Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' Watch

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#3301
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#3301
(Original post by Ham and Cheese)
That's like saying that Germany wasn't fascist in the '30s and '40s. Both China and the USSR were Communist; they were run under authoritarian leaders but had firm Communist principles. What is your argument for them not being Communist?

Am I allowed to debate with people on the same party here? Sorry I am fairly new to this whole game
No.

They may have been/are Marxist/Leninist and believed in pursuing a Communist state, but the fact remains neither of those states were or are Communist States. Yes, both had/have a "Communist Party" in charge, but it doesn't make them Communist States.

There's a huge difference, Communism has never had a chance so no-one can say: "Communism doesn't work." because it's never actually been tried, only a version of Authoritarian Socialism has been tried out; that's not Communism.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3302
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(Original post by Melancholy)
I don't dispute this, but the Libertarian turning around and saying that their form of capitalist society doesn't presently exist shouldn't be very remarkable. They're not just playing some semantic game.
What they want, essentially is liberalism in its classical sense unless they specify no state whatsoever, in which case, they should specify 'anarcho'-capitalism (although I despise that word being used in conjunction with anarchism). Simply saying "capitalism" has never existed/doesn't exist today simply doesn't cut the mustard to use your own words. As far as free market capitalism goes, well Pinochet was a hardcore authoritarian capitalist who would use state intervention to enforce his own free market ideologies, killing thousands of "communists" and the like but I doubt this is what you would want either though it is probably inevitable as I doubt the vast majority of humans would want a "free" market.

(Original post by Melancholy)
I completely understand how one flippant Nazi comment can discredit my post. It is because I wrote it, and only an immature person would write it, therefore I am an immature person, and an immature person's argument is wrong/silly by virtue of the person's immaturity rather than the argument itself, therefore my argument is wrong/silly.
Are you actually a Nazi or was it just a joke?
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Melancholy
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#3303
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#3303
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)
What they want, essentially is liberalism in its classical sense unless they specify no state whatsoever, in which case, they should specify 'anarcho'-capitalism (although I despise that word being used in conjunction with anarchism). Simply saying "capitalism" has never existed/doesn't exist today simply doesn't cut the mustard to use your own words. As far as free market capitalism goes, well Pinochet was a hardcore authoritarian capitalist who would use state intervention to enforce his own free market ideologies, killing thousands of "communists" and the like but I doubt this is what you would want either though it is probably inevitable as I doubt the vast majority of humans would want a "free" market.
This is almost certainly untrue. The biggest use of State-coercion in a free-market society is in its enforcement of property rights (and yes, I see that as problematic too). You don't 'enforce' a free market in any other way. People have property rights, apart from that they're free to do as they please in that market, completely free from State-coercion.

What you're referring to is political imprisonment, which is State-coercion independent from the use of a free-market. A Libertarian would have no grounds for removing freedom of speech and such things; but sure, as soon as the communists start using violence or attempt to use coercion to enforce a State-economy, then self-defence or use of State-force to protect against such coercion is entirely legitimate.

I think it's rather warped to imply that the State-coercion comes from the free-market capitalist model.

Are you actually a Nazi or was it just a joke?
No, I have relatives who escaped their regime.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3304
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#3304
(Original post by Melancholy)
This is almost certainly untrue. The biggest use of State-coercion in a free-market society is in its enforcement of property rights (and yes, I see that as problematic too). You don't 'enforce' a free market in any other way. People have property rights, apart from that they're free to do as they please in that market, completely free from State-coercion.

What you're referring to is political imprisonment, which is State-coercion independent from the use of a free-market. A Libertarian would have no grounds for removing freedom of speech and such things; but sure, as soon as the communists start using violence or attempt to use coercion to enforce a State-economy, then self-defence or use of State-force to protect against such coercion is entirely legitimate.
The free market merely implies a lack of government intervention in the market place, namely none or reduced taxation and absence of regulation. It does not specify personal and/or political freedoms. Pinochet loved the free market and had his political opponents who opposed it killed.

Why do I think it would require violence to enforce the "free" market? Because the vast majority of people like their healthcare to be paid for by cigar smoking Charlies who exploit their labour in the first place and the fact that police and firemen will come to their rescue regardless of whether they've paid insurance. Under social anarchism, communes will organise the distribution of labour ensuring folks get these basic necessities regardless of their labour output. Other goods and services provided for by society would depend upon their labour output and contribution to society.

Edit - all I'm saying, basically is that you are a liberal, from what I can gather from your posts anyway, a specific branch of capitalism and that just saying capitalism or even the free market doesn't cut it.
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simontinsley
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#3305
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#3305
(Original post by Melancholy)
This is almost certainly untrue. The biggest use of State-coercion in a free-market society is in its enforcement of property rights (and yes, I see that as problematic too). You don't 'enforce' a free market in any other way. People have property rights, apart from that they're free to do as they please in that market, completely free from State-coercion.

What you're referring to is political imprisonment, which is State-coercion independent from the use of a free-market. A Libertarian would have no grounds for removing freedom of speech and such things; but sure, as soon as the communists start using violence or attempt to use coercion to enforce a State-economy, then self-defence or use of State-force to protect against such coercion is entirely legitimate.

I think it's rather warped to imply that the State-coercion comes from the free-market capitalist model.
I think I agree with just about every word here (yes, even the bit about property rights being problematic :p:). This is what I wanted to say but couldn't quite get the wording without sounding stupid. Bravo.
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Oswy
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#3306
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#3306
(Original post by Melancholy)
I don't dispute this, but the Libertarian turning around and saying that their form of capitalist society doesn't presently exist shouldn't be very remarkable. They're not just playing some semantic game.
...
Then maybe libertarians should spend more time criticising capitalism as it actually is and ensure that whatever they defend they call something other than just 'capitalism'.

My position would be that we have, as a matter of historical fact, seen the expansion of capitalism run parallel to, and involve, the expansion of the capitalist-state. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to argue that any society which encourages the accumulation of capital also, willingly or not, encourages the development of a state. In short, where there is the accumulation of capital a state will also emerge. Nineteenth century England is a good example, neither Tories nor Liberals in the later Victorian and Edwardian period thought state interference a good thing, indeed they constantly fretted about it, save where it facilitated capitalist ends - such as with universal education - yet the state simply did grow. Certainly David Harvey, in his excellent The Enigma of Capital, identifes how the state is a very useful instrument for capitalists because it has the power to pursue policies which specifically encourage investment opportunites, such as through things like urban 're-generation' and motorway schemes. To this extent the libertarian who clings to an idealised 'free market' society, occupied by only the slightest of states, or no state at all, is to dream an impossible dream.
Oswy
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#3307
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#3307
(Original post by simontinsley)
I think I agree with just about every word here (yes, even the bit about property rights being problematic....
Why do you think property rights are problematic?
simontinsley
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#3308
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#3308
(Original post by Oswy)
Why do you think property rights are problematic?
I speak here of property as land. They are problematic because they exist independently of human activity. It follows from the fact that you own yourself that you own your time, and thus you own whatever you voluntarily trade your time for (a wage, and thus what you buy with that wage). If something exists independently of human activity, then for someone to make a claim to that that excludes others from owning it is problematic, since it is no-one's product either direct or indirect.

However, the collectivised ownership of land (and indeed other factors of production, but that's another matter) leads to huge problems which cause wellbeing to be worse for both would be landowners and non-landowners, see the tragedy of the commons, for an example. It removes all the incentives for any of the innumerable innovations that bring improvements to everyones lives if someone cannot be secure that they can reap the benefits from what they produce, or they don't have the opportunity to take that risk in the first place.

As such, I broadly subscribe to geolibertarianism.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3309
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#3309
(Original post by simontinsley)
I speak here of property as land. They are problematic because they exist independently of human activity. It follows from the fact that you own yourself that you own your time, and thus you own whatever you voluntarily trade your time for (a wage, and thus what you buy with that wage). If something exists independently of human activity, then for someone to make a claim to that that excludes others from owning it is problematic, since it is no-one's product either direct or indirect.

However, the collectivised ownership of land (and indeed other factors of production, but that's another matter) leads to huge problems which cause wellbeing to be worse for both would be landowners and non-landowners, see the tragedy of the commons, for an example. It removes all the incentives for any of the innumerable innovations that bring improvements to everyones lives if someone cannot be secure that they can reap the benefits from what they produce, or they don't have the opportunity to take that risk in the first place.

As such, I broadly subscribe to geolibertarianism.

The tragedy of the commons is a load of bull

You say you oppose private property rights, just to advocate a system where land is rented out to individuals and again these fellows can only do so with capital behind them. This would still be coercive: uninhabited land would still be under ownership and those living on the land would have to pay rent to the individual who has 'borrowed' it live by his laws just because of a piece of paper. Land should be available to all: communists oppose private property, not personal property. Proudhon - "What is Property?"

(Original post by simontinsley)
However, the collectivised ownership of land (and indeed other factors of production, but that's another matter) leads to huge problems which cause wellbeing to be worse for both would be landowners and non-landowners
There would be no landowners.

(Original post by Oswy)
Why do you think property rights are problematic?
You do not?
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simontinsley
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#3310
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#3310
No it's not, the enclosure process was the major factor in the Agricultural Revolution, along with a strengthening of property rights after the Glourious Revolution of 1688, it reduced costs, allowed for mechanisation, improved entrepreneurship, allowed for selective breeding, the introduction of new crops and reduced the spread of disease in farming. It led to the increased farm size and stopped the sub-division of productive land - it allowed for farming for profits and not subsistence and these profits allowed capital accumulation. All because the tragedy of the commons was broken.

Your article focusses on one part, the overuse of land (and is void, look at examples around the world where we have no private property rights and the land being raped, Amazon rainforest, overfishing, and so forth), but does not focus at all on innovation and entrepreneurship, which is entirely the focus of my argument.

You say you oppose private property rights, just to advocate a system where land is rented out to individuals and again these fellows can only do so with capital behind them. This would still be coercive: uninhabited land would still be under ownership and those living on the land would have to pay rent to the individual who has 'borrowed' it live by his laws just because of a piece of paper. Land should be available to all: communists oppose private property, not personal property. Proudhon - "What is Property?"
I never said I oppose private property rights. I said they are problematic from a moral standpoint from the principle of self-ownership. The unimproved value is not created by anyone. As such, it makes sense to collectivise that and only that, the unimproved value, with a single land value taxation which is then redistributed on a per capita basis. The individual who owns the land must pay the full annual rental value of the land if it were unimproved, and since land is in fixed supply, the burden falls wholly on the landowner. Anyone renting the land is only paying for the improvements on the land, the thing that the landowner has done, either directly or indirectly by trading his labour for a wage and then buying those improvements.

Since is drives the price of unimproved land down to nothing, it effectively does collectivise it (but crucially and rightly so, only the unimproved bit) while avoiding any of the hugely damaging effects that collectivisation of improved land does.
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simontinsley
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#3311
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#3311
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)
There would be no landowners.
Read it again.


"However, the collectivised ownership of land (and indeed other factors of production, but that's another matter) leads to huge problems which cause wellbeing to be worse for both would be landowners and non-landowners"

Collectivising land ownership (that is, making it so there are no landowners) makes it worse for those who otherwise would be landowners and those who otherwise wouldn't be landowners.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3312
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#3312
(Original post by simontinsley)
No it's not, the enclosure process was the major factor in the Agricultural Revolution, along with a strengthening of property rights after the Glourious Revolution of 1688, it reduced costs, allowed for mechanisation, improved entrepreneurship, allowed for selective breeding, the introduction of new crops and reduced the spread of disease in farming. It led to the increased farm size and stopped the sub-division of productive land - it allowed for farming for profits and not subsistence and these profits allowed capital accumulation. All because the tragedy of the commons was broken.

Your article focusses on one part, the overuse of land (and is void, look at examples around the world where we have no private property rights and the land being raped, Amazon rainforest, overfishing, and so forth), but does not focus at all on innovation and entrepreneurship, which is entirely the focus of my argument.
My point was merely that Hardin's tragedy of the common's scenario focussed upon land that wasn't managed and wasn't even truly communal. Hardin himself came to realise his mistake.

The individual who owns the land must pay the full annual rental value of the land if it were unimproved, and since land is in fixed supply, the burden falls wholly on the landowner.
Why should an individual "own" the land? Did he create it? Does he have right to deprive society and/or nature from that land? Here is a scenario:

A village receives its water from a river. A man spends 10 years building a dam. Does he have right to deprive the village of its water and charge them rent for receiving water because he put such a great deal of effort in terms of labour building the dam? No. Likewise a capitalist does not have the right to deprive society from the right to land. Society has the right to create moral ethics when utilising land that are in the interests of everyone: uninhabited land may be inhabited and land that is used or occupied may not be violated or perpertrated without good reason.

Since is drives the price of unimproved land down to nothing, it effectively does collectivise it (but crucially and rightly so, only the unimproved bit) while avoiding any of the hugely damaging effects that collectivisation of improved land does.
It does not collectivise it. If it was collectivised society would have full power and right to manage/distribute land accordingly, rent/interest free. Land is a basic necessity which every individual has right to: a piece of paper should not drive one away from their right to own land.
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Ham and Cheese
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#3313
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#3313
(Original post by DayneD89)
Are you serious? The fall of the soviet union for example was a great step forward for socialism, removing one of its biggest barriers. The soviets called themselves communist, but that doesn't make them communist. True communism states that the workers have to be in control of production, which was evidently not the case in China or the USSR where workers had virtually no control over anything.
A great step forward for Socialism; but a step away from Communism. I believe that both the USSR and China were Communist; except they ruled with an authoritarian hand rather than a more liberal hand. Have a look at this.

(Original post by Oswy)
Whereas Germany was under the actual control of the architect of Nazism, Hitler and Italy was under the actual control of the architect of Fascism, Mussolini, neither China nor the USSR were under the control of the architects of Marxism, Marx and Engels. There's thus no justified comparison. There are many examples of groups regarding themselves as 'Christian' which we wouldn't necessarily accept as such, the KKK come to mind as a good example.
The USSR was Communist though. Agreed, they didn't follow the principles of Marxism, but instead Stalin created his own type of Communism. I agree that some groups call themselves one thing and are anything but that; however there is no argument that the USSR wasn't Communist.

(Original post by xXedixXx)
No.

They may have been/are Marxist/Leninist and believed in pursuing a Communist state, but the fact remains neither of those states were or are Communist States. Yes, both had/have a "Communist Party" in charge, but it doesn't make them Communist States.

There's a huge difference, Communism has never had a chance so no-one can say: "Communism doesn't work." because it's never actually been tried, only a version of Authoritarian Socialism has been tried out; that's not Communism.
Stalin created his own type of Communism in the USSR; it was indeed a version of Authoritarian Communism, but it is still a valid type of Communism. It was a failed version, but we cannot deny that period the Communism stamp.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3314
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#3314
(Original post by simontinsley)
"However, the collectivised ownership of land (and indeed other factors of production, but that's another matter) leads to huge problems which cause wellbeing to be worse for both would be landowners and non-landowners"

Collectivising land ownership (that is, making it so there are no landowners) makes it worse for those who otherwise would be landowners and those who otherwise wouldn't be landowners.
Ah, I see, apologies I misinterpreted what you said though I do not see how this would be the case anyway.
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Melancholy
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#3315
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#3315
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)
The free market merely implies a lack of government intervention in the market place, namely none or reduced taxation and absence of regulation. It does not specify personal and/or political freedoms. Pinochet loved the free market and had his political opponents who opposed it killed.

Why do I think it would require violence to enforce the "free" market? Because the vast majority of people like their healthcare to be paid for by cigar smoking Charlies who exploit their labour in the first place and the fact that police and firemen will come to their rescue regardless of whether they've paid insurance. Under social anarchism, communes will organise the distribution of labour ensuring folks get these basic necessities regardless of their labour output. Other goods and services provided for by society would depend upon their labour output and contribution to society.

Edit - all I'm saying, basically is that you are a liberal, from what I can gather from your posts anyway, a specific branch of capitalism and that just saying capitalism or even the free market doesn't cut it.
It seems to me that if you want to criticise the free market, you have to criticise the coercion which comes from the free market. It's like criticising abortion purely because a fictional dictator used coercive force against anyone who disagreed with abortion.

I also think that it's just plain wrong to say that the free market does not imply any social/political freedoms. You have freedom from coercion if you have the choice of who you do and do not lend your labour or produce to.

And yes, the free market would involve state-coercion in the scenario that you describe, but it's not solely because of the free market. Of course, the State is going to have to use violence in order to stop the poorest receiving the money from the rich for their healthcare. Can we conclude that it is because of the free market that violence is used? I'd certainly hesitate to do so - the police are getting involved because the poor are, arguably, "stealing" the money, labour, talents, efforts, resources and such things from the rich. In other words, they're using coercion to PREVENT coercion (the police are used to prevent murder, the police are used to prevent theft, etc.)

True, the vast majority might want to "steal" from the rich, and yes, coercion may be used to stop them. But anyway, I think coercion will be used regardless of what system you adopt. Your system of communes employs a heck of a lot of coercion (people being told what they have to work towards, devote their labour towards, give their profits towards, and so on.

I'm a liberal (in the American sense), and yes, it involves capitalism, and yes, capitalism as-we-see-it-now is largely a liberal conception of capitalism (mixed economies and so forth). I'm not arguing about my stance though. I certainly don't want unrestrained free markets and, as a consequence, unrestrained social freedoms.

(Original post by oswy)
Then maybe libertarians should spend more time criticising capitalism as it actually is and ensure that whatever they defend they call something other than just 'capitalism'.

My position would be that we have, as a matter of historical fact, seen the expansion of capitalism run parallel to, and involve, the expansion of the capitalist-state. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to argue that any society which encourages the accumulation of capital also, willingly or not, encourages the development of a state. In short, where there is the accumulation of capital a state will also emerge. Nineteenth century England is a good example, neither Tories nor Liberals in the later Victorian and Edwardian period thought state interference a good thing, save where it facilitated capitalist ends - such as with universal education - yet the state simply did grow. Certainly David Harvey, in his excellent The Enigma of Capital, identifes how the state is a very useful instrument for capitalists because it has the power to pursue policies which specifically encourage investment opportunites, such as through things like urban 're-generation' and motorway schemes. To this extent the libertarian who clings to an idealised 'free market' society, occupied by only the slightest of states, or no state at all, is to dream an impossible dream.
They do constantly criticise capitalism as it is now - they criticise regulation, they criticise intellectual property laws, they criticise Keynesian economics. I agree that they should probably say explicitly what they mean by 'capitalism' (i.e. a free market variant), but it's just shorthand, and people already should know that they prefer a different type of capitalism to what currently exists.

As for your historical interpretation of the creation of the nation-state, I think you need to tell a more plausible story. The 19th century penchant for nationalism and state-building cannot be explained simply through appeals to capitalism (which is Hobsbawms explanation). I mean, sure, it seems to work for Germany and other European powers, but what about the Arab nationalist revival? A more plausible explanation is much more nuanced (Ottoman isolation of other cultures in favour of the 'Turks' in the Anatolian heartland, the move towards a more 'Turkish' text, and such things). Benedict Anderson (in 'Imagined Communities') talks about the written word being essential in creating a national consciousness. In fact, this idea of an exclusive group pitched against another exclusive group has been around well before the 19th century (largely confessional states splitting according to who is Catholic and who is Protestant). The difference is that in the 19th century, it became increasingly ethno-centric, with an intellectual bias in favour of eugenics, lurking in the background (at least in Europe); and it's also working at a time when dynasties and monarchies seemed to be collapsing. None of this is so easily tied to economics, but it's a massive history essay in itself.
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Oswy
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#3316
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#3316
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)
...

You do not?
Absolutely I do. The forced alienation of the people from land through the 'private property' construct is the ultimate starting point for all consequential exploitation.

I like to ask libertarians about private property because they know, deep down, that its existence is highly inequitable and actually contra libertarianism. Libertarians are only ever able to justify private property pragmatically, (as above), as they know it doesn't fit libertarian theory as properly applied. To this extent such propertarians are not really radicals at all, they are just tories pretending to be 'cool'. It's a particularly useful issue to bring up with them because they are almost never willing to compromise any other element of libertarianism, even to the point of absurdity; such as with the 'pet torture' argument I use against them from time to time. Ahh, it's like shooting fish in a barrel
Oswy
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#3317
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#3317
(Original post by Ham and Cheese)
...

The USSR was Communist though. Agreed, they didn't follow the principles of Marxism, but instead Stalin created his own type of Communism. I agree that some groups call themselves one thing and are anything but that; however there is no argument that the USSR wasn't Communist...
No, the USSR claimed to represent Communism, just as the KKK claim to be a Christian organisation. Given that you're already agreeing that the USSR didn't follow the principles of Marxism you're in danger of painting yourself into a corner. Sure, you could say that the USSR was 'Stalinist Communism' but that would unjustifiably enlarge the meaning of Communism to fit what was really Totalitarian Statism. It would be like arguing that the KKK were still 'Christians', they were just 'racist Christians' when we know that there never was anything very Christian about the KKK at all.
simontinsley
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#3318
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#3318
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)
Why should an individual "own" the land? Did he create it? Does he have right to deprive society and/or nature from that land?
None of that argues for your system of collectivising land completely. You are arguing for collectivising both the unimproved land and the management and therefore improvements of it. I can see the arguments for collectivising the unimproved value (and I've laid them out), but there are no such arguments for collectivising the management or the improvements; any more so than any other good.

A village receives its water from a river. A man spends 10 years building a dam. Does he have right to deprive the village of its water and charge them rent for receiving water because he put such a great deal of effort in terms of labour building the dam? No.
All this says to me is that someone (even a collective on behalf of the village if it's voluntarily formed) should own the river in the first place. That's the only issue here, if no-one owned it before, I don't see the issue, and nor do you based on your paragraph below.

Society has the right to create moral ethics when utilising land that are in the interests of everyone: uninhabited land may be inhabited and land that is used or occupied may not be violated or perpertrated without good reason.
Though here you have described the homesteading principle (although that even has the caveat that the land must be improved for it to be claimed), which leads to private property. What gives people the right to occupy or use that land to exclude others from 'violating' (using) it. You have argued exactly in support of private property rights. Incredible!

It does not collectivise it. If it was collectivised society would have full power and right to manage/distribute land accordingly, rent/interest free. Land is a basic necessity which every individual has right to: a piece of paper should not drive one away from their right to own land.
It does argue for the collectivisation of only the unimproved bit. It doesn't collectivise the management or the improvements on land, no, and why should it?
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Militantbuthopeful
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#3319
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#3319
Where do you stand on religion in all forms personal, organised or state endorsed/run?
Do you believe it is harmful or not from a purely socialist viewpoint?

Please note I am not asking a question about whether atheism or theism is correct, that would be for a different thread
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AnarchistNutter
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#3320
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#3320
(Original post by Melancholy)
It seems to me that if you want to criticise the free market, you have to criticise the coercion which comes from the free market. It's like criticising abortion purely because a fictional dictator used coercive force against anyone who disagreed with abortion.
Though I am highly critical of the free market, I was not criticising the free market specifically in this post. I was merely stating that one can be against government intervention in the market place (pro-free market) whilst being in favour of state intervention.

I also think that it's just plain wrong to say that the free market does not imply any social/political freedoms. You have freedom from coercion if you have the choice of who you do and do not lend your labour or produce to.
The free market does not necessarily imply social/political freedoms. There are even some libertarian right wingers who agree with me on this. The point is that under the banner of the free market ideology is the belief that you would have "freedom ... of who you do and do not lend your labour or produce to" as you correctly identify but not necessarily freedom to speak out against the political system. This is all I had meant. You can't deny, surely, that Pinochet was in favour of the free market?

And yes, the free market would involve state-coercion in the scenario that you describe, but it's not solely because of the free market.
I didn't say it was because of the free market. Rather that some are pro free market and pro government intervention in other areas. Which basically leads me to my conclusion that you cannot state that you are merely a capitalist or a free market enthusiast: you have to clarify that you are specifically, for instance, a liberal (though I am not trying to assign you to this particular ideology though from what I've read it seems to suit you the best).

Of course, the State is going to have to use violence in order to stop the poorest receiving the money from the rich for their healthcare.
Yes but under social anarchism, voluntary workers' communes would organise the distribution of labour and refuse to co-operate with the rich so forcefully extracting money from the rich (which is hardly ever "earned" anyway - interest, rent, accumulation of capital, inheritance, tax-dodging and exploitation of labour) would not be necessary.

Can we conclude that it is because of the free market that violence is used?
This was never my point.

I'd certainly hesitate to do so - the police are getting involved because the poor are, arguably, "stealing" the money, labour, talents, efforts, resources and such things from the rich. In other words, they're using coercion to PREVENT coercion (the police are used to prevent murder, the police are used to prevent theft, etc.)
Yes, you are correct that the vast majority of crime occurs because of poverty. Socialism will fix this.

True, the vast majority might want to "steal" from the rich, and yes, coercion may be used to stop them. But anyway, I think coercion will be used regardless of what system you adopt. Your system of communes employs a heck of a lot of coercion (people being told what they have to work towards, devote their labour towards, give their profits towards, and so on.
People are not "told what they have to work towards [etc.]" - they voluntarily co-operate with communes in exchange for goods and services from society. Only coercion used would be to prevent those who would wish harm to another citizen from doing so.

I'm a liberal (in the American sense), and yes, it involves capitalism, and yes, capitalism as-we-see-it-now is largely a liberal conception of capitalism (mixed economies and so forth). I'm not arguing about my stance though. I certainly don't want unrestrained free markets and, as a consequence, unrestrained social freedoms.
I see, so you do not advocate an entirely free-market. Good, you can be worked with.

(Original post by Oswy)
Absolutely I do. The forced alienation of the people from land through the 'private property' construct is the ultimate starting point for all consequential exploitation.

I like to ask libertarians about private property because they know, deep down, that its existence is highly inequitable and actually contra libertarianism. Libertarians are only ever able to justify private property pragmatically, (as above), as they know it doesn't fit libertarian theory as properly applied. To this extent such propertarians are not really radicals at all, they are just tories pretending to be 'cool'. It's a particularly useful issue to bring up with them because they are almost never willing to compromise any other element of libertarianism, even to the point of absurdity; such as with the 'pet torture' argument I use against them from time to time. Ahh, it's like shooting fish in a barrel
Yes, I find it rather amusing how they try to associate linguo that was originally leftist such as libertarianism (Joseph Dejacque - "le libertaire") and anarchism with their own propaganda and then have the audacity to talk about "rights" being non-existant (particularly in the case of animals and then coming up with some completely void of reality, philosophical explanation of rights), property being non-coercive and the best one - "people power"!

(Original post by simontinsley)
None of that argues for your system of collectivising land completely. You are arguing for collectivising both the unimproved land and the management and therefore improvements of it. I can see the arguments for collectivising the unimproved value (and I've laid them out), but there are no such arguments for collectivising the management or the improvements; any more so than any other good.
There is reason to collectivise any land and that is to prevent economic despotism.

[QUOTE]All this says to me is that someone (even a collective on behalf of the village if it's voluntarily formed) should own the river in the first place. That's the only issue here, if no-one owned it before, I don't see the issue, and nor do you based on your paragraph below.[/QUOTE

That's not the point though: does he have the right to do it? And the answer is no. In a similar way, no-one has right to deprive land use from society. As for the village owning the river, well a capitalist could just as easily buy up the river and channel the water into a coca-cola factory and the village probably wouldn't have the money to buy property rights over the river anyway.

Though here you have described the homesteading principle (although that even has the caveat that the land must be improved for it to be claimed), which leads to private property. What gives people the right to occupy or use that land to exclude others from 'violating' (using) it. You have argued exactly in support of private property rights. Incredible!
I have not argued for private property: re-read. I have argued for socialised property. Every man and woman would have an equal right to the management of land distribution. This stuff about "land must be improved for it to be claimed" would not necessarily be the case.

It does argue for the collectivisation of only the unimproved bit. It doesn't collectivise the management or the improvements on land, no, and why should it?
To prevent the

(Original post by Militantbuthopeful)
Where do you stand on religion in all forms personal, organised or state endorsed/run?
I am not against one pursuing their own religious faiths (though I am an atheist and think religion has a lot to answer for in terms of the further divisiveness it has caused between peoples) however I am against organised religion: the church, in some historical scenarios has become a centralised hierarchy. Politics should be secular.

Do you believe it is harmful or not from a purely socialist viewpoint?
Organised religion: yes. Otherwise, people should have freedom to worship as they see fit.
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