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View Diary: The "Marxism is coming back" trope (264 comments)

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  •  Blah blah blah. (1+ / 0-)
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    Dallasdoc

    Please take a look at actual Marx, and at Peter Hudis' "Marx's Concept of an Alternative to Capitalism," which goes through the MECW with a fine-toothed comb, before saying things like this:

    It's with his solution, which is dead wrong. "Dead wrong," as in "lots and lots of people dead because it's wrong."
    One of the reasons I write this diary was that practically everyone who talks about Marx has his/ her head up his/ her ass, because somehow it has become OK to claim to be an expert on Marx without having read a word of it.

    Marx conceived of communist society as an extension of capitalist society's highest ideal -- freedom -- only Marx realized that capitalist society only grants formal freedom to workers, which in actual practice means a choice of different forms of (wage) slavery.

    If you want Marx's last word on the post-capitalist world, you might start with the passage in the Critique of the Gotha Program:

    In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly -- only then then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
    Yeah, lots of mass death there.  Uh-huh.  To continue:
    Any solution to a society-wide problem that relies on altruism to work is doomed to failure... altruism is simply too rare to be relied upon on that scale. So a resort to force to compel it is inevitable, and that's always when the bodies start piling up.
    The stock right-wing libertarian argument as stated above fails, as usual, because the Karl Marx utopia relies not on "altruism" but rather in the common interest in freedom shared by members of the working class.
    Central planning, which although it is not (that I recall) a feature of Marx's model, was a feature of every implementation of it, runs into insurmountable complexity and information-density problems...
    Marx doesn't commit himself one way or another about "central planning" -- and there are TWO concepts in Marx to work with, one as regards Marx's ideas about the TRANSITIONAL stage to communism, and the other as regards ACTUAL communism.  There is no central planning in actual communism because there is no state -- the state having been (in Marx's words) "withered away."  The picky details of how to manage the transitional stage so as to get actual communism (and not the USSR) are dealt with in great detail in a number of works by marxists -- see e.g. Peter Critchley's essay "Marx, Market Socialism, and Participatory Planning."  One thing to keep in mind as one reads through all of the marxist discussions of post-capitalism is this: what Marx wanted was a "union of free producers."

    Meanwhile, the proponents of "actually existing socialism" have tried a number of different models, from Lenin's USSR to Mao's China pre- and post- Great Leap Forward to Cuba to Sandinista Nicaragua to "21st Century Socialism" in Venezuela worked with the assistance of Marta Harnecker.

    Marx is not to be blamed for Stalin.  You, however, should be held responsible for your post here, which contains little (if anything) with which I agree.

    "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:04:48 PM PDT

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    •  Unlike capitalism (0+ / 0-)

      Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:08:57 PM PDT

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      •  Nor did I ever claim otherwise. (0+ / 0-)

        There are no good answers. There are only variations of more and less bad... which is a much more important distinction anyway.

        "Good enough for now, and subject to revision" is the best we're ever going to be able to do.

        --Shannon

        "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
        "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

        by Leftie Gunner on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 08:54:54 PM PDT

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        •  Right now, if we don't have some version (0+ / 0-)

          of representative government and the rule of law, it won't matter what kind of economic system we have. And any economic system that mitigates against representative government and the rule of law is in the way of survival.

          Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 09:35:57 AM PDT

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    •  There is no end state. (0+ / 0-)

      You can no more prevent humans from politicking than you can prevent us from fornicating... and for the exact same reason:

      "Let's go over there, fuck all their women and take all their shit" is baked into us too deeply to ever be rooted out.

      So, the most important questions in politics are "who decides?" and "how do we limit the damage?" And, "nobody" and "there won't be any" aren't answers... after a couple of hundred thousand years, if there was a perfect system, we'd have found it by now. There are no perfect systems for organizing humans, because humans are not perfectible.

      Utopians are terrifying.

      --Shannon

      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 08:52:08 PM PDT

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      •  Nonsense. (0+ / 0-)
        "Let's go over there, fuck all their women and take all their shit" is baked into us too deeply to ever be rooted out.
        Billions of people the world over live out their entire lives in this era without any sense of "let's go over there, fuck all their women and take all their shit."  Overgeneralizing a few historical instances to some imagined innate tendency of the human race will convince nobody.

        "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 09:04:19 PM PDT

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