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Socialism and Change

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alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011
Socialism and Change

https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/09/do-you-socialists-have-any-plans/

Discuss.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

robbo203
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Joined: 06/11/2011

 

This bit is quite important I think:

 

"You will never get people to join your parties, groups or whatever they are on the basis of saying how bad things are. What do you think happens? Do you think we are going to stand up and say, “Things are so bad, I’ve had enough! I’m going to rebel!”? No, people say, “This is too much. I don’t want to hear it anymore”. And then we go watch a ballgame, have a beer and root for a team."

 

The main problem I have with the article is that though it talks of the need to  have a plan about how to get to socialism, it  doesnt really define  socialism.  That is the the problem with the left in general.  You cant really move forward unless you have some clear  idea of where you want to move forward to - your end goal

 

The left broadly speaking sees state ownership or intervention in the economy  as the way forward, real socialism in our sense of the term is something beyond the horizon , something that is supposed to come afterwards and to which they all pay lip service amongst themselves but, even so, to talk about that now is considered "utopian".  However, state ownership and state intervention has been tried and has proven to be a cul de sac that leads to nowhere except more of the same. "Weve done that and got the Tshirt" is the usual sentiment it evokes.   The left then wonders why most workers fail to treat them seriously or feel inspired by what they have to offer.  So they - the left - retreat from programmatic macro-economic declarations about nationalising the "commanding heights" of industry into the quagmire of identity politics where at least by focussing on, or cynically exploiting, some single issue cause they can be assured of a few more votes or a few more members

 

However, there are straw in the wind that things may be changing.  Ive noticed an increasing receptiveness in left wing forums in the last few years  to big bold statements about socialism that bring  out clearly and unequivocally  its nonmarket , moneyless , wageless classless and stateless character.  There is mileage to be had in being positively utopian, after all - with the emphasis very definitely on being positive.  Blaming capitalism all the time  (which we all do) is Ok up to a point but  it can be counteproductive and disempowering after a while.  Like the article suggests, people then get the feeling that there is nothng much they can do about something so comprehensively invasive and abstract as "capitalism"  so they retreat into themselves and the more mundane and manageable aspects of their own lives

 

Like Oscar Wilde said:  A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias

LBird
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Joined: 21/07/2013

robbo203 wrote:
The main problem I have with the article is that though it talks of the need to  have a plan about how to get to socialism, it  doesnt really define  socialism.  That is the the problem with the left in general.  You cant really move forward unless you have some clear  idea of where you want to move forward to - your end goal

Well, I've tried to discuss this with you and the rest here, and when I define 'socialism' as 'the democratic control of social production', your response is 'why is there a need for democracy in social production?'.

I've got no problem with someone arguing that 'the democratic control of social production' is a bit vague, and needs more detail, but the challenging of 'democracy' itself, leaves me baffled.

As far as I can tell, 'your end goal' seems to be 'free individuals', but this tells any worker asking nothing about 'social production' or, indeed, 'socialism'.

To most, the ideology of 'free individuals' is a bourgeois ideology of "I'm alright, Jack", whereas at least 'democracy' stresses co-operation, society, and a form of decision-making.


robbo203
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LBird wrote:

robbo203 wrote:
The main problem I have with the article is that though it talks of the need to  have a plan about how to get to socialism, it  doesnt really define  socialism.  That is the the problem with the left in general.  You cant really move forward unless you have some clear  idea of where you want to move forward to - your end goal

Well, I've tried to discuss this with you and the rest here, and when I define 'socialism' as 'the democratic control of social production', your response is 'why is there a need for democracy in social production?'.

I've got no problem with someone arguing that 'the democratic control of social production' is a bit vague, and needs more detail, but the challenging of 'democracy' itself, leaves me baffled.

As far as I can tell, 'your end goal' seems to be 'free individuals', but this tells any worker asking nothing about 'social production' or, indeed, 'socialism'.

 

As far as i can tell you are being disinegenuous again in pursuit  of your  same old hobby horse.  Ive spelt exactly what I mean by democratic control of the means of production in socialism and why I support  it.  You can find my statement here 

 http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/socialism-and-democracy

 

If you want to develop your argument do it there not here.  Please dont try to hijack this thread to push your own agenda, LBird, as  you have done with so many threads in the past

Thank you

LBird
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Joined: 21/07/2013

robbo, why don't you change your anti-democratic tune -

"Wahhhh, boo-hoo, LBird's exposing my selfish elitism again, and wants to talk about the politics of workers' control, rather than Thatcher's 'Free Individuals' ".

You wouldn't know 'socialism' if it bit you on the arse, you long-winded clown.

Not a bit 'disingenuous', now, eh?


Marcos
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Joined: 23/04/2017

LBird wrote:

robbo203 wrote:
The main problem I have with the article is that though it talks of the need to  have a plan about how to get to socialism, it  doesnt really define  socialism.  That is the the problem with the left in general.  You cant really move forward unless you have some clear  idea of where you want to move forward to - your end goal

Well, I've tried to discuss this with you and the rest here, and when I define 'socialism' as 'the democratic control of social production', your response is 'why is there a need for democracy in social production?'.

I've got no problem with someone arguing that 'the democratic control of social production' is a bit vague, and needs more detail, but the challenging of 'democracy' itself, leaves me baffled.

As far as I can tell, 'your end goal' seems to be 'free individuals', but this tells any worker asking nothing about 'social production' or, indeed, 'socialism'.

To most, the ideology of 'free individuals' is a bourgeois ideology of "I'm alright, Jack", whereas at least 'democracy' stresses co-operation, society, and a form of decision-making.

I don't think that Robbo is so simplistic. He always gives profound and detailed explanations. You are monothematic, and now you are riding on top of your favorite little horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LBird
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Marcos wrote:

I don't think that Robbo is so simplistic. He always gives profound and detailed explanations. You are monothematic, and now you are riding on top of your favorite little horse

Another one who apparently can't read what Marx argues, and hates a Democratic Communist pointing that out.

The real problem is the 'monotheme' of the SPGB, if you're anything to go by, of anti-democratic Engelsian Materialism, just what Lenin supported and put into practice.

So, yeah, my hobby horse is exposing anti-democrats who pretend to workers that 'thinkers' like Marcos and robbo 'know better' than 7 billion workers, and so set out from the very start to ensure that workers will not be allowed to vote on issues that the 'materialists' claim to know already, because the 'materialists' supposedly have a 'special consciousness' not available to all workers - hence, no democracy.

Why can none of you argue about politics?

Bluffers.


jondwhite
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Quote:
It’s easy to say capitalism is fucked up; it’s harder to say what you are going to replace it with. But the hardest of all is how are you gonna get there? If you aren’t going to show me any blueprints, don’t be bringing up this subject anymore. I’m not hiring you to work on my house.

Sean: But Marx said….

Andrew: Marx was wrong. We need plans now.

I'm with Engels on this one, we want socialism that is scientific rather than utopian recipes for the future.

moderator1
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Reminder: 7. You are free to express your views candidly and forcefully provided you remain civil. Do not use the forums to send abuse, threats, personal insults or attacks, or purposely inflammatory remarks (trolling). Do not respond to such messages.

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

I think the article's theme is an important one. It is one we should be all asking ourselves. If socialism is the only feasible hope for civilisation, why is not the message translating into adoption and action from our fellow workers.

It is true as Robbo says, we witness flashes of insight and see a mood for change but it is usually transient, either lost in the transformation of theory into practice or simply more basically, hijacked by the status quo hoping to disarm it or by the gradualists who seek to divert it...until eventually it is disowned by the activists who inspired it in the first place. 

Jon, i do feel a shiver when i see the word scientific in any discussion of socialism...the same shiver when i read the word dialectical.

The problem is that we are not - and when i say we, i mean a lot more than just the WSM and include what is called the Thin Red Line but also more broadly any movement arguing for social change such as the myriad eco-socialists and radical leftists - have not succeeded in convincing our fellow workers to engage in the struggle even when we have satisfactory demonstrated the need for revolution. No substantial nor significant section of the working class has mustered under our banner or shown a sustained shift towards self-organisation and self-emancipation. For sure, as i said we see fleeting glimpses of that potential but it is nebulous and amorphous. Not structured sufficiently strongly to undertake the required political/social challenge necessary to overthrow capitalism but limited in scope only to demand palliative reforms that are not existential to the profit-system.

If we in the Socialist Party are sign-posting the way to socialism, what is it and how do we get there? Is it creating a blueprint to describe our goal and is it undemocratic to suggest the manner of change we think must happen to achieve it.

But even when we have answered these questions, the conundrum remains...How do we persuade fellow workers of simply the possibility that they can educate themselves and liberate themselves? Over a hundred years and can we say we are any closer. Can we say the diverse campaigns for change has coalesced into a definable social movement of revolution?

That is why the article i thought should be discussed here. It raises the question of why we are here. If we are not unique examples of unrepresentative workers, just what made us become socialists and why has that process failed to turn our family, friends and work-mates into socialists. Why do we stand outside of the majority 

As we see from the article, others are asking questions.

We should not have some sort of grand design in mind for ourselves but perhaps focus on what we are presently and how we can shape our current political movement so that it resonates more strongly with others, less convinced that we can change the world to a better one.

We should be addressing what is possible...adapting and adjusting our Party.

Or do we abdicate any responsibility and place the blame on the incapacity of our fellow workers to learn new ways of thinking and understanding and that the hegemony of the capitalist culture is too strong to break.

Did i ever mention i feel a conference would be nice to raise ideas and share them with invited like-minded observers?

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

To widen the debate, another link to read

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41900-labor-movements-and-universa...

Quote:
Jane F. McAlevey's new work (No Shortcuts) on revitalizing the labor movement notes that activist organizations commonly come in three forms: 1) advocacy, 2) mobilizing, and 3) organizing. She argues that the advocacy and mobilizing models have dominated social movements and too often bring with them control by professionals: attorneys, researchers, pollsters, lobbyists, staffers, and lifelong activists. In contrast, the organizing model seeks to get ordinary workers to take charge of their union and ultimately their destiny.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

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