Forum Replies Created
ALB wrote:[quote-robbo203]So what is the SPGB’s official position on this matter or does it have one? A link would be appreciated
Here’s what we say in the chapter on “Socialism and the Less DevelopedCountries” in the 1978 edition of Questions of the Day, here on this site:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/questions-dayQuote:Socialists are sometimes asked about another aspect of uneven development. This relates to the possibility that the socialist movement could be larger in one country than in another and at the stage of being able to gain control of the machinery of government before the socialist movements elsewhere were as far advanced.Leaving aside for the moment the question as to whether such a situation is likely to arise, we can say that it presents no problems when viewed against the world-wide character of the socialist movement. Because capitalist governments are organised on a territorial basis each socialist organisation has the task of seeking democratically to gain political control in the country where it operates. This however is merely an organisational convenience; there is only one socialist movement, of which the separate socialist organisations are constituent parts. When the socialist movement grows larger its activities will be fully co-ordinated through its world-wide organisation. Given a situation in which the organised socialists of only a part of the world were in a position to gain control of the machinery of government, the decision about the action to be taken would be one for the whole of the socialist movement in the light of all the circumstances at the time.There remains the question whether in fact there will be material differences in the rate of growth of the sections of the world socialist movement. At present, throughout the advanced capitalist countries, the vast majority, because they are not yet socialist, share certain basic ideas about how society can and should be run. They accept that goods must be produced for sale with a view to profit; some men must work for wages while others must be employers; there must be armed forces and frontiers; and it is impossible to do without money and buying and selling. These ideas are held by people all over the world and it is this which accounts for the basic stability of capitalism at the present time.It was Engels who remarked that a revolutionary period exists when people begin to realise that what they once thought was impossible can in fact be done. When people realise that it is possible to have a world without frontiers, without wages and profits, without employers and armed forces, then the socialist revolution will not be far away. But this advance in political understanding will be achieved by the same people who now think that capitalism is the only possible system. Because workers all over the world live under basically similar conditions and because of modern systems of communication, when they begin to see through capitalism this will apply everywhere. There is no reason at all why workers in one country should see this while those in others do not.The very idea of Socialism, a new world society, is clearly and unequivocally a rejection of all nationalism. Those who become socialists will realise this and also the importance of uniting with workers in all countries. The socialist idea is not one that could spread unevenly.Thus the socialist parties will be in a position to gain political control in the industrially advanced countries within a short period of each other. It is conceivable that in some less developed countries, where the working class is weak in numbers, the privileged rulers may be able to retain their class position for a little longer. But as soon as the workers had won in the advanced countries they would give all the help needed to their brothers elsewhere. To sum up, we can say that the less developed countries might present Socialism with a problem, but they do not constitute a barrier to the immediate establishment of Socialism as a world system.Actually the whole chapter is interesting and relevant.Agree there could be a separate thread on this subject.[/quote] New topic anybody?
Hi Robbo,Sometimes things do get a bit off topic, I didn’t intend it, blame it on evolution.But it has given me an idea.How about opening this subject up as a new topic for discussion?Does anyone have any objections about discussing this topic as a new post?
I get you now. Makes sense.But I can see a problem, for us.If large sections of the working class live in impoverished nations, that have never had decent conditions, how are we going to bring them around to wanting socialism? Forgive me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that the SPGB and socialist movement as a whole think that world socialism must come about at the same time?
Hi Ed,I don’t want to sound picky but I don’t quite get what you mean?Material conditions for many in the world couldn’t get lower, so are you referring mainly to us in the so called developed world.Also, if poor material conditions are not enough to make people want to change their situation, then what is? I thought the various working class movements and attempted revolutions were as a result of people being unsatisfied with their conditions? They fail only because the approach is reformist, the desire is real?
I think a good few billion people on this planet have what I would consider abysmal material conditions.robbo203 wrote:Another classical example of the kind of conceptual muddle that seems to underlie much SPGB thinking The case for socialism, it is claimed, is not grounded in morality but in ” material class interests”. Why is it not possible to be grounded in both these things? Why should it be seen as one or the other? Socialists are said to be “indignant” about the effects of capitalism but how is that indignation not a sense of moral repulsion at what capitalism does? How can one even begin to talk about the working class being “exploited” without this entailing a sense of moral outrage? The very term exploitation is a morally loaded one. So why not just call a spade a spade?
I couldn’t have put it better if I tried.As far as I can see there are two ways to look at this problem.Logic. If Spock visited earth tomorrow and saw how capitalism organizes the worlds resources, with the majority of people producing the wealth in society and allowing a tiny minority to own and control that wealth, I am sure he would say in his famous way it is illogical.He would be right. But it is how the illogical organization of wealth ownership in capitalism affects people that is at the core of why we wish to bring about socialism.Practical. If by some, presumably mystical, means, capitalism could function without, poverty, homelessness, rationing health care (ex. NHS), non existent healthcare, injustice, corruption, starvation, and war to name a few. If that were possible we would probably overlook the poor logic of it. If capitalism met every bodies needs but allowed a measure of privilege, I would not be too bothered.It is how it effects me, my family, my friends neighbours and fellow human beings, that I have a problem with. That to me makes it a morale issue.It is wrong! I am not concerned with the philosophy of why it is wrong. I will leave that to intellectuals to waste time on.The logic is not that important, it is the physical consequences that arise form capitalism that are the issue.Before anyone starts, I am not advocating reformism! I am not delusional, I know capitalism can not be tamed.
Good point HH.Eristic tendencies are are on display here.
Well, it has been three days since Jonathan stated he would reply to my questions. Looks like he is up to the same tactics.
I was wondering if any one knows if he is or has been a member of the party?
I ask because his behaviour is odd for a socialist of 30 years. As socialists, knowledge and open discussion are vital to our case. We don’t have to agree on everything as we all have different opinions on subjective issues, the religious debate is a classic example.
However the “human nature” issue is not subjective and is open to evidence based observation and an increasing amount of experiment based research.
Do socialists engage in deliberate agitation and disruption? Or open debate? We have nothing to hide. The left and right wing of capitalist politics use slippery tactics.Jonathan Chambers wrote:[Chambers lights blue touchpaper. Exeunt stage left…]
I hope you still find yourself able to contribute to other dicussions.
So you find yourself some what under attack. These things happen on forums, we can’t agree about everything.
As you expressed a liking for Billy Bragg’s music you may feel this a little more personally. “Win some, lose some”, as the saying goes.
In my experience, considering yourself a socialist opens ya up to attack and ridicule. Sometimes we gotta take it, live to fight another day etc.
We socialists have so few allies, we need each other.
It saves me from having to bring attention to that awkward unanswered question.
I wonder if Jonathan will answer it now? Or perhaps stay silent for a while and find a way to snipe from another thread?
This discussion is again an offshoot from the human nature debate.
Nowhere did I state anything about so called primitive harmony, some sort of ancient hippy culture.
Whoever suggested that the idea of primitive communism was a perfect society that we have somehow forgotten?
As far as I was aware the socialist position is that human behaviour is flexible. I do not think that anyone on this forum has advocated we are a pacifist species. I think the position is that we are not hardwired in favour of any particular pattern of behaviour.
What I find quite telling about the advocates of “human nature” is their initial arguments are always based upon specific types of human behaviour, selfishness, violence etc. Yet when confronted with the other aspects of human behaviour that contradict their position, they switch to intellectual arguments. It is all well and good to intellectualize, using philosophical language to “prove” our positions, we could do that back and forth until the sun eventually dies. However it does little to alter the reality of complex human behaviour, aggression as well as compassion, and a host of other human behaviours.
I may be missing something but I still can’t see proof of any hardwired, human instinct, being provided on this topic?
I found an interesting review of Sick Societies on a right wing blog, The Brussels Journal. This blog supports the ideas of anti multiculturalism, or put another way, anti Muslim sentiments. Very popular with the confused and scaredmasses these days.
Here are a couple of extracts.
Dramatically deformed societies such as those discussed in the foregoing summary of Edgerton’s book represent only a small minority of known human communities, as Edgerton openly allows. Nevertheless, Edgerton writes, “all societies maintain some beliefs and practices that are maladaptive for at least some of their members, and it is likely that some of these social arrangements and cultural understandings will be maladaptive for everyone in the society.” Edgerton reminds his readers that his “insistence that maladaptive beliefs and practices are commonplace must not be construed to mean that humans never make effective adaptations to their environments.”
So Edgerton admits the extreme cultures he writes about are in the minority.
Here comes the juicy stuff.
One can hardly read Sick Societies, nearly twenty years after its publication, without speculating how Edgerton’s arguments and observations might apply to the existing condition of the West, governed as it is by dogmatic elites who would implement the antitheses of the market and repeal longstanding norms – I refer to redistribution of wealth, penalization of productivity, and the infliction, via immigration, of pre-modern and non-Western cultural forms on Western societies, under a doctrine that goes by the misleadingly abstract name of “Multiculturalism.” For one thing, the maladaptation theory implies a consistent human nature that bad arrangements can violate. This notion of a consistent human nature is rejected by the reigning cultural relativism, but affirmed by the continuity of the Western tradition from Greek philosophy through the Gospels to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the American Constitution.
Now I know that just because some misguided people agree with certain fields of research, doesn’t mean that the research is wrong. But it is interesting that Sick Societies seems to lend support to right wing notions of human nature and social Darwinism.
Anthropology is indeed useful!
Oh and by the way!I’ve been critical of Jonathan for thinking humans are instinctually aggressive.Looking at some of the stuff being said on this topic, maybe he has a point?
Beginning of joke:”I have reported to my superiors and I have informed them that this so called revolutionary party is of no threat whatsoever to the present world economic political order.”End of joke.I am reminded of the school playground when I was a child, someone says something and a whole host of tit for tat retaliation spews forth, so and so said this etc etc.Northern Light really opened a can of worms here and I am saddened to say my concerns regarding the state of the party are still the same since I left just over ten years ago.A mind set!This stuff reads like any other forum I have briefly visited on a number of subjects from music to current affairs.I smell fear, fear of change, fear of loss of control. Better to stay an archive group, keep the flame burning for the future generations than to try new approaches. I met it at branch level.The Declaration of Principles are of utmost importance it declares the party aim. Socialism.How we get from here to socialism is not contained in the principles, that is up to us.We have to move with the times, appeal to an ever changing world. Be willing to alter approaches. Bickering like children will not achieve this, it is more likely to put people off.I expect this will raise a few hackles, but before I receive the inevitable torrent of rebuttals. Ask yourself, are you sure we can’t do better?The time is now!Jonathan Chambers wrote:The point I’d want to make is that we are a partly-evolved pattern-seeking species that is – at best – only partly rational.
It’s way past my bedtime, but I wanted to ask what is meant by “partly-evolved” species?
I was under the impression that evolution is a constant process with no ultimate goal, so to speak.
To avoid any misunderstanding, I am not being antagonistic, merely curious.