10
   

Democrats and socialism

 
 
A Lone Voice
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:15 am
@Setanta,
I'll agree that there have been many right wing totalitarian govts, although I don't think I have to point out that it was communist leaders (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) who killed more of their citizens than any other form of govt.

This is why I believe the examination of the whole right wing/left wing political structure is flawed.

I believe a more accurate scale is this:

Totalitarian govt on one hand, anarchy (in the absence of any form of govt) on the other. More govt is closer to Totalitarianism, less govt closer to anarchy.

Also, that freedom and liberty come when a govt is less apt (and able) to control the individual.

What do you think of Lenin's statement that socialism is just a step towards communism?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:31 am
Lenin was a communist ideologue. As such, all of his remarks were conditioned by his conviction, absent any historical evidence, that communism was the only just form of government. Marx believed that the first communist government would arise in Germany (which was likely wishful thinking to a large extent) and flatly denied that the first communist government could arise in Russia, if for no other reason than that Russia was not an industrialized nation in which the proletariat could be mobilized. Events proved that to be wrong, wrong, wrong, however.

For Marx and Lenin, there was no meaningful distinction to be made between socialism and communism. Your claim about Lenin is suspect to me for that reason. I'm not denying that Lenin made such a remark, because i don't claim to have comprehensive knowledge of Lenin--but i'd be interested to see a source for the remark.

After Lenin was shot, but before he died, he had come to the same conclusion as Marx, that Russia was not prepared for a dictatorship of the proletariat because it was insufficiently industrial. That was the source of his New Economic Plan, which called for building Russia into an industrial state in which the dictatorship of the proletariat could be established. That is why people like Henry Ford and Armand Hammer were solicited to bring their expertise to the newly formed Soviet Union.

By the way, Sweden has had more than one socialist government in a representative, capitalistic state. At least before the days of Tony Blair, Labour governments in England were seen both there and abroad as being socialist. Italy briefly had a communist government, which was a minority government relying upon the socialists to form a governing coalition. This is why a definition of socialist is necessary to make this discussion meaningful. It is a cop-out for you to call upon others to define socialist--you started the thread, and if you want to continue to discuss socialism vis-a-vis other systems, then we need to know what you mean by socialist.
0 Replies
 
A Lone Voice
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:33 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

By the way, socialism is a political system, and capitalism is an economic system--apples and oranges. Your remark assumes that a country with a socialist political system cannot also be representative and capitalist, which is an absurdity.


Seriously, you're going to make me do this?

From one of my earlier posts in this topic:

"I will agree that many countries with a capitalist economy have strong, active, socialist parties, such as some of the Nordic countries."

And plenty of others have also posted examples, which I certainly have not refuted.

You really should quit making assumptions. It makes you appear pretty narrow-minded...




0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:40 am
You whine about personal remarks, and you keep hammering on this narrow minded horseshit. I made no assumption. Once again, you wrote:

Quote:
Wouldn't you agree that socialist countries are much more likely to slip into a totalitarian system of govt, such a communism, rather than a representative/capitalistic country?


By definition within your remark, you exclude socialism from being representative and capitalist. I made no assumptions, and get tired of you making allegations which are baseless, and the followed by flings about people being narrow-minded. Earlier, you make a snotty remark about liberals being narrow-minded, and it was clearly directed at me. What makes you think i'm a liberal? About the only people i know of who would consider me liberal are the lunatic fringe of the right-wing in the United States. I was raised by conservative Democrats, and many people here who would call themselves liberal have often reacted to my remarks as though i were a conservative. I only accept the "liberal" label here because it's easier than arguing with narrow-minded conservatives.
A Lone Voice
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 01:09 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

You whine about personal remarks, and you keep hammering on this narrow minded horseshit. I made no assumption. Once again, you wrote:

Quote:
Wouldn't you agree that socialist countries are much more likely to slip into a totalitarian system of govt, such a communism, rather than a representative/capitalistic country?


By definition within your remark, you exclude socialism from being representative and capitalist. I made no assumptions, and get tired of you making allegations which are baseless, and the followed by flings about people being narrow-minded. Earlier, you make a snotty remark about liberals being narrow-minded, and it was clearly directed at me. What makes you think i'm a liberal? About the only people i know of who would consider me liberal are the lunatic fringe of the right-wing in the United States. I was raised by conservative Democrats, and many people here who would call themselves liberal have often reacted to my remarks as though i were a conservative. I only accept the "liberal" label here because it's easier than arguing with narrow-minded conservatives.


We keep posting one response behind each other...

Actually, my original post had to do with a Gallop Poll that showed a majority of Democrats had a positive image of socialism. Plenty of people here have provided definitions.

I believe it was Cy who tried to define socialism as ANY collective form of govt; hence, his use of a firefighter as an example.

I spent plenty of time refuting that...

I also referred to pure socialism; where a central govt controls the entire economic system. But yeah, in today's world, a socialistic country is much more apt to become totalitarian. I already used Venezuela as an example; address this, would you? Of couse, some of the Islamic countries are not far behind.

And I didn't refer to you as a liberal; I used the term leftist. There's a difference.

Are you insulted by this?

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 02:39 am
@A Lone Voice,
A Lone Voice wrote:

I believe the first, and best, example would be the Soviets. A revolution, yes, but they initially tried to implement socialism. Worked for them, too, until Stalin, wouldn't you agree. From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution, right?

I believe it was Lenin who said socialism was just a step to communism?

Others? Cuba, Cambodia... And wouldn't you agree Venezuela is on its way, as soon as it appears Chavez will lose his first election?


Well, I didn't have notice that communism was the topic of this thread or that you equal communism to socialism.

The latter would be really interesting since in that case the UK (still) has a communist government ...



Communism might be looked at like a further development socialism. But historically, it has been there first. (The first socialist party in the world, by the way, is the German Social Democratic Party, which was established in 1869. Certainly Marxist in the first decades, but later (at least from 1914 onwards) a Socialist party like any other today.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 02:43 am
@A Lone Voice,
A Lone Voice wrote:

I also referred to pure socialism; where a central govt controls the entire economic system. But yeah, in today's world, a socialistic country is much more apt to become totalitarian. I already used Venezuela as an example; address this, would you? Of couse, some of the Islamic countries are not far behind.


Again: the Labour Party in the UK is a socialist party (as said in their party lines from the earliest days onwards).

I would use this as an example since there have been Labour governments since decades ...

When a central government controls the entire economic system - that's what you commonly find (found) in communism - and in right-wing totalitarian countries as well.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 05:59 am
@A Lone Voice,
A Lone Voice wrote:
But yeah, in today's world, a socialistic country is much more apt to become totalitarian.


See, this is why i suggested that your thesis and Okie's are so very similar, if not actually the same. You start by asking people if it were not true that socialist countries are more likely to become totalitarian, now you are asserting it as demonstrable fact. But you haven't demonstrated it to be fact. You are assuming it at the outset. So, by definition, you answer your own question, and no other conclusion would therefore be possible.

Quote:
I already used Venezuela as an example; address this, would you?


Not necessarily. I don't know that Chavez will succeed in creating a totalitarian state, if that is his goal. I suspect that might be his goal, but i neither know that for a fact, nor know what the probability is that he will achieve it. Whether or not it is, he will either have to accept some degree of capitalism or abandon the petroleum industry when the current infrastructure collapses. But one swallow does not a summer make. If all your speculation about Venezuela and Chavez were true, it would not constitute evidence about anything but Venezuela and Chavez. It would certainly not be evidence that socialist nations are "more apt" to become totalitarian, and it would ignore all the examples which contradict your thesis.

Quote:
Of couse, some of the Islamic countries are not far behind.


This is just hysterical christian crusader nonsense. Please name for me a single socialist, Islamic nation.

Quote:
And I didn't refer to you as a liberal; I used the term leftist. There's a difference.


Yes, there certainly is. Most of the world does not consider liberals to be leftist--in fact, among the Europeans, they (liberals) are seen as centrist or even center-right.

Just change what i wrote about liberal to leftist. Why do you assume i am leftist?

Quote:
Are you insulted by this?


No--i do consider it evidence that you indulge in what you accuse me of, making assumptions. One wonders if you are not, by your own criterion, therefore narrow-minded.

You're still dodging the core question of this discussion. Now you have referred to "pure socialism." So how do you define "pure socialism?"
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 10:30 am
@A Lone Voice,
Quote:


I believe it was Cy who tried to define socialism as ANY collective form of govt; hence, his use of a firefighter as an example.


No, YOU said that! I never said that. Quit building straw men.

My example of a firefighter wasn't an example which showed that ALL governance was 'socialist,' but that some aspects of what we use here, are; they are collectively owned by the people, for the good of ALL the people, regardless of social status or ability to pay.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 11:39 am
@A Lone Voice,
A Lone Voice wrote:

Merry Andrew wrote:

I have yet to see a definition of "socialism" offered by anyone on this thread.


Please, tell us...


Inasmuch as I did not intiiate this thread, I don't think it is my place to offer such a definition. I would simply like to know what y'all are talking about. I have this nagging feeling that when you say 'Socialism', you mean something quite different from what Cyclo means by the same word, and different again from Walter's definition. You, Lone Voice, seem to think (just as an example) that the Scandinavian countries do not have socialist governments. I don't think Herr Hinteler would agree with you.

So, again, what do you mean by 'Socialism'?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:16 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I suppose, she/he knows what it is since
he/she wrote:
That certainly doesn't make it socialism, as socialism is commonly defined.


My question, however, would be what that Lone Voice thinks, 'commonly' means. I think, she/he uses "commonly" in a rather uncommon way.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:23 pm
@Merry Andrew,
We in Scandinavia
We in Scandinavia see a great difference between socialist and social democrats.

Sveden has a large party called Social demokraterna. Social democrats
Once one of the prime ministers of the social democrats was the most hated politician ever in Sweden because of his tendencies towards socialistic politics.
Then there is Socialist partiet which is more like the communists. At the last election they got 31 votes - no not seats in the parliament - 31 votes.


Socialistisk Folkeparti (the Socialist People's Party), in short called SF, is a Danish Socialist Party, which unites Red and Green perspectives and a democratic outlook. It was founded in 1959 on the basis of undogmatic Marxism, and has constantly fought to defend human rights, both political and social, at home and abroad, and to pave the road to democratic-Socialist changes.

The Social Democrats (Danish: Socialdemokraterne/Socialdemokratiet), . It is currently the second largest party with 25.5% of votes and 45 of 175 seats. Since the Social Democrats were last in government, ending 2001, it has been the first time the Social Democrats have not been the most popular party since the end of World War II. The increase was mainly supported by the large number of voters who voted for former party leader and Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. He received 400,000 personal votes.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:46 pm
Quote:
The Socialist International is the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties. It currently brings together 170 political parties and organisations from all continents.
[...]
Denmark Social Democratic Party
...
Finland Finnish Social Democratic Party, SDP
France Socialist Party, PS
Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD
...
Great Britain The Labour Party
...
Israel Israel Labour Party
Israel Meretz-Yachad Party
Italy Democrats of the Left, DS
Italy Socialist Party, PS
...
Norway Norwegian Labour Party, DNA
...
Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE
Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP
...
USA Democratic Socialists of America, DSA
...

Source

Principles of the Socialist International


Parties more to the left (mainly communist parties) work in Europe together on a platform aka European Left
0 Replies
 
Senter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Sep, 2017 10:06 am
@Merry Andrew,
Quote:
Inasmuch as I did not intiiate this thread, I don't think it is my place to offer such a definition. I would simply like to know what y'all are talking about. I have this nagging feeling that when you say 'Socialism', you mean something quite different from what Cyclo means by the same word, and different again from Walter's definition. You, Lone Voice, seem to think (just as an example) that the Scandinavian countries do not have socialist governments. I don't think Herr Hinteler would agree with you.

So, again, what do you mean by 'Socialism'?

It is true that a meaningful discussion cannot be had if participants use the same key words to mean different things. So I suggest we look at the most widely accepted source of the ideas and theories of "socialism", and that would be Karl Marx. Whenever anyone speaks of "socialism", more people consider it to be a Marxian idea than any other source of the idea. So, what did Marx say about socialism?

He said that socialism is the "antidote," or response to, or solution to capitalism and its growing problems as it decays. He said that whereas capitalism is characterized by private ownership of industry ("means of production") and by exploitation of the working class, socialism ends private ownership and so it is the workers who own and control industry under socialism. So if the workers/"working class" do not in fact own and in fact control business, it isn't socialism. But if they do, it is socialism. And worker ownership and control is THE goal and purpose of socialism.

The existence of social programs that are beneficial to the people is not indicative of worker-ownership of the means of production. So it isn't socialism unless that ownership and control is a fact. Likewise, government ownership and control of industry, while accepted definitions in capitalist countries may say otherwise, is not socialism without workers being in direct control. Such an arrangement is found in the USSR and in China and other "communist" countries and that arrangement is correctly called "state capitalism" since it does not change the relationship workers have with regard to the control and ownership of business.

Hence, socialism is an economic system in which workers actually own and actually control business and production.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Sep, 2017 10:13 am
@Senter,
You must discuss with Andrew in a different world - he died a couple of years ago.
Senter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Sep, 2017 01:44 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I wouldn't have known that.
Senter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2017 05:48 pm
@Senter,
Can we not continue this discussion without him?
0 Replies
 
 

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