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    Having studied Marx at A level and reading some of his work i began to find myself agreeing with him on many points about capitalism. It exploits workers and the planet, the rich mainly benefit and in most cases own the means of production ect.

    But I did not follow his idea of a solution. The only conclusion I came to really was that capitalism is a bad thing but we don't have any other viable alternatives.

    Anyone else feel the same?
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    What about the solution did you dislike?
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    (Original post by no chance)
    What about the solution did you dislike?


    In all honesty part of the problem I had was from what I understood it seemed very vague other than getting rid of Capitalism and to a large extent the state, then allowing people to just do what they wanted.

    I don't know proberly more my problem of not understanding it fully.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    In all honesty part of the problem I had was from what I understood it seemed very vague other than getting rid of Capitalism and to a large extent the state, then allowing people to just do what they wanted.

    I don't know proberly more my problem of not understanding it fully.
    Proberly.
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      (Original post by Aj12)
      Having studied Marx at A level and reading some of his work i began to find myself agreeing with him on many points about capitalism. It exploits workers and the planet, the rich mainly benefit and in most cases own the means of production ect.

      But I did not follow his idea of a solution. The only conclusion I came to really was that capitalism is a bad thing but we don't have any other viable alternatives.

      Anyone else feel the same?
      The capitalists themselves work very hard to make us believe there's 'no alternative' and they've got the power to colonise almost all political, social and cultural life with that message. It's no wonder that people think things can't be any other way, even though capitalism is like a speeding train heading for global social and environmental disaster.

      Yet, even within th grip of capitalist society, the human desire for socialist structures is hard to deny - in the US and UK education for children is provided by the state for free. In the UK we have the NHS and in the US there is a longstanding and fierce debate over the extent to which everyone in society should receive state-provided health care - that they are having that debate shows how capitalism has not completely colonised everyone's consciousness.

      Marx believed that capitalism was something like a 'stage' through which human civilisation must pass before the necessary conditions were generated for the success of socialism. This is something that isn't often recoginsed; while he was critical of the exploitation and misery caused by capitalism he saw its technological and organisational advances as something which had to come to fruition before, through crisis, socialism would emerge. I would suggest that we're getting close to that situation, where capitalism's crises may be reaching the state where it cannot be saved; we should note how it was the state which had to rescure capitalism in the current crisis too, the very institution which, at least at the ideological level, the capitalists regard as something of a mostly unnecessary nuisance.
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      You don't seriously believe in historicism do you? I mean I can see the allure of marxism, but historicism? Really?
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        (Original post by Aj12)
        In all honesty part of the problem I had was from what I understood it seemed very vague other than getting rid of Capitalism and to a large extent the state, then allowing people to just do what they wanted.

        I don't know proberly more my problem of not understanding it fully.
        At the abstract level Marxism encourages us to think about needs, that is to say everyone's basic human needs. Scientific, technological and organisational advance has reached the stage where everyone's basic human needs could be met. Yes, everyone could be fed, everyone could be clothed, everyone could be sheltered and everyone could be given meaningful labour, for life, and with the social and economic security that brings.

        Under capitalism small numbers of people have their most whimsical and vulgar desires met, many times over, while millions struggle to get enough food each day, struggle to find work (which capitalists offer only when the capitalists feel it is good for them). If history has taught us anything it is that, sooner or later, such unjust forms of civilisation do not last forever. Capitalism seems to be unique however in that it is the first form of human civilisation which is genuinely capable of destoying, impoverishing and poisoning the environment on a global scale which threatens the very world we need to live in.
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        (Original post by Aj12)
        Having studied Marx at A level and reading some of his work i began to find myself agreeing with him on many points about capitalism. It exploits workers and the planet, the rich mainly benefit and in most cases own the means of production ect.

        But I did not follow his idea of a solution. The only conclusion I came to really was that capitalism is a bad thing but we don't have any other viable alternatives.

        Anyone else feel the same?
        The problem with Marx's solution is that he believes revolution can be brought about via the state which historically is a coercive regime (though he believes that the worker's state would naturally wither away over time).

        In the words of Rocker:

        Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into; law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when one knows how to defend one's dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life; it has always been the same in political life as well.

        All political rights and liberties which people enjoy to-day, they do not owe to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength. Governments have always employed every means in their power to prevent the attainment of these rights or render them illusory. Great mass movements and whole revolutions have been necessary to wrest them from the ruling classes, who would never have consented to them voluntarily. The whole history of the last three hundred years is proof of that. What is important is not that governments have decided to concede certain rights to the people, but the reason why they had to do this. Of course, if one accepts Lenin's cynical phrase and thinks of freedom merely as a "bourgeois prejudice', then, to be sure, political rights have no value at all for the workers. But then the countless struggles of the past, all the revolts and revolutions to which we owe these rights, are also without value. To proclaim this bit of wisdom it hardly was necessary to overthrow Tzarism, for even the censorship of Nicholas II would certainly have had no objection to the designation of freedom as a bourgeois prejudice
        I recommend you read this: http://www.marxists.org/reference/ar...yndicalism.htm

        And this: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html

        Anarchists are similar to Marxists but the main difference comes within the transition phase to communism.

        Whereas Marxists wish for the workers to seize the state (dictatorship of the proletariat) and use it to project their ideas upon its society, anarchists wish to create democratic grass roots organisations within society which are voluntary (as they are organised and controlled by the people themselves) and are responsible for the distribution of labour. Thus utilising the state does not help the worker to be innovative or create new ideas whereas these worker's organisations I describe will bring about liberation of an oppressed society via self-management. It is only through self-management (e.g. worker control of the means of production) that true liberty will be brought about.

        Anarchists "maintain, that government cannot be other than harmful, and by its very nature it defends either an existing privileged class or creates a new one; and instead of inspiring to take the place of the existing government anarchists seek to destroy every organism which empowers some to impose their own ideas and interests on others, for they want to free the way for development towards better forms of human fellowship which will emerge from experience, by everyone being free and, having, of course, the economic means to make freedom possible as well as a reality." - Malatesta

        I am suprised you made this thread though: having read other posts of yours, I was under the conclusion that you were a die-hard Tory. I am glad though that you recognise socialism in general.
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        (Original post by AnarchistNutter)

        I am suprised you made this thread though: having read other posts of yours, I was under the conclusion that you were a die-hard Tory. I am glad though that you recognise socialism in general.
        Thanks for the links I will have a look through them and for the explanation.

        MI recognise some parts of socialism as nessecrary I think a fully free market state would be a mistake and would cause massive problem's. Plus my opinoin on political theory is very different to my opinoin on every day politics.
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        (Original post by Aj12)
        Thanks for the links I will have a look through them and for the explanation.

        MI recognise some parts of socialism as nessecrary I think a fully free market state would be a mistake and would cause massive problem's. Plus my opinoin on political theory is very different to my opinoin on every day politics.
        In short, don't become a Marxist - become an Anarchist (we have free beer - its communism!)

        If you have to prioritise which link you read first, I recommend you read the FAQ (very detailed, very rich with information and highly comprehensive).
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          (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
          ..
          Anarchists "maintain, that government cannot be other than harmful, and by its very nature it defends either an existing privileged class or creates a new one...
          I'd respond to this with two points.

          A counter argument might be that without the state to defend the initial implementation of socialist aims a privileged class could easily emerge in such an institutional vacuum, i.e. the lack of the state doesn't necessarily mean the lack of reactionary or counter-revolutionary forces, nor them having alternative methods to pursue their aims.

          Another argument I'd make is that what constitutes 'government' is, ultimately, an arbitrary distinction. Even in the most idealised of anarchist organisation you are still likely to have, by some degree, the representative exercise of power, i.e. some group who end up making decisions and implementing policies for the community more widely. The only way to avoid this would be to have every individual participating in equal measure in every decision, every discussion, every act of monitoring a society's activities, and I don't think that's very realistic.
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            (Original post by Bagration)
            You don't seriously believe in historicism do you? I mean I can see the allure of marxism, but historicism? Really?
            How are you defining 'historicism'?
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            (Original post by Oswy)
            I'd respond to this with two points.

            A counter argument might be that without the state to defend the initial implementation of socialist aims a privileged class could easily emerge in such an institutional vacuum, i.e. the lack of the state doesn't necessarily mean the lack of reactionary or counter-revolutionary forces, nor them having alternative methods to pursue their aims.

            Another argument I'd make is that what constitutes 'government' is, ultimately, an arbitrary distinction. Even in the most idealised of anarchist organisation you are still likely to have, by some degree, the representative exercise of power, i.e. some group who end up making decisions and implementing policies for the community more widely. The only way to avoid this would be to have every individual participating in equal measure in every decision, every discussion, every act of monitoring a society's activities, and I don't think that's very realistic.

            You will have to provide more reasoning as to why a "privileged class could easily emerge in such an institutional vacuum" and why seizing the state with a vanguard party would not simply replace the old privileged class with a new privileged class.

            However I will deal with this argument. I think to understand why this sense of exploitation would not be possible under a libertarian communist society, one has to examine the circumstances under which humans were first able to exploit others for wealth. This quote from Kropotkin in "The Conquest of Bread" comes to mind:

            "Let us glance for a moment at the Middle Ages, when great fortunes began to spring up.

            A feudal baron seizes on a fertile valley. But as long as the fertile valley is empty of folk our baron is not rich. His land brings him in nothing; he might as well possess a property in the moon.

            What does our baron do to enrich himself? He looks out for peasants--for poor peasants!

            If every peasant-farmer had a piece of land, free from rent and taxes, if he had in addition the tools and the stock necessary for farm labour, who would plough the lands of the baron? Everyone would look after his own. But there are thousands of destitute persons ruined by wars, or drought, or pestilence. They have neither horse nor plough. (Iron was costly in the Middle Ages, and a draughthorse still more so.)

            All these destitute creatures are trying to better their condition. One day they see on the road at the confines of our baron's estate a notice-board indicating by certain signs adapted to their comprehension that the labourer who is willing to settle on this estate will receive the tools and materials to build his cottage and sow his fields, and a portion of land rent free for a certain number of years. The number of years is represented by so many crosses on the sign-board, and the peasant understands the meaning of these crosses.

            So the poor wretches swarm over the baron's lands, making roads, draining marshes, building villages. In nine years he begins to tax them. Five years later he increases the rent. Then he doubles it. The peasant accepts these new conditions because he cannot find better ones elsewhere; and little by little, with the aid of laws made by the barons, the poverty of the peasant becomes the source of the landlord's wealth. And it is not only the lord of the manor who preys upon him. A whole host of usurers swoop down upon the villages, multiplying as the wretchedness of the peasants increases. That is how things went in the Middle Ages. And to-day is it not still the same thing? If there were free lands which the peasant could cultivate if he pleased, would he pay £50 to some "shabble of a duke"(1) for condescending to sell him a scrap? Would he burden himself with a lease which absorbed a third of the produce? Would he--on the métayer system--consent to give the half of his harvest to the landowner?

            But he has nothing. So he will accept any conditions, if only he can keep body and soul together, while he tills the soil and enriches the landlord.

            So in the nineteenth century, just as in the Middle Ages, the poverty of the peasant is a source of wealth to the landed proprietor."


            Keep in mind that in the socialist commonwealth that has solidarity as its core component, such exploitation is no longer because one has better options than to sell their labour to a new privileged class. In other words, it is through mutual aid that we can fulfil our own self-interest as well as the interests of others, whether we are selfish as beings or unselfish as beings.

            Now as for your point about government, I would like to interject with the anarchist definition of the state which is, by principle, an instrument of minority rule that seeks to preserve the status quo of the capitalist economic order and the wealth and power of the traditional elites. It is one that has become so dominating in society that its citizens helplessly lean upon it and depend upon it.

            You seem to confuse my ideas of solidarity (co-operation and mutual aid) with the idea that every decision must be democratic and imposed upon individuals by other groups who "decide what's best". That is not so at all. For instance I would not have the pupils democratically decide what the best way it is for their teacher to instruct. No, that is just absurd. Every decision would not be democratic. Rather group decisions that affect society as a whole, such as the distribution of labour, would be democratic, whereas labour itself would be self-managed. For instance, the doctor would decide himself how to operate upon a patient whereas the commune as a whole would decide what qualifications were necessary to become a doctor. The builders would be responsible themselves for building houses whereas the commune itself would be responsible for distributing property to those who require it. If anything, it is the authoritarian socialist state that is bureacratic and institutionalised.

            Clearly liberty (as I define it, the extent to which individuals may act without external influence) would be granted to individuals but not to the extent that others may not enjoy equal liberties. So in other words, liberty is granted but not absolute liberty.

            I have not had the privilige of debating with more authoritarian socialists yet

            Edit - On the discussion of blind obedience to centralised authority has anyone ever heard of Milgram's Obedience Study and how destructive obedience in a society can be? It is arguable that it was this same kind of obedience that caused the holocaust in Nazi Germany, for example.
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              (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
              ...
              I should say at the outset that I'm really not anti-anarchist as far as socialist anarchism is concerned, my arguments (good or bad) are motivated by practical concerns not by any love of the state for the sake of the state.

              We can't undo history, we can't do away with the fact that should a socialist revolution occur there will still be many millions of people who did very well, at least materially, out of capitalism and privaite property and who aren't going to want to 'play ball'. They would represent a formidable reactionary force, even in the face of state apparatus to maintain a potentially fragile early period of socialist liberation. Without any state at all I can't help feeling that reactionary forces would be less obstructed to organise their resistance. Remember, in places like the UK and US we're not talking about a simple dichotomy of barons and peasants but of whole demographic 'slices' in which loyalty to capitalism, economically, socially and culturally, will persist in the minds, and actions, of many. Humans can be stubborn and I don't think it is realistic to think that there will be some instant reorientation, especially among those who are going to lose substantive economic and social power as a result of the change. I'm not saying you are wrong to be sceptical about the state, only that it's not automatically the case that the state is always the worst option, especially at a difficult and transitional moment.

              I don't think the 'anarchist definition' of the state you offer is a very objective one. Sure the state can easily be, and often has been, "an instrument of minority rule that seeks to preserve the status quo of the capitalist economic order and the wealth and power of the traditional elites." That's very much the kind of state we see today in the era of industrial capitalism but I don't think that's what a state is by necessity. In my last post I was trying to highlight that any system of human organisation beyond atomisic autonomy will involve something amounting to 'government', i.e. some system by which a societies' activities are governed. If an anarchist society gives an individual responsibility and authority for medical matters, say, because of their expertise and qualifications, then that doctor has effectively become an instrument of government, at least as I see it. I'm probably not getting that across very well, but I don't see it as a simple dichotomy between 'a state' and 'no government', there's everything in between and, as I see it, no easy absence of government at all without doing away with collective endeavour.
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              (Original post by Oswy)
              ...
              Ah, I see, I misunderstood you, my apologies. In which case, I would argue that order would be maintained by voluntary organisations of citizen's militias to supress reactionary pro-capitalist minorities (who were all probably quite well off beforehand). However, my point still stands that in order for any counter-revolution to be possible, the vast majority of citizens who were previously exploited by the capitalist system would have to co-operate in some way with these wealthy citizens who make up a small minority (see the quote by Kropotkin above).

              One point that troubles me though, is this:

              "Remember, in places like the UK and US we're not talking about a simple dichotomy of barons and peasants but of whole demographic 'slices' in which loyalty to capitalism, economically, socially and culturally, will persist in the minds, and actions, of many. Humans can be stubborn and I don't think it is realistic to think that there will be some instant reorientation, especially among those who are going to lose substantive economic and social power as a result of the change. "

              In any case, mark my words: there will be no revolution unless the vast majority of people want it. If they didn't want it, I think it would be rather dogmatic to force it upon (through a state perhaps?) no? However these, I feel are problems that a Marxist revolutionary force would find just as difficult as an Anarchist revolutionary force (if not more so since people everywhere would have to be wanting (libertarian) socialism in order to voluntarily make worker's organisations, etc. whereas under Marxism it would be the case that a majority of workers take to the streets with guns and what not and allow a vanguardist party to seize the state after which point they would not truly be forced into learning how to manage the means of production as their would be no self-management- they would merely be leaning upon the state for support- and therefore no development of the individual and consequently a lack of development for society).

              I don't think the 'anarchist definition' of the state you offer is a very objective one. Sure the state can easily be, and often has been, "an instrument of minority rule that seeks to preserve the status quo of the capitalist economic order and the wealth and power of the traditional elites." That's very much the kind of state we see today in the era of industrial capitalism but I don't think that's what a state is by necessity. In my last post I was trying to highlight that any system of human organisation beyond atomisic autonomy will involve something amounting to 'government', i.e. some system by which a societies' activities are governed. If an anarchist society gives an individual responsibility and authority for medical matters, say, because of their expertise and qualifications, then that doctor has effectively become an instrument of government, at least as I see it. I'm probably not getting that across very well, but I don't see it as a simple dichotomy between 'a state' and 'no government', there's everything in between and, as I see it, no easy absence of government at all without doing away with collective endeavour.
              The point is that even if a group of people take control of the state with good will, it is like having a group of Christian do-gooders knocking on your door, trying to convert you. It's not as if change is being brought about by the people, rather that change is being brought about by the state and people are just leaning on a new hierarchical institution for support. I realise the good intentions, etc., of Marxists however I hate to point to the failings of the USSR and I know most communists will argue that this was a form of state capitalism but I think that eventually a "socialist" state will become one that is state capitalist. For instance the Communist Party in China has gradually come to support greater economic freedom (though not personal freedom, unsurprisingly), Fabianism has become an increasingly dominant ideology in New Labour under Blair, pushing the party over to the right, etc., etc. Perhaps if the state was directly democratic, things would be different however it is certainly a plausible idea that "democracy is tyranny of the majority" and such a democracy will inevitably revert back into some form of oligarchy.
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              A conservative that agrees with Marx's criticisms of a capitalist state is hard to come by.
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              (Original post by Aj12)
              Having studied Marx at A level and reading some of his work i began to find myself agreeing with him on many points about capitalism. It exploits workers and the planet, the rich mainly benefit and in most cases own the means of production ect.

              But I did not follow his idea of a solution. The only conclusion I came to really was that capitalism is a bad thing but we don't have any other viable alternatives.

              Anyone else feel the same?
              I feel exactly the same. Capitalism is merely the best of a really bad bunch in my opinion.
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              (Original post by Low Profile)
              A conservative that agrees with Marx's criticisms of a capitalist state is hard to come by.
              As I said above my views on political theory are very different to my views on everyday politics.
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              (Original post by Aj12)
              As I said above my views on political theory are very different to my views on everyday politics.
              Well that shouldn't be the case. Your political allegance should be advocated in some terminology of your views on poltical theory. What's the point of holding a belief if you don't want to carry it through to produce something? Basically you vote Tories but disagree with the monopoly government, entryism and upper-class explolitation. Sounds very contradicTORY
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              Durkheim would kick the living daylights out of Karl Marx anyday.

              That is my view.
             
             
             
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