September 11, 2012 at 12:45 am #89176
That all seems a little off topic Jonathan. But I was unaware of a strong party view on primitive communism. I would tend to agree with most of what you’ve said here on the subject. The term is very misleading and in my opinion should be retired. Do you have any links to the party’s view on the subject? Perhaps the conversation on primitive societies warrants a thread of it’s own?September 11, 2012 at 6:18 am #89174robbo203Participant
Jonathan Your post is somewhat offtopic, as Ed says, but interesting nevertheless. What is the central claim of Robert Edgerton’s book “Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony” that you refer to? Ive not read this book but if Edgerton is arguing along the same lines as that well known anti-socialist, Mr Stephen Pinker, that hunter-gatherer societies were particularly prone to violence, then it might interest you know that Pinkers thesis has been comprehensively debunked for the load of bollocks it is. I have a ton of references that I could point you towards in that regard Obviously, we cannot exactly use primitive communism as a template for a future socialist society but I think there are aspects of the former which will figure in the latter, pretty prominently. People sometimes do not fully appreciate that HG societies are of two basic kinds – simple band societies and tribal societies. I would contend that the latter is a transitional form en route to class-based societies whereas the former is more properly what one might loosely associate with the term “primitive communism”. Considering that over 95% of our existence as a species on this planet has been in the form of simple band societies it would be truly remarkable if nothing of this were to be reflected in a future communist society. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the myth of the blank slate which is no more credible than the idea that we are simply the product of our genetic endowmentSeptember 11, 2012 at 6:54 am #89175Ed wrote:But I was unaware of a strong party view on primitive communism.(….). The term is very misleading and in my opinion should be retired. Do you have any links to the party’s view on the subject? Perhaps the conversation on primitive societies warrants a thread of it’s own?
Some people object to the term “primitive communism” because they object to the word “primitive” with its condescending and even derogatory connotations. But this is an old usage of the word which meant “original”. So maybe “original communism” would convey the meaning better. I prefer “tribal communism”.There was a controversy in the movement in 1969 following an article by John Crump on “Primitive Communism” in the international magazine World Socialism 69 (of which only one issue appeared) in which he challenged some of Lewis Henry Morgan’s assumptions about primitive society, inherited by the Socialist movement via Engels’s Origin of the Family. The WSP of the US sent in a blistering reply. Both must exist somewhere in the Party’s archives in Clapham.Incidentally, it is not only Marxists who are committed to the view that humans originally lived in communistic societies. It is also the Christian view that their god originally gave the Earth to all its inhabitants to enjoy in common. Which meant that later theologians had to adopt all sorts of contortions to justify the existence of private property. Thus, the 38th article of the 39 Articles of the Anglican Church reads:Quote:XXXVIII. Of Christian Men’s Goods, which are not common. The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast.
Presumably this is the one article Marx said he imagined they would retain when he said they would give up 38 out their 39 Articles rather than 1/39th of their wealth. No, Robin, this is not a cue for you to say we should admit Anabaptists even if Gerrard Winstanley does have a place in the Socialist Pantheon !September 11, 2012 at 8:02 am #89177AnonymousInactivenorthern light wrote:“This man’s name was Bobby Gleghorn. Me and Bobby became very good friends, and we spent many an hour talking shop. I still miss my friend.”
Hello, Northern Light,Bobby Gleghorn was a good friend and comrade of mine. We were founder members of the Seaham Branch of the SPGB in the 70s which eventually developed into the North East Branch. When dealing with opponents, he was very patient and never used derision. Indeed opponents would hover around him enjoying the debate. He was a massive asset to the Socialist Movement and I too miss him. We could all learn from his attitude to opponentsSeptember 11, 2012 at 8:12 am #89178robbo203ParticipantALB wrote:Some people object to the term “primitive communism” because they object to the word “primitive” with its condescending and even derogatory connotations. But this is an old usage of the word which meant “original”. So maybe “original communism” would convey the meaning better. I prefer “tribal communism”.
No, “tribal communism” would be inappropriate precisely because the term primitive communism more appropriately applies to “simple HG societies” based on nomadic bands rather than “complex HG societies” based on tribesALB wrote:No, Robin, this is not a cue for you to say we should admit Anabaptists even if Gerrard Winstanley does have a place in the Socialist Pantheon !
And why not? Seems to me the ultra-legalistic attitude of the SPGB has more in common with the Anglican Church and its 39 articles than a practically-minded , revolutionary socialist organisation intent upon achieving socialism. All that should matter is that you should want and understand socialism (and how to get it). Thats what defines a socialist, not what kind of metaphysical assumptions one may or may not entertain about the ultimate nature of reality. Thats interesting stuff , no doubt, but something best confined to some philosophical debating club, not a serious political movementSeptember 11, 2012 at 8:58 am #89179northern light wrote:So now I would have been an atheist, if it was not for a couple of paranormal experiences I had, which led me to question spirituality, and ultimately, the existence of a Creator
If it’s not an impertinent question, what were these “paranormal” experiences as there’s normally a scientific explanation for them? And not all believers in the paranormal (for all their irrationality) are religious. Robbo once said he’d had one too (a poltergeist) but that didn’t make him religious. It did provoke a lively discussion on our previous forum SPOPEN. Much more interesting than discussing religion.September 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm #89180northern lightParticipant
Well said, Old Grey Whistle.
And I knew of you, through Bobby. He spoke highly of you.September 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm #89181steve colbornParticipant
I would just like to echo the sentiments of OGW and northern light. He was my friend and my life was made poorer for his loss. Indeed, The Socialist Party in the N.East was poorer for his death.
An intelligent, thoughtful, gentle man but what a socialist. I wish he was still alive, I miss him.September 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm #89182jondwhiteParticipant
The reason Winstanley can be considered a socialist is because of the history of science and atheism. The social acceptability of atheism and scientific advances in explaining phenomena made over the last 150 years make adherance to ideas not scientifically testable (or even ideas contrary to scientific explanations) more and more of an irrational position.September 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm #89183ALB wrote:Ed wrote:But I was unaware of a strong party view on primitive communism.(….). The term is very misleading and in my opinion should be retired. Do you have any links to the party’s view on the subject? Perhaps the conversation on primitive societies warrants a thread of it’s own?
Some people object to the term “primitive communism” because they object to the word “primitive” with its condescending and even derogatory connotations. But this is an old usage of the word which meant “original”. So maybe “original communism” would convey the meaning better. I prefer “tribal communism”.
What I find misleading is the communism part. Communalism maybe. But regardless surely we should be calling it Primitive SocialismSeptember 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm #89184AnonymousInactiveALB wrote:Robbo once said he’d had one too (a poltergeist) but that didn’t make him religious.
And he’s been cracking on about the party opening up its ranks to religious people ever since this alleged paranormal experience over ten years ago. Even left the party because it wouldn’t change its stance on not admitting those with the God bug. Says it all really……..September 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm #89185Ed wrote:What I find misleading is the communism part. Communalism maybe.
If we don’t call it communism that would deprive the Hegelians in the party of their prime example of the negation of the negation.September 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm #89186
Haha I see, I wouldn’t want that now.September 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm #89187HollyHeadParticipantnorthernlight wrote:I did say that my belief was personal and private, but I have entered the “arena of debate,” so I feel obliged to answer Hollyhead’s questions…… I would have been an atheist, if it was not for a couple of paranormal experiences I had, which led me to question spirituality, and ultimately, the existence of a Creator Unable to come up with any rational scientific explanation for these events, I was left with no alternative, but to accept the belief in spiirit,so probibly a Creator.
Thanks for your reply. I suppose all of us have had experiences that we cannot account for let alone provide a fully rational scientific explanation. But why then the jump to a supposed “Creator” which is beyond the scope of normal objective investigation? Better, surely, to treat them as a puzzling events for which there is an as yet undiscovered explanation?northernlight wrote:I believe the Creator is the sum total of all that is the Universe, the Sun, you, me, your mother-in-law, everything came from the singularity that created the Big Bang.
And who/what created the Creator?September 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm #89189SocialistPunkParticipant
I see the human nature debate has been brought here for some unknown reason? OGW was indeed right to say it was not a tired subject. Why Jonathan has chosen to continue here and not in the relevant thread is any ones guess? As I am quite new to this forum I was wandering if it is customary to go completely off topic on a subject to a subject that already has it’s own thread? I know subjects evolve into others but this is not the case? Surely the forum exists as it does to allow many topics to be dicussed without encroaching on one another?
Jonathan Chambers wrote:I’m very pleased that the subject of rationality has loomed so large of late. Avid readers of this forum will have witnessed attempts by some of the more dogmatic amongst us to discredit me personally by suggesting that they are rational. The implication, of course, being that I am not rational since I don’t agree with them…
It was not my intention to imply anyone as being irrational. I bare no ill will to anyone on this forum and wish to dicredit no one. Whether you believe me or not may rest upon how suspicious a person you are. As it turns out I need not have been so cautious. I do not claim to be 100% rational, humans are very often irrational, but where science is concerned rational discussion is essential.Jonathan Chambers wrote:Irrespective of what a couple of members think, the SPGB is going to have a debate about whether or not the revolution will increase production and it is going to have a debate about the mythology of primitive societies. How do I know this? I happen to hold this seriously fucking irrational belief – for which I’ve seen scant supporting evidence – that if you can’t have a proper debate in a democratically organised group of people then you just can’t have a debate.
Jonathan’s post is essentially about human nature.I seem to remember debating this very issue and providing evidence as well as asking relative questions along side several other members, that Jonathan never replied to on the thread “Human Nature! Whoopee!” I am open to rational debate. It is precisely what I have been doing on this subject. It is not I that refrains from answering critiscisms only to appear on a different thread arguing the same subject from a different angle. If he wishes open debate, I suggest he answers the critiscisms posted in the human nature thread. If a topic so central to the socialist case as human nature is debated and defeated among a democratic organisation such as the SPGB, that holds rational analyisis and thought as vital to the case for socialism, it is reasonable to expect the defeated party to hopefully learn from their error. After al,l socialists expect everyone else to.
As Jonathan refused to answer his critics in the relative thread, it is not unreasonable to see his lack of response as a sign that his arguments are flawed and unsuportable.Jonathan Chambers wrote:(Incidentally, and just as an afterthought, how would my opponents have reacted if I’d suggested that human nature consisted of nothing more than a handful of instincts that could be characterised as shagging, socialising, squabbling and shitting?)
I would react the same!
Instinct:- inborn complex patterns of behaviour that must exist in every member of the species and that cannot be overcome by force of will.
Let us leave this thread to what it was set up for and continue if desired on the relevant thread?
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.