Socialism by any means necessary? Watch

Foxius
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Hey kids,

Here's a question for anyone familiar with Marxism..

When it comes to socialist revolution, do the ends justify the means? In other words, can we use violence and other coercive measures in order to bring about socialism/communism?
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Gremlins
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(Original post by Foxius)
Hey kids,

Here's a question for anyone familiar with Marxism..

When it comes to socialist revolution, do the ends justify the means? In other words, can we use violence and other coercive measures in order to bring about socialism/communism?
Capitalism isn't just going to curl up in the corner and die, now, is it :p: IMO political violence can be legitimate but only in extreme cases.
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beepbeeprichie
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Violence can only be used against those who are violating rights. You may not use violence or the threat of violence to make others use violence against those who are violating rights.
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Foxius
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(Original post by Gremlins)
Capitalism isn't just going to curl up in the corner and die, now, is it :p: IMO political violence can be legitimate but only in extreme cases.
There have been substantial (but gradual) welfare reforms since Marx's day that have arguably tempered the sort of capitalism that was prevalent in its early days. If this can be achieved, could we not say that progressive measures are attainable through more or less democratic means?

Also, what do you mean by 'extreme cases'? You might define it as explicit self-defence - instinctively hitting someone back if they hit you - but is that the same thing as consciously tearing down an entire set of social relations?

(Original post by tomheppy)
Violence can only be used against those who are violating rights. You may not use violence or the threat of violence to make others use violence against those who are violating rights.
Firstly, what if the language of 'rights' & justice more often than not supports the interests of the dominant class? In being part of the global economy where business can move freely, the UK government has to compete for clients by offering them a business-friendly environment - to wit, our economic survival depends upon how well we do business (and the fact that we have the second lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7 suggests that we want to do it pretty well). Is this a context in which rights can be fairly distributed and accounted for, or can we say that business interests get preferential treatment? Further, our entire legal system, in all its subtlety and complexity favours those who can afford good lawyers that know how to play the game.

Secondly, I'm sure many can argue that fundamental rights are being violated. For example, in the US poor people who couldn't afford health insurance were basically left to die if they got ill - does this not violate their right to life? More generally, it might be argued that the absence of social mobility suggests that there are substantial barriers to individuals fulfilling their full potential - and that this also constitutes a violation of a particular right.

In summary, it could be seen, with good reason, that our 'rights' framework is both unfair in its abstract, legislative sense as well as in practice.
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Ocassus
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This is how democracy works isnt it?
'Person the country voted for got in but we dont like them so we are going to riot anyway :mob:'

I read the Socialist worker purely for the fun at laughing how thick they are. Communism and socialism are more flawed than capitalism in so many ways. The world is new and if you turn to violence, police will turn to tear gas and so forth. The government will not condone violence on any part, like it should be. And if you try, you will be broken..
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Smiz
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Surely that is the whole point of the class struggle? To allow for "alternative" means to achieve your goal, like when Stalin ended the Smychka?
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Foxius
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(Original post by Ocassus)
I read the Socialist worker purely for the fun at laughing how thick they are. Communism and socialism are more flawed than capitalism in so many ways.
Put down the papers and get back to the books, schoolboy.

(Original post by Smiz)
Surely that is the whole point of the class struggle? To allow for "alternative" means to achieve your goal, like when Stalin ended the Smychka?
Do you mean that violent means are the point of the class struggle? Well, there's a lot in Marx (& Engels) that talks about democratic means being used to attain socialist ends. And I certainly wouldn't consider Stalin to be the the most accurate representative of Marx's theory.

My view however, is that there is an inherent contradiciton in campaining for the liberation, emancipation, of humanity (as there would theoretically be under communism) whilst using anti-emancipatory, coercive means. So it simply wasn't enough for Marx to say that sometimes, in some cultures, democracy could be used, but that in most other cases, there'd have to be a violent solution. For his position to be free from contradiction he should have said that violence and coercion have absolutely no place in transition from capitalism to socialism.
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Gremlins
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(Original post by Foxius)
My view however, is that there is an inherent contradiciton in campaining for the liberation, emancipation, of humanity (as there would theoretically be under communism) whilst using anti-emancipatory, coercive means. So it simply wasn't enough for Marx to say that sometimes, in some cultures, democracy could be used, but that in most other cases, there'd have to be a violent solution. For his position to be free from contradiction he should have said that violence and coercion have absolutely no place in transition from capitalism to socialism.
At the same time, though, Marx sees the bourgeoisie as the enemy of a potential revolution and believed that the power of the state would be turned against even a relatively peaceful uprising. If it's the case that any incipient socialist movement will have huge force deployed against it then the use of violence seems much more justified. Also, democracy/coercion is a false dichotomy - democracy is, a lot of the time, coercive.
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Ocassus
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(Original post by Foxius)
Put down the papers and get back to the books, schoolboy.



Do you mean that violent means are the point of the class struggle? Well, there's a lot in Marx (& Engels) that talks about democratic means being used to attain socialist ends. And I certainly wouldn't consider Stalin to be the the most accurate representative of Marx's theory.

My view however, is that there is an inherent contradiciton in campaining for the liberation, emancipation, of humanity (as there would theoretically be under communism) whilst using anti-emancipatory, coercive means. So it simply wasn't enough for Marx to say that sometimes, in some cultures, democracy could be used, but that in most other cases, there'd have to be a violent solution. For his position to be free from contradiction he should have said that violence and coercion have absolutely no place in transition from capitalism to socialism.
My age does not come into the equation, I know perfectly well that if Socialism exists the wealthy have the means to take their money elsewhere, moving country. As miss Thatcher said ; 'Socialism is fine until you run out of other peoples money'.
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Gremlins
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(Original post by Ocassus)
My age does not come into the equation, I know perfectly well that if Socialism exists the wealthy have the means to take their money elsewhere, moving country. As miss Thatcher said ; 'Socialism is fine until you run out of other peoples money'.
Parroting rhetoric does not an argument make
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Ocassus
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(Original post by Gremlins)
Parroting rhetoric does not an argument make
Yoda speak?

Socialism doesnt work Nuff said
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Gremlins
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(Original post by Ocassus)
Socialism doesnt work Nuff said
Yawn. If you want to actually have a conversation about this then go for it but spouting one-liners is kinda irritating.
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kosher
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Revolution really is the bread and butter of Marxism. Rosa Luxembourg makes the case in her essay 'Revolution not Reform' that any thing reformed from Capitalist to Marxist would still contain some Capitalist elements due to the fact it has been reformed rather then the slate wiped clean and started again. A key thing that lacks, quite clearly, is education. If it were possible to educate enough people on this (which Che Guevara pushed on very heavily from the Sierra Maestra onwards) then people make educated decisions which I personally feel would support a Marxist government. It is definately important to read the original communist manifesto but to apply only the parts that are relevant in the world today and look to more modern Marxist texts for an idea on how Marxism would actually work. The idea of any Marxist movement is uniting the proletariat to rise against the oppressive government, so if you get those people educated, united and so on, then it is very do-able. But it isn't just going to happen overnight. It is clear that the current system is broken and doesn't work but with any broken system some people still benefit and that's where the oppression comes in.
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The Fourh Man
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If you were to truly adhere to Marxism then some form of revolution would certainly be necessary; however whether this revolution could be violent or non-violent is down to interpretation. As a genuine, non-violent, Marxist revolution is unlikely in the West, then from a purely practical point of view eventually violence would be necessary. However, given the fading support for revolutionary socialism (or indeed, moderate socialism) this would rely on guerilla tactics which would be more likely to alienate the masses than spur them onto overthrow government.

To answer the question directly, I think so long as you believe in something strongly enough that you are willing to die, then yes the ends justify the means - from your perspective, but not necessarily that of others.
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Joluk
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No, the argument 'ends justify the means' symbolises almost every Tyranny in history. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot. Its the argument of blind ideologues who have no place in modern society. If you believe in something to the point of willing to justify anything to make it happen, you're no worse than a suicide bomber.
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badtothebone
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(Original post by kosher)
The idea of any Marxist movement is uniting the proletariat to rise against the oppressive government, so if you get those people educated, united and so on, then it is very do-able.
hence the job of what Lenin called professional revolutionaries, the cadres. consciousness raisers who would take the lead when revolution breaks out, to keep the political outcome the focus and not let the riot descend into violent, directionless anarchy.

good post.
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SunOfABeach
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(Original post by badtothebone)
hence the job of what Lenin called professional revolutionaries, the cadres. consciousness raisers who would take the lead when revolution breaks out, to keep the political outcome the focus and not let the riot descend into violent, directionless anarchy.

good post.
The professional "revolutionaries" have done a great diservice to the Marxist movement ever since the October Revolution. I'm very far from being a Marxist or a Marxist sympathiser but it seems to me that having a new elite trying to control the (using your own words) anarchic and violent working population has nothing to do with Marxism. I don't even know why Marxists endorse such ideas. I understand why the earlier Marxists (including Lenin & Trotsky) would (doesn't mean I approve of them) but not contemporary ones. I don't think there's any justification for believing that a new elite will self-destruct itself (or gradually dissapear...whatever the hell that means) in the process of trying to control the population through a central government or a central comittee or whatever in order to achieve a stateless, classless, moneyless, whateverless society. History, contrary to what Castro may have said, will not absolve him or any other of the professional "revolutionaries".
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Democracy
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Violence can and should be used against dictatorial regimes.

In a democracy, I think that violence is quite unnecessary when we have the ballot box...
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fink
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No this is the philosophy that authoriarianism thrives on. No society can "predict" it's future as history doesn't obey the laws of science. So when modern marxists try and justify people dying in the cause of socialism they are working towards a goal that have no real knowledge of how to attain, it's not jusifiable because there can be no predictive aspect regarding human history. :top2:

Nah jokes. In all honesty I believe that violence can be justified in response to oppressive regimes...but it's a morally grey area.
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badtothebone
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(Original post by SunOfABeach)
The professional "revolutionaries" have done a great diservice to the Marxist movement ever since the October Revolution. I'm very far from being a Marxist or a Marxist sympathiser but it seems to me that having a new elite trying to control the (using your own words) anarchic and violent working population has nothing to do with Marxism. I don't even know why Marxists endorse such ideas. I understand why the earlier Marxists (including Lenin & Trotsky) would (doesn't mean I approve of them) but not contemporary ones. I don't think there's any justification for believing that a new elite will self-destruct itself (or gradually dissapear...whatever the hell that means) in the process of trying to control the population through a central government or a central comittee or whatever in order to achieve a stateless, classless, moneyless, whateverless society. History, contrary to what Castro may have said, will not absolve him or any other of the professional "revolutionaries".
They are not there to control the population, but there to direct anger against the capitalist state rather than it just being anger. Its educating people about the way capitalism works, whats wrong with it (theough the immediate effects (huge rich poor divide) might be obvious, the underlying reasons are not so clear), then outlining what a replacement would be i.e socialism and finally how the change will happen. How else could it happen if there wasn't an organised party there to push a riot into a demand for economic and political change? The media will not promote socialist ideas and big business will not a fund a socialist party for obvious reasons. The system is designed to stop smaller parties from being anything other than just that. Therefore revolution is the more likely way for change to happen.

As for the the party not to disintigrate in time...democaracy would be organised around workers groups what they called soviets in Russia. The power will lie here hence 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. The 'power' will move from the party to the workers. Though really the workers consciousness will be raised and changed quickly through action and it will be common sense, just like how the 1905 revolution started as a peaceful religious led appeal to the tsar and then after the state and opened fire a huge amount of people turned to the communists for revolutionary change rather than peaceful. The actions will inform consciousness and then the party needs to be organised when the workers come for help. If there was no organisation there then it would just be a riot. Does that make better sense?

It's Leninist rather than Marxist.
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