- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I suppose I'll have to respond to this....

Posted by: Lark on December 13, 1999 at 17:13:31:

In Reply to: Here's a problem (or two) for Lark posted by Barry Stoller on December 11, 1999 at 21:26:06:

: When Lark is not repeatedly asserting that Frenchy is a fascist, he is repeatedly asserting that Iím a proto-stalinist.

Fine.

: In addition, Lark has claimed here that, instead of debating issues fully, I dodge issues.

I might've done that too, it doesnt help if the minute you try to get a word in you have a squad of people jumping and shouting Liberal!! Liberal!! Petti-Bourgousie!!! Petti-Bourgousie!!! and shit does it?

: Both these claims are patently false.

: I have made my UNCONDITIONAL aversion to Stalin clear here.

It's easy to blame systems etc. on individuals, however if I where to say I dont like monarchy, I just say it, I dont say I didnt like King James, King Louis nasty peace of work, King William what a bastard, I just say Monarchy bad idea. Barry doesnt, apparently Russia was a great workers paradise under Lenin but it changed under Stalin, just like that, I dont think it's very socialist to suggest that we should hope for the best from a new system of monarchy.

:I have argued in detail that Leninism is NOT Stalinism here.

What's in a name? Would Stalinism have resulted in the murder of the Kronstadt sailors? Gunmen are gunmen whatever they call themselves.

:In BOTH posts, I have taken particular care NOT to absolve the Bolsheviks for the extreme centralism that enabled Stalin to seize control of the Soviet state.

So what happened? Was Stalin a magician? Did he work some incredible magical spell to change everything? Or perhaps the culture among socialists created by Lenin's vanguardism of obediance and submission to the 'Right or Wrong my party' notion layed the ground work.

: As far as debate tactics are concerned, it is Lark who regularly dodges issues.

I'm responding am I not?

: Exhibit A: Lark claimed here that Chomsky repudiated Skinner because he (Chomsky) had apprehensions about 'subtle manipulation' of human behavior. I pointed out here (with a clear citation from Chomsky's writings) that Chomsky specifically accused Skinner of advocating Nazi-style gas ovens---a blatant lie. When confronted with this evidence, Lark qualified Chomsky's smear, saying (here) that because Chomsky is an 'anarchist,' he is 'entitled to be paranoid and sensitive about manipulation of human behavior.' However, the 'manipulation of human behavior' is EXTREMELY FAR from advocating death camps. In conclusion, Lark could only respond that he never even read Chomsky's book (attacking Skinner) in the first place.

What do you want me to say Barry? I dont need to defend Chomsky, he can do that himself if he's that worried about what your saying.

: Exhibit B: Discussing Trotsky, Lark quoted Bernard Crick (known for his biography of George Orwell) quoting Isaac Deutscher (known for his biography of Joseph Stalin) quoting Trotsky saying something to the effect of 'my party, right or wrong, is always right.' Which, as Lark pointed out, is a justification for blind obedience. When I demonstrated here that Crick actually cooked the quote, all Lark could do say was: the issue 'doesn't make a difference. . .either way.'

One question, did it prevent russia no it didn't so your wrangling over Trotskyism, while it may mean something to the idle academics in their ivory towers, doesnt really mean anything to the executed socialist dissidents of Kronstadt who found out exactly what Trotsky meant by submission to the party's will, the leaders will.

: But that's NOT TRUE.

: Like before (regarding Skinner), I suspect Lark wanted to get out in the debate some sensationalist---although false---claims, hoping that even after I proved the claims to be false, other people might only remember the sensationalist part of the claims. Considering that Lark calls 'Stollerism' (or 'Strollerism' when he wants to continually misspell my name to show his intellectual desperation), a 'mix of slanders' (here), this is pretty rich!

Barry this entire post is to some degree a slander, your not challengign my views just my statements and your not even addressing it to me but the gallery, the first posts you made to me where of a similar nature with nonsense like 'Lark, what a liberal' or 'Lark, not a socialist' etc.

: Which all has relevance considering that Lark claims that I advocate a 'gunman's socialism.'

You are a militant state socialist and you advocate total state ownership and authority, at some stage this statist will is going to have to deal with dissent, and not just dissent from the capitalists, at which stage the gunmen of 'true' socialism would no doubt be dispatched to deal with the liberals. How do I know this? Well you havent exactly demonstrated the spirit of persuasion here have you Barry, just rethorical abuse of 'Liberal!!' and setting Chuck on me.

: Which is also patently false.

What because you say so, I hope you never represent me in court.

: I am on record saying that the majority of people must WANT socialism in order for socialism to emerge. Indeed, in this post, I say that the PEOPLE not the party that leads them will hold the guns. This is FAR different than a 'gunman's socialism'---i.e. a socialism predicated on MINORITY rule.

Are you not a state socialist? Do you not attack the idea that diversity can exist in Socialist society? Do you not attack workers self management? It doesnt matter if it is the state or a Trot Mob that acts as the gunmen, after all the state is nothing but an aggregate of individuals some with guns, they are equally evil and enamies of free socialism.

: So we can see the classic Lark debate tactic: sensationalist smears devoid of ANY REALITY; a monotone array of FALSE CLAIMS inculcated aggressively; and the tendency to shrink away from ever SUBSTANTIATING his statements.

Carry on Barry, I think one person believes it.

: Now, let us consider some of Lark's POSITIVE political sentiments. . .

Yes, why dont we, my patience is wasting fast...

: 1. Lark believes that the socialist revolution is made by individuals, not parties.

Exactly, anything that is not a change at the very lowest and least leave is a temporary change, a usurpation.

: 2. Lark claims the working class, due to it's 'anti-intellectualism and fascistic behavior,' is not capable of initiating the socialist revolution.

That is a bit of a generalisation and I believe you are quoting me out of context, however if what you are stating is that I have no love of the working man of marxist mythology and lore then you are spot on.

: 3. Lark questions whether or not 'freedom fighters' even need politics (ideology).

That was an attempt to open up debate on the subject of politics and you have twisted it into some malignant apoliticalism, I hate your capacity to do this Barry, people are left thinking will they make a psot at all because some theorist will look down from their ivory tower and descend to imply that they are ignorant or full of ill intent.

: 4. Lark refutes the existence of a proletariat class as well as a bourgeois class, claiming instead that the 'socilaists/liberal/anarchists/communists/environmentalists/etc.' will face off against everyone who 'oppose[s]' them.

Now who have been the most sucessful this cnetury in revolutionary terms? Those who have made reference to political or ideological criteria or those that have made appeals to class alone, and not just class but an imagined class (What are the specific characteristics of a Proletarian? How do these differ from a Bourgousie?), the lasting global revolution it would appear has been a liberal and then a capitalist one not a marxist and class one. There have even been more cult of leadership and facist revolutions than socialist ones.

: 5. Lark has taken a stand AGAINST what he calls 'absolute' equality, arguing instead for the Rawlsian conception of justice in which 'the distribution of wealth and income need not be equal.'(1)

I have disputed the idea that absolute equality can exist, you can regulate incomes but not the use of that income, even if you could, unless you where able to through eugenics or genetic modification, you could not abolish the inequality that exists as a result of the individual uniqueness of human beings.

: 6. Indeed, Lark confirms this premise and has come out into the open so far as to say: '[C]omplete freedom of income isn't my dream.'

: So---UNEVEN incomes is part of Lark's 'socialism.'

Income doesnt feature as a concern for me at all really, I am not so envious to be annoyed by people earinging more than me if it is not an unjust and ludicrous divide.

: 7. Agreeing that job rotation would be beneficial, Lark nonetheless would subordinate that program (as explicated here) to something he calls 'liberty in the workplace.'

What is wrong with that?

: 8. When I questioned what 'liberty in the workplace' means, Lark described it as people 'performing DIFFERENT tasks,' insisting that 'taking an interest in DIFFERENT tasks is not the same as establishing a hierarchy with status and authority.'

There is a difference in the strength of me and the strength of a bear, now are you going to abolish the bear because it is a gross act of hierarchy and inequality?

: 9. When I expressed my concern that 'liberty in the workplace' might assign one person nothing but desired skilled work while consigning undesired unskilled work to others, Lark said his 'bottom line' was 'my freedom is mine.'

Exactly.

: Here we finally arrive at the core of Lark's political philosophy: transparent emptiness.

Damn it I've been found out, how did I fool everyone for so long? (Sarcasm)

: According to Lark, 'liberty' is the most important thing.

One of the most important things.

: But the question freedom to, freedom from? is NEVER CONFRONTED. 'Liberty' for some people to run the state while others have the 'liberty' to do the laundry? 'Liberty' for the bourgeoisie to alienate and exploit the labor of the working class?---or 'liberty' for the working class to rise up against their bourgeois masters and DEMOLISH all institutions of inequality? Because Lark refuses to acknowledge that class differences even EXIST, he will never confront the issue.

Hey, I said that liberty to and from where of equal importance, stop fooling around Barry.

: Just as he never answered the challenges he faced concerning Chomsky and Crick.

What challenges? I dont care if you attack people I've made reference to, my ideas are my own.

: And THAT, in my opinion, is why Lark has nothing really useful to say.

Funny that you have to attack me so then Barry, no matter you dont annoy me that much and provided you did pull any of you gunman shit on me, I'd buy you a pint with the rest of them.

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: Note:

: 1. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press 1971, p. 61.
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