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Socialism and Change

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LBird
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Joined: 21/07/2013

jondwhite wrote:

Quote:
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.

[my bold]

By 'scientific', the political consequence is 'non-democratic'.

Whoever employs the term 'scientific socialism' is denying 'democratic socialism'.

There's a political choice to be made - does one go with Marx's 'democratic socialism', or with Engels' 'scientific socialism'?

The key question is 'can you come up with a democratic science?'.

If not, you'll follow the political trajectory of Lenin. Who also claimed to be a 'scientific socialist'. And, in his 'scientific' work, quoted Engels, not Marx. Read Materialism and Empirio-criticism, to find out if this is true or not.


LBird
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alanjjohnstone wrote:

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.

A healthy 'shiver', alan. A 'shiver' that all democrats feel...

... 'scientific socialism' and 'dialectical materialism' are both Leninism in sheep's clothing.

Ask them... they'll deny 'democracy'. They'll claim to be 'specialists'. Anything but agree to democracy within all power relationships.


LBird
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jondwhite wrote:

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

Yes, the contrast of only two options, is an Engelsian construct, not Marx's, jdw.

Marx unified idealism and materialism - he says so.

As you openly state, you are with Engels, and so, not with Marx.


LBird
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alanjjohnstone wrote:

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?

Such a 'conference' wouldn't last past the opening minute, alan.

The Democratic Communists / Marxists would ask for all concepts to be democratic. This would be so that all 'socialist theory' would embody democratic ideals, and so all 'socialist practice' (which follows from theory) would be inherently a democratic practice.

The Materialists would then declare for undemocratic 'matter' (which is a reflection in physics of 'private property'), a class-based, ruling class idea, which expels 'democratic theory' at the outset.

A split would ensue, there being no political basis for a conference.

I suppose you'd need to answer for yourself, what a 'like-minded observer' is for you. Do you mean someone who claims to be a 'socialist', or do you mean, from the outset, a 'democratic socialist'? If it's the latter, you'll have to exclude the elitist, non-democratic 'materialists', whose focus is not 'production', but 'matter', and whose inspiration is Engels (and thus Lenin), not Marx.


robbo203
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Joined: 06/11/2011

LBird wrote:

 

If not, you'll follow the political trajectory of Lenin..

 

Whuch  is precisely what LBird is doing with his advocacy of society wide central planning

LBird
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robbo203 wrote:

LBird wrote:

If not, you'll follow the political trajectory of Lenin..

Whuch  is precisely what LBird is doing with his advocacy of society wide central planning

What did I predict?

Slanders and lies, as usual, the political method of the 'materialists'. In a word, Leninism.

Those who actually read what I write, and are very careful of the lies of the 'materialists', will be aware that 'society-wide democratic planning' (Marx's ideas about 'social production') has been consciously and deliberately altered by robbo to confuse the unwary as 'society-wide central planning'.

robbo thus anticipates his own political regime, in which he as an individual is at the centre of his planning.

Individualists, like robbo, will always deny democracy, because they have a 'fear of the mob'. Individualism is a ruling class idea, a social product of the bourgeoisie, and must start from concepts like 'matter', which all individuals claim to 'know', by their individual, biological, asocial, ahistoric, senses. Thus, they don't need to discuss social theory, social practice, or the place of democracy within the social production of socialism.

Thus, he defines 'democracy' as 'centralism'.

Democratic Communists / Marxists define 'democracy' as 'society-wide'.


robbo203
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LBird wrote:

 

What did I predict?

Slanders and lies, as usual, the political method of the 'materialists'. In a word, Leninism.

Those who actually read what I write, and are very careful of the lies of the 'materialists', will be aware that 'society-wide democratic planning' (Marx's ideas about 'social production') has been consciously and deliberately altered by robbo to confuse the unwary as 'society-wide central planning'.

robbo thus anticipates his own political regime, in which he as an individual is at the centre of his planning.

Individualists, like robbo, will always deny democracy, because they have a 'fear of the mob'. Individualism is a ruling class idea, a social product of the bourgeoisie, and must start from concepts like 'matter', which all individuals claim to 'know', by their individual, biological, asocial, ahistoric, senses. Thus, they don't need to discuss social theory, social practice, or the place of democracy within the social production of socialism.

Thus, he defines 'democracy' as 'centralism'.

Democratic Communists / Marxists define 'democracy' as 'society-wide'.

 

Amusing.  LBird has the gall to accuse socialists of engaging in "slanders and lies" against him  having himself  just just accused them of opposing democracy or democractc decisionmaking in socialism which is demonstrably false.  The truth is socialists have a more nuanced and grounded view of what democracy entails than has LBird.  We recognise that there will necessarily different levels of democratic decisionmaking in socialism - local , regional and global.  We also recognise, along wth Marx, that in socialism the “free development of each is the condition for  the free development of all" and that the very nature  of socialism requires this.  How else do you operate a society based on voluntary cooperation and free accesss without individuals being able to choose for themselves in these matters as opposed to having those decisions imposed on you from above?

 

The truth is democacy and individual freedom/autonomy are not opposites as LBird stupidly perists in maintaining but are absolutely complementary to each other.  The one needs the other for both to exist.  Its a question of striking the right balance.  Too much of either undermines or destroys both.

 

LBrid understands nothing of this.  His views on democracy are childishly simplistic and embarrasingly dumb.  He has got no understanding of the mechanics or the logistics of decsionmaking  and for all his religious-like proclamations about democracy  -  "I am a democratic communist", doh! -  in reality,  his kind of totalitarian thinking will deliver a world  from which any kind of real democracy would be utterly extinguished.  

 

He has just now admitted that his model of decision making is one in which all decisions are made at a "society wide" level.  Meaning 7 billion plus people are going to have to decide on literally  EVERYTHING - from whether or not your local communty needs a new library or doctors surgery  right down to what you as an individual will be allowed to consume or contribute by way of work.  If such a crackpot idea were even remotely feasiable,  which thankfully it is not , it would absolutely require all  such centralised decsionmaking to be concentrated in the hands of tiny technocratic elite - if only by default.

 

This is in effect what LBird advocates though he lacks the wit to see it.  He seems to think that society wide decisionminaking is "democratic" while centralised decisionmaking is not.  But if there is only one body of  decisionmaking and only one centre - namely the whole of society  - then that is by definiition centralised or unicentric, not polycentric.  :LBird opposes in principle the whole idea of polycentric decision-making.  Therefore he advocates society wide central planning from a single centre  and therefore he is Leninist and an opponent of real democracy  for all his bluster to the contrary.  He stands firmly side by side with his comrade Lenin in advocating that " The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory, with equality of labor and pay" (State and Revolution).

 

It is not for no reason that Lenin favoured a policy of top down "one-man management" and argued that democracy was completely compatible with dictatorship by a single individual .  Given a chance to put his balmy ideas into practice Lbird would argue exactly along the same lines and all in the name of "democracy" of course.

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Coincidentally this 1964 Socialist Standard article has appeared online which may help us understand the issue a bit better

http://socialiststandardmyspace.blogspot.com/2017/09/political-organisat...

Quote:
"... If the working class is to become the master of society—which it must do in order to change it—then it too must recognise itself as a class, and organise itself politically. This political party must be Socialist expressing workers’ recognition that their emancipation can only be achieved by the expropriation of the capitalist class and the establishment of Socialism...The Socialist political party will not appear ready-made. Like other social phenomena, it will grow out of social conditions. This raises the whole question of the role of a Socialist party in the class struggle...It must seek to dispel the political ignorance of the working class...This does not mean that the relation between the party and the working class is to be that of teacher and pupil. Socialist understanding is not something that can be constructed out of nowhere; it must grow out of social conditions. Such understanding—or class consciousness—will not arise purely as a result of the propaganda of the Socialist party. Ideas only grip the masses when they are relevant to social conditions. There are any number of cranks around with utopian schemes for social reconstruction. What distinguishes Socialists from them is that Socialism is in the material interest of the working class. Socialists have social evolution on their side. The cranks have not—that’s why they’re cranks...Education is not just a question of learning from books and pamphlets; that is just one aspect of learning from experience. The class experiences of the working class under capitalism will teach it that Socialism is the answer to its problems. The party can help this development of Socialist understanding by storing up and propagating the past experiences of the working class so that these are easily accessible. The principles of the Socialist party will be based on these experiences and will serve as a guide to social issues, being used to expose useless remedies...Once Socialist understanding grows to any appreciable extent, political conditions will completely change. Socialism will become a political issue. The comparative trivialities of present-day politics will be cast aside. The issue will be Capitalism or Socialism. ...It is decidedly not the function of a Socialist party to lead the working class either in the struggle to live under capitalism or in the struggle for Socialism. The working class cannot be led to Socialism; it must emancipate itself. A Socialist working class will require no leadership; all it requires is organisation to put its aim into effect. The day-to-day struggle of the working class, the economic phase of the class struggle, goes on in the place of work. To carry out this struggle is the task of the trade unions. In so far as they carry out this task they are class weapons. The task of bargaining with the employers is not one for which a Socialist party is at all suited. Of course, the members of a Socialist party, precisely because they are class conscious workers, will be active trade unionists, desirous of getting the highest possible price for their labour power... Trade unions are class organisations when they are used correctly in the economic phase of the class struggle. They cease to be such when, for instance, they back productivity drives or finance politicians and political parties... To sum up, the movement for Socialism must be open and democratic. At present, its role is largely restricted to propaganda, but in the future it will be the working class organised consciously and politically for Socialism. It will be the instrument they will use to capture political power. The Socialist Party of Great Britain offers itself for this task.

Sorry for the abridged and adapted version, and the cherry-picked extracts. You can read the full article at the link.

This was written over 50 years go...what does it tell us about the progress we have achieved as a class ...and also as a party...For sure, we still are an extant socialist party but have we grown? And if we haven't, then are we suited for the task? Has understanding grown among our fellow workers? Are they more class conscious? Or possessing even trade union conscious?

Am i being needlessly negative...or am i asking realistic questions that has to be answered by ourselves?

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

LBird
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Joined: 21/07/2013

alanjjohnstone wrote:

This was written over 50 years go...what does it tell us about the progress we have achieved as a class ...and also as a party...For sure, we still are an extant socialist party but have we grown? And if we haven't, then are we suited for the task? Has understanding grown among our fellow workers? Are they more class conscious? Or possessing even trade union conscious?

Am i being needlessly negative...or am i asking realistic questions that has to be answered by ourselves?

It's not a bad article, alan.

It mentions 'material' once only, in the context of 'the interest of the working class'. Clearly, given how many times the article mentions 'social', 'society', 'class', etc., it's clear that 'material' here also means 'social', as it did for Marx (he opposed 'material' meaning 'human', to 'ideal' meaning 'divine').

The clincher is that 'the material interests' of our class can only be determined by the class itself, so this 'material' can't pre-exist its creation by our class. It's certainly nothing to do with 'matter'. To claim otherwise, is put posit a 'matter' that our class doesn't control, and so is in the hands of an elite.

I've tried to count that times the article specifically says social conditions, and I've counted 3. There is also political conditions, and a constant stress on democracy.

In fact, if the article had replaced the one 'material interest' with 'social interest' or 'political interest', it would have been more consistent.

Only the class can determine its 'material interest' (or, 'material conditions'), and that determination must be democratic. To read this article as talking about 'matter', a 'matter' that only an elite can 'know' (which is why the elite deny that the class can vote on this concept and replace it), is to ignore the entirety of the rest of the article, outside of one single word.


Marcos
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Joined: 23/04/2017

LBird wrote:

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.

The world can be falling apart, the ruling class can be dropping bombs all over the earth, the working class can be going thru a lot of miseries, and LBIRD will never say anything, as soon as he hears the word Engels he jumps and become a democratic and a brave person  in front of the computer. 

Besides this thread that has been republished by Robbo, debunking his so called democratic ideas,  we also published  a thread proving that the SPGB was not a Leninist party like he is claiming all the time, he got several politicals knock out and he has never said anything,  it was like putting a zipper on his mouth. He backed up his allegations citing others Leninist thinkers like Lukacs and Gramsci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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