- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Barry Stoller on January 19, 19100 at 15:28:45:

In Reply to: Can you define 'liberal' please, and explain why you think it's an insult? posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on January 19, 19100 at 10:53:48:

: Can you define 'liberal' please, and explain why you think it's an insult? I use it as an insult too, but more because of its connotations than because of anything else.

Liberal, originally, meant someone advocating 'freedom for all men,' the rousing slogan of the nascent bourgeoisie in the progressive struggle against the feudal lords and monarchs.

Once the bourgeoisie gained and consolidated power (ending feudalism), they set up capital's perfect state-form, the parliament---and with it the illusory 'democracy' of representation for (not by) 'eveyone' (read: for only the bourgeois).

Then capital grew and grew...

And various technological advancements (supporting more and more material abundance) clashed with capital's internal contradictions (periodic crises of overproduction, tendency toward un- or underemployment, imperialism) and the 'welfare state' became not only materially possible but politically expedient (see Lenin's Imperialism, the highest form of capitalism).

The term 'liberal' then changed into something close to its negation; the liberal of the late 20th century came to mean procapitalist 'reformer,' someone willing to use the state apparatus for redistributive measures, i.e. 'tax and spend liberal' (Democrat).

This form of liberalism has, I believe, the same (capitalist) basis as the former, it is only that its expression, its former progressive quality (fighting against feudalism), is now characterized by a regressive quality (bribing the proletariat to stay in business).

That's dialectics...

Marx: 'What constitutes dialectical movement is the co-existence of two contradictory sides, their conflict and their fusion into a new catagory' (The Poverty of Philosophy, International n.d., p. 95).

It is the latter manifestion of 'liberal' that I often accuse of you.

Because: I do believe that supporting private property supports the bourgeoisie---even when it does so to mitigate the inequities of capitalism.

Certainly you also support socialism (of a sort).

It is what I call a petty bourgeois 'socialism,' a socialism that retains 'some' private property.

Engels: 'It is the essense of bourgeois socialism to want to maintain the basis of all the evils of present-day society and at the same time time to want to abolish the evils themselves' (The Housing Question, International n.d., p. 46).

I believe that 'some' private ownership of of the means of production in socialist societies leads inexorably to the restoration of capitalism. I base this conclusion on the U.S.S.R., China, Vietnam, and Cuba (about to buckle).

No insult is intended.

Indeed, I rather like you (although I often disagree with you).

P.S. I was being pretty hard on peasants in that last post. Obviously, communists stay close to any and all class struggles, attempting to sway the oppressed in a progressive (communist) direction.

Communists only 'give up' momentarily (when they're tired late at night)...

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