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Anarchy, Socialism, Communism, and community gardens

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Melchior
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#601

Posted 01 August 2017 - 04:11 AM

I’m admittedly no scholar on the Russian Revolution by any stretch of the imagination. So if ‘state socialism’ and Lenin’s tenure can be described as anything other than a disaster, then I’m all ears.

When I say Leninism is a form of leftism- to a greater or lesser extent compatible with Marxism- I'm not praising Leninism, I'm critiquing leftism. 

 

 

 

So the state is incompatible with socialism in the long run. There’s no denying a transitional period containing a more advanced sense of democracy, especially democracy of the economic variety. Assuming ‘communally’ means a combination of democratic and localized, such a transition is exactly where the focus ought to be. But even that point, it’s regressive to conflate state property with public property at any rate.
 

The state and socialism are incompatible, but a nexus of worker's councils is somewhat of a state. It isn't organic, and is only necessary because they approximate authoritarian structures. Just like parliament- as a blunt office at the head of the state- is an approximation of the power of the king they replaced, so are workers' councils an approximation of the role of a manager, and municipal assemblies are an approximation of the role of a politician. Rotary patrols are an approximation of the police. 

 

Anarchists don't always acknowledge this. In fact, most don't. 

 

Personally I'm moving towards the post-left. Reform vs. revolution is sort of a pointless debate because they both have the same problems: they both depend on rifts in society being rapidly healed or the right being cowed, neither of which is immediately feasible. We need to give people the option to resist now rather than waiting for revolution or reforms, and we need to claim victories that can't be undone. 


Eutyphro
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#602

Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:48 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 01 August 2017 - 02:55 PM.

 

 

But I have more of a connection to it than someone who thinks we live in an individualist society,

We clearly do. There have never been more individualist societies than among others the ones we live in.

 

Really? How about literally every society that doesn't revolve around the assembly line and pre-packaged class identities?

 

So you actually think feudal and other pre capitalist societies had more individual freedom than modern advanced industrial capitalist societies? Clearly the material wealth advanced societies have created has enabled them to increase personal freedom incredibly. And the 'class identities' have also become a lot more fluid, and less fixed, than they are in any other society. So you are wrong. You seem to be romanticizing societies that are very harsh and have very little personal freedom out of opposition to capitalism.


Melchior
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#603

Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:27 PM

So you actually think feudal and other pre capitalist societies had more individual freedom than modern advanced industrial capitalist societies?

 

In terms of state policy? No, although it's of note that feudal states didn't produce a great deal of policy and that you could go your entire life without interacting with the state in any way. Individualism is a political ideal and not a feature of either system. 

 

 

 

You seem to be romanticizing societies that are very harsh and have very little personal freedom out of opposition to capitalism.

Not really, since I view feudalism the same as Capitalism: as a mode of production convenient for the society, premised on the preceding mode of production and associated power structures. The point is: in the Middle Ages people tilled their own fields or made their own artisan goods on their own timetable. They didn't report to a building at eight on the dot for a pre-determined length of time and sit their doing repetitive motions, as cogs in a machine. I'm not romanticising subsistence farming anymore than subsistence pillaging, but neither represented a regimented social life. 

 

 

 

 And the 'class identities' have also become a lot more fluid, and less fixed, than they are in any other society.

Umm, even societies with no or proto class relations? We have less rigid class divisions than our direct predecessors, although that is only because of social movements. Good to know supposedly individualist systems need 'collectivist' movements to iron our the kinks. 

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Fonz
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#604

Posted 01 August 2017 - 05:26 PM Edited by Fonz, 01 August 2017 - 05:38 PM.

To be fair, it's not really true that they worked on their own timetable. The medieval peasantry, in particular the serfs, were the most brutally exploited class of the time, they had to pay tithes, ground taxes (pretty much rent for the use of a plot within the fief or estate), war taxes, a tribute to the royalty/imperial tax, the general hardship of having to meet production quotas, being stripped of the greater part of the product of their work and having to do a bunch of other tasks for the master, who also held rights over the peasant's household (his daughters, for example). Subsistence farming is a bit of a misnomer since the peasant effectively sustained a host of classes rather than himself. The lack of centralization and the urban-rural divide also alienated the vast majority of the peasantry from commerce, made producers' associations difficult and discouraged any rebellions; regardless, this miserable station in life is what led to events like the peasant war in Germany in 1525.

 

It's pretty uncontroversial that capitalism affords greater personal autonomy but we don't have to fall into the trap of ranking modes of production morally, nor is it very useful, since our anti-capitalism is post-capitalist in nature, as opposed to the reactionary anti-capitalism of primitivists.

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Argonaut
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#605

Posted 02 August 2017 - 12:09 PM Edited by Argonaut, 02 August 2017 - 12:11 PM.

As well explained above, serfdom- often going hand in hand with peasantry- was incredibly oppressive. As well documented in my copy of The Old European Order 1660-1800, (a) "serf was not free to move his domicile and not free to marry or take trade without his lord's consent; that he was subject to his lord's private jurisdiction; and above all he owed various services, in cash, kind, labour or all three, to the lord." These often "overwhelmed" serfs, and compounded with the lack of centralization Fonz mentions, the persistent economic decline and weakness of peasant property, the inability of communities to impose authority and a rise in state obligations during the period amount to just some of the many reasons why "until the mid-eighteenth century serfdom went unchallenged as one of the foundations of society". The most striking illustration is that of the most frequent cause of peasant unrest being changes to the price of food- "in short, offering no evidence of profound peasant dissatisfaction with the established order- merely with those who were presumed to be perverting it for their own selfish ends".

 

In this you see how remarkably solidified the feudal order was, even without a great deal of policy from the state. You could almost say the lack of interaction with it is a testament to just how powerful it was, and those working on their own timetable demonstrating the degree of specific influence each lord had over their serfs in a non-voluntary manner.

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Melchior
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#606

Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:07 PM

I'm actually aware that serfs laboured in the manor house and were in a state of quasi-slavery. My point is that they were not directly overseen in the fields. I never claimed that serfs were freer than us (???) I said that their days weren't regimented, which is true. I definitely wasn't ranking feudalism above Capitalism morally. 

 

 

 

You could almost say the lack of interaction with it is a testament to just how powerful it was

It's interesting, the norm is to equate feudalism with force and Capitalism with indoctrination and subtle thought control, though the restrictions you mentioned regarding moving and marriage were often held together more with custom than force and legality.

 

As an aside: I'm fairly sure Lords having a right to peasant women was just a myth. 

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Fonz
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#607

Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:41 PM

A right as in the right to the first night? That's probably a myth, yes, but I was referring to the lord's control over the peasant's daughter through the peasant's obligation to pay a fine (merchet) for his daughter's marriage. I understand lords also had control over the peasants' marriage in general, echoing Argo's citation.

 

Sorry if I misunderstood your original point as apologia for feudalism; I see what you meant now and it is a fair point.

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Eutyphro
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#608

Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:14 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 02 August 2017 - 08:15 PM.

Sorry if I misunderstood your original point as apologia for feudalism

Well, that's what it was right? He was arguing there was more 'individualism' under feudalism than under modern capitalism, which is utterly bizarre and ridiculous.

 

We have less rigid class divisions than our direct predecessors, although that is only because of social movements. Good to know supposedly individualist systems need 'collectivist' movements to iron our the kinks. 

Class divisions changed due to capitalism and liberalism. Of course Keynesian economics eventually played a big role in class divisions becoming even smaller. And the high taxation and public spending of Keynesian economics can be considered 'collectivist movements'. But it occurred within an individualist, capitalist system.

But really I'm just rather confused what you even mean with this part of your comment.
 

feudal states didn't produce a great deal of policy and that you could go your entire life without interacting with the state in any way.

You were free to starve on your own. But you are still free to do so today. So why that would be relevant is unclear to me.
 

Individualism is a political ideal and not a feature of either system. 

Individualism is an effect of a system. It's not merely an abstract ideal. You and me both have a great amount of individualism. We have spare time to hold abstract discussions about individualism on the internet.
 

I said that their days weren't regimented, which is true.

It isn't true. They were pseudo slaves with very regimented lives. Obviously much more regimented than the lives of people living in developed capitalist nations.
 

were often held together more with custom than force and legality.

Custom can also be enforced with force. Custom is not by definition freer than law. But I think you are romanticizing lawlessness.


Argonaut
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#609

Posted 03 August 2017 - 01:58 PM Edited by Argonaut, 03 August 2017 - 02:11 PM.

I'm actually aware that serfs laboured in the manor house and were in a state of quasi-slavery. My point is that they were not directly overseen in the fields. I never claimed that serfs were freer than us (???) I said that their days weren't regimented, which is true. I definitely wasn't ranking feudalism above Capitalism morally.


Saying they weren't directly overseen in the fields is another demonstration of the power of the feudal order, even if you aren't ranking feudalism above Capitalism morally. This apathy to a work regime even when having to meet production quotas seems to fit into the idea that the 'landed' aristocracy were more concerned with maintaining status than expanding wealth, and therefore whatever worked was kept. To maintain this balance, you could say the aforementioned lack of serf power was compounded with a lack of innovation that would threaten such indifferent practices- indeed, "most of European agriculture was as technologically as primitive as it had been, not just in 1660, but for centuries beforehand"- which was sourced from an existing mercantile / protectionist attitude to status. A guess of where this came from would be a perceived lack of peace between countries passed down from earlier decades / centuries that perpetuated the need for economies to be on a 'war-like' footing.

 

It's interesting, the norm is to equate feudalism with force and Capitalism with indoctrination and subtle thought control,

 
One thing worthy of note is how feudalism actually caused the rather individualistic Capitalism in America today, insomuch some of the first waves of migration to America were linked to "rising rents for serfs, uncertain harvests and wild fluctuations in the market" by the hands of many lords who attempted to maintain such an order with the means available to them. It is no surprise that the contrast between living their own life in untouched land and European serfdom has contributed to centuries-long dogged defense of individual rights.

 

though the restrictions you mentioned regarding moving and marriage were often held together more with custom than force and legality.


The whole feudal order was built on a set of often imprecise customs which would, inevitably, be backed up by force -whether from the state or not- and could be seen as some form of de facto legality today. Serfs readily accepted what they 'owned' to their lords and, as mentioned before, offered "no evidence of profound peasant dissatisfaction with the established order". Really it would be a little poor to strictly call this a custom.

 

Individualism is an effect of a system. It's not merely an abstract ideal. You and me both have a great amount of individualism. We have spare time to hold abstract discussions about individualism on the internet.


I don't think a practice (literally what the -ism suffix refers to) is an effect of a system built on another practice- rather you're seeing an element of another in the system. Here you see us practicing independence which would be wrong to conflate with individualism as an element of it can't be equal to it as a whole.

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Melchior
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#610

Posted 03 August 2017 - 02:41 PM

 

Sorry if I misunderstood your original point as apologia for feudalism

Well, that's what it was right? He was arguing there was more 'individualism' under feudalism than under modern capitalism, which is utterly bizarre and ridiculous.

 

 

Woah, you caught me out! I love feudalism. To die for your liege lord is the highest honour in life and you'd do well to accept that, commoner. 

 

My initial comment was referring to proto-civilisations like the Celts and the Five Civilised Tribes. But then you mentioned feudalism in a way dripping with linear-progress ideology. 

 

 

 

But really I'm just rather confused what you even mean with this part of your comment.

Loose class divisions are the result of social movements (which you deride as 'collectivist'*). Under early Capitalism you could tell someones' social status by their hats (flat hats for workers, bowlers for the middle class and top hats for the bourgeoisie).

 

*which for the millionth time, I should be calling you. Read Stirner or something. The idea that you can beat me over the head with individualism is almost as ridiculous as you claiming to align with 'second wave feminism' which is basically synonymous with radical feminism, ie my ideology. 

 

 

 

You were free to starve on your own. But you are still free to do so today. So why that would be relevant is unclear to me.

I'm talking about like highwaymen and more organised brigands. It's not a good thing, my point is more that it doesn't do to forget that we live under the most... physically present states in history. 

 

 

 

It isn't true. They were pseudo slaves with very regimented lives. Obviously much more regimented than the lives of people living in developed capitalist nations.

Fifteen hour work days (the rest of your time is spent in factory dormitories) are common in China. 

 

But at any rate, their lives weren't regimented at all. They were coerced with all kinds of conditions and violence but they weren't physically corralled. Serfs didn't march off to the fields at a set time every morning at the shriek of a whistle. Forcing someone to make you a sandwich is not regimentation. Making someone to make it a certain way is, even if they made the sandwich of their own volition to begin with. Maybe that will make my point clearer. 

 

 

 

Custom can also be enforced with force. Custom is not by definition freer than law. But I think you are romanticizing lawlessness.

I'm not saying it's a good thing that people can be made to accept their place in life without force. Quite the opposite. I just said it was interesting. 

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Triple Vacuum Seal
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#611

Posted 03 August 2017 - 10:52 PM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 03 August 2017 - 10:57 PM.

post-left


That's refreshing seeing as the left and even right for that matter have this somewhat regressive fixation on labor-oriented action. Work (in the sense of productive labor) is becoming obsolete. This can especially be said about labor as it was understood in the times of orthodox leftist thinkers. Technological unemployment will rob workers of the leverage necessary to enable political action through unions and strikes.  Probably already has. Assuming humans live for another century, work will be abolished (w/ some exceptions) long before states could realistically be phased out. 

The struggle for enhanced democracy and universally higher living standards is a more apolitical objective than most are willing to admit.  As you've pointed out, the state can in fact be abolished when the conditions and dilemmas that require its intervention seize to exist.

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Eutyphro
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#612

Posted 04 August 2017 - 03:35 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 04 August 2017 - 03:38 AM.

My initial comment was referring to proto-civilisations like the Celts and the Five Civilised Tribes.

Like any society before industrialization, those civilizations all have very fixed and strict social roles and practices based on tradition and religious authority. The idea that they would be more 'individualist' than modern advanced capitalism is ridiculous. If you want to romanticize such societies where religious and political authority are unified and individual freedom is very small, you can do so on the basis of some romanticized Rouseauian political ideal. But it goes together with the assumption that modern technology has been morally corrupting. Rousseau thinks people of the past who lived more on the basis of instinct than on thought were more free. But I don't think that is the point you are defending. But what makes the discussion confusing by now is the fact that the idea of 'individualism' as we understand it, doesn't seem applicable to proto societies at all.
 

Loose class divisions are the result of social movements (which you deride as 'collectivist'*). Under early Capitalism you could tell someones' social status by their hats (flat hats for workers, bowlers for the middle class and top hats for the bourgeoisie).

Social movements, and the understanding that the growth of the middle class by progressively taxing the rich will cause increased consumption and economic growth.
 

as ridiculous as you claiming to align with 'second wave feminism'

I support the achievements of second wave feminism. But it is likely I'll disagree with a significant part of the ideology.
 

that it doesn't do to forget that we live under the most... physically present states in history. 

That's a legitimate point.
 

Fifteen hour work days (the rest of your time is spent in factory dormitories) are common in China. 

And still they consider it preferable to the poverty of the Chinese countryside.

 

That's refreshing seeing as the left and even right for that matter have this somewhat regressive fixation on labor-oriented action. Work (in the sense of productive labor) is becoming obsolete.

What do you suggest most people start doing in stead of working? It's a serious problem. I doubt most people can function without a job. The right seems to think we need to respond to this by creating bullsh*t jobs. The left seems to think we can start handing out more free money while we simultaneously open our borders further.
 

The struggle for enhanced democracy and universally higher living standards is a more apolitical objective than most are willing to admit. As you've pointed out, the state can in fact be abolished when the conditions and dilemmas that require its intervention seize to exist.

It's not self evident to me what you mean, so could you elaborate?


Melchior
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#613

Posted 04 August 2017 - 04:34 PM

 

post-left


That's refreshing seeing as the left and even right for that matter have this somewhat regressive fixation on labor-oriented action. Work (in the sense of productive labor) is becoming obsolete. This can especially be said about labor as it was understood in the times of orthodox leftist thinkers. Technological unemployment will rob workers of the leverage necessary to enable political action through unions and strikes.  Probably already has.

Yeah this is one of the biggest reasons we won't be able to breathe life back into unions.

 

I mean, I'm a bit bored of Marxists and even every other anarchist is just a non/less dogmatic Marxist. No suburbanite is going to change their mind because you do a little march with a sign saying "rights for workers!" and most workers despite their increasing economic hardships have long been pulled into a middle class ideology. 

 

The Insurrectionists have the right idea with Attack and related doctrines but I'm going full blown Stirnerite. It's invigorating, this is why I got into anarchism, not to discuss dialects and morals but because I know that the only obligations I have are to myself: to live authentically, to fulfil innate moral and intellectual urges- and necessarily, it follows- to ignore or attack any jumped up scum who prevents me from doing so. 

 

It's time to break with social democrats who beg for concessions and 'radicals' who want to play along with a miserable system in the hope that we can lay the basis for large scale revolution at some point in the future, to strip the red from our banners. I'm not really interested in being locked in a life or death struggle with these hicks and contrarian memers on the right. It's time to pull the rug out from under their leaders, and offer them neutral political projects of direct democracy, automation and free access to support while we chip away at the states' legitimacy by normalising crime. 

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Fonz
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#614

Posted 04 August 2017 - 09:11 PM

Unions have been stripped of any revolutionary potential long ago, though. It has more to do with the assumption of a specific role--the mediation of relations between employers and employees--than with recent technological development making them obsolete. They were important historically insofar as they represented a legitimate tool of the working-class's struggle, and obviously forcing concessions and reforms from the bourgies isn't a bad thing, but that's as far as a union will ever go. I can think of a series of events in the last century where unions acted in an objectively counter-revolutionary capacity, so this isn't truly new; rather, it's more acute now because unions might become institutionally obsolete as a whole.

 

On the other hand, activism is for the most part useless because it operates on a fundamentally wrong belief: it prioritizes the subjective experience of ideologues and political parties over the objective conditions of the working class, and also neglects the fact that trying to win the 'battle of ideas' is pointless simply because the scope of beliefs, the dominance of political views etc. is constrained by the economic relations of its time. It's worth noting that these people, while trying to substitute the class as the agent, are often openly anti-proletarian and support various measures of pacification, either through UBI, fetishizing small business as Trots usually do or Richard Wolff and his co-ops and sho on and sho on. Only a minority is ever going to be communist under capitalism and that's not necessarily detrimental to the real movement, which is based on opposing class interests and objective conditions rather than competing ideologies. The communists can help as part of the class, but definitely not substitute it as an agent.

 

TL; DR f*ck leftism, uphold Bordigism with Martini Rosso characteristics

 

-sent from my comfy armchair etc.

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Eutyphro
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#615

Posted 04 August 2017 - 09:20 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 04 August 2017 - 09:21 PM.

while we chip away at the states' legitimacy by normalising crime. 

Right.. How exactly does 'normalizing crime' undermine the state's legitimacy? This should be obvious, but the occurrence of high amounts of crime actually legitimizes state force and repression.
 

It's time to pull the rug out from under their leaders

How exactly? By breaking things in public? People are totally going to think "hey, you see those black clad youths breaking things? I'm not supporting Trump anymore". If anything, you'll have the opposite effect.
 

offer them neutral political projects of direct democracy, automation

Automation costs money. The development of technology costs money, and requires specialized knowledge. Anarchists are poor. The combination of these facts make this an unlikely plan..


Melchior
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#616

Posted 05 August 2017 - 03:44 AM

 

while we chip away at the states' legitimacy by normalising crime. 

Right.. How exactly does 'normalizing crime' undermine the state's legitimacy? This should be obvious, but the occurrence of high amounts of crime actually legitimizes state force and repression.

Not really. If people are working full time jobs but still have to be fed by a food bank, giving them a washing machine won't make them hate you. 

 

 

 

How exactly? By breaking things in public? People are totally going to think "hey, you see those black clad youths breaking things? I'm not supporting Trump anymore". If anything, you'll have the opposite effect.

No, I just said it: by turning things into neutral political projects. The right has little conception of the fact that the left even supports these things, and educating them on the relationship between scary Communism and town hall meetings just confuses them. Ronnie Reagan said worker owned firms are a positive thing, "a path that benefits a free people." Tell them that. You said it yourself the other day: they have no articulated reason to support Trump, they just like that he doesn't read from a teleprompter. 

 

A lot of our favourite projects aren't even spearheaded by us: prison reform is done by apolitical prisoner action groups.

 

 

 

Automation costs money. The development of technology costs money, and requires specialized knowledge.

Well colour me deflated. You're right, we can't build robot arms ourselves, pack it in lads. 

 

 

 

 Anarchists are poor.

I thought we were all privileged university students who don't understand the hardship of the working class. Do you believe the things you say at all, or are you just trying to mimic Petersons' aura of vague respectability? 

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Eutyphro
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#617

Posted 06 August 2017 - 05:33 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 06 August 2017 - 05:33 PM.

 

 

while we chip away at the states' legitimacy by normalising crime. 

Right.. How exactly does 'normalizing crime' undermine the state's legitimacy? This should be obvious, but the occurrence of high amounts of crime actually legitimizes state force and repression.

Not really. If people are working full time jobs but still have to be fed by a food bank, giving them a washing machine won't make them hate you. 

You can sometimes be quite cryptic in your responses, but within context, I enterpret this as 'stealing a washing machine'? That will make certain people hate you, the people who sell washing machines.
 

No, I just said it: by turning things into neutral political projects. The right has little conception of the fact that the left even supports these things, and educating them on the relationship between scary Communism and town hall meetings just confuses them. Ronnie Reagan said worker owned firms are a positive thing, "a path that benefits a free people." Tell them that.

The idea of worker owned companies can be great, and it can have merit, but in some cases it can also be a bad idea. It doesn't always have merit to let a person with very low qualifications cooperate in making important decisions for a business. Often it is quite natural to leave that power to people who are actually qualified and competent to do so.
 

I thought we were all privileged university students who don't understand the hardship of the working class.

University students, but generally not the ones who chose an education that naturally leads to a high earning job.
 

Do you believe the things you say at all

Yeah, I do.


Triple Vacuum Seal
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#618

Posted 06 August 2017 - 05:33 PM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 06 August 2017 - 05:55 PM.

That's refreshing seeing as the left and even right for that matter have this somewhat regressive fixation on labor-oriented action. Work (in the sense of productive labor) is becoming obsolete.

What do you suggest most people start doing in stead of working? It's a serious problem. I doubt most people can function without a job. The right seems to think we need to respond to this by creating bullsh*t jobs. The left seems to think we can start handing out more free money while we simultaneously open our borders further.


People will do whatever it is those who don’t have to work already do. Humans love to keep busy and even work. It’s the ‘work productively or else’ dynamic that will eventually phase out. The coercive element is not just socially harmful, but it will soon be obsolete.


The concept of people doing the producing as opposed to machines – insofar as those goods or services is essential to life – is becoming obsolete. Haven’t you noticed that fewer people are actually producing, and more people are providing services and/or working in a management capacity?  If you’re lucky, you’ll be a ‘knowledge worker’.  Even the average middle class service worker is merely using software-based tools that will soon be damn near fully automated. Those who still have jobs in the approaching era of predominantly machine/automated labor will largely be human machines anyway, so overworked and regimented in jobs requiring minimal creativity, that they'll be humans in a nominal sense and not much else.  Creativity can be automated in theory, but automated stand-up comedians are too far off to imagine. Giving out free money is already what we are essentially asking private firms to do by suggesting they think twice about automating all (vast majority) human labor.


Not only does this spotlight the farcical nature of our traditional monetary system in the not-too-distant future, but it also forces us to reexamine what are humans good for?  Because under the values of capitalism, humans are/will soon be obsolete. Folks seem to think that those who don't produce/labor don't deserve to live, and suggesting otherwise is radical.  But if productive capacity remains the lone metric for human value, then I guess that makes humans worthless to these vapid elites who will own the automated productive capacity.

 

The struggle for enhanced democracy and universally higher living standards is a more apolitical objective than most are willing to admit. As you've pointed out, the state can in fact be abolished when the conditions and dilemmas that require its intervention seize to exist.

It's not self evident to me what you mean, so could you elaborate?


Yes. Popular anti-state political groups have romanticized overthrowing entities in power instead of radically eroding the systemic dependence on these entities. By focusing on overthrowing the state instead of simply managing affairs better than the state - and thus diminishing its value – the opposition is lifting a heavy load with its back. It’s like lifting with your back in the sense that your instincts can deceive you into using a method that ultimately damages your future lifting capabilities.
 
As for the apolitical bit, of course everything is political on a micro level.  That's a matter of human organizational behavior patterns.  Looking at the big picture however, people from every established political leaning more or less have the same ideals, the disagreements are largely about about how to get there. Political polarization merely reaffirms the status quo.
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#619

Posted 06 August 2017 - 05:44 PM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 06 August 2017 - 05:54 PM.

*Sorry for double post. Meant to quote this in the above post.
 

The idea of worker owned companies can be great, and it can have merit, but in some cases it can also be a bad idea. It doesn't always have merit to let a person with very low qualifications cooperate in making important decisions for a business. Often it is quite natural to leave that power to people who are actually qualified and competent to do so.


Worker-owned, even with a flat management structure =/= low-skilled workers making high-skilled decisions. Sometimes the left has this misconception too so I don't blame you. But yeah qualified mgmt. still have legitimate roles. Organizations work better when the ownership is closely-held. The funding challenges just force them to go public.

It's no coincidence that leaders of incredibly successful business are reluctant to embark on an IPO. When the ownership is securitized on an open financial market, the organizational objectives often go to sh*t as external ownership forces hold the organization to short-term-oriented goals instead of building on the existing vision. I mean sh*t look no further than the financial market's control over Take Two Interactive, and thus over R*.
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Posted 06 August 2017 - 06:26 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 06 August 2017 - 06:35 PM.

People will do whatever it is those who don’t have to work already do.

So, jerking off, and playing videogames.
 

It’s the ‘work productively or else’ dynamic that will eventually phase out. The coercive element is not just socially harmful, but it will soon be obsolete.

Conforming to a role that succeeds in actually benefiting other people in society is not 'just socially harmful'. It's actually socially very beneficial. So it is a real issue when a class of people end up with no skill or qualification to benefit society. It will probably result in rampant mental health issues.
 

Giving out free money is already what we are essentially asking private firms to do by suggesting they think twice about automating of all (vast majority) human labor.

I don't on principle oppose 'handing out free money', as it is already practiced widely with sometimes positive effects. My main gripe is with the combination of social benefits and open borders, which is known to be unsustainable. "We need to have more social benefits and further open borders" is one of the most widely occurring paradoxical leftist chains of thought.

 

but it also forces us to reexamine what are humans good for?  Because under the values of capitalism, humans are/will soon be obsolete.

You are twisting it. Natural differences in intelligence between people exist. Throughout human history those who were qualified for manual labor have generally had plenty of work to do. Due to technology this is increasingly less the case. The economical obsoletion of this class of people is not a capitalist construct. It's an inevitable fact of reality. Their work disappearing probably won't be in these people's benefit. Not all people are naturally creative. There's a personality trait known as 'openness', which varies widely. Some people will actually start feeling completely obsolete due to their work disappearing. And this obsoletion is not an arbitrary construct. It's a practical fact of reality.
 

Folks seem to think that those who don't produce/labor don't deserve to live, and suggesting otherwise is radical.  But if productive capacity remains the lone metric for human value, then I guess that makes humans worthless to these vapid elites who will own the automated productive capacity.

I don't think anyone is 'arguing they don't deserve to live'. I think the right will probably think we have to increasingly create bullsh*t jobs. That already seems to be what Trump is intending to do. But in the longer term that project will probably fail.
 

Anti-state political groups have romanticized overthrowing entities in power instead of radically eroding the systemic dependence on these entities.

Because there hasn't been an alternative political platform that is more efficient and effective than statist capitalism. So that makes it quite impossible to 'erode' such dependency. If you don't create such a platform, then talk of 'eroding the dependency' on what we have is rather empty.
 

Looking at the big picture however, people from every established political leaning more or less have the same ideals, the disagreements are largely about about how to get there. Political polarization merely reaffirms the status quo.

I don't think that's completely true. People have differing values, and this also to an extent has a relation to a variation in personality. Conservatives are more conscientious, and progressives are more open. Conservatives care more about authority, loyalty, and sanctity. Progressives care more about fairness and reducing harm. Polarization affirms the status quo, sure. But one major cause for polarization is the persistent idea that the diversity of political opinion originates in misinformation and ignorance. To some extent it does, but to a large extent it does not.

 

Worker-owned, even with a flat management structure =/= low-skilled workers making high-skilled decisions.

Fair enough, but at the same time, ownership = power.

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#621

Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:00 PM

Worker-owned, even with a flat management structure =/= low-skilled workers making high-skilled decisions.


Fair enough, but at the same time, ownership = power.

This is a bit narrow minded. I don't think it's reasonable to argue that the employees who clean the machines in a factory have any less stake in the success of the enterprise than the people who operate the machines, or anyone else for that matter. Employee partnerships and cooperative models don't equate to divesting strategic business direction away from those most qualified to make strategic decisions.
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#622

Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:19 PM

I don't think it's reasonable to argue that the employees who clean the machines in a factory have any less stake in the success of the enterprise than the people who operate the machines,

Which is a moral question that is seperate from the issue whether them becoming owners is beneficial to the company as a whole.


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#623

Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:52 PM

Ownership =! Operation

Having a vested interest in an organisation by way of a stake or partnership is not the same thing as being involved in strategic direction or operation. Cooperative members don't necessarily have any say in organisational strategy the same way that C-level executives don't necessarily hold a financial stake in the organisation they run.
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#624

Posted 07 August 2017 - 01:35 AM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 07 August 2017 - 01:55 AM.

People will do whatever it is those who don’t have to work already do.


So, jerking off, and playing videogames.

 

If those are the limits of their imagination and hobbies, then I guess so. But I’m more inclined to think that people will opt for the arts, socializing, fitness, recreational learning/autodidactism, traveling, drugs, hunting/fishing, volunteering, etc.  This sounds utopian at a glance, but this is largely what people already do who are trust fund babies, married to a rich spouse, retired, frugally living off of an equity-based passive income, or some other form of lacking economic coercion.  
 
The cost of all the hobbies I just listed along with that of basic human needs can radically decrease if automated processes support the production. So the argument of the cost burden to the public will become moot to the extent that those with legal claim to the automated processes aren’t intentionally retarding the productive capacity. Capitalism is by its own virtue recklessly strutting into the world of intelligent systems in the name of competition and profitability. Whether this automation liberates the masses or not (probably won't), mass automation will almost certainly break the capitalist order as we know it.


 

Conservatives are more conscientious, and progressives are more open. Conservatives care more about authority, loyalty, and sanctity. Progressives care more about fairness and reducing harm. Polarization affirms the status quo, sure. But one major cause for polarization is the persistent idea that the diversity of political opinion originates in misinformation and ignorance. To some extent it does, but to a large extent it does not.


Perhaps, but these traits aren’t fundamentally opposed. There’s an artificial image-based polarization in most politics. Conservatives care about harm reduction and fairness too, they just have different ideas about where it comes from. The same can be said about progressives and authority. In a post-religious world where ‘sanctity’ has broader spiritual roots instead of some cult-based church garbage, these so-called progressives don’t differ much from conservatives in terms of ideal living standards and economic autonomy especially.

 

Conforming to a role that succeeds in actually benefiting other people in society is not 'just socially harmful'. It's actually socially very beneficial. So it is a real issue when a class of people end up with no skill or qualification to benefit society. It will probably result in rampant mental health issues.


You think working to line the pockets of multinationals in some ill-fated hope that they leave you some big crumbs is beneficial to society? Even in big business, this benefiting society talk is frowned upon internally because it either exudes naiveté or comes across as insulting to those hearing it.

Rampant mental health issues are already a problem because we are requiring the majority of human laborers to engage in dehumanizing labor that doesn’t in the slightest bit resemble the kind of work humans are genetically designed to do, and hence the adverse mental response. Being physically exhausted instead of mentally exhausted at the end of the day is becoming a nostalgic memory for most workers in advanced economies. Even the physically exhausting jobs around are largely devoid of dignity (especially in terms of benefits and social status) and incredibly repetitive. We don’t work on family-owned farms anymore and we are not benefiting society.  We are literally destroying the planet and hardly get to have fun doing it.


 

My main gripe is with the combination of social benefits and open borders, which is known to be unsustainable. "We need to have more social benefits and further open borders" is one of the most widely occurring paradoxical leftist chains of thought.


Well then save it for when someone actually mentions open borders again. I never said such a thing. Even though your concern most certainly has merit.


 

 

but it also forces us to reexamine what are humans good for?  Because under the values of capitalism, humans are/will soon be obsolete.

You are twisting it. Natural differences in intelligence between people exist. Throughout human history those who were qualified for manual labor have generally had plenty of work to do. Due to technology this is increasingly less the case. The economical obsoletion of this class of people is not a capitalist construct. It's an inevitable fact of reality. Their work disappearing probably won't be in these people's benefit. Not all people are naturally creative. There's a personality trait known as 'openness', which varies widely. Some people will actually start feeling completely obsolete due to their work disappearing. And this obsoletion is not an arbitrary construct. It's a practical fact of reality.

 


I’m not twisting anything, merely ignoring all the noise getting right to the uncomfortable root of the issue. Capitalism wasn’t the first system to value people largely on the basis of their productive value. Yet these values are evident in capitalism nonetheless. We kept that existing attitude and introduced an industrial system radically focused on mass production and considered everything else secondary to that productivity goal. Now that we are in the late stages of capitalism, we are finally forced to confront these outdated values. With values centered on one’s willingness to produce, humans would be obsolete since the machines can do the producing with a small contingent of humans working as auxiliaries of decreasing relevance.

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#625

Posted 14 August 2017 - 06:24 PM Edited by Thesmophoriazusae, 14 August 2017 - 06:24 PM.

 

 

Nietzsche's Corps/e: Aesthetics, Politics, Prophecy, or, the Spectacular Technoculture of Everyday Life

860162.jpg

Appearing between two historical touchstones—the alleged end of communism and the 100th anniversary of Nietzsche’s death—this book offers a provocative hypothesis about the philosopher’s afterlife and the fate of leftist thought and culture. At issue is the relation of the dead Nietzsche (corpse) and his written work (corpus) to subsequent living Nietzscheanism across the political spectrum, but primarily among a leftist corps that has been programmed and manipulated by concealed dimensions of the philosopher’s thought. If anyone is responsible for what Geoff Waite maintains is the illusory death of communism, it is Nietzsche, the man and concept.
Waite advances his argument by bringing Marxist—especially Gramscian and Althusserian—theories to bear on the concept of Nietzsche/anism. But he also goes beyond ideological convictions to explore the vast Nietzschean influence that proliferates throughout the marketplace of contemporary philosophy, political and literary theory, and cultural and technocultural criticism. In light of a philological reconstruction of Nietzsche’s published and unpublished texts, Nietzsche’s Corps/e shuttles between philosophy and everyday popular culture and shows them to be equally significant in their having been influenced by Nietzsche—in however distorted a form and in a way that compromises all of our best interests.
Controversial in its “decelebration” of Nietzsche, this remarkable study asks whether the postcontemporary age already upon us will continue to be dominated and oriented by the haunting spectre of Nietzsche’s corps/e. Philosophers, intellectual historians, literary theorists, and those interested in western Marxism, popular culture, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the intersection of French and German thought will find this book both appealing and challenging.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/860162.Nietzsche_s_Corps_e


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#626

Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:11 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 15 August 2017 - 02:02 AM.

That doesn't give it much legitimacy as Marxism-Leninism itself is opposed to Marxism. You say it's left, and I won't deny it is the left wing of capital, but it's certainly not communist. ML is little more than social democracy with guns and hammer and sickle banners.

I recognize leftism much more as a set of moral ideas than as a concrete societal state. The issue really is that the radically anti authoritarian and ultra egalitarian moral tendency of genuine leftism is extremely hard to implement. I think it is actually impossible to implement when we talk about large scale modern societies. When this set of moral ideas rids a society of valuable culture or imporant hierarchy of competence, then this society becomes so void that a more cynical, authoritarian and fascist interpretation of leftism can take over. That is what I think happened in the 20th century authoritarian communist failures. Radical leftism can turn into a violent regressive resentful force that is out to take revenge on everyone that is high in success and dominance. If you take radical leftism seriously, then it can also be used to legitimize destroying beautiful old artifacts that symbolize aristocracy or organized religion. That's why I think radical leftism is culturally ugly, regressive and nihilistic
 

It was called National Socialism so the party could pose as a working-class party in a time of social upheaval when they needed to compete with parties like the KPD for its proletarian base. The NSDAP also famously purged all of its 'socialist' (in reality, welfare corporatists/Strasserists) members in the Night of the Long Knives, and followed the economics already laid down by Mussolini, corporatism, which is in every sense opposed to socialism. I should also mention the Nazi regime's well documented collaboration with multinational firms (Ford, for example) and the large-scale privatization of industry they carried out throughout the 30s. Goebbels himself is supposed to have read some Marx, but given his actual views, he doesn't seem to have made any sense of it if he really did read him.

Fascists seem to have a complex relationship with capitalism. One reason for hating it seemed to have been the economic success of jews. Free markets cause radically unequal outcomes, and fascists value the success of the collective ethnic group over that of the individual, so therefore low regulation capitalism seems at odds with the social goals of fascists.
 

I'm not sure Nietszche's axis is useful here, since the critiques behind communism are by and large amoral. Marx and Engels rarely discussed anything in terms of morality, even the kind of things people tend to impute a moral judgement to (for example, 'exploitation' was for them a fact of political economy and had little to do with an appeal to justice or morality).

Maybe it is not built on explicit moral terms. It at least pretends to be built on rational self interest. But a morality does arise from the analysis that is made. Nietzsche talks about this morality in the Genealogy of Morals as a slave morality, where the hawk, the strong, is seen as the evil, and the lamb the prey, is seen as the righteous. Slave morality is more strongly visible in postmodern glorification of all possible categories of victimhood.
 

Is Rousseau really compatible with it, though?

Rousseau is compatible with authoritarian implementations of leftism and rightism, because he seriously develops a model of society where a comprehensive conception of what is good is forced on society as a whole, and the individual is completely marginalized. He's a reactionary against liberal individualism. His model of human nature, where human beings are fundamentally good, but then corrupted by society, does seem specifically leftist. So do his ideas on education. He is very pro censorship, and thinks anyone who refuses to obey the civil religion may be punished with the death penalty. Rousseau has an interesting combination of totalitarian communist and fascist elements. His romanticism and totalitarianism is very fascist, but his model of human nature seems leftist.
 

Marx & Engels read him as well, but I don't think there's much of a connection

Rousseau also influenced Hegel (and Kant actually).


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#627

Posted 15 August 2017 - 03:15 AM

Leftism isn't a set of moral ideas, it's a categorisation. It also has f*ck all to do with Rousseau and the counter-enlightenment. Anarchism is an enlightenment tradition, modern liberalism is not. Modern liberalism isn't really a whole philosophical framework at all, it's just a collection of bad intellectual habits. 


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#628

Posted 15 August 2017 - 11:47 AM

I recognize leftism much more as a set of moral ideas than as a concrete societal state. The issue really is that the radically anti authoritarian and ultra egalitarian moral tendency of genuine leftism is extremely hard to implement. I think it is actually impossible to implement when we talk about large scale modern societies. When this set of moral ideas rids a society of valuable culture or imporant hierarchy of competence, then this society becomes so void that a more cynical, authoritarian and fascist interpretation of leftism can take over. That is what I think happened in the 20th century authoritarian communist failures. Radical leftism can turn into a violent regressive resentful force that is out to take revenge on everyone that is high in success and dominance. If you take radical leftism seriously, then it can also be used to legitimize destroying beautiful old artifacts that symbolize aristocracy or organized religion. That's why I think radical leftism is culturally ugly, regressive and nihilistic

 

There are certainly leftist tendencies with an inclination for moralization, but I think they're just a remnant of utopian socialism. I would distrust anyone who wants to implement a particular version of a society because that sounds like some extreme utopianism, regardless of how consistent it is theoretically. The only way we can conceive of communism is as a negative concept, as the abolition of capitalism. The content of it comes through as a negation of those of capitalism (production for exchange, division of labor, private property etc.), rather than being a plan that you try to apply to society. As far 20th century ML states go, their origins had little to do with any interpretation of theory and everything to do with the composition of their revolutions and its outcome; so, a failed proletarian revolution in Russia, a bourgeois revolution in China (whatever their communist symbols were, this was a national revolution headed by the peasantry) and a host of satellite states where no revolution of any kind took place. My issue with these states is not that they were authoritarian--every state is authoritarian--, but that they were capitalist.

 

The destruction of artifacts is an unfortunate show of philistinism, but it has nothing do with communism. Marx and Engels were known for their wide literary interests and artistic passions, and you have people like Adorno, Benjamin or Badiou who devoted a great part of their lives to the study and theorization of art. The destruction of artifacts in China was encouraged by Mao, a radical populist, supposedly to rid society of its connection to feudalism, so it seems a bit of a stretch to say that's a feature of communism.

 

Fascists seem to have a complex relationship with capitalism. One reason for hating it seemed to have been the economic success of jews. Free markets cause radically unequal outcomes, and fascists value the success of the collective ethnic group over that of the individual, so therefore low regulation capitalism seems at odds with the social goals of fascists.

 

Yeah, I agree with this. Corporatism is by no means free market capitalism, but a different arrangement of it. As far as antisemitism goes, that's certainly how it went in Germany, but I don't think Mussolini himself was especially racist, was he? He ended up adopting antisemitic policies to appease Hitler later on, but I don't think his fascism had a particular ethnic character (aside from the nation, which I guess can be constructed as being racialized in a sense).

 

Maybe it is not built on explicit moral terms. It at least pretends to be built on rational self interest. But a morality does arise from the analysis that is made. Nietzsche talks about this morality in the Genealogy of Morals as a slave morality, where the hawk, the strong, is seen as the evil, and the lamb the prey, is seen as the righteous. Slave morality is more strongly visible in postmodern glorification of all possible categories of victimhood.

 

If it does arise, I think that's more of an input from the person reading it than something that's contained in the theory itself. You can make a moral case and that's not a bad thing at all, I just don't think it stands up as a critique. It's hard not to think that the CEO of that multinational company that exploits starving children is a piece of sh*t, but that's more of a personal reaction than a strong political critique. That's not to say emotional reactions don't have power over public opinion, they definitely do, but it's more important to look for a structural understanding of the thing. As far Nietzsche himself goes, I think the most relevant work here would be Beyond Good and Evil, which explores the limits of traditional morality and discusses an amoral outlook. There's an interesting approximation to Stirner there, and Nietzsche is supposed to have read him.

 

Rousseau is compatible with authoritarian implementations of leftism and rightism, because he seriously develops a model of society where a comprehensive conception of what is good is forced on society as a whole, and the individual is completely marginalized. He's a reactionary against liberal individualism. His model of human nature, where human beings are fundamentally good, but then corrupted by society, does seem specifically leftist. So do his ideas on education. He is very pro censorship, and thinks anyone who refuses to obey the civil religion may be punished with the death penalty. Rousseau has an interesting combination of totalitarian communist and fascist elements. His romanticism and totalitarianism is very fascist, but his model of human nature seems leftist

 

Marx's own notion of alienation had nothing to do with the corruption of a good human nature, though. It's difficult to accept any one conception of human nature as good or bad, not to mention the limitations of that kind of framework. Rousseau's ideas of forcing what he thinks is good on society and supporting censorship is much closer to Plato's, who develops a plan for a whole city with it. Communism doesn't marginalize the individual and many communist theorists have spent time on this issue. It also seems a bit anachronistic to me to call his romantic nostalgia fascist, even if it is true that it's reactionary.

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#629

Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:09 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 16 September 2017 - 01:09 AM.

Class analysis (what you're referring to) was a feature of early liberals, back when liberalism was still an enlightenment school of thought.

Could you substantiate this? This is just not true. Liberals like Locke and Mill don't make Marxist class analysis.
 

But this isn't class analysis anyway, since it doesn't implicate an oppressor class, it implicates vague and disembodied societal mores. You seem to think just acknowledging 'victimhood' makes someone a leftist... and that all leftism descended from Marxism? It's not even clear what you believe. 

It does implicate an oppressor class! The white Western cisgendered male heterosexual able bodied capitalist oppressor. The more you look like such a person, the more of an oppressor you are. But even not being fat makes you an oppressor to fat people. There is a potentialy infinite sources of 'privilege', and causes of 'oppression'. The acknowledgement of victimhood doesn't make you leftist. But leftism has a tendency to tie virtue to victimhood. Leftist morality is generally victimhood morality. It's centered around solidarity with the weak.
 

Believe it or not the 1/4 of the Earth's population living under ML states weren't living purely to provide you with rhetorical ammo.

That's not the point though. The point is whether "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history", which is your claim, which is clearly laughable.


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#630

Posted 4 weeks ago

 

Class analysis (what you're referring to) was a feature of early liberals, back when liberalism was still an enlightenment school of thought.

Could you substantiate this? This is just not true. Liberals like Locke and Mill don't make Marxist class analysis.

They engaged in liberal class analysis. Or do you think they overthrew the aristocracy without critiquing them at all? If you're going to go around pretending to be a 'classical liberal' (a bit grand for a VSP imo) maybe actually read some classical liberal works. Marx's work was premised on Adam Smith's. 

 

 

 

It does implicate an oppressor class! The white Western cisgendered male heterosexual able bodied capitalist oppressor. The more you look like such a person, the more of an oppressor you are. But even not being fat makes you an oppressor to fat people. There is a potentialy infinite sources of 'privilege', and causes of 'oppression'. 

Simply acknowledging disparity between two groups isn't class analysis, otherwise everyone is engaged in class analysis. Under their framework, 'privilege' means 'not getting shat on by society.' They don't treat men as a social class that exploits womens' labour. Saying that 'men spread out their legs on the bus too much' isn't class analysis.

 

You still haven't accounted for the fact that they are called liberal feminists. If it isn't liberal why do they use the name, and why does everyone else refer to them as such? 

 

 

 

 Leftist morality is generally victimhood morality. It's centered around solidarity with the weak.

Umm, ok? 

 

 

 

That's not the point though. The point is whether "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history", which is your claim, which is clearly laughable.

Nah the point is that you think you know enough about ML states that you can dismiss claims about them outright. You don't know anything about them, they're just a rhetorical device for you. You don't seem to be aware of the massive development that took place under Stalin, and its strange that anyone would try and discuss the USSR if they don't at least know that. Russia went from a feudal backwater to a modern economy in a generation. 

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