- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Libertarian socialist response

Posted by: Lark on April 14, 1999 at 17:19:22:

In Reply to: The 'Crimes' of the Left, or: Why Stalin&Mao are not posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on April 12, 1999 at 18:57:00:

Now I call this a libertarian socialist response because I dont thik that nationalisation etc. are so valuable to the socialist but have taken on a kind of religious position that I want to refute but I dont call it an anarchist response because I have no problem with an exemplary democratic and libertarian institution operating to co-ordinate the necessary organisation of a complex society.

: Someone has recently made a reference to "the Left and its theft and murder." I would like herein to make the argument that the Left has committed relatively little theft and murder and that on the whole it has very little to be ashamed of.

It has still done so. However take heart that the heros of the left are remembered (even when they ordered mass killings) for self-sacrifice and martyrdom, everyone from Guevara to Martin Luther King, not like the heros of the right celebrated for either sucessfully massacring people or swindling people, Hitler or Wall street icons of propertarianism.

: The theft contention is easily refuted. How can you steal from people who don't deserve what they own.

Here, here.

:generally, properties that ahve been nationalized by leftist govrenments were either things taht clearly ought to be public property (e.g. mines, banks) or factories and farms where the woners were not producing anything of value anyway.

Now here's the anti-nationalisation agrument. Hayek, Friedman and the champions of the New Right propertarians advocated the direct and creation of state industry to assist in the running of the economy.

Anyone who wants a consistant smooth running economy is going to employ a mix of public private production and sale. Keynes was a liberal and thought up the idea of positive state intervention as a remedy to the demands of labour and a means of taking the wind form socialism's sails.

Propertarianism, the New Right etc. are just the product of an atmosphere in which mega powerful supernational companies have got increaingly cocky and attempted to protray themselves as more powerful than governments and able to fulfil their role but at the end of the day the market dont provide public goods or would do so with dubious virtue EG private armies and police arent a good idea in my opinion, there's enough problems with brutality and misconduct from the "accountable" ones.

So socialists should be concentrating on other things the theft argument's been done and we know it isnt holding water.

: As for "murder", let's first say that Communism may take many forms. Included are broad-based party-states (Vietnam, Cuba), which may not be "elected in the multiparty sense, but also multiparty democracies (Nicaragua), states within a social-democratic or even capitalistic superstructure (Kerala) or ytransitional coalition governments (Thomas Sankara).

Could you tell me more about this coalition phenomena I think it's interesting-I'd love it, all set for utopia here?, if a coalition of every sort of leftist could take the revolution forward and then become the "government" in a mixture of existing and participatory democracy.

It's maybe impossible and do you really want stalinists in with you but then it's just a wee blue sky day dream thing.

:one type of regime taht CANNOt eb communit in any meaningful sense, hwoever, si teh one-man dictatorship of teh type pioneered by mao, Stalin and Saloth Sar.

Here, Here!! I'd add to that regular dictatorships too.

:In these systems teh vanguard party was clearly subordinate to one man, as is evidenced by the frequent purges and the emanation of directives from teh central leader. As communism depends on democracy, a regime can eb communist only inasmuch as some form of democracy (multiparty, participatory, or other) is practiced. In a one-man dictatorship, obviously thsi criterion is not met. therefore, Stalin and Mao were dictators, while Castro's Cuba is patently not.

I wouldn't make excuses for Cuba praise them where they've been right but never, NEVER, NEVER spare the rod where they've done wrong. Cuba's got a sort of iconoclastic position in Socialist lore, I used to think along the same lines until I read, through Amnesty International, about this political prisoner who was imprisoned for religious reasons and working for reform, BUT HE WAS A SOCIALIST, Christ this guy could have been me!!

: therefore, I refsue to consider the monstrous crimes of mao, Stalin, etc. in the assessment, because these governments were not true leftists. This is particularly evident in Stalin's case. An anti-scientific, warmongering inciter of racial passions, he betrayed everything teh LEFT stands for. Calling Stalin a leftist is like calling the Unabomber a capitalist.

I thought the Unabomber was a capitalist but anyway, I'd avoid the true and false socialist/leftist argument aside he didnt fall from the sky and if checks where in place he couldnt have taken his position.

People shouldnt have faith in party, state, leader or nation these abstractions will kill them but themselves and active socialists.

: Next point. the executions in places liek Cuba, small in number 9castro killed 12,000 in 40 years by teh broadest assessment I've seen, while the capitalist Batistakilled 20,000 in seven) nevertheless did occur. The difference is, tehse people were executed for committing crimes. You amy argue taht what they did was not actually criminal or seditious. But the fact is, they were not arbitrarily killed, tehy were killed for crimes committed. the US, too, kills and imprisons peopel for sedition. Cuba defines sedition a little more loosely, that's all. generally, the true communist states were less into the arbitrary elimination of racial groups, teh punishment for collective crimes, and teh killing to spread terror than were rightist regimes like indonesia, the DR under Trujillo and the Contras. Witness Trujillo's murder of 40,000 Haitian migrants as scapegoats for a financial crisis, Obviously, Stalin and mao went in for all tehse things in a big way. But as I previously stated, they led neither democracies nor real party states (the party in both countries was weak and powerless, being constantly purged.) therefore, the pathological regimes of Stalin and Mao are not communsit but rather one-man dictatosrhips.

It doesnt do much for your case comparing left crimes with right ones, I'd simply condemn it all and leave the apologetics up to the tankies and stalinist nationalists.

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