutions in the developed capitalist nations, especially in Germany, though tragically, these revolutions were nipped in the bud, leaving the Russian Revolution desperately isolated in an impoverished, war-ridden country. Lenin, in his last writings — he died in 1924, seven years after October — expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people.

    A cultural revolution, so that ultimately an educated, cultured, and enlightened working class might democratically take control of the intended workers’ state? But, this was not to be. The year 1921 had already witnessed the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion and the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party; 1927, the defeat of the left opposition; 1929-30, the forced collectivisation that broke the worker-peasant alliance; and the 1930s saw political trials and purges, especially the Great Purge of 1937-38 — all of which paved the way for the defeat of the socialist project.

    At this point, I think I need to add something. Bourgeois revolutions are, comparatively speaking, less difficult compared to socialist revolutions. The former simply put in place a capitalist “superstructure” — institutions of the capitalist state, law, education, culture and ideology — to match an already existing capitalist economic base. Moreover, the original (“primitive”) accumulation of capital has already taken place. The socialist revolution, in sharp contrast, not only has to dismantle the capitalist superstructure and put in place a socialist superstructure, but it has no prior developing socialist economic base already in place, and therefore has to create this too, de novo. All this makes the transition period in the aftermath of the seizure of power more complex and difficult to successfully carry through.

    Moreover, in Russia, the February Revolution was not followed by the institutionalisation of a capitalist superstructure, for it was rapidly surpassed by October. The subsequent immediate superstructure of the transition period was, thus, not a capitalist-socialist hybrid, with the former being rapidly superseded. In fact, when the transition project following October suffered severe setbacks, what was left was much of the previous tsarist superstructure. The envisaged democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned was a far cry. Much of what happened was perhaps against the will and intentions of most of the original Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    ‘Revolutionary Practice’

    About 1818, in desperate brevity, regarding Marx’s revolutionary ideas, we need to articulate the essence of the last and the third of the “Theses on Feuerbach,” penned by the young Marx in 1845.3 The purpose of struggling to gain a thorough understanding of the world — which is what Marx spent his whole working life doing, and which was a deep struggle, this through “learning truth from practice” — was to lay the basis for revolutionary change. Learning truth from practice, of course, means, as Paul M Sweezy once wrote, learning truth “from history, from economics and politics, from culture in the broadest sense — in a word, from the real world of social relations and class struggle, as distinct from the imaginary worlds of revelation and pure thought.”

    The creation of a decent human society might ultimately come about, after many defeats and setbacks, but only in a process of struggle by people, ordinary people, who may not as yet be ready to emancipate themselves, but who can become capable of emancipating themselves by repeatedly launching and sustaining revolutionary struggles. Marx expected that the transitional period between capitalism and socialism would witness a negation of capitalism, which would develop its own positive identity through a revolutionary struggle in which ordinary people would remake society and in the process remake themselves.

    It must, however, be remembered that the workers, more generally, the masses (the majority), the ones who Marx and Engels expected would emancipate themselves in the course of remaking society, are society’s foremost productive force, but the advance of their capabilities is hindered by the relations of production (exploitative relations at work, and ownership relations that bestow capitalist control over the forces of production and the product) and corresponding educational, health, and cultural deprivations they are made to suffer. In the circumstances, the guiding and leading role of middle-class revolutionaries in the vanguard party is indispensable until an enlightened working class emerges, of course, with the proviso that the middle-class educators must themselves be educated by “learning truth from practice.”

    ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom’

    The anniversaries of 1966, 1917, and 1818 call for hard questioning. For instance, why did Lenin and his close Bolshevik comrades, when the harsh conditions of civil war and imperialist intervention had abated, not bring back the Soviets to fulfil the role Lenin had assigned to the commune in his State and Revolution? Why did Mao desert the “communards” in the course of the Cultural Revolution, after, at first, applauding them? Was the view of Marx and Engels of the Paris Commune really an embryonic form of a coherent workers’ state? Perhaps it is time we discard the halo around these three “prophetic” intellectuals once and for all. Marx, Lenin and Mao would never have claimed that they had said the last word on anything. Did Marx not write, in part, unadulterated twaddle about the Chinese Taipings (in Die Presse, Vienna, 7 July 1862) influenced as he seemed to be by official British propaganda?

    But, on a more serious note, though he was light-heartedly responding to his daughters Laura and Jenny Marx’s questions, Marx once “confessed” that it was his “favourite motto” to “doubt everything.” Clearly, in approaching all the serious questions that the anniversaries throw up, we should ask how Marx himself would have reacted if he were alive, for here was a brilliant intellectual, passionate about making a contribution to a worldwide struggle to liberate humanity from the miseries of capitalist exploitation, domination, and oppression. In the spirit of mutual learning, the best approach to the three commemorations would be to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” I, however, do not want to hide the unacceptable under the carpet. Given the vast divide between Leninist political theory and the reformist political practice of the Indian communist parties wedded to parliamentarianism, the necessity of smashing the rotten bourgeois state is being paid no heed to. Lenin in theory, Kautsky in practice! “Bombard the headquarters” might indeed be the need of the hour.

    Notes

    1 This piece first took shape in the form of what would have been an unsigned editorial to mark the 50 years of the Cultural Revolution in China, but I had to rewrite it as a “Commentary.” I have retained part of the editorial form and eschewed “References,” but need to add that I draw from essays in What Is Maoism and Other Essays (edited and with an Introduction by me; Kharagpur: Cornerstone Publications, 2010), by Paul M Sweezy, Ralph Miliband, William Hinton, and my own essay. The other pieces that I draw from are my “Did Lenin and Mao Forsake Marx?” (Economic & Political Weekly, 29 May 2010), Hugh Deane’s “Mao: A Lamentation” (Science & Society, Spring 1995), and William Hinton’s “The Chinese Revolution: Was It Necessary? Was It Successful? Is It Still Going On?” (Monthly Review, November 1991). More generally, the influence of Paul M Sweezy’s and William Hinton’s works is perhaps the most marked.

    2 Of course, the leaders of the Shanghai Commune were neither democratically elected, nor were mechanisms put in place for the people to control them, nor did the people have the “right to recall” them, all three of which were basic democratic principles of the Paris Commune.

    3 The last, the 11th thesis, the famous one, reads: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.” And, the third, not that famous but equally important, thesis, in part, reads: “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be educated. . . . The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.”
    Bernard D’Mello (bernard@epw.in) is on the editorial staff of the Economic & Political Weekly and is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. This article first appeared in Economic & Political Weekly 51.33 (August 13, 2016).

  90. Torcer says:

    About Monthly Review
    “At a time when many people have fallen into despair, when our opponents seem invulnerable, it’s critical to have a magazine that challenges us to think, inspires us to action, and makes us realize that the impossible is only difficult, not insurmountable. That magazine is Monthly Review.”
    —Danny Glover

    HISTORY — Monthly Review began publication in New York City in May 1949. The first issue featured the lead article “Why Socialism?” by Albert Einstein. From the beginning, Monthly Review spoke for a critical but spirited socialism, independent of any political organization. In an era of Cold War repression, the magazine published pioneering analyses of political economy, imperialism, and Third World struggles, drawing on the rich legacy of Marxist thought without being bound to any narrow view or party line. The McCarthy-led inquisition targeted MR‘s original editors, economists Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman, who fought back successfully. Against these odds, the magazine’s readership and influence grew steadily, and in 1952, Monthly Review Press published its first title, I. F. Stone’s Hidden History of the Korean War.

    In the subsequent 1960s upsurge against capitalism, imperialism, and inequality, MR played a global role. A generation of activists received no small part of their education as subscribers to the magazine and readers of Monthly Review Press books. In the decades since, which have seen the rise of neoliberalism and successive capitalist crises, MR has kept its commitment both to radical critique and to the building of a just economy and society.

    For a more detailed look at MR‘s long history, please consult this essay, published in 1999 on the occasion of the magazine’s fiftieth anniversary.

    “Monthly Review can show an impressive record of committed left publishing. Through the thick and thin of American politics it has continued to carry the standard of thoughtful and critical radicalism. International in scope, it has combined the best of the old left with creative insights of new social movements.”

    —Sheila Rowbotham

    In its more than sixty-five-year history, Monthly Review has had only six editors. The original editors were Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman. After Huberman’s death in 1968, Harry Magdoff joined Sweezy as coeditor, and together they led the magazine for the next thirty years. Ellen Meiksins Wood served as editor from 1997 to 2000, and in May 2000, John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney took over primary editorial duties. Founding editor Paul Sweezy died in 2004, and later that year, Robert W. McChesney ceased to be formally designated as an editor, while continuing as a contributor and a Director of the Monthly Review Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports both MR and Monthly Review Press. Harry Magdoff died in 2006, and a special issue focusing on his contribution to the understanding of capitalism and imperialism appeared in October 2006.

    TODAY — Under the current editorial committee, led by John Bellamy Foster, the magazine continues its long tradition of analyzing what is new with the equally vital task of seeing the longer process. That tradition, as summarized by Paul Sweezy, is to see “the present as history.” In 2006, MR began a daily web magazine, MRzine, featuring a broad range of articles, reviews, and commentary.

    Revenues from subscriptions and the book sales have always fallen short of the demands on MR‘s resources. The contributions and gifts of a global community of several thousand people sustain MR. Today the magazine makes most of its articles available for free online, and our daily web magazine has attracted a substantial and growing readership. If you have found our website of value, please consider subscribing to the magazine or, better yet, becoming an Associate.
    http://monthlyreview.org/about/

  91. Torcer says:

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics via @returnofkings

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics
    First, understand that capitalism is NOT an option. It’s not an “opinion.” It’s not a “belief.” It’s not a “theory.”

    It’s a law.
    You have no choice but to abide by it just as you have no choice to abide by gravity.

    You may not “like” that statement. You may not agree with it, but none of that changes the fact that the economic phenomenon known as “capitalism” or “free markets” has naturally formed within humanity throughout it’s entire history.
    [..]
    Government as a means of protection rather than production

    All economic success derives from the protection and enforcement or private property. Understand that governments do not produce anything of economic value. The only thing that can produce something of economic value is people. Without a people, there is no point or purpose to have a government. But how do you incentivize the people to produce?

    Well, in the olden days you captured them and made them slaves, threatening them with torture, beatings, starvation, and death. Today, obviously, we need a new incentive. Enter private property.

    If I’m not a slave, I’m allowed to keep the majority of the fruits of my labor. This income will go to pay for necessary things like food, clothing, and shelter, but any excess earnings can be saved up and used to buy assets. These assets are also called “wealth,” and if I build up enough “wealth” then I can become “rich” and never labor again.

    This is a huge and VITAL cornerstone of capitalism because it provides not just one person, but all people with the key to their own freedom. They are allowed to work as much and as hard as they want, become as rich as they can, all of which invigorates and mobilizes billions of people to produce (resulting in the economic powerhouses of yesteryear western civilization). However, it was all contingent on the legal guarantee that their property would be their own and not confiscated for political purposes.
    http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics

  92. Torcer says:

    Utopias, past and present: why Thomas More remains astonishingly radical
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/10/15/1444924861304/4380b15d-853a-4bb1-8524-b49974a57992-bestSizeAvailable.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=ff9d267e0568f32c71747bb622f3c732

    Thomas More’s Utopia, a book that will be 500 years old next year, is astonishingly radical stuff. Not many lord chancellors of England have denounced private property, advocated a form of communism and described the current social order as a “conspiracy of the rich”. Such men, the book announces, are “greedy, unscrupulous and useless”. There are a great number of noblemen, More complains, who live like drones on the labour of others. Tenants are evicted so that “one insatiable glutton and accursed plague of his native land” may consolidate his fields. Monarchs, he argues, would do well to swear at their inauguration never to have more than 1,000lbs of gold in their coffers. Perhaps this is one reason why Utopia is not bedside reading in Buckingham Palace. Instead of being worshipped, gold and silver should, he suggests, be used to make chamber pots. War is fit only for beasts, and standing armies should be disbanded. Labour should be reduced to a minimum, though the TUC might balk at the suggestion that workers would use some of their leisure time to attend public lectures before daybreak.

    Not all More’s proposals would delight the heart of Jeremy Corbyn. The perfection of his utopia is not tarnished in his view by the fact that it contains slaves. On certain festive days wives would fall down at their husbands’ feet, confessing that they have performed some domestic duty negligently. Adultery would be punished by the strictest form of slavery. One should recall that More, far from being the liberal-cum-existentialist portrayed in Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons, showed not the slightest compunction in torturing and executing heretics. In choosing one’s mate, men should be allowed to see their prospective wives naked, since who wants goods that aren’t on show? Feminists, however, should note that women would enjoy the same prerogative. Brothels would be abolished, but so would alehouses. There would be no lawyers (a generous-hearted proposal, since More was one himself), but no tolerance for those who waste time, either.

    More’s book, in some ways a work of early science fiction, gave rise to a whole new genre of writing. Judging from that literature, there are really two kinds of utopia. There are carnivalesque societies in which, instead of working, everyone will drink, feast and copulate from dawn to dusk. In one such 18th-century fantasy, men and women bereft of all body hair leap naked into fountains, while the progressively minded narrator watches on. Whether his pleasure is entirely theoretical remains unclear.

    There are also more austere utopias, in which everything is odourless and antiseptic, intolerably streamlined and sensible. In these meticulously planned countries of the mind, the natives tend to jaw on for hours about the efficiency of their sanitary arrangements or the ingenuity of their electoral system. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is in some ways an exercise of this kind, as Crusoe, marooned on a desert island, potters about, chopping wood and staking out his enclosure as if he were in the home counties. It is reassuring to see him practising a very English rationality in such exotically unfamiliar circumstances. More’s fantasy is an odd mixture of both visions, rational and libidinal. On the one hand, his ideal society is a high-minded, fairly puritanical place, one likely to appeal to the stereotypical Hampstead vegetarian; on the other hand, its inhabitants are genial, laid-back and agreeably disinclined to do much work.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/16/utopias-past-present-thomas-more-terry-eagleton

  93. Torcer says:

    ……………………………………….

    Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf
    (English translation)
    TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION

    Finally, I would point out that the term Social Democracy may be misleading in English, as it has not a democratic connotation in our sense. It was the name given to the Socialist Party in Germany. And that Party was purely Marxist; but it adopted the name Social Democrat in order to appeal to the democratic sections of the German people.

    JAMES MURPHY.
    Abbots Langley, February, 1939
    http://www.magister.msk.ru/library/politica/hitla002.htm

  94. Torcer says:

    How to Persuade
    Politics is the art of persuasion. The goal is to persuade people to act on your behalf—to vote, to volunteer, to contribute.

    Even though persuasion is central to political success, progressives rarely talk about how to do it better. That’s the point of this book. It suggests how candidates, lawmakers and allies can improve the way they talk about a wide range of issues, from the economy, healthcare and immigrants’ rights, to marriage equality, reproductive rights and gun violence. But no matter the issue, there are three basic principles that make any argument more persuasive.
    First, always begin in agreement with your audience.
    It is extremely rare, in the short term, to change anyone’s belief. Everyone has biases, stereotypes, and other preconceptions that they carry around in their heads. When a new “fact” doesn’t fit people’s preexisting beliefs, they are almost certain to reject the fact, not their preconceptions.

    So to persuade, you have to find a point of agreement and work from there. You need to provide your audience with a bridge from their preconceptions to your solutions. The goal is not to change people’s minds, it is to show them that they agree with you already. The way to begin is by expressing empathy and shared values.

    The most direct and essential method of connecting with voters is to empathize. Demonstrate that you understand their problems and concerns. Voters quite reasonably conclude that you can’t fix their problems if you can’t understand them.

    Before you make your pitch, find out what voters think. If you’re walking door-to-door or talking to individuals one-on-one, ask them what the community needs to fix. If you’re speaking at a meeting, find out the audience’s concerns ahead of time. And obviously, if you’re paying for mass media, research public opinion first.

    You never have to compromise your political principles to demonstrate empathy. Rather, you need to search for some element of the debate where you sincerely agree. For example:

    If a voter complains about taxes (even in a conservative fashion), agree that our tax system is unfair.

    If the voter worries about government budgets (even when there’s really no problem), agree that our government has an obligation to be careful with taxpayer money.

    If the voter is concerned about crime (even in a very low-crime community), agree that personal safety must be a top priority for the government.

    If the voter thinks the neighborhood is going downhill (even when that doesn’t seem to be the case), agree that we need to preserve the quality of life.

    Start any political conversation this way, and then reinforce your empathy with shared values.

    In politics, values are ideals that describe the kind of society we are trying to build. The stereotypical conservative values are small government, low taxes, free markets, strong military and traditional families. It is important to understand that these oversimplified conservative values are extremely popular, and too often progressives have no effective response.

    Here’s how progressives can answer. When you’re talking about an issue where government has no proper role—like free speech, privacy, reproductive health or religion—declare your commitment to freedom or use a similar value from the chart below. When you discuss an issue where government should act as a referee between competing interests—like court proceedings, wages, benefits, subsidies, taxes or education—explain that your position is based on opportunity or a value from that column. When you argue about an issue where government should act as a protector—like crime, retirement, health care, zoning or the environment—stand for security or a similar value.

    Say . . .
    Freedom Opportunity Security
    or similar values: or similar values: or similar values:
    Liberty Equal opportunity Safety; protection
    Privacy Justice; equal justice Quality of life
    Basic rights Fairness; fair share Employment security
    Fundamental rights Level playing field Retirement security
    Religious freedom Every American Health security

    Why . . .
    You can also put these values together and say you stand for “freedom, opportunity and security for all,” a progressive statement of values that polls very well. But more important, it’s an accurate and politically potent description of what we stand for. The right wing favors these principles for some—the affluent. Progressives insist on providing freedom, opportunity and security to each and every American. (For a more detailed discussion of freedom, opportunity and security, see How to Talk About Progressive Values.)

    Empathy and values alone can win over persuadable voters. Let’s say you are a candidate for state legislature and you are asked what you’re going to do to clean up the stream that runs through that neighborhood. Let’s also say it’s not really the state legislature’s job; it’s the county or city that has jurisdiction over the stream.

    A typical progressive candidate would launch into an explanation of the clean water legislation he or she supports. A particularly inept candidate might say the stream is the responsibility of the city or county and there’s little the state can do. A good candidate would start with empathy:
    Say . . .
    I’m running for office because I want to fight for cleaner streams and safer parklands. I’m going to work to protect the quality of life in our community.

    Why . . .

    These are values that you share with every voter: cleaner, safer, and a better quality of life. At this point you are welcome to explain your clean water legislation, but keep it simple; you have probably already won that vote. A persuadable voter is listening for one thing, really: Is this candidate on my side? You’ve already proven that you are.

    Every time you have the opportunity to speak to a persuadable audience, don’t forget to express empathy and values. This is especially true when you are asked a question because that person is focused on what you are saying. Even if the listener disagrees with your policy solution, you might very well win his or her vote if you have made clear that you share the same concerns and are trying to achieve the same goals. Again, that’s what persuadable voters want to hear—that you are on their side.

    Second, show your audience how they benefit.
    Progressives favor policies that benefit society at large. We want to help the underdog. We wish that a majority of Americans were persuaded, as we are, by appeals to the common good. But they aren’t.

    In fact, it’s quite difficult to convince persuadable voters to support a policy that appears to benefit people other than themselves, their families and their friends. Celinda Lake, one of our movement’s very best pollsters, explains that “our culture is very, very individualistic.” When faced with a proposed government policy, “people look for themselves in the proposal. People want to know what the proposal will do for me and to me.”

    That means, whenever possible, you need to show voters that they personally benefit from your progressive policies. This may sometimes be a challenge. For example, if you’re arguing for programs that benefit people in poverty, do not focus on the way your proposal directly helps the poor, instead highlight the way it indirectly benefits the middle class. Persuadable voters are rarely in poverty themselves and they will relate better to an argument framed toward them.

    For example, when arguing for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, say something like:
    Say . . .
    It will benefit everyone. It will energize our local economy and create thousands of new jobs. It will save millions in taxpayer dollars that are currently spent treating uninsured people in emergency rooms. And it will help our own hard-working families and friends who are hurting in this economic downturn.

    Or when you argue for an increase in the minimum wage:
    Say . . .
    Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hard-working Americans who will spend it on the things they need. This, in turn, generates business for our economy and eases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. It’s a win-win. Raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for everyone.

    Why . . .

    Every progressive policy benefits the middle class, often directly but at least indirectly. In contrast, nearly every right wing policy hurts the middle class, even if it more directly hurts the poor. Since persuadable voters want to know how policies affect them personally, you must tell them.

    That does not mean you can explain your positions without mentioning program beneficiaries. In fact, the examples above mention them. The important thing is to connect with persuadable voters and frame the beneficiaries, in one way or another, as deserving.

    Americans are not very kind to the poor. Outside of the progressive base, a lot of voters assume that people in poverty did something wrong: they didn’t study in school, did drugs, got arrested, got pregnant, or something else. Voters who are not poor think, “I didn’t get government assistance,” (even when they did) “so why should they?” They think the poor need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    So you need to go out of your way to describe them as deserving. It is fairly simple to defend aid to children because they cannot reasonably take care of themselves. This is also true of some elderly and disabled Americans, and voters are generally sympathetic when they are the beneficiaries. But when program recipients are able-bodied adults, suggest that they are hard-working and/or supporting families. Bill Clinton’s steady repetition of “work hard and play by the rules” was designed to communicate that a program’s beneficiaries are deserving of assistance, and that phrase still works.
    Third, speak their language, not ours.

    Persuadable voters aren’t like partisan activists. They don’t pay much attention to politics, public policy or political news. They don’t understand political ideologies. They don’t care a lot who wins elections. In general, they’re the citizens who are least interested in politics. After all, with America’s highly polarized parties, anyone who pays attention has already taken a side.

    In talking to these less-enlightened and less-interested fellow citizens, candidates and lawmakers tend to make three mistakes.

    (1) Progressives often rely on facts instead of values to persuade. Advocates will pack a speech with alarming facts and figures like: “50 million Americans are uninsured;” or “one in five children live in poverty;” or “32 million Americans have been victims of racial profiling.” When you speak this way, you are assuming that listeners would be persuaded—and policy would change—if only everybody knew what you know.

    But that’s not how it works. Facts, by themselves, don’t persuade. Statistics especially must be used sparingly or listeners will just go away confused. Your argument should be built upon ideas and values that the persuadable voters already hold dear. A few well-placed facts will help illustrate why the progressive solution is essential. Too many facts and figures mean your argument will fall on deaf ears.

    (2) Progressives often use insider language instead of plain English. Incumbents especially tend to speak the technical language of lobbying and passing legislation. Insiders carry on a never-ending conversation about bills from the past, measures under consideration and current law. You probably realize that Americans don’t know anything about CBO scoring or Third Reader or the Rules Committee. But average voters also don’t know an amendment from a filibuster. Insiders tend to use abbreviations freely, like ENDA for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or TABOR when talking about a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. They refer to SB 234, paygo requirements, the ag community and the Akaka amendment. It’s a tough habit to break.

    Insider jargon serves a useful purpose. It is shorthand—it allows those who understand the shorthand to communicate more efficiently. But it is also a way to be exclusive, to separate insiders from nonmembers of the club. That’s exactly why such language is pernicious; you can’t expect persuadable voters to understand a language that was designed, in part, to exclude them.

    (3) Progressives often use ideological language even though persuadables are the opposite of ideologues. You should not complain of corporate greed because Americans don’t have a problem with corporations. You should not say capitalism or any ism because most Americans don’t relate to ideology. And please don’t say neo- or crypto- anything. Like technical policy language, ideological language is a form of shorthand. But to persuadable voters, this just sounds like the speaker isn’t one of them.

    You need to accept persuadable voters as they are, not as you wish they were. They don’t necessarily know what you know or believe what you believe. And yet, if you empathize with persuadable voters and use language they understand, you have the upper hand in any argument. Progressive policies benefit nearly all Americans, the 99 percent. Progressive values reflect the aspirations of the vast majority of our fellow citizens. You’re absolutely on the voters’ side. You simply need to sharpen your persuasion skills a bit so they will understand and believe that.
    http://www.progressivemajorityaction.org/how_to_persuade

  95. Torcer says:

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

    George Orwell

  96. Torcer says:

    “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” Thomas Jefferson

  97. Torcer says:

    Is Cuba Really a Socialist Country?
    August 24, 2011
    HAVANA TIMES, August 23 — If there’s one thing I understand clearly, it’s that I wouldn’t like to live in a country that wasn’t my own, nor one under a capitalist regime. But what’s capitalism, really? And is Cuba truly a socialist country?

    These are questions I ask myself over and over again, because every year that goes by I realize that our way of life isn’t changing. We’re a people stuck in time.

    I’m 38 and I’ve never traveled abroad, and I don’t know my country very well either. Practically all I know about capitalism is what I see on TV. But then too, I remember my grandmother’s anecdotes; she used to tell me about life under the Batista dictatorship, about stores full of food and clothes…for those who could afford them.

    That was capitalism.

    But what can I say about present-day Cuba if when you go into a hard currency “dollar stores” — almost always spellbinding with their rows of glittering goods and colorful signs — and you find them packed with food and clothes…for those who can afford them.

    The problem is that many of us don’t have someone abroad who can send us money to help out with our expenses. The little that an ordinary worker can afford at a dollar store are basic toiletries, the cheapest items, which on today’s salaries are impossible if you have children depending on you. Likewise, if you have a sick relative who needs things like fruit, milk, meat and juices, which are very expensive.

    When I was working my salary was always 12 pesos a day ($0.50 USD), meaning that though I work eight hours a day, my monthly pay isn’t enough for the most basic necessities. I don’t even think about buying a sweater, a pair of shorts or some flip-flops.

    Nor does my check give me the pleasure of buying pork, because right now it costs 40 pesos a pound, enough for three sandwiches, which is way too expensive given my other expenses.

    You can still get six pounds of rice off the ration book, but that’s not enough to last a month either. Nor are the beans – they give each person around a pound a month, just enough for about one lunch and a dinner.

    To really understand, it’s necessary to be in Cuba, to experience Havana. You’d have to live with any family for it all to register.

    Today’s Cuban isn’t interested in anything else other than “struggling” for their family. The fact is that they don’t know much about politics; it’s all about struggling to bring home food for you and yours.

    What’s sad is that as time goes by, we’re growing older here without even being able to dream about the situation changing. In fact, I believe that Cubans have stopped having dreams of the future, since through day-to-day life we recognize that we have very few possibilities, few chances for the young or for those who aren’t so young. That’s where we’re at; and we’ve been there for a good while.

    Watching TV we’re able to keep up with the economic crisis hitting Europe. They report to us over and over again about other people’s deaths and miseries. But now I wonder, what about our misery? How much longer will our crisis last?
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=49416

  98. Torcer says:

    How to Persuade
    Politics is the art of persuasion. The goal is to persuade people to act on your behalf—to vote, to volunteer, to contribute.

    Even though persuasion is central to political success, progressives rarely talk about how to do it better. That’s the point of this book. It suggests how candidates, lawmakers and allies can improve the way they talk about a wide range of issues, from the economy, healthcare and immigrants’ rights, to marriage equality, reproductive rights and gun violence. But no matter the issue, there are three basic principles that make any argument more persuasive.
    First, always begin in agreement with your audience.
    It is extremely rare, in the short term, to change anyone’s belief. Everyone has biases, stereotypes, and other preconceptions that they carry around in their heads. When a new “fact” doesn’t fit people’s preexisting beliefs, they are almost certain to reject the fact, not their preconceptions.

    So to persuade, you have to find a point of agreement and work from there. You need to provide your audience with a bridge from their preconceptions to your solutions. The goal is not to change people’s minds, it is to show them that they agree with you already. The way to begin is by expressing empathy and shared values.

    The most direct and essential method of connecting with voters is to empathize. Demonstrate that you understand their problems and concerns. Voters quite reasonably conclude that you can’t fix their problems if you can’t understand them.

    Before you make your pitch, find out what voters think. If you’re walking door-to-door or talking to individuals one-on-one, ask them what the community needs to fix. If you’re speaking at a meeting, find out the audience’s concerns ahead of time. And obviously, if you’re paying for mass media, research public opinion first.

    You never have to compromise your political principles to demonstrate empathy. Rather, you need to search for some element of the debate where you sincerely agree. For example:

    If a voter complains about taxes (even in a conservative fashion), agree that our tax system is unfair.

    If the voter worries about government budgets (even when there’s really no problem), agree that our government has an obligation to be careful with taxpayer money.

    If the voter is concerned about crime (even in a very low-crime community), agree that personal safety must be a top priority for the government.

    If the voter thinks the neighborhood is going downhill (even when that doesn’t seem to be the case), agree that we need to preserve the quality of life.

    Start any political conversation this way, and then reinforce your empathy with shared values.

    In politics, values are ideals that describe the kind of society we are trying to build. The stereotypical conservative values are small government, low taxes, free markets, strong military and traditional families. It is important to understand that these oversimplified conservative values are extremely popular, and too often progressives have no effective response.

    Here’s how progressives can answer. When you’re talking about an issue where government has no proper role—like free speech, privacy, reproductive health or religion—declare your commitment to freedom or use a similar value from the chart below. When you discuss an issue where government should act as a referee between competing interests—like court proceedings, wages, benefits, subsidies, taxes or education—explain that your position is based on opportunity or a value from that column. When you argue about an issue where government should act as a protector—like crime, retirement, health care, zoning or the environment—stand for security or a similar value.

    Say . . .
    Freedom Opportunity Security
    or similar values: or similar values: or similar values:
    Liberty Equal opportunity Safety; protection
    Privacy Justice; equal justice Quality of life
    Basic rights Fairness; fair share Employment security
    Fundamental rights Level playing field Retirement security
    Religious freedom Every American Health security

    Why . . .
    You can also put these values together and say you stand for “freedom, opportunity and security for all,” a progressive statement of values that polls very well. But more important, it’s an accurate and politically potent description of what we stand for. The right wing favors these principles for some—the affluent. Progressives insist on providing freedom, opportunity and security to each and every American. (For a more detailed discussion of freedom, opportunity and security, see How to Talk About Progressive Values.)

    Empathy and values alone can win over persuadable voters. Let’s say you are a candidate for state legislature and you are asked what you’re going to do to clean up the stream that runs through that neighborhood. Let’s also say it’s not really the state legislature’s job; it’s the county or city that has jurisdiction over the stream.

    A typical progressive candidate would launch into an explanation of the clean water legislation he or she supports. A particularly inept candidate might say the stream is the responsibility of the city or county and there’s little the state can do. A good candidate would start with empathy:
    Say . . .
    I’m running for office because I want to fight for cleaner streams and safer parklands. I’m going to work to protect the quality of life in our community.

    Why . . .

    These are values that you share with every voter: cleaner, safer, and a better quality of life. At this point you are welcome to explain your clean water legislation, but keep it simple; you have probably already won that vote. A persuadable voter is listening for one thing, really: Is this candidate on my side? You’ve already proven that you are.

    Every time you have the opportunity to speak to a persuadable audience, don’t forget to express empathy and values. This is especially true when you are asked a question because that person is focused on what you are saying. Even if the listener disagrees with your policy solution, you might very well win his or her vote if you have made clear that you share the same concerns and are trying to achieve the same goals. Again, that’s what persuadable voters want to hear—that you are on their side.

    Second, show your audience how they benefit.
    Progressives favor policies that benefit society at large. We want to help the underdog. We wish that a majority of Americans were persuaded, as we are, by appeals to the common good. But they aren’t.

    In fact, it’s quite difficult to convince persuadable voters to support a policy that appears to benefit people other than themselves, their families and their friends. Celinda Lake, one of our movement’s very best pollsters, explains that “our culture is very, very individualistic.” When faced with a proposed government policy, “people look for themselves in the proposal. People want to know what the proposal will do for me and to me.”

    That means, whenever possible, you need to show voters that they personally benefit from your progressive policies. This may sometimes be a challenge. For example, if you’re arguing for programs that benefit people in poverty, do not focus on the way your proposal directly helps the poor, instead highlight the way it indirectly benefits the middle class. Persuadable voters are rarely in poverty themselves and they will relate better to an argument framed toward them.

    For example, when arguing for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, say something like:
    Say . . .
    It will benefit everyone. It will energize our local economy and create thousands of new jobs. It will save millions in taxpayer dollars that are currently spent treating uninsured people in emergency rooms. And it will help our own hard-working families and friends who are hurting in this economic downturn.

    Or when you argue for an increase in the minimum wage:
    Say . . .
    Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hard-working Americans who will spend it on the things they need. This, in turn, generates business for our economy and eases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. It’s a win-win. Raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for everyone.

    Why . . .

    Every progressive policy benefits the middle class, often directly but at least indirectly. In contrast, nearly every right wing policy hurts the middle class, even if it more directly hurts the poor. Since persuadable voters want to know how policies affect them personally, you must tell them.

    That does not mean you can explain your positions without mentioning program beneficiaries. In fact, the examples above mention them. The important thing is to connect with persuadable voters and frame the beneficiaries, in one way or another, as deserving.

    Americans are not very kind to the poor. Outside of the progressive base, a lot of voters assume that people in poverty did something wrong: they didn’t study in school, did drugs, got arrested, got pregnant, or something else. Voters who are not poor think, “I didn’t get government assistance,” (even when they did) “so why should they?” They think the poor need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    So you need to go out of your way to describe them as deserving. It is fairly simple to defend aid to children because they cannot reasonably take care of themselves. This is also true of some elderly and disabled Americans, and voters are generally sympathetic when they are the beneficiaries. But when program recipients are able-bodied adults, suggest that they are hard-working and/or supporting families. Bill Clinton’s steady repetition of “work hard and play by the rules” was designed to communicate that a program’s beneficiaries are deserving of assistance, and that phrase still works.
    Third, speak their language, not ours.

    Persuadable voters aren’t like partisan activists. They don’t pay much attention to politics, public policy or political news. They don’t understand political ideologies. They don’t care a lot who wins elections. In general, they’re the citizens who are least interested in politics. After all, with America’s highly polarized parties, anyone who pays attention has already taken a side.

    In talking to these less-enlightened and less-interested fellow citizens, candidates and lawmakers tend to make three mistakes.

    (1) Progressives often rely on facts instead of values to persuade. Advocates will pack a speech with alarming facts and figures like: “50 million Americans are uninsured;” or “one in five children live in poverty;” or “32 million Americans have been victims of racial profiling.” When you speak this way, you are assuming that listeners would be persuaded—and policy would change—if only everybody knew what you know.

    But that’s not how it works. Facts, by themselves, don’t persuade. Statistics especially must be used sparingly or listeners will just go away confused. Your argument should be built upon ideas and values that the persuadable voters already hold dear. A few well-placed facts will help illustrate why the progressive solution is essential. Too many facts and figures mean your argument will fall on deaf ears.

    (2) Progressives often use insider language instead of plain English. Incumbents especially tend to speak the technical language of lobbying and passing legislation. Insiders carry on a never-ending conversation about bills from the past, measures under consideration and current law. You probably realize that Americans don’t know anything about CBO scoring or Third Reader or the Rules Committee. But average voters also don’t know an amendment from a filibuster. Insiders tend to use abbreviations freely, like ENDA for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or TABOR when talking about a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. They refer to SB 234, paygo requirements, the ag community and the Akaka amendment. It’s a tough habit to break.

    Insider jargon serves a useful purpose. It is shorthand—it allows those who understand the shorthand to communicate more efficiently. But it is also a way to be exclusive, to separate insiders from nonmembers of the club. That’s exactly why such language is pernicious; you can’t expect persuadable voters to understand a language that was designed, in part, to exclude them.

    (3) Progressives often use ideological language even though persuadables are the opposite of ideologues. You should not complain of corporate greed because Americans don’t have a problem with corporations. You should not say capitalism or any ism because most Americans don’t relate to ideology. And please don’t say neo- or crypto- anything. Like technical policy language, ideological language is a form of shorthand. But to persuadable voters, this just sounds like the speaker isn’t one of them.

    You need to accept persuadable voters as they are, not as you wish they were. They don’t necessarily know what you know or believe what you believe. And yet, if you empathize with persuadable voters and use language they understand, you have the upper hand in any argument. Progressive policies benefit nearly all Americans, the 99 percent. Progressive values reflect the aspirations of the vast majority of our fellow citizens. You’re absolutely on the voters’ side. You simply need to sharpen your persuasion skills a bit so they will understand and believe that.
    http://www.progressivemajorityaction.org/how_to_persuade

  99. Torcer says:

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics via @returnofkings

    What Every Man Needs To Know About Capitalism And Economics
    First, understand that capitalism is NOT an option. It’s not an “opinion.” It’s not a “belief.” It’s not a “theory.”

    It’s a law.
    You have no choice but to abide by it just as you have no choice to abide by gravity.

    You may not “like” that statement. You may not agree with it, but none of that changes the fact that the economic phenomenon known as “capitalism” or “free markets” has naturally formed within humanity throughout it’s entire history.
    [..]
    Government as a means of protection rather than production

    All economic success derives from the protection and enforcement or private property. Understand that governments do not produce anything of economic value. The only thing that can produce something of economic value is people. Without a people, there is no point or purpose to have a government. But how do you incentivize the people to produce?

    Well, in the olden days you captured them and made them slaves, threatening them with torture, beatings, starvation, and death. Today, obviously, we need a new incentive. Enter private property.

    If I’m not a slave, I’m allowed to keep the majority of the fruits of my labor. This income will go to pay for necessary things like food, clothing, and shelter, but any excess earnings can be saved up and used to buy assets. These assets are also called “wealth,” and if I build up enough “wealth” then I can become “rich” and never labor again.

    This is a huge and VITAL cornerstone of capitalism because it provides not just one person, but all people with the key to their own freedom. They are allowed to work as much and as hard as they want, become as rich as they can, all of which invigorates and mobilizes billions of people to produce (resulting in the economic powerhouses of yesteryear western civilization). However, it was all contingent on the legal guarantee that their property would be their own and not confiscated for political purposes.
    http://www.returnofkings.com/48788/what-every-man-needs-to-know-about-capitalism-and-economics

  100. Torcer says:

    Red Terror
    The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was the campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik government. In Soviet historiography, the Red Terror is described as officially announced on September 2, 1918, by Yakov Sverdlov and ended in about October 1918.

    According to the Bolsheviks, the Red Terror was introduced in reply to White Terror. The stated purpose of this campaign was struggle with counter-revolutionaries considered to be enemies of the people. Many Russian communists openly proclaimed that Red Terror was needed for extermination of entire social groups or former “ruling classes.”

    Whatever the theoretical reason, the campaign was initiated after the assassination of Cheka leader, Moisei Uritsky and the attempted assassination of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

    Later historians use the term to refer to the whole period of the Russian Civil War, initiating the use of terror as an important instrument of Soviet power. During this period the Gulag system came into existence. By the end of the Stalin regime, millions of Soviet citizens would be imprisoned or perish as a result.
    Purpose of the Soviet Red Terror

    Lenin had announced in advance that he would use terror to accomplish his revolutionary ends. In 1908 he had written of “real, nation-wide terror, which reinvigorates the country.”[1] Marxism-Leninism, Lenin’s revolutionary revision of Marx’s class struggle, made clear that they were in an all-out war with the “forces of reaction.”

    Bolshevik leader Grigory Zinoviev seemed to be advocating genocide when he declared in mid-September of 1918:

    To overcome of our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia’s population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.[2]

    For Marxism-Leninism, the major evidence of guilt was social class rather than actual deeds. Martin Latsis, chief of the Ukrainian Cheka, explained in newspaper “Red Terror:”

    Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror.[3]
    History

    The campaign of mass repressions was officially initiated as retribution for the assassination of Petrograd Cheka leader, Moisei Uritsky, and attempted assassination of Vladimir Lenin by Fanya Kaplan on August 30, 1918. While recovering from his wounds, Lenin instructed: “It is necessary—secretly and urgently to prepare the terror” [4] Even before the assassinations, Lenin was sending telegrams “to introduce mass terror” in Nizhny Novgorod in response to a suspected civilian uprising there, and “crush” landowners in Penza who protested, sometimes violently, to requisition of their grain by military detachments:[5]

    Comrades!… You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram.

    Five hundred “representatives of overthrown classes” were executed immediately by the Bolshevik communist government after the assassination of Uritsky.[6] The first official announcement of Red Terror, published in Izvestiya, “Appeal to the Working Class” on September 3, 1918, called for the workers to “crush the hydra of counterrevolution with massive terror! … anyone who dares to spread the slightest rumor against the Soviet regime will be arrested immediately and sent to concentration camp.”[5] This was followed by the decree “On Red Terror,” issued September 5, 1918, by the Cheka.

    On October 15, Chekist Gleb Bokiy, summing up the officially ended Red Terror, reported that in Petrograd 800 alleged enemies had been shot and another 6,229 imprisoned.[4] Casualties in the first two months were between 10,000 and 15,000 based on lists of summarily executed people published in newspaper “Cheka Weekly” and other official press.

    On March 16, 1919, all military detachments of the Cheka were combined in a single body, the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic which numbered 200,000 in 1921. These troops policed labor camps, ran the Gulag system, conducted requisitions of food, put down peasant rebellions, riots by workers, and mutinies in the Red Army, which was plagued by desertions.[5]

    One of the main organizers of the Red Terror for the Bolshevik government was 2nd Grade Army Commissar Yan Karlovich Berzin (1889-1938), whose real name was Kyuzis Peteris. He took part in the October Revolution and afterwards worked in the central apparatus of the Cheka. During the Red Terror, Berzin initiated the system of taking and shooting hostages to stop desertions and other “acts of disloyalty and sabotage.”[7] Chief of a special department of the Latvian Red Army (later the 15th Army), Berzin played a part in the suppression of the Russian sailors’ mutiny at Kronstadt in March 1921. He particularly distinguished himself in the course of the pursuit, capture, and liquidation of captured sailors.[7]
    Repressions against peasants

    The Internal Troops of Cheka and the Red Army practiced the terror tactics of taking and executing numerous hostages, often in connection with desertions of forcefully mobilized peasants. It is believed that more than 3 million deserters escaped from the Red Army in 1919 and 1920. Around 500,000 deserters were arrested in 1919 and close to 800,000 in 1920 by Cheka troops and special divisions created to combat desertions.[5] Thousands of deserters were killed, and their families were often taken hostage. According to Lenin’s instructions,

    After the expiration of the seven-day deadline for deserters to turn themselves in, punishment must be increased for these incorrigible traitors to the cause of the people. Families and anyone found to be assisting them in any way whatsoever are to be considered as hostages and treated accordingly.[5]

    In September 1918, only in twelve provinces of Russia, 48,735 deserters and 7,325 bandits were arrested, 1,826 were killed and 2,230 were executed. A typical report from a Cheka department stated:

    Yaroslavl Province, June 23, 1919. The uprising of deserters in the Petropavlovskaya volost has been put down. The families of the deserters have been taken as hostages. When we started to shoot one person from each family, the Greens began to come out of the woods and surrender. Thirty-four deserters were shot as an example.[5]

    During the suppression of the Tambov Rebellion, estimates suggest that around 100,000 peasant rebels and their families were imprisoned or deported and perhaps 15,000 executed.[8]

    This campaign marked the beginning of the Gulag, and some scholars have estimated that 70,000 were imprisoned by September, 1921. Conditions in these camps led to high mortality rates, and there were “repeated massacres.” The Cheka at the Kholmogory camp adopted the practice of drowning bound prisoners in the nearby Dvina river.[8] Occasionally, entire prisons were “emptied” of inmates via mass shootings prior to abandoning a town to White forces.[8]
    Repressions against Russian industrial workers

    On March 16, 1919, Cheka stormed the Putilov factory. More than 900 workers who went to a strike were arrested. More than 200 of them were executed without trial during the next few days. Numerous strikes took place in the spring of 1919 in cities of Tula, Orel, Tver, Ivanovo, and Astrakhan. The starving workers sought to obtain food rations matching those of Red Army soldiers. They also demanded the elimination of privileges for Communists, freedom of press, and free elections. All strikes were mercilessly suppressed by Cheka using arrests and executions.[5]

    In the city of Astrakhan, the strikers and Red Army soldiers who joined them were loaded onto barges and then thrown by the hundreds into the Volga with stones around their necks. Between 2,000 and 4,000 were shot or drowned from 12 to 14 of March 1919. In addition, the repression also claimed the lives of some 600 to 1,000 bourgeoisie. Recently published archival documents indicate this was the largest massacre of workers by the Bolsheviks before the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion.[5]

    However, strikes continued. On January 1920, Lenin sent a telegram to a city of Izhevsk telling that “I am surprised that … you are not immediately executing large numbers of strikers for the crime of sabotage.”[5] On 6 June 1920, female workers in Tula who refused to work on Sunday were arrested and sent to labor camps. The refusal to work during the weekend was claimed to be a “counter-revolutionary conspiracy fomented by Polish spies.” The strikes were eventually stopped after a series of arrests, executions, and the taking of hostages.
    Atrocities of the Red Terror

    At these times, there were numerous reports that Cheka interrogators employed tortures of “scarcely believable barbarity.” Allegedly, people were tied to planks and slowly fed into furnaces; the skin was peeled off victims’ hands to produce “gloves”; naked people were rolled around in barrels studded with nails; “in Kiev, cages of rats were fixed to prisoners’ bodies and heated until the rats gnawed their way into the victims’ intestines.”[9]

    Executions took place in prison cellars or courtyards, or occasionally on the outskirts of town, during the Red Terror and Russian civil war. After the condemned were stripped of their clothing and other belongings, which were shared among the Cheka executioners, they were either machine-gunned in batches or dispatched individually with a revolver. Those killed in prison were usually shot in the back of the neck as they entered the execution cellar, which became littered with corpses and soaked with blood. Victims killed outside the town were conveyed bound and gagged by lorry to their place of execution, where they sometimes were made to dig their own graves.[10]

    According to Edvard Radzinsky, “it became a common practice to take a husband hostage and wait for his wife to come and purchase his life with her body.”[6] The Pyatigorsk Cheka organized a “day of Red Terror” to execute 300 people in one day. They ordered local Communist Party organizations to draw up execution lists. According to one of the Chekists, “this rather unsatisfactory method led to a great deal of private settling of old scores… In Kislovodsk, for lack of a better idea, it was decided to kill people who were in the hospital.”[5]

    Members of the clergy were subjected to particularly brutal abuse. According to documents cited by the late Alexander Yakovlev, then head of the Presidential Committee for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, priests, monks and nuns were crucified, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and drowned in holes in the ice.[11] An estimated 3,000 were put to death in 1918 alone.[11]
    Interpretations by historians

    Some historians believe that Red Terror was necessary for Bolsheviks to stay in power because they had no popular support.[5][12] Bolsheviks received less than one quarter of the vote in elections for the Constituent Assembly held soon after the October Revolution.[13] Massive strikes by Russian workers were “mercilessly” suppressed during the Red Terror.

    Robert Conquest concluded that “unprecedented terror must seem necessary to ideologically motivated attempts to transform society massively and speedily, against its natural possibilities.”[13]

    Richard Pipes said that despotism and violence were the intrinsic properties of every Communist regime in the world.[12] He also argued that Communist terror follows from Marxism teaching that considers human lives as expendable material for construction of the brighter future society. He cited Marx who once wrote that “The present generation resembles the Jews whom Moses led through the wilderness. It must not only conquer a new world, it must also perish in order to make a room for the people who are fit for a new world.”[12]

    Edvard Radzinsky noted that Joseph Stalin himself wrote a nota bene, “Terror is the quickest way to new society” beside the following passage in a book by Marx: “There is only one way to shorten and ease the convulsions of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new—revolutionary terror.”[6]

    Marxist Karl Kautsky recognized that the Red Terror represented a variety of terrorism, because it was indiscriminate, intended to frighten the civilian population, and included taking and executing hostages. He said: “Among the phenomena for which Bolshevism has been responsible, Terrorism, which begins with the abolition of every form of freedom of the Press, and ends in a system of wholesale execution, is certainly the most striking and the most repellent of all.”[14]
    Historical significance of the Red Terror

    Initially referring to a period in September and October of 1918 during the Russian Civil War, many historians, beginning with Sergei Melgunov, apply this term to repressions for the whole period of the Civil War, 1918-1922.[15][5] The mass repressions were conducted without judicial process by the secret police, the Cheka,[6], together with elements of the Bolshevik military intelligence agency, the GRU.[7]

    The term “Red Terror” came from French Revolution[16] and was used to describe the last six weeks of the “Reign of Terror,” ending on July 28, 1794 (execution of Robespierre), to distinguish it from the subsequent period of the White Terror[17] (historically this period has been known as the Great Terror).

    The Red Terror was significant as the first of numerous Communist terror campaigns which followed in Russia and many other countries.[18] It also unleashed Russian Civil War according to historian Richard Pipes [12]. Menshevik Julius Martov wrote about Red Terror:

    The beast has licked hot human blood. The man-killing machine is brought into motion… But blood breeds blood… We witness the growth of the bitterness of the civil war, the growing bestiality of men engaged in it.[5]

    The term Red Terror came to refer to other campaigns of violence carried out by communist or communist-affiliated groups. Often, such acts were carried out in response to (and/or followed by) similar measures taken by the anti-communist side in the conflict.

    Examples of the usage of the term “Red Terrors” include

    Red Terror (Hungary) The executions of 590 people accused of involvement in the counterrevolutionary coup against the Hungarian Soviet Republic on June 24, 1919.
    Red Terror (Spain) during the Spanish Civil War.
    Red Terror (Ethiopia) during Mengistu Haile Mariam’s rule.
    In China, Mao Zedong wrote: “Red terror ought to be our reply to these counter-revolutionaries. We must, especially in the war zones and in the border areas, deal immediately, swiftly with every kind of counter-revolutionary activity.”[19]
    The Nandigram violence in Nandigram, West Bengal in November 2007 was called “Red Terror” by critics of the actions by the local administration alluding at the Communist Party of India ruling in West Bengal.[20] The situation was described as one of “Red Terror” by media.[21]

    See also

    Great Purges
    Khmer Rouge

    Notes

    ↑ Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (New York: Norton, 2000, ISBN 0393048187), 98.
    ↑ George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0198228627), 114.
    ↑ Yevgenia Albats, The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994, ISBN 0374527385).
    ↑ 4.0 4.1 Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West (Gardners Books, 2000, ISBN 0140284877), 34.
    ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Harvard University Press, 1999, ISBN 0674076087).
    ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia’s Secret Archives (Anchor, 1997, ISBN 0385479549), 152-155.
    ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Viktor Suvorov, Inside Soviet Military Intelligence (New York: Macmillan, 1984).
    ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe (Knopf, 2007, ISBN 1400040051).
    ↑ The KGB in Europe, 38.
    ↑ George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0198228627), 199.
    ↑ 11.0 11.1 Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev, A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia (Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0300087608).
    ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Richard Pipes, Communism: A History (2001, ISBN 0812968646), 39.
    ↑ 13.0 13.1 Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000, ISBN 0393048187), 101.
    ↑ Karl Kautsky, Terrorism and Communism, Chapter VIII, The Communists at Work, The Terror. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
    ↑ Serge Petrovich Melgunov, Red Terror in Russia (Hyperion, 1975, ISBN 088355187X).
    ↑ Jan ten Brink, J. Hedeman (trans.), “Robespierre and the Red Terror.” Retrieved February 19, 2009.
    ↑ Victorian Web, French Revolution Retrieved February 19, 2009.
    ↑ Andrew Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World (Basic Books, 2005, ISBN 0465003117).
    ↑ John K. Fairbank and Albert Feuerwerker (eds.), The Cambridge History of China (Cambridge University Press, 1986, ISBN 0521243386).
    ↑ BBC, BBC Article. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
    ↑ Times of India, Red terror continues Nandigram’s bylanes. Retrieved February 19, 2009.

    References

    Albats, Yevgenia. The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994. ISBN 0374527385
    Andrew, Christopher, and Vasili Mitrokhin. The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books, 2000. ISBN 0140284877
    Conquest, Robert. Reflections on a Ravaged Century. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 0393048187
    Figes, Orlando. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924. Penguin, 1998. ISBN 014024364X
    Gellately, Robert. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf, 2007. ISBN 1400040051
    Leggett, George. The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police. Oxford University Press, 1987, ISBN 0198228627
    Melgounov, Sergey Petrovich. The Red Terror in Russia. Westport, CT: Hyperion Press, 1975. ISBN 978-0883551875
    Pipes, Richard. Communism: A History. New York: Modern Library, 2001. ISBN 0812968646
    Radzinsky, Edvard. Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia’s Secret Archives. Anchor, 1997. ISBN 0385479549
    Suvurov, Viktor. Inside Soviet Military Intelligence. Macmillan, 1984. ISBN 0026155109
    Fairbank, John K., and Albert Feuerwerker (eds.). The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0521243386
    Werth, Nicolas, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Panne, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stephane Courtois. Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press, 1999. ISBN 0674076087
    Yakovlev, Alexander Nikolaevich. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0300087608

    External links

    All links retrieved July 6, 2015.

    Terrorism or Communism book by Leon Trotsky on the use of Red Terror.
    Down with the Death Penalty! by Yuliy Osipovich Martov, June/July 1918
    The Record of the Red Terror by Sergei Melgunov

    Credits

    New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:

    Red_Terror history

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    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Red_Terror

  101. Torcer says:

    1966, 1917, and 1818:
    ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’
    by Bernard D’Mello

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia. And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries. The three anniversaries will doubtless be occasions when, illuminated by their vision of a decent human society, the works of Marx and his close comrade and friend Friedrich Engels will be re-interrogated. Surely questions will be asked as to why subsequent socialist revolutionaries inspired by that vision — most of all, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades in Russia, and Mao Zedong and his close comrades in China — despite their best efforts, could not lay the basis for a socialist society — a society of equality, cooperation, community and solidarity.1

    ‘Bombard the Headquarters’

    The March 1966 issue of Red Flag, the theoretical political journal of the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried an article on “The Great Lessons of the Paris Commune” of 1871, explaining how one can learn from the communards as to how to prevent the party-state bureaucracy from repudiating their assigned role of “serving the people” and instead becoming the masters of the people. This theme of the Paris Commune was picked up and communicated on 25 May with a big character poster (BCP) from Beijing University that boldly declared the need for a “Chinese Paris Commune,” the significance of which, the poster claimed, “surpasses” that of the original Paris Commune. Indeed, this BCP won Mao’s applause, and on 5 August, he released his own BCP, titled “Bombard the Headquarters.” Then, three days later, on 8 August, the Central Committee of the CCP adopted a “Decision . . . Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which, in its view, was “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution,” “to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” The Cultural Revolution also intended to “transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base.”

    Indeed, if one goes by this Central Committee decision, which came to be known as “the 16 points,” there was an expression of the intention “to institute a system of general elections [my emphasis], like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary congresses,” which were to be “permanent, standing mass organisations.” Indeed, the Central Committee even intended to give the people the right to recall, a principle of the Paris Commune. The “boldly aroused masses” that it hailed were, of course, the student-intellectual Red Guards and the workers. The workers very soon rose up in early 1967 in China’s main industrial-heartland city, Shanghai, in what came to be known as the “January Storm,” which overthrew the Shanghai municipal government, and, on 5 February at a million-strong rally, proclaimed the formation of the “Shanghai Commune.” Here was the first time that a post-revolutionary society was seriously confronting bureaucratism and elitism, or, at least, initiating radical trial runs in direct democracy to find a viable solution to these problems.2

    Sadly, though, this time Mao did not applaud. Indeed, he summoned the main leaders of the Shanghai Commune, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, to Beijing, called them “anarchists,” and ordered them to disband the commune. Tragically, all the other Paris-type communes in the making also met with premature extinction. Mao’s alternative to the commune was the tripartite “revolutionary committee,” composed of unelected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel, CCP cadres, and representatives of the “revolutionary masses.” Those who held on steadfastly to the Paris Commune-like original ways of the Cultural Revolution were now deprecated and dismissed as the “ultra-left,” to be dealt with harshly by PLA personnel in alliance with rival Red Guard groups.

    Clearly, the fresh shoots of radical democracy were nipped in the bud, and as for those “communards” who persisted, worse was in store. The so-called ultra-left’s time was up. Unprincipled factional strife, excessive violence, personal tragedies, a lot of ugly features, and the cult of “Mao’s thought” — this last being ridiculous and harmful to scientific temper — had muddied the waters. Of course, the context was that of a protracted political struggle between the “capitalist roaders,” headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, and the “proletarian roaders” headed by Mao. But, even as Mao seemed to be in the lead politically, the Liu-Deng faction dominated organisationally, and tactically it even paid lip service to Mao’s thought and ideals. Very soon, the struggle was no longer about what it was meant to be: the student-intellectual Red Guards and workers (both guided by Maoist intellectuals) taking on the elites of the party, the state, and the PLA. The Maoist principles of handling contradictions among the people and those of the “mass line” (the leadership norm, “from the masses, to the masses”) went for a toss.

    Had the voyage through the rough and stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution brought the vessel of the party-state perilously close to shipwreck? Mao retreated. At the Party Congress in April 1969, he justified the pulling back from the Paris Commune-inspired agenda he had himself applauded and decided upon in the 8 August 1966 Central Committee meeting. The Cultural Revolution, in its original form, was over, but Mao promised that the future would bring more cultural revolutions. He probably did not think a “People’s Commune of China” with a commune state was, theoretically and practically, a coherent proposition. So, the powerful and privileged stratum that had emerged in the party, the government, the PLA, the enterprises, the communes, and the educational system, which had developed a stake in maintaining its favoured position and passing it on to its progeny, won the day. But, some of the measures taken to reduce the differences arising from the division of labour between city and countryside, manual and intellectual labour, and management and employees were persisted with, until, of course, the capitalist roaders decisively took over and stymied them.

    Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution’s central idea that political, managerial, and bureaucratic power-holders entrench themselves as a ruling elite and, over a period of time, assume the position of a ruling class, and that the people have to be constantly mobilised to struggle against this tendency should never be forgotten. Even otherwise, and more generally, given the existence of class, patriarchy, racism and caste over millennia, power and compulsion are deeply rooted in social reality. Indeed, they have almost become a part of the basic inherited (but not unchangeable) “human condition,” which leads one to make a very strong case for civil liberties and democratic rights (gained through historic struggles waged by the underdogs) that should not be allowed to be abrogated, come what may.

    At this point, I need to mention that part of the problem faced by the Chinese Maoists existed because the earlier New Democratic Revolution had failed to dismantle the central bureaucratic state. This state had been inherited from Chinese history and had thrived under Chiang Kaishek, whose hierarchical apparatus — administered from the top down and predicated on separation from the people — was taken apart but reconstructed in another bureaucratic form after 1949. Like in any other central bureaucratic state, conformity and loyalty brought promotions, personal well-being, power, prestige and privileges. Even the Cultural Revolution with its attacks on Confucian culture had failed to usher in a modern state, let alone one that could have been a democratic role model as far as the Chinese people were concerned. The earlier agrarian revolution demolished merely the local institutions of semi-feudalism without doing away with the central bureaucratic state, leaving the consolidation of power by the forces of New Democracy incomplete.

    ‘All Power to the Soviets’?

    What about the 1917 revolutions? In the first, the February Revolution, the popular masses overthrew the monarchy and its totalitarian regime, and allowed liberals representing the capitalists and the nobility to form a Provisional Government. The second, the October Revolution, came on the anvil when the workers and soldiers (the latter, mainly peasants) were convinced that their February demands of a democratic republic, radical agrarian reform, renunciation of Russia’s imperialist war aims, taking the country out of World War I, and an eight-hour workday will not see the light of day with the propertied classes in power. In the face of growing counter-revolutionary manoeuvring by those classes, the workers and peasant-soldiers demanded a transfer of power to a government of the Soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies who were elected in the course of the February Revolution. It was the Bolsheviks who, from April-end onwards, repeatedly called for and worked towards the replacement of the Provisional Government with Soviet power, which turned them into a major force that was able to lead the masses to victory in October (November by the Western Julian calendar).

    The “Transition Period” (the period between the political overthrow of capitalism and the consolidation of socialism) that followed was a very difficult one: bloody civil war over four years, imperialist blockades and interventions, massive United States, British, and French military aid to the White armies up to late 1919, lack of food, complete disarray, the workers scattered and decimated. In the face of such circumstances, the Bolsheviks adopted emergency measures — political repression, complete suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights, centralisation and monopoly of power, reliance on the conservative bureaucracy and specialists of the old regime, Taylorism and one-man management of the enterprises — that turned the commune state with the Soviets of 1917 into an authoritarian party-state (dictatorship of the party and the state over the whole people) in late 1918.

    Rosa Luxemburg in Germany, though enthusiastically supportive of October, was among the first of the revolutionary socialists to write that the Russian Revolution — in its suppression of what should have been a democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned — would not lead to socialism. But, she still hoped that October would help ignite social revolutions in the developed capitalist nations, especially in Germany, though tragically, these revolutions were nipped in the bud, leaving the Russian Revolution desperately isolated in an impoverished, war-ridden country. Lenin, in his last writings — he died in 1924, seven years after October — expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people.

    A cultural revolution, so that ultimately an educated, cultured, and enlightened working class might democratically take control of the intended workers’ state? But, this was not to be. The year 1921 had already witnessed the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion and the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party; 1927, the defeat of the left opposition; 1929-30, the forced collectivisation that broke the worker-peasant alliance; and the 1930s saw political trials and purges, especially the Great Purge of 1937-38 — all of which paved the way for the defeat of the socialist project.

    At this point, I think I need to add something. Bourgeois revolutions are, comparatively speaking, less difficult compared to socialist revolutions. The former simply put in place a capitalist “superstructure” — institutions of the capitalist state, law, education, culture and ideology — to match an already existing capitalist economic base. Moreover, the original (“primitive”) accumulation of capital has already taken place. The socialist revolution, in sharp contrast, not only has to dismantle the capitalist superstructure and put in place a socialist superstructure, but it has no prior developing socialist economic base already in place, and therefore has to create this too, de novo. All this makes the transition period in the aftermath of the seizure of power more complex and difficult to successfully carry through.

    Moreover, in Russia, the February Revolution was not followed by the institutionalisation of a capitalist superstructure, for it was rapidly surpassed by October. The subsequent immediate superstructure of the transition period was, thus, not a capitalist-socialist hybrid, with the former being rapidly superseded. In fact, when the transition project following October suffered severe setbacks, what was left was much of the previous tsarist superstructure. The envisaged democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned was a far cry. Much of what happened was perhaps against the will and intentions of most of the original Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    ‘Revolutionary Practice’

    About 1818, in desperate brevity, regarding Marx’s revolutionary ideas, we need to articulate the essence of the last and the third of the “Theses on Feuerbach,” penned by the young Marx in 1845.3 The purpose of struggling to gain a thorough understanding of the world — which is what Marx spent his whole working life doing, and which was a deep struggle, this through “learning truth from practice” — was to lay the basis for revolutionary change. Learning truth from practice, of course, means, as Paul M Sweezy once wrote, learning truth “from history, from economics and politics, from culture in the broadest sense — in a word, from the real world of social relations and class struggle, as distinct from the imaginary worlds of revelation and pure thought.”

    The creation of a decent human society might ultimately come about, after many defeats and setbacks, but only in a process of struggle by people, ordinary people, who may not as yet be ready to emancipate themselves, but who can become capable of emancipating themselves by repeatedly launching and sustaining revolutionary struggles. Marx expected that the transitional period between capitalism and socialism would witness a negation of capitalism, which would develop its own positive identity through a revolutionary struggle in which ordinary people would remake society and in the process remake themselves.

    It must, however, be remembered that the workers, more generally, the masses (the majority), the ones who Marx and Engels expected would emancipate themselves in the course of remaking society, are society’s foremost productive force, but the advance of their capabilities is hindered by the relations of production (exploitative relations at work, and ownership relations that bestow capitalist control over the forces of production and the product) and corresponding educational, health, and cultural deprivations they are made to suffer. In the circumstances, the guiding and leading role of middle-class revolutionaries in the vanguard party is indispensable until an enlightened working class emerges, of course, with the proviso that the middle-class educators must themselves be educated by “learning truth from practice.”

    ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom’

    The anniversaries of 1966, 1917, and 1818 call for hard questioning. For instance, why did Lenin and his close Bolshevik comrades, when the harsh conditions of civil war and imperialist intervention had abated, not bring back the Soviets to fulfil the role Lenin had assigned to the commune in his State and Revolution? Why did Mao desert the “communards” in the course of the Cultural Revolution, after, at first, applauding them? Was the view of Marx and Engels of the Paris Commune really an embryonic form of a coherent workers’ state? Perhaps it is time we discard the halo around these three “prophetic” intellectuals once and for all. Marx, Lenin and Mao would never have claimed that they had said the last word on anything. Did Marx not write, in part, unadulterated twaddle about the Chinese Taipings (in Die Presse, Vienna, 7 July 1862) influenced as he seemed to be by official British propaganda?

    But, on a more serious note, though he was light-heartedly responding to his daughters Laura and Jenny Marx’s questions, Marx once “confessed” that it was his “favourite motto” to “doubt everything.” Clearly, in approaching all the serious questions that the anniversaries throw up, we should ask how Marx himself would have reacted if he were alive, for here was a brilliant intellectual, passionate about making a contribution to a worldwide struggle to liberate humanity from the miseries of capitalist exploitation, domination, and oppression. In the spirit of mutual learning, the best approach to the three commemorations would be to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” I, however, do not want to hide the unacceptable under the carpet. Given the vast divide between Leninist political theory and the reformist political practice of the Indian communist parties wedded to parliamentarianism, the necessity of smashing the rotten bourgeois state is being paid no heed to. Lenin in theory, Kautsky in practice! “Bombard the headquarters” might indeed be the need of the hour.

    Notes

    1 This piece first took shape in the form of what would have been an unsigned editorial to mark the 50 years of the Cultural Revolution in China, but I had to rewrite it as a “Commentary.” I have retained part of the editorial form and eschewed “References,” but need to add that I draw from essays in What Is Maoism and Other Essays (edited and with an Introduction by me; Kharagpur: Cornerstone Publications, 2010), by Paul M Sweezy, Ralph Miliband, William Hinton, and my own essay. The other pieces that I draw from are my “Did Lenin and Mao Forsake Marx?” (Economic & Political Weekly, 29 May 2010), Hugh Deane’s “Mao: A Lamentation” (Science & Society, Spring 1995), and William Hinton’s “The Chinese Revolution: Was It Necessary? Was It Successful? Is It Still Going On?” (Monthly Review, November 1991). More generally, the influence of Paul M Sweezy’s and William Hinton’s works is perhaps the most marked.

    2 Of course, the leaders of the Shanghai Commune were neither democratically elected, nor were mechanisms put in place for the people to control them, nor did the people have the “right to recall” them, all three of which were basic democratic principles of the Paris Commune.

    3 The last, the 11th thesis, the famous one, reads: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.” And, the third, not that famous but equally important, thesis, in part, reads: “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be educated. . . . The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.”
    Bernard D’Mello (bernard@epw.in) is on the editorial staff of the Economic & Political Weekly and is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. This article first appeared in Economic & Political Weekly 51.33 (August 13, 2016).

  102. Torcer says:

    “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state
    lives at the expense of everyone.” Frederic Bastiat

  103. Torcer says:

    “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
    Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares
    so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live
    without breaking laws” ~~Ayn Rand

  104. Torcer says:

    “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” –Thomas Sowell

  105. Torcer says:

    “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” Thomas Jefferson

  106. Torcer says:

    Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf
    (English translation)
    TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION

    Finally, I would point out that the term Social Democracy may be misleading in English, as it has not a democratic connotation in our sense. It was the name given to the Socialist Party in Germany. And that Party was purely Marxist; but it adopted the name Social Democrat in order to appeal to the democratic sections of the German people.

    JAMES MURPHY.
    Abbots Langley, February, 1939
    http://www.magister.msk.ru/library/politica/hitla002.htm

  107. Torcer says:

    Is Cuba Really a Socialist Country?
    August 24, 2011
    HAVANA TIMES, August 23 — If there’s one thing I understand clearly, it’s that I wouldn’t like to live in a country that wasn’t my own, nor one under a capitalist regime. But what’s capitalism, really? And is Cuba truly a socialist country?

    These are questions I ask myself over and over again, because every year that goes by I realize that our way of life isn’t changing. We’re a people stuck in time.

    I’m 38 and I’ve never traveled abroad, and I don’t know my country very well either. Practically all I know about capitalism is what I see on TV. But then too, I remember my grandmother’s anecdotes; she used to tell me about life under the Batista dictatorship, about stores full of food and clothes…for those who could afford them.

    That was capitalism.

    But what can I say about present-day Cuba if when you go into a hard currency “dollar stores” — almost always spellbinding with their rows of glittering goods and colorful signs — and you find them packed with food and clothes…for those who can afford them.

    The problem is that many of us don’t have someone abroad who can send us money to help out with our expenses. The little that an ordinary worker can afford at a dollar store are basic toiletries, the cheapest items, which on today’s salaries are impossible if you have children depending on you. Likewise, if you have a sick relative who needs things like fruit, milk, meat and juices, which are very expensive.

    When I was working my salary was always 12 pesos a day ($0.50 USD), meaning that though I work eight hours a day, my monthly pay isn’t enough for the most basic necessities. I don’t even think about buying a sweater, a pair of shorts or some flip-flops.

    Nor does my check give me the pleasure of buying pork, because right now it costs 40 pesos a pound, enough for three sandwiches, which is way too expensive given my other expenses.

    You can still get six pounds of rice off the ration book, but that’s not enough to last a month either. Nor are the beans – they give each person around a pound a month, just enough for about one lunch and a dinner.

    To really understand, it’s necessary to be in Cuba, to experience Havana. You’d have to live with any family for it all to register.

    Today’s Cuban isn’t interested in anything else other than “struggling” for their family. The fact is that they don’t know much about politics; it’s all about struggling to bring home food for you and yours.

    What’s sad is that as time goes by, we’re growing older here without even being able to dream about the situation changing. In fact, I believe that Cubans have stopped having dreams of the future, since through day-to-day life we recognize that we have very few possibilities, few chances for the young or for those who aren’t so young. That’s where we’re at; and we’ve been there for a good while.

    Watching TV we’re able to keep up with the economic crisis hitting Europe. They report to us over and over again about other people’s deaths and miseries. But now I wonder, what about our misery? How much longer will our crisis last?
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=49416

  108. Torcer says:

    1966, 1917, and 1818:
    ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’
    by Bernard D’Mello

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia. And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries. The three anniversaries will doubtless be occasions when, illuminated by their vision of a decent human society, the works of Marx and his close comrade and friend Friedrich Engels will be re-interrogated. Surely questions will be asked as to why subsequent socialist revolutionaries inspired by that vision — most of all, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades in Russia, and Mao Zedong and his close comrades in China — despite their best efforts, could not lay the basis for a socialist society — a society of equality, cooperation, community and solidarity.1

    ‘Bombard the Headquarters’

    The March 1966 issue of Red Flag, the theoretical political journal of the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried an article on “The Great Lessons of the Paris Commune” of 1871, explaining how one can learn from the communards as to how to prevent the party-state bureaucracy from repudiating their assigned role of “serving the people” and instead becoming the masters of the people. This theme of the Paris Commune was picked up and communicated on 25 May with a big character poster (BCP) from Beijing University that boldly declared the need for a “Chinese Paris Commune,” the significance of which, the poster claimed, “surpasses” that of the original Paris Commune. Indeed, this BCP won Mao’s applause, and on 5 August, he released his own BCP, titled “Bombard the Headquarters.” Then, three days later, on 8 August, the Central Committee of the CCP adopted a “Decision . . . Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which, in its view, was “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution,” “to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” The Cultural Revolution also intended to “transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base.”

    Indeed, if one goes by this Central Committee decision, which came to be known as “the 16 points,” there was an expression of the intention “to institute a system of general elections [my emphasis], like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution groups and committees and delegates to the Cultural Revolutionary congresses,” which were to be “permanent, standing mass organisations.” Indeed, the Central Committee even intended to give the people the right to recall, a principle of the Paris Commune. The “boldly aroused masses” that it hailed were, of course, the student-intellectual Red Guards and the workers. The workers very soon rose up in early 1967 in China’s main industrial-heartland city, Shanghai, in what came to be known as the “January Storm,” which overthrew the Shanghai municipal government, and, on 5 February at a million-strong rally, proclaimed the formation of the “Shanghai Commune.” Here was the first time that a post-revolutionary society was seriously confronting bureaucratism and elitism, or, at least, initiating radical trial runs in direct democracy to find a viable solution to these problems.2

    Sadly, though, this time Mao did not applaud. Indeed, he summoned the main leaders of the Shanghai Commune, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, to Beijing, called them “anarchists,” and ordered them to disband the commune. Tragically, all the other Paris-type communes in the making also met with premature extinction. Mao’s alternative to the commune was the tripartite “revolutionary committee,” composed of unelected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel, CCP cadres, and representatives of the “revolutionary masses.” Those who held on steadfastly to the Paris Commune-like original ways of the Cultural Revolution were now deprecated and dismissed as the “ultra-left,” to be dealt with harshly by PLA personnel in alliance with rival Red Guard groups.

    Clearly, the fresh shoots of radical democracy were nipped in the bud, and as for those “communards” who persisted, worse was in store. The so-called ultra-left’s time was up. Unprincipled factional strife, excessive violence, personal tragedies, a lot of ugly features, and the cult of “Mao’s thought” — this last being ridiculous and harmful to scientific temper — had muddied the waters. Of course, the context was that of a protracted political struggle between the “capitalist roaders,” headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, and the “proletarian roaders” headed by Mao. But, even as Mao seemed to be in the lead politically, the Liu-Deng faction dominated organisationally, and tactically it even paid lip service to Mao’s thought and ideals. Very soon, the struggle was no longer about what it was meant to be: the student-intellectual Red Guards and workers (both guided by Maoist intellectuals) taking on the elites of the party, the state, and the PLA. The Maoist principles of handling contradictions among the people and those of the “mass line” (the leadership norm, “from the masses, to the masses”) went for a toss.

    Had the voyage through the rough and stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution brought the vessel of the party-state perilously close to shipwreck? Mao retreated. At the Party Congress in April 1969, he justified the pulling back from the Paris Commune-inspired agenda he had himself applauded and decided upon in the 8 August 1966 Central Committee meeting. The Cultural Revolution, in its original form, was over, but Mao promised that the future would bring more cultural revolutions. He probably did not think a “People’s Commune of China” with a commune state was, theoretically and practically, a coherent proposition. So, the powerful and privileged stratum that had emerged in the party, the government, the PLA, the enterprises, the communes, and the educational system, which had developed a stake in maintaining its favoured position and passing it on to its progeny, won the day. But, some of the measures taken to reduce the differences arising from the division of labour between city and countryside, manual and intellectual labour, and management and employees were persisted with, until, of course, the capitalist roaders decisively took over and stymied them.

    Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution’s central idea that political, managerial, and bureaucratic power-holders entrench themselves as a ruling elite and, over a period of time, assume the position of a ruling class, and that the people have to be constantly mobilised to struggle against this tendency should never be forgotten. Even otherwise, and more generally, given the existence of class, patriarchy, racism and caste over millennia, power and compulsion are deeply rooted in social reality. Indeed, they have almost become a part of the basic inherited (but not unchangeable) “human condition,” which leads one to make a very strong case for civil liberties and democratic rights (gained through historic struggles waged by the underdogs) that should not be allowed to be abrogated, come what may.

    At this point, I need to mention that part of the problem faced by the Chinese Maoists existed because the earlier New Democratic Revolution had failed to dismantle the central bureaucratic state. This state had been inherited from Chinese history and had thrived under Chiang Kaishek, whose hierarchical apparatus — administered from the top down and predicated on separation from the people — was taken apart but reconstructed in another bureaucratic form after 1949. Like in any other central bureaucratic state, conformity and loyalty brought promotions, personal well-being, power, prestige and privileges. Even the Cultural Revolution with its attacks on Confucian culture had failed to usher in a modern state, let alone one that could have been a democratic role model as far as the Chinese people were concerned. The earlier agrarian revolution demolished merely the local institutions of semi-feudalism without doing away with the central bureaucratic state, leaving the consolidation of power by the forces of New Democracy incomplete.

    ‘All Power to the Soviets’?

    What about the 1917 revolutions? In the first, the February Revolution, the popular masses overthrew the monarchy and its totalitarian regime, and allowed liberals representing the capitalists and the nobility to form a Provisional Government. The second, the October Revolution, came on the anvil when the workers and soldiers (the latter, mainly peasants) were convinced that their February demands of a democratic republic, radical agrarian reform, renunciation of Russia’s imperialist war aims, taking the country out of World War I, and an eight-hour workday will not see the light of day with the propertied classes in power. In the face of growing counter-revolutionary manoeuvring by those classes, the workers and peasant-soldiers demanded a transfer of power to a government of the Soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies who were elected in the course of the February Revolution. It was the Bolsheviks who, from April-end onwards, repeatedly called for and worked towards the replacement of the Provisional Government with Soviet power, which turned them into a major force that was able to lead the masses to victory in October (November by the Western Julian calendar).

    The “Transition Period” (the period between the political overthrow of capitalism and the consolidation of socialism) that followed was a very difficult one: bloody civil war over four years, imperialist blockades and interventions, massive United States, British, and French military aid to the White armies up to late 1919, lack of food, complete disarray, the workers scattered and decimated. In the face of such circumstances, the Bolsheviks adopted emergency measures — political repression, complete suppression of civil liberties and democratic rights, centralisation and monopoly of power, reliance on the conservative bureaucracy and specialists of the old regime, Taylorism and one-man management of the enterprises — that turned the commune state with the Soviets of 1917 into an authoritarian party-state (dictatorship of the party and the state over the whole people) in late 1918.

    Rosa Luxemburg in Germany, though enthusiastically supportive of October, was among the first of the revolutionary socialists to write that the Russian Revolution — in its suppression of what should have been a democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned — would not lead to socialism. But, she still hoped that October would help ignite social revolutions in the developed capitalist nations, especially in Germany, though tragically, these revolutions were nipped in the bud, leaving the Russian Revolution desperately isolated in an impoverished, war-ridden country. Lenin, in his last writings — he died in 1924, seven years after October — expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people.

    A cultural revolution, so that ultimately an educated, cultured, and enlightened working class might democratically take control of the intended workers’ state? But, this was not to be. The year 1921 had already witnessed the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion and the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party; 1927, the defeat of the left opposition; 1929-30, the forced collectivisation that broke the worker-peasant alliance; and the 1930s saw political trials and purges, especially the Great Purge of 1937-38 — all of which paved the way for the defeat of the socialist project.

    At this point, I think I need to add something. Bourgeois revolutions are, comparatively speaking, less difficult compared to socialist revolutions. The former simply put in place a capitalist “superstructure” — institutions of the capitalist state, law, education, culture and ideology — to match an already existing capitalist economic base. Moreover, the original (“primitive”) accumulation of capital has already taken place. The socialist revolution, in sharp contrast, not only has to dismantle the capitalist superstructure and put in place a socialist superstructure, but it has no prior developing socialist economic base already in place, and therefore has to create this too, de novo. All this makes the transition period in the aftermath of the seizure of power more complex and difficult to successfully carry through.

    Moreover, in Russia, the February Revolution was not followed by the institutionalisation of a capitalist superstructure, for it was rapidly surpassed by October. The subsequent immediate superstructure of the transition period was, thus, not a capitalist-socialist hybrid, with the former being rapidly superseded. In fact, when the transition project following October suffered severe setbacks, what was left was much of the previous tsarist superstructure. The envisaged democratic role model as far as the masses were concerned was a far cry. Much of what happened was perhaps against the will and intentions of most of the original Bolsheviks, including Lenin.

    ‘Revolutionary Practice’

    About 1818, in desperate brevity, regarding Marx’s revolutionary ideas, we need to articulate the essence of the last and the third of the “Theses on Feuerbach,” penned by the young Marx in 1845.3 The purpose of struggling to gain a thorough understanding of the world — which is what Marx spent his whole working life doing, and which was a deep struggle, this through “learning truth from practice” — was to lay the basis for revolutionary change. Learning truth from practice, of course, means, as Paul M Sweezy once wrote, learning truth “from history, from economics and politics, from culture in the broadest sense — in a word, from the real world of social relations and class struggle, as distinct from the imaginary worlds of revelation and pure thought.”

    The creation of a decent human society might ultimately come about, after many defeats and setbacks, but only in a process of struggle by people, ordinary people, who may not as yet be ready to emancipate themselves, but who can become capable of emancipating themselves by repeatedly launching and sustaining revolutionary struggles. Marx expected that the transitional period between capitalism and socialism would witness a negation of capitalism, which would develop its own positive identity through a revolutionary struggle in which ordinary people would remake society and in the process remake themselves.

    It must, however, be remembered that the workers, more generally, the masses (the majority), the ones who Marx and Engels expected would emancipate themselves in the course of remaking society, are society’s foremost productive force, but the advance of their capabilities is hindered by the relations of production (exploitative relations at work, and ownership relations that bestow capitalist control over the forces of production and the product) and corresponding educational, health, and cultural deprivations they are made to suffer. In the circumstances, the guiding and leading role of middle-class revolutionaries in the vanguard party is indispensable until an enlightened working class emerges, of course, with the proviso that the middle-class educators must themselves be educated by “learning truth from practice.”

    ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom’

    The anniversaries of 1966, 1917, and 1818 call for hard questioning. For instance, why did Lenin and his close Bolshevik comrades, when the harsh conditions of civil war and imperialist intervention had abated, not bring back the Soviets to fulfil the role Lenin had assigned to the commune in his State and Revolution? Why did Mao desert the “communards” in the course of the Cultural Revolution, after, at first, applauding them? Was the view of Marx and Engels of the Paris Commune really an embryonic form of a coherent workers’ state? Perhaps it is time we discard the halo around these three “prophetic” intellectuals once and for all. Marx, Lenin and Mao would never have claimed that they had said the last word on anything. Did Marx not write, in part, unadulterated twaddle about the Chinese Taipings (in Die Presse, Vienna, 7 July 1862) influenced as he seemed to be by official British propaganda?

    But, on a more serious note, though he was light-heartedly responding to his daughters Laura and Jenny Marx’s questions, Marx once “confessed” that it was his “favourite motto” to “doubt everything.” Clearly, in approaching all the serious questions that the anniversaries throw up, we should ask how Marx himself would have reacted if he were alive, for here was a brilliant intellectual, passionate about making a contribution to a worldwide struggle to liberate humanity from the miseries of capitalist exploitation, domination, and oppression. In the spirit of mutual learning, the best approach to the three commemorations would be to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” I, however, do not want to hide the unacceptable under the carpet. Given the vast divide between Leninist political theory and the reformist political practice of the Indian communist parties wedded to parliamentarianism, the necessity of smashing the rotten bourgeois state is being paid no heed to. Lenin in theory, Kautsky in practice! “Bombard the headquarters” might indeed be the need of the hour.

    Notes

    1 This piece first took shape in the form of what would have been an unsigned editorial to mark the 50 years of the Cultural Revolution in China, but I had to rewrite it as a “Commentary.” I have retained part of the editorial form and eschewed “References,” but need to add that I draw from essays in What Is Maoism and Other Essays (edited and with an Introduction by me; Kharagpur: Cornerstone Publications, 2010), by Paul M Sweezy, Ralph Miliband, William Hinton, and my own essay. The other pieces that I draw from are my “Did Lenin and Mao Forsake Marx?” (Economic & Political Weekly, 29 May 2010), Hugh Deane’s “Mao: A Lamentation” (Science & Society, Spring 1995), and William Hinton’s “The Chinese Revolution: Was It Necessary? Was It Successful? Is It Still Going On?” (Monthly Review, November 1991). More generally, the influence of Paul M Sweezy’s and William Hinton’s works is perhaps the most marked.

    2 Of course, the leaders of the Shanghai Commune were neither democratically elected, nor were mechanisms put in place for the people to control them, nor did the people have the “right to recall” them, all three of which were basic democratic principles of the Paris Commune.

    3 The last, the 11th thesis, the famous one, reads: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point however is to change it.” And, the third, not that famous but equally important, thesis, in part, reads: “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be educated. . . . The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.”
    Bernard D’Mello (bernard@epw.in) is on the editorial staff of the Economic & Political Weekly and is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. This article first appeared in Economic & Political Weekly 51.33 (August 13, 2016).

  109. Torcer says:

    Sakharov, Andrei (1921-1989)

    Soviet physicist; led the team that built the H-bomb; called for ban on tests in 1961; Nobel Peace Prize 1975; exiled to Gorky in 1980, where he went on hunger strike; allowed to return to Moscow 1987; April 1989 elected to Congress of People’s Deputy representing the Academy of Sciences. […]
    https://www.marxists.org/glossary/people/s/a.htm

  110. Torcer says:

    Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf
    (English translation)
    TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION

    Finally, I would point out that the term Social Democracy may be misleading in English, as it has not a democratic connotation in our sense. It was the name given to the Socialist Party in Germany. And that Party was purely Marxist; but it adopted the name Social Democrat in order to appeal to the democratic sections of the German people.

    JAMES MURPHY.
    Abbots Langley, February, 1939
    http://www.magister.msk.ru/library/politica/hitla002.htm

  111. Torcer says:

    This was the decisive thing that led to a certain misunderstanding and mishandling by Stalin of non-antagonistic contradictions, contradictions among the people, in the sense that, for instance, some people who held a wrong line but were basically loyal to the proletariat’s cause were labeled “enemy agents” and dealt with accordingly. Stalin didn’t see the existence of conditions giving rise to the bourgeoisie or fully recognize the influence of the bourgeoisie and its ideology among the people. Most importantly, his denial of the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat under socialism led him to neglect the possibility of capitalist restoration and a failure to arm the masses sufficiently against the forces of restoration.

    Despite his errors, Stalin still upheld the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the developing bourgeois stratum in the USSR was still subject to attack. However with Stalin’s death, Khrushchev and other capitalist roaders at the top of the Soviet Party were able to seize control of the Party and state, and lead the bourgeois forces, new and old, in overthrowing socialism and restoring capitalism.

    Khrushchev, upon taking control of the Soviet Party in the mid-’50s, took up the cry of the imperialists that Stalin was a “dictator.” He declared that since all antagonistic classes had been eradicated in the USSR, the dictatorship of the proletariat was no longer necessary. From now on, Khrushchev proclaimed, the Soviet Union would be a “state of the whole people.” But all this talk about ending dictatorship and how everyone in the USSR was one big happy family was a trick to disarm the workers politically and ideologically so that Khrushchev and the new ruling class could consolidate their power. In fact, while they were loudly proclaiming the end of antagonistic classes and class contradictions, the Soviet revisionists were reestablishing the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, arresting, killing and purging revolutionaries, and reducing the working class to the position of wage slaves once again.

    The new Soviet rulers tried to force their revisionist line on the working class and revolutionary-minded people of the whole world, including the various Communist Parties, both in and out of power. Communists in the capitalist countries were told to abandon the struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the name of the “peaceful transition to socialism.” This was closely linked with the Soviet revisionist perversion of the concept of “peaceful coexistence” internationally, and pushing “peaceful competition.” In the socialist countries Khrushchev’s line and support spurred on the capitalist roaders. In China, Liu Shao-chi, a leader second only to Mao in authority, preached the “dying out of class struggle” and declared that “In China, the question of who wins out, socialism or capitalism, has already been solved.”

    Thus the rise of modern revisionism once again brought to the fore the question of whether the working class had to continue on the path charted by the Paris Commune and the October Revolution–fighting to establish the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and continue, on the basis of this dictatorship, to criticize, attack and transform the vestiges of the old society and advance toward communism.

    In 1957, just after Khrushchev and Liu Shao-chi had jumped out, Mao wrote in On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, “The class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological field between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is still not really settled.”

    Mao made a major contribution in pointing out, for the first time explicitly, that this was true after socialist ownership had been established in the main. China, Mao pointed out, had established a socialist economic base (socialist ownership in state and collective form) “although still far from perfect,” and a socialist superstructure (the government and its institutions and laws, the line of the Party and the masses, education, culture, etc.) In general, this superstructure was in harmony with the economic base, “facilitating the victory of socialist transformation and the establishment of the socialist organization of labor; it is suited to the socialist economic base, that is, to socialist relations of production. But the survivals of bourgeois ideology, certain bureaucratic ways of doing things in our state organs and defects in certain links in our state institutions are in contradiction with the socialist economic base.” (On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People)

    All the contradictions left over from class society contain the seeds of the regeneration of antagonistic class contradictions even after the old bourgeoisie is defeated and weak–no longer the main source of capitalist reversion. This is true of the contradiction between manual and mental labor, between town and country, and between the workers and peasants. This is partly expressed in distribution: under socialism people are still paid according to their work (and not according to their needs). Unless all this is restricted, the potential exists for the development of greater and greater economic inequality and for money to once again become capital. It is the existence of these contradictions and the fact that some people still enjoy privileges from them that means that those who push a revisionist line in the Communist Party, who use their influence to protect these survivals of class society rather than to move against them, can always gain some kind of audience and can mobilize a social base for the restoration of capitalism. This is why the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, between the line of going forward to transform society against the line of turning back, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, a struggle that is concentrated within the Party, is key to whether the working class can hold on to its dictatorship or will find itself once again dictated to. This is what Mao meant by saying that the question of “who will win out” is not “really settled.”

    In order to develop the productive forces and socialist relations of production–in fact, to beat back the attacks of the bourgeoisie within the Party such as Liu Shao-chi, the working class had to move the contradiction forward, to deal with the backwardness of the superstructure in relation to the economic base. As Mao said later, summarizing further experience, “The proletariat must exercise all-around dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in the superstructure, including the various spheres of culture.” While the economic base sets the foundation for the superstructure, it was in turn only by making breakthroughs in the superstructure that the working class would make further major advances in developing the economic base, with each reacting dialectically on the other in a series of qualitative developments leading towards the abolition of classes and the elimination of all the scars left behind by class society.
    Cultural Revolution

    The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, personally initiated and led by Mao, was a great example of the working class defending and developing the proletarian dictatorship and exercising “all-around dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in the superstructure.” This mass uprising of hundreds of millions of workers, peasants and other masses against those who Mao called “Party persons in power taking the capitalist road” was, as explained in How Capitalism Has Been Restored in the Soviet Union and What This Means for the World Struggle, not “simply a movement to criticize bourgeois ideology and bourgeois representatives in the field of culture, education, etc., but a revolutionary struggle directed at overthrowing people in high places in the Party and state who had actually entrenched themselves in power in many spheres of society–although they had not yet seized control of the whole state apparatus and actually begun restoring capitalism.”

    In his analysis of the Paris Commune, Marx had pointed out how the dictatorship of the proletariat represented the beginning of a process that would gradually involve the great majority of the people (that is, the formerly exploited masses, led by the proletariat) and eventually all the people (after the elimination of classes) in the administration of society. In the Paris Commune, “simple workmen” (as Marx put it to blast the viewpoint of the bourgeoisie) took on the administration of everything, of all the functions of government (which the workers greatly simplified) and of all spheres of society, either by their direct participation or by “hiring” experts to work for the workers and under the guidance and direction of the workers. In the Cultural Revolution, socialist society took a qualitative leap toward the direction of the ideals of the Commune, advancing far higher than in socialist society before.

    Under the leadership and guidance of Mao, nearly all the cadre (people with positions of authority and responsibility) in the Party and the state came under the intense scrutiny and criticism of the masses. Every aspect of society was criticized and struggled over. From Liu Shao-chi (and later Lin Piao and others like them) at the top to cadre at every level, those who stubbornly used positions of authority to serve themselves and hold back the revolutionization of society were criticized and overthrown. The workers and peasants cleared out the various institutions the way a good broom clears out dirt. Education was revolutionized, so that instead of educating the sons and daughters of the old exploiters and educating people to become new exploiters, the schools would be run by the workers and peasants for the needs and interests of the workers and peasants in transforming society and nature to advance toward communism. The bourgeoisie had held the dominant position in culture (books, movies, plays, art, etc.). They were swept away and the image of the workers and peasants and the outlook of the working class began to hold sway in these fields. By establishing revolutionary committees (three-in-one combinations of rank and file workers, Party members and administrators and/or technicians), the masses were able to actually seize back power in the factories, communes, schools, and so on, formerly run by capitalist roaders.

    In addition to the People’s Liberation Army under the leadership of the working class through its Party, the masses of people themselves were organized in their factories and places of work into militias under Party leadership, thus making the state rest more securely than ever on the armed power of the working class and its allies. In January 1967, revolutionaries in Shanghai built an alliance of revolutionary mass organizations, the People’s Liberation Army and revolutionary Party cadres, which successfully seized power from the old capitalist-roader administration in Shanghai. Mao summed up and popularized this experience throughout China. People’s consciousness was greatly advanced.

    Early in the course of the Cultural Revolution Mao wrote, “In the past, we waged struggle in rural areas, in the factories, in the cultural field, and we carried out the socialist education movement. But all this failed to solve the problem because we did not find a form, a method, to arouse the broad masses to expose our dark aspect openly, in an all-around way and from below.” The Cultural Revolution was that form and method. The masses of people had risen up, guided by the political and ideological line of the working class, to topple the bourgeoisie in every area where it had gotten the upper hand, taking huge, qualitative leaps in the development of society towards the great goal of communism.

    Although the working class had its guns, the vast majority of the struggles of the Cultural Revolution did not involve force. Nevertheless, the Cultural Revolution was a practice of the proletarian dictatorship–“the current Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is absolutely necessary and most timely for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing capitalist restoration and building socialism,” as Mao said. It was an expression of the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in a contradiction which centered on the question of what road the Communist Party would follow, which in essence, under socialism, is the decisive question in determining which class holds state power. It involved the broad masses in the struggle to continue to resolve this question in a revolutionary direction.

    The Cultural Revolution did not bring class struggle in China to an end. Almost a decade after the Cultural Revolution began, Mao made this clear with his important instruction: “Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? This question must be thoroughly understood. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.”

    Not just to a few people, not just to Party members, not just to a few million, but to the whole nation! With this Mao was explicitly saying that to fight revisionists and to prevent the revisionist overthrow of the proletarian dictatorship, broader and broader numbers of the working class and the masses needed to greatly deepen their understanding of Marxism and the tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    By focusing on “why,” Mao focused on the fact that despite all the advances, the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat is still the question of a transition from capitalism to communism. Although Marx’s writings clearly make this point, it was only the further experience of class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat in the USSR and China that made it possible to sum up as explicitly as Mao did the long, sharp and complex nature of the struggle against the forces of capitalist restoration.

    As the article “Bourgeois Right, Economism and the Goal of the Working class Struggle” in The Communist, Vol. 1, Number 1 puts it, “This is why the class struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie not only necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, but why this proletarian dictatorship must be exercised, in every sphere of society, until the bourgeoisie and classes are finally eliminated altogether. The working class must seize and wield state power to remove from society the basis for the existence of all class distinctions, by abolishing all the relations of production on which they rest, all the social relations that correspond to them and by revolutionizing all the ideas that result from these social relations. Thus, although it is a tremendous advance, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not an end in itself, but it is a necessary step, a transition to a higher form of society where all classes and all exploitation are abolished.”

    This understanding of the dictatorship of the proletariat from the point of view of the goal of communism, and not as an end in itself, is essential to Mao’s theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Like all processes, there is no such thing as standing still on the socialist road–there is only motion forward or backward. Any half-stepping, hesitation or vacillation along the socialist road definitely leads to the overthrow of the proletariat and the restoration of capitalism.

    Furthermore, as both the experience of the USSR and China have shown, the advances of the revolution force the bourgeoisie to jump out to oppose it, and in this way battles to put an end to the “slaveholders’ rebellion” are forced on the proletariat, just as the working class was forced to fight to defend the Paris Commune, the first workers’ state, whether or not the working class “wants” any particular battle.
    Principles of Commune Are Eternal

    Mao Tsetung is reported to have said, “Marx at first opposed the Paris Commune . . . When the Paris Commune rose up he supported it, although he reckoned that it would fail. When he realized that it was the first proletarian dictatorship, he thought it would be a good thing even if it only lasted three months. If we assess it from an economic point of view, it was not worthwhile.” (“Speech at the Lushan Conference,” Mao Tsetung Unrehearsed, edited by Stuart Schram)

    Of course neither Marx nor Mao looked at the Paris Commune from “an economic point of view”–from the standpoint of narrow immediate results. Even though the Commune failed, it had established basic principles for all proletarian revolutions to come. The heroic example of the Communards and the scientific sum-up of their heroic efforts provided the basis for a higher theoretical grasp of the tasks and the direction of proletarian revolution, which in turn made it possible for future efforts to succeed. It was knowing that this would be so that Marx wrote, “Working men’s Paris, with its Commune, will forever be celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class.”

    Just as some so-called Marxists refused to recognize the lessons paid for in blood in the Paris Commune, so, too, when revisionism triumphed in the Soviet Union and capitalism was restored, some people refused to recognize this fact. Some people who had been revolutionaries felt that if the USSR had been lost to the working class, then everything they had fought for was for nothing, and sticking their heads in the sand, they tailed behind the new Soviet revisionists and allowed themselves to be dragged down, and everything they had done really was for nothing after all. This did great harm to the revolutionary cause.

    In its time, the Paris Commune showed that proletarian revolution was not only necessary but possible. Its defeat only showed that the transition from capitalism to communism will be a very long process, with many twists and turns in its development, with setbacks for sure, but with a spiral development so that each advance of the working class stands on the shoulders of those who have fought and died in the proletariat’s cause before. This is only natural, since the development from capitalism to communism requires a complete break–a “radical rupture,” as Marx called it, with all previous forms of society and all traditional ideas and the greatest changes that the world has ever known.

    In our time, the Cultural Revolution shows that the restoration of capitalism is not inevitable, that the working class and the masses can develop ways–whole new ways of doing things in the history of society–to defend their gains and beat back the enemy’s ceaseless attacks. Just as the Paris Commune provided the basis for the development of Marxism when Marxism was just emerging over a hundred years ago, so today through the Cultural Revolution, Marxism has developed and advanced and the working class of the whole world stands higher than ever before in its struggle to overturn the reactionaries of every country one by one and bring about the victory of communism all across the world.
    https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-5/rcp-paris-commune.htm

  112. Torcer says:

    The Paris Commune: First Proletarian Dictatorship
    First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 6, March 1978.
    Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
    Copyright:
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    and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

    March
    18 marks the anniversary of the Paris Commune. On that day in 1871, the
    workers of Paris “stormed heaven,” as Karl Marx described it, rising up
    in armed rebellion and holding the city for 72 days until France’s
    rulers finally were able to wreak their bloody vengeance on the slaves
    who’d dared to raise the flag of revolution. It was certainly not the
    first revolt of the oppressed, nor even the first rebellion by the young
    working class. But it was the first time that the working class seized
    power, and the lessons learned in that first successful (if only
    short-lived) revolution have established basic principles for working
    class revolution ever since.

    The workers of Paris, who had twice
    revolted and twice failed in the few years before 1871, had been armed
    for the defense of their city in the course of a war the French
    bourgeoisie had launched against Prussia. The workers were both
    physically and politically isolated from the rest of the country and
    vastly outnumbered by the armed forces of the French and Prussian ruling
    classes. But the French bourgeoisie surrendered to Prussia and tried to
    turn Paris over to the Prussian army so as to put an end to the workers
    struggle there. French army units moved into Paris to disarm the
    workers who had organized themselves into a National Guard. The workers
    had little choice. They decided to use their weapons–to risk everything
    trying to free themselves once and for all instead of meekly marching to
    the slaughterhouse.
    Dawn of Great Social Revolution

    Although
    Marx, at that time following the events in France from England where he
    was exiled, thought the time wasn’t ripe for the Parisian workers to
    rise up and win, he quickly summed up the historic nature of events,
    declaring March 18, 1871 “the dawn of the great social revolution which
    will liberate mankind from the regime of classes forever,” and supported
    the Commune.

    On that day, the Central Committee of the workers’
    National Guard proclaimed that “The proletarians of Paris, amidst the
    failures and treasons of the ruling classes, have understood that the
    hour has struck for them to save the situation by taking into their own
    hands the direction of public affairs.” The government troops sent in to
    disarm the workers were beaten back. Within days, the idle rich, the
    capitalists, courtesans and common criminals fled Paris to Versailles,
    where the French ruling class declared war against Paris.

    The
    Commune itself–the government formed by the workers–was made up of
    representatives of the various wards of Paris, elected by the citizens
    and recallable from office at any time. The majority of its members were
    workers or acknowledged representatives of the working class. Rather
    than a parliamentary body (such as the Congress in the U.S.), the
    Commune both made decisions and carried them out. And from the top to
    the bottom all its members and all who worked under its leadership
    received the same wages as the ordinary worker.

    The army and the
    police were abolished. All citizens capable of bearing arms were
    enrolled in the National Guard, the only armed force. “The priests were
    sent back to the recesses of private life, there to feed upon the alms
    of the faithful in imitation of their predecessors, the Apostles.”
    (Marx, The Civil War in France)

    The schools were opened to all,
    on every level. All rent for housing was cancelled and all the pawnshops
    closed down. Night shifts were outlawed. The factories of the
    capitalists who had fled were seized, to be run by the workers
    themselves. The Victory Column, a monument to France’s chauvinist wars
    of aggression, was torn down. “The flag of the Commune,” the workers
    declared, “is the flag of the World Republic.”

    The bourgeoisie
    likes to paint Marxism as no more than an idea, a hopeless dream or
    shuddering nightmare. Marxism is the scientific summation of all the
    history of the struggles of the oppressed, and of all the knowledge won
    through the struggles of mankind. It arose with the development and the
    growth of the struggles of the working class, whose stand and point of
    view is expressed in Marxism. As Lenin wrote in State and Revolution,
    “There is no trace of utopianism in Marx, in the sense that he made up
    or invented a ’new’ society. No, he studied the birth of the new society
    out of the old, and the forms of transition from the latter to the
    former, as a natural-historical process. He examined the actual
    experience of a mass proletarian movement, and tried to draw practical
    lessons from it. He ’learned’ from the Commune, just as all the great
    revolutionary thinkers learned unhesitatingly from the experience of
    great movements of the oppressed classes …”

    The most important
    lesson of the Paris Commune, what the workers of Paris taught first with
    their guns and then with their heroic sacrifice, is the central point
    of Marxism: the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    “It is often
    said and written,” Lenin explains in State and Revolution, “that the
    main point in Marx’s theory is the class struggle. But this is wrong.
    And this wrong notion very often results in an opportunist distortion of
    Marxism and its falsification in a spirit acceptable to the bourgeoisie
    … Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxists;
    they may be found to be still within the bounds of bourgeois thinking
    and bourgeois politics . . . Only he is a Marxist who extends the
    recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship
    of the proletariat.” As Marx himself put it in his Letter to
    Weydemeyer, written in 1852, “no credit is due to me for discovering the
    existence of classes in modern society, nor the struggle between them.
    Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical
    development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists, the
    economic anatomy of the classes. What I did that was new was to prove:
    1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular,
    historical phases in the development of production, 2) that the class
    struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, 3)
    that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the
    abolition of all classes and to a classless society.”

    In other
    words, the class struggle would inevitably lead the working class to
    establish the rule of the laboring majority over the exploiting
    minority, for the first time in history, and this would be the first
    step towards eliminating ail classes and class rule. This is what the
    Paris Commune represented. The working men and women of Paris
    established the world’s first dictatorship of the proletariat. Through
    the experience of their struggle, they gave life and form to that which
    Marx and the class-conscious workers in general had only conceived in a
    general way.
    Nature of the State

    Starting more than 20 years
    before the Paris Commune, Marx and Engels had analyzed the origin of the
    state and its nature. In the earliest days of human history there was
    no state. As the productive forces developed and society split into two
    basic antagonistic classes –those who worked and those who took for
    themselves the wealth created by others–the state emerged as the
    instrument by which the exploiting minority maintained its rule. From
    the first slave times through today, the heart of the state is “special
    bodies of armed men,” the armed force upon which the dictatorship of the
    exploiters depends. Even in the democratic republic of capitalist
    society, “This democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by
    capitalist exploitation, and consequently remains, in effect, a
    democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for
    the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as
    it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave owners…
    Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in
    analyzing the experience of the Commune, he said that the oppressed are
    allowed once every few years to decide which particular representative
    of the oppressing classes shall represent and repress them in
    parliament!” (Lenin, State and Revolution)

    The workers of Paris
    had participated in several revolutions in the past only to see the
    bourgeoisie snatch up the fruits of these revolutions and further
    consolidate their capitalist rule. In establishing the Commune, they
    could not and did not simply grab the old state machine out of the hands
    of the bourgeoisie. They overthrew and smashed the government of their
    oppressors, dismantling not only the fraudulent parliament and the
    bourgeoisie’s basic instrument of rule, the army and police, but also
    the judicial system and all the government bureaucracy which had been
    created to keep the workers down. In its place they created something
    entirely new. By their dictatorship over the exploiting classes–who were
    overthrown and kept down by what Engels, replying to the anarchists,
    called the “highly authoritarian” means of guns and cannon–the vast
    majority of people, the working class, could enjoy real democracy for
    the first time.

    This was not just a quantitative change–simply a
    matter of “more democracy.” It was a qualitative change in the nature of
    the state. In the Paris Commune the workers took things into their own
    hands. The workers themselves–the majority–took up the running of
    society. Whereas the capitalist state was an instrument of the minority,
    as all previous states had been back to the time when the state first
    emerged as a negation of classless ancient society, the dictatorship of
    the proletariat which places the state in the hands of the producing
    class, the majority, is the first step of the working class towards the
    elimination of classes, the conditions which give rise to classes, and
    all class rule. When this is accomplished–under communism– the state
    will wither away.

    As Marx summarized it, “This socialism is the
    declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship
    of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of
    class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of
    production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social
    relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the
    revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social
    relations.” {The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850) The historical
    mission of the working class is not just to seize power from the old
    exploiters, but to use its power–the dictatorship of the proletariat– to
    transform all of society and completely do away with classes, class
    rule and all the evils that have arisen from class society. “Between
    capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary
    transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also
    a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the
    revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Marx, Critique of the
    Gotha Programme)

    As Marx pointed out, the workers of Paris,
    surrounded on all sides and faced with famine due to economic blockade,
    could no more than begin their work during the 72 days of the Commune.
    They made certain political mistakes, as was inevitable in this first of
    all proletarian revolutions. Marx and Engels summed up that the Commune
    had failed to carry out the dictatorship of the workers over the
    exploiters ruthlessly and swiftly enough–the workers left the Bank of
    France, the country’s main financial pillar, untouched, and instead of
    disposing of the captured bourgeoisie in Paris and marching on
    Versailles immediately while the French bourgeoisie was still weakened
    from its defeat at the hands of Prussia, the workers of the Commune
    allowed them to escape and regather their forces. Then the French
    bourgeoisie with the aid of the reactionary Prussian rulers carried out
    “a slaveholders’ revolt” against the victorious slaves, turning Paris
    into a sea of blood as Communards by the thousands were killed in
    house-to-house fighting or shot down as prisoners.

    But as Marx
    declared even while the battle was still raging in Paris, “If the
    Commune should be destroyed, the struggle would only be postponed. The
    principles of the Commune are eternal and indestructible; they will
    present themselves again and again until the working class is
    liberated.” (Marx, “The Record of a Speech on the Paris Commune”)
    Growth of Revisionism

    After
    the Paris Commune the influence of Marxism grew tremendously, in large
    part due to what the experience of the Commune had proved for all to see
    about the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat. The other political
    trends which claimed to speak for the workers, such as anarchism, were
    greatly exposed. But the very fact that nearly all of those who claimed
    to speak for the workers were calling themselves Marxists–while many
    were cutting the revolutionary heart out of Marx’s teaching, the
    dictatorship of the proletariat–led to the necessity for the working
    class to learn to distinguish real Marxism from sham Marxism.

    “What
    is now happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history,
    happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and
    leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation,” wrote V.I.
    Lenin at the beginning of State and Revolution. While the oppressors
    hound such men during their lifetime, slandering them and ridiculing
    their theories, after their death the oppressors make their names
    holy–to a certain extent–“for the ’consolation’ of the oppressed classes
    and with the object of duping” them, “while at the same time robbing
    the revolutionary theory of its substance”–they keep what’s acceptable
    to the bourgeoisie.

    During the latter part of the 1800s and the
    early 1900s, a trend emerged which revised Marxism so as to reduce it to
    the idea of class struggle and nothing more, to the idea of the workers
    struggle against the capitalists for their immediate demands, and to
    rob the working class of its historic and revolutionary mission of
    overthrowing the bourgeoisie and transforming the world to achieve
    communism. Although Marx and later En-gels had criticized this
    revisionism in its early stages, it was only with World War 1 that this
    revisionism emerged openly in its fully mature rotten form. On the eve
    of the proletarian revolution in Russia, in August and September of 1917
    (the proletarian revolution took place a month later), Lenin found it
    absolutely necessary to revive the original teachings of Marx and Engels
    on the subject of revolution and to sum up the further experience of
    the working class in order to lay the theoretical foundations for the
    actual seizure of power that was about to occur. Without this
    revolutionary theory, the working class could not hope to really bring
    about a revolution.

    What the revisionists had done was to
    substitute eclectics for dialectics: “In falsifying Marxism in
    opportunist fashion,” Lenin pointed out, “the substitution of
    eclecticism for dialectics is the easiest way of deceiving the people”
    (State and Revolution) and a lot of people were deceived. (Eclectics
    means mechanically combining things without regard to their real,
    dialectical relationship–in this case, raising a secondary aspect to
    defeat a primary aspect.) The revisionists had taken Marx’ and Engels’
    teachings that the state would one day wither away, and brought this
    aspect to the forefront, in such a way as to hide the fact that Marx and
    Engels had taught that this could happen only after the violent
    overthrow of the bourgeois state and the suppression of the exploiting
    classes until the basis for such exploiters to arise was eliminated.
    According to the revisionists, it was the bourgeois state that would
    wither away–the exploiters would peacefully give up their power as a
    natural result of the evolution of society without the violent
    revolution and revolutionary dictatorship of the working class.

    To
    the revisionists of Lenin’s time–as the CPUSA today–the struggle of the
    working class was simply a fight to take over the government, without
    changing the relations between the exploiter and exploited that the
    government reflects and protects and without really changing society.
    Even those revisionists who, as Lenin said, “flippantly admit” the
    necessity of the dictatorship ”’in general’” refused to “draw the
    appropriate practical conclusions.” These revisionists were all for
    building the struggle of the workers for their immediate needs and
    demands, especially in the trade unions, but they refused to build the
    workers struggle in such a way as to prepare the working class
    politically and ideologically (or organizationally and militarily) to
    seize political power and set out to transform the world.
    Lenin on Proletarian Dictatorship

    Against
    this revisionist line whose chieftains had turned the workers’ parties
    of the Second International in most countries into a loyal opposition to
    the bourgeois government, Lenin stressed again the class character of
    the state, the question of who really holds power. He pinpointed “the
    essence of the question– have the oppressed arms?” He quoted Marx and
    Engels on the Paris Commune extensively, bringing out the teachings that
    the revisionists had tried to keep buried. “Opportunism,” he declared,
    “does not extend recognition of the class struggle to the cardinal
    point, to the period of transition from capitalism to communism, of the
    overthrow and complete abolition of the bourgeoisie.” (State and
    Revolution)

    In defending and developing the lessons of the
    Commune, which were of the greatest practical importance, Lenin affirmed
    that: 1) the workers had to put themselves at the head of all the
    oppressed in defeating the old exploiters in battle, and 2) having
    overthrown the old exploiters, the working class had to maintain the
    dictatorship of the proletariat “for the entire historical period which
    separates capitalism from classless society, from communism.” (State and
    Revolution)

    Later, in a speech given two years after the October
    Revolution, Lenin put it like this: “The revolution which we have begun
    and have already been making for two years, and which we are firmly
    determined to carry to its conclusion (applause), is possible and
    feasible only provided we achieve the transfer of power to the new
    class, provided that the bourgeoisie, the capitalist slave-owners, the
    bourgeois intellectuals, the representatives of all the owners and
    property-holders are replaced by the new class in all spheres of
    government, in all government affairs, in the entire business of
    directing the new life from top to bottom.” (Report at the Second
    All-Russian Trade Union Congress) This transfer of power, the
    dictatorship of the proletariat, “is a persistent struggle–bloody and
    bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and
    administrative–against all the forces and traditions of the old
    society.” (Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder)

    Through
    its dictatorship of the proletariat–through its control of the state and
    ceaseless struggle against the forces of the old society on every
    front, from the economic and political organization of society to the
    realm of ideas and habits–the working class must transform all of
    society by carrying out its antagonistic struggle with the bourgeoisie
    to the end.

    It is impossible to speak of a struggle against the
    “forces and traditions of the old society” unless it is linked, as Lenin
    does, with the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie,
    because this contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie
    remains the decisive question throughout the entire period of socialism,
    that is, of the transition to communism. Correctly handling the
    contradictions among the people and developing the productive forces are
    important tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, but the key link is
    class struggle against the bourgeoisie and maintaining the rule of the
    working class over it.

    Lenin’s defense and development of Marxism
    on the central question of the dictatorship of the proletariat was of
    crucial importance in politically and theoretically preparing the
    advanced section of the Russian working class to lead the masses in
    seizing power when the conditions for revolution ripened. Lenin’s
    theoretical understanding, based on summing up the developments of the
    class struggle with the science of Marxism, made it possible for him to
    give practical leadership to the revolution as well.

    During
    Lenin’s lifetime, the crucial question was establishing the dictatorship
    of the proletariat. The work of drawing “the whole of the poor into the
    practical work of administration” (The Immediate Tasks of Soviet
    Government) and the clearing out of the bourgeoisie and its ways from
    all spheres of society had only just begun. Although Lenin did refer to
    the long-term necessity and tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat
    (such as in the quotes above), the development of the class struggle
    after his death made it possible and necessary to deepen and develop
    that understanding, and the practice of the dictatorship of the
    proletariat, not only from the point of view of the Overthrow of the old
    bourgeoisie but also from the point of view of transition to classless
    society, to communism. Mao Tsetung’s development of the theory of the
    continuation of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat
    which arose out of the scientific summary of the experience of the
    class struggle in the USSR and China is the most important of Mao’s many
    contributions to Marxism. It was a theoretical breakthrough which
    enabled the working class and masses of China to make new practical
    breakthroughs in socialism and strengthen Marxism as a weapon in the
    hands of the working class of the whole world.
    Experience of USSR

    Joseph
    Stalin, Lenin’s successor, had made certain errors regarding the
    dictatorship of the proletariat. The problem was not, as the bourgeoisie
    tries to tell us, that Stalin was “a dictator” who carried out “a reign
    of terror.” The problem was that Stalin had thought that once the
    working class seized the means of production from the hands of the
    bourgeoisie and the peasant agriculture in the countryside was
    collectivized, there were no longer antagonistic classes and
    antagonistic contradictions in the Soviet Union.

  113. Torcer says:

    Nov. 25 2014
    The People’s Republic of Plymouth
    The strange and persistent right-wing myth that Thanksgiving celebrates the pilgrims’ triumph over socialism.
    This Thursday, Americans will gather together for an evening of family, food, football, and arguing with the relatives about politics. And why shouldn’t that argument extend to the meaning of the holiday itself?

    One could argue that the idea of celebrating a rare moment of friendship between America’s early European settlers and its native inhabitants is marred somewhat by the centuries of bloodshed that followed. Yes, Americans of a conservative bent might dismiss this as mere P.C. revisionism. But the right has its own version of Thanksgiving revisionist history—the idea that the holiday is a celebration of the pilgrims’ abandonment of socialism in favor of free enterprise.

    The storyline goes like this: The early settlers at Plymouth at first experimented with a system of collective ownership of farmland, which, as with their compatriots at Jamestown, led to widespread famine. When they eventually abandoned this system in favor of private ownership, farmers were more productive, the harvest was bountiful, and a feast was held in celebration. Pass the stuffing!
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    This tale has its roots in the Cold War. “Let us be thankful for this valued lesson from our Fathers—and yield not to the temptations of socialism,” advised a 1968 column by the popular midcentury conservative newspaper columnist Henry Hazlitt.

    The notion of Thanksgiving as an anti-socialist parable has been given new life with the rise of the Tea Party, with versions of it reappearing on conservative and libertarian blogs and newspaper op-ed pages every year around this time. “The Pilgrims tried ‘it takes a village’ socialism and almost starved,” remarks a column in Sunday’s Salem (Ohio) News, for instance. A 1999 version of the story published by the Mises Institute, a free-market think tank, is a popular email forward. Fox News’ John Stossel is also fond of the tale, as is George Will. Not surprisingly, the leading exponent of the theory may be Rush Limbaugh, who repeats the “true” story of Thanksgiving every year around this time on his radio show. “Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn’t work!” he told his listeners last year.

    The idea, which has the twin virtues of reaffirming the wisdom of the free-market system and discounting the modern multiculturalist notion that the pilgrims succeeded with the help of Native Americans, is rooted in historical accounts. It has some flaws, though.

    As Kate Zernike of the New York Times pointed out in 2010, the timeline doesn’t quite work.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/weekinreview/21zernike.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. The system of collective ownership known as the “common course” was abandoned in 1623. And it was abandoned not because of famine but because the settlers wanted to make more money. As for Jamestown, their biggest problems were drought and malaria, not socialism.

    It is true that the Plymouth settlers abandoned a system of common ownership in favor of private property, and found it much more to their liking. In his memoirs, William Bradford, the colony’s first governor, writes that the communal lifestyle was “found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment … [f]or the Young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.” After every family was assigned its own parcel of land to farm, “this had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”

    This all sounds very Randian, but the story is not quite the free-market folktale that its boosters would have you believe.

    Communal farming arrangements were common in the pilgrims’ day. Many of the towns they came from in England were run according to the “open-field” system, in which the land holdings of a manor are divided into strips to be harvested by tenant farmers. As Nick Bunker writes in 2010’s Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World, “Open field farming was not some kind of communism. All the villagers were tenants of the landlord.”

    There was no local baron in Plymouth, but it was a commercial project as much as a religious one, and the colonists still had to answer to their investors back in England. It was this, not socialist ideals, that accounted for the common course. Bunker writes, “Far from being a commune, the Mayflower was a common stock: the very words employed in the contract. All the land in the Plymouth Colony, its houses, its tools, and its trading profits (if they appeared) were to belong to a joint-stock company owned by the shareholders as a whole.”

    He continues: “Under the terms of the contract … for the first seven years no individual settler could own a plot of land. To ensure that each farmer received his fair share of good or bad land, the slices were rotated each year, but this was counterproductive. Nobody had any reason to put in extra hours and effort to improve a plot if next season another family received the benefit.”

    The pilgrims’ transition—which, again, happened after the first Thanksgiving—can indeed be used to illustrate the benefits of individualism or the tragedy of the commons. But the Rush Limbaugh crowd should note that the settlers at Plymouth were rebelling against the rules set by a corporation, not against the strictures of some Stalinist collective farm or a hippie commune.

    “I mean, is Halliburton a socialist scheme?” New York University historian Karen Kupperman said in Zernike’s story. Yeah, this is also a bit of a stretch—Halliburton oil engineers aren’t rotated around to different drilling sites and compensated based on the last group’s productivity. In the end, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, it’s a questionable enterprise to draw lessons about contemporary politics from early-17th-century agricultural practices. But hey, it’s a free country. Everyone has a right to a Thanksgiving parable of their very own.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2014/11/thanksgiving_socialism_the_strange_and_persistent_right_wing_myth_that_thanksgiving.html

  114. Torcer says:

    “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” –Thomas Sowell

  115. Torcer says:

    Reichsmark
    https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/allemagne-pre1945/g3316.jpg
    https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/allemagne-pre1945/3316.jpg
    https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/allemagne-pre1945/3317.jpg
    Obverse
    Eagle facing left surrounded by legend with wreath and mint-mark below
    Lettering:
    Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz
    D
    Engraver: O. Glöckler
    Reverse
    Wreath of Oak Leaves surround the denomination
    Lettering:
    Deutsches Reich
    1 Reichsmark
    1934
    Engraver: O. Glöckler
    Edge
    Plain, with shapes and stars
    https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/allemagne-pre1945/g1236.jpg

    Features
    Country Germany – 1871-1948
    Type Common coin
    Years 1933-1939
    Value 1 Reichsmark (1 RM)
    Metal Nickel
    Weight 4.85 g
    Diameter 23 mm
    Thickness 1.6 mm
    Shape Round
    Orientation Medal alignment ↑↑
    Demonetized 03-01-1940
    References KM# 78, AKS# 36, J# 354, Schön# 80

    https://en.numista.com/catalogue/photos/allemagne-pre1945/1236.jpg

  116. Torcer says:

    Coin catalog › Germany, Third Reich › Coins
    Coin catalog : Coin › 1 Reichsmark (A, B, D, E, F, G, J)
    https://i.colnect.net/f/3570/173/1-Reichsmark-A-B-D-E-F-G-J-back.jpg
    Description:
    Front: (value) 1 Reichsmark inside a mirror-like wreath
    of 2 oak branches with leaves
    legend: (top, state name) Deutsches Reich
    (bottom, year) 1933 – 1939
    Back: Emblem (German eagle looking left)
    legend: GemeinutƷ vor EigenutƷ
    (bottom, mint mark) A – J
    A (Berlin, Brandenburg-Prussia 1850-)
    B (Vienna, bundesland Austria 1938-1944)
    D (Munich, Bavaria, 1872-)
    E (Muldenhutte, Saxony 1887-1953)
    F (Stuttgart, Wurttemberg, 1872-)
    G (Karlsruhe, Baden 1872-)
    J (Hamburg, Free city, 1873-)
    https://colnect.com/en/coins/coin/742-1_Reichsmark_A_B_D_E_F_G_J-Circulation-Germany_Third_Reich


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