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Has marxist communism become outdated?

 
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 11:35 pm
Ofcause his book was written over a sentuary ago, do you think marxism has become out dated due to the changes in the world, if so why?
If not why?
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Necron99
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 06:29 am
@Ali phil,
No, Marxism is extremely relevant today. Just because Stalinism has failed doesn't mean that true Marxist-Bolshevism, (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Cannon, etc.) still isn't political standpoint to hold today. And of course I am biased because I am a communist, but I will explain myself. The main thing people level against the "outdated" aspect of Marxism is they believe that the working class has dissapeared. But this is simply not true. The term "middle class" is stressed in capitalist media, but the definition has stretched so far that basically it can include a janitor and a corporate lawyer in essentially the same class. (Hence the concession of "lower" versus "upper" middle class). This to me is a ridiculous definition of class, and a harmful one to make us ignore real social problems in our world and community. Today, approximately 84% of the United States (and all other industrialized nations) are proletarians. Proletarian as a defintion of class has nothing to do with income, where you work, if you are "blue collar" or "white collar." If you earn a salary or a wage, you are a proletarian. All proletarian means is that you sell your labor. Yes, their is a gradient of income within the working class, and imperialism has given rise to what we call a "labor aristocracy" (the upper crust of the working class whose incomes are high due to the higher profits reaped by capitalists as a result of globalization and imperialism). There is a great article that I highly recommend that everyone read that puts us back on the road of Marxist class struggle:

Has working class consciousness collapsed?

Also, historical materialism, the Marxist analysis of history that is the basis of Marxist philosophy and politics, is still very relavant today and is used by anthropologists, historians, etc.

If anyone has more questions on the relevance of Marxist-Bolshevism today I can expand....
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 07:07 am
@Ali phil,
Ali;154320 wrote:
Ofcause his book was written over a sentuary ago, do you think marxism has become out dated due to the changes in the world, if so why?
If not why?


Has the doctrine of the divine right of kings become outdated? Both it, and Marxism have been thrown on the garbage heap of history. Both doctrines are based on false beliefs. These have caught up with both of them.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 07:39 am
@kennethamy,
I have always thought of communism as the ideal ideology that does not recognise humanity is not ready for it. Or it does not consider mans inability to place others before him self. When man has no need to want more and more or has the essential moral fortitude to be grateful with an equal share, then communism would be the natural outcome.

It reminds me of the ancient monastries where the common good is more important than the individual. In its perfection, who can say thats wrong.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 07:59 am
@xris,
xris;160790 wrote:
I have always thought of communism as the ideal ideology that does not recognise humanity is not ready for it. Or it does not consider mans inability to place others before him self. When man has no need to want more and more or has the essential moral fortitude to be grateful with an equal share, then communism would be the natural outcome.

It reminds me of the ancient monastries where the common good is more important than the individual. In its perfection, who can say thats wrong.


I think you are confusing Communism with Utopianism. Something that Marx was dead set against. He despised Utopians.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 08:24 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;160798 wrote:
I think you are confusing Communism with Utopianism. Something that Marx was dead set against. He despised Utopians.


I find it interesting that his feelings were such, given that the very existence of Marxism as an ideal smacks of utopia. What were his thoughts, I wonder about the realities of achieving ideals.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 08:29 am
@Ali phil,
Ali;154320 wrote:
Ofcause his book was written over a sentuary ago, do you think marxism has become out dated due to the changes in the world, if so why?
If not why?
Never really think it has been good for anything at any time, it lacked extremely much knowledge of psycology, of group behaviour, of greed, stress, psycosis, skizophrenia ..etc, thus not taking account of weaknesses and shortcoming in humans, and their behaviour.

It's economy model was just as bad, even worse than the model it was designed to replace.

Imo Marx was immensly naive and shortshighted.

Though his model may fit a world that is at peace, with no copetetive economy or buisnesses ..etc, with super savants that does not need leaders.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 08:54 am
@wayne,
wayne;160806 wrote:
I find it interesting that his feelings were such, given that the very existence of Marxism as an ideal smacks of utopia. What were his thoughts, I wonder about the realities of achieving ideals.


Marx thought that the Utopians were not realistic enough about what they wanted to achieve, and especially about the means required to achieve those goals. He thought they were, what nowadays we would call, wimps. Marx, of course, like his worthy successor Lenin, thought (like Stalin, Lenin's worthy successor) that you "could not make an omelet without breaking eggs". In other words, without murdering a lot of people. And, the more the merrier.
And, of course, Stalin was an enthusiastic murderer.
Necron99
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 10:27 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;160816 wrote:
Marx thought that the Utopians were not realistic enough about what they wanted to achieve, and especially about the means required to achieve those goals. He thought they were, what nowadays we would call, wimps. Marx, of course, like his worthy successor Lenin, thought (like Stalin, Lenin's worthy successor) that you "could not make an omelet without breaking eggs". In other words, without murdering a lot of people. And, the more the merrier.
And, of course, Stalin was an enthusiastic murderer.



Hm, this is not true at all. "Wimps" is not the right word for Utopians. More "unrealistic." I will concede yes, Marx, Engels and Lenin did believe that a violent revolution was necessary to overthrow capitalism. This was more of a description than a prescription, because just about every social revolution in history has been met with some sort of violence, to one degree or another. But to call Marx, Engels and Lenin advocates of mass murder is like calling Rousseau, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson or even Abraham Lincoln "mass murderers." We communists are not pacifists, but we genuine Marxists do not advocate senseless violence. We believe that violence is most likely to be necessary in the creation of a worker's state, and that the state will be defending itself against counter-revolution. Thats just the nature of revolution, and the less violent the merrier. Lenin, in a letter to the American workers, said something along the lines that a peaceful revolution would be wonderful, but that all depends on the actions of the ruling class using their state against the masses. Let us not forget that the actual Bolshevik Revolution, the actual seizing of power by the soviets of state power, was essentially bloodless, and the civil war didn't start until 1918 with the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Pact, the dissolution of the constituent assembly (which had actually been pushed for and called upon by the Bolhseviks prior to the October Revolution and was dissolved for denying the will of the majority of the populace in the soviets.) Just about every social revolution that I can think of that ended in violence was a defensive act on the part of the revolutionaries. (American 1776 revolution-defense against British and Tory reactionaries, French Revolution-defense against monarchist forces, American Civil War-defense of the legitamcay of the bourgeois republic against the semi-Feudal South, Paris Commune-defense against French Army, etc. etc.) The same can be said of the RSFSR: the Soviet Republic was defending itself against the counter-revolutionary forces (not to mention 14 foreign nations who were invading at the time) I do not deny that atrocities were commited, even if the White Forces were far more atrocious than the Reds (which they were). But can we condemn the revolution, or its revolutionary leaders, for making a revolution? If so, we must be able to condemn revolutionaroes who bourgeois society upholds as heros as well. I do not condemn any of these revolutionaries, but I do not try to legitimize that which cannot really be legitimized: war. I think war is a sad and horrible thing, but I doubt its going to go away so long as there is class inequality. So I think the attack on Lenin, Marx and Engels is not called for.

And now, of course, to the Stalin question. Plain and simple, Stalin was not Lenin's "worthy successor." Lenin never really saw much in Stalin except that he was just another Bolshevik party member. Stalin was given the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party RSFSR when Lenin was ill, but this says nothing of Lenin's "respect" for Stalin. That post was, when Lenin held it, nothing more than managerial post that had to gain votes just like everyone else. In fact, the record shows that Lenin was often in the minority of the party and had to fight hard to win a majority vote, whereas as what Stalin said, went. Stalin completely destroyed the deomcratic functioning of both the worker's councils and the party itself. Stalin's actions were a reaction against both Marx and Lenin's ideas for a worker's state. Even with the concept of the vanguard party, Lenin constantly defended the concept against attacks of Blanquism, constantly saying that "we are Marxists, not Blanquists." This means that the party depended on mass support, unlike Stalins concpetion of beauracratic centralism in which orders come from above, instead of the actual Leninist conception of Democratic Centralism, in which a voluntary organization of pro-revolutionary activists, united in agreement with a general political program, would vote and the majority rule would decide party policy (NOT group thought, as Stalin would have it.) The idea of inner party factions in the Bolshevik Party was a given until the introduction of the NEP, when economic conditions where so bad that the party needed much more unity. I don't agree with Lenin's banning of factions, but I do understand it was only a temporary measure and was even decided on by a majority vote. Unfortunately, the opportunist Stalin would raise this temporary measure to a level of principle. And of course, we see niether in the works of Marx or Engels, or in any of Lenins works from WITBD to his greatest and most fundamental work The State and Revolution. In fact, Lenin has multiple drafts of constitutions and essays in which he constantly calls for first amendment type rights. After all, it was Lenin who said "Any cook should be able to run a country." And let us not forget Lenin's last testaments, where he clearly denounces Stalin and other beauraucratic and opportunist types in the party and, in his articles on reorganization, lays down a plan for improved education for Russia, electrification of the entire nation, and most importantly, the reorganization of the worker's and peasants inspection, which was an entirely non-partisan (as in it wasnt all one party) organization of the masses that was responsible for checking the power of the soviet beuracracy. Lenin also stressed that power in the central executive commitee needed to be spread up to "100 people" (actual quote) so that executive power was not in the hands of one or a few. I will post the testaments, which were supressed by Stalin, on here in their English translation.

Lenin's Last Works

---------- Post added 05-06-2010 at 12:30 PM ----------

xris;160790 wrote:
I have always thought of communism as the ideal ideology that does not recognise humanity is not ready for it. Or it does not consider mans inability to place others before him self. When man has no need to want more and more or has the essential moral fortitude to be grateful with an equal share, then communism would be the natural outcome.

It reminds me of the ancient monastries where the common good is more important than the individual. In its perfection, who can say thats wrong.



Hm, I would argue that this is the Utopian vision of communism, not the Marxist one.

---------- Post added 05-06-2010 at 12:34 PM ----------

Quote:
I find it interesting that his feelings were such, given that the very existence of Marxism as an ideal smacks of utopia. What were his thoughts, I wonder about the realities of achieving ideals.


I posted this on another thread the other day, and its imo a good, down to earth way of distinguishing Marxist socialism from Utopian or Anarchist views of socialism.
Quote:
No, I m not an anarchist. I believe that our society should strive toward a stateless society, but unlike anarchists, I don't think abolishing the state immediately will solve the problem. The state, as I see it, is rooted in the irreconcilable struggle between classes, in this case working class vs. capitalist class. Currently, the capitalist state is predominantly in power throughout the nations of the world. I believe that a worker's state needs to be established as a first phase toward stateless and classless societies, because class division won't disappear overnight. The worker's state, in which the majority working class will be the ruling class, will set the basis for the economic withering away of the capitalist class and the transformation of all members of society into free-laborers, thus eliminating the class division over time. Only then will a stateless society be able to exist, I believe. This is the fundamental difference between Marxist socialism and anarchism. http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/misc/progress.gif http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/edit.gif
xris
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 11:34 am
@Necron99,
Marx may not have invisaged the road to utopia as an easy journey but his intentions had to be a Utopian state. Why else would he make his reasoning known? What did he say the end would be if not the perfect state? The problem lies with misunderstanding mans evolutionary journey.
Necron99
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 06:03 pm
@xris,
xris;160852 wrote:
Marx may not have invisaged the road to utopia as an easy journey but his intentions had to be a Utopian state. Why else would he make his reasoning known? What did he say the end would be if not the perfect state? The problem lies with misunderstanding mans evolutionary journey.


Marx never said that communism would be a perfect society, as in one where human despair does not exist. This is one of the many reasons I am a Marxist as well as an existentialist. From my point of view, and in the way that Marx envisioned it as well, communism would be a society where equal opportunity was a fact, not just an ideal. People would be free to make of themselves what they will, work jobs that they felt passionate about and in general live passionately. Passion entails some level of despair in one's life. It only seems perfect because Marx describes a society without class antagonisms and without organized violence. This seems perfect only to us, but there are a few things one should realize.
1. This argument has been leveled against every single revolutionary movement that has graced the world, and we have progresses with revolution anyway.
2. I can't quite remember the number, but human beings have been on the planet for tens of thousands of years, and only 10,000 of those have involved a classed human society. Marx often said that the societies before communism would be reffered to as the "pre-history of man."

Personally, I think the Iroquois Confederacy came the closest that humanity ever has in the past 2000 years to an advanced, civilized and functioning socialist society (it didn't achieve communism because of the wars with the ruling classes of other American Nations) but crime and such in Iroquois society (which was very advanced) was extremely low. Engels wrote a great deal on the subject and the subject of human behavior and the move toward socialism and communism in his book The Origins of the Family:

Origins of the Family-- Chapter 3

Origins of the Family
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 06:29 pm
@Necron99,
Necron99;160829 wrote:
but we genuine Marxists do not advocate senseless violence.


But, of course. That is why, in the words of Stalin (or any of his moral confreres) "You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs". And breaking an egg is not senseless as long as you want an omelet. On the other hand if the egg (or many eggs) you break are seven to ten million Ukrainian men, women, and children because you think the omelet of collective farms are worth the eggs, that is not senseless, It is sensible. And anyone who would not make that omelet would be utopian (or wimp).

1932-33 genocide in which Stalin's regime murdered 7 million Ukrainians and sent 2 million to concentration camps.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 10:39 pm
@kennethamy,
Marx and Engles considered themselves to be something other than Utopian. I haven't got around to reading this in its entirity

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

but Engles is much easier to read than Marx, at least for me, and I'll probably get around to it eventually. The Utopians include Fourier and Owen. I've read a little Fourier and it is fun stuff in moderation. By Scientific Engles/Marx meant dialectical science which is a consciously different kind of science from the type that Newton set in motion.

I'm still very much trying to figure this stuff out. An important thing to remember is that Marxism is really a type of socialism. Not all socialism is Marxist. Socialism is a general enough term to be useful. Marxism has too much baggage to be still considered a movement and in this sense Marxism is outdated. Socialism however, is not outdated.

The fledgling socialists political philosopher must approach the field of inquiry in an eclectic manner. Taking what is good about Marx and Fourrier and Sorel and et cetera and cobbling together a coherent mission statement. Socialism is offered as an alternative to capitalism or as a narrowing of the domain of capitalism.

As I have said, I am very much still trying to figure this stuff out. Personally, I have found a starting point in the rejection of Mandeville's thesis that "Private vices are public virtues". I simply reject this. Private vices are still vices and ever will be and can never be excused in the name of public benefits. (see Mandeville's satirical poem Fable of the Bees 1705.) My serious exploration of Socialism began with the rejection of Mandeville's thesis. One need not know Marx to reject this thesis.

Yet I don't want to discourage the reading of Marx or any other socialist. The history of Socialism seems hopelessly convoluted on the surface and one almost wants to just clear the slate and start again. But why did it become convoluted? Is it just an accident of history? Is, for example Hegel that accident? Were those convolutions necessary? I think a little serious reading (perhaps a years worth) will put me in a better position to answer these questions.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 06:49 am
@Deckard,
Any common revolt against oppression becomes oppressive, you cant make men moral by intention only by attention. As morality keeps up with mans ethical evolution then it will be by attention to that evolution. Just look at our attitudes over the last hundred years and see how our ethics have developed and advanced our moral obligation in law. The needs of our forefathers were more dire than as ours, so our revolution would look nothing like theirs. America was born from rebellion against oppression does that make them any different to the Russia rebels? Causes, create ideology not ideology, creates causes.
0 Replies
 
Maud Dib
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:17 pm
@Ali phil,
True marxist comunism is no longer practiced. Like all goverments, it holds a solid theory but lacks the cooperation of the governed. Marxism is based on cooperation, and if your like me, you will never cooperate for any reason. But as i said earlier, true marxism has yet to be put into practice for a elongated time. Lenin followed it, although after securing the USSR started to lean more towards a right philosophy, and he simply was not given the time play with Karl's theories in full force.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 11:42 pm
@Maud Dib,
Maud' Dib;161493 wrote:
True marxist comunism is no longer practiced. Like all goverments, it holds a solid theory but lacks the cooperation of the governed. Marxism is based on cooperation, and if your like me, you will never cooperate for any reason. But as i said earlier, true marxism has yet to be put into practice for a elongated time. Lenin followed it, although after securing the USSR started to lean more towards a right philosophy, and he simply was not given the time play with Karl's theories in full force.


Yes, yes. We know. True Marxism could not have been practiced, for had it been practiced, it would not have failed. I adore that argument. It has already been enshrined in the fallacy section of several elementary logic books, usually under the heading of "the fallacy of begging the question". Not even Hegel's Logic can salvage it, although I would not put it past Hegel's Logic to try.
0 Replies
 
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 11:52 pm
@Maud Dib,
Maud' Dib;161493 wrote:
True marxist comunism is no longer practiced. Like all goverments, it holds a solid theory but lacks the cooperation of the governed. Marxism is based on cooperation, and if your like me, you will never cooperate for any reason.

It must be rough never cooperating with anyone.
0 Replies
 
Andy101
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2012 11:11 am
@kennethamy,
As Necron99 explained, Stalin seized power, eliminating the governing power of the workers, and therefore what became sensible violence was only in the perverted mind of Stalin. True democratic workers councils, in conjunction with a Bill of Rights and Constitution, would never have allowed the Ukrainian massacres to occur, or any other genocides or mass deportations (at least, this is the theory).
0 Replies
 
 

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