Elon Musk on Socialism

August 2020 Forums General discussion Elon Musk on Socialism

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    Matthew Culbert

    Replied to thus,

    Communism/socialism has never existed as it’s an advanced commonly owned, post-capitalist, production for use, free access society, run by us all without governments OVER the people. Your examples are examples of post feudal developments of capitalism. worldsocialism.org/wsm/a-homepage

    Bijou Drains

    Surely the best advice Elon could give any child in the Capitalist system is:

    Make sure you get born between the right pair of legs

    preferrably in a country that gives you privilege because of the colour of your skin and where you have a father who has amassed massive wealth as an engineering consultant and as a real-estate developer, owns several mines and other natural-resources infrastructure and has a share in an emerald mine near Lake Tanganyika

    Simple enough for anyone to do!

    Sadly I made the mistake of picking an Engine Driver’s daughter from Walker and a Shipyard worker’s son from Byker. What was I thinking of.


    Although a number of countries have claimed to have established “socialism”, none (as far as I’m aware) have claimed to have established communism. Of course some Leninists will say they have established a lower form of communism (cf State and Revolution), but this arcane distinction has not caught on in popular debate. I doubt if Musk is aware of it.

    In view of this it seems odd that we have not made more of the fact that no country in the world has ever claimed to have established communism.

    Matthew Culbert

    In view of this it seems odd that we have not made more of the fact that no country in the world has ever claimed to have established communism.

    A good point Lew. I’ll keep this in mind and add onto my stock of answers.



    Ten years ago this month Gorbachev was nearly relieved of power in a coup. It is ten years since those heady days of tanks in Moscow, Yeltsin in “The White House”, Yeltsin giving a speech on a tank, and workers fighting for democracy—although they didn’t know what else they wanted, only that it shouldn’t be the CPSU. The coup collapsed and the USSR eventually went with the perpetrators into historical oblivion. The western media greeted these events, which they have never given any indication of understanding how and why they happened, with hysteria: capitalism had won; we had reached the end of history; there was a New World Order; and socialism, communism and Marxism were dead.

    It is unlikely that the media will do anything but repeat their tiresome “death of communism” mantra. It is also unlikely that they will analyse why August 1991 happened, despite having ten years to think about it. So let’s look at their claim that “communism” collapsed in the USSR via a linguistical route.

    The CPSU leaders never claimed that Soviet Russia was “communist”; they described their country as being “socialist”. Socialism, for them, was to be a period which was preparing communism. So straightaway the media’s claim is at odds with the old Soviet leaders’ pronouncements.

    Logically, then, they should have said that “socialism” had collapsed. This is, of course, not a nice thing to admit, since then “communism” could hardly be said to be dead, nor that history was at an end since the New World Order could still be replaced by a Newer (Communist) World Order. So was it socialism that collapsed? Such a claim would have created new problems for the media pundits. The left-wing have not all supported the USSR; indeed non-socialist writers have also questioned the socialist credentials of Soviet Russia.

    In Leninist theory, the state machine has to be smashed through insurrection and the economy nationalised under the auspices of workers’ councils, but in reality under the vanguard party’s political dictatorship. This is termed “the workers’ state” or “socialism”. When Stalin began to eradicate all opposition, Trotsky developed the theory of the “degenerate workers’ state”. He argued that the Soviet economy was socialist but that a party bureaucracy had smashed workers’ control.

    A section of the Trotskyist movement, later to be today’s SWP, found this view so ridiculous that they said Stalin had restored capitalism to the USSR. This “restoration-of-capitalism” view was to appear again in two guises. After Stalin died in 1953, Nikita Khruschev became General Secretary. The Chinese Communist Party (under Mao) began to openly attack the CPSU as “reformists”¸ who was overseeing the restoration of capitalism. When Mao died, Enhver Hoxha (the Albanian dictator) said that capitalism had been restored under Khruschev and the new revisionist Chinese leaders.

    It gets more bewildering. Lenin said that they were creating state capitalism in Russia as a necessary step forward; also he added, for complete maxi-confusion, that “socialism” was nothing but state capitalism made to benefit the people. The non-Leninist tradition was quick to point out that he was saying the same thing as Social Democrats, only that he thought the means to gain state power should be different. (Paul Mattick, in <i>Marx and Keynes</i>, analyses this quite nicely.) So there you have it: the founder of the USSR called black to white. Fans of Douglas Adams will instantly recall the theological argument for the non-existence of God from <i>The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy</i>, which ends up with Man getting knocked down at a zebra crossing.

    How did this all arise? 1848—the publication of <i>The Communist Manifesto</i>; 1875—Marx’s <i>The Critique of the Gotha Programme</i>; 1917—Lenin’s <i>The State and Revolution</i>. Engels explained that he and Marx had to call their 1848 manifesto “Communist” to avoid being confused or associated with various movements calling themselves “socialist”. Engels and Marx, otherwise, used the words interchangeably. In <i>The Critique</i> Marx said that there would be two phases in communism – a “lower” and a “higher” phase, the lower phase rationing goods via labour vouchers (which aren’t money). It was Lenin in 1917 who claimed that the lower phase of communism was commonly called socialism; which completely falsified the facts.

    We in the Socialist Party have always insisted that socialism and communism are two words which differ in the same way as spade and shovel, i.e. not at all. We were also pretty clear in saying the Bolshevik <i>coup d’état</i> heralded the real onset of Russia’s capitalist development, not the creation of socialism/communism. So what is the Marxist definition of socialism? A world-wide society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the world society. There will be no nations, states, commodity production, buying and selling, money or classes. Production will be based on the principle of: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their self-defined needs”.

    So read this August’s newspapers with a touch of salt; Marxism and Communism died in 1991? Certainly not!



    Lew wrote:

    In view of this, it seems odd that we have not made more of the fact that no country in the world has ever claimed to have established communism.


    Including the Soviet Leaders. The Europeans and American leaders always said that the Soviet Union was a communist country, which also contradicts Marx conception that socialism/communism must be a worldwide system, the conception of communism in one country was created by Bukharin to justify the isolation of the Soviet Union, and they were awaiting for workers revolution in the advanced countries of Europe and they never took place


    We in the Socialist Party have always insisted that socialism and communism are two words which differ in the same way as spade and shovel, i.e. not at all.

    Socialism and communism may be the same thing, but a spade and a shovel are different things – a shovel has raised edges and is used for moving materials around, a spade has a flat edge that is designed to cut into the ground and to dig.


    “…no country in the world has ever claimed to have established communism.”

    Whether they have claimed it themselves or not, they are/were seen as communist in popular eyes, rather than socialist, and in newspaper articles, TV programmes and the like, the word communism rather than socialism is generally equated with repressive state control.


    The only thing that the soviet union and its leaders did was to confuse everybody and to defame socialism/communism, and to distort the works of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, to create millions of anticommunists workers,  with them socialism/communism did not advance one inch, and without them, socialism/communism would have been in a much better situation in our time, at the Socialist Party we have spent more time explaining what is not socialism instead of what socialism is.

    That is the so-called legacy of the Soviet Union,( called the socialist land of Lenin and Stalin )  including their patriotic war which placed under their militaries boots several countries in Eastern Europe, socialism/communism became another nationalist trend of antiimperialists collaborating with their national ruling class.( anti agrarian revolts were called socialists revolutions )  and they established a brutal state capitalist regimes


    Just take a look at the Marxist Internet Archives and you will that anybody is considered a Socialist/communist including dictators such as Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, Kadaffi, and many others, and the godfather of the new apartheid known as Nelson Mandela.

    Probably, none of them claimed to be communist but they were viewed as a communist by the majority  of the workers of the world, and the capitalist class of the world used that idea to attack and discredit communism, it is going to take a long period to recover from this damage made by the Soviets and its followers, and the so-called Marxist Leninists, a hybrid which does not match with the conception of Marx and Engels, even more, Marx himself never said that he was a Marxist

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