Greetings fellow socialists, please support me as I try to spread socialism to the youth.

May 2024 Forums General discussion Greetings fellow socialists, please support me as I try to spread socialism to the youth.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 92 total)
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  • #94607
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    He wrote it in 1847 when the material conditions were actually physically not ready. His gradualism was incorporated in the Communist Manifesto with the demands to be advocated in Section 2…such as nationalising the banks etc to create the conditions.  By the 1870/80S Engels thought the material conditions for socialism were achieved.  Socialism, Utopian and Scientific : "The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties – this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here."  He also wrote  in 1872 that the means of production could then have provided "enough for the plentiful consumption of all members of society and for an abundant reserve fund" Perhaps a little bit overly optimistic but by the turn of the 20th century it was much more clear cut, at least in western Europe and North America. Asia, China and India,  was a different case entirely since their mode of production was particular to that vast region. We should always remember the constraints Marx placed upon the application of his theories.  In the Russin situation he discussed the mir , peasant self-organisation, as a possible means to speed up the transformation of feudalism to socialism without capitalism. It was merely conjecture on his part. Engels explains " The revolution sought by modern Socialism is, briefly, the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie and the reorganisation of society by the abolition of all class distinctions…A person who maintains that this revolution could be carried out more easily in his country because it neither has proletariat nor bourgeoisie, proves by his statement that he has understood nothing of Socialism."

    #94608
    celticnachos
    Participant

    I have a question. Even if you do think material conditions for world socialism exist now, how are you sure that the revolution will be successful? What if a capitalist uprising is created to stop the socialist revolution, and leads to fascism? Vangaurdism will be necessary to lead a revolution that will ultimatley be socialist in nature, and that will be successful.  Insurrections are against the purpose of the revolution. Without a vangaurd party to keep things in control, an insurrection can defeat the revolution.  "When we say the state, the state is we, it is we, it is the proletariat, it is the advanced gaurd of the working class." – Lenin. It's a fact the majority of the members of the state were wage earners. 

    #94609
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    There is always a possibility of what Marx described as a "pro-slavery rebellion" taking place. It is why the Socialist Party advocates democratically capturing the machinery of the State to bestow legitimacy upon the revolution but also to gain control of the coercive organs of the state thus depriving a recalcitrant minority of its use and instead to deploy it to suppress any rebellion.  Realistically such a situation is unlikely in the scenario  envisaged by the SPGB where the majority who control all the means of supply and transport are socialists.  Once again you appear to accept that the vanguard party safeguards the revolution. In the German right wing Kapp Putsch, it was not the actions of the KPD or KAPD (the German communist parties) that stopped it succeeding but was foiled by the trade unionist general strike called by the reformist SPD.  People Power not Party Power. 

    #94610
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Also SP, In a  preface to the Communist Manifesto in 1882,  Marx and Engels said:"Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina [mir], though greatly undermined, yet a form of the primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of communist common ownership? Or on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution as constitutes the historical evolution of the West? The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development". Shortly thereafter, Marx reversed himself, and said it was too late: capitalism had triumphed in the Russian countryside, and Russia was condemned, like all capitalist countries before it, to the bloody road of capitalist accumulation

    #94611
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Surely there are two different questions here: (1) can we now "jump into" socialism straightaway? and (2) has this anything to do with "material conditions? I suggest that the answer to both is "yes". In 1848 the answer to (2) would have been "no" but that's just an academic debate now. Today, socialism could be established immediately — because the material conditions exist. And, as Alex says, the sooner the better.

    #94612
    Alex Woodrow
    Participant

    Jumping to socialism straight away is possible regardless of what material conditions there are in a certain community due to the fact that there is the great idea of localism by where each community has local residents working together. This is why localism is so great, it has all the solutions. A world against globalization, by where there is peace and justice for ecology so every human being can live in harmony with one another.Also, is it all right if I say, I may be getting the wrong impression here but, the way in which some people on this forum are saying how some countries e.g. Russia back in 1917 weren't or aren't economically developed enough to have a revolution tomorrow sounds kind of Leninist, and I thought this party supported the revolution of tomorrow and was anti-Leninist?However maybe I am getting the wrong impression, though I am just not sure. 

    #94613
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Alex Woodrow wrote:
    Jumping to socialism straight away is possible regardless of what material conditions there are in a certain community due to the fact that there is the great idea of localism by where each community has local residents working together. This is why localism is so great, it has all the solutions. A world against globalization, by where there is peace and justice for ecology so every human being can live in harmony with one another.

    Socialism will, by definition, as capitalism is now, be a world-wide system.  It is not possible to have oases of socialism within capitalism.

    Quote:
    Also, is it all right if I say, I may be getting the wrong impression here but, the way in which some people on this forum are saying how some countries e.g. Russia back in 1917 weren't or aren't economically developed enough to have a revolution tomorrow sounds kind of Leninist, and I thought this party supported the revolution of tomorrow and was anti-Leninist

    Russia did have a revolution back in 1917; it just wasn't a socialist one as Lenin and others professed it to be.

    #94614
    celticnachos
    Participant

    "Russia did have a revolution back in 1917; it just wasn't a socialist one as Lenin and others professed it to be." Lenin never said that the true revolution was going to be in Russia gnome. It was about to become a true international socialist revolution until Stalin got involved.  They were building socialism, you all seem very very unrealistic if you think just because material conditions might be good for the democratic planning of the economy by the people that you can just jump right into it. In this world today people are not enough well-informed, there are even capitalist uprisings that are trying to have a fascist movement (Tea Party), you need a vanguard party. And socialism cannot be in just one country, Lenin and others did not claim the Soviet Union as socialist, because socialism was something to be international. 

    #94615
    DJP
    Participant
    celticnachos wrote:
    I have a question. Even if you do think material conditions for world socialism exist now, how are you sure that the revolution will be successful?

    The ONLY way that a socialist / communist revolution (for a moneyless, wageless and stateless global society) is if the vast majority of the population understands what this entails and is willing to put it into practice. This is because a socialist system will require the conscious and free co-operation of all those who operate it.The masses cannot be coerced by a "socialist" vanguard party into accepting socialism, all that such a party can do (until it has grown to a majority) is propagate the case for socialism to speed up the revolutionary process.We do advocate the capture of the state, via democratic methods. Not so that a minority vanguard can declare socialism by decree, but so that the destrctive actions of any remaining pro-capitalist elements can be dealt with in as peaceably a manor as possible.It is not the absence or presence of a vanguard party that is the crucial element, but mass socialist consciousness that is the deciding factor (alongside the development of productive forces, which have already been developed to an adequate level) The potential of the Russian revolution failed on both these counts, there was no mass movement for socialism (as defined above) and the productive forces where in a state of underdevelopment.

    #94616
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Thanks for having a go Alan. I am indeed a bit rusty on Marx and Engels theory these days, having never indulged in the pleasure for some years. I was aware that they were writing at a time when the material conditions were not yet ripe for socialist revolution.I'll try and simplify my question a bit.Pupil- "Hey Engels, do you think private property can be abolished in one go?Engels- "No. The workers revolution will probably transform society gradually. Private property will only be abolished when the material conditions of production are sufficiently developed."Pupil- "So when the material conditions are right, can socialism be established in one go, or do you still see a need for gradual change?"The "gradually" quote is potentially a sticky wicket, when it is used as an example. But hey, I could be completely missing the point. If I am, let me know.

    #94618
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    celticnachos wrote:
    They were building socialism

    No they weren't. As head of the new government Lenin was preoccupied with the chaos produced by an external war with Germany and an internal civil war. His response was to re-emphasise ‘democratic centralism’ in which the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ came under the increasingly totalitarian control of the vanguard party. However, since the number of people in any country who wanted socialism was very small (Russia especially), the Bolsheviks had no choice but to develop some form of capitalism. When he died from a stroke in January 1924, most of the main feudal obstacles to capitalist development had been removed, together with all effective political opposition.With his concepts of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and the leading role of the vanguard party, and a transitional society of ‘socialism’, Lenin distorted Marxism and thereby severely damaged the development of a socialist movement. Indeed, Leninism continues to pose a real obstacle to the achievement of socialism.

    Quote:
    And socialism cannot be in just one country, Lenin and others did not claim the Soviet Union as socialist, because socialism was something to be international. 

    You don't read, do you?  Look at the post immediately above your last one (#47)

    gnome wrote:
    Socialism will, by definition, as capitalism is now, be a world-wide system.  It is not possible to have oases of socialism within capitalism.
    #94619
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    SP, in 1847, Engels thought tht the productive material conditions were not sufficient to go straight to socialism and he saw within capitalism , the rise of factories and the concentration of productive forces etc – the means of acquiring the material conditions –  hence support for capitalism. Capitalism continued to develop and expand  those means of production until they were sufficient to sustain socialism, at least in most of Europe and North America.  Therefore the answer is Yes, as Adam said, we can go directly to socialism now. This argument arose from the question of if socialism was achievable in 1917 Russia or did it too have to go through the development of capitalist production.  Could Russia miss out the capitalist stage and jump straight to socialism? The answer most common from Marxists is "No" unless it was accompanied by a successful socialist revolution in the west which did not occur. There are two different views of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. 1. they were genuine Marxists and the failure of the working class to make the socialist revolution required them to put the Russian Revolution into reverse and adopt capitalism2. They were always state-capitalists and achieved their aim. The German post office being a model.  Personally i keep jumping from one position to the other depending on how sympathetic i happen to feel at the time. More likely is that both views were incorporated within the Bolsheviks and also varied in strength and prevalence depending on time and place and events.  The 1906 pamphlet Socialism and Anarchism by Stalin has a surprisingly accurate desription of socialism in it . I hazard to guess that Marx and Lenin's view was that a successful popular revolution may raise the morale of the Western workers and increase their class conscioussness, inspiring them to the socialist reviolution and once they are victorious they can come to the assistance of a Russia still in limbo. Neither saw it the other way around of the Russians coming to the assistance of the West's revolution. Comintern's "world revolution" was simply to encourage and mobilise the defence of Russia, one reason why the Amsterdam Section was abolished when it took the world revolutionary ideas too seriously.  An interesting side-track is,  was socialism possible in fuedalism if all those peasant uprisings such as Wat Tyler did succeed and the aristocracy and the hierarchal clergy are overthrown – Europe-wide. Could a common ownership in consumption sociaty be developed with out the common ownership of production? Engels says no in the German Peasant Revolution book. But it is from hindsight. Good subject for a pub debate. 

    #94620
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Alex Woodrow wrote:
    Jumping to socialism straight away is possible regardless of what material conditions there are in a certain community due to the fact that there is the great idea of localism by where each community has local residents working together. This is why localism is so great, it has all the solutions. A world against globalization, by where there is peace and justice for ecology so every human being can live in harmony with one another.

    Localism may be a good thing but surely it is an exaggeration to say it has got all the solutions. There are certain matters which can only be dealt with at regional or global level such as mineral extraction or climate change. In any event localism can't  be practised properly under capitalism because of capitalism's centralizing nature and that no locality can escape from the operation and application of its economic laws. Localism would only be able to come into its own within the context of world socialism which of course implies a degree of "globalisation". One of the things socialism will have to sort out is a balance between localism, regionalism and globalism.

    #94621
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Thanks Alan.Does that mean the "gradualism" referred to earlier, is a nod to the more developed Western countries (at that time) becoming socialist (via workers revolution) and then helping to spread it to the less developed parts of the world? 

    #94622
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Not the way i read Engels' remark. I interpret it meaning that the West's movement to-wards socialism will be in gradual steps…and the Communist Manifsto  written a year or so later, laid down these steps that were required in M and E's  opinion in 1848. In later decades this gradualism they decided was no longer necessary – capitalism had fulfilled its task and developed the means of production so that socialism was an immediate possibility, not something  far-off in the future. Marx still had reservations upon total free access being practicable as expressed privately in his Gotha critique and support for labour time vouchers as a system of rationing and allocation.   I think you are trying to relate the thread  to the theory of uneven development which is two-fold,…uneven in the sense of material conditions and uneven in the spread of ideas.  I'm no future teller but i do see a situation that once socialism is established we can provide all the material benefits of it to those non-industrialised regions…and by doing so we will be hastening their social ideas over-coming reactionary religious thought etc. Again relating it to the Russian discussion any attempt to establish "socialism" in one country would be bound to fail owing to the pressures exerted by the world market on that country's means of production. Recent experience in Russia, China and elsewhere shows conclusively that  states cannot detach themselves from the requirements of an integrated system of production operated through the world market.

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