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Flossy


Member

Posted Fri Apr 6th, 2007 10:23am Post subject: Room 101
Hi ysabella! Not getting too involved in the quotes thing again so here goes!

Your view of Iraq is reasonable................except!

It's reasonable from the world leaders point of view and no other! It has to be understood that Saddam was an American stooge in the first place, that Iraq was a creation of western interests and had it's borders defined by British, American, French and German imperialism. So the sculldugery of the whole lead up to the latest conflict/invasion has it's origins in global power politicking and the struggle for oil. Please, please, please strip away your UN moralising over the whole affair unless it is in sympathy with the poor and down trodden of Iraq who have been shat on consistently for decades! The Un is now no more than a rubber stamp for American foriegn policy anyway!

Do you honestly think the Bush monster and his acolytes in the white house give a damn about the Iraqi's?

The WMD question stinks of hypocracy too dont you think?

As though the US or the UN has the "moral" authority to deternmine who should have WMD's! No-one should have them!

The US and others who possess them claim it is in the defence of freedom and democracy! Rubbish! The US democratic system is corrupt and a farce and you know it is! All the US administrations have rested on the votes of a minority of it's people. A large proportion of your citizens are so cynical about your system that they dont even bother to vote and because the US agenda is spreading world wide we now have shopping mall's here and, unfortunately, your political system with all it's glossy bullshit and cult of personality nonsense. Issues are never discussed in any real depth anymore as the debates are driven by the media and kept within safe parametres and any views which are deemed outside of these preset areas are blanked and demonised, including co-operative movements. This is all part of the capitalists agenda of dumbing down which renders criticism of the system more difficult.

For the first time in our modern history people who used to engage in politics cant be bothered anymore. Our voting figures are beggining to reflect yours as people switch off as they can see no point in voting as "the government always gets elected!". Being a member of the British Labour Party I have seen over the last two decades the heart and soul of the party stripped away and replaced by a false and plastic facade of glossy conferencing. Watched as the democratic srtuctures were removed and replaced by policy forums and tester sessions. Our movement was the most democratic in the world with the free flow of ideas and opinions. Now it is reduced to a coporate image making machine with stage managed conferences where the government, Blair and his chums, just make up policy on the hoof.

They have just voted to renew the British nuclear "deterant" Trident! They voted for that, not the party!

We have no more say, no more influence in over our own affairs and this is just how these people want it. They want to keep us out of the game because we the people just get in the way of "their " agenda!

You probably know most of this but it has to be seen within the context of the profit agenda! How the economy, production, distribution, politics, the media, education, democracy, work/life balance are all dictated and ultimately determined by the profit system and manipulated by the proponents of the system!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Mon Apr 9th, 2007 10:50pm Post subject: Room 101
Hi ysabella! Not getting too involved in the quotes thing again so here goes!
Hi Flossy. Again, no problem.

It has to be understood that Saddam was an American stooge in the first place, that Iraq was a creation of western interests and had it's borders defined by British, American, French and German imperialism. So the sculldugery of the whole lead up to the latest conflict/invasion has it's origins in global power politicking and the struggle for oil.
He wasn't our stooge. You could make a better case for him being a Russian stooge. He had been in power for decades when we started wheeling and dealing with him because we were so scared of Iran. But in principle, I agree with you about the miserable history of that area.

Please, please, please strip away your UN moralising over the whole affair unless it is in sympathy with the poor and down trodden of Iraq who have been shat on consistently for decades! The Un is now no more than a rubber stamp for American foriegn policy anyway!
I'm not talking about morals, I'm talking about international law - such as it is. What little there is, is wildly misunderstood. Few people have a clue how it works.
As for the UN, can you name the permanent member states of the Security Council without looking it up? Each one of 'em can veto the U.S. Each has nukes, each has signed the NPT, although you can make a case that it's mostly happenstance. Hint: there are five total.

Do you honestly think the Bush monster and his acolytes in the white house give a damn about the Iraqi's?
Those guys? Probably not. Would it excuse the hash they've made of Iraq if they cared more about every little kitten?
However, we do care far more than the insurgents do, about Iraqi lives. That's part of why it's been so hard to get out of there.

The WMD question stinks of hypocracy too dont you think?
You could mean that a couple of ways, and I'm not sure which way you mean it. Hypocrisy that we can have them and Saddam can't? Not really, given the treaties being the way they are.

As though the US or the UN has the "moral" authority to deternmine who should have WMD's! No-one should have them!
And yet, here they are, and there's no getting rid of them. How are you proposing we do it?

The US and others who possess them claim it is in the defence of freedom and democracy! Rubbish! The US democratic system is corrupt and a farce and you know it is!
And you think we are all going to hold hands and drop the whole nuclear thing? Won't happen.
I would never claim the US system is perfect. An important point is, when the US system is found to be corrupt, it's in the news and everyone finds out about it. Unlike many other nations, including the UK, where it is often hidden for decades, if not forever.

Out of curiosity: Have you ever been to the United States? What American newspapers do you read online?

All the US administrations have rested on the votes of a minority of it's people. A large proportion of your citizens are so cynical about your system that they dont even bother to vote and because the US agenda is spreading world wide we now have shopping mall's here and, unfortunately, your political system with all it's glossy bullshit and cult of personality nonsense.
I think most people are lazy rather than cynical. But I find this preferable to making voting a legal requirement or anything like that.

I didn't vote for you to have shopping malls. I'm not sure why you think we care at all how you shop? Or whether your political system is like ours or not? Why are you blaming the US for your choices? We didn't come over there with guns and force any of this on you or your nation.

Issues are never discussed in any real depth anymore as the debates are driven by the media and kept within safe parametres and any views which are deemed outside of these preset areas are blanked and demonised, including co-operative movements. This is all part of the capitalists agenda of dumbing down which renders criticism of the system more difficult.

The debates have moved to different arenas, is all. New ways of communicating start up and they get used for debates. Instead of watching people elocute at a podium, it's just different now. It's web sites, blogs, film shorts, and sound bites. It isn't 100% transparent, our government and our election process, but the gadflies are out there, trying to dig everything up that can be found.

And the media does a great job of being subversive. On TV: Bill Maher's show (he used to host Politically Incorrect but he does something else now), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t!...on the radio, Howard Stern, ManCow, Opie & Anthony...actually, most of the radio shows on the Seattle station I listen to are openly critical of the government. The Seattle Times is one of the great remaining non-media-conglomerate independent newspapers in the United States, and they do a great job of digging up dirt locally.
I should add the Simpsons. In its way, it's quite subversive. Plus, its creator went to my alma mater.

If anything, the media jumps on the negative side more than anywhere else. It's easy to mock some Senator who says the internet is a "series of tubes," to complain that John Edwards's wife announcing her cancer coming back was a bid for sympathy votes, and all that sort of thing. It's easier to tear down than to build up. But various papers and radio announcers and bloggers discuss the positive sides too, and many produce voting guides that are much more informative than politcal party handbooks. I'm not sure how much it gets on TV, though, because I don't watch much anyway. I know Mr.Fry has to make a living, of course, but I do purchase DVDs so I'm doing my part.

For the first time in our modern history people who used to engage in politics cant be bothered anymore. Our voting figures are beggining to reflect yours as people switch off as they can see no point in voting as "the government always gets elected!".
Are you blaming the US for this? How did we cause it? Maybe your people are merely complacent because the standard of living is so high there. It tends to make people content, and complacent, when they are enjoying life.

Being a member of the British Labour Party I have seen over the last two decades the heart and soul of the party stripped away and replaced by a false and plastic facade of glossy conferencing. (...)
They also got into power. That in itself can change things.
In any case, while you're trying to find ways to blame the US for the changes in your political party, consider that perhaps your system is mimicking our sexy and rather contagious media, only without the actual Constitutional freedom. I can see how that wouldn't work so well.

They have just voted to renew the British nuclear "deterant" Trident! They voted for that, not the party!
We have no more say, no more influence in over our own affairs and this is just how these people want it. They want to keep us out of the game because we the people just get in the way of "their " agenda!
How are they forcing the people not to vote, then? I'm not sure I'm understanding you there. The people still have the vote, for local as well as national issues. That is power. The people are choosing not to exercise it, but it is their choice.

You probably know most of this but it has to be seen within the context of the profit agenda! How the economy, production, distribution, politics, the media, education, democracy, work/life balance are all dictated and ultimately determined by the profit system and manipulated by the proponents of the system!
But you are overlooking the actual consumers who buy things, who have incredible power in a capitalistic system. In a free market, nobody can make us accept things we don't want, because we have the power of choice and we can lead the way. Nobody can force me to wreck my work/life balance, because I own my own property and live below my means. If I don't like Company A's practices, I can use Company B's products. I can buy my vegetables from the local grocery stores, from three local farmer's markets, or from several local Community Share Agriculture farms where you purchase a share in the whole season and get a box of produce every week.
Free markets aren't perfect, and in fact you can't find a perfectly free market anywhere, but it is a system with a lot of positives.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Tue Apr 10th, 2007 9:20am Post subject: Room 101
Hi again! Most interesting! Lets keep up the good work!

Saddam, like many other murdering dictators around the globe was both a puppet of US and Russian interests. Whether that be arms sales or strategic money deals. Therefore my deliberations are not a defence of Soviet foreign policy. Communism or it's real name, Stalinism (the Soviet Union was never communist) was a monstrous beauracracy which played world power politics with as much despicable self interest as did the US the UK or any other profit driven countries. The imperialists were quite happy to have Saddam Hussein where he was, so long as the oil kept flowing and his people kept quiet. When he became too independent, having realised the depth and extent of his personal power, he then became a problem, not only for the US but for the US backed and Soviet backed regimes in the whole of the Middle East and consequently had to be dealt with. This is not about right or wrong! This is about money and oil and political power!

The UN in this respect is a joke! Sure, world bodies are established with all the great intentions of their founders, but with all the will in the world these institutions are rarely allowed to restrain the major powers when it comes to the big strategic decisions. The UN, on the one hand is a positive expression of Internationalism and, on the other, a world police force which assists in humanitarian crisis (mainly generated by western foreign policies) and a rubber stamp for the US. Resolution 1483 was adopted after the war which gave the US and the UK virtual ownership of Iraq under the guise of a UN monitoring interest. Check this article: http://www.marxist.com/MiddleEast/iraq_UN_rubber_stamp0503.html

If you have any more doubts about why the invasion took place then check out this other article from the UK Guardian on the question of the $8.8 bn which has gone missing in Iraq! http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1522804,00.html

The Security Council? Do I know who's on it? Why sure! But so much for veto's though! It didn't help the people of Iraq it just let the other world players off the moral hook temporarily. Check out that 1483 resolution again. After it was a foregone conclusion they all wanted to get stuck in!

I don’t support the insurgents either! Not because I don’t think the Iraqi's have the right to fight back but because it is based on a sectarian/religious divide which can only mean civil war and more suffering. A similar argument was used in Northern Ireland to keep the British troops there! "Don’t withdraw or there will be a civil war!" The difference in NI was that one section of the population wanted the troops to stay and the other didn't. Only when the people in both communities are united on that question and tensions reduced between them would it then be sensible to call for "Troops Out!!" In Iraq the majority of both Sunni and Shea communities want to see the back of the armies.

Many people bemoan the state of Iraq, but very few put forward a real alternative to how the last four years have been conducted. Has anyone you know, other than the US or the UK, proposed any real solution to any of this?

Not a bit of it! That’s why the US got away with it because no-one else had a clue.

Well I had a solution but nobody will listen to lil ol' me!

The first question for the people of Iraq was how to get rid of a dictator. We have to remember that Hussein had support among the middle layers of Iraq. Like any clever politician he knew how to play off the different sections of society and various interest groups. He paid his beauracracy well and his top regiments and many of his oil workers too. Again it was the down trodden poor who took the brunt, not only of the general poverty of day-to-day living but also of the sanctions imposed by the west with 500,000 women and children dead!
The Iraqi workers were never allowed to organise for instance. This is a necessary precursor to any dictatorship. It is imperative that the workers be neutered to render them ineffectual as an opposition force.

The British Trade Union movement, pre and post invasion, has been attempting to build solidarity links with the Iraqi working class. The reason? It is well understood that it takes a movement of the working people of any country to overthrow dictators. Only the workers have the economic clout through the general strike to oust these people.

The problem with this tactic for the capitalists is that they would rather deal with a dictator or remove them via military means than face an aroused and militant working class. Workers will (and there are countless examples of this) move immediately from successful protest struggles over to factory occupations and begin the task of reinventing society along more co-operative lines; i.e., they move straight over to socialist methods of organisation.

This, of course, cannot be tolerated as it awakens the masses of neighbouring countries and alerts them to the possibilities in the own workplaces. So what does America and the UK do? INVADE! Establish a regime they can control, use the oil money to rebuild with American companies, get a stronger foothold in the middle east, thousands die and there is no unnecessary talk about socialism! All the boxes ticked, or so it would seem!

WMD's? Double standards is a language all these people speak. "The right to bare arms!" so long as it's not your enemies!

No-one should own these hideous and disgusting weapons! There can be absolutely no justification for the possession of weapons that can wipe us off the face of the earth and any idea that they have kept the peace since Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a complete falsehood from start to finish! There have been approximately 17-20 days of actual, global peace since WWII. And is doesn't look like we will get any more in the coming years.

To get rid of these weapons we have to get rid of the system which created them and that is capitalism. Plain and simple!

Real internationalism, an end to nation states, an end to private property, (a real big hot potato in the US I know) an end to poverty on a global scale, which is do-able within a generation if we can plan our resources rationally, only then will be able to rid the world of conflict and war! That’s why you need to "hold hands and drop the nuclear thing", to save the planet! Hold hands with the rest of the human race in peace!

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D the Environmental Geographer once said "Is War the Only Way that Americans Learn Geography?" Of course this is not true but is this how people see America?

I think you need to be doing something about this don’t you? Not you personally but your people!

And of course our political system stinks! I can smell it from here and I live three hundred miles from Westminster. We have that fight every day. Sure you get to hear about the corrupt nature of your voting system al-la the Bush Coup d'etat in 2000 but has anything been done? I know there has but do you?

My reading regarding all things American has been quite rich over the years and at times I get a bit behind! I have read a few books on the political history of the US and I like to keep up with economic indicators. I read an American workers journal called Socialist Appeal which has some excellent articles. You can check this out at: http://www.socialistappeal.org/

Never been to the US though! Love to come! Is this an invite?

Shopping Malls? I'm sure you had nothing to do with them finding there way to the UK! On this question merely I allude to the influence of powerful economies in the world. Look to your own language and culture, to your political institutions and democratic forms, look to you architecture your education system. Look to your music and your literature and your food and your technologies and your.......the list could go on. These are all products of the imposition of foreign cultures in your country. For the last several decades the influence of the USA permeates most things that we experience. You movies, your music, your mall's your glossy democracy, your food, your economic models, your inventions etc! It's the cross pollination of these things which are the physical expression of global economic power. At one time the British Empire exerted it's influence, now it's the USA. Your country is the single most powerful nation on the planet and you need to be aware of how this mechanism works and impacts upon people’s lives coz not all of it is good!

What is good though are your comics! Bill Hicks is a fave of mine. Chris Rock, Emo Phillips and many others. Your history of satire is well documented and continues to have relevance through shows such as Curb your enthusiasm, South Park, Married with Children and The Simpson’s of course. Saturday night live, brilliant, and many others. All wonderful stuff and in some respects reflects a desire on the part of the population as a whole to protest, if only verbally, against the order of things. But satire and progressive comedy alone is not enough and the press barons and TV conglomerates are fully aware of this. They know that the comics are just terriers snapping at their ankles. Real political clout is represented through the organised classes in society. The capitalists through their state machine and cartels and monopolies resting on the market, and the workers through their trade unions (who incidentally have never been allowed to get their own political party off the ground).

I'm afraid you are suffering from a delusion that we, in general, have a good standard of living! I really don’t have time to go into the detail of the record stress levels, increased child poverty, low wage long hours culture, high utility prices, two parents working, kids roaming the streets doing drugs and knifing each other (which has massively increased in recent times) poor educational attainment, higher suicide rates, highest divorce record in Europe, deteriorating health care, record personal debt, worst personal health in Europe, I could go on......

Lack of political interest is a reflection of a lack of influence! "Why bother?" I hear it every day! People aren't lazy! They just cant be bothered because they feel powerless to get anything done. They have been pushed out of the political process and yes, because of the imposition of the American two party Democrat/Republican system! The Labour Party was a party of the British Workers. It still is but has had it's democratic foundations removed to foster a more liberal/Democrat agenda.

The ruling class go through this eternal bounce between the two parties. When one lot are struggling they prepare the ground for the next lot. they don’t care which political principles are in play so long as there is nothing to threaten the political and economic order of things. Not your fault personally, but the fault of the British politicians who are now subordinate to US interests.

One of the major problems with these voting systems, apart from the manipulation of people’s opinions through the media is the fact that we are only allowed to vote once every four-five years. Once these people are in power that’s it! Once pressure could be brought to bare via your political party, through the normal channels of discussions and debates and resolutions etc. Now it all happens on TV and in the press and it's all controlled and ordered to suit their agenda!

Do not underestimate the power of the media, even in your own back yard! The ruling class well understand how to change opinion and feed us with limited information. I'm not paranoid here! This is real stuff! Read any work on the psychology of the mass media. The Nazis were experts at this!

Choice is fine, but if your choice is limited to a preset amount of information you receive that’s not real choice! If I own a box of mixed sweets/candy and show you three of ten types then you think "great! Such choice!", but I have seven more. Are we both happy?

The human race has the potential to unleash the forces locked up by the limitations of capitalism. We can plan poverty and war away within a couple of decades. This is possible! What stops us is private property and the nation state. Get rid of these historical monsters and we, as a species, can progress!

I do enjoy these little exchanges!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Tue Apr 10th, 2007 11:29pm Post subject: Room 101
Hi again! Most interesting! Lets keep up the good work!
Well, I only have so much time lately, but I'll make a stab.

Saddam, like many other murdering dictators around the globe was both a puppet of US and Russian interests. Whether that be arms sales or strategic money deals.
He was smarter than you might think. He managed to use others as his puppets.
Therefore my deliberations are not a defence of Soviet foreign policy. Communism or it's real name, Stalinism (the Soviet Union was never communist) was a monstrous beauracracy which played world power politics with as much despicable self interest as did the US the UK or any other profit driven countries.
It's easy to be dismissive, but the simple truth is that they were trying to apply Marxist principles. It's useless to pretend that they weren't. What you are engaging in here is the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. If another country tries those principles and fails, you will then merely say they weren't really communist, Marxist, etc. Perhaps you should consider that nobody can actually perform the correct political movement to your personal satisfaction.

The imperialists were quite happy to have Saddam Hussein where he was, so long as the oil kept flowing and his people kept quiet. When he became too independent, having realised the depth and extent of his personal power, he then became a problem, not only for the US but for the US backed and Soviet backed regimes in the whole of the Middle East and consequently had to be dealt with. This is not about right or wrong! This is about money and oil and political power!
No, we pandered to him because Iran's revolution was scary and we thought it might spread. Look at the Shiite masses in Iraq. But if you ask me, the US policies are still kind of ignorant about Middle Eastern thinking.
Keeping oil flowing is about more than money and political power. It's about keeping the trucks rolling. If they stop, much of the industrialized world is about three days away from running low on food, and rioting. Keep a little perspective about its importance. We are working on other forms of energy, but none are as cheap yet.

The UN in this respect is a joke! (...)
It's only as good as its member states. And the problem is that in general, the Security Council tells the UN to do something, and then the SecGen has to look for the resources to get it done. Which it usually doesn't have, and the member states don't want to hand over very much. So the UN will be supposed to do things like manage sanctions or screen everything coming in and out of Iraq, and it has almost no means to do it.

Resolution 1483 was adopted after the war which gave the US and the UK virtual ownership of Iraq under the guise of a UN monitoring interest. Check this article: http://www.marxist.com/MiddleEast/iraq_UN_rubber_stamp0503.html
Here's the text: Resolution 1483. Exactly where is the "virtual ownership" handed over? Your article is really quite wrong about the Geneva Conventions, by the way. 1483 cites them directly, for one thing, and for another, everything done after WWII by the Allies is legal under the Conventions. You might recall how Germany was managed after WWII, by the Allies...?
Sérgio Vieira de Mello and some of the other UN staff were killed in that hotel bombing, of course. That was a sad loss, actually. He would have made a good Secretary General. And also the UN backed out of Iraq, and Iraq really needed their expertise.

If you have any more doubts about why the invasion took place then check out this other article from the UK Guardian on the question of the $8.8 bn which has gone missing in Iraq! http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1522804,00.html
Corruption proves that we wanted a colony? What? What are you getting at? Have you got any better sources than the Grauniad?
Corruption and looting sucks, but even that article only shows it was a mess, not an institutionalized, systematic plundering. US soldiers stole some German silverware and so on back in the 1940s; does that prove we joined WWII so we could set up a colony in Germany?

The Security Council? Do I know who's on it? Why sure! But so much for veto's though! It didn't help the people of Iraq it just let the other world players off the moral hook temporarily. Check out that 1483 resolution again. After it was a foregone conclusion they all wanted to get stuck in!
I see you didn't name 'em. Three of them had those big cheap oil deals, and thus a reason to oppose regime change. Thus, a break between Gulf War I and Gulf War II, where Gulf War II should really have been Gulf War I Part II on the strength of the treaties involved. However, Bush Senior did word the treaties so that any one of the signatories could resume hostilities, so in a technical way, that's what this war still has been.

I don't let France, China, and Russia off the moral hook, anyway. It's kind of amusing to me how everyone keeps saying how American and the UK want to own Iraqi oil fields, while these three countries' somewhat-nationalized oil companies had these rights sewn up because of their governments selling arms to Saddam. Yet we're the only ones with dirty hands, somehow.

Try reading the actual text of 1483, by the way. I linked to it above. Always go to the source. It quite frankly asks other member states to participate. Nobody wanted to. Everyone was content to let us pay for the no-fly zones and so on; why lift a finger now?

I don’t support the insurgents either! Not because I don’t think the Iraqi's have the right to fight back but because it is based on a sectarian/religious divide which can only mean civil war and more suffering. (...) In Iraq the majority of both Sunni and Shea communities want to see the back of the armies.
It makes the fighting dirtier. But now we're using the techniques we should have been using all along. Brits kind of told us that, years ago. You all have way more experience with that kind of terrorism. This door-to-door stuff sounds awful but it's apparently starting to make a different in some districts.
Now that we're where we are, though, leaving abruptly would surely be a mistake. We can see from Afghanistan the price of leaving too early. It comes back to bite you again, later.

Many people bemoan the state of Iraq, but very few put forward a real alternative to how the last four years have been conducted. Has anyone you know, other than the US or the UK, proposed any real solution to any of this?

Not a bit of it! That’s why the US got away with it because no-one else had a clue.
Again, do you realize how easy and fast it would have been to have the sanctions dropped? That option was always there. It would have been instant. We could have stopped spending $billions every year on the no-fly zone, global oil prices would have dropped, France/China/Russia would have cheerily drilled and pumped and started getting their money back.
Sounds great, but there were also some problems with doing that. Problems that the international community can't be expected to tolerate. Saddam had, of course, invaded Kuwait, launched missiles into Israel, and so on. We're not supposed to let people get away with that sort of thing.

Well I had a solution but nobody will listen to lil ol' me!
Now, now.

The first question for the people of Iraq was how to get rid of a dictator. We have to remember that Hussein had support among the middle layers of Iraq. Like any clever politician he knew how to play off the different sections of society and various interest groups. He paid his beauracracy well and his top regiments and many of his oil workers too. Again it was the down trodden poor who took the brunt, not only of the general poverty of day-to-day living but also of the sanctions imposed by the west with 500,000 women and children dead!
Saddam had direct tribal ties to a certain section of the population. That's who supported him. That, and other Sunnis. The class system isn't quite the same there.
Please. Oil kept being smuggled out and $millions smuggled in. Not that I'm in favor of sanctions, but there was no lack of funding or supplies necessitated at any point.

The Iraqi workers were never allowed to organise for instance. This is a necessary precursor to any dictatorship. It is imperative that the workers be neutered to render them ineffectual as an opposition force.
Huh? Iraq had trade unions since the 1920s. Yes, Saddam ground them down, but they were there, they just went underground.

The British Trade Union movement, pre and post invasion, has been attempting to build solidarity links with the Iraqi working class. The reason? It is well understood that it takes a movement of the working people of any country to overthrow dictators. Only the workers have the economic clout through the general strike to oust these people.
You have GOT to be kidding. For one thing, nearly everyone worked for the state anyway. Plus, Iraq is not Europe, and Saddam would have lightheartedly machine-gunned the striking workers and brought in cheap labor (from Palestine, maybe Pakistan). I mean, the whole UAE is being built by cheap imported labor, it's very effective.

The problem with this tactic for the capitalists is that they would rather deal with a dictator or remove them via military means than face an aroused and militant working class. Workers will (and there are countless examples of this) move immediately from successful protest struggles over to factory occupations and begin the task of reinventing society along more co-operative lines; i.e., they move straight over to socialist methods of organisation.
Please give me examples of this happening. Thanks in advance.

This, of course, cannot be tolerated as it awakens the masses of neighbouring countries and alerts them to the possibilities in the own workplaces. So what does America and the UK do? INVADE! Establish a regime they can control, use the oil money to rebuild with American companies, get a stronger foothold in the middle east, thousands die and there is no unnecessary talk about socialism! All the boxes ticked, or so it would seem!
Exactly what neighboring countries would have seen that glorious, shining light? Syria? Hahahahaha!
Most oil production in the Middle East is actually performed by foreigners. There is little other heavy industry.

WMD's? Double standards is a language all these people speak. "The right to bare arms!" so long as it's not your enemies!
Not sure what you mean here. I actually have the right to bear arms, and you don't. So far my right is extended only to firearms, and not even all of those. I'm not sure about Iraq civilians.

No-one should own these hideous and disgusting weapons! There can be absolutely no justification for the possession of weapons that can wipe us off the face of the earth and any idea that they have kept the peace since Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a complete falsehood from start to finish! There have been approximately 17-20 days of actual, global peace since WWII. And is doesn't look like we will get any more in the coming years.
That's exactly my point. Peace is not the human condition. Your opposition to nuclear weapons is natural, but that doesn't mean people will merely give them up.
People once said similar things about crossbows, by the way. They thought they would be the end of humanity.

To get rid of these weapons we have to get rid of the system which created them and that is capitalism. Plain and simple!
Sorry, but outright stating that is bollocks. Prove how capitalism led to nuclear weapons.

Real internationalism, an end to nation states, an end to private property, (a real big hot potato in the US I know) an end to poverty on a global scale, which is do-able within a generation if we can plan our resources rationally, only then will be able to rid the world of conflict and war! That’s why you need to "hold hands and drop the nuclear thing", to save the planet! Hold hands with the rest of the human race in peace!
Pretty, but lacking basis in reality. It's kind of hard to be reasonable with some people.

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D the Environmental Geographer once said "Is War the Only Way that Americans Learn Geography?" Of course this is not true but is this how people see America?
It's certainly a stereotype. I'm a regular American, but when I lived in Europe people seemed surprised at my knowledge. They all said "But you're not a typical American." Um...yes, I am. Why wouldn't I be?

I think you need to be doing something about this don’t you? Not you personally but your people!
About human nature? Good luck.

And of course our political system stinks! I can smell it from here and I live three hundred miles from Westminster. We have that fight every day. Sure you get to hear about the corrupt nature of your voting system al-la the Bush Coup d'etat in 2000 but has anything been done? I know there has but do you?
We had another election in 2004, were you aware? Coup d'etat usually means "no more elections."
Have I been following the voting issues? Yes, I certainly have. We have a lot of local ones as well.

My reading regarding all things American has been quite rich over the years and at times I get a bit behind! I have read a few books on the political history of the US and I like to keep up with economic indicators. I read an American workers journal called Socialist Appeal which has some excellent articles. You can check this out at: http://www.socialistappeal.org/

Never been to the US though! Love to come! Is this an invite?
Not really, I hardly know you well enough, although I would certainly buy you a meal. I'm just curious about how much you really know about the States.

I recommend Reason.com. Libertarian magazine.

Shopping Malls? I'm sure you had nothing to do with them finding there way to the UK!
My region does. Seattle invented the covered shopping mall.

On this question merely I allude to the influence of powerful economies in the world. Look to your own language and culture, to your political institutions and democratic forms, look to you architecture your education system. Look to your music and your literature and your food and your technologies and your.......the list could go on. These are all products of the imposition of foreign cultures in your country.
Well, yes. We are a nation of immigrants, after all. Of course we take from cultures everywhere. It is incredibly key, this idea that anyone can become an American. However, we do retain a very notable English core, such as our Puritanism. Of course, in a lot of cases, these were people kind of unwanted back home.

For the last several decades the influence of the USA permeates most things that we experience. You movies, your music, your mall's your glossy democracy, your food, your economic models, your inventions etc! It's the cross pollination of these things which are the physical expression of global economic power.
Not in the slightest. We have not forced anyone to buy our movies, to build American-style malls, to watch our TV, etc. Our culture is contagious, but not because we force it on people.

At one time the British Empire exerted it's influence, now it's the USA. Your country is the single most powerful nation on the planet and you need to be aware of how this mechanism works and impacts upon people’s lives coz not all of it is good!
A horribly flawed comparison. The cultural marks left by the British Empire are due to actual physical occupations of colonies for dozens if not hundreds of years, actual attempts to overlay British ways on other cultures. Although if you are merely suggesting that we learn from British Empire mistakes, you'd think we'd know that, right?
Naturally I'm aware of the USA's position as global power. You will find we're much nicer than most other global powers have been. That does not imply we're perfect by any means, of course.

[quote]What is good though are your comics! Bill Hicks is a fave of mine. Chris Rock, Emo Phillips and many others.[quote]
Well, at least you named comedians who aren't actually Canadian. Really, we attract so many Candian comics and actors that...it's probably getting way less funny in Canada.

Your history of satire is well documented and continues to have relevance through shows such as Curb your enthusiasm, South Park, Married with Children and The Simpson’s of course. Saturday night live, brilliant, and many others. All wonderful stuff and in some respects reflects a desire on the part of the population as a whole to protest, if only verbally, against the order of things. But satire and progressive comedy alone is not enough and the press barons and TV conglomerates are fully aware of this. They know that the comics are just terriers snapping at their ankles.
It's not really barons when it comes to American media. Especially lately. It's just a business, and it changes all the time. Currently, TV has to compete so hard with internet sources that they are being more experimental - in the US we are having a "golden age of television."

Real political clout is represented through the organised classes in society. The capitalists through their state machine and cartels and monopolies resting on the market, and the workers through their trade unions (who incidentally have never been allowed to get their own political party off the ground).
The only cartel I know of around here is the alpaca business; importation is just about impossible if you aren't in with the right people, and as a result the market is weirdly inflated. Which I think is a shame.
Trade unions are out of place these days.

I'm afraid you are suffering from a delusion that we, in general, have a good standard of living! I really don’t have time to go into the detail of the record stress levels, increased child poverty, low wage long hours culture, high utility prices, two parents working, kids roaming the streets doing drugs and knifing each other (which has massively increased in recent times) poor educational attainment, higher suicide rates, highest divorce record in Europe, deteriorating health care, record personal debt, worst personal health in Europe, I could go on......
I suppose we would have to agree on standards, but it is generally held that the UK has quite a high standard of living, so it was a reasonable thing to say. My personal experience of the UK is pretty minimal.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_of_living_in_the_United_States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

Lack of political interest is a reflection of a lack of influence! "Why bother?" I hear it every day! People aren't lazy! They just cant be bothered because they feel powerless to get anything done. (...)
So snap out of it.
We have more than those two, and so do you. And there's more to politics than the national governmental ones. People's local governments have more direct effect on their daily lives, and that's where power starts. The way the Republicans got back into power was because they started off focusing on smaller races and getting into position for the bigger races. The Grand Old Party knows how to play the game.

Do not underestimate the power of the media, even in your own back yard! The ruling class well understand how to change opinion and feed us with limited information. I'm not paranoid here! This is real stuff! Read any work on the psychology of the mass media. The Nazis were experts at this!
The point I keep on making is this: the media is fracturing into smaller pieces - blogs, independent magazines and filmmakers. Small producers can find their audience. Part of why we're having a 'golden age,' as I said.

Choice is fine, but if your choice is limited to a preset amount of information you receive that’s not real choice! If I own a box of mixed sweets/candy and show you three of ten types then you think "great! Such choice!", but I have seven more. Are we both happy?
What is your point? Who is supposedly limiting the choice?
In a real-life example, I would already know there were 10 types, and would leave your shop if you didn't have the one I was seeking. Or maybe I'd go online and order the five Japanese flavors not for sale in my area, like those green-tea Kit Kats.

The human race has the potential to unleash the forces locked up by the limitations of capitalism. We can plan poverty and war away within a couple of decades. This is possible! What stops us is private property and the nation state. Get rid of these historical monsters and we, as a species, can progress!
You offer no proof of your assertions. I will offer a counterexample. Before Europeans came, many native tribes had no sense of private property as applying to land, nor did they have nation states. But they had plenty of wars.

I do enjoy these little exchanges!
Well, they take an awfully long time, though.

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Aoibheann


Member

Posted Wed Apr 11th, 2007 5:16am Post subject: Room 101
Woah.......... thats a lot to get through.....
some good points tho..... i think...........

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ysabella


Member

Posted Wed Apr 11th, 2007 9:34pm Post subject: Room 101
Heh, thanks. Don't hesitate to jump in even if it's just one small comment, okay? Sorry about the giant steamroller posts.

I talk about political stuff online because it makes me dig deeper. That's why I'm willing to talk to people with whom I am unlikely to agree.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Thu Apr 12th, 2007 9:40pm Post subject: Room 101
Hi ysabella! back again! I will have to address one question at a time as it's all getting a bit too complex. There is an interlinking of the different aspects of the discussion but on this occasion I will tease them out one at a time.

You say in regard to my brief analysis of the USSR.....

"It's easy to be dismissive, but the simple truth is that they were trying to apply Marxist principles. It's useless to pretend that they weren't. What you are engaging in here is the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. If another country tries those principles and fails, you will then merely say they weren't really communist, Marxist, etc. Perhaps you should consider that nobody can actually perform the correct political movement to your personal satisfaction."

Firstly, it is not a question of being "dismissive" but of trying to understand what the Soviet Union was in relation to the power politics surrounding Iraq. All I sated was that the SU was a monstrous beauacracy which played world power politics for it's own despicable self interest. This is true is it not? Your assertion that the SU was trying to "apply Marxist principles" is clearly a misunderstanding as to what Stalinism was.

Of which Marxist principles do you speak?

The ones that say that communism as a future society will be manifest via the eradication of all contending classes in society? Not the SU, as the elite clearly existed and enjoyed massive privileges!

That the state as an oppressive tool would wither away which reflects the absence of class antagonism? The SU used the state apparatus against it's people many times! Remember Hungary 1956?

That the idea of "Each according to his ability, Each according to his needs!" was in evidence in the USSR? Not much unemployment certainly but the economy was in a mess and many were poor! Worse still today!

That the process of a continuing and expanding socialist revolution should unfold over the planet perhaps? This was not the case under Stalin, who signed an agreement with Hitler, who betrayed the Spanish Republic, who gave counter-revolutionary advice to the German communists? Stalin stopped exporting revolution when the SU adopted the slogan "Socialism in one Country"! This was never a Marxist position!

Marx never advocated the murder of his opponents (Stalin killed 10 million of his). Marx based many of his ideas on the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871 where the call for democratically elected representatives with the automatic right of recall of any official was enshrined, where women for the first time in history were real equals, where distribution and production were organised in common and democratically! These where some of his founding principles.

Where your confusion lies is between the original ideals of the Russian Revolution and it's subsequent course after Lenin's death. The leaders of the Russian Revolution, Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were Marxists and applied the ideas of Marxism to the events at the time. The confusion is with the idea that the revolution was a Marxist one. No! False! You have to understand what Marxism is! It is not a fixed doctrine of political slogans, nor is it a set of stone tablets "upon where it is written" etc! You may as well blame the Spanish Inquisition on Jesus!

Marxism is a scientific method of analysis. It is the attempt to understand processes at every level of existence, whether at the sub atomic level (unknown to Marx at the time off course) or at the cosmological level, chemical and socio-political level. Marx exposed for the first time the class nature of society, exposed the mechanisms of surplus value and the means whereby the capitalist exploits the labour of working people! This was Marx's real crime! He dissected history using the dialectical method of scientific exploration and embraced the contradictions at the heart of these processes. Under Marx these phenomenon were laid bare and simultaneously made unbearable for the stomachs of the bourgeoisie who were now out in the open and seen for the first time under a scientific lens. Prior to Marx they could hide behind a shroud of mystery and historical and religious ceremony and deference, they could trade on the legacy of medieval patronage and right. Now they were there for all to see and their existence could be understood and explained. This is why Marxism is slandered!

Marxism was a method of analysis but also a call to action too! His statement "Philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point however, is to change it!" is the revolutionary bedrock of Marx's ideas. Again not set in stone as a series of simplistic slogans but a call to the workers of the world to throw off capitalism and replace it with a socialist society, just as the bourgeoisie had overthrown medieval despotism and replaced it with their system.

The founding ideas of the RR were left behind by Stalin and his henchmen and replaced with a new form of bearacratism based upon a developing workers state. The economy had socialist foundations, it was planned and collectivised but it was run from above in the interests of the Stalinists. All democracy had been stripped away after Lenin and, in it's isolation, it turned in on itself and the rest we all know about. Had the revolution expanded, had the German revolutions of 1918-19 succeeded the world would be a different place today.

The idea that I will just classify any revolutionary process as incorrect until I get what I want is absurd! The task of any sane, rational human being is to try to understand what is put before them. Do we simply flail around applying this set of ideas or that set of ideas to any given situation? Or do we extrapolate from general observable material processes, those common and measurable aspects of life, and try to build something consistent? Something useable and where necessary changeable? Marx was the consummate scientist. He would be the first one to accept he was wrong if another came along and overturned his ideas! In fact his ideas have been deepened and expanded and broadened. Where his genius lies is in the fact that his founding ideas are still intact! The dialectical method remains relevant and useful, it can still explain social phenomenon better than any of the newer pseudo methods which have emerged such as Francis Fukiyama's claim that we were witnessing the "end of history" after the fall of the soviet Union! How wrong he was!

But how right was Leon Trotsky when he stated that the Soviet Union would return to capitalism if the workers didn't overthrow the Stalinists! Trotsky used the Marxist method! How right he was!!!

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Aoibheann


Member

Posted Thu Apr 12th, 2007 11:05pm Post subject: Room 101
Yes but we all know what happened to Trotsky........................






Ice-pick in the back of the head

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ysabella


Member

Posted Mon Apr 16th, 2007 11:25pm Post subject: Room 101
Firstly, it is not a question of being "dismissive" but of trying to understand what the Soviet Union was in relation to the power politics surrounding Iraq. All I sated was that the SU was a monstrous beauacracy which played world power politics for it's own despicable self interest. This is true is it not? Your assertion that the SU was trying to "apply Marxist principles" is clearly a misunderstanding as to what Stalinism was.
I didn't say Stalinism. I meant the whole kit and caboodle. You have moved on from "No True Scotsman" into some kind of a "Straw Man" argument here.
Of which Marxist principles do you speak?
(...)
Marx never advocated the murder of his opponents (Stalin killed 10 million of his).
If it just takes one element like Stalin to subvert a very large attempt to put Marxist principles into practice, how practical is it really?
Marx based many of his ideas on the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871 (...)These where some of his founding principles.
The Paris Commune isn't still going, either.
Where your confusion lies is between the original ideals of the Russian Revolution and it's subsequent course after Lenin's death. The leaders of the Russian Revolution, Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were Marxists and applied the ideas of Marxism to the events at the time. The confusion is with the idea that the revolution was a Marxist one. No! False! You have to understand what Marxism is! It is not a fixed doctrine of political slogans, nor is it a set of stone tablets "upon where it is written" etc! You may as well blame the Spanish Inquisition on Jesus!
I am not confused, and I don't 'have to understand' anything. I am not going to spend weeks reading everything by Marx just to talk to someone about it on the Internet, and I'm sorry if you were expecting me to. I have limited bandwidth and about a thousand things interest me far more anyway.
By the way, you need to stop putting words in my mouth, as in "You're assuming the revolution was Marxist!" You're starting to have a conversation with yourself when you say things like that, and I'm inclined to leave you to it.
Marxism is a scientific method of analysis. It is the attempt to understand processes at every level of existence, whether at the sub atomic level (unknown to Marx at the time off course) or at the cosmological level, chemical and socio-political level.
Marxism is a system based on a theory, but not a scientific theory.
Marx exposed for the first time the class nature of society, exposed the mechanisms of surplus value and the means whereby the capitalist exploits the labour of working people! This was Marx's real crime! He dissected history using the dialectical method of scientific exploration and embraced the contradictions at the heart of these processes. Under Marx these phenomenon were laid bare and simultaneously made unbearable for the stomachs of the bourgeoisie who were now out in the open and seen for the first time under a scientific lens. Prior to Marx they could hide behind a shroud of mystery and historical and religious ceremony and deference, they could trade on the legacy of medieval patronage and right. Now they were there for all to see and their existence could be understood and explained. This is why Marxism is slandered!
This is not science. Looking at the SU and saying "Oh, that wasn't TRUE Marxism. The TRUE Marxism is beautiful and wonderful," is not science. Social sciences, like political science and economics, really can't be "hard science" like physics, anyway. There is no way to control enough variables. Trying to pretend it is doesn't make it so. And raving on about the "stomachs of the bourguoisie" doesn't call up images of scientific rationality.
Marxism was a method of analysis but also a call to action too! His statement "Philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point however, is to change it!" is the revolutionary bedrock of Marx's ideas. Again not set in stone as a series of simplistic slogans but a call to the workers of the world to throw off capitalism and replace it with a socialist society, just as the bourgeoisie had overthrown medieval despotism and replaced it with their system.
It is an idealogy, and like many such, it was great on paper but didn't hold up in the real world.
The founding ideas of the RR were left behind by Stalin and his henchmen and replaced with a new form of bearacratism based upon a developing workers state. The economy had socialist foundations, it was planned and collectivised but it was run from above in the interests of the Stalinists. All democracy had been stripped away after Lenin and, in it's isolation, it turned in on itself and the rest we all know about. Had the revolution expanded, had the German revolutions of 1918-19 succeeded the world would be a different place today.
Or, from another point of view, a practical application of Marxism failed to take hold and was easily subverted.
The idea that I will just classify any revolutionary process as incorrect until I get what I want is absurd! The task of any sane, rational human being is to try to understand what is put before them. Do we simply flail around applying this set of ideas or that set of ideas to any given situation? Or do we extrapolate from general observable material processes, those common and measurable aspects of life, and try to build something consistent? Something useable and where necessary changeable?
I think people do what works, and that is why most people don't do Marxism-style systems.
Marx was the consummate scientist. He would be the first one to accept he was wrong if another came along and overturned his ideas! In fact his ideas have been deepened and expanded and broadened. Where his genius lies is in the fact that his founding ideas are still intact! The dialectical method remains relevant and useful, it can still explain social phenomenon better than any of the newer pseudo methods which have emerged such as Francis Fukiyama's claim that we were witnessing the "end of history" after the fall of the soviet Union! How wrong he was!
His ideas have failed in practice. Scientists face that every day. They have to learn that no matter how much they love a theory, if it doesn't work...it doesn't work. Sticking to a theory you are enamored with despite its failure, and trying to come up with a million tiny ways why it might have been polluted to distract from its central truth instead of facing the failure of its central truth, is pseudoscience, which is incredibly damaging to real science.
But how right was Leon Trotsky when he stated that the Soviet Union would return to capitalism if the workers didn't overthrow the Stalinists! Trotsky used the Marxist method! How right he was!!!
It never really left capitalism, in a sense, since there was an incredible black market, sabbath workers, etc.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 1:19am Post subject: Room 101
I still cant master this quoting lark!


Firstly, it is not a question of being "dismissive" but of trying to understand what the Soviet Union was in relation to the power politics surrounding Iraq. All I sated was that the SU was a monstrous beauacracy which played world power politics for it's own despicable self interest. This is true is it not? Your assertion that the SU was trying to "apply Marxist principles" is clearly a misunderstanding as to what Stalinism was.
I didn't say Stalinism. I meant the whole kit and caboodle. You have moved on from "No True Scotsman" into some kind of a "Straw Man" argument here.[quote]

I really dont know what you are talking about anymore on this!

Of which Marxist principles do you speak?
(...)
Marx never advocated the murder of his opponents (Stalin killed 10 million of his).
If it just takes one element like Stalin to subvert a very large attempt to put Marxist principles into practice, how practical is it really?[quote]

Stalin was the leader of the rising caste of beuaracrats. Yes he was one element but he represented a social force!

Marx based many of his ideas on the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871 (...)These where some of his founding principles.
The Paris Commune isn't still going, either.[quote]

The Paris commune, like the American Revolution was a key historical event. The American revolution isn't going either, but that doesn't stop us talking about it and learning from it!

Where your confusion lies is between the original ideals of the Russian Revolution and it's subsequent course after Lenin's death. The leaders of the Russian Revolution, Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were Marxists and applied the ideas of Marxism to the events at the time. The confusion is with the idea that the revolution was a Marxist one. No! False! You have to understand what Marxism is! It is not a fixed doctrine of political slogans, nor is it a set of stone tablets "upon where it is written" etc! You may as well blame the Spanish Inquisition on Jesus!
I am not confused, and I don't 'have to understand' anything. I am not going to spend weeks reading everything by Marx just to talk to someone about it on the Internet, and I'm sorry if you were expecting me to. I have limited bandwidth and about a thousand things interest me far more anyway.
By the way, you need to stop putting words in my mouth, as in "You're assuming the revolution was Marxist!" You're starting to have a conversation with yourself when you say things like that, and I'm inclined to leave you to it. [quote]

I never said you said "You're assuming the revolution was Marxist!" I merely extraperlated from your comments and interpretations of the USSR and Marxism that you seemed, I repeat "seemed", to confuse a social process, in this case the Russian Revolution, with a set of ideas, as though the event was caused by the ideas (which is a common misconception) and not later influenced by them!

"I don't 'have to understand' anything. I am not going to spend weeks reading everything by Marx just to talk to someone about it"

Well, if you dont have to understand anything then why bother with anything!
And you say you are not going to read everything by Marx, and quite rightly so, but you are, of course, quite prepared to pronounce on his ideas and his influence in the world with little understanding about what he has said!


Marxism is a scientific method of analysis. It is the attempt to understand processes at every level of existence, whether at the sub atomic level (unknown to Marx at the time off course) or at the cosmological level, chemical and socio-political level.
Marxism is a system based on a theory, but not a scientific theory.[quote]

Marxism is a theory certainly! But like all theories it is tested and measures in it's relevance to material reality, therefore it is a scientific method!

Marx exposed for the first time the class nature of society, exposed the mechanisms of surplus value and the means whereby the capitalist exploits the labour of working people! This was Marx's real crime! He dissected history using the dialectical method of scientific exploration and embraced the contradictions at the heart of these processes. Under Marx these phenomenon were laid bare and simultaneously made unbearable for the stomachs of the bourgeoisie who were now out in the open and seen for the first time under a scientific lens. Prior to Marx they could hide behind a shroud of mystery and historical and religious ceremony and deference, they could trade on the legacy of medieval patronage and right. Now they were there for all to see and their existence could be understood and explained. This is why Marxism is slandered!
This is not science. Looking at the SU and saying "Oh, that wasn't TRUE Marxism. The TRUE Marxism is beautiful and wonderful," is not science. Social sciences, like political science and economics, really can't be "hard science" like physics, anyway. There is no way to control enough variables. Trying to pretend it is doesn't make it so. And raving on about the "stomachs of the bourguoisie" doesn't call up images of scientific rationality.[quote]

"Looking at the SU and saying "Oh, that wasn't TRUE Marxism. The TRUE Marxism is beautiful and wonderful," is not science."
What on earth does this mean?

Is physics a hard science? The rules of the physical world are changing and altering all the time!

Just because we are talking about social. economic or political phenomena doesn't mean we cant examine them scientificaly! In physics and social science there are simple fixed ideas and reference points, but as is the case in any discipline if we look deeper, things get a bit confusing and more difficult to pin down (as in sub atomic physics and cosmology). Measurable social questions are just as crucial to our understanding of the universe/world as the "hard science"!


Marxism was a method of analysis but also a call to action too! His statement "Philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point however, is to change it!" is the revolutionary bedrock of Marx's ideas. Again not set in stone as a series of simplistic slogans but a call to the workers of the world to throw off capitalism and replace it with a socialist society, just as the bourgeoisie had overthrown medieval despotism and replaced it with their system.
It is an idealogy, and like many such, it was great on paper but didn't hold up in the real world.[quote]

Trouble is it still does hold up in the real world, it's just that his ideas have been distorted and slandered so much that it takes a brave soul to find them and read them. this of course is the desired outcome of the rulers of the world! And certainly you can clasify Marxism as an ideology if you like! This will never strip away the scientific basis of his theories!


The founding ideas of the RR were left behind by Stalin and his henchmen and replaced with a new form of bearacratism based upon a developing workers state. The economy had socialist foundations, it was planned and collectivised but it was run from above in the interests of the Stalinists. All democracy had been stripped away after Lenin and, in it's isolation, it turned in on itself and the rest we all know about. Had the revolution expanded, had the German revolutions of 1918-19 succeeded the world would be a different place today.
Or, from another point of view, a practical application of Marxism failed to take hold and was easily subverted.[quote]

Again, I dont know what you are getting at! Stalinism has nothing in common with anything Marx ever advocated!


The idea that I will just classify any revolutionary process as incorrect until I get what I want is absurd! The task of any sane, rational human being is to try to understand what is put before them. Do we simply flail around applying this set of ideas or that set of ideas to any given situation? Or do we extrapolate from general observable material processes, those common and measurable aspects of life, and try to build something consistent? Something useable and where necessary changeable?
I think people do what works, and that is why most people don't do Marxism-style systems.[quote]

This is a little flipant really! Is this why millions "Do" religion?
Is this why millions of poor Africans do capitalism?
And Again, I must point out..........people dont do Marxist style systems! There isn't a "Marxist style system!"! Marxism is a view of the world drawn from historical lessons and a study of economic reality within a thoretical framework!


Marx was the consummate scientist. He would be the first one to accept he was wrong if another came along and overturned his ideas! In fact his ideas have been deepened and expanded and broadened. Where his genius lies is in the fact that his founding ideas are still intact! The dialectical method remains relevant and useful, it can still explain social phenomenon better than any of the newer pseudo methods which have emerged such as Francis Fukiyama's claim that we were witnessing the "end of history" after the fall of the soviet Union! How wrong he was!
His ideas have failed in practice. Scientists face that every day. They have to learn that no matter how much they love a theory, if it doesn't work...it doesn't work. Sticking to a theory you are enamored with despite its failure, and trying to come up with a million tiny ways why it might have been polluted to distract from its central truth instead of facing the failure of its central truth, is pseudoscience, which is incredibly damaging to real science.

Marx ideas have not failed. The SU failed not because of the "faliure" of Marxism but because of the corruption of Stalinism!


But how right was Leon Trotsky when he stated that the Soviet Union would return to capitalism if the workers didn't overthrow the Stalinists! Trotsky used the Marxist method! How right he was!!!
It never really left capitalism, in a sense, since there was an incredible black market, sabbath workers, etc.

True, True! But private property was abolished and along with it capitalism. The black market arose becuase of shortages and was instrumental in the return of capitalism. Again it was the corruption in the economy which saw the return of capitalism; much to the depaire of millions of Russian people!

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ysabella


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 3:23am Post subject: Room 101
I still cant master this quoting lark!
That's okay.

I really dont know what you are talking about anymore on this!
I'm talking about fallacies in logical reasoning, there.

Stalin was the leader of the rising caste of beuaracrats. Yes he was one element but he represented a social force!
I'm not sure how that changes anything.

The Paris commune, like the American Revolution was a key historical event. The American revolution isn't going either, but that doesn't stop us talking about it and learning from it!
The important difference there is that the American Revolution succeeded. And then it gave us the Constitution, which is still going. You could even say it gave us the "American Experiment," which is still going.

I never said you said "You're assuming the revolution was Marxist!" I merely extraperlated from your comments and interpretations of the USSR and Marxism that you seemed, I repeat "seemed", to confuse a social process, in this case the Russian Revolution, with a set of ideas, as though the event was caused by the ideas (which is a common misconception) and not later influenced by them!
Okay. I think that the Soviet Union was founded on Marxist principles, and eventually, the Soviet Union failed, which indicated a failure of Marxist principles. I'm hoping that is more clear.

Well, if you dont have to understand anything then why bother with anything!
That's willfully abusing the context of what I said, and it's not cricket to do that. I understand lots of things every day.
I don't have to understand things a certain way on your say-so. If you say "You have to understand that chocolate is horrible, and not delicious," well, no I don't.

And you say you are not going to read everything by Marx, and quite rightly so, but you are, of course, quite prepared to pronounce on his ideas and his influence in the world with little understanding about what he has said!
You brought Marxism into a discussion of what skepticism is, as an example of something rational we all should be harkening to. The burden of proof is on you, to prove that Marxism is rational. I've been giving it a try, but you have not convinced me of its rationality. Claiming it is a science does not make it one. Currently I am trying to look upon it as a science, at your behest, as a thought experiment. I'm not reaching the same conclusions as you, but that doesn't mean I'm closed-minded.
And now you say I'm "pronouncing" on it? If you don't want my conversation, that's okay. We can stop anytime and we probably should.

Marxism is a theory certainly! But like all theories it is tested and measures in it's relevance to material reality, therefore it is a scientific method!
Not really. It would have to change to incorporate those results. It does not change, at least your version of it. You appear to say "Those times when it didn't work out were not REAL Marxism."

"Looking at the SU and saying "Oh, that wasn't TRUE Marxism. The TRUE Marxism is beautiful and wonderful," is not science."
What on earth does this mean?
That the SU was a failure of (an implementation of) Marxism. You say "Oh, Stalin came in and ruined it, but that wasn't a failure of Marxism." I am asking you to entertain the idea that Stalin coming in and ruining it was a failure of Marxism, that the very fact that Stalin was able to come in and ruin it, was a failure of Marxism, as it was practically applied by people who took his "call to action" seriously and tried to create a Marxist reality.

Is physics a hard science? The rules of the physical world are changing and altering all the time!
Yes, physics is a hard science. Science, as I have pointed out, changes constantly to reflect new data. It could change again tomorrow, if gravity starts behaving differently, for example. Our picture of the world changes more than the physical rules themselves, i should think, since we come to wrong conclusions all the time (based on limited data).

Just because we are talking about social. economic or political phenomena doesn't mean we cant examine them scientificaly! In physics and social science there are simple fixed ideas and reference points, but as is the case in any discipline if we look deeper, things get a bit confusing and more difficult to pin down (as in sub atomic physics and cosmology). Measurable social questions are just as crucial to our understanding of the universe/world as the "hard science"!
The key here is that you have to have falsifiable theories. The experimenter has to know what evidence will prove the theory false, and commit to that. What would show Marxism to be false?

Trouble is it still does hold up in the real world, it's just that his ideas have been distorted and slandered so much that it takes a brave soul to find them and read them. this of course is the desired outcome of the rulers of the world! And certainly you can clasify Marxism as an ideology if you like! This will never strip away the scientific basis of his theories!
See, this is where you sound like you're talking about some kind of misunderstood religion. Science is provable and disprovable.

Again, I dont know what you are getting at! Stalinism has nothing in common with anything Marx ever advocated!
Wow, that's miles from what I was saying. I am saying: the original experiment based on Marxist principles was easily subverted by Stalin. So it did not succeed.

ysabella: I think people do what works, and that is why most people don't do Marxism-style systems.
This is a little flipant really! Is this why millions "Do" religion?
Is this why millions of poor Africans do capitalism?
I should think that people "do" religion because it does something for them, so in that sense it "works." There are lots of reasons why people might "do" capitalism, I'm no expert on Africa.

And Again, I must point out..........people dont do Marxist style systems! There isn't a "Marxist style system!"! Marxism is a view of the world drawn from historical lessons and a study of economic reality within a thoretical framework!
Then we have to agree on vocabulary terms that are acceptable, apparently. We seem to be having trouble with word meanings.

Marx ideas have not failed. The SU failed not because of the "faliure" of Marxism but because of the corruption of Stalinism!
I am asking you to entertain the idea that the corruption of the economy by Stalinism was a failure of Marxism, a failure of a sincere attempt towards a Marxist reality.

True, True! But private property was abolished and along with it capitalism. The black market arose becuase of shortages and was instrumental in the return of capitalism. Again it was the corruption in the economy which saw the return of capitalism; much to the depaire of millions of Russian people!
I am asking you to entertain the idea that the corruption of the economy that allowed the seepage of capitalism was a failure of Marxism.

It certainly did cause despair, I agree with you there. So many older people who thought their old age would be guaranteed to be comfortable, and suddenly it all evaporated. I'm not sure they were going to have such a great old age anyway, though, even if it had stayed in place.

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Flossy


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 11:21am Post subject: Room 101
I think we need to expand on this idea that the SU was founded upon Marxist Principles, as this appears to be a major posit on your behalf!

OK, I will go with this notion for now, in that the Bolsheviks had their origins in the Social Democratic organisations which, prior to 1914 were part of a Marxist international. The Bolsheviks continued in this vain (the only party to do so) when the German SD's voted for war credits enabling the German ruling class to go to war.

Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks and was a Marxist! Correct! When the Russian Revolution broke out the Bolsheviks inside Russia (including Stalin) were prepared to support the new provisional government which refused to bring an end to the war and could not solve the crisis in the Russian economy but the masses, the workers in the cities and the peasants in the countryside who had overthrown Tzarism, wanted change. The situation was extremeley desperate with the war falling to bits, food shortages, extreme poverty and hunger. The first Feb revolution had not solved these problems and the new govt was set to continue with the situation which gave rise to the first revolutionary wave.

Along came Lenin in April and redirected the Bolsheviks to call for "Peace, Bread and Land" and a call for all power to be transfered to the Soviets (the newly established workers councils).

It became esential that the revolution be carried forward rather than let the situation slip back into the miseries of war and further chaos in the economy. And in October the workers in the cities and the peasants in the countryside got behind the Bolsheviks and carried out the second, workers revolution.

The power rested at all times with the mass of the people. It was the ability of the workers in the cities with the support of the peasants to organise their communities and industries which formed the basis upon which the revolution developed. The factories had been occupied and the land had been taken from the landowners and was moving in the direction of collectivisation.

Marx never made any concious plans for this (he was dead anyway) but what he did do was provide an analysis and a method of understanding of what these historical processes were. By examining human history in all it's manifestations, economic, social, historical, as a series of material processes Marx was able to envisage the future Socialist phase of human developement and predicted the Communist future as a result of "man's" ability to resolve the class contradictions and conflicts which gave rise to capitalism. It was a theoretical position worked out over decades and tested through obsevations of the class battles which were taking place (and continue to take place) around the world. The crucial stage of "revolution", which happens at different speeds, in different ways, in different places had to be understood. Why wouldn't we want to understand these cataclismic events! Marx and Lenin saw that in order for society to resolve it's problems then power had to be transfered to the masses, that power had to be taken away from the capitalists and the economy needed to be planned by the workers within a socialist plan. These were not Marx's ideas but were obsevations made through wittnessing the revolutionary processes taking place within clear examples, such as the Paris commune and indeed the ealier French revolution when the French poor, the Sans Culotte and others, moved to overtake the revolution, trying to form greater levels of democracy than the new order could politically tollerate. The same thing happened during the English civil war when the Diggers and the Levellers tried to push the revolution further in the direction of collective farming. In Spain in 1936 the Republican govt eventualy betrayed the Spanish workers and peasants when they tried to defend the socialist content of their revolution. Stalin was instrumental in that betrayal through his control of the Comintern. These revolutionary developements were taking place long before and long after Marx! What he did was lend an explanation to them, revealed them so they could be observed and understood and, more importantly, be acted upon conciously through human intervention to assist in the most peacefull transition to the socialist system.

The fact that the SU has now returned to a capitalist economy is not the fault of Marx or his ideas but because of the unfolding political, economic and social process beyond it's borders, in it's isolation, in the concious policies of the Stalinist state and because the economy (beauraucratic nightmare) could not solve it's peoples problems. The SU was established upon historical social foundations using the examples of previous revolutions, and an implemetation of the necessary measures to bring about socialism. The fact that it moved away from this and became a monster is not the fault of Marx.

Again it would be like saying that the "worst family in America" or Bush were the fault of Jesus, that Jesus' ideas of peace and love and equality and a rejection of material things and money as original ideals, were the precurser to the crusades and religious genocide and the war in Iraq.

But all of these processes occured naturaly, without any suggestions or prodding by any Marxist or activist. The move to take control of the factories, municipalities and social structures was a product of historical developement born of a necessity which, in the case of Russia, the masss had learned 12 years prior during the 1905 revoluiton when the first fledgling soviets were formed. A soviet was a body established by the workers and peasants to, first of all, combat the authorities, like a strike committee, which then took on the greater organisational tasks surround food distribution and factory organisation. It was natural!

What has happened to some thinking surrounding these events is that, because the Bolsheviks adopted the Marxist method in their programatic position and were a self proclaimed Marxist organisation, it is the notion that the economy, the SU itself, became a Marxist state. The fact that Stalin built big statues to Marx and Engles and built up the cult of personality of Lenin is in no way an afirmation of this. Marx and Lenin would have been opposed to this kind of iconography anyway!

It would be like saying that the economy and state after the English civil war could be summed up as Cromwellian or Lutherian or that the regime and economy in Germany under Hitler could be summed up as Hitlerian. Yes you can do this if you wish, but it does nothing to explain what is really occuring underneath the surface.

I think, however, in the light of the last couple of posts I will make this my final contribution. All in all it has been interesting and as it turns out very revealing. Some of your answers I did enjoy which forced me to go and look up certain things which, I think, is a positive aspect of any discourse. Certain things I feel you didn't answer and likewise I asume there are some things you feel I didn't answer. I put this down to the medium we are trying to do it in, i.e. these pages. With a good chunk of college work to do I was quite prepared to delve into these pages but I have to admit I should be doing other work and not be involved in this size of discussion.

So, signing off! See you elsewhere in the Fry forum!

Respect! Flossy.

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ysabella


Member

Posted Thu Apr 19th, 2007 12:23am Post subject: Room 101
No problem. Neither of us has time to address everything here. Even if I had the time, frankly, I'm far from being an expert on political science.

Cheers and see you around.

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