Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' Watch

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burnedmind
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#3361
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#3361
(Original post by AnarchistNutter)

Well they have also worked in places such as Spain during 1936. Also, lets not forget the success Robert Owen had in organising workers' co-operatives which still exist to the present day. So even if social anarchism is utopian and impossible (which I don't think it is), it can still present society with potential benefits, even under capitalism.

I don't understand your point, tbh. I'm an anarchist-communist and a strong advocate of workplace democracy, workers' councils, etc - of course I don't think anarchism is utopian.

You're missing a crucial point when you compare Catalonia in 1936 and Robert Owen's co-ops. The former was a revolutionary movement led from below in the hope of overthrowing capitalism and the state while the latter was simply a way of making capitalism a bit nicer for working class people, imposed from above. The Spanish anarchists saw workers' councils (rightly) as an alternative to capitalism and the state while Owen had no such intention for his co-ops. What makes Owen utopian is his idea that capitalism can be reformed into a lovely, fluffy world where everyone is treated nicely, not his support for workplace democracy.
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AnarchistNutter
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#3362
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#3362
(Original post by burnedmind)
You're missing a crucial point when you compare Catalonia in 1936 and Robert Owen's co-ops. The former was a revolutionary movement led from below in the hope of overthrowing capitalism and the state while the latter was simply a way of making capitalism a bit nicer for working class people, imposed from above.
I know this, I was just stating that it wasn't entirely utopian (because he was, successful, in establishing co-operatives) and that there were examples of succesful social anarchism so my ideas aren't particularly utopian either.

The Spanish anarchists saw workers' councils (rightly) as an alternative to capitalism and the state while Owen had no such intention for his co-ops. What makes Owen utopian is his idea that capitalism can be reformed into a lovely, fluffy world where everyone is treated nicely, not his support for workplace democracy.
Ok, but I never stated this. I was basically stating that I would help fund a revolutionary movement if I won the lottery. I'm not a reformist or anything.
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username202682
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#3363
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#3363
(Original post by burnedmind)
What makes Owen utopian is his idea that capitalism can be reformed into a lovely, fluffy world where everyone is treated nicely, not his support for workplace democracy.
Good man. :yy:
LawBore
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#3364
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#3364
Does the Socialist Party believe in the right to a fair trial or the death sentence? I'm just a bit confused; one of your members has a Che avatar, and he believed in only the latter.
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Ham and Cheese
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#3365
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#3365
(Original post by LawBore)
Does the Socialist Party believe in the right to a fair trial or the death sentence? I'm just a bit confused; one of your members has a Che avatar, and he believed in only the latter.
Personally, I believe in the right to a fair trial and I am against the death sentence. I cannot speak on behalf of other members in the party, but I would be surprised if anyone provided a differing answer to mine.
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username202682
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#3366
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#3366
(Original post by LawBore)
he believed in only the latter.
I think this is a misconception. Whilst I do not doubt that he signed/believed in executions, it is a great sweeping statement to suggest that he only believed in such means. Ley de la Sierra, in which he signed extended to (Nuremburg style) trials against perpetrators after the Cuban revolution.
SciFiRory
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#3367
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#3367
(Original post by LawBore)
Does the Socialist Party believe in the right to a fair trial or the death sentence? I'm just a bit confused; one of your members has a Che avatar, and he believed in only the latter.
speaking only for myself: I believe most firmly in the right to a fair trial, I despise the death penalty and those who use it.
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LawBore
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#3368
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#3368
(Original post by SciFiBoy)
speaking only for myself: I believe most firmly in the right to a fair trial, I despise the death penalty and those who use it.
I'm glad you share my views on Che then
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SciFiRory
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#3369
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#3369
(Original post by LawBore)
I'm glad you share my views on Che then
well, im sure he did alot of good things as well, but when it comes to using the death penalty, imo there is no excuse for doing so.
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Aeolus
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#3370
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#3370
(Original post by xXedixXx)
I also do History and have studied the USSR in depth. It is incorrect to call it Communist.

There is one significant feature of the definition of Communism that you're missing. In a Communist society there is no Government. Government, does not exist. Instead people who are interested in helping with day-to-day running of the society help out, but it is not a Government.

Since the USSR did have a Government, and a very Authoritarian one at that, it was Socialist as opposed to Communist.

Yes Stalin would be in the top left, because he practised Authoritarian Socialism.


This is a pretty rubbish distinction to be honest. Marx made clear that in a communist society the state would fade away gradually, not that there would be no state at all. If we are going to call the USSR socialist then we could very well call it communist. (Bearing in mind that both labels discard much of what contemporary literature there was on these ideologies. Though this of course can be explained away by the fact that the Soviet bloc was the only existing alternative to capitalist society which had emerged after the nineteenth century)

I personally believe that as time moves on there will be seperate labels to describe these nations. Some historians already make note of them as 'really existing socialism' because what the USSR actually was is something very distinct and uniqe at that time. Namely a method of implementing a rapid, top down industrialisation of a backwards rural society. Under Stalin it was morphed further into some kind of non-hereditary monarchy and exported worldwide via the international. The socialist/marxist/communist gamble had generally failed by 1918.
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HistoryRepeating
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#3371
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#3371
Question for socialists:

Would you accept a vast reduction in the average living standard as a necessary sacrifice to achieve a socialist political structure? Lets say a 75% reduction in living standards.

The reason I ask is that the punitive wealth redistribution measures necessary to achieve most of your goals would inevitably drive overseas the 10% highest income earners in the country that currently generate 50% of tax revenue and productivity.
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StatusRed
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#3372
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#3372
(Original post by LawBore)
Does the Socialist Party believe in the right to a fair trial or the death sentence? I'm just a bit confused; one of your members has a Che avatar, and he believed in only the latter.
There is no official Socialist Party line on this issue, we have different beliefs.

I personally do not see the problem with putting someone to death if for example they are a serial killer that shows no sign of ever being rehabilitated. I just do not see the problem, that person has decided to kill multiple people so he/she himself/herself should be prepared to die.
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burnedmind
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#3373
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#3373
(Original post by HistoryRepeating)
Question for socialists:

Would you accept a vast reduction in the average living standard as a necessary sacrifice to achieve a socialist political structure? Lets say a 75% reduction in living standards.

The reason I ask is that the punitive wealth redistribution measures necessary to achieve most of your goals would inevitably drive overseas the 10% highest income earners in the country that currently generate 50% of tax revenue and productivity.
No:

Socialism means plenty for all. We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance.

Our desire is not to make poor those who to-day are rich, in order to put the poor in the place where the rich now are. Our desire is not to pull down the present rulers to put other rulers in their places.

We wish to abolish poverty and to provide abundance for all.

We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. We call for a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume.

Such a great production is already possible, with the knowledge already possessed by mankind.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/pank.../socialism.htm

Socialism would be worthless if it meant a reduction in living standards. We are socialists not because we want everyone to have slightly less so that those at the bottom can have slightly more, but because we want everyone to have free and equal access to the means of production and the fruits of their labour; plenty for all.

You're argument is essentially meaningless because you misconceive socialism as simply a program of wealth distribution, and you don't seem to understand that socialism is, by it's very nature, internationalist. You are attempting to understand how socialism would work within a capitalist framework and quite simply it wouldn't, but nobody here has stated that it would (to my knowledge).
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Oswy
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#3374
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#3374
(Original post by Melancholy)
...

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.
I think you've got your logic back to front there. I'm only suggesting that wherever capitalism, especially 'advanced' industrial capitalism, has grown, we have seen the corresponding emergence of a state and state activities. I'm not suggesting that where there is the emergence of a state or the growth of state activities we must necessarily see capitalism. Let me put that in more abstract terms; Those who spend their lives drinking heavily invariably develop liver damage but liver damage can elsewhere develop as a result of other causes. It's great that you've read Benedict Anderson and all but you've kinda missed my point. Going back to, and closer to home, my reference to Victorian and Edwardian England. This era was politically dominated by the kinds of Tories and Liberals that would make Osborne and Cable blush, they were so reluctant to see any general increase in state 'interference' in society. Yet despite their best (or worst) intentions, guess what happened? That's right, the state just did grow, as capitalism advanced. You can't blame socialism or socialist thinking here, you have to look at the how's and why's of this development despite the prevailing ideology being counter to state growth. It's an interesting one to say the least.
HistoryRepeating
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#3375
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#3375
(Original post by burnedmind)
No:



http://www.marxists.org/archive/pank.../socialism.htm

Socialism would be worthless if it meant a reduction in living standards. We are socialists not because we want everyone to have slightly less so that those at the bottom can have slightly more, but because we want everyone to have free and equal access to the means of production and the fruits of their labour; plenty for all.
AND A PONY!

Seriously, at least transitionally you will have to accept a huge drop.

You're argument is essentially meaningless because you misconceive socialism as simply a program of wealth distribution, and you don't seem to understand that socialism is, by it's very nature, internationalist. You are attempting to understand how socialism would work within a capitalist framework and quite simply it wouldn't, but nobody here has stated that it would (to my knowledge).
If you cant frame socialism within the capitalist system, at least transitionally, then the very concept of socialism becomes abstract (and, frankly, therefore pointless). There is no overarching system throughout the countries of the world that could impose a simultanious transition from a capitalist framework to a socialist one, and it is entirely nonsense to argue that such a simultaneous transition could happen organically (in all countries (or even a majority) at once).

Thus for a socialist societal construct to have any value it must provide for transitional provisions. Whats the point of advocating something that there is no practical (or impractical!) way of achieving?
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Oswy
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#3376
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#3376
(Original post by HistoryRepeating)
AND A PONY!

Seriously, at least transitionally you will have to accept a huge drop.

If you cant frame socialism within the capitalist system, at least transitionally, then the very concept of socialism becomes abstract (and, frankly, therefore pointless). There is no overarching system throughout the countries of the world that could impose a simultanious transition from a capitalist framework to a socialist one, and it is entirely nonsense to argue that such a simultaneous transition could happen organically (in all countries (or even a majority) at once).

Thus for a socialist societal construct to have any value it must provide for transitional provisions. Whats the point of advocating something that there is no practical (or impractical!) way of achieving?
It's possible that the effects of capitalism itself might organically drive the dominating liberal values, and policies, in the direction of socialist values, and policies, just as it drove previously dominating conservative values, and policies, in the direction of liberal ones.

Personally I'm currently more persuaded by the idea that crises in capitalism will force revolutionary change. This time around the liberal-capitalist states saved capitalism from itself. But if, as David Harvey and others suggest, such crises are inevitably generated by the capitalist process, and that thanks to technological and organisational advance such crises will occur every more swiftly, widely and deeply, next time state rescue might not prove possible. Who was it who said something like we're only three square meals from chaos? When even the middle-classes go hungry and homeless, as they would have done had governments not stepped in, then even their ideological comforts have to be cast off.
StatusRed
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#3377
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#3377
(Original post by Oswy)
It's possible that the effects of capitalism itself might organically drive the dominating liberal values, and policies, in the direction of socialist values, and policies, just as it drove previously dominating conservative values, and policies, in the direction of liberal ones.
That's exactly what I was thinking about yesterday...

There may come a point where something so globally catastrophic happens economically that countries start leaning towards Socialism. Almost makes you want it to happen....
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HistoryRepeating
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#3378
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#3378
Why socialism though? Why would a crisis neccessitate socialism rather than Fascism, Primitivism, Tribal Culture, Ludditism etc? Or smaller scale barter-capitalism? or Commune-ism (not communism)

I can see global capitalism falling (but I dont see it as likely) due to some mega-crisis, but what on earth makes you think some kind of harmonised socialist system will spring, from nothing, to replace it. Wouldnt each petty warlord carve his own corner of the world out?
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Ham and Cheese
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#3379
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#3379
(Original post by HistoryRepeating)
Why socialism though? Why would a crisis neccessitate socialism rather than Fascism, Primitivism, Tribal Culture, Ludditism etc? Or smaller scale barter-capitalism? or Commune-ism (not communism)

I can see global capitalism falling (but I dont see it as likely) due to some mega-crisis, but what on earth makes you think some kind of harmonised socialist system will spring, from nothing, to replace it. Wouldnt each petty warlord carve his own corner of the world out?

I believe that Socialism can be brought about without a crisis. I am not wanting to recreate something from the USSR in the UK. All I want is to eliminate poverty, make everyone equal and for everyone to have the same opportunities. I accept that there will always be people who are richer than others, and we cannot change that; I believe that Socialism will give those who are less well-off a bigger push and allow them to enjoy life.

I would like to think that if the Socialists came to power, we would still have capitalism, but we would fight for a fairer, more tolerant and equal society.
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StatusRed
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#3380
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#3380
(Original post by HistoryRepeating)
Why socialism though? Why would a crisis neccessitate socialism rather than Fascism, Primitivism, Tribal Culture, Ludditism etc? Or smaller scale barter-capitalism? or Commune-ism (not communism)

I can see global capitalism falling (but I dont see it as likely) due to some mega-crisis, but what on earth makes you think some kind of harmonised socialist system will spring, from nothing, to replace it. Wouldnt each petty warlord carve his own corner of the world out?


What I think would happen is that countries that have a Socialist State would be less effected by the global economic disaster and would be looked at as better off. People would see these countries standing while the rest of the world crumbles.... Making public opinion lean towards Socialism.
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