what Marxism really is.....

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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:21 am

WendyDarling wrote:
surreptitious75 wrote:So Marxism unlike Socialism or Communism is not a poltical or economic system as such but the transition between those systems
More specifically Socialism is the transition from Capitalism and Communism is the transition from Socialism
And once Communism has been fully established Marxism no longer exists because the transition is complete

I think that this is something everyone can agree on as its simply explaining what the process is without any ideological bias either way
Important also to emphasise the difference between terms that are often used synonymously when they actually mean different things


Learned something new because I didn't see how the State withered away but it's just a ruse to progress communism and that makes perfect sense. Thanks obsrvr and surrept.

Obsrvr, who's James?

Oh, I didn't see this post.

I meant James S Saint, the only reason I signed on here. I had been observing him from about 15 years ago and came here to complete a dossier just as a hobby but then something personally interesting happened while trying to explain my understanding of James' MIJOT theory to Magnus. And then over the past year the subject has become extremely interesting, awesome, and even concerning due to realizing James' connection to China and COVID-19. I'm obsessed now with deciphering who James was actually talking to, what he knew, when he knew it, and mostly how he knew it. But I'll get into that on a different thread.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:27 am

Right, back to business.

phoneutria wrote:it's unusual for me to draw such a clear line as i do on this matter
kill t with fire

You've made it clear that you find surplus value to be completely justified.
That's been my main dispute so far.
What do you think of Marx's theory of alienation?
I find that pretty compelling. You don't at all?

phoneutria wrote:i'm even in favor of quite a deal of socialistic ideas
like the "absurd" concept that the people's money should be used to provide services to the people
which is why the other side of this discussion likes to call me a commie
it is all very funny to me

That is pretty funny - it seems to be what separates thinkers from the tribalists who only feel comfortable completely ensconced in one set of ideas that has a clearcut enemy who does everything completely and inexorably wrong in their collective minds. Deviating from the narrative, even on only a couple of points gets you outcast from all the tribes as an example of the enemy - which is perfect because that's where all the thinking and exploring is to be done, and where all freedom thrives. It's an energy conservation thing, I believe - where critical faculties are encouraged to atrophy in favour of focusing all efforts on the collective cause of the group. It's likewise very funny to me to see "individualists" band tightly together in this way to hypocritically fight for individual freedom and against collectivism. It's a pretty good indication that there's little to learn from someone when they show no signs of being able to change their mind.

phoneutria wrote:it's actually a tu quoque

Eh, that fits too.
Ad hom is dismissing the argument because of the arguer (which you were doing).
Tu quoque is dismissing the argument because of the arguer acting differently to what they were arguing for (which you were doing).
Long live neither of them when it comes to analysing arguments on their own merits.

It might not be surprising if someone comes out with bad arguments because their own life is lacking in some bad way, it might be interesting advice to follow to "clean your room" to see if the effects escalate to your life and thereby your thoughts about life, but life coaching doesn't change the logic or how it applies to an argument that's already made. If you're in favour of life coaching that's nice for you, but all I care about when it comes to argument is the logic and the scientific application and analysis of these things to the world.

phoneutria wrote:
Silhouette wrote:I'm interested in how a State can become absolutely powerful - as in your step 1 of "reality" - when Marxism is fundamentally anti-State. But more than that, I'm interested in how an absolutely powerful State could be avoided after implementing an anti-State strategies like we find in Marxism.

by all means, refer to the communist manifesto
an exerpt of which you can read on this very page
but I'll put it on here twice again
in case you miss it again
if you need me to make the connection between this recipe and an all-powerful state
please let me know, i'll do that for you
but I think you're capable on your own
i did put some stuff in green there just in case

Yeah I read it, I even read your earlier history lesson.

Most of it was just facts about what happened, but the last two paragraphs were interesting - the "why".
It's insane to me that incentive disappears when what you produce goes to other people even if it means you'll starve. Can your efforts being shared (in turn for their efforts being shared with you btw) be so very painful that you'd be willing to starve for it? "Lack of incentive" makes completely zero sense.
And deliberately sabotaging your own property just to prevent it from "going to the collective for nothing"? What the actual hell? No sense here either.

But anyway - onto what you've commented on in the Communist Manifesto.
You raise the same concerns as Wendy: WHO is in charge of each of the listed items?
Again, I say it's organised by whomever is/was already involved.
Workers all literally do what their job was before, only with everyone free from ultimately answering any the private owner. Everyone involved in the process now gets a say, hiring someone else entirely would also be possible by the same managers etc. who were already employed. Even management and their decisions would open up to everyone involved to prevent any of the usual office politics keeping unwelcome mangers from holding onto their authority.
The State is just a bunch of working people, hired into their position for being good at the job, who have to answer to all other working people in accordance with however they collectively decide to run things.
So much more freedom, no artificial "risk" from "losing all the means of production you own" - just pure meritocracy for whomever is going to be best for the job and without the ultimate threat of what any private owner dictates.

That's the theory, whether you agree with it or not. The thread is "what Marxism really is" not "what I think of what I think Marxism is".
I think it raises some interesting questions about motivation - since people are still free to come up with better ways of doing things, for which the reward is the improved outcome and all the same appreciation as before. Workers were always obliged by duty to do their work, so why does a change of "boss" make a difference? Why doesn't it make workers feel less pressured and more free to not have to answer to some rich person?

phoneutria wrote:i'm actually interested in reading this strictly anti-state strategies you mentioned
i may have missed them somewhere in the middle of all this blatantly state-promoting text
but i'm admittedly not nearly as much a connoiseur of marx as you are
do point it out

otherwise put it to rest this repeated claim
that communism was not a direct implementation of marxist theory
i'm not glossing over it
you are
like it's so hard a truth to admit that you'd rather not look at it at all

You have to bear in mind that Communism is intended to be brought about via Socialism, both as defined by Marx as opposed to all these alternate defintions that people throw around today:
1) Socialism is working people as "the State" - operating solely to prevent counter-revolution. That's all the "means of despotic inroads" is that you highlighted.
Working people control credit, communication and transport, factories and instruments of production - collectively organising themselves. There's almost zero reason to change whomever is currently in charge of doing all these things as their day-job under Capitalism. Only difference: no private despots looming over everything.
2) Communism is what happens once the same working people who no longer need "the State" carry on doing everything democratically and transparently. The list in the Communist Manifesto is to begin the initial Socialist transition. The State withers away after counter-revolution is no longer a threat because everyone realises things are better without capitalists, and the mentions of State in the list just end up being deferred to meaning these same working people communally organising these same things without any counter-revolutionary work necessary any longer.

phoneutria wrote:we can go through the manifesto line-by-line if you want to

I'm up for that if you are.

phoneutria wrote:to start, your "udeniable fact" is false
because at the point where a product is created, the amount of money that that work has generated is zero
in fact, adding in the cost of materials and labor, the amount is severely negative
so, until the product is sold, the only thing your workers have earned you is debt

It's not false. Financial profit is revenues minus expenses. Revenues are what everyone earns the company, expenses are what they're paid. Profit is what everyone earns the company being greater than what they're paid. This is basic accountancy.

Employers don't fabricate their own cash, if they don't have cash they have to borrow in the form of a liability (credit) before anything can be spent on wages or assets (which are either current or non-current i.e. they go towards the product/service to be sold or towards the means of producing the product/service). Assets are bought from other companies who pay their own employees to make the assets - so ALL outgoings are always wages somewhere down the line. All incomings are always people spending their wages.
So profits are when people spend what they were paid back into a business, and the surplus value gets filtered off towards the owners to either spend on themselves or reinvest in the company i.e. to pay off these initial loans if not to invest more in the company or even grow the loans. Once these liabilities are matched by the assets, the workers have eliminated the debt the employer initially incurred and the employer no longer has anything on them.

phoneutria wrote:lol yeah exactly
there are dire consequences to risk taking
ask the likely thousands of people whose dream of becoming self-employed died with this pandemic
sorry that your point got lost in me
maybe elaborate?

Yeah sure. If the means of production are collectively owned, nobody has anything to lose from using them to make better means of production. You just do the work like you always did, but you don't have to answer to any owners - you're free to create without any gamble.

Currently there's consequences to risk taking because the means of production are privately owned.
If they weren't, then there'd be no risk and no dreams of becoming self-employed die from a pandemic.

phoneutria wrote:employees who get paid today
in today dollars
as opposed to imaginary future dollars
that may or may not exist
and that should feel very fortunate
to be freely employed
in their own terms
most people in the history of mankind did not have that privilege

I don't understand what your point is here.
Yes, we should all feel very grateful for what we have today, because things used to be worse.

phoneutria wrote:i know you're posting this like it's another "undeniable fact"
but your opinion of what justifies wages is completely irrelevant
who cares about what silhouette thinks is fair?
who the fuck are you?
is this supposed to be an argument?

I'm no one.
My argument isn't about me, it's about accountancy - my field of work.
I'm just imparting knowledge about how money works, which is the same whoever tells it.

phoneutria wrote:i think in the US a patent is good for 20 years
at that point anyone who wants and is able to produce the same thing can go ahead
now, as to the building and maintaining of, say, a factory, the answer is because it is someone's property
"but phoneutria, that is ideology!"
well, no problem
anyone who does not subscribe to this ideology is free to do away with their property as they see fit
anyone who does subscribe to this ideology should not be forced or imposed upon by someone else's ideology, as that would be imoral

In academia, your contributions are immediately open to anyone and everyone - and as a result, anybody who has anything to add immediately has access to the improved knowledge that all before them have provided.
Improvements are thereby immediate, and all you have to do is reference who you got your ideas and data from.
Academics keep going like rabbits, all trying to compete to be referenced in the knowledge that they are acknowledged for immediately making the world an objectively better place without any "20 year" waiting period to deny everyone the benefits of your contributions unless it comes only from you and your private limited resources only.

As such it would be better for everyone if the whole privatisation thing was dropped. To not drop it would be immoral.

phoneutria wrote:this is false, as evidenced by the wage rates and quality of workplace in the developed countries
employers don't have dictatorial power exactly because they are forced to acknowlege the importance of their employees

if I start a company and tell people that I will pay them $1 a week to do work
literally nobody will be lining up to take those jobs
so I offer $10 an hour and i get some workers
then a competitor starts up and offers $11/h for the same work
all the employers i trained for the job while making no money threaten to leave
so I offer them $500 a week and 5 days off
my competition offers $500 a week and 6 days off
half of my guys leave
etc
it is evident by today's stadards of living
that free-market benefits everyone

You're way overestimating the power of employees in this whole arrangement that we've currently got going on.

There's a tiny proportion of employees out there who cannot be bettered, and who could more or less dictate their wages if they wanted to remain employees. But what do they do? They either go it alone so all the surplus value they create doesn't just go to some rich guy who employs them, or they use the same capitalist mechanisms to take surplus value from their own employees in their own business.

In reality, the vast majority of everyone is replaceable, especially when it comes to the vast majority of tasks that NEED doing that don't require much skill or experience - which the vast majority of people don't have anyway.
If everyone was employable, employed and with plenty of prospects then your mechanism would have a power balance.
The fact that there's huge variation in skill and experience means this will never be the case because the vast majority of workers will always be replaceable. They can't simply go somewhere else without significant competition, where half the people will always struggle at the bottom, and the threat of NOT offering your services for less and less means zero income instead of accepting a punishingly low one. Again, this goes for tasks that NEED doing, or at least it would be better for them to be done, or the positions wouldn't be opened in the first place.

This is compared to a system where even more people face the ridiculous life conditions of having zero income in an undeveloped country - so anything's better than that.
Yay for Capitalism being better than absolute poverty - absolutely. I am grateful for this.

phoneutria wrote:it's just this dead wrong idea that a product is worth just the cost of materials and labor
it's incorrect
the entire foundation of this argument is false
there's nothing to sustain it
i can go back a couple of pages and copy/paste the thing i was trying to start on this
or we can just go over it again
actual marxist theory
this isn't going to be your run of the mill "MARX WAS EVIL NYAH NYAH NYAH" discussion
it's flawed, dude, i'll show you
let's go

If you want to get into accountancy, I'm here for you.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:56 am

WendyDarling wrote:Didn't he advocate for equal rights for workers, 40 hour work week for all workers, etc.? Isn't the entire idea of socialism everybody gets equal everything? Never heard that socialism was based on merit. Merit would place intelligent, capable, and ambitious people ahead of everybody else all over again.

Wendy, please.

Equal rights for workers doesn't mean all workers are equal in every other possible way.
It just means their rights are equal. Equal opportunity.
Merit can still be rewarded if that's what people collectively organise.

Socialism can be whatever society democratically organises it to be, just so long as it's genuinely open to all society (e.g. more capital doesn't get you more say).

Intelligent, capable and ambitious people ahead of everybody else sounds great to me - I'd vote for that, to such a proportion as agreed upon by all involved parties. Just no capitalistic mechanisms for owners to pay workers less than what they earn the owners (the definition of "profit").

WendyDarling wrote:Learned something new because I didn't see how the State withered away but it's just a ruse to progress communism and that makes perfect sense. Thanks obsrvr and surrept.

Yes it's all just a clever ruse to use good ideas to bring about the exact opposite of those ideas - "makes perfect sense"... :icon-rolleyes:
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby surreptitious75 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:36 am

What in your opinion is the reason as to why the transition from Capitalism to Communism through Marxism where it has been tried was not successful ?
Is it specifically a flaw within Marxism itself that Marx just did not see or is it something unrelated to Marxism that still had a negative impact upon it ?
This thread is about what Marxism is but to truly understand it it has to be looked at from a real world perspective as much as from a theoretical one

I think one flaw is where the transition from Capitalism to Socialism and / or Socialism to Communism was not seen as being difficult to achieve
Also is it taken for granted that the workers are a single homogeneous entity who will always ideally operate as such when required to do so ?
Western society is very individualistic by nature whereas Socialist / Communist ones are very collectivist so could that too have been a flaw ?

How much of the Communist Manifesto was just theory and how much was actually based on real world knowledge ?
Given its very historic failure [ in both Socialism and Communism from Marxism ] was it just not pragmatic enough ?

This is an excellent thread so must be kept going regardless of the ideological differences between the different members here
This is what a philosophy forum should be about so credit to the two main protaganists for [ mainly ] quite productive discourse
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:39 am

All excellent questions.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby MagsJ » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:22 am

obsrvr524 wrote:I meant James S Saint, the only reason I signed on here. I had been observing him from about 15 years ago and came here to complete a dossier just as a hobby but then something personally interesting happened while trying to explain my understanding of James' MIJOT theory to Magnus. And then over the past year the subject has become extremely interesting, awesome, and even concerning due to realizing James' connection to China and COVID-19. I'm obsessed now with deciphering who James was actually talking to, what he knew, when he knew it, and mostly how he knew it. But I'll get into that on a different thread.

Please do..

That sounds like quite the spy novel.. or could become one, if you chose to write it.
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I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ

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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Urwrongx1000 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:28 pm

Silhouette wrote:Merit can still be rewarded if that's what people collectively organise.

You have this backward, which isn't a surprise.

Merit is Natural. Merit is Nature. In real-life if you fuck up, you will be injured and damaged. If you succeed, then you will be rewarded, get to eat, and live another day.


Collectivism/Socialism/Marxism is about perverting and inverting nature, turning it around. Only in "Marxism", can a shitty, brain-dead worker, earn "equally" with the business Owner or Capitalists.

You want to "Equalize" the lowest with the highest. Anti-Nature.

You need to admit to yourself that your "Marxist" theory is Anti-Natural, against Nature. And it will never exist, because those who do better than others, those who sell better, earn better, build better, deal better, etc. will demand proper Compensation for higher ability.



Go back to my arguments with Prom. A better worker/carpenter/contractor deserves what he earns. No third-party thieves need intervene, as-if *YOU* deserve the reward and benefit of other people's work!!!

Marxism is Thievery, theft of other people's work. I know the counter-argument: "No, Capitalism is theft!" But here's the rub. If you don't want to sell your labor for $15 per hour, then start your own business!

(but you won't, because you can't, or because you ignore risks)
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby promethean75 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:21 pm

Wait you mean if I want to solve the problem I should become the very thing that I loathe, a capitalist?

No thanks. I'll stick with being an anarchist, immoralist and criminal. It's much more honest.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:39 pm

MagsJ wrote:That sounds like quite the spy novel.. or could become one, if you chose to write it.

I mentioned that to my wife and her girlfriend. Now it has become:

James Saint 00X - Gentlemen Cowboy Spy beguiling and sidestepping the Five Eyes while covertly communicating to his estranged Jewish wife and adopted Iranian daughter enslaved by the Chinese Communist Party.

After cleverly misleading the FBI for years James vanishes from sight to replace one of the astronauts on the Crew Dragon then leaps a treacherous venture though a debris filled space orbit to board a Chinese Gaofen observation satellite. After even more clever misdirecting, manages to hop a return to Earth flight aboard the new Chinese secret space plane/shuttle. Narrowly escaping capture, James continues his singularly focused trek by misguiding the Chinese MSS Guoanbu into suspecting and chasing after multiple other spies and counterspies (seemingly a specialty of James'). After rescuing a Chinese and a Russian prisoner from Qincheng Prison in exchange for assistance, the motley formed crew track down and surgically rescue his wife and daughter just as their organ harvesting procedure had begun.

We haven't worked out how he gets out of China yet. I was thinking that Arnold Schwarzenegger could play James in the movie (probably the right age) until I realized that he already made this movie - True Lies. Of course the Chinese would never let Hollywood release such a film. Someone would have to get it made in Australia or perhaps India.

It's a funny thought but I'm sure I don't have that much free time, writing skills, or know how. Perhaps my wife could pursue it, although I'd have to do all of the research and she might turn it into some kind of sex novel more suited for the French.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:59 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:All excellent questions.

Agreed.

surreptitious75 wrote:What in your opinion is the reason as to why the transition from Capitalism to Communism through Marxism where it has been tried was not successful ?
Is it specifically a flaw within Marxism itself that Marx just did not see or is it something unrelated to Marxism that still had a negative impact upon it ?
This thread is about what Marxism is but to truly understand it it has to be looked at from a real world perspective as much as from a theoretical one

My opinion is that everybody loves to have a simplistic opinion on the complex chains of events that led to the various failures have been associated with Marxism.

There's plenty wrong with the marxist theory, there's been plenty wrong with its application, and there's been plenty of resistance from outside parties with something to lose from any marxist success.
Think about how much of the world was controlled by capitalists who would stand to lose the legitimacy of their mechanism of paying employees less than employees earn them - did they quietly stand by on the off chance that their advantage might be swept away from under their feet? Hell no. It's multi-faceted, so why do people try and pin it down to just one or two and act like they solved it? It's not solved. Most people can barely get their head around "what Marxism really is", never mind clearly pin everything down to his words alone.

The give-away about "what Marxism really is", that people keep confusing here, is that the political movements associated with it are prescriptive - not descriptive. Marx didn't first observe Socialism or Communism in practice and then write his theory based around that practice. He wrote his theory and people put things into practice that drew upon that theory. That's why the theory is the starting point. If it were the other way around then this "real world perspective" would be the benchmark. But it wasn't so the theory is the benchmark against which to assess the quality of the practice. Both practice and theory matter - of course! But in the interests of discussing "what Marxism really is", the theory is the benchmark, and the practice is to be judged against how well it fits that benchmark. The quality of the practice can also be judged - of course - but that becomes a different question to "what Marxism really is": it becomes a question of "how well has Marxism been put into practice". That's not what this thread is, as you seem to accept.

surreptitious75 wrote:I think one flaw is where the transition from Capitalism to Socialism and / or Socialism to Communism was not seen as being difficult to achieve
Also is it taken for granted that the workers are a single homogeneous entity who will always ideally operate as such when required to do so ?
Western society is very individualistic by nature whereas Socialist / Communist ones are very collectivist so could that too have been a flaw ?

I'm not really convinced that people thought a Capitalism->Socialism->Communism revolution was going to be easy... - you might need to back that one up with something, anything.
Workers were judged as having more in common with each other, even internationally, than they would have in common with capitalists, even from the same nation. Agree or disagree as you will. Either way, they have a lot in common by virtue of their economic position and relationship to money, to their work arrangement, to their produce, to the means of production that they use but don't own etc. - which is no small set of factors when it comes to making a human who they are.

surreptitious75 wrote:How much of the Communist Manifesto was just theory and how much was actually based on real world knowledge ?
Given its very historic failure [ in both Socialism and Communism from Marxism ] was it just not pragmatic enough ?

The Communist Manifesto is just about the most superficial book by Marx, hence why it's so short, hence why it's the only book that people tend to read by Marx if anything at all. Yet he was a prolific writer, who wrote far more than some small set of proposed instructions to manifest the huge body of work that he wrote to back up his one small manifesto. He was a historian, who drew upon a great deal of real world knowledge to construct his Historical Materialism. The political theory that emerged from his real world knowledge was just history extrapolated into the future.

What people fail to appreciate is how Communism never manifested by definition, because there's always been a State - which is no wonder, given the counter-revolutionary efforts of a vast capitalist empire. That's the function of the Socialist State - to prevent that. So if it's insurmountable, then Socialism never graduates into Communism - no matter how prematurely it's historically been declared that some Communist revolution has been completed, just to gather some initial political support. Even if the theory was somehow perfect and the geography and history of the places that purported to manifest this theory were actually in line with the theory (late-capitalist nations rather than backward pseudo-feudal nations), the counter-revolutionary backlash to impede Marxism never really seems to be fully appreciated. It's not without irony that the whole reason it's never really mentioned is because it was so successful in distorting laymen views on "what Marxism really is" and polarising opinions against a straw man - which is what we see in abundance even on an amateur philosophy forum.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:00 pm

Silhouette wrote:There's plenty wrong with the marxist theory, there's been plenty wrong with its application

Can you give us some specific examples? And please remember that "Marxist theary" is a tactic for establishing communism. It is NOT socialism. Socialism is one step that appears to always fail. So what is wrong with the theory on how to accomplish communism - "Marxist theory"?

Silhouette wrote:What people fail to appreciate is how Communism never manifested by definition, because there's always been a State

Have you ever considered that there MUST always be a state?

How are millions of people ("workers") supposed to make societal decisions? Voting? Based on what? Media? Who controls the media (Marx was a media man)? Who ensures the validity of the propaganda? Who ensures the voting is fair? Are there representatives (a republic)? Who controls the policing and education?

In any case that I can think of, there must always be, and always has been, a State. So exactly what magical means is proposed that would allow for a "stateless society"?
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:27 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:Can you give us some specific examples? And please remember that "Marxist theary" is a tactic for establishing communism. It is NOT socialism. Socialism is one step that appears to always fail. So what is wrong with the theory on how to accomplish communism - "Marxist theory"?

Sure, I don't think it's realistic for revolution to occur unless dire material conditions are dire enough - such as were found in all the backward pseudo-feudal societies that tried to have those revolutions that have been associated with Marxism. Under late Capitalism, dire conditions aren't severe enough for enough people to sufficiently inspire revolutionary action on a scale that can be effective.
So I don't find this part of Marxism to be correct. He might very well have been right that only revolution could overthrow Capitalism, so this leaves us in something of a pickle concerning how to act upon any and all of his valid critiques. Can mere reforms ever go deep enough? He didn't think so. Revolution in underdeveloped countries doesn't seem to work, in line with Marx's Historical Materialism - that's too early. One reason of many for the historical failures in practice.

I actually covered this already in this very thread - which is the whole problem with someone joining in mid-conversation with blanket statements, assumptions and accusations.

And yes, thanks for confirming what I've been saying this whole time about Marxism being distinct from Socialism and Communism... - this is key to getting to the bottom of the title of this thread that I've been putting so much effort into getting everyone to adhere to. You don't have to ask me to remember what I've been telling everyone else - that's kinda annoying.
The Socialist stage in the process does indeed appear to be problematic (the term Socialism as used in Marxism rather than the alternate ways you hear it used today). That'd be great to discuss further.

It's possible that overthrowing dictatorial power structures without immediately replacing them with other dictatorial power structures just creates a power vacuum that is too easily filled with the most primitive and animal power structures that we can resort to - like in Mad Max etc. I think that's a little extreme, but I'm open to reliable evidence to sufficiently prove or disprove it.

obsrvr524 wrote:Have you ever considered that there MUST always be a state?

Of course. I'm not committed to the necessity or lack of necessity of a State - but I think it's entirely relevant to discuss such things on threads like these.

obsrvr524 wrote:How are millions of people ("workers") supposed to make societal decisions? Voting? Based on what? Media? Who controls the media (Marx was a media man)? Who ensures the validity of the propaganda? Who ensures the voting is fair? Are there representatives (a republic)? Who controls the policing and education?

In any case that I can think of, there must always be, and always has been, a State. So exactly what magical means is proposed that would allow for a "stateless society"?

Millions of workers make societal decisions even today. Are they really only civil and productive because of the presence and passive acceptance of capitalist owners? There's no difference between a bunch of managers and relevant employees sitting down in a meeting room to discuss some process or other, and workers organising how their society is going to be run. It's the same thing - we all recognise the more competent and experienced of us, the ones we enjoy working with and the ones we don't - just keep doing that. Media is just as much of a problem as it always was: privatised media demonstrably devolves to telling some biased market niche what they want to hear, and people are suspicious of state-owned media hiding news from us on account of some shady totalitarian agenda. I don't know how media could be run better, but getting rid of capitalist incentives (to achieve the most "internet clicks" and to provide misleading clickbait headlines carefully worded to evoke an emotional response) can't be a bad thing. Voting presents similar problems at large scales.

These are the issues I wanna see discussed here on a thread about "what Marxism really is". People mistake me for an expert on the subject, or someone who thinks they're an expert on the subject - just because I've actually read some of his writings when so many opinionated anti-Marxists here haven't even read anything by him at all. I'm really not an expert - I just want a thread called "what Marxism really is" to be about "what Marxism really is" so I can enjoy and maybe even benefit from a thread about "what Marxism really is".

Too many times this shit just devolves into a "I'm on this side and you're wrong and you're a fanatic unlike me" football match. I'm just trying to prevent that and actually do some philosophy on a philosophy forum.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby phoneutria » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:27 pm

part one

Silhouette wrote:What do you think of Marx's theory of alienation?
I find that pretty compelling. You don't at all?


i don't at all
i'll tell you why
it's funny because he gives off the impression that he's against industrialism
because most of what his criticism highlights are consequences of industrial production lines
as opposed to artisan production
but he wasn't against industrialism at all
he didn't want to destroy the production lines
he wanted to seize them!
what difference would it make for the worker who is in control of the production line?
he'd still be doing exactly the same work

besides, the modern invention that everyone needs to be happy while working
is just stupid
people telling their children to follow their dreams are doing them a disservice
we have thousands of music and art majors
who actually pay their bills by serving coffee
because those coffees need servin'
those septic tanks need cleanin'
that lettuce needs pickin'
if you follow the opportunity of work
you have a much higher chance of success than if you "follow your dreams"
and then, if you feel alienated from your essence or whatever
just fucking pursue a hobby your leisure time like the rest of us
pencil and paper is cheap
but even if your hobby is expensive
you'll be able to afford it
because you made a smart choice and went to work where work is needed
and that pays well

besides, who says that under marxism people would be able to just do whatever they want?
there would be an equal obligation of everyone to produce labor
that means that the talented painters and sculptors among us
would have to work just as much as a person who can't draw a stick figure
besides art is a bourgeois occupation anyway
only labor produces value, right?
they'd be working on a production line or a farm
making a tiny piece of a big thing
just like in any industrialist society
but what would make it much much worse
is that he would not be allowed to decide for themselves what work they must do
because it would be outside of free-market
and therefore regulated by... "the collective" (we're not using the word state anymore)
like those farmers in ukraine
they had to farm what they were told to farm
and then hand everything over
to be distributed to the collective by the collective
they had no power over their own lives whatsoever
in fact much less than in a free market privately-owned system
in which they'd be able to simple say "fuck this, i am getting another job"
if industrial processes cause alienation
marxism only makes it worse by an order of magnitude

so yeah, pretty much like everything else
it is incorrect, poorly thought out, stupid

more to come
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:05 am

phoneutria wrote:so yeah, pretty much like everything else
it is incorrect, poorly thought out, stupid



In other words, pretty much to the extent that you don't accept her own assumptions and historical analysis, you are yourself incorrect, poorly thought out and stupid.

It's not about what Marxism really is but that Marxism really is something. And this must be the case because she has thought out exactly what that is.

And thus has little but contempt for those who refuse to become members of her own political clique/claque.

More or less an offshoot of Satyr's own dogmatic assumptions about nature and nurture.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:29 am

Silhouette wrote:I don't think it's realistic for revolution to occur unless dire material conditions are dire enough - such as were found in all the backward pseudo-feudal societies that tried to have those revolutions that have been associated with Marxism. Under late Capitalism, dire conditions aren't severe enough for enough people to sufficiently inspire revolutionary action on a scale that can be effective.
So I don't find this part of Marxism to be correct. He might very well have been right that only revolution could overthrow Capitalism, so this leaves us in something of a pickle concerning how to act upon any and all of his valid critiques. Can mere reforms ever go deep enough? He didn't think so. Revolution in underdeveloped countries doesn't seem to work, in line with Marx's Historical Materialism - that's too early. One reason of many for the historical failures in practice.

So I think you are saying that revolution is a weakness in the Marxist tactic because it won't always work. I think that I agreed with that already although I am far more concerned about the actual proposed idea of a stateless society, the proposed goal itself. If the goal cannot be realized it doesn't matter what means is used to try to achieve it.

Silhouette wrote:I actually covered this already in this very thread - which is the whole problem with someone joining in mid-conversation with blanket statements, assumptions and accusations.

Just because something is said doesn't mean it doesn't need to be brought up again for further questioning or summery.

Silhouette wrote:The Socialist stage in the process does indeed appear to be problematic (the term Socialism as used in Marxism rather than the alternate ways you hear it used today). That'd be great to discuss further.

That is what I am trying to get to but I am already seeing a serious problem.

Silhouette wrote:
obsrvr524 wrote:Have you ever considered that there MUST always be a state?

Of course. I'm not committed to the necessity or lack of necessity of a State - but I think it's entirely relevant to discuss such things on threads like these.

obsrvr524 wrote:How are millions of people ("workers") supposed to make societal decisions? Voting? Based on what? Media? Who controls the media (Marx was a media man)? Who ensures the validity of the propaganda? Who ensures the voting is fair? Are there representatives (a republic)? Who controls the policing and education?

In any case that I can think of, there must always be, and always has been, a State. So exactly what magical means is proposed that would allow for a "stateless society"?

Millions of workers make societal decisions even today.

I don't believe that, depending how you define "workers". Can you give me a real world example that doesn't involve a predetermined decision making structure?

Silhouette wrote:There's no difference between a bunch of managers and relevant employees sitting down in a meeting room to discuss some process or other, and workers organising how their society is going to be run. It's the same thing

What I asked was how the "managers" got to be the managers. Voted in? Intimidation? How did they acquire the position and authority?

Silhouette wrote:we all recognise the more competent and experienced of us, the ones we enjoy working with and the ones we don't - just keep doing that.

I don't believe that for a second. Mr Trump in the US believes that he is doing a very good job along with many of his supporters. Ms Pelosi and Mr Joe Biden do not. Do they disagree just because they are evil capitalists?


Imagine that you are in a group and you were told to "go fuck off and learn something before talking to us". Does that only come from evil capitalists and dictators? How does that work out in a stateless society? How is it decided what level of violence is permitted in order to silence anyone seen as disrupting perceived progress? And who does the silencing? What if, which is often the case, someone just keeps interrupting over and over with nonsense or childish, ignorant rants?
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby phoneutria » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:07 am

part two

Silhouette wrote:Yeah I read it, I even read your earlier history lesson.

Most of it was just facts about what happened, but the last two paragraphs were interesting - the "why".
It's insane to me that incentive disappears when what you produce goes to other people even if it means you'll starve. Can your efforts being shared (in turn for their efforts being shared with you btw) be so very painful that you'd be willing to starve for it? "Lack of incentive" makes completely zero sense.
And deliberately sabotaging your own property just to prevent it from "going to the collective for nothing"? What the actual hell? No sense here either.


really?
cuz it makes perfect sense to me
i mean, there were more factors at play
namely, they were purging the fuck out of their wealthier farmers
but instead of trying to make excuses for that situation
like it had to be for other reasons
you consider the possibility that this thing that you think makes no sense
is true and really did happen
call it an exercise
get into the minds of those farmers and think like them
not like silhouette
silhouette would work all day until his hands had blisters
packing up all his grain and loading it into a truck
to be driven 700 miles away
while not being allowed to keep any to feed himself
and when receiving back an amount not enough to keep himself alive
he'd only work harder
with a smile on his face
because he's doing good things for the common good


anyway i think this goes to show that you are loooking at it with some amount of innocence
i don't mean it as an insult
i mean if you're being presented with a historical reteling of events
and you can't make sense of how the people en masse behaved
that should be an indication to you that you have a blind spot
so in good faith think about it

But anyway - onto what you've commented on in the Communist Manifesto.
You raise the same concerns as Wendy: WHO is in charge of each of the listed items?
Again, I say it's organised by whomever is/was already involved.
Workers all literally do what their job was before, only with everyone free from ultimately answering any the private owner. Everyone involved in the process now gets a say, hiring someone else entirely would also be possible by the same managers etc. who were already employed. Even management and their decisions would open up to everyone involved to prevent any of the usual office politics keeping unwelcome mangers from holding onto their authority.


so it's just the people doing exactly what they were already doing before
except they don't get a wage
they yield over the product of their work
and then they wait for the redistributing of the production
how is that empowering the worker?
can a worker make predictions about his own future based on the amount of work he did?

The State is just a bunch of working people, hired into their position for being good at the job, who have to answer to all other working people in accordance with however they collectively decide to run things.


even if the state declares itself unnecessary and dissolves
you still need to manage stuff by representative comittees
so there's still some people somewhere deciding how much you get
and once you assign power to a commitees
how do you keep them from becoming the new oppressing class?

if you allow for merit to be rewarded (and how?)
how do you prevent the formation of a new class of haves and have nots?
how do you keep the ones who dont have merit from feeling oppressed and resentful?

So much more freedom, no artificial "risk" from "losing all the means of production you own" - just pure meritocracy for whomever is going to be best for the job and without the ultimate threat of what any private owner dictates.


this is contraditory
if there is no risk, how can there be merit?
risk is not a bad thing
it's a filter
risk is what keeps people from pursuing stupid ideas

That's the theory, whether you agree with it or not. The thread is "what Marxism really is" not "what I think of what I think Marxism is".
I think it raises some interesting questions about motivation - since people are still free to come up with better ways of doing things, for which the reward is the improved outcome and all the same appreciation as before. Workers were always obliged by duty to do their work, so why does a change of "boss" make a difference? Why doesn't it make workers feel less pressured and more free to not have to answer to some rich person?


because the fatal flaw of thinking that people are working for their boss/firm
people are working for themselves!

more to come (that post was long af and, gots arts to make)...
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Urwrongx1000 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:02 am

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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:46 am

phoneutria wrote:what difference would it make for the worker who is in control of the production line?
he'd still be doing exactly the same work

This is an argument about whether alternative economic models make any difference to alienation, rather than whether alienation applies at all.

It's true that under Capitalism, workers are alienated from any final products that they're involved in producing when they're just some cog in a much larger machine.
As you say this is going to be the case for any industrialised process.
It's true that under Capitalism, workers are alienated from themselves when they're selling labour that's not in line with expressing their own development and satisfaction - they have to instead deny it.
As you say this is going to be the case for all unpleasant work that needs doing, and you can be free from this alienation outside of work if you have any free time.
It's true that under Capitalism, workers are alienated from being able to act on whatever makes us as humans more than animals when only some narrow job or set of jobs is to be performed by you.
As you say this is going to be the case for any organised labour structures that require specifically different things to you freely creating your own life in all the many ways you wish to see it.
It's true that under Capitalism, workers are alienated from normal human relationships with other workers when you are each resources and mere objects to use each other to get the task done.
As I'm sure you would say, this would be the case for any particularly disciplined or urgent work environment.

Do these types of alienation apply under Capitalism? In so many, perhaps the vast majority of cases - yes. The different dimensions of this alienation are picked apart nicely: the objects that we as humans work with/on, your human self, your humanity as a whole, and other humans you work with. Today, you're considered lucky if you can make a living in a job that you love because it's so rare - you even give your own advice against following your dreams, encouraging alienation in favour of achieving what you call "success". Ideology would have this pro-alienation mindset be called "work ethic" - and that's the only chance you really have to get ahead, which is albeit by no means guaranteed: to risk alienating yourself from you what you're doing, from yourself, from your humanity and from others - because you might get some fancy "material stuff" out of it. Yet it's such a mystery how addictions and mental illness are so rife in today's more capitalist nations than less capitalist ones, but it's cool that you're down with the whole thing. Best of luck to ye.

In the past, and in poor countries - your attitude is essential, because all suffering and dire consequences are/were immediate from birth, and for the small number of people around you who would be your whole world for your whole short life.
But the theory of alienation is perhaps unintentionally forward thinking as the size and scope of automation accelerates into increasingly more areas of work like never before. It's always been a prediction ever since automation properly began that jobs and the need to work would be slowly replaced - but so far the requirement for everyone to make their own living has forced people into tinier and tinier niches to evermore slightly improve the experience of consuming commodities just to try and persuade people to pay you rather than someone else i.e. the service industry, along with admin which basically only serve to assist/regulate actual business, which is sometimes just filling up a space in a transactional chain because some money can be made passing things from one company to another.

Can you imagine a late capitalist economy, where most work is just "made up" for the sake of everyone having to have a full-time job, falling into starvation because enough guys didn't turn up to work to press a button to keep the farm up and running? You don't think things are a little different now to how they were in the Ukraine a century ago?
Alienation is finally something we can eliminate with basically no difference to consumer standards of living, but enough people imprison all of our respective selves by our own dumb, selfish and antisocial devices.

phoneutria wrote:not like silhouette
silhouette would work all day until his hands had blisters
packing up all his grain and loading it into a truck
to be driven 700 miles away
while not being allowed to keep any to feed himself
and when receiving back an amount not enough to keep himself alive
he'd only work harder
with a smile on his face
because he's doing good things for the common good

I mean, kinda... - I am a chump when it comes to putting in extra work for no personal benefit. It's a personal orderliness trait where I like to finish jobs to high standards, which I understand isn't universal - but the sense of such a behavioural trait is much more obvious in the scenario you describe than in my actual employee situation: that more work on my end for the collective is marginally more for everyone - including myself. I get literally no external reward for putting in this extra work for a capitalist and never have. But when you're under threat of dying you definitely work harder, which goes for whether it's just you or if others are involved too, and even if you're a prisoner of war and want to stay alive. Things are so easily beyond that now that it's absurd that anyone's struggling to get by at all.

But like you said, there's no point talking about ourselves.
And just because I'm one way, I get that others aren't - I'm not "innocent". You were trying to hold back the word "naive" I'm sure ;)

phoneutria wrote:so it's just the people doing exactly what they were already doing before
except they don't get a wage
they yield over the product of their work
and then they wait for the redistributing of the production
how is that empowering the worker?
can a worker make predictions about his own future based on the amount of work he did?

Waiting for the redistributing of the production?
Kinda like waiting for payday?
- a distribution of the wages according to everyone in the same line of work out of what everyone achieved in the company.

A wage labourer under Capitalism can't make predictions about his own future based on the amount of work he did.

phoneutria wrote:even if the state declares itself unnecessary and dissolves
you still need to manage stuff by representative comittees
so there's still some people somewhere deciding how much you get
and once you assign power to a commitees
how do you keep them from becoming the new oppressing class?

if you allow for merit to be rewarded (and how?)
how do you prevent the formation of a new class of haves and have nots?
how do you keep the ones who dont have merit from feeling oppressed and resentful?

Yeah there's always people somewhere deciding things about how much people get paid, same as always. Except it's not private, it's transparent and open to collective dispute - not dictated. The decisions of the deciders are transparent and open to collective dispute. It's all everyone watching everyone else - so there's no "who is higher in the hierarchy to watch the top person in the hierarchy" dilemma.

"Haves" and "havenots" could be respectively kept in check according to a collectively "okayed" distribution. Why not an 80-20 for example to see how that works out, like I proposed? Whatever everyone decides together.

phoneutria wrote:this is contraditory
if there is no risk, how can there be merit?
risk is not a bad thing
it's a filter
risk is what keeps people from pursuing stupid ideas

You don't need to have something at risk to do a good job.
Not a contradiction.
And let someone pursue a stupid idea... if it turns out to be not so stupid, the results will show. They do anyway, and we're collectively rich enough to absorb it. Let people decide based on the facts.

phoneutria wrote:because the fatal flaw of thinking that people are working for their boss/firm
people are working for themselves!

more to come (that post was long af and, gots arts to make)...

People are quite clearly working not just for themselves. The alternative, if it weren't for the State, is starvation. Even if they enjoy what they do, employees work more for someone else than themselves. The self-employed might enjoy what they do, or not. Even capitalists are so often just working for the lifestyle regardless of whether they enjoy any work they may or may not be doing.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Silhouette » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:19 am

obsrvr524 wrote:So I think you are saying that revolution is a weakness in the Marxist tactic because it won't always work. I think that I agreed with that already although I am far more concerned about the actual proposed idea of a stateless society, the proposed goal itself. If the goal cannot be realized it doesn't matter what means is used to try to achieve it.

If you'd obsrvd the thread, you'd know I'm anti-revolution - reasoning being: what I just told you.

Yeah a stateless society is pretty out-there, huh? Let's discuss. The point of threads like this.

obsrvr524 wrote:I don't believe that, depending how you define "workers". Can you give me a real world example that doesn't involve a predetermined decision making structure?

Before decision making structures become decision making structures, they don't involve predetermined decision making structures.
Casual organisations don't. Social hierarchies don't.
But the point is to establish decision making structures that are transparent, representative and mutable. Call that a State if you want, it's how organisation is performed that matters.

obsrvr524 wrote:What I asked was how the "managers" got to be the managers. Voted in? Intimidation? How did they acquire the position and authority?

You know how they got to be managers... well I assume you do.
If they're initially external to the company, they get voted in from the top down, usually via interview process, perhaps by direct or indirect recommendation depending on how new and established the company is with its procedures.
It's most often a manager or two delegated to interviewing someone and judging between themselves how charming and believable the candidate was about their prior achievements. It's well known that interview decisions are down to the first few seconds of meeting someone for the first time, and progressing upwards within a company requires people moving out of higher positions - and by that point is largely down to office politics and what the manager happens to think is best. If anyone is under the illusion that this is a clean manifestation of meritocracy then you've not lived the reality. If it were down to all the people actually involved, things would be very different.

obsrvr524 wrote:I don't believe that for a second. Mr Trump in the US believes that he is doing a very good job along with many of his supporters. Ms Pelosi and Mr Joe Biden do not. Do they disagree just because they are evil capitalists?

Who the fuck said they were evil and/or capitalists?
Did you pick that out of thin air?
I think you picked that out of thin air.

With actual transparency, probably neither would ever be let near actual power. With the people involved first hand able to voice facts, and however many people wanting to vote listening, it wouldn't just be a pantomime like US elections have become since Chump.

obsrvr524 wrote:Imagine that you are in a group and you were told to "go fuck off and learn something before talking to us". Does that only come from evil capitalists and dictators? How does that work out in a stateless society? How is it decided what level of violence is permitted in order to silence anyone seen as disrupting perceived progress? And who does the silencing? What if, which is often the case, someone just keeps interrupting over and over with nonsense or childish, ignorant rants?

Does one person need to do any silencing? No. Currently Smee on this forum needs to learn how to debate and in the meantime is being ignored. He's free to carry on posting as he is, but it's the evident quality of posts that's getting traction. You think people can't organise themselves without a State? Sure, it's pretty kangaroo on a small scale, though that's the same as within any capitalist company. But even in the society we currently have, there's a collective understanding of intelligence, competence and objectivity within the legal profession. It's not without possibility to come to some such collective understanding - and if worse comes to worst, if we all become dominated by the most intelligent, competent and objective, then at least societal servitude would no longer be down to a bad reality TV show.

Again, who the fuck said anything about evil and/or capitalists?
Did you pick that out of thin air?
I think you picked that out of thin air.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:51 am

I think you are conflating many issues, making it hard to respond so let's focus first on this idea of a "stateless society".
Silhouette wrote:But the point is to establish decision making structures that are transparent, representative and mutable. Call that a State if you want, it's how organisation is performed that matters.

I hope that you have not been implying that everything in a society could be merely voluntary. That would seem to be terribly naive. You tell me if that what you meant.

Assuming the best it seems to me that you might be willing to agree that any social decision making structure constitutes a State, regardless of how it got there. And it seems reasonable to accept that anything called "a society" will certainly need some social decision making scheme. If you agree to those then it seems that we could agree that there really can never be the thing properly called a "stateless society" other than millions of people being so dumbed down as to be merely apes roaming around eating what wild berries and vegetables they could find. So hopefully we can put that term to rest.

Also, I am convinced that Marx, and especially Engels, never had it in mind that communism referred to a truly stateless society like what was more in line with the French utopian concepts. They seemed to have been totally consumed with the concern of the (false in my opinion) dichotomy of the owner class and worker class, ignoring all else.

With faint hope if we can agree that far, I'd like to get into what kind of decision making structure a realizable communist society would involve. The world has had a variety of real examples with measurable outcomes. What have you in mind?
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:44 pm

Don't you think that James S. Saint's SAM Coop is an example of stateless society?
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby surreptitious75 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:28 pm

I do not think that there can be anything like a truly stateless society as that is merely anarchy by another name
Communism was never truly stateless anyway for the state in such societies was actually more not less in control
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby surreptitious75 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:29 pm

As Marxism was merely the means by which Communism was attained it presumably had less to say on how Communism should proceed once it was attained
So then would it be fair to say that from an economic perspective the complete lack of free market principles is where it fails when compared to Capitalism
For better or worse evidence would suggest that healthy competition is the foundation of a successful economy and this is why Communism is less successful
Also the general standard of living under Communism is probably lower than under Capitalism and this would be another failing for Communism economically
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:21 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:I do not think that there can be anything like a truly stateless society as that is merely anarchy by another name


Um, I assume what you mean by "anarchy" is "lawlessness". How does "stateless society" translate to "lawless society"?

Communism was never truly stateless anyway for the state in such societies was actually more not less in control


You are referring to communist states i.e. states that were trying to bring about communism through totalitarianism.
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Re: what Marxism really is.....

Postby Urwrongx1000 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:49 pm

Because State = Law & Order?

Duh???
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