- Capitalism and Alternatives -

if you don't struggle - things stay the same.

Posted by: andy ( resistance, australia ) on October 15, 1999 at 19:38:33:

In Reply to: Utopias perform a very, very important component of any ideology, they inspire and motivate posted by Lark on October 11, 1999 at 13:02:27:

> Have you been to Cuba or China and seen the Marxist society in operation? It's pretty oppressive you know.

I would consider that the same as saying "have you ... seen the Historicist society in operation?" or " have you ... seen the Biologist society in operation?"

This is what V.I Lenin had to say on what Marxism was:

"Marxism is the system of Marx's views and teachings. Marx was the genius who continued and consummated the three main ideological currents of the nineteenth century, as represented by the three most advanced countires of mankind: classical German philosophy, classical English political economy, and French socialism combined with French revolutionary doctrines in general."

Marxism is a guide to action to getting rid of class society - nothing more. And the term "Marxism" is a bit problematic having been named after a person. We don't call physicists who agree with Einstein's theory of relativity - "Einsteinists" - do we.

Cuba is a struggling and very poor socialist society that paradoxically doesn't enjoy socialism. Yes they haven't wiped out oppression and yes some of it is from the government (who is in charge of protecting the lifestyle that over 85% of the people support - so they are a bit paranoid of stuff and they lock up a couple too many people). I wouldn't have called it a Marxist society though.

Cuba --- despite not enjoying the material conditions for socialism (abundance) because of a 37 year economic blockade (and also socialism can't survive in one country surrounded by capitalism) --- has 1) a society that was heaps better than the previous one. 2) more doctors per capita than the US and have free health cover and free education for primary, secondary and tertiary students. 3) a society where human beings become the priority in the making of economic decisions.

This is undeniable - these are the facts. Why don't you know these things? True, the Cubans are as poor as hell and I would probably prefer to live in Australia than Cuba but that's more because I'm used to this stinking corpse of a society. Go the Cubans I say.

Have you seen a Bourgeois society in operation? It's pretty oppressive you know. The difference between us and Cuba is that Bourgeois societies have limitless piles of capital to prop up THEIR society's social cohesion (advertising, monopoly of information technology, more and more chances to win, win, win a new car) and so we say our society is better than theirs because of all the gloss and glamour.

China is the classic example of capitalist ideologues very simple but effective weapon. What's the best way to discredit Communism? Put it in front of the word China.

This way you get communism being equated with a planned, rational economy ruled over by an undemocratic (and therefore dictatorial) bureaucracy. Every thing about China has become "Communist China". Read all the Western accounts of things to do with China - their rifles were from Communist China. The traps laid by the National Liberation Front in Vietnam were "communist traps". And anyway China has slowly taken on an acceptance of private capitalist relations of production and we reckon that its enough to say that China can now be described as a capitalist society.

> Utopias perform a very, very important component of any ideology, they inspire and motivate, as well as providing a blueprint as to what would be preferable to the existing order for debate.

On the one hand if you can call the dream of a better world a "utopia" then sure but on the other hand -- that's crap. Unrealistic dreams are just that - unrealistic. It can't happen. But utopian strategies for change are also obstacles in the development of class struggle. They become diversions. Sometimes its consciously applied - an example is the idea that recycling will save the planet - utopian when you realise that if 100% of people in the US recycled 100% of their personal waste, 99% of the country's solid waste would remain (from "Toxic Sludge is good for you").

> Besides the significance of class is shrinking of the political map.

Really? So you're saying that class oppression is lessening? Bullshit!! Fuck me dead - IMF style austerity packages are in operation all over the world. People are only just getting a glimpse at the kind of support of western countries for brutal regimes in low wage countries eg weapons sales and army training for the Indonesian military dictatorship while East Timorese get slaughtered for the second time by the same economic "friends" of Britain, the US and Australia.

>> What have the capitalists been forced to do to counter this crisis of over-production? Hello planned obsolescence! And don't forget the production of totally useless crap just to keep the economy growing. Also don't forget the crap comes complete with the packaged, 30-second lie that is the TV advertisement urging you to consume.

> I like much of that crap, I dont want to live in a nation where the primary produce are cabbage or something.

Sigh. The common conception of communism is 1) lower standard of living 2) less individual freedom 3) no democracy.

Do you think that's what we want? Cabbage?

I'm beginning to think you're simply pissing in the wind with vague sociological proclamations of whatever. I don't usually encourage name calling but I'm a firm believer in shaking people's ideological foundations that were taught to them and they can't disentangle from - and if you're really interested in debating alternatives to capitalism, a good start is to try to understand just what capitalism is.

We have a saying in our organisation - in order to change the world, you must first try to understand it. In order to understand the world, you must first try to change it. Without both, you have nothing.

The last thing I want to do as a serious "marxist revolutionary" is to just piss in the wind and never be relevant. And I'm pretty confident about my efforts so far (3 years).

>> So we find it hard to take seriously anyone who isn't testing their ideas out on the street, at every upsurge against the evils of this society.

> Are you suggesting I'm not?

Yes. But I would love to be proved wrong - my ego would lose but the movement would gain. So what DO you do on the streets, Lark?


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