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Why do some people (DU'ers too) think that Communism is the worst ?

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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 06:56 PM
Original message
Why do some people (DU'ers too) think that Communism is the worst ?
Why do some people think it?

I literally have seen it (this one is an old post on YAHOO).

"I would rather live in a Plutocratic state than a Socialist State".

You have no Rights under a Plutocracy

You have no Rights under a Theocracy

You have no Rights under a Corporatocracy

The Crimes of Communism pale in comparison to the Acts of Evil that have been done by Plutocracies and Theocracies.

I'm not one to defend Communism, but this is ridiculous.

The things that the Far Right are planning are the things that we should be acting against, not screaming and ranting about Communist 'threat'.

I should know, real live Theocrats are trying to take over Ohio!

We've got to come together to stop the Far Right, it is the only way we can win.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ask them if they'd rather live in a plutocracy over a democracy?
That'll be sufficient, I should think.

We've been a plutocracy for some time now...

Have them ask people who lived and worked in the late 40s-80s. Many of them were shocked when reagan's policies started dismantling the stable way of life they all grew up with.
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Decades of corporatist conditioning.
NGU.


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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
187. "Decades of corporatist conditioning."
No, not in my case, I have read the "Communist Manifesto" a few times and simply wasn't convinced.



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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. They don't get that it is tyrants which fuck up humanity, not ideas.
What can I say?
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
173. A lot in that, I think. They use the ideas though,
as a front. Well, the ideas of this current perversion of capitalism are so primitive they scarcely qualify as ideas. But they use them, nonetheless, and that's what's so insulting.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. The theocrats worry me more only because they are now powerful.
If the religious right were an inconsequential minority, while the communists held sway in much of Congress and had elected a sympathetic president, I would be fighting communism as much as I now fight the religious right. But that's not the case. Communists are an inconsequential minority, so I don't much bother with them. That's not because the ideology is inherently less a threat to democracy and freedom, but just because they have no real influence in this nation.
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. No they're not. The corporatists just let them think they're powerful.
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 07:06 PM by ClassWarrior
It serves as a useful distraction from the all the looting.

NGU.


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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
36. Why do some people (DU'ers, too) think that corporations are the worst?
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #36
62. Excellent sarcasm....I think.
Needless to say, the Founding Fathers were very wary of corporations and wanted to limit their charters to something like 70 years. I also believe that they wanted to limit the scope of their operations to the manufacturing of a single item or service. Very farsighted those boys. Why?, you ask.

GE
Halliburton
Archer Daniels Midland
ad nauseum
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #62
80. Only partly sarcastic. I think there should be limits on corporations...
If there is a legal principle that seriously needs undoing, it is the notion that corporations are persons, due Constitutional protection. There is no justification for the 19th century Supreme Court decision that enshrined this, neither common sense nor original intent nor strict constructionism nor rights theory nor anything else. I also would keep them out of the political process. Figuring out how to do that is a bit more complicated. But there's no excuse for the existing hand-in-glove cooperation between K-street and the Republicans in Congress.

That doesn't mean corporations are bad. Corporations are a legal abstraction that make investment and business ownership much easier. Speaking of the founding fathers, keep in mind that they were quite keen on commercial enterprise, and even enshrined patent and copyright into our Constitution. The large benefit of corporation is economic dynamism and growth. I don't think it is accident that the economies of the last century that have failed miserably are those that discouraged or banned corporations.

We shouldn't worship corporations. We shouldn't treat them as people. We can and should set limits on them, so that they are a tool for good rather than harm. But the thinking that seems common among some on the left that corporations are the seat and cause of all evil is just nuts.

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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #80
106. Well said.
And those that see corporations as evil see them that way for the reasons that you enumerated. Take away personhood and enforce the Sherman Act and those views would likely disappear.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #106
118. Some of the issue is rhetorical...
Business and corporations are no more inherently evil than drugs or sex. In fact, I would argue that all four are essential to a modern society. Yes, they can be abused. But there is a difference between the wingnut preacher who opposes all sex except procreative acts between a Christian husband and wife, and the public attorney who prosecutes pedophiles. When it comes to corporations and business, there is an abstinence-like rhetoric that shares all the excesses of the wingnut preacher, where I wish we would get more to a rhetoric of abuse, boundaries, etc.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #118
175. In a half-sane world, your concern to make a distinction
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 04:39 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
between the corporations in principle and in current practice, sounds rational, but today, it's rather like speaking of a domestic cat and a full-grown lion; a bit like saying, "Don't keep teasing the cat, when you can see he wants a bit of peace and quiet, or he'll get vicious, and you'll only have yourself to blame", when what is needed is a discourse on how to capture and control an escaped lion, when at the moment we just have a few sticks and a smallish net. The principle of conservation and a balanced eco-system tends to take a back seat.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #4
208. "Communists are an inconsequential minority,"
Bush was inconsequential in the 90's, nobody dreamed a man like that could come to power........... after that almost anything seems possible.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. Are you seriously comparing
our society (whatever its many flaws may be ) with a Communist state??? You're right this is ridiculous...
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lovelaureng Donating Member (434 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. I agree with you.
Totally ridiculous.
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MarsThe Cat Donating Member (978 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
37. when has true communism ever been attempted?
there have been countries that hve been proclaimed by themselves or others as "communist"...but have any of them really been?
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. see post #41
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ptolle Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:45 AM
Original message
theocrats & commies
Oddly enough in view of some of the comments above some of the most ideologically pure attempts at true communism have been made by religious groups- think of the Oneida community, or the Shakers- google or wiki bible communists/(ism). Communism and its cousin socialism are both economic theory that inherently say nothing about the sort of political structure imposed over the top of them.As stated by a poster above it's totalitarianism regardless of its economic or social guise that frightens me the worst.We have gotten a lot closer than I ever thought possible in this country with georgism, but thanks to our democratic republic we are about to see this would be dictator peacefully off into the obscurity he so richly deserves and we can set to repairing the damage done our country.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
97. I feel kind of lucky that I went to college
in the Seventies.

As a history major in the 70's, communist doctrine was historical fact among the professors. We were taught a theoretical understanding of communism, and its dialectics, branches and choices.

At the time the Soviet Union looked extremely strong and countries throughout the world, especially in the Third World were changing to a communist form of government.

To the professors this was seen as inevitable, and to us students it was seen as a positive for the world as a whole. With every professor in the history department a Marxist, we were all pretty indocrinated.

Anyway, the dream of communism is Marx's slogan of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to its needs."

In practicality, we were asked to envision a world where people worked at the occupations they wanted to. When you needed things you went to the store and took them.

The lack of need for money would free millions of workers from pencil pushing jobs to truly productive jobs, and therefore the wealth of the society would grow tremendously. Kind of like Star Trek.

The question would always be asked "what if people refuse to work since they aren't getting anything for their labors?"

The answer to that was that "capitalist man" would refuse to work, but through education, a new man called "Communist Man" would be created who would work for the benefit of society, not for his own.

Through the intermediary steps to "Communist Man" a government was necessary. However, once "Communist Man" had been achieved, the state would "wither away and die."

It all seems so obviously silly today, but believe me, it was taken very seriously back then, at least on college campuses.

Anyway, as you'd see at first glance, the problem comes when you take away the incentive to work, people stop, productivity declines. Without opposition parties, the government becomes punitive in forcing people to do what they don't want to do. You end up with Gulags, Cultural Revolutions and Killing Fields.

I wonder today if those same professors are still the true believers they were back then, or are they today teaching an entirely different matrix of beliefs never mentioning the silliness they once taught as inevitibility.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #97
108. See me later
You are heading for a fail in Communism 101.

The idea is not to have governments so 'without opposition parties, the government becomes punitive..' etc is really a description of a failed system of communism.

You are blaming a theory for its implementation, in other words.

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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #108
109. Aren't you the guy I was arguing about this with the
other day?

Of course you can blame a theory for its implementation, if a theory does not take into account certain factors (like human nature) that are going to be inevitable under any scenario for implementation.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #109
117. Yes that was me
And I have the chance to re-ask a question (I can't remember if it was you I asked): what is human nature? How is it expressed?

You cannot blame a theory for its implementation if the implementation is nowhere mentioned in the theory. Stalin's regime would have been completely unrecognisable to Marx as a communist society, based on what Marx actually wrote that is, not what people imagine he wrote.

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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #117
122. What is Human Nature
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:27 AM by BL611
Self Interest, the insecurity of survival instincts, which manifests itself in will to power, if a society does not have the proper structures to curtail power from concentrating it cannot work. The marxist view (DSA types aside, at least that held by most of the orthodox) is that will the flaws in human nature are caused by capitalism, in reality I believe it is quite clear that the flaws in capitalism are caused by human nature (Do you also think Adam's Smith's society is equally as legitimate as Marx because he discounted the possibility that agrarian capitalism would turn into corporate oligopoly), the difference is that at least in (what is now called)a capitalist society there is enough plurality of ownership to create a model of countervailing power, under any Marxist conception of society power becomes too concentrated and leads to despotism.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #122
131. What a grim outlook on life
that is.

How do you account for acts of generosity? Why are so many people here so obviously motivated by injustice if they are only self-interested? How do you explain the outpouring of grief and giving that followed the tsunami in SE Asia?

I think you are very confused about Marx. It is a common enough thing, I suppose.

As for your idea that the imperfections of capitalism are caused by the imperfections of human nature - surely that is a good argument to get rid of capitalism, since it inevitably leads to bad things?

Though your idea itself is very silly, I would go along with the idea that capitalism is a system best exploited by very self-interested people, a system that rewards the worst in human behaviour - it's just a shame about the rest of us, apparently.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #131
135. Calling idea's silly while ignoring the point
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:59 AM by BL611
made, is a waste of both of our time.We are not all bad, we have the possibility of doing good, many of us do commit altruistic acts as forms of love to our fellow human, however this impulse is always in conflict with maximizing self interest which is equally apparent looking at the world.

I answered in my last post that Capitalism will never be anywhere near perfect, but (unlike Communism) at the very least creates a plurality of interest among elites that holds all of them reasonably in check, I have no illusions of any utopian society, that does not mean I do not believe that we can (and should always strive) to improve.

Again you twist my words, we are all self interested, it is part of our nature, every system is best exploited by very self interested people, the difference is at least capitalism (and by Capitalism I mean in its current conception-not as "pure" capitalism, but the mixed economy welfare state) takes this enough into account to provide a level of refuge from the most egregious displays.

I am still curious to hear you answer my question about Smith? If Communism cannot be blamed because attempts at implementation have not followed what you consider Marx's ideal, can Capitalism be blamed, as obviously it has not followed Smith's ideal either? If not, do you find both to be equally legitimate forms of government that just need better "implementation"?
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #135
138. I didn't ignore your point
And I haven't twisted your words.

Why must debate always be conducted on the one hand by a pure, ultimately honest person at one keyboard and, on the other by pure malice determined to distort and subvert on the other keyboard?

In reality I may have misunderstood you but I don't want to distort what you say.

Sorry I didn't answer your point about Smith: in short I don't think that capitalism is based on any theory. Smith is occasionally wheeled out to give theoretical justification to some new excess, but I don't think he would have recognised, or approved of, modern capitalism.

And I didn't say that 'Communism cannot be blamed because attempts at implementation have not followed what you consider Marx's ideal'. I wanted to explain that Marx left no road map or signposts beyond a very basic idea of self-government and common ownership. He believed that socialism and communism would be achieved by the actions of working people themselves and they (we) would decide how society would be organised. Stalin perverted this by claiming that communism could be achieved with a system that, uncoincidentally, left Stalin at the top. In communism there should be no 'top'.

And finally, capitalism has no self-restraining mechanism that you imagine it has. Though it's elites are not homogenous, there will always be a camp that calls for moderation and planning. But, and this is a crucial contradiction within capitalism, any capitalist who wants to be more moderate than his competitor will lose the competition. It is only governments acting in the public interest that restrain its excesses, though not at the moment so much, by insisting on universality of standards.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #138
144. OK, but that is not my question
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 11:40 AM by BL611
It is obviously a given that Smith's conception of capitalism was not industrial corporate oligopoly, however do you assign as much merit to Smith's "pure capitalism" as Marx's "pure communism"? and if so do you believe a properly implemented capitalism can be as just, as a properly implemented communism?

Capitalism within the context of Liberal Democracy DOES have a self restraining mechanism in the separation between economic and political power, while Marxism(or at least as it has been "implemented" thus far) concentrates all power within one organ, it is the difference between the Weberian outlook of society in which power manifests itself through different applications which can be used to check each other, and Marx's crude materialism.

Since you dismiss all previous attempts and Communist implementation, and believe Marx has nothing to say on the subject, what is your theory on how to implement it.

BTW: As far as your musings on debate, you were the one one who decided to dismiss comments as silly rather then refute them or say you didn't understand them.
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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #131
150. Human nature is Human nature.
You are wired for survival-salvation. Human nature and survival is not imperfect it is who we are. The economic, political, religious belief systems that any of us ascribe to works as well at it results in our survival as a species. The imperfections are actions that threaten our comfort or survival.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 03:40 AM
Response to Reply #150
180. Yes
But the argument about human nature is used to insist that a change of economic system is impossible.

When people use this argument they tend to interpret human nature as something entirely self-interested and motivated by possession and greed. I disagree with this characterisation - it doesn't take account of human generosity to strangers and the general uncrushable instinct in most of us for justice and fairness.

What they also glide over is the fact that this sort of economic system hasn't been around very long and human nature developed before it came into existence.
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gorbal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #180
196. You just said what I wanted to say:)
Edited on Thu Nov-24-05 12:07 PM by gorbal
The motivation to work was once more than pure "survival". People tried to bag the biggest deer or reap the biggest harvest or throw the biggest party to gain status and acceptance within their group.

If you look at the richest people and why they work, it isn't for "survival". Why should we assume that they are so much more evolved than those of us on the lower end of the pay scale?

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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:11 AM
Response to Reply #117
184. "You cannot blame a theory for its implementation
Edited on Thu Nov-24-05 05:12 AM by NorthELiberal
if the implementation is nowhere mentioned in the theory."

So if I come up with some pie in the sky idea ......... and I give no one a roadmap on how to attain it, I still deserve to get the worldwide acclaim that Marx did in some circles? If I am pissed enough to stage a revolution....... and marx did call for revolution, shouldn't I ground my ideas with a more concrete plan?



In reply #108 you said

"You are blaming a theory for its implementation, in other words." and tell yupster he/she is heading for failure in Communism 101.......... yet you acknowledge Marx is incomplete..... Implementing the theory, what course is that Communism 102?







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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #184
193. I don't think it is fair to
call Historical Materialism 'pie in the sky' unless you can actually disprove its major claims. Can you?

Marxism is not 'incomplete'. It is not part of Marxism to have a roadmap for a socialist or communist state. How could it be since no one knows when capitalism will end, or how, or what the conditions facing humanity will be?

Marx's theory of Historical Materialism claims that human society develops in stages - stages that are determined by our ability to 'transform nature' i.e. make things for our own survival/enjoyment. So you have primitive life with very limited means to 'transform nature' like flints and bones - and the society is also primitive, it couldn't be anything else.

Later technical developments will arrive, like agriculture, and these changes will also effect changes in social structures, so you have the start of formalised religion and royalty as soon as society is able to produce a surplus.

Marx claims that each new stage is a progression. Under feudalism technical developments in finance and markets were unable to operate properly because the structure of society didn't allow it - you might have developed a way of producing things better but the king may ban it because it threatens one of his favourites, etc. Therefore there was a revolution against feudalism and a structure of society was established that favoured capital and finance. We are still in this stage though it is also running out of time and frustrating humanity's ability to 'transform nature'(half the world lives on less than $2 per day).

According to Marx, capitalisms replacement is historically necessary, but definitely not predictable. Of course he may be wrong, but I don't think so.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #193
207. "Marxism is not 'incomplete'. "
Edited on Sun Nov-27-05 06:59 AM by NorthELiberal
..... It is not part of Marxism to have a roadmap for a socialist or communist state. How could it be since no one knows when capitalism will end, or how, or what the conditions facing humanity will be?"


By pie in the sky I meant that many people can dream up the of plenty of "theoretical" solutions to society's problems. Marx's theories are social/economic, not something that you can easily test in a lab........... When you make the world your laboratory you have to exercise a little more caution then you do in a lab.

Unlike a lot of other theoreticians Marx did call for direct action. He was calling for revolution. Thats places a slightly larger burden on him to show a way especially if it's as massive an undertaking as transforming the world economy.

"Marx's theory of Historical Materialism claims that human society develops in stages - stages that are determined by our ability to 'transform nature' i.e. make things for our own survival/enjoyment. So you have primitive life with very limited means to 'transform nature' like flints and bones - and the society is also primitive, it couldn't be anything else. "

No kidding, you make it sound as if Marx is the first to examine the impact of technology on human society......... That's very obvious isn't it? (the impact of technology) Literally hundreds of millions people have made that observation on their own (even before Marx). When I was young before I had ever heard of Marx I had more than one elderly relative (who were not very educated --- They didn't make it past elementary school) tell me what it was like to live without plumbing or electricity, what is was like to have the first telephone, car etc. Many if not most inventors have an idea their inventions will impact society and possibly transform it in some way....... it is one of their motivations for creating things. It's not hard to see how new technology changes power relationships in society. That's something many people know instinctively even if they can't articulate it well.

Even if you were to completely credit Marx, for the theory of Historical Materialism............. it is an interesting set of observations on a dimension of history (I use the the word dimension for lack of a better word-------- I hesitate to call it one dimensional....... it is in a way comprehensive while still leaving out many of history's other dimensions.........) and history had many other dimensions to it. There are other philosphies, art, religions, sciences that certainly played a big role.


"Later technical developments will arrive, like agriculture, and these changes will also effect changes in social structures, so you have the start of formalised religion and royalty as soon as society is able to produce a surplus.

Marx claims that each new stage is a progression. Under feudalism technical developments in finance and markets were unable to operate properly because the structure of society didn't allow it - you might have developed a way of producing things better but the king may ban it because it threatens one of his favourites, etc. Therefore there was a revolution against feudalism and a structure of society was established that favoured capital and finance. We are still in this stage though it is also running out of time and frustrating humanity's ability to 'transform nature'(half the world lives on less than $2 per day)."



Now the question turns to who gets the surplus, we can start with who benefits from the surplus in modern society........ which is a very big topic for one post, so I will get back to it later....... or go back to feudal societies.......... the example you layed out itself shows that capitalism was an improvement over what came before it...... doesn't the financier or enterpreneur who can deliver the best product or service deserve to profit more than the king or feudal lord and his cronies? (it's not as if they won't benefit anyway, they are still taxing the profit), hence wasn't the rise of capitalism an improvement over what came before it? Oui? Non? The Bourgeoisie (using his terminology...... I am not defending the purely idle rich, but Marx lumped a lot of people into that category, artisans, entrepreneurs, etc) as Marx simplistically called them were an improvement over the Monarchy and Feudalism...... They at least started the trend of upward mobility for themselves and society as a whole. The rise of more modern commerce led to more communication, travel, exchange of ideas, etc. Marx himself admits several times in the Communist Manifesto.


Straight from the Communist Manifesto:

"Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land."

All those factors led to the rise of new values as well, the age of reason, enlightment, etc. ...... and democratic revolutions in human rights which led to the overthrow of Monarchs. The rise of Capitalism went in parallel with the rise of democracy. Not a small achievement don't you think? Early Communists called it the Bourgeoisie Democratic Revolution............ almost in a derogatory way as if the rise of Demcracy was just an afterthought, not a breakthrough that took centuries to come into being. I am not saying early Democracies were perfect but they were a start. (George Washington is someone who Marx would have labeled Bourgeoisie, he was a rich wealthy landowner.......... You wouldn't say the American revolution was purely about business interests was it?)

If you keep reading the manifesto it seems like Marx has many problems with modern progress in general (he almost treats as if it were something that could be controlled....... Yes modern industry came with it's own problems and I am not a complete defender of Capitalism but many people see developments like railroads, telegraphs, steam engines as a positive thing. You can't plan where human thought, discovery, science etc. are going to go and you can't always help the people in the industries it displaces. Candlestick makers went out with light bulb, horse carriage manufacturers with automobile. Society overall still benefitted)


You mentioned we are still in this stage of development........... What if the end Capitalism creates the technology that allows us to take from human nature what we need to feed cloth shelter, etc every man woman child on earth? 200 years ago 97% of the population in America lived on farms, now it's 3 % and because of modern technology we still produce more food than the 97% did before. The transformation is still going on in all areas of life and yes we don't know how it will end................. it may be that we undergo such a huge technological transformation that whether it's a question of socialism, capitalism, whatever becomes a moot point. Marx himself admitted Capitalism was good at developing technology.........


There is a lot more I would like to add and expand on.......... however real life intervenes, when I get the chance I will try to add to this post, it is oversimplified and hastily written.

My main problem with Marx is that dividing the world into the bourgeousie and proletariat (he could have added at least one more class----- the creative/professional ---- even that is too simplistic but it would have allowed for more incentives) seems awfully simplistic, especially for today's world. I view history in multiple dimensions while Marx seems very one dimensional (yes the worker/class struggle is a very very big dimension, but not the only one). Since I am not completely convinced the second problem I have is with the revolutionaries who seem so ready and willing to impose an imperfect theory on everyone else. Marxism doesn't explain the American experience where many people (the proletariat) came here with nothing but shirts on their back and made a good life for themselves.




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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #193
210. I give you credit for this..........
"According to Marx, capitalisms replacement is historically necessary, but definitely not predictable. Of course he may be wrong, but I don't think so."

You considered the possiblity Marx may be wrong........ a big step... most Communists I have had discussions with do not leave open the possiblity Marx may be fallible...... Maybe if the early revolutionaries had a more go slow, wait and see, we could be wrong, attitude, Communism wouldn;'t have been such a disaster.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:08 AM
Response to Reply #108
183. "The idea is not to have governments so
'without opposition parties, the government becomes punitive..' etc is really a description of a failed system of communism. "


What else would you call a "dictatorship of the proletariat"? Suppose I wanted to represent a party of entrepreneurs?

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #97
155. where did you go to school?
I went to several two major Universities in the USA during the late 60's-early 70's. The "MOST" radical professor I experienced endorsed a form of Enlightened Socialism. I NEVER met or was aware of a professor (History or otherwise) who preached Marxism, though some of my young radical firends did.
:hippie:

Perhaps you would be willing to Name Names?

Rush says the Universities are/were a festering pool of Marxism/Communism, but MY experience has been otherwise.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:23 AM
Response to Reply #97
189. I had quite a few Marxist professors myself..........
Even in classes where it wasn't warranted they would bring the conversation back to Marx.......
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. the crimes of communism are equivalent to the ones you name
Just check Stalin, Mao, Kim and Pol to name some. There is no discussion that those systems were dictatorships and genocidal.

the problem is not there. The fact is that a majority of Americans if proposed European-like solutions for organizing the country, welfare etc... would call it "communism" when in reality it has to do with old social-democratic recipes, even christian-democratic ones. Chirac's party UMP which is considered as a traditional conservative in France would be considered as "left-wing" if running in the US, far to the left to the actual Democratic party.

the US right wing has demonized every collective based solution, when those are mainstream in Europe. They are helped by a libertarian tradition both to the left and the right.
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donheld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. "Just check Stalin, Mao, Kim and Pol to name some."
Those were NOT crimes of communism, those were crimes of dictators. Dictators would be no different if they were any other form of government. Any system run amok gets you those crimes.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
95. those guys stood for a system
like saying facism would have been nice without Hitler

communism leads to dictatorship because it denies individual rights and democracy. Read Lenin

untamed capitalism leads to exactly the same thing, for the same reasons.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #95
119. 'Read Lenin'
What have you read of Lenin's work?
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #119
167. more than you can imagine
"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism"
"The State and Revolution"
"What Is To Be Done?"
"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism"
"Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder"

as of what I can remember

Communism means the "collective ownership of the means of production" and "the dictatorship of the proletariat"

It has failed in all countries it has been tested

Can someone phone the remaining communist parties ?

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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #167
171. Has it failed in Cuba?
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 03:47 PM by killbotfactory
The lot of the average Cuban has increased, with pretty much free and universal access to medicine and education (despite the fall of the Soviets, our stupid embargo, and other vicious attempts by the CIA to sabatoge their industries or kill their leadership). I know the people who were at the top of the power pyramid fled after Cuba and complain a lot because the government took what they left behind, and like to spread propaganda, but still...
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eomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #171
214. Not true: "pretty much free and universal access to medicine"
Cubans on the island routinely have to ask relatives in the U.S. to buy and ship their medicines to them. They have to bring their own sheets to the hospital.

When my wife was visiting the island a few years ago (her one and only trip to Cuba since she left as a young girl), she went with her cousin (who still lived there at the time) to the local government run grocery. Before they went, her cousin told her "I'm going to ask if there is any salt". Sure enough there was no salt on the shelf and when the question was asked the answer was some story (not true of course) that salt would be coming soon. Food sufficient to subsist on is not available by way of legal means. Cubans are forced to resort to activities that are officially illegal just to avoid starvation.

These are the facts. Not propaganda.

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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 03:44 AM
Response to Reply #167
182. Can you give me a synopsis
of which work supports your original claim?
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #95
177. There is an awful lot I read about the catastrophic
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 05:20 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
Leap Forward, but no hint of the billions who will have died of famine, always ultimately man-made (like the Potato Famine in Ireland) and economic oppression prior to Communism. The troops of Chiang Kai-shek, earlier an alumnus of organsed crime, were so starved and anxious to join Mao's army. Well, I've just learnt from Wikipedia that the famine was also partly caused by three successive years of natural disasters. The first time I've read of that. Who'd have thunk!

As for democracy, if a fair election were held in China, today, as in Russia, it would revert to Communism in less than a heartbeat. The country is mostly rural and poor.

I heard people on TV who had worked as teachers there, before the Western-engineered lurch to the right (fortunately attenuated in spite of the psychopathic urgings of the psychopaths of Western capitalist geopolitics), and they stated what an incredibly happy and, incidentally law-abiding people the Chinese were. You could leave your door open in a hotel and be confident that nothing would be stolen.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
70. Those crimes are from Dictators - There's a hell of alot more to the list
paranoid eglamaniacs - and the list is a lot longer when detach the word "communist" -

And added to this list of dictators may be the name of George W. Bush -and that will be under a so called "democratic" system.

It just won't be the first time that an evil dictator rose to power under a "democractic" system.

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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
110. Bravo
This is the answer to the original question - communism has been demonised and equated with Stalin and Mao.

A very widespread disease which has its effect on every conversation about the future for the left.

It is hard to say whether the misunderstanding is deliberate or merely ingrained. You also equate 'the crimes of communism' with Stalin and Mao. What point are you making beyond the obvious one that these were tyrants and murderers? Obviously that 'communism' will inevitably lead to such murderers.

One might as well talk about christianity in terms of its followers on the lunatic right. If you start getting interested in christianity or want to act like a christian it will lead, inevitably, to you calling for the murder of gay people.

And so our political space is stunted and our discussion curtailed. Divide and rule.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #110
186. "communism has been demonised and equated with Stalin and Mao."
The crimes of communism weren't just committed by Stalin and Mao (thet were only the biggest offenders)........ Don't forget Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Jung, Kim Il Sung, Castro, Milsoevic, even Tito in Yugoslavia one of the more moderate former Communist countries. Communism's defenders of course will always go back to the last ditch defense of it's not "theory".

"It is hard to say whether the misunderstanding is deliberate or merely ingrained."

Maybe hard for you, tens of millions of dead will pretty much ingrain it, don't you think?


"And so our political space is stunted and our discussion curtailed. Divide and rule."

The discussion is definitely curtailed when you only want to talk about theory. In the real world let me ask you, with any theory (and yes a good theory can be imperfect in the beginning, that's why you test it to refine it), you eventually do go out to test it don't you? and the results count don't they? Now when Communism was tested, not very good results were they? Not just once, almost every time? Yes? No?

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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #186
192. You are making my point for me
I believe.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #192
209. "You are making my point for me......I believe."
Your point was? That because of the mass murders and other failures in the name of Communism it has a credibility problem? It sure does.
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politicaholic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. Repubs would use "The Evil Humours" against liberals if they could...
or "Liberalism causes gout and old-maid's creaks", whatever it takes to make people believe that the US will be one big Gitmo under another Democrat.

Somehow they have a small portion of the population convinced that there were manditory abortions during the Clinton Era and that children are going to be given "gay lessons" in elementary school if another Dem is elected.

Communism...*pfft*
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catmother Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
9. there is something that bothers me. if we're so free why can't
i travel to cuba? it looks like an interesting place that i would enjoy travelling to.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
10. Brainwashing? The USSR? China? Cambodia?
I think the theory is nice, but so far implementation has sucked.
The only place I can think of that it's worked out is Cuba, and that seems more due to the excellence of Cuba itself and Castro than to any theoretical quality in Communism.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #10
121. Which theories are you talking about?
Are you saying that communism works when it ignores these 'theories' but fails when it applies them?

Cuba is not communist - it has socialised means of production but it doesn't have worker based democracy (though it's representative democracy is much better than the 'west's') and the state still takes the place of an organised population, usurping the role the people should play under a Marxist system. However I don't really doubt the good intentions of Cuba and Castro, and no doubt they would have gone much farther if they hadn't been under economic and military attack for fifty years.
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eomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #10
215. Communism has not "worked out" in Cuba.
Rather, it has been a disaster.

The only reason the Cuban people have survived Communism is because they have gone outside the system to find ways to eat and to get medicine and clothing.

And, of course, many didn't survive. It is not that long ago (1994) that the government murdered men, women and children trying to flee on the ship Trece de Marzo.

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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
11. Communism as a bogeyman is being supplanted with "Islamism"
and "Islamofascism," etc. Same old right-wing BS, just a different name.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
12. I've always loved the arguments against Cuba. Well Mexico is Capitalist...
...and they have a HUGH amount of their population trying to escape to the US. Same with Haiti but we treat them like shit.

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katinmn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
14. Here's a menu of different types of government
from the CIA World Factbook.

A commonwealth sounds good to me but it probably isn't workable for a country of our size.

The US is a "Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition," according to the book. (I think it's becoming an oligarchy.)

Venezuela is a "Federal Republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives."


http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/notes...

This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows:

Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority.

Commonwealth - a nation, state, or other political entity founded on law and united by a compact of the people for the common good.

Communism - a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people (i.e., a classless society).

Confederacy (Confederation) - a union by compact or treaty between states, provinces, or territories, that creates a central government with limited powers; the constituent entities retain supreme authority over all matters except those delegated to the central government.

Constitutional - a government by or operating under an authoritative document (constitution) that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature, functions, and limits of that government.

Constitutional democracy - a form of government in which the sovereign power of the people is spelled out in a governing constitution.

Constitutional monarchy - a system of government in which a monarch is guided by a constitution whereby his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities are spelled out in written law or by custom.
Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed.

Democratic republic - a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small clique wield absolute power (not restricted by a constitution or laws).
Ecclesiastical - a government administrated by a church.

Federal (Federative) - a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided - usually by means of a constitution - between a central authority and a number of constituent regions (states, colonies, or provinces) so that each region retains some management of its internal affairs; differs from a confederacy in that the central government exerts influence directly upon both individuals as well as upon the regional units.

Federal republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives.

Maoism - the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a communist state are to keep in touch with the people.

Marxism - the political, economic, and social principles espoused by 19th century economist Karl Marx; he viewed the struggle of workers as a progression of historical forces that would proceed from a class struggle of the proletariat (workers) exploited by capitalists (business owners), to a socialist "dictatorship of the proletariat," to, finally, a classless society - communism.

Marxism-Leninism - an expanded form of communism developed by Lenin from doctrines of Karl Marx; Lenin saw imperialism as the final stage of capitalism and shifted the focus of workers' struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries.

Monarchy - a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right; the monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign - such as a king, queen, or prince - with constitutionally limited authority.

Oligarchy - a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals whose authority generally is based on wealth or power.

Parliamentary democracy - a political system in which the legislature (parliament) selects the government - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet ministers - according to party strength as expressed in elections; by this system, the government acquires a dual responsibility: to the people as well as to the parliament.

Parliamentary government (Cabinet-Parliamentary government) - a government in which members of an executive branch (the cabinet and its leader - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor) are nominated to their positions by a legislature or parliament, and are directly responsible to it; this type of government can be dissolved at will by the parliament (legislature) by means of a no confidence vote or the leader of the cabinet may dissolve the parliament if it can no longer function.

Parliamentary monarchy - a state headed by a monarch who is not actively involved in policy formation or implementation (i.e., the exercise of sovereign powers by a monarch in a ceremonial capacity); true governmental leadership is carried out by a cabinet and its head - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor - who are drawn from a legislature (parliament).

Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies (representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation.

Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.

Sultanate - similar to a monarchy, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of a sultan (the head of a Muslim state); the sultan may be an absolute ruler or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.

Theocracy - a form of government in which a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, but the Deity's laws are interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities (bishops, mullahs, etc.); a government subject to religious authority.

Totalitarian - a government that seeks to subordinate the individual to the state by controlling not only all political and economic matters, but also the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. these definitions hold a lot of commentary in them
i.e.
Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.

all western governments -- including our own democratic republic are ''socialist''.
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katinmn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #21
84. Well it is by the CIA
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #14
77. The definitions of Socialism and Communism...
are biased, right-wing BS. You can have democratic countries with a socialistic/communistic economic system, and you can have capitalist dictatorial police states. the whole rightwing mantra that you need to be capitalist to be truly democratic is bullshit.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #77
114. That's right
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:02 AM by julianer
There are many, many examples of 'democracies' being overthrown and replaced with capital friendly dictators.

But this is part of the illusion of life - that we life in an ideology free wonderland of liberty and democracy.

The ruling ideology isn't even recognised as such. People who disagree are labelled as 'ideologues' by the real, unconscious, ideologues of capitalism.

Thus the current ideology is summed up as 'We are by default better human beings than anyone else - because we have no ideology!' Hard to find a more concise metaphor for self-delusion.

Edit for punctuation and sense.
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quiet.american Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
15. I'm confused- the quote in your reference seems to refer to socialism. n/t
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 07:25 PM by quiet.american
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I know
I'm just getting the idea across.

I could have said he supported a Plutocracy over a Communist State, but then I would be lying.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
16. JEEBUS! Can't we just make up a new "ism?"
Why do people always look backwards to old systems. Surely we're ready to accept that NO system has been ideal.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. No system will EVER be ideal
because the PEOPLE who govern it will never be ideal, we don't need a new ism, Liberal Democracy is just find and it is a constant and never ending process to continually improve it...
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Wake me up when this 'Liberal Democracy' improves
:hi:
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. See thats the thing about democracy
Its YOUR responsibility to improve it!!!
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. No! I don't wanna!
I want those morans I keep voting to represent me, to take my HUGH tax donations and fix things! I'm freakin PAYING them to do it!
}(
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. any system is a
''constant and never ending process to continually improve it...''

that's a grand brush stroke.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. Yes but liberal democracy when sustained, actually
can accomplish such. Facism & Communism have a different view of "imprrovement"....
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. i have socialist tendencies, so that's my political choice.
but i will say what we've tried so far are dictatorships -- not communism.

facism is lost on me because i don't have a nationalist bone in my body.

and before we start counting up the dead bodies -- let's not forget the rape and pillage of africa and the near complete genocide of first nations people here.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. Yes but you see the progression from our past to now
we've taken a small step back over the last view years, but thats part of the process certainly we have made great strides over the last couple century's.

As far as "real" Communism never being tried, my belief is that because the Communist system concentrates all political and economic power into one organ (the state) it will always wind up a dictatorship...
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CanuckAmok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #41
201. Plus, strictly economically...
...a Communist state cannot exist in a world in which it must interact with corporatist/capitalist states.
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NorthELiberal Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #201
211. "a Communist state cannot exist in a world
in which it must interact with corporatist/capitalist states"

Why not? if it's so great......... The former Soviet Union and other Communist countries covered enough of the territory on Earth at one point that they had the natural resources they needed........ The West stood on it's own, why couldn't Communist countries?
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #40
75. It's kind of like libertarianism...
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:59 PM by calipendence
There hasn't really been a true "libertarian" state, and I don't really believe that it's possible to have one. If everyone were honest, truely altruistic and without greed, and you had unlimited and uncorruptable resources, libertarianism might work too, just as socialism would also work well.

The problem is that the reality of environmental limits, people's inherent greed, and many other variables make it so these systems don't work. All it takes is a few people that want to abuse it to drive it's purpose away from what helps people and they can be made vehicles for dictatorship (whether it be communism or fascism).

The reason our system has worked for so long, has been our constitution that has enforced checks and balances, guaranteed people rights from being oppressed from a tyrannical majority, etc. Upset that balance of power, and our system can turn into a dictatorship.

Ideally, I want a society where everyone is given the opportunities to pursue education, and as much high level understanding as they are capable of to ensure that when they function as part of a democracy, they will make good and independently arrived at choices when holding our leaders accountable and making the right choices on how to "guide" and "select" them. There are realities that prevent this from happening too (mental disabilities, laziness, greed, etc.), but if you put in the right incentives, checks and balances, then hopefully this happens.

If we can keep any one group of people from having too much power, whether it is the financial elite that are wielding their power through feudal corporate personhood proxies, or overly centralized government like that which made monsters like Stalin, that is what will allow us to reach a more ideal society rather than dictatorship.

We've had our set of checks and balances put in place a long time ago, which is a tribute to our founders like George Washington, etc. that didn't seek to hold onto strong powers for themselves, and surrendered themselves to the control of constitutional authority. Ask yourself if Dubya or the other neocons would have made that same sacrifice if they were our founders, and I think we all know the answer would be a solid NO. This sort of question is what we should ask ourselves whenever we elect someone to congress or presidential office from this point forward, so that we can adjust our governmental rules to prevent the abuses we've seen over the last five years from happening again.

How to fix and update this set of checks and balances so that they are more functional and true to our founder's dreams in the 21st century is the big challenge we face now. Hope we can find some decent leaders that will make the right choices and do the right things for us. The system does need repair in many places now, but repair must be done with extreme caution and thoughtfulness!
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:21 AM
Original message
aaarghh
Socialists don't look backwards. The idea that socialism is 'outdated' comes from where exactly?....Oh, yes, the people who have most to fear from socialism.

Check out Venezuela for a new approach to reaching socialism...it's bang up to date.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
164. Good point. But by "looking backward" the first thing we see
is NOT the theory itself, but the propaganda that's gone into convincing us of the evils/merits of the theory.

A certain amount of repackaging seems inevitable.

Sure, let's call it Venezuelaism.
(Bonus - this would give O'Reilly something to do.)

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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 03:43 AM
Response to Reply #164
181. But if we adopt a new word
for our aspirations that will quickly also become demonised.

If you are a socialist you should be proud and loud. The reason the very word socialism is demonised is because the ideas of socialism are such a potent threat to the ruling class.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
20. Stalin killed more people than Hitler
I'd rather live in a Democratic-Republic, myself.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. We'd all want to live in a Democracy
But, there are people who do think that Communism/Socialism is the worst thing that the human mind came up with.

Just look at the Contras, Pinochet, Operation Condor, etc.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. I wouldn't want to live in a Democracy
I said I would rather live in a Democratic-Republic.

Democracy and a Democratic-Republic are two completely different forms of government.

California has aptly demonstrated the folly of rule by referendum.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Referendums are not bad for some things
There are some issues I would favor for direct democracy, obviously most people believe that a Representative Democracy is for the most part the only workable Democratic system.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. BTW, I am amongst those who think Communism is the worst form
of social organization ever devised.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Communism is bad. I said I won't defend it.
A Plutocracy, a Theocracy, or a Fascist Empire is no better though.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Would you characterize our society as such?
Remember every time a lefty uses hyperbole a Republican gets their wings :scared:
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Our society is fine. On the verge of being in trouble. But still fine.
I'm not talking about America in particular.

I'm talking about Ideologies in General.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. Not much better, anyway
But still, of the four, I'd pick Communism as the worst.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. What element(s) would make Communism the worst?
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 07:47 PM by ck4829
What would make the other 3 better than Communism?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #35
39. Communism is responsible for more murders than any of the other 3 n/t
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. That would be a reason
I'm interested in this debate BTW. :D

Communism is bad, we have that settled.

Here's why I think the other 3 are worse than Communism.

1. The other 3 are also responsible for a comparable amount of murders. I'm not sure how many people Communism has murdered, the 100 Million dead is a statistic straight out of the John Birch Society (I am pretty sure you know that though).

As far as I know.

Fascism - 10's of millions dead
Theocracy - 10's of millions dead

They're all mass murderers as far as I'm concerned. As a teacher who was a master of Holocaust History once said to us "It doesn't matter whether 6 people or 6 million people died, it's still one of the biggest crimes in human history".

2. The menace of Theocracy and Fascism are out and about

Communism is diminished. The Far Right still has the potential to strike and hurt many people.

3. Rights are zilch in all of them.

Oppose a Communist, you die.

But, preach Christianity in Saudi Arabia. Try being Gay in Iran and see what happens. (This is being written by a Muslim BTW)

I want to close this post, but not this debate with this...

Whether it's Communism, Fascism, or a Theocracy. None are good to live in.

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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. How do you figure
Facism is alive, but Communism's dead?

BTW: Would it spice things up if I told you that I think Communism & Facism are actually the same system???
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. I didn't say it's dead, just diminished
And, yes that would spice things up.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Well...
You'll be happy to hear then, that I do. Both use different ideological premises, but both wind up completely concentrating power within a small group of government officials all the same and proceed to keep power by authoritarian, and when fully developed totalitarian control, again yes one is ostensibly a dictatorship of the people, and one is ostensibly a dictatorship of the state , but in actual practice, do you see any difference? IMO Totalitarianism is Totalitarianism, regardless of its supposed ideological underpinnings..
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. One of my sayings is that...
"The State owns the Factory under Communism and the Factory owns the State under Fascism".

Neither are good for the common man.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #39
47. Can we measure the success of an ism by body counts?
The jury's still out on the US slow-death toll. Examples like Hanford Downwinders, contaminants in our air and water, drugged up dairy products.

Unfettered corporate orgies in our "democracy" are just killing us slowly.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #47
86. Or the brutal dictatorships we supported
Or the death-squads we funded
Or the wars we started
Or the people we enslaved
Or the natives we drove off the land
Or the poor who starve or go without medicine
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #27
89. One Point Worth Making, Mr. Starr
Communism is a revolutionary ideal, and of necessity is in conflict with capitalism. Thus the Bolshevik government was embroiled in war from its outset, and that war continued in various forms for three quarters of a century. Warfare requires at the least a certain style of action, and all social systems under its strain become more authoritarian and cruel than they are in peaceable circumstances. In analyzing the history of Communist governments in the twentieth century this is something it seems to me is worth bearing in mind. Certainly things of the "Year Zero" style displayed in Cambodia by the Khymer Rouge are atrocious exercises in cruelty of their own volition, and can hardly appeal to analysis on this line. But it seems to me quite possible that, in peaceable conditions, either the Bolsheviks or Mao might well have done somewhat other than they did in the actual circumstances pertaining. It is certainly very difficult to argue that, viewed on a large scale, both Russia and China did not derive great benefits by the revolutions that took place in those countries under the banner of Communism.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #23
33. i find the charms of democracy highly over rated.
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MarsThe Cat Donating Member (978 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #20
92. the only blood on the hands of our democratic-republic...
would be that of the native american nations, and perhaps the african populations that were decimated to provide slaves to help build our industrial might.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:00 AM
Response to Reply #92
104. Or the democracies we overthrew in Latin America
and the death squads we supported in order to "stop the spread of communism".
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #20
124. Two points
Stalin does not equate to communism, and

How many have died under capitalism? 30,000 per week at latest count, I believe. That's not to mention the war or the bulk of humanity that has to survive in grinding poverty with short, unhappy lives.

I suppose you'd rather this system because you are not one of its victims, like a Soviet citizen who, no doubt, preferred it because it wasn't him who was in the gulag.

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MarsThe Cat Donating Member (978 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #20
140. can't a communist state still be a democratic-republic?
communism is supposed to be an economic system...politically, the people would still be electing their representatives to the governing body.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #20
169. The figures given for that have been rebutted as spurious by
independent, official or quasi-official figures, notably, in relation to the "gulag archipelago".

No-one, however, disputes that 26 million Russian military and civilians were killed in WWII. In fact, in the two-week Battle of Kursk, alone, many more Russian military were killed than Allied military throughout the whole war.

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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #20
216. Is there anything that
precludes a democracy, or a democratic/republic, from also being communist or socialist instead of capitalist?

Or, asking another way, are particular economic systems inevitably welded to particular political systems?
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DavidBowman Donating Member (180 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
43. Walt is right
Communism is possibly the dumbest form of society thought of in a long while.
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maximovich Donating Member (407 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #43
149. Please Explain Why...(nt)
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triguy46 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
46. Why do they confuse socialism and communism?
That right out of the box is a non-starter for an intelligent discussion. We have socialism right now, try medicare, medicaid, WIC, any number of federal programs in which the government takes money and provides a social service. We are at the minimal end, Norway, eg, is at the other end of the spectrum and it works fine there.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #46
54. Semantics
To some the welfare state is "socialist", to some "social democratic", and to some "welfare state capitalism", I prefer to define it by the latter two as socialism hold such a bad connotation in this country.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #46
126. You ask why people confuse terms
and then do it yourself!

Though I don't blame you particularly - most Americans seem to be utterly confused about politcal terms. Not surprising really, since there has been a deliberate and sustained attempt to confuse you.

What you call socialism is called 'social democracy' in the rest of the world. Before Reagan and Thatcher this was usually termed a 'mixed economy', something we still have, though it is no longer mentioned.

Socialism is a preparatory stage of communism where the means of production are in common ownership but the nature of economic relations is still supported by parts of bourgeois law, police, armies and property and such like.

Communism is the happy state where the government and its branches have 'withered away' and production and distribution is entirely in the hands of individual 'associated producers'.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-05 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #126
204. Julianer
this is what I learned in college too, but I think our traditional classical definitions of communism and socialism are now so unknown that it's difficult to have a discussion when people don't understand the terms being discussed.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
49. I really have no problem with communism,
because, in its pure form, it can be the same thing as libertarian socialism or anarcho-syndicalism, both of which I'm in favor. What I don't like is state socialism, which means that there's a central authority that basically forces socialism/communism on everyone.

Another pet peeve of mine is people dressed in black, at rallies, with the hammer and sickle on their clothes. How much of an asshole do you have to be? I get the meaning behind it, and that's all well and good, but the death toll count, between Mao and Stalin, if you include famine, is well over 100 million. That isn't pretty.
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dennisnyc Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
52. What was happening in the USSR for most of the 20th C. was STATE
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:15 PM by dennisnyc
CAPITALISM. The state itself sought advantage against other states and "accumulated" political and industrial "capital" --essentially capitalist maneuvers--over and against lessor, antagonizing players. Stalin had nothing to do with either socialism or communism. Let's get real here, and maybe this could become an interesting discussion... NO Name Calling!

for some interesting newer theoretics of communism read Hardt and Negri, _Empire_ and the followup volume, _Multitude_.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. The actual Communism of the USSR can be brought into question
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:15 PM by ck4829
Stalin for example broke several rules of the Marxist doctrine.

He gave special titles and privileges to people who were his lackeys, a big no-no under Communism.
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dennisnyc Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. and Marx is studied on Wall Street. He was a smart guy. n/t
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #52
57. The main question is do you believe in human nature
If so then marxist doctrine falls by the waist-side, if not, well I thats probably a long thread of its own that I don't have the time for now, but would be happy to discuss in the future....
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tinfoilinfor2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
56. My family is of Latvian ancestry, but there are only two of us left.
The rest were murdered by the communists just prior to world war two. They were tortured before they were murdered. I'm not really open to a lot of arguments that are pro-communism, although I do understand that the definition of communism differs from the reality.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #56
60. State sanctioned murder is evil
Whether it comes from right-wing or left-wing thugs.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #56
61. That's horrible
Please, don't think I'm defending Communism. It is a horrible system.

My post is simply stating that the 'alternatives' (Such as the things I've described above), are no better.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #56
99. I'm part Latvian, too, although my grandfather came here after
the 1905 revolution.

However, by the time the Latvian refugees arrived after WWII, he had become an attorney, and as the only Latvian-speaking attorney in the Twin Cities, he was quite prominent in the community. I heard plenty of horror stories from people who came to my grandparents' house.

When you talk about what happened to the Baltic States, it's hard to separate out what was Marxism, what was Stalin's egomania, and what was Russian desire to regain the Czarist territories.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
58. According to this discussion:
Communism is the worst form of government devised because it inherently leads to fascism and dictatorships or other such horrible government.

Something seems wrong with that logic, but I can't put my finger on it.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. Yes that it was I believe
I believe I briefly laid out my reasoning above...
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #59
64. So why is it worse, and not "just as bad", as the forms of government
it leads to?
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Again its not worse then dictatorship
it is just a system that IMO will always lead to dictatorship, which I believe is the worst form of government.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #58
63. I'm not really sure what the discussion is about but MY point..
is that Communism is bad, it's just as bad as some of the other types of government that are possible.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #63
66. Any government is only as good as the people in power running it.
Blaming communism government for Stalin's gulags and violence is like blaming capitalism and democracy for the slaughter of the Native Americans.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #63
67. I see (oops, this was meant for the post above yours!)
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:42 PM by killbotfactory
I misunderstood you.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #58
78. It's in the eyes ....
If you look closely at a photograph of Karl Marx, look at his eyes. Beadie. Hypnotic. Would you buy a used democracy from this man? Of course not. Now pull out your bible. Look at a photograph of Jesus. Look at his kind, gentile eyes. He hated communists.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #78
87. Thankfully Jesus wrote our constitution and it's foolproof!
We will never have to suffer under that beadie eyed whacko!
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #87
88. Many agents of the mind-control type
made famous by the secret communist societies have authored books claiming that Karl Marx is pictured in Norman Rockwell's "The Last Supper." He's not. Unlike Jesus anbd his 12 Followers, who signed the Declaration of Independence, Marx was not even a Christian.

For more on this very subject, send a small donation of $1000 or more to the Righteous Rev. Pat Robertson. If you are from Pennsylvania, you may want to double that, or the Lord may think you are one of those Marxists that kicked God out of pubic schools.
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checks-n-balances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #88
148. The most ignored biblical passages are about looking out for society's
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 11:45 AM by checks-n-balances
most vulnerable. If the Religious Right didn't ignore them, there would be no Religious Right.

Interesting piece about "communistic" biblical passages:


One topic of discussion which comes up every so often is the connection between fervent evangelical Christianity and equally fervent anti-communism. In the minds of many Americans, atheism and communism are indelibly linked and political actions opposed to communism have long taken the form of strengthening America's public Christianity.

(snip)

Because of all this, one gets the impression that the Bible is some sort of treatise on capitalism and Jesus an early venture capitalist. The fact that just the opposite appears to be true is thus very surprising.

(snip)

'All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.'
(Acts 2:44-45)

(snip)

Is it possible that Marxs famous line From each according to his ability, to each according to his need took its inspiration directly from the New Testament? (In another passage about early Christians is) a very interesting story about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold a piece of property but only gave the community a portion of the proceeds, keeping some of it for themselves. When Peter confronts them with this, they both fall down and die - leaving the impression (for many people) that they were struck dead...Of course, in addition to the above, there are many, many statements attributed to Jesus which emphasize doing all that you can to help the poor...

More at
http://atheism.about.com/od/thebible/a/communism.htm
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #78
199. Very witty, H20. Unless I'm grossly mistaken.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
68. It was the greatest American Brainwashing next to the War on Terrer
that our government has ever promulgated on it's citizenry. American Citizens have had the dreaded "Commie Pinko " - "better dead than red" pounded into our collective psyches for over a half century.

That's cuz we always have to have an enemy in order for American support for a fortified military complex to develop against our "enemies".

The only enemies we've truly had against this nation were Imperialists.

But that concept is too simple and too easy to defeat. And it has the additional troubling factor of resembling our own nation's proclivities.

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #68
100. I never liked the "better dead than red" mentality that fueled the arms
race.

As a baby boomer, I grew up scared of nuclear weapons, but it was also pounded into me that it would be better to be killed in a nuclear war than to live under Communism.

Yet whatever people's lives were like in Eastern Europe, you didn't see them committing mass suicide, did you?
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-05 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #100
205. The term was first said by Joseph Goebbels
toward the end of WWII as the Soviet Army was flooding into Germany precipitating the largest number of rapes in the history of the world.

It rhymes in German too.

"Besser todt als rot."
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
69. Uh, Stalin killed millions of his own people. I don't think many republics
can compete with that level of evil.

anyhoo. . .

Communism doesn't work above the tribal level.

Every communist society has turned to shit. Every one.

Communism requires a perfect society. We don't have that.

Capitalism works in an imperfect society. It's the best system available, and needs to be regulated to prevent gross abuses (which it isn't right now), but it still works.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #69
71. How many people did we enslave or kill in the founding of this nation?
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:59 PM by killbotfactory
How many people died in the civil war or the great depression?

Why does the USA get a free pass on it's development to what we are today, but communist governments don't?
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #71
76. Good question n/t
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #76
157. Doesn't look like i'll get an answer... n/t
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 06:29 AM
Response to Reply #71
191. well, i guess we could guesstimate... let's see....
the scholastically debated numbers about pre-columbian native americans on north america, sans mexico and central america, was something between 15 million and 50 million. and ever since european contact that number decreased until 1920. most reasonable scholastics also contend that the 15 million number is unreasonably low, but given as a bottom ballpark number.

given that most of the native americans living on the land of what is now usa and canada died of disease, with mortality rates regularly exceeding that of the black plague of europe a mere century or so earlier before contact. black plague was pretty much one disease, with an average mortality of around 25%. catastrophic mortality rates for a disease is 10%. each disease native americans were not previously exposed to had a running mortality rate between 25%-80% (yes, they were quite justified in believing it was the end of the world). so with a roster of around at least 4-5 very different, but quite common to europe, diseases causing destruction, often several times before resistance is built up, we are looking to at least... 8-15 bouts of apocalyptic contagion, on par or greater than the black plague, sweeping through native american communities.

by 1920 the population rate of native americans stabilized and started an upward increase. at this time the population of native americans for usa and canada was... if i remember correctly, 20,000 people (yes, it was something obscenely low).

so... 15-50million, minus 20,000... then factor in at least 4-5 bouts of horrifying plague, culling at least 25% per cull... you can figure out a ballpark figure. you can create a min/max ratio of how many were then destroyed by white man expansionism.

then considering slavery had a 50% ratio of mortality for slaves being transported from west africa to america... and then find out how many people were brought over from africa enslaved. whatever # was enslaved an equal number died on the ride over. and then you factor the premature death rate due to stress from slavery, which was a far higher mortality rate than the slave owners' family members i can guarantee that. so find whatever mortality rate was for white slaveholders... most likely tack on at least 5% or more for slaves, and then extrapolate for 400 years.

yeah, you can pretty confidently say that our country's growing pains probably accumulated a death toll equal to or greater than stalin, hitler, or mao. because after factoring out disease and other natural causes you still are left with millions upon millions of "missing people" unaccounted for. though, that's over around a period of 400 years. and yet, it'd make it all the more hideous because back before penicillin et al around early 1900's there were far less amount of people; therefore numbers reaching in the millions back then means so much more due to scale.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #69
72. This isn't an Anti-Capitalism Post
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 08:48 PM by ck4829
This is rather a post which points out that the other types of Authoritarian Governments don't work either.

You say Communism doesn't work. Cool, I believe you.

Fascist States don't work either. And Fascism's Evil can compare with that of Communism.

Theocracies don't work either. I know a Muslim who escaped from Iran. Under the Theocratic Regime, the value of their currency has slid down and down.

Communism is bad, so are some of the other types of government, this is the point I'm trying to get across.
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
73. It's not communism I fear; it's totalitarianism. Ignorance & Brainwashing
...explain the fear of communism/socialism.

While I'm certainly not a Communist -- for instance, I'd like to make out a will and leave my house to my child -- a healthy mix of democracy and communism certainly wouldn't hurt anybody.

BTW, if it hasn't been pointed out yet: communism isn't anathema to democracy. Communism as it is largely understood is an economic system, whilst democracy is a political one. Closely related, true, but different. I'd also like to say that the communist, yet anti-democracy totalitarian Stalin (with the US, UK, and Germany inadvertently helping him) may just have fucked a good thing up for everybody. Lenin, when he died, had backed off of the harder-core elements of communism, and was beginning to lighten up when he passed away.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. Exactly
If a democracy is communist, there is nothing inherently wrong. If a totalitarian regime is communist, there is something inherently wrong.

Replace communist with capitalist and it works out the same way.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
79. The vitriol against socialism and communism in this thread...
shows how much people were brainwashed by Cold War rhetoric. they discribe economic systems, not govermental systems. The USSR's GOVERNMENT was an oligarchic police state, the ECONOMY was socialistic.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
81. Communism as is traditionally practiced is a failed system.
Greed and corruption work just as well under a Communist banner as under that of a capitalist society, or a theocracy, or a military dictatorship. When you get a corrupt government, it makes very little difference what the original ideology was--you need to be able to purge the corruption and get back on track.

The only system that's functional in the long term is one that can change with the times, and allows for self correction. Governments will continue to rise and fall until an equilibrium is reached, where everyone is represented in a reasonably progressive environment. This usually means some type or quantity of democracy.
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LostInAnomie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
82. I've found that it is impossible to have a rational conversation...
... about communism on here or anywhere for that matter.

You will always get people who find it impossible to separate the ideal of communism from the manifestations it has taken in other countries. You can tell them until you are blue in the face and your fingers fall off that true communism has never been tried but it will make no difference. They will always drag out the old canard "Stalin killed millions" or "Mao killed millions" even though it is a non sequiter.

What I have always found that when discussing communism the people who attack it never hold capitalism to the same standards. They say "People starved under the planned economies." even though millions go to bed hungry under capitalism. They say "Millions died under communism" even though millions died during the conquest of America, imperialism of Africa, China, India, the Gilded Age, etc. Even today capitalism is killing people through water and air pollution, and sweat shop labor.

All that being said I do not think communism can work, at least not yet. Capitalism hasn't progressed to the state necessary for workers to form a class consciousness. Too many people are reaping benefits from capitalism for a revolution to start. The crisis point hasn't arrived yet. It is on its way though. Every day corporations grow stronger and their reach grows longer. The demands for increased expansion and efficiency grow louder. It is only a question of how long the system can keep running.
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Qibing Zero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #82
83. Exactly my thoughts - well said.
Sometimes it's as brick-wall as trying to discuss nearly anything with a fundie.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #82
85. And it works both ways, too
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 09:49 PM by killbotfactory
I've read numerous arguements where any benefits derived under a any government deamed communist will be dismissed because they "aren't really communist" (for instance Cuba's impressive universal health care). However anything bad happening under those same governments will be immediately attributed to the inherent flaws of communism.

How can anyone have a decent arguement under such circumstances?
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ozarklib Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #82
94. I have heard that argument before,
that "true communism" has never been tried. I think it is irrelevant because it will always fail. As long as there are people in unequal economic situations, communism will fail. It is kind of a catch-22. Communism will only succeed where it is not necessary because economic equality already exists.

Where economic inequality exists, some of the population (those with capital) will rebel against communism. The government will have to act in an authoritarian manner to enforce communism. The more resistance, the more authoritarian. Communism will always tend toward repression because it will have to be forced upon part of the population.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #94
96. In fact, the USSR and China never achieved Communism
They practiced a total planned economy under state ownership, and a totally planned economy is ridiculous, because the emphasis is on meeting the quotas in the plan and not on adjusting to meet situations that arise unexpectedly.

Normally, producers will try to adjust production to perceived demand. They might add another shift if demand is higher than expected, or lay people off if demand is lower.

Under the Soviet system, factories were supposed to make exactly what the central planner directed, no more, no less, so they constantly had surpluses of some things and shortages of others.

This is not what Marx had in mind. He wanted workers to own the means of production and make their own decisions collectively. You may argue about how well that would work, but when he dreamed his utopia, it bore no resemblance to the Soviet Union.

A lot of what we think of as Communism came from Lenin and Stalin, and since Russia was the first Marxist-inspired government, all the subsequent ones imitated them to a greater or lesser extent.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #96
105. Workers owning the means of production...
Deciding what to do collectively...

That sounds like a co-op, or a union.

Why is that evil again?
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #105
161. One of the unknowns of the whole history of Communism is why
places like the Soviet Union and North Korea actually started out with co-ops and unions and then nationalized everything a couple of years later with use of deadly force.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #161
179. I think that is known. It has to happen. For economic coordination.
Unless the result of communism is the devolution of a nation into a plethora of local and isolated communities that are mostly self-sufficient, there has to be a way of coordinating the large-scale economy. How many cell phones, cars, and computers get made nationally? How much gets invested in industries A, B, and C? And for how long? Etc.

The two solutions that have been tried to this problem are (a) national business, consumer, and investment markets, or (b) a centralized coordinating mechanism. Going the first route creates a capitalist economy. The coops and unions get absorbed, and have to adapt to the dynamic creation and destruction of economic niches. They start to look not to much different from other businesses in a capitalist economy. On the other hand, the second route results in a command economy with all the authoritarian state apparatus that requires.

The notion of a theoretical communism that has never been tried, that wouldn't devolve into a command economy, is as quaint and quixotic as the libertarian anarchist dream of a capitalist economy without a state and legal framework for it. The funny thing is that both want to compare their entirely hypothesized ideal with the actual examples of other systems, and blame the failings of the actual examples of their favored system as entirely due to the failures to implement it faithfully. :eyes:
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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
90. I don't think it's the worst
I just don't think it can work.

In a Communist society, the government micromanages society and personal lives. It also provides no incentives for anyone to strive and grow.

Hell, look at our current government and the way they try to micromanage personal lives. Do you really trust government to get that involved?
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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
91. Bottom line: Freedom is better than Totalitarianism.
Edited on Tue Nov-22-05 10:17 PM by Skinner
I don't really see the point in arguing over which is better or worse -- Communism, Fascism, Theocracy, Plutocracy, or whatever. They all boil down to the same thing: the government telling people what to do.

The government should exist to serve the people, not the other way around. The only way we currently know of to ensure that a government rules by consent of the people it governs is 1) to give all its citizens basic human rights, and 2) to let the people vote. Communism did neither.

And beyond that: The crimes of Communism are pretty fucking terrible. Tens of millions killed either directly by the government, or indirectly through the incompetent policies of the government.

Stalin: "It is generally agreed by historians that if famines, prison and labor camp mortality, and state terrorism (deportations and political purges) are taken into account, Stalin and his colleagues were directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions. How many millions died under Stalin is greatly disputed. Although no official figures have been released by the Soviet or Russian governments, most estimates put the figure between 10 and 50 million." (from wikipedia)

Mao: "There is a great deal of controversy over the number of deaths by starvation during the Great Leap Forward. A mainstream figure is that some thirty million people died during the famine that followed. In 1957, before the Great Leap, about 710 million people died. Due to the tremendous crop failure in 1959 caused by incompetent policies from the Great Leap Forward, around 9 to 12 million people died." (from wikipedia)
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #91
120. skinner -- i think you're a hero -- BUT
''democracy'' had a hand in killing millions of africans in order to enslave them.

and had there been many more first nations people in the way of settling this nation our way -- we would have killed them too.

as it is -- there were many more here than was traditionally reported in the history books -- and they died for ''our freedom''.

now maybe we didn't reach the stupendous numbers that stalin and mao did -- but we killed PLENTY and nobody was keeping anything like an accurate count.
as they were in the case of stalin and mao.

mind you i'm not exonerating them -- but suppression of people is also a part of our pattern.
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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #120
159. Thanks, but I'm no hero.
I would agree that suppression of other people is part of our pattern as well. But I would argue that suppression of other people seems to be a universal human trait, which is not unique to any form of government.

However, I think there is a clear pattern that governments tend to supress their own voting citizens less than they supress other humans and less than any government supresses any group with no say in that government.

So, democracies tend to supress those who are not part of their own democracy. Whereas other forms of goverment tend to supress people indiscriminately. Which does not excuse the supressive behavior of democratic governments. Indeed, the United States and other democracies have done plenty of bad things, the most obvious examples being that of murdered Native Americans and the enslavement of African Americans. It is worth noting that in both these cases, the people who were supressed were those whose rights were not guaranteed, and who were denied the right to vote. Note that in present day, Iraqis living in Iraq do not have the right to vote in American elections, which should give you some idea of how much our government cares about their interests.

This suggests a novel solution to dealing with the abuses of democratic governments: Enfranchise more people.

Our country is not perfect. But it should be obvious that Native Americans, African Americans, Women, and other minorities only saw significant improvements in their own treatment by the U.S. Government after they won the right to vote and had their basic human rights recognized. In this sense, more freedom and democracy is a check against abuses of government. Whereas more communism or fascism or authoritarianism or whatever will almost certainly lead to more goverment abuses.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #159
178. dude -- you are pretty awesome --
and while i might disagree with you re: democracy -- you have helped to change the atmosphere of this democracy where we live -- that's win, lose or draw.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #120
172. The record of the US in South America is perhaps unique
in the annals of modern history, in terms of the scale and vicious of its proxy imperialism; its sponsorship and protection of the very "beasts of the earth", the "caudillos" and their plutocratic friends, who own all but a small percentage of the country's wealth and assets. Lay workers and missionaries, nuns, priests, bishops, no-one's life was held sacrosanct. Hitler would have been proud. As for Chile, the figures routinely touted even here of those tortured and murdered under Pinochet's kindly aegis, are evidently a gross understatement of the reality. That is how the West operates, when it has much to be ashamed of.

One indicative result is that, to this day, in Brazil, orphaned street-children are shot by vigilante police in the pay of shopkeepers and the like; while indigenous Indian tribesmen are routinely dispossessed, enslaved and murdered by the enforcers of big-business subcontractors. All enforced by a country, which, while still being admirable in many ways, evidently under the lash of the industrial-military complex, pursued these policies in South America, substantially under the administrations of both parties.

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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:29 AM
Response to Reply #91
190. Is a fake democracy any better?
Or would you say we have a real, healthy democracy?

How many people died in wars started by the US/the West?

What will Wiki say about Bush a decade or so from now?
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
93. Marxism was never tried, authoritarianism was
corporatism is here
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
98. Only 3 votes for a GREAT discussion thread?
That's too bad.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
101. Because it has failed over and over again. n/t
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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:12 AM
Response to Original message
102. RESIST PROPAGANDA.
Quite a while ago it occurred to me that I (and most other Americans my age) have been taught since childhood that communism is the worst horror that can happen to us.

The reasons are no longer given. It is accepted as a fact by all. This is evidenced by the culture: for example, it became quite commonplace for a while for ANYONE who wished to insult someone else politically to simply call that person a "commie" or a "commie pinko".

I remember when over and over and over again, articles in newspapers spoke of the drudgery and hopelessness of communist societies in which "everything was the state" and "no individual was ever recognized" and there was "no individuality" and "no opportunity or encouragement to excel."

A friend told me that he asked his grandmother why communism was bad, and she said, "Honey, you know your toothbrush? Their rules would allow just anyone who wanted to, to use your toothbrush if they had a mind to."

The joke, of course, is that THE communist country of the century was the Soviet Union--and in that country, it was very clear that high party officials had privileges and property. IOW, THEY didn't live by any communist philosophy. So were they REAL communists?

Our powers-that-be told us that religion was never allowed in communist countries, because they banned it, because it was "the opiate of the masses". But, funny thing, the minute the Soviet Union dissolved, all the churches, etc., were all there, all functioning, just as though they'd never left. How odd.

What would REAL communism look like? I don't know, because I don't believe it has ever really been practiced by any large country.

I don't know if communism is better than what we have. What I do know is that with all that relentless propaganda, "they" sure didn't want me to EVER consider communism except to condemn it. WHY did "they" never want me to think of communism except to condemn it?

Hmmmm. Wonder what they were hiding about communism? And why they were so threatened by it?
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #102
103. I can remember people linking "unions" with "communism."
Aargh! I'm getting old.
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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #103
162. Oh, absolutely, unions were called "communist"!
And Martin Luther King was called communist. And so was any other person or thing that threatened the power of the greedy, robbing, stateless capitalist elite.
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Loonman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
107. Communism DOES NOT WORK!
Can't boil it down any simpler.
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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
111. Tin soldiers and Jesus coming,
Were finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Democracy dead in ohio.

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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
112. Because communism is very easily corrupted
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:01 AM by ComerPerro
Imagine if we had a leader like Bush in a communist society. Or Stalin.

Edit: Sigh. And yes, of course, so is Democracy. Bush is living proof of how corrupt a Democracy can be. But it doesn't change my point.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
113. because Capitalists spent trillions of $$
branding the "Communists" as the boogeymen
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #113
116. When in actuality
they were great guys??
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #116
123. no, just about the same as our "great guys"
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #123
125. So you think Stalin
is about the same as Truman?? I'm not following...
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #125
127. no, but Stalin was pretty similar to the Reagan-Bush regime
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:33 AM by leftofthedial
We just killed brown-skinned people in our puppet states instead of our own.

In addition, it must be pointed out that Stalin was a totalitarian dictator, not a follower of communist principles.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #127
129. What are your sources for that?
As far as dictatorship and Communism if you look at some of my above posts on the thread you will see my opinion on that...
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
115. I don't like communism anymore than I like feudalism.
Property is not really "held" in the public's interest, but by those that rule and make all the decisions. However, its not worth any effort to keep attacking it. Its not something I fear nor do I think it will be a prevailing type of economic system.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
128. A major problem with making judgements about Communism
or any other form of government is that it is so abstract. People talk about the "crimes" of Communism. Yes, under Stalin, and others, Communism was a monstrous system. Millions of people were murdered. But using phrases like "the crimes of Communism" is like using the phrase "the crimes of Democracy" to characterize our illegal invasion of Iraq or our torture of prisoners of war. Those crimes were not committed by "Democracy", but rather by specific people in the name of Democracy.
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freestyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
130. Find an actual Marxist state ever, then we'll talk.
There has never been an example of communism as laid out by Marx practiced aywhere. In fact, the conditions for communism were never met in any place that has claimed to be communist. So, the question is moot and merely an academic discussion. There have been highly centralized regimes that were capitalist corporatist or state corporatist, which we have known as fascist and communist. Both are terribly destructive.

There are varying degrees of socialism currently practiced, which have tradeoffs, but seemingly better results for teh greatest portion of the population than our system. Why these are feared is clear, why they are conflated with the Stalinist and Maoist perversions of communism is total bullshit.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #130
133. Wow, great minds. We posted basically the same thing at the same time.
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 10:43 AM by Pacifist Patriot
One other thought. If I'm not mistaken, communism, socialism and capitalism are economic systems while democracy, theocracy, and dictatorship are political systems. It seems a bit silly to mix the terms when drawing comparisons.
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Strong Atheist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #130
146. Yes, there has. See post #143.
The "not real communist" line is bunk. China, The soviet Union, North Korea, and Cuba are real communist countries in the same way that Western democracies are (mostly) real capitalist countries. There is no such thing as a "perfect" system, so get over it. China, the old U.S.S.R., Korea and Cuba ARE perfect examples of communism in action in REAL life.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
132. Are we comparing theoreticals or reality?
Unfortunately, communism as a theory has never been realized as a practical economic-political state. Looking at this historically it is kind of difficult to choose which oppressive state one prefers over another.

I'm also a bit confused with the substitution of communism and socialism. Two different systems. I do not find pure theoretical communism practical but find socialist states to be potentially viable.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
134. Beware: Extreme right and extreme left, they both
come full circle at 360' and merge.

If you loved Hitler then you gotta love Joe Stalin and Mao. :sarcasm:

Some how these uber philosophies all seem to comedown to exploiting the average person.

I believe the philosophical underpinnings of our nation are truly
moral, it's up to us not screw that up.

I still think that the best words I have ever heard are:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
136. Why do people deny "human nature" with artificial belief systems.
Humans are social animals they follow their own hard wired programing for survival. Attributing salvation (survival) to a religious, economic or political systems is a waste of time. The Universe is what it is and if humans have any purpose (with their cognitive survival ability) it is to try and understand. Humans are or should be life long learners. Use what works to survive.

My motto: "If someone tries to tell you they know all that is going on, or that they have all of the answers, they are full of shit".

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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #136
137. Yup
You might find amusing the argument I am having on top (post #135 was my last)
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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #137
145. Good post
I read what went before. I have seen the Communism threads before on DU. They do not like to have beliefs challenged.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #145
147. I have always found it funny
how Marxists are so antagonistic toward religion, while being equally as guilty as of an apocalyptic complex as the most fundamentalist religious groups (as well as a likewise propensity to throw away reason and facts that don't coincide with their world view.).
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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #147
152. Marx had a good point about religions being the opium of the masses.
Where he goes wrong there is nothing wrong with religious speculation after all Marx borrowed heavily from Hegel who made excellent religious speculation on the nature of the Universe.

Communisn, Neo-Con Conservatism, has a lot in common with other Fundamentalist belief systems.
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Anser Donating Member (200 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
139. Probably (Hopefully) already addressed, but...
Communism and Socialism are NOT the same thing.

-Unions are socialist
-State sponsored health care is socialist
-Grants for education is socialist
and on and on...

Socialism is a good thing that I'd venture to say that nearly all DU'ers are (knowingly or otherwise) behind.

Communism was a failed attempt to apply a form of socialism,- a perverted attempt which tried to incorporate strict hierarchies and violence.

And just a quick historical note: If we were somehow all on this website in the 1920s we'd all be complaining abot how the right wing is demonizing the label "Socialist", just as we complain about the way they are trying to demonize "Liberal" today.
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Wetzelbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
141. much like the far-right which has some origins in Communism
they stifle civil liberties. I also do not like the secrecy, quelling of creativity and uniqueness.
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FDR33 Donating Member (44 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
142. Because it's never
worked! USSR, China, Cambodia, Vietnam...

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Strong Atheist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
143. Maybe because
Edited on Wed Nov-23-05 11:35 AM by Strong Atheist
communism has been a system that has tortured, repressed, and killed millions EVERY time that it is implemented on a national scale?

Examples : China, Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea etc. etc. ...

and don't give the "those are not REAL communist countries" B.S. Of course they are. Just like the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the FREE world are (mostly) capitalist countries. Are any of these examples PERFECT communism or capitalism? Of course not. No such animal exists or ever will. Therefore, the ones that do exist are examples of what capitalism and communism result in IN PRACTICE, and in PRACTICE, communism is PURE EVIL.

As the old saying goes, democracy and capitalism are the worst forms of government and economic systems, except for all the other forms on the planet. Give me America over any of those communist countries any day of the week.
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Qibing Zero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #143
158. It's really sad that we still have to be having this argument.
For the sake of all that is open-minded, do some more research.

Then we can move on to you saying: the transition to communism will end up in a dictatorship every time.

Which is at least a stance on the issue, unlike: ZOMG COMMUNISM HAS BEEN TRIED. IT WAS EVIL. IT'S DEAD (Heil Americanism).

-.-
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maximovich Donating Member (407 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
151. I Don't Believe in Any One System
From what little I have studied of each foprm of government, I still see some uses for each. I believe we currently resemble a combination of systems that make up an overall system.
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sojourner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
153. a very short list off the top of my head:
successful propaganda during our youth - remember the Commies? The threat of nuclear war (all because of those Commies)?

the failure of the Soviet Union seen as failure of Communism.

associated with repressive regimes because inevitably human greed leads to corruption and once more the "lower classes" are exploited for the benefit of the "elite"
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NAO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
154. Read Michael Parenti's EXCELLENT book, "Blackshirts and Reds"
for a history of the ideological war on Communism, which comes from the far left as much as the far right.

Blackshirts and Reds : Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism by Michael Parenti

Description

Blackshirts & Reds explores some of the big issues of our time: fascism, capitalism, communism, revolution, democracy, and ecology-terms often bandied about but seldom explored in the original and exciting way that has become Michael Parenti's trademark.

Parenti shows how "rational fascism" renders service to capitalism, how corporate power undermines democracy, and how revolutions are a mass empowerment against the forces of exploitative privilege. He also maps out the external and internal forces that destroyed communism, and the disastrous impact of the "free-market" victory on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He affirms the relevance of taboo ideologies like Marxism, demonstrating the importance of class analysis in understanding political realities and dealing with the ongoing collision between ecology and global corporatism.

Written with lucid and compelling style, this book goes beyond truncated modes of thought, inviting us to entertain iconoclastic views, and to ask why things are as they are. It is a bold and entertaining exploration of the epic struggles of yesterday and today.

One Reviewer Said

This is an unsparing, uncompromising defense of Marxism-Leninism from a respected scholar of political science. No politically engaged person should fail to read Parenti's book. It will be outrageous to some, inspirational to others, but thought provoking to all. The author takes on critics from the right and the left in a highly accessible writing style. His ideas are presented clearly and forcefully, without technical or theoretical jargon.
Among his politically-charged topics: communism and fascism, revolution, delusions within the left, the collapse of the soviet bloc, and perhaps most important, the ongoing necessity of class analysis in a postmodern world. Parenti's book serves as a clear statement and reassessment of where Marxism-Leninism stands in a world that has seemingly rejected those ideas but whose triumphal market economies move increasingly in a Marxian direction. "Blackshirts and Reds" fills a huge gap for the general reader and is not to be missed.



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stevietheman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
156. Communism is like Libertarianism -- both look great on paper. n/t
n/t
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Horus45 Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
160. The Repukes hate commies, but have no problem borrowing money from them!
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Qibing Zero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
163. Communism kills people, just as your dissent kills soldiers in Iraq.
Your striving for equality, your utopia, your working class 'rising up' and refusing to take the fall for the elite, your ideas about a society where harm does not exist, your 'level playing field' - all of these ideas KILL PEOPLE. They are pure evil, just like Mao was. Your words embolden the enemy, and your activism turns into radicalism, which turns into a visage of Stalin himself. That's more evil than Mao and Castro put together!

So think twice before even trying to think those thoughts again, commie.

Don't even try to talk to me about 'capital' unless you want to go homeless. You're just lucky the millions I pour into this grand free market economy based on the Great Capitalistic Cycle and the Lord Himself trickle down far enough for you to buy a pair of shoes. Now get back to work!

Shut up about class warfare. Stop trying to create divides where none exist. Didn't I tell you to get back to work?

Proletariat? Burgeoise? We speak English here, not Russian. Those words died with the fall of the red tide, pal.

What?! Old Joe McCarthy was a great man, don't let me hear you talking bad about him again! He did God's duty to save this land from the coming communist rebellion back in the day!




No. Stop there. I'll not have you soil the good work being done over there in Iraq with your baseless exaggerations! We've got a divine plan, and we're sticking to it. Your words are responsible for deaths over there. You're driving the morale down just by saying those horrible things!

Ya know, those dirty terrorists are just like the commies, now that I think about it...
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #163
165. Wow, that post pissed me off!
Even though I knew within a few sentences what you were doing, I was soooo mad by the end :rofl:

Thanks for reminding me what we're up against, Comrade :P

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LostInAnomie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #163
170. That's the best post I have read today.
Good job. :thumbsup:
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LostInAnomie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
166. "COMMUNISM CAN'T WORK", "... KILLED MILLIONS",...
... "USSR, CHINA, N.KOREA, CUBA ARE DICTATORSHIPS", "PLANNED ECONOMIES DON'T WORK"... any other slogans I missed?

Like I said in my earlier post it is impossible to have a rational discussion about communism because people that dislike the idea or have been programmed to think it is absolute evil will always bring out the talking points.

The main reasons that communism hasn't worked is because the conditions have never been right for it. To adjust for that people like Lenin and Mao gave themselves absolute power to impose an ideology that the people weren't ready for. As with anyone who has absolute power the become corrupted.

You also have to take into account that capitalist countries were actively trying to undermine communist economies making it incredibly hard for them to sustain themselves.

Capitalism hasn't progressed to the stage that communism should even really seriously be discussed. That is not to say that it isn't coming. Right now it is like trying to has a discussion about the best way to terra form Mars. The conditions are not right yet but someday they may be.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
168. Even Czechoslovakia-born playwrite, Tom Stoppard, who
evidently prefers the West, once opined, "Capitalism is war with the gloves off".
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Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
174. Perhaps just expressive hyperbole beyond a sheep-like state.
Try not to get your panties in a knot over it.

As to why they like one better than another, now that's a tough question.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-05 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
176. I don't hate communism, I hate what Stalin did with it.
And Lenin and Khrushchev. I also hate what Boosh, Reagan and their criminal brood have done to capitalism. Big Biz did the same thing to consumerism.

Don't hate the concept, hate those that abuse it.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:14 AM
Response to Original message
185. the USSR never had communism

Lenin (and Trotsky) tried to realize a transistion to communism in the USSR, but didn't even get there before Stalin took over. Stalin sided with the business elites (prompting Trotsky to vilify Stalin for being a capitalist) and was nothing but a tyrant. The RW in the West took the opportunity to associate Stalin with communism, communism with socialism, and the rest is history.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-05 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #185
206. Even in theory the transition to communism
would take generations if not centuries.

In order to have communism you need mankind itself to change.

Communism depends on people working for the benefit of the group rather than the benefit of themselves. Capitalist man must be educated for generations until he is changed to the new "communist man."

Could this ever happen?

I'd say no, that it goes against simple human nature, but even someone who would argue yes would have to say that it would take generations before the state could wither away and die and communist man could take over on his own.

The problem is this intermediate time when a strong central government class is needed to direct the economy and more importantly the education of the new generations toward the goal of "communist man." Can this leadership class direct the march toward communism for generations without turning itself into a ruling class? Can it do this without an opposition allowed?

Boy isn't that a huge risk?
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:20 AM
Response to Original message
188. '...communist (...) refers simply to anyone who stands in our way'
What follows are excerpts from the famous debate between Noam Chomsky and Richard Perle at The Ohio State University in 1988 (http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=8409 ).

In the debate Chomsky cites from now declassified documents from the State Department. Even an academic of high standing such as Noam Chomsky has a hard time getting access to such documents:

"One learns a lot from looking at the documentary record, and one learns a lot from the fact that certain people don't want you to look at it."
- Noam Chomsky

Chomsky makes a distinction between what he calls "official doctrine" - doctrine as created behind closed doors, and "widely proclaimed doctrine" - the policies as told to the public.
He notes that what's actually happening in the world (much of which goes unreported in the mainstream media) - ie US/Western support of various dictators and genocides, and the 'debt-trap' of so-called "Free Trade Agreements" - is in fact consistent with (secret) official doctrine, but inconsistent with publicly announced policies.

"Official doctrine is quite inconsistent with the historical and documentary record. (Official doctrine) conforms to the pattern of evolving events, and is entirely inconsistent with widely proclaimed doctrine."
- Noam Chomsky


Quotes from declassified State Department documents:

On the 3rd World:

"...a source of raw material and markets for the industrialist capitalist powers, to be exploited for their reconstruction"...

On Latin America:

"Prime concern is the protection of our raw materials. We have 50% of the worlds wealth but only 6% of its population, we must maintain this disparity to the extent possible, by force if necessary, putting aside vague and idealistic slogans such as human rights, raising of living standards, democratization, preferring police states if needed over democracies that might be to liberal and to indulgent to communists, the latter has lost any substantial meaning in US political rhetoric, referring simply to anyone who stands in our way."

"The primary threat to the US in Latin America is the trend towards nationalistic regimes that respond to popular demand for improvement in low living standards and production for domestic needs. That's not acceptable because the US is committed to encouraging a climate inductive to private investment, in particular guaranties for opportunity to earn and in the case of foreign capital to repatriate a reasonable return."

"We must therefore oppose what is regularly called ultra nationalism in secret documents, that means efforts to pursue domestic needs. We must foster exports or (...) production in the interests of US investors. It is recognized such programs have very little appeal to the Latin American public. So the conclusion is that we must therefore gain control over the military which can in turn control domestic opposition and overthrow civilian governments if necessary."

===

"There is a declassified State Department paper from 1948 that outlines what the US intended to do with various regions of the world after World War II. The US decided to take the Middle East and Asia. When it came to Africa, the document essentially says that we're not so interested in Africa, so we'll give it to the Europeans to "exploit"-that's the word used-for their reconstruction." - Chomsky
http://www.madre.org/articles/chomsky-0801.html

===

I. Fundamental Principles: Straight Power Concepts

The fundamental aims of Western foreign policy under American leadership, were stated in a now declassified top-secret planning report produced by the US State Departments policy planning staff, headed at the time (February 1948) by the liberal George Kennan: "We have about 50 per cent of the worlds wealth, but only 6.3 per cent of its population... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain the position of disparity between the West and the rest of the world. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction... We should cease to talk about vague and... unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we will have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
http://www.transcend.org/t_database/articles.php?ida=78
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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #188
195. Straight power Concepts
NSC-68

It's right there and straight forward.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #195
198. thanks for the reference
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #188
200. NUFF SAID, rman!
Classical. Scarcely credible - though that's what Yossarian thought. Like a parody of our left wing claims.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #188
203. And funny how, even among themselves, Kennan couldn't bring
himself to acknowledge that their undesired leaders of foreign nations were patriots, preferring to call them, "nationalists" or even "ultra-nationalists"! So much less revealing and easier on whatever conscience he still possessed.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #188
212. it's good to be reminded of that.
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Fescue4u Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
194. Communism is just fine and dandy
Except for the people who live under or it, or who live on the same planet with it.

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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
197. A: 60 years of the world's most effective brain-washing campaign. n/t
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sleipnir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-05 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
202. The same ones who vote for DLC candidate after DLC candidate.
They sicken me to my core. They are the reason we lose each election and I've about had it with that minority of the party. We need to marginalize them or we will be doomed to losing every single year.
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tlsmith1963 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-05 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
213. There is Good & Bad With Both
capitalism & communism. That's how I look at it. If only we could have a system that used the good in both & threw out the bad. But no one wants to do that, it seems. Better just to fight for extremism on both sides.

Tammy
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