- Capitalism and Alternatives -

That's that, then.

Posted by: MDG on March 02, 19100 at 18:10:59:

In Reply to: I couldn't buy enough drinks and laugh at enough jokes to get the middle class to support communism; only class crisis will do that posted by Barry Stoller on March 02, 19100 at 10:24:15:

: And I insist that 'a desire for nonviolent change' in a regime where change is NOT POSSIBLE without revolution is worse than surrender---it is opportunism.

And I insist that a nonviolent revolution is possible. I'm not talking pacifism, I'm talking nonviolence of the kind espoused by M. Gandhi.

: You are, by your own admission, middle class. The middle class, history has shown, vacillates between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. ONLY the proletariat has 'nothing to lose but his / her chains.' If you had my job, scanning items at a cash machine day in and day out for six dollars and fifty cents an hour with no benefits to save your life, you might have a different take on 'gradual reforms' and 'nonviolent change.'

I can't argue with that.

:The middle class will always be an uncertain comrade in the cause of proletarian revolution (and rule).

Always? That's a matter of opinion, isn't it?

: That's one reason I've never bothered to cajole or flatter you, MDG. I've always known your class orientation will never bring you over to the proletarian cause until a crisis forces you to choose sides (and then, you'll join the proletariat for all the wrong reasons).

My initial reaction to that last barb was to aim a variety of four-letter words in your direction. Suffice it to say that just as I don't know what goes on in the mind of a working-class person like yourself because I'm not working class, you don't know what's going on in my mind because you're not middle class.

: I know your objections well: 'But I have risked my neck for animal rights, my wife defends poor people in court.' All well and good. But: your 'good deeds' are your personal choice. You don't do 'good deeds' because SOCIETY expects such of you. You do them as you want and for as long as you want. And you choose WHICH 'good deeds' to do. You can always change your mind later. The problem with your position is that you choose to help the 'unfortunate.' Let me assure you that we 'unfortunate' would just assume have the POWER to help ourselves.

Give it a break, Barry. You're whining here.

: That's the essential difference between a middle class orientation and a proletarian one.

I think you err in reducing everyone to only one characterisic: their class. People are more complicated than that. But that's your prerogative as a Marxist, and I won't presume to tell you you're wrong.
But I hold a different opinion.

: : Maybe I've mischaracterized your idea of what revolution is. Maybe you don't picture a 21st century American version of Che & Fidel versus Batista. If not -- or even if -- feel free to explain your vision in this regard.

: I most certainly do NOT envision revolution in the Castroist mode. Remember that Castro rejected the mass movement in the city (including the entire communist party), preferring to isolate his group and, ultimately, his group's final victory. Although Castro had the passive support of many people, he did not bring the people into conflict with the capitalist regime (an essential Leninist precondition for popular proletarian revolution). Castro's isolated victory was the sort of adventurism that the uninformed erroneously call vanguardism. I reject ALL revolutions that lack mass participation. Castro is nothing more than a 'kindly, old' Stalin. He---and all of his ilk---are a disgrace to communism.

: Does that clear things up a bit?

I wish you hadn't gotten so specific there. I didn't intend for you to dissect the Cuban revolution. I was asking if the revolution you desire/expect/prescribe for the United States is akin to Castro's, in that people take up arms in an active military campaign against Gov't forces.

: : Would the United States circa 2000 be a better place if 225 years ago we had not militarily engaged the British Empire? Hard to say, of course, but maybe gradual peaceful change to "democracy" would have delivered a truer, more egalitarian democracy today than what we have now.

: You erroneously think that capitalism could evolve from feudalism.

But it did, eventually. Anyway, I was talking about the U.S.' independence movement from Great Britain. Again, who's to say that if our country's ancestors had used a different, less militaristic approach to gaining independence, the democracy we have now might not be as corrupt, and our capatalism not as rapacious?

: The reasons revolutions occur is because the technical advances in production necessitate new social relations in order to bring the new productive forces into being. This is due to the fact that previous social relations IMPEDE the technical advances. The entire foundation of industrialization was a complete repudiation of feudalism. The idea of 'feudal reforms' bringing industrialization (and its social relations, capitalism) into being is utter nonsense. Feudalism had to go---all of it, that's why a revolution was a (historic) necessity.

: The same dynamic exists between capitalism, which holds back the potential abundance of industrialization from those who produce it, and socialism, which will free the productive forces of society, creating much more abundance (and for everyone).

That's the kind of Marxist theory which I won't comment on at this time.

: IMPORTANT NOTE: None of this is intended to be a glorification of war or terror or any of the very ugly measures that accompany all revolutions. Personally, I'd prefer to see the capitalist minority 'come around' and surrender their militias and missiles when the overwhelming proletariat finally confronts them. However, as this would constitute a historical aberration, communists should not expect such easy going! Instead, in order to be honest, they must inform the workers that the struggle for class rule WILL be a violent struggle. To expect otherwise is foolishly utopian and / or disingenuous.


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