Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What Is Bonapartism?

The Arab Revolution brings out the question of the nature of the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. Marxists have long talked about bourgeois Bonapartism, Leon Trotsky and Ted Grant added to Marxism, the the concept of proletarian Bonapartism. This definition is helpful to understand some of the so called socialist regimes. The Chinese Revolution was based on where the Russian Revolution ended 1949 Russia. Mao vigorously defended private property, and based the revolution not on workers, but peasants. Mao only nationalized industry, because capitalists fled to Taiwan. Just about every colonial revolution followed the Chinese model.

A transitional form of government between the regimes of parliamentary democracy and fascism, based on dictatorship and military force during a period when class rule is not secure. A strong government which appears to stand 'above parties' and 'above classes' due to relative equilibrium between the working class and the bourgeoisie. It is based on the military, police, and state bureaucracy rather than on parliamentary parties or a mass movement. So called after Napoleon Bonaparte, the classic example of Bourgeois Bonapartism. Stalin's totalitarian regime and others like it are classified as Proletarian Bonapartism.

RENEGADE EYE

85 comments:

titanuranus2 said...

Or as Foucault described them, Disciplinary Societies.

YOU long for a Society of Control, and I for one of sovereignty. And n'er the two shall meet.

Speedy G said...

What is Bonapartism? It's the transition from a society of sovereignty, to one of discipline... to one of CONTROL.

It marks the first in an on-going series of steps towards "totalitarianism".

Renegade Eye said...

Titan: Foucault? You're into postmodernism?

Speedy G: Bonapartists generally are totalitarian. It's rule by the gun.

Fascism is different. It is based on a mass movement. It entails the total annihilation of the opposition.

What is interesting about Bonapartists, is they rule above class struggle, they go between classes. They easily turn left and right.

Speedy G said...

There a HUGE difference between having a single dictator watching you and attempting to control you, and having your neighbors and co-workers 100% behind him and trying to control what you think in your head. A disciplinary/ Bonapartist society is only about 10% "totalitarian". What the disctator and his minions don't see, they can't change. A society of control is more like 90% totalitarian... as the vast majority of the population has been brainwashed into actually believing in silly things like Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW). They see everything, and you become a prisoner of their inescapable "panopticon".

Speedy G said...

And if annihilation of enemies were the distinguishing criteria for "facism", then ALL the Communists including Lenin, Stalin and MAO ARE ALL facists.

Speedy G said...

The states rights logic, leads to support for the right to practice slavery.

The centralized federal power logic leads to totalitarianism. At least under the "State's Rights" logic, the slaves have a place to run-away to. That's not possible in your U.N. dominated one-world government Hell.

Speedy G said...

The U.N. with its' "World Court" is the world's legal "Dred Scott decision" enabler.

And the establishers of laws (and faux "human rights") that the UN lawmakers establish are packed with Islamic "jurists" dreaming of Shari'a and the unified Ummah...

Speedy G said...

All you "progressive" legalists that support the U.N. are doing for international law what FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC did for the U.S. and world economies.

Your giving them the instruments to create man-made massive global-scale catastrophe's.

Gert said...

Speedy:

”And the establishers of laws (and faux "human rights") that the UN lawmakers establish are packed with Islamic "jurists" dreaming of Shari'a and the unified Ummah...”

Wow! Islamists are taking over the UN, I mean UU!

Any evidence you might want to present for that thesis, Speedy?

The Pagan Temple said...

The UN is a worthless organization that needs to be disbanded, sooner rather than later. Let's see them prove their worth by voting to condemn judicial murder of homosexuals and adulterers, or the execution of young girls for the "crime" of being raped, or the amputation of a person's hand for the crime of even minor theft.

Maybe they can condemn the practice of condemning to death and executing a person who has committed the "crime" of heresy, just for leaving one certain religion and going to another.

Maybe they can condemn the practice of arranged marriages of pre-pubescent young girls to elderly perverted old men.

Let's see the UN condemn all of those things with a loud, united voice, with no equivocation, no caveats, no exception, and I might be willing to concede they might have some minor use in world affairs.

Otherwise, they can bulldoze the damn place with my blessing, preferably with all members present and accounted for.

sonia said...

Ren,

Mao vigorously defended private property,

Mao only nationalized industry


What planet are you from ????

Too bad nobody told that to Chinese landowers in 1949, who also fled to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and many other places. Even worse, nobody told that to Chinese paesants in 1958-61 during the Great Leap Forward.

In case you never heard of it, Ren, here is an excerpt of a Wikipedia article on the Great Leap Forward:

Chief changes in the lives of rural Chinese included the introduction of a mandatory process of agricultural collectivization, which was introduced incrementally. Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were labeled as counter revolutionaries and persecuted. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions, and social pressure. Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw "its development … aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward."[1] The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, resulting in tens of millions of excess deaths.[2] Recent research puts the death toll somewhere between 36 and 45 million.[3][4] Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that "coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward" and it "motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history."[5]

Renegade Eye said...

Speedy G: The difference between fascism and Stalinism, is fascism is based on private property, and Stalinism is based on nationalized.

Stalin killed every Bolshevik central committee member. That alone shows Leninism is not Stalinism. Lenin only expelled one person from the party.

I also said gangs of street people type thugs are characteristic of fascism.

UN? Where do you find that on this blog. Both socialism and capitalism are world systems.

Who said I was a progressive?

Sonia: Look up Mao's book On New Democracy. The 1949 revolution was a peasant revolution, with intellectual leadership.

New Democracy according to all Maoists, is two stage revolution. The first stage is bourgeoise democracy (capitalism) and the second stage is socialist. It differs from permanent revolution, which means combining stages.

Mao might have expropriated some foreign capitalists. He used the Red Army against urban workers who occupied factories.

Land reform is a capitalist demand, not socialist. It is anti-feudal.

Later Mao nationalized everything. He compensated capitalists. I read that in a neoconservative book.

Trotskyism is only for nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy.

The Great Leap Forward is Stalinist, socialism in one country nonsense. There are similarities between TGLF and the buy local movement.

Gert: The UN is worthless. Most supporters have a utopian view of it.

Pagan: The UN is off topic. Save that for another time.

Speedy G said...

fascism is based on private property, and Stalinism is based on nationalized.

So you're saying that "at least "fascism" has some vested interests other than the bureaucrats/administrators of the commons. I wonder if there's a difference at all.

"Indeed, the process has been so widely commented upon that one writer postulated a common life cycle for all of the attempts to develop regulatory policies. The life cycle is launched by an outcry so widespread and demanding that it generates enough political force to bring about establishment of a regulatory agency to insure the equitable, just, and rational distribution of the advantages among all holders of interest in the commons. This phase is followed by the symbolic reassurance of the offended as the agency goes into operation, developing a period of political quiescence among the great majority of those who hold a general but unorganized interest in the commons. Once this political quiescence has developed, the highly organized and specifically interested groups who wish to make incursions into the commons bring sufficient pressure to bear through other political processes to convert the agency to the protection and furthering of their interests. In the last phase even staffing of the regulating agency is accomplished by drawing the agency administrators from the ranks of the regulated."

... but then I don't believe in the Myth of the "Good" Administrators of the Commons like YOU do.

Speedy G said...

...but then I also don't believe in a "Disciplinary Societies" ability to focus coercive force (State power) on dissident groups effectivly either.

That's why "terrorism" is a blunderer's incompetent "mistake".

"In the past, those who no longer subscribed to the values of the dominant culture were held in check by the myth that the state possessed a monopoly on coercive force. This myth has undergone continual erosion since the end of World War II owing to the success of the strategy of guerrilla warfare, as first revealed to the French in Indochina, and later conclusively demonstrated in Algeria. Suffering as we do from what Senator Fulbright has called 'the arrogance of power,' we have been extremely slow to learn the lesson in Vietnam, although we now realize that war is political and cannot be won by military means. It is apparent that the myth of the monopoly of coercive force as it was first qualified in the civil rights conflict in the South, then in our urban ghettos, next on the streets of Chicago, and now on our college campuses has lost its hold over the minds of Americans. The technology of guerrilla warfare has made it evident that, while the state can win battles, it cannot win wars of values. Coercive force which is centered in the modern state cannot be sustained in the face of the active resistance of some 10 percent of the population unless the state is willing to embark on a deliberate policy of genocide directed against the value dissident groups. The factor that sustained the myth of coercive force in the past was the acceptance of a common value system. Whether the latter exists is questionable in the modern nation-state."

Speedy G said...

...and I ESPECIALLY don't believe in the communist internation's efforts to forge a single/common value system. Viva la difference!

"In looking for the cause of the erosion of the myth of a common value system, it seems to me that so long as our perceptions and knowledge of other groups were formed largely through the written media of communication, the American myth that we were a giant melting pot of equalitarians could be sustained. In such a perceptual field it is tenable, if not obvious, that men are motivated by interests. Interests can always be compromised and accommodated without undermining our very being by sacrificing values. Under the impact of electronic media, however, this psychological distance has broken down and now we discover that these people with whom we could formerly compromise on interests are not, after all, really motivated by interests but by values. Their behavior in our very living room betrays a set of values, moreover, that are incompatible with our own, and consequently the compromises that we make are not those of contract but of culture. While the former are acceptable, any form of compromise on the latter is not a form of rational behavior but is rather a clear case of either apostasy or heresy. Thus we have arrived not at an age of accommodation but one of confrontation. In such an age 'incommensurables' remain 'incommensurable' in real life."

And so my previous State vs state interest argument is EXCEPTIONALLY valid.

Speedy G said...

Your entire world view depends upon three errors:

(1) that there exists, or can be developed, a 'criterion of judgment and system of weighting . . .' that will 'render the incommensurables . . . commensurable . . . ' in real life;

(2) that, possessing this criterion of judgment, 'coercion can be mutually agreed upon,' and that the application of coercion to effect a solution to problems will be effective in modern society; and

(3) that the administrative system, supported by the criterion of judgment and access to coercion, can and will protect the commons from further desecration."


Now that you've been made aware of your errors, perhaps you can CORRECT them. ;)

Gert said...

Ren:

”Gert: The UN is worthless. Most supporters have a utopian view of it.”

I’m sorry to hear this typical American trope from your lips. The UN is a lot of things, you know? Do you think the supporters of the WHO “have a utopian view of it”? That sounds like plain silly to me. And you’re NOT a utopian? LOL…

Speedy and Pagan are utopians too of course: the utopia of the stateless state!

Speedy G said...

the utopia of the stateless state!

No, the utopia of the "triune" (or at least dual) state that maintains (and doesn't degenerate) separated and enumerated powers.

A place where one acquires multiple transferrable "citizenships" conferred upon an individual the moment he achieves the "age of majority" (one to "nation", another to "canton" and a third to his "town") and allows the "borders" between these regions to be periodically democratically adjustable" (instead of fixed geographically) to accomodate ideological affections and defections.

A utopia where the federal government recognizes and abides by the 9th and 10th amendments to the US Constitution...

9.) The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10.) The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


...and the federal government doesn't, like Swift's Island of Laputa ("Gulliver's Travels"), float around crushing dissenters as it is attached to a "fixed" and "stable" tower (the Constitution).

That way, when things don't work out... indivuals can physically MOVE to other nations, cantons or municipalities they think it will work (of course, the citizens of the municipalities have to ACCEPT your application for transfer as well).

So you can move to Sodom, Gomorrah OR Jerusalem/Athens. Just don't come to Jerusalem whistling the praises of Sodom, or you'll likely get your head bashed in.

...but barring that, I'd just as soon impose MY will upon the rest of you.

Speedy G said...

btw - My utopic dystopia is called "Magnesia" and it "Laws" are documented here.

Anyone want to apply for membership in my nocturnal council? ;)

Speedy G said...

It's certainly no "Brave New World", that's for sure.

Speedy G said...

Colonel Dippa of Rendang could't possibly prevail against a coordinated confederacy of separate and independent Pala's (pallas).

The only way for Pala to fail, would be a breakdown from within.

RNC Scab said...

btw - Any of you flounders catch today's Frontpage Symposium on the "Red Arabs"? lol!

Gert said...

Speedy:

Brave New World was satire.

RNC Scab:

Anyone who believes Gaddafi’s regime is socialist needs their heads checking. But that’s FP for ya!

Titan said...

Brave New World was satire.

...so were Das Kapital AND the Communist Manifesto!

RNC Scab said...

Anyone who believes Gaddafi’s regime is socialist needs their heads checking.

I've had my head checked, have you? Denial is more than a river in Egypt. ;)

Speedy G said...

The states rights logic, leads to support for the right to practice slavery.

Whereas intolerance of difference leads to the de facto enslavement of ALL.

So choose you poison, the chance that some might be enslaved, or the certainty that they ALL will.

btw - When are you going to launch that crusade to free the slaves of Chad? Or is that something that YOU are willing to tolerate?

I guess outta sight IS outta mind (in more than one way).

Renegade Eye said...

RNC Scab: I appreciate that link and discussion. It is superficial and incorrect.

If you read my blog several months ago, you would have known that Egypt was going to explode.

Explain why the US had as its foreign policy in the 80s, to surround the Soviet Union with Islamist governments. The US supported Khan in Pakistan, the Islamists in Afghanistan and brought in Islamists to take over Iran.

Islamism is about money and capitalism big time.

I supported wiping out Islamists in Afghanistan in the 80s, did you?

Speedy: My eyes hurt from reading your comments. Be more concise.

There are thousands of causes. The forces are small. Causes have to be prioritized, based on input/output.

Gert: My comments on the UN aren't Pagan's. Its main role, has been giving legal cover to imperialism.

Titan: ...so were Das Kapital AND the Communist Manifesto

Did you read them?

Renegade Eye said...

Titan: At the time The Communist Manifesto was written, the only actual capitalist country was Britain. Marxx because of his method, was able to forecast the rise of monopoly and globalization.

RNC Scab said...

Explain why the US had as its foreign policy in the 80s, to surround the Soviet Union with Islamist governments.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Islamism is about money and capitalism big time.

It's also about Islam and perpetuating a tribal endomgamous reproductive strategy (read - oppressing women through a REAL patriarchy)

I supported wiping out Islamists in Afghanistan in the 80s, did you?

Read my first response. I prefer dealing with systemic threats one step at a time.

Titan said...

Did you read them?

Have you read Huxley's "Island"? Do you know the difference between BNW and Island? Do you know the difference between Plato's "Republic" and his "Laws"? Do you know the difference between original scholarship (Smith) and criticism (Marx)?

And yes, I started reading "Das Kapital" long before I ever read "Wealth of Nations". Much like Schopenhaur's "World as Will and Representation"... you shouldn't attempt it before you've read ALL of Kant. Criticism is NOT scholarship and cannot be appreciated in the absence of the article criticized.

Speedy G said...

Causes have to be prioritized, based on input/output.

Indeed they do. The USSR was #1. Islamicism has moved up to #1. And when we're done with that, maybe we'll get around to eliminating both unions and corporations ((aka - Struldbrugs).

sonia said...

Gert,

Anyone who believes Gaddafi’s regime is socialist needs their heads checking

Considering that Gaddafi himself called his country 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya', you're facing an uphill battle.

But then again, leftists like you managed to convince everybody that 'National Socialist German Workers' Party' wasn't socialist at all, so you might yet convince enough fools that Gaddafi was a pro-Western supporter of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who tried to overthrow Hugo Chavez with the help of the CIA....

Ren,

I supported wiping out Islamists in Afghanistan in the 80s.

You should be ashamed of yourself. So you supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Red Army massacres of Afghan civilians. What other genocides did you support ?

The Pagan Temple said...

No he should not be ashamed of himself, well not for that anyway. Anybody that supports "wiping out Islamists" deserves applause, not condemnation.

Gert said...

Sonia:

”Considering that Gaddafi himself called his country 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya', you're facing an uphill battle.”

Wow! Yeah, that’s a FANTASTIC argument. I bow my head in shame now. My bad! Can’t apologise enough! (NOT...)

”But then again, leftists like you managed to convince everybody that 'National Socialist German Workers' Party' wasn't socialist at all, […]”

Someone’s been reading Jonah Goldberg’s smear bookywook ‘Liberal Fascism’ again. Being pally with Agent Beaker probably doesn’t help you there…

Perhaps you also believe Evolutionary Biology is a ploy to destroy G-d and was supported by the Nazis in their search for the ‘master race’? Ben Stein does. Whacky American conservative theorettes still outnumber UFO stories in said country too…

rosswolfe said...

Foucault was very good at exposing the power relations that lie behind disciplines and institutions that we often take for granted. He was politically confused; just look at the journalistic pieces he wrote about Iran. Everything good about what he wrote, though, had been written better by Adorno and Horkheimer some twenty years earlier.

Castro's Cuba is clearly an example of proletarian Bonapartism, even though he was clearly the leader from the beginning and didn't usurp the movement from within. But there are the other classic characteristics: the cult of personality, his near folk-hero status amongst the Cuban people, etc. Some hardcore Maoists claim that Deng Xiaoping was essentially a Bonapartist, which is exceptionally ironic, considering that they're effectively Stalinists employing a term of derision originally intended to describe Stalin.

Ren: What do you make of the claim by one critic of the Bolivarian Revolution that Chavez is some sort of "postmodern Bonapartist"?

sonia said...

Gert,

that’s a FANTASTIC argument

Thank you. But I am afraid that I can't return the compliment. Your arguments suck. The word socialism has been sullied by all who claimed it (except perhaps Sweden's Olaf Palme). Trying to reclaim this word (soaked in the blood of Stalin's, Hitler's, Mao's, Pol Pot's and Gaddafi's victims) will be just as hard as for the Hindus to reclaim their swastica sign (soaked in the blood of Jews), but you can always try. Just don't be surprised that some people won't understand it.

If you don't believe me, just go to Benghazi and tell the Libyan rebels there that you are a socialist.

And then run...

It might be safter for you to dress as a Hindu and wear a huge swastica sign in Tel Aviv...

rosswolfe said...

Sonia,

If I may intervene just slightly in this affair, I think that the term "socialism" is salvageable by dint of the fact that some of the strongest critics of ostensibly "socialist" regimes guilty of atrocities have been socialists themselves. Socialism preceded the Marxian brand of socialism, as well, in the form of numerous tendencies wanting to extend the promise of "equality" guaranteed by the French Revolution's famous slogan. Now make no mistakes: these forms of socialism were often crude and extremely rudimentary, and Marx subjected them to ruthless criticism. The socioeconomic critique of capitalism he elaborated was and remains by far the most consistent socialist system to date.

However, Marx's principles have been perverted by numerous movements and tendencies laying claim to his inspiration, insisting that they were merely putting Marx's revolutionary theory into practice. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize that Capital is a critique of political economy, not a handbook of political economics. This is why the Bolsheviks were so careful to point out that their reconstruction of society on a new basis was provisional and indeed improvisational.

Even more so, after the Second World War, local paramilitary cadres in the Third World with strong authoritarian tendencies adopted the name of communism in order to secure funding from the Soviets or the Chinese (particularly the former). Obviously these groups had very little if any commitment to the achievement of socialism.

Titan said...

Socialism preceded the Marxian brand of socialism, as well, in the form of numerous tendencies wanting to extend the promise of "equality" guaranteed by the French Revolution's famous slogan.

Any Lacadaemonians in the house?

What "virtue" do your socialists aspire to rw, "fraternite"? I certainly hope it isn't "courage" like the Spartan's was.

rosswolfe said...

Just for the record, Smith's Wealth of Nations was awesome, if horribly limited by the stage of capitalist development in which he lived. The same thing goes for Ricardo. Marx himself would have admitted this gladly. That didn't prevent him from coldly dissecting their every error.

rosswolfe said...

Fraternity could easily be translated to mean internationalism.

Renegade Eye said...

RNC Scab: To me being socialist, means being anti-Islamist.

Lenin said that capitalism is superior to live under, than an Islamic government.

Stalinism is a lesser evil, to Islamism. I'm saying that tentatively.

Sonia: It looks like Business Week disagrees with you about Libya and Ghaddafy. In addition the opposition is is not friendly to capitalists.

This post is about Bonapartism. They are neither left or right, because they jump between classes.

Most third world countries, entered as nations, too late, to have a capitalist class that is independent.

The battle in Libya, is not left or right, capitalist or socialist. Too late for capitalism, too poor for socialism.

Renegade Eye said...

Gert: See my comments to Sonia.

Bonapartists aren't right or left, because they go between classes.

In third world countries, there is rarely an independent capitalist class like the US or UK, or a strong working class. Naturally they have deformed governments.

Ross: Castro is Bonapartist.

Chavez is not Bonapartist. He doesn't rule by the sword. He even freed the 2002 coup planners.

Elections are ridiculously monitored. Venezuelans have faith in elections. Their voting machines are state of the art.

The IMT monitored an election, in rightist and leftist areas.

No way is Venezuela socialist. If Chavez just gave the word, there would be revolution.

Chavez's position on Libya and Iran hurt things. The Financial Times noted the IMT and Alan Woods breaking with Chavez's position. They must read Marxist.com.

Pagan: There was much wrong with the Soviets invasion of Afghanistan. Getting rid of Islamists isn't one.

Speedy: When your forces are small, you have to prioritize. I get emails daily for dozens of causes. You can only do so much.

Sonia: If Hitler would have used a rightist name for his party, nobody would join. The right is never popular. He never even nationalized the war industry.

Titan: Smith wrote well about his era. Marx wrote a critique of capitalism that is still relevant.

Here we are talking about communism, when your friends were saying it was the end of history.

All you have going is making fun of gays.

rosswolfe said...

Also, Ren, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "Bonapartism" also carry connotations of when a single ambitious leader or careerist highjacks an ostensibly progressive social revolution by maneuvering against his political opponents, and then perverts it into a militaristic regime. As with Napoleon in the bourgeois revolution that began in 1789 and Stalin with the communist revolution that began in 1917. I mean, your definition definitely captures that aspect, but I think it's worth highlighting the tragic character of Bonapartism, in that it evolves out of social movements that originally promise to accomplish a great deal of good.

sonia said...

Ren,

If Hitler would have used a rightist name for his party, nobody would join. The right is never popular.

Bingo. 100% correct. Even the Tea Party got its popularity by denouncing Wall Street's bailouts. But think about the full implications of what you just wrote. It doesn't just apply to Hitler and Gaddafi, but to Lenin and Chavez as well. Those wonderful slogans of the left are simply a camouflage to deceive the masses.

It looks like Business Week disagrees with you.

Quite the contrary. It clearly states that Libya under Gaddafi was socialist. Read this passage:

"To change from a socialist culture to a private culture is a big project," says Saleh Zahaf, a lawyer who advises would-be foreign investors. "It requires a generation."

the opposition is not friendly to capitalists.

It would be more accurate to say that the Libyan opposition is not friendly to Gaddafi's friends in the West. Like Stalin had FDR, Gaddafi had Tony Blair and Berlusconi.

Gert said...

Sonia:

First off, you can quit with your paranoia re. socialism: I’m not a socialist underneath your bed.

I suggest also that you go and tell the many neo-Nazi groupuscules in Europe and the US that still adore Mr H. and yes, also the Swastika, that they’re socialists or even Leftist. I’d love to see what reaction you’d get. Don’t count out a black eye and broken nose (but in the case of a luvvy like you things could end up far worse…)

There’s one of these types that regularly visits this blog and it’s ‘f*cking cultural Marxists’ to anyone perceived not to be 100 % Right, all the time. The person in question dabbled seriously in Nazism when he was younger, unfortunately something did permanently rub off…

As regards the term ‘socialism’ having been sullied, that counts as much for the term capitalism too, in my book. I’m for a free market with serious regulations to cap the worst of the swings caused by the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street and elsewhere.

American proponents of unbridled capitalism forget or are unaware how much unfettered misery Laissez Faire Capitalism has rained on masses of people in Europe’s past. Let’s just say that that is why many here are less enthralled by the ‘self regulating’ thingy! In the US that belief is at the level of a religion, frankly speaking...

Speedy G said...

It's not called an "invisible hand" for nothing. The law of supply and demand. Supply a crappy product that rips people off, and demand goes down. Get a reputation for ripping people off, you go out of business.

And if a venture is "risky", buy insurance. The insurance companies (ie - Lloyd's of London) will "regulate" you with their "premiums".

It's pretty simple, really, Gert, you should look into it. Try reading Plato's "Hipparchus" (aka "The Profiteer").

Renegade Eye said...

I'll reply to the comments tonight. I want to answer Ross now.

Ross: Bonapartism has nothing to do with the subjective character of the leader. It is a materialist response.

It is government that takes over by the sword, when class struggle is at a stand still. It goes between classes.

In the third world, with no developed capitalism as US and UK, and actually weak capitalist classes, movements are often led by generals, intelligentsia etc. Governments led by the military or intellectuals, with the masses being peasantry, who are unable to lead a society, is a formula for Bonapartism.

Marx analyzed Bonapartism under capitalism. Trotsky and Ted Grant developed the idea that a deformed socialist state can have "proletarian Bonapartism."

The Sentinel said...

Sonia:

“But then again, leftists like you managed to convince everybody that 'National Socialist German Workers' Party' wasn't socialist at all”

Spot on. And by using the popular tactic of rendering complex situations down to one word in order to shut down debate.

In this case that word is usually ‘Keynesian.’

But the reality is that the Nazi's instituted socialist polices that went further then the USSR and many so-called socialist countries since; they even carried them out in occupied territories and in the middle of a world war.

Clearly socialism was of a very high priority to them.

For instance, in Holland, via a “health care fund” the Dutch State pays the cost of health care of the below average income segment of the people. This fund has been hailed as “a pinnacle of civilization”. However, it was established by the Nazis on November 1, 1941 [during the occupation of the Netherlands].

In 2006, the PvdA (Socialists) blocked the loosening of Dutch employment protection. Some labor unions even termed this employment protection 'holy' However, this measure was also introduced by the Nazis.

The dependent child allowance, one of the shrines of the Christian Democrats, was introduced by the Nazis in 1941.

In another example, during the occupation of Czechoslovakia the Nazis introduced social security into the country for the first time; increased pensions and introduced unemployment benefit.

In fact it was because these measures were so popular that their overseer, Heydrich was assassinated.

One other social policy the Nazis instituted that is being banded around the US at the moment was that the cost of health care was paid for by the government.

But there were many other socialist policies introduced by the Nazis too:

- The Nazis brought the automobile within reach of the people.

- They doubled the number of holidays for workers.

- They introduced agricultural subsidies for farmers to protect them against the risks of weather and a fickle world market.

- Prices of food were set by the government.

- The Nazis introduced the progressive income tax (still a “sacred” item for the leftist parties).

- The Nazis were not just leftists, they were green as well: they were the first to make care for the environment a government responsibility, ban vivisection and pass anti-animal cruelty laws.

- Landlords were required to charge their tenants affordable rents.

- The legal position of tenants was strengthened.

...

The Sentinel said...

- Child benefits were introduced.

- Pensions were increased.

- The only tax increase that hurt “the common man” was a 50% increase on the duty on tobacco and alcohol.

- And during the war a “special social benefit” was introduced: benefits for the cost of rent, insurance, coal, potatoes and other essential goods.

The USSR never even came close to these tenets of socialism.

The Nazi-Soviet pact was a pact between two far-leftist parties.

“Thank you. But I am afraid that I can't return the compliment. Your arguments suck."

I agree, it’s not really an argument at all, but then there are so many anti-reality commentators here on blogosphere ever so willing to comment on places they have never been to, situations they have been in and things they have never seen.

Usually these people choose to live in very safe little towns, shielded away from it all the things they love to comment on.

There’s one of these types that regularly visits this blog and it’s ‘f*cking racist / all the ‘ists and ‘isms’ to anyone perceived not to be 100 % in agreement with him all the time.

Which is ever the more ironic because the person in question is widely considered to be the most virulent racist themselves and is banned from blogs and unwelcome on countless others because of it. The person in question dabbled seriously in Anti-Semitism when he was younger, unfortunately something did permanently rub off…

“Trying to reclaim this word (soaked in the blood of Stalin's, Hitler's, Mao's, Pol Pot's and Gaddafi's victims) will be just as hard as for the Hindus to reclaim their swastica sign (soaked in the blood of Jews), but you can always try.”

I think the preferred tactic is to deny that any country has ever practised socialism ever, nor indeed were they ever socialist in any way or intent in the first place.

The more murderous the regime, the faster that argument seems to be applied.

rosswolfe said...

Just a clarification: socialism isn't merely the nationalization of the economy such that privately-owned property expropriated and handed over to the public sphere. That may have been a sufficient formula for the Marx of 1848, but certainly not for the Marx of 1871.

In fact, I would argue that the nationalization (or internationalization) of the economic basis of society is not the most fundamental issue at stake in the realization of socialism; rather, it's the radical transformation of production from a model where the point of making goods is to obtain surplus-value for commodities through the labor process (both anthropological and technological), to a model where the point of production is to satisfy the most vital needs of all society and allow everyone to enjoy healthier, happier lives. Having a bunch of state welfare programs and bureaucratic agencies doesn't mean that a country is "socialist" or "communist," it simply means that the government is social-democratic. And a society with a social-democratic government whose material basis is still the supervaluation of value (M-C-M or capital) is just that: a capitalist society. Hence state-interventionist capitalism being just as much capitalism as laissez-faire capitalism.

And as far as the "socialist" component of National Socialism, the adoption of a workerist ethic in more urbanized sections of Germany was a ploy to win the proletariat away from the Social-Democratic Party (by then practically defunct), and their challengers in the KPD. The "socialist" pretensions of Nazism were quickly removed with the liquidation of the leadership of the SA in 1934, which had to that point been the largest faction within the party to have a quasi-socialistic ideology.

And it should be obvious to any student of history that the fascists were the mortal foes of Bolshevism, although they also rejected many of the tenets associated with capitalism as decadent, greedy, and corrupt. They regarded both capitalism and communism as Jewish inventions and tried to present fascism as a "third way" between these two competing ideologies.

rosswolfe said...

And yeah, Ren, that makes sense and I was vaguely aware of some of those elements of Bonapartism. I was just noting that the material character of the social movements that are hijacked by reactionary leaders (who maintain their power through militarism and the establishment of a police state) is often of a very progressive nature. Just as the bourgeois-democratic forces in France were extremely revolutionary before a crisis arose and Napoleon seized power, so also the proletarian-socialist forces were extremely revolutionary before an acute famine allowed Stalin to seize power. But yeah, in both those examples the conditions you describe most definitely applied.

Gert said...

Speedy:

”It's pretty simple, really, Gert, you should look into it.”

Already have. It’s not that simple at all…

The Sentinel said...

Rosswolfe:

“Having a bunch of state welfare programs and bureaucratic agencies doesn't mean that a country is "socialist" or "communist”

It does mean however, that that country has socialist leanings having instituted socialist policies.

Or would you now claim that these items above are not tenets or facets of socialism?

Out of interest, which regimes do you consider are / were either socialist / communist or in a transitive state working towards either?

“… was a ploy to win the proletariat away from the Social-Democratic Party (by then practically defunct), and their challengers in the KPD …”

The premise of this argument rather falls down when you consider that these socialist programs were also implemented in countries such as Holland and Czechoslovakia – with no worries about the SDP or the KPD.

“The "socialist" pretensions of Nazism were quickly removed with the liquidation of the leadership of the SA in 1934”

And yet they still implemented the socialist programmes above - and not just in peace time - but at the height of the world war too.

Clearly these socialist programmes were extremely important to them.

Gert said...

To consider ‘Nazism’ as some kind of an ideology is a stretch: this pot pourri of ill digested bits and pieces, including a good dollop of the occult, cobbled together to give a brutal state takeover a veneer of respectability is really neither Left nor Right. By its own definition and acts it placed itself outside of ‘normal’ political discourse, if not outside of humanity itself…

rosswolfe said...

The term "fascist" does get thrown around a lot, and almost always in ways that are a bit suspect. It's the most hideous ideology the world has ever known.

I would hesitate to call the Islamists, godawful though they may be, fascists. They're far too disorganized, and where they are organized, it's in paramilitary or guerilla units instead of a standard, disciplined army. The element of a manly and dynamic leader-figure is also not as central to Islamism as it is to Fascism. Not just any dictator, but a messianic figure.

They were founded on different premises, as well. Islamism clearly has nationalistic elements, but its true foundation is in fundamentalist Islamic revivalism. This was a reaction against the apparent decadence and disenchantment brought about by capitalist modernization. The foundation of fascism was typically in some sort of combination of rustic Volkisch nationalism and biological racism. True, some Nazis liked to resurrect the old Teutonic gods and invoke the figure of Siegfried, but this was usually reserved for the elites who took a sort of romantic intellectual pleasure in it.

The similarities between Islamism and fascism are historically-rooted. The Nazis had very real connections with the early Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who they hoped might challenge the British colonial presence there. Many of the early Muslim Brotherhood pamphlets feature the swastika, because they were printed in Germany and distributed overseas. A lot of the anti-Semitism of Islamist ideology echoes claims made by the Nazis: the Jews invented capitalism, the Jews invented communism, the Jews invented feminism and atheism and undermined traditional conventions through their decadent modern practices. Also, the familiar accusation that the Jews control the world media, all the banks, and conspiratorially rule over all of the world, all these beliefs were lifted directly from the NSDAP strain of fascism.

Another related common feature is Islamism's opposition to both capitalism and communism, mirroring fascism's antipathies to both systems. In practice, of course, they lived and operated within capitalist society, no matter how pure their principles.

But yeah, anyway, Islamism is bad enough that it doesn't need to be dragged through the mud of fascism to make it much worse.

Speedy G said...

It’s not that simple at all…

Sounds like a personal problem. ;)

Renegade Eye said...

Sentinel: You're correct about Keynesian ideas being the foundation of Nazi Germany. It is also the foundation of old style American liberalism, based on capitalism and anti-communism.

Social Security was invented by Bismark, hardly a socialist.

Are you saying, rightist regimes can never have social welfare programs? That only the left uses them?

Social programs are dialectical. One purpose is for charity, benevolence etc. The other is to stop revolution. In the US more progressive legislation occurred during Nixon's term, than any other modern president. He had an antiwar, civil rights, feminist movement active during that period.

US conservatives at one time, weren't as hostile to social programs as now.

Madison shows you can't govern with rightist slogans.

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: Contrary to the paranoid left, fascism is a form, that the ruling class doesn't like to use. Organizing lumpen and middle class gangs, is dangerous, and they can get out of control.

Fascism is based on the total annihilation of the working class and progressive organizations. It has a mass base with thugs to do the work.

It requires the defeat of the working class as a prerequisite, as the defeat of the German Revolution.

I agree with you about nationalization. Ted Grant (late founder of IMT) developed the idea of nationalization under workers control. The board of directors should be 1/3 the workers, 1/3 the union movement to represent the whole class, and 1/3 the government.

Islamists don't have the social basis for fascism. They can't recruit the gangs.

Fascism only occurred in Poland,
Germany, Italy and Spain.

Gert: I don't believe capitalism can be reformed, in this period of history.

Even after the 2008 crisis, there still isn't regulation. How can you regulate what you don't own?

Speedy G: Marx believed in supply and demand, as the historically fairest way of pricing.

Sonia:
Bingo. 100% correct. Even the Tea Party got its popularity by denouncing Wall Street's bailouts. But think about the full implications of what you just wrote. It doesn't just apply to Hitler and Gaddafi, but to Lenin and Chavez as well. Those wonderful slogans of the left are simply a camouflage to deceive the masses.


I don't think Lenin and Chavez deceived the masses. Chavez is hardly a socialist, but not deceitful.

To change from a socialist culture to a private culture is a big project," says Saleh Zahaf, a lawyer who advises would-be foreign investors. "It requires a generation."

The word socialist is used incorrectly. Most poor countries, don't have a capitalist class, strong enough to rule.

It would be more accurate to say that the Libyan opposition is not friendly to Gaddafi's friends in the West. Like Stalin had FDR, Gaddafi had Tony Blair and Berlusconi.

True.

rosswolfe said...

The Sentinel:

Capitalism is not simply free market economics and socialism is not just big government welfare states. State-interventionist capitalism is just as much capitalism as laissez-faire capitalism.

I'm going to break this shit down for you:

The criterion which makes a society capitalist is that the majority of the goods produced are commodities. Commodities existed before capitalism, but it was not until Britain revolutionized its mode of production in the 15th-18th centuries (via primitive accumulation) that commodities became the dominant article of production. Before then, with artisanal labor, people largely produced their own goods for their own use. They made their own clothes, built their own furniture, etc. There was a very basic division of labor at the municipal level, but nothing approaching the detail division of labor of something like Adam Smith's pin factory.

Anyway, the characteristic of a capitalist society, where most of the produced goods are commodities, the one commodity that most people have is their own labor, which they can sell for a certain rate and length of time to an employer. Hence wage-labor becomes the dominant form of employment. This was historically unprecedented.

The incentive for the employer was that human labor-time, modified by time-saving organizational techniques or machinery, added value to the commodities above and beyond that which was being paid for as part of the worker's wages. The goal of capitalism is to extract as much surplus-value as possible from a product so as to acquire more value than you started with...which you then use to purchase and generate more value. It's a cyclical process in many ways, but also linear in the sense that it becomes progressively harder to create relative surplus value at the same rate as had been done before, which leads to a dialectic of abstract and concrete time and a general speeding-up of the production process. This is capitalism's "treadmill effect." Capital is infinitely self-relating value, production for the sake of production...not production for the sake of society's need. It produces and produces -- wonders beyond our imagination, in incalculable quantities -- but it leads in the process to certain imbalances and instabilities that can intensify into crises.

rosswolfe said...

The thing is that not even the capitalists control capitalism. It appears even to them as an alien force operating independently of their will. It is a mindless, unconscious system or network of relations that is global in nature from the very start, and progressively expands to incorporate the entire world. It infiltrates every single institution it touches in some way. And the capitalists are powerless to stop the need to acquire new value, exploit new raw materials, find cheap new sources of labor. In the nineteenth century this led to imperialism. Today it leads to "outsourcing." It's all interconnected. The capitalist may be the clear beneficiary of all this fabulous wealth he's amassing, but it's not like he has much choice in the matter when it comes to his survival in the capitalist system. If the capitalists truly could consciously control capitalism, you would think that there would never be anything like recessions or depressions (even artificially calculated ones).

In fact, much of what you call "socialist" was actually just the attempt of society to gain some sort of hold over the chaotic hyperproductivity and market crashes of capitalist society. Certain social-democrats, like Bernstein and his followers, envisioned a society in which parliamentary governments continued relatively unchanged, just with more state oversight and stricter regulations to break up monopolies and to make sure that potentially catastrophic consequences to arise. Ultimately, parliamentary Social-Democracy simply wanted to save capitalism from itself, all while preserving its fundamentally capitalist character. It politicians strove to "rationalize" society through new government welfare programs, extensive bureaucratic agencies, and technocratic specialists. It started from the presumption of the crisis, and rather than try to eradicate it at its root, it opted instead to try and "control" or "correct" the volatility of some of its symptoms.

rosswolfe said...

This era of capitalism, which came after the so-called "heroic era" of 19th-century laissez-faire capitalism, has been termed by most Marxist scholars as Fordism. It consisted mainly of Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Government. From the end of the Second World War through the 1960s, Americans and most Europeans enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. The Soviet Union, itself a sort of state-interventionist capitalist regime, also prospered during this time. But then came the Oil Crisis of 1973, and Fordism all came crashing down, inaugurating the age in which we are still living -- neoliberalism (or flexible accumulation, as Jameson calls it).

Now just to distinguish this from "socialist" states: in my opinion, no truly socialist state has ever truly existed. This is because the revolution was intended to be a world revolution, or at least a revolution in the most advanced capitalist nations, which would then spread its new form of social relations from the former core of the capitalist world-system to the periphery. Now, in terms of policies, though it would be utopian to speculate in too much detail, the goal would be production for the betterment of society, the fulfillment of its needs and the benefit of its population. Not production for the sake of endlessly producing more value. In terms of the state, true communists despise the bureaucratic monstrosities of most European-style Social-Democracies. Lenin and Trotskii even referred to them as "deformities." Another goal of such a society would be to eliminate as much degrading and potentially dangerous labor as possible. It would not be some sort of Stalinist industrial hellhole dominated by manly, muscular Stakhanovites with their shirts bursting at the seam. It would more likely be technicians and specialists coordinating production and overseeing a self-conscious plan by which society could economically provide for itself.

There, I think that more or less wraps it up. At least I hope it clears up a lot of the idiotic confusion that surrounds the issue of capitalism vs. socialism. Ren, if you agree with most of what I've written, feel free to post it as an article on here. I'll clean it up if necessary. If you'd rather not, that's fine too.

And so ends the epic triple-post.

The Sentinel said...

Rosswolfe:

“The foundation of fascism was typically in some sort of combination of rustic Volkisch nationalism and biological racism.”

The real foundation and manifestation of Fascism came through Benito Mussolini – who started off and spent 13 years as a big influence in the Italian Socialist Party.

Mussolini described Fascism as the ‘mergence of corporation and state’ and it was all in all a pretty rambling and nihilistic ‘ideology’ - but biological racism wasn’t a feature.

In 1933 Mussolini had this to say about race:

“Race! It is a feeling, not a reality: ninety-five percent, at least, is a feeling. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today. Amusingly enough, not one of those who have proclaimed the "nobility" of the Teutonic race was himself a Teuton. Gobineau was a Frenchman, Chamberlain, an Englishman; Woltmann, a Jew; Lapouge, another Frenchman.”

And in 1943:

“The Racial Manifesto could have been avoided. It dealt with the scientific abstruseness of a few teachers and journalists, a conscientious German essay translated into bad Italian. It is far from what I have said, written and signed on the subject. I suggest that you consult the old issues of Il Popolo d'Italia. For this reason I am far from accepting (Alfred) Rosenberg's myth"

--

“It's the most hideous ideology the world has ever known”

Certainly not pleasant by any definition – but then certainly not responsible for the greatest state mass murders in the history of man either.

That distinction falls to regimes of the socialist bent.

But again, out of interest, which regimes do you consider are / were either socialist / communist or in a transitive state working towards either?

Its a very simple question.

Renegade Eye:

“Are you saying, rightist regimes can never have social welfare programs? That only the left uses them?”

I am saying that these were socialist tenets that they implemented – are you saying they are not?

The Nazis cannot be classified on either wing by traditional definitions. The Nazis were not nationalists either – they were pan-Europeans.

But I would like to ask you the same question as Rosswolfe:

Which regimes do you consider are / were either socialist / communist or in a transitive state working towards either?

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: The Soviet Union, itself a sort of state-interventionist capitalist regime, also prospered during this time.

I don't support the Schachtmanite thesis of Russia being state capitalist. I would describe it as proletarian Bonapartist, a transitional society, not capitalist or socialist. See this. The ironic part is Ted Grant originally believed the state capitalist thesis, and taught it to Draper. If Russia was state capitalist, where was the capitalist class? If there was one, Stalin would have been history.

Trotsky predicted capitalism would return to USSR, because bureaucrats would want inheritance rights (Yeltsin).

Trotskyists called USSR a degenerated worker's state. The other countries as Poland were called deformed workers state.

I will save the comments, because at this blog, that subject comes up all the time.

I would add the principles of the Paris Commune, as the definition of the Marxist state.

Sentinel: I agree with Ross, that there hasn't been a socialist country. I would say Russia under Lenin and Trotsky were closest. They had severe problems to deal with, they couldn't really start. Even Stalin admitted in the first printing of Foundations of Leninism that socialism can't work in one country. Needless to say first editions of Stalin's book, are not easy to find.

Social programs are used to prevent revolt. They certainly are part of Keynesian thought.

Hitler romanticized small business, as opposed to evil monopolies.

sonia said...

Ren,

Fascism only occurred in Poland,
Germany, Italy and Spain.


You're completely contradicting yourself when claiming that fascism is based on ''total annihilation of working class as a prerequisite'', and then mention Poland, which hardly had any industry (far less than the Czech Republic) and was 80% agricultural.

Besides, Japan was way more fascist than Spain ever was. Argentina under Videla was just as fascist as Italy under Mussolini. Poland only became 'fascist' when it ceased to exist in 1939 and was swallowed by Germany. Before that, under Pilsudski, it had an authoritarian regime supported by the Jewish minority and denounced by local fascists. France under Petain was pure fascism. So was Hungary under Horthy, Portugal until 1974, Slovakia under Tiso, Greece under the Colonels, etc. etc.

Speedy G said...

State-interventionist capitalism aka "merchantilism" is its' OWN economic system. Adam Smith was AGAINST it as a perversion of his classical free-market economics and called it's basis the "popular folly of confusing wealth with money." Merchantilism is also the British Fleet sailing into China saying, "Buy our opium, OR ELSE!" or into Boston saying, "Buy our Tea, OR ELSE!"

But free trade is not a zero-sum game of cutthroat competition (as most socialists still believe) because both sides can and DO benefit (Plato, "Hipparchus") from a free-market exchange (WIN-WIN).

Speedy G said...

Capital is infinitely self-relating value, production for the sake of production...not production for the sake of society's need.

lol! What else is "demand" but societies "need"? There's no demand for products that have no use. They clutter up shelves and are a waste of everyone's time AND money.

Speedy G said...

And the capitalists are powerless to stop the need to acquire new value, exploit new raw materials, find cheap new sources of labor.

Yes, human desires are "infinite". Produce product A and soon, all will want product B. You generally no longer desire that which you already possess (and will continue to possess). You want to experience something "new", the "next movie" being released from Hollywood.

Speedy G said...

...not even the capitalists control capitalism

If the capitalists truly could consciously control capitalism, you would think...

Like human "desire" can be "limited" by something that's "free"? It's all about "control" with you idiots, and YOUR need to LIMIT OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES to within the narrow little sphere that YOU think is appropriate because you are so jealous of their success. A single SOCIETY OF CONTROL is what you seek.

In fact, much of what you call "socialist" was actually just the attempt of society to gain some sort of hold over the chaotic hyperproductivity and market crashes of capitalist society.

Yep, CONTROL. You want to pick the Winners and Losers, and thereby "call the game". Like the Caesars of old, you want a "thumbs up or down" on determining who will succeed and fail in life. YOU want to be the gods.

Ultimately, parliamentary Social-Democracy simply wanted to save capitalism from itself...

And create housing bubbles and education bubbles and credit bubbles and prioritize unprofitable energy sources and provide "social justice" to unproductive social leeches through 8-A affirmative action set-asides...

it opted instead to try and "control" or "correct" the volatility of some of its symptoms....and in so doing, undermined the ENTIRE world economic system and perpetuate the current "jobless" recovery by refusing to change and face economic realities that insulate union workers from harsh necessities (GM/Chrysler & public service union sectors).

Speedy G said...

the goal would be production for the betterment of society, the fulfillment of its needs and the benefit of its population. Not production for the sake of endlessly producing more value.

lol! The goal is not to do EXACTLY what laissez-faire capitalism does in actuality... but to TWIST those values from the "happiness" of the customers who buy products, to the "happiness" of the population controllers who control what they now deem suitable for people to have....through giving THEM "CONTROL"... the people's happiness be damned (for they don't what's "good" for themselves).

Value for who is the question you should ask yourself. Value for the "buyer" or value for the "government arbiter and critic of purchases"?

"I'm sorry, Miss Jones, but your daughter is NOT allowed to buy rap music CD's anymore because we have determined them to be harmful to your child's future integration into our absoluteley controlled assembly-line society. What you and she want is of no concern to us. Only what WE want for YOU matters."

Speedy G said...

the goal would be production for the betterment of society, the fulfillment of its needs and the benefit of its population.

Not to be determined by the people themselves through their own direct purchases, but by the arbiters of a good life in government who now assign their own "values" to the new artificial lives people "MUST LIVE" under the arbiters of worth's all-powerful and all-knowing cognizance.

Speedy G said...

Another goal of such a society would be to eliminate as much degrading and potentially dangerous labor as possible.

Read - Eliminate the sources of higher-paying jobs like mining, oil drilling, nuclear reactor maintenance, etc. We will wrap you in a shrink wrapped perfect worl where everybody lives to be 103 years old and nobody can go helicopter skiing, or take a "space" vacation (too dangerous)!

Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD, in the year of our FORD, 125.

Speedy G said...

I hope it clears up a lot of the idiotic confusion that surrounds the issue of capitalism vs. socialism.

Indeed it does. The "choice" now is clear.

Speedy G said...

Socialism can now be defined as the tyranny of "good" intentions divorced from the reality of desired results.

Individual citizens will no longer have a say in what their lives are "worth" (it's values). The State will do that FOR you. And if they don't keep their promises?

Meh, no big deal. You'll never know what "could have been".

rosswolfe said...

Also, socialism is anti-state, though not in the facile anarchist fashion. As Marx wrote, the state is always just the tool by which the dominant class oppresses all the other sections of society. According to Leninist Marxism, the kind I am most sympathetic with, socialism acknowledges that the State is a temporary necessity for a transition to a stateless society. At first it would have smash structures of the old society that enslaved people or constrained their freedom. Thereafter it would assume a more administrative function, planning the distribution and circulation of goods. Sure, skeptics will say that this centralized planned economy would seek to become a permanent vast bureaucratic institution (and this is what happened under Stalinism) rather than "wither away" as Engels and Lenin wanted, but with careful leadership these processes of governance could become more and more automatic, and society would govern itself of its own accord. The state would become superfluous.

Joe Conservative said...

The state would become superfluous.

That's the point. With laissez-faire capitalism, the state is already superfluous. The gods of picking economic winner and losers and assigning people their safe-government protected "values" are DEAD!

The Pagan Temple said...

Anybody that supports socialism and thinks its going to lead to the end of the state are going to be spending the rest of their lives whistling past the graveyard, for good reason. You are always going to need some semblance of official government control in order to insure protection of minority rights, and equal protection under the law.

Otherwise, the first thing you are going to have to eliminate is not mere class distinctions, but racial, religious, and ethnic ones as well.

It will never happen. Nor should it.

Joe Conservative said...

btw -That was a GREAT plug for a Society of Control.

Or as I like to think of it, a society of the controlled.

Joe Conservative said...

"We don't seek power over you"

"We will CONTROL everything... and then return the power to you"...

"Nietzsche is DEAD!", the new anti-state non-power seeking communist idols have decreed it.

Joe Conservative said...

There is no such thing as a "Will to Power"... there's just a "Will to Do Good Things".

...the droids you are searching for are NOT here!

Titan said...

Schumpeter was certainly right about one thing. It's the liberal elites that will bring down capitalism from with with all their fairy-tale fantasy thinking. The Division of Labour has rendered them entirely incompetent and unable to think rationally. And ultimately endogeneity takes hold, then we're off pursuing economic unicorns in the form of hydro-carbon free "green jobs" and shunning necessary "black hydrogen" technologies.

Any fool since Lazare Carnot knows that real progress can only be made if develop energy sources of higher and higher energy densities, and that "sustainability" is NOT a progressive value.

Renegade Eye said...

This discussion has been good.

Make your final statements, late tonight I'm switching to another topic.

The Sentinel said...

Rosswolfe

“Now just to distinguish this from "socialist" states: in my opinion, no truly socialist state has ever truly existed.”

Then how do you know it could ever work in reality then?

It is and remains just an untested theory that has already cost many millions of lives in experimentations.

“There, I think that more or less wraps it up. At least I hope it clears up a lot of the idiotic confusion that surrounds the issue of capitalism vs. socialism”

But all in all, your three post piece was merely your own opinion, merely your own take on socialism – many before you have had their spin on it: Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro etc and each one of them will undoubtedly tell you that their version is the right one, backed up with whatever evidence they feel supports it.

“Fascism …. It's the most hideous ideology the world has ever known.”

And it was brought to life by a prominent Italian Socialist.

“Also, socialism is anti-state”

Socialism is the complete anti-thesis of ‘anti-state’ – it can only survive by massive bureaucracy controlling every aspect of everyone’s life and every facet of business, all backed up by a large security apparatus.

The Sentinel said...

Renegade Eye:

“I agree with Ross, that there hasn't been a socialist country”

Then I would ask the same question: How do you know it could ever work then?

It is and remains just an untested theory that has already cost many millions of lives in experimentations.

“I would say Russia under Lenin and Trotsky were closest”

Then just on that basis alone I would argue that it is doomed to failure. These people were the bloody mass murderers of the workers – hundreds of thousands killed in the Red Terror and beyond, including striking workers.

“They had severe problems to deal with, they couldn't really start”

That’s one way to put it – essentially they couldn’t kill enough dissenters to move on.

But they did make a great start on it anyway in establishing the Gulags and first Soviet Secret police terror organisation, the Cheka – by 1921 just one branch of this organisation (Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic) numbered 200,000.

It paved the way for Stalin.

“Even Stalin admitted in the first printing of Foundations of Leninism that socialism can't work in one country”

I have no doubt you know your stuff and are most likely right about Stalin, but so often I hear socialists purport to believe that socialism can only truly work when implemented globally - and use that premise to distance themselves from Stalin and his ’socialism in one country’ polices.

But that ideology opens itself up to many questions: For instance, how will global socialism be achieved politically? By election? Extremely unlikely, not many (if any) radical socialist leaning regimes have ever bothered with anything as tedious as a democratic mandate. So how will it be done?

Even if global socialism was somehow achieved, how would it be maintained and enforced? What would happen to dissenters, as this ideology is dependent on all encompassing approach?

And if only a select few countries had governments ideologically geared to ‘global socialism’ but were unable to practice it, what would they do in the interim? Would they form a one state socialist system anyway? And could people opt out of the all pervading policies?

We only have to look to the (not too distant) past to find answers to these questions.

rosswolfe said...

Capitalism already is a global system, and was so in concept even when empirically it only existed in Britain. Marx recognized that from the beginning. It has since expanded to encompass the entire world, even though national polities continue to claim legislative autonomy. They are all intricately interconnected already, as part of the capitalist global system. In many ways, the socialist world revolution would be the realization of a promise that was already inherent in capitalism. A single isolated socialist nation surrounded by hostile capitalist nations will never survive long. Think Paris 1871. If an ostensibly socialist country survives long in the absence of a revolution in the major capitalist nations, it is only by the fundamental perversion of its principles and institutions. That is why Stalin's abandonment of the commitment to cultivating world revolution, "Социализм в одной стране" (Socialism in One Country) was the ultimate betrayal. It degenerated into authoritarian bureaucratic structures maintained by a police state. Pretty much every "communist" or "socialist" nation that took its inspiration from the Soviet Union after that point basically copied this same disgusting model.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: You are correct about the nature of Poland before WWII. Fascism never occurred in a majority worker country.

Pilsudski was for a period a weak fascist.

Your question leads me to believe, the use of thugs, is the main aspect of fascism.

Thee are dozens of dictatorships that aren't fascist.

Ross: A measure to stop bureaucratic planning, is democracy and worker's control. Stalinism fell because bureaucratic planning breeds inefficiency.

Speedy G: Are you capable of being concise?

It seems you are arguing against liberalism, not socialism. Neither free trade or protectionism is a principle, they are too sides of the same coin.

Titan: I'm not arguing for liberalism, or speculation as cap and trade. This blog is not progressive.

Sentinel: I believe the Russian experience, can be analyzed, on the basis of history and theory.

Lenin and Trotsky knew from the start, for socialism to work, the revolution in Germany had to win.

Marx wrote about abundant societies. He didn't think much of a country like say Cuba, as a place to have a revolution.

We now have the technology and wealth to make socialism work.

The social basis of Stalinism doesn't exist anymore.

Joe Conservative: When conservatives talk about less state, they talk about defunding tsunami warning systems, closing health centers and schools etc.

All the state does is road building and defense. That is why they have to be dishonest about their intentions as Walker.

Pagan: Cynicism is not analysis.