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Eutyphro
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#631

Posted 20 September 2017 - 03:56 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 20 September 2017 - 03:57 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.

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. 

Adam Smith makes 'class analysis'. But not really in the Marxist sense where one class is exploited/oppressed by the other. This is full of 'class analysis' https://www.marxists...ook05/ch01b.htm

John Stuart Mill criticizing socialism and communism: https://www.laits.ut...os/cos.c03.html
 

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.

It's not merely acknowledging disparity. That is what you called 'liberal class analysis', ergo, stating obvious fact. It's stating exploitation/oppression, which is a Marxist framework, one of class warfare.
 

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? 

John Stuart Mill was a liberal feminist. I'm a liberal feminist really. 'Speech is violence' is not compatible with John Stuart Mill, or any other classical liberal for that matter. It is compatible though, with postmodern neomarxists such as Foucault http://www.iep.utm.edu/fouc-pol/#H1 who think speech is merely an expression of power and domination. Postmodernists are not liberals. All of them are far leftists, and oppose liberal ideas.
 

Nah the point is that you think you know enough about ML states that you can dismiss claims about them outright.

I know enough to know that "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history" is a joke. That's obvious from simple observation.


Tchuck
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#632

Posted 20 September 2017 - 04:32 AM

 

I know enough to know that "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history" is a joke. That's obvious from simple observation.

 

Facts contradict you, though. Russia went from being a backwards country with nearly every possible economic/social index among the worst on the planet, to a global power on par with America, despite America having the stronger allies and most of the world on their side.

 

Care to show us the facts that point that ML can't be associated with what arguably was the largest period of economic growth in human history?

 

That's also without even taking a look at China, whose mass industrialization and increase in pretty much all indexes was largely in part thanks to it.


Eutyphro
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#633

Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:27 AM

 

 

I know enough to know that "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history" is a joke. That's obvious from simple observation.

 

Facts contradict you, though. Russia went from being a backwards country with nearly every possible economic/social index among the worst on the planet, to a global power on par with America, despite America having the stronger allies and most of the world on their side.

 

Care to show us the facts that point that ML can't be associated with what arguably was the largest period of economic growth in human history?

 

That's also without even taking a look at China, whose mass industrialization and increase in pretty much all indexes was largely in part thanks to it.

I don't doubt the USSR experienced large economic growth. I'm simply pointing out capitalist countries experienced greater growth. It's also dubious that the economic growth had anything to do with ML. Industrialism is not peculiar to ML. It seemed the USSR had economic growth rather despite than because of ML.

China's economic growth has been based on wage exploitation on a mass scale under very bad labour conditions, and mass exports. Not exactly a socialist success.

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Fonz
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#634

Posted 20 September 2017 - 03:46 PM

I don't doubt the USSR experienced large economic growth. I'm simply pointing out capitalist countries experienced greater growth. It's also dubious that the economic growth had anything to do with ML. Industrialism is not peculiar to ML. It seemed the USSR had economic growth rather despite than because of ML.

China's economic growth has been based on wage exploitation on a mass scale under very bad labour conditions, and mass exports. Not exactly a socialist success.

ML is just theoretical apologia for a failed revolution and the capitalist regime that emerged afterwards. The USSR's industrialization was a pretty standard case of a developmentalist regime that is similar to how most modern economies developed their industries: strong protectionism and stimulation of the nascent industries, followed by a 'freer' performance in the world market once they were robust enough. Contrary to the fairy tale of the free market, this is the same the main economic powers developed, from Britain to the US to later cases like South Korea. This was often accompanied by trade deals with much weaker economies (e.g. the US and much of Latin America) brokered through what's usually called gunboat diplomacy. This is all well documented by H.J. Chang, a guy who, far from being a socialist, is actually a proponent of economic nationalism. It's obviously true that the postwar reconstruction period was a period of exceptional growth, I don't see what's controversial here. Marxism-Leninism is simply social democratic capitalism similar to most major economies after WWII. The point that I think Tchuck and Mel are making is that it's a pretty remarkable thing that their economies developed so fast. That's not a value judgement, just a fact. It's no different from commenting on Germany's strategies for industrialization.

 

 

As a side note, I don't know why you keep talking about "postmodern neomarxists" as if it were an actual category rather than a self-contradictory meme that doesn't actually exist outside Jordan Peterson's imagination. Foucault was very objectively not a Marxist, postmodernism is not compatible to Marxism.

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Eutyphro
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#635

Posted 20 September 2017 - 06:14 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 20 September 2017 - 06:27 PM.

 The point that I think Tchuck and Mel are making is that it's a pretty remarkable thing that their economies developed so fast. That's not a value judgement, just a fact. It's no different from commenting on Germany's strategies for industrialization.

In the case of Maoist China it's especially false though. Maoist China was a complete economic disaster. Both Maoism and Marxism-Leninism were also accompanied by large famines. The industrialization under Stalin was also at the cost of the lives of millions of farmers. Hardly a 'success for the poor', as in Melchiors opinion. It's accurate to say that it was especially harsh on the poor, which was my claim. Shortages in the East Bloc were also rather systemic. What communist countries also consistently failed at was providing high quality products. They failed at innovation, probably because they had no private incentives.
 

The USSR's industrialization was a pretty standard case of a developmentalist regime that is similar to how most modern economies developed their industries: strong protectionism and stimulation of the nascent industries, followed by a 'freer' performance in the world market once they were robust enough. Contrary to the fairy tale of the free market, this is the same the main economic powers developed, from Britain to the US to later cases like South Korea. This was often accompanied by trade deals with much weaker economies (e.g. the US and much of Latin America) brokered through what's usually called gunboat diplomacy. This is all well documented by H.J. Chang, a guy who, far from being a socialist, is actually a proponent of economic nationalism.

It wasn't very standard. The collectivization of farms, and the rapid industrialization, caused a famine and millions of deaths. I know about the book 'the entrepreneurial state' by Chang. I know innovation in the West is state funded, and we have all sorts of rent seeking state assistance for the rich. But our economical development and industrialization wasn't enacted through vast forced collectivization of farms, and forced labour. Apart from that, we had an economical development under private incentives and progressive taxes on the rich. Not under state ownership of the means of production.
 

It's obviously true that the postwar reconstruction period was a period of exceptional growth, I don't see what's controversial here.

I didn't deny the Soviet Union succeeded in economic growth. You're repeating a strawman for rhetorical effect. But they weren't as succesful at economic growth as Japan or South-Korea, obviously. That's my point. It cseems the Soviet Union did succeed in larger economic growth then the US postwar, probably because they were coming from a deeper ditch.
 

Marxism-Leninism is simply social democratic capitalism similar to most major economies after WWII.

You make broad sweeping generalizations. Economic development in the West, Japan, or South-Korea, wasn't accompanied by large scale forced collectivization of farm land, a completely state owned and led industrial effort, and large scale forced labor. Keynesianism is not Stalinism. So state led innovation with private profit incentives, and progressive taxes, is not the same as the USSR.

Your rationale is pretty much, if it isn't laissez faire capitalism, then it is state capitalism, and all state capitalism is the same. This is very superficial and silly.
 

Foucault was very objectively not a Marxist, postmodernism is not compatible to Marxism.

We can debate whether postmodernism is still Marxism. Foucault definitely was a Marxist when he was younger. http://www.iep.utm.edu/fouc-pol/#H1 He was never in his life a liberal. Liberalism does not reduce ideas to mere expressions of power. Pretending social institution and norms are merely constructs to defend the ruling power does seem rather more Marxist than liberal. Enlightenment thinkers believe in justice, truth, and dialogue. They don't reduce these to mere power games and modes of oppression.


Fonz
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#636

Posted 20 September 2017 - 10:29 PM

It wasn't very standard. The collectivization of farms, and the rapid industrialization, caused a famine and millions of deaths. I know about the book 'the entrepreneurial state' by Chang. I know innovation in the West is state funded, and we have all sorts of rent seeking state assistance for the rich. But our economical development and industrialization wasn't enacted through vast forced collectivization of farms, and forced labour. Apart from that, we had an economical development under private incentives and progressive taxes on the rich. Not under state ownership of the means of production.

The point is that the fact that their efforts followed different strategies and were faster or more brutal doesn't mean they are qualitatively different, nor could they be. Collectivization of farms in reality just meant state confiscation of produce, it doesn't signify a difference in the process of production. Generally the peasantry has no vital interest in communism due to its role in production, which is why there's not really a revolutionary potential there from a communist point of view. The collectivization of farms generated resistance because it interfered with the class interests of the peasants of the time and attempted to proletarianize them for the consolidation of capitalism. And industrialization in the West was similarly aided by the centralization of private property through things like the Inclosure Acts, which was a great factor in rural exodus and the subsequent formation of an urban working class.

 

I didn't deny the Soviet Union succeeded in economic growth. You're repeating a strawman for rhetorical effect. But they weren't as succesful at economic growth as Japan or South-Korea, obviously. That's my point. It cseems the Soviet Union did succeed in larger economic growth then the US postwar, probably because they were coming from a deeper ditch.

 

I pretty much agree here. I'm not defending the USSR's industrialization here--I despise it, obviously--, but historical accuracy is important. I have no vested interest in one capitalist state over another.

 

You make broad sweeping generalizations. Economic development in the West, Japan, or South-Korea, wasn't accompanied by large scale forced collectivization of farm land, a completely state owned and led industrial effort, and large scale forced labor. Keynesianism is not Stalinism. So state led innovation with private profit incentives, and progressive taxes, is not the same as the USSR.

Your rationale is pretty much, if it isn't laissez faire capitalism, then it is state capitalism, and all state capitalism is the same. This is very superficial and silly.
 

The only difference between Stalinism and regular social democratic theory is that the former actively distorts Marxist theory and pretends to use it as its framework. One of the reasons the USSR collapsed was its inability to adapt to a new composition of capital, while it had been perfectly integrated in the social democratic postwar consensus. In fact a great deal of the USSR's national agrarian produce came from privately owned plots; the idea that there wasn't a market or a private sector in the USSR, which tankies and liberals agree on, is wrong.

 

In general state capitalism is a bit redundant as a term. Capitalism requires and is deeply involved with a state.

 

We can debate whether postmodernism is still Marxism. Foucault definitely was a Marxist when he was younger. http://www.iep.utm.edu/fouc-pol/#H1 He was never in his life a liberal. Liberalism does not reduce ideas to mere expressions of power. Pretending social institution and norms are merely constructs to defend the ruling power does seem rather more Marxist than liberal. Enlightenment thinkers believe in justice, truth, and dialogue. They don't reduce these to mere power games and modes of oppression.

Marxism doesn't reduce institutions to just oppression and power in some vaguely moralistic way. A huge amount of time is devoted to understanding the place of these institutions in history and the class power behind them. This is to say these ideas aren't divorced from social relations of the real world but deeply informed by them. This is not a value judgement and there's no point in ranking modes of production morally. The predominance of republicanism over the divine right of kings as a political concept, for example, has a very clear material reason, and the failure to reflect on the material causes of political forms is one exhibit of the poverty of liberal analysis. Justice, truth and dialogue don't really mean anything when they're abstracted from the real political forms of liberalism and in this case, that's what they are: liberal justice, liberal truth, liberal dialogue. It's incredibly naive to think these concepts really are apolitical or even less politically charged than the ones put forward by any other theorist.

 

The point is that Foucault's methodology is not Marxist and that he explicitly rejected central concepts of Marxism. He was also not pretending that institutions were "simply" expressions of power but working towards a general theory of how this power manifested itself in civil society. His writings on the perception of deviancy, while interesting in their own right, have nothing to do with Marxism. It's sometimes argued that Foucault himself might have been drinking the neoliberal koolaid in later life out of some misguided notion of the individual  autonomy that neoliberalism afforded, but it's not something I've really looked into. The other point is that postmodern neomarxism is not a real thing, not only because postmodernism and Marxism are incompatible but also because neomarxism is made-up academic garbage that has nothing to do with Marxism aside from being used very lazily to describe the Frankfurt School sometimes. That and the fact that it's obviously just a string of buzzwords put together to sound spooky and conspiratorial.

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Triple Vacuum Seal
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#637

Posted 21 September 2017 - 01:18 AM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 21 September 2017 - 01:30 AM.

[I know innovation in the West is state funded, and we have all sorts of rent seeking state assistance for the rich. But our economical development and industrialization wasn't enacted through vast forced collectivization of farms, and forced labour. Apart from that, we had an economical development under private incentives and progressive taxes on the rich. Not under state ownership of the means of production.

It's best not to paint with such a broad brush if you want to dismiss the role of forced labor in western economic dominance.  Especially prior to the modern era, forced labor was vital to the expansion of modern western powers.  The European powers owe their wealth to forced labor in their colonies and the US achieved agricultural dominance through slave labor that ultimately set the stage for our industrialization.  I'm not denying the fact that Russia has traditionally been one of the most backwards countries in Europe.  Russia's about the last place in greater Europe any non-Russian would want to be.  It's just far from unprecedented to see national wealth built upon so much blood.  That's more or less the prerequisite.

 

The only difference between Stalinism and regular social democratic theory is that the former actively distorts Marxist theory and pretends to use it as its framework. One of the reasons the USSR collapsed was its inability to adapt to a new composition of capital.

I wanted to make this point a page or so back but it looks like you beat me to it. The USSR (and others) was constantly branded as some great socialist experiment, but the public never really committed to communism in the post war era, especially after the purges.  Many of those who actually did probably died in the gulags for it.
 
The Soviets handicapped themselves by rhetorically undermining capitalism while attempting to embrace it.  So the regime could only grow to the extent that it contradicted itself.  Although to a much lesser extent than the Soviet anti-capitalist rhetoric was self-defeating to its state, the US' anti-left rhetoric of the Cold War has come back to bite the American public as well.  Because now we can hardly undertake regime-stabilizing social programs without some idiot calling it socialism.

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Eutyphro
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#638

Posted 21 September 2017 - 10:00 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 21 September 2017 - 10:28 AM.

That and the fact that it's obviously just a string of buzzwords put together to sound spooky and conspiratorial.

It's relevant though, that all the famous postmodernists were members of communist parties or Marxists at moments of their life. It can at least be argued that postmodernism grew out of Marxism. The page I linked to points out how Foucault's early work argued mental illness was caused by the alienation under capitalism, and that Marxism was a defining influence on his early theorizing. So calling it "postmodern neomarxism' is accurate. Ultimately it rejected Marxism itself, after the crimes of the Soviet Union became well known, and Marxism was smeared.
 

The predominance of republicanism over the divine right of kings as a political concept, for example, has a very clear material reason, and the failure to reflect on the material causes of political forms is one exhibit of the poverty of liberal analysis. Justice, truth and dialogue don't really mean anything when they're abstracted from the real political forms of liberalism and in this case, that's what they are: liberal justice, liberal truth, liberal dialogue. It's incredibly naive to think these concepts really are apolitical or even less politically charged than the ones put forward by any other theorist.

So you are arguing that Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and other liberal exponents of political economy, didn't reflect on material causes? That's really evidently not true. But reflecting on material causes does not mean reducing human nature to a material construct, which is the Marxist way.

Meanwhile, noone claims liberalism is politically neutral.
 

And industrialization in the West was similarly aided by the centralization of private property through things like the Inclosure Acts, which was a great factor in rural exodus and the subsequent formation of an urban working class.

Which was a process of privatization, which is different, even opposite, from collectivization. Qualitatively different.
 

The point is that the fact that their efforts followed different strategies and were faster or more brutal doesn't mean they are qualitatively different,

But they were qualitatively very different, clearly.

 

It's best not to paint with such a broad brush if you want to dismiss the role of forced labor in western economic dominance.  Especially prior to the modern era, forced labor was vital to the expansion of modern western powers.  The European powers owe their wealth to forced labor in their colonies and the US achieved agricultural dominance through slave labor that ultimately set the stage for our industrialization.  I'm not denying the fact that Russia has traditionally been one of the most backwards countries in Europe.  Russia's about the last place in greater Europe any non-Russian would want to be.  It's just far from unprecedented to see national wealth built upon so much blood.  That's more or less the prerequisite.

A parallel between slavery and the gulags as the prerequesite for industrialization is interesting. I shouldn't have said 'industrialization', but I was actually thinking about the postwar period of social democracy and Keynesianism, because of the mention of the book by H.J. Chang, which isn't about industrialization as far as I'm aware, but innovation.

The other differences I mentioned remain accurate.


Fonz
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#639

Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:07 AM Edited by Fonz, 21 September 2017 - 11:08 AM.

It's relevant though, that all the famous postmodernists were members of communist parties or Marxists at moments of their life. It can at least be argued that postmodernism grew out of Marxism. The page I linked to points out how Foucault's early work argued mental illness was caused by the alienation under capitalism, and that Marxism was a defining influence on his early theorizing. So calling it "postmodern neomarxism' is accurate. Ultimately it rejected Marxism itself, after the crimes of the Soviet Union became well known, and Marxism was smeared.

You can't really say it grew out of Marxism when the whole process of arriving at that theory--insofar as postmodernism actually is a theory--involved an abandonment of Marxism. Postmodern neomarxism doesn't make any sense because it's attempting to make it sound like there's any connection between the French postmodernists and the German critical theorists (who are often wrongly called 'neomarxists') to point to some vague conspiracy taking place in academia and civil society to brainwash the masses, which is just the 'cultural Marxists' bit rebranded. It also doesn't make any sense to call a theory neo-something when it clearly has no connection to the original something; in this case the whole concept of neomarxism falls apart because Marxism is historically invariant. I should say that's also a gross reduction of Foucault's thesis: he didn't say mental illness was caused by alienation under capitalism, but that there was something specific about the way mental illness and abnormality in general was perceived in the capitalist epoch as opposed to other historical periods.

 

So you are arguing that Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and other liberal exponents of political economy, didn't reflect on material causes? That's really evidently not true. But reflecting on material causes does not mean reducing human nature to a material construct, which is the Marxist way.

Meanwhile, noone claims liberalism is politically neutral.

Of course they did reflect on material causes. I would also throw in Max Weber as one of the very best liberal theorists just for the range of subjects he wrote on. I was referring to modern liberal analysis above all, but even in Weber, for example, you can clearly see explicitly idealist explanations to some phenomena (for example, Protestantism and capitalism). And of course liberalism isn't politically neutral, but you presented these concepts of truth and justice as if they weren't completely politicized, which is disingenuous. It doesn't mean much to say liberal thinkers support them because, in effect, what you're saying is that liberal thinkers defend a liberal order. Saying that Marxism reduces human nature to a material construct is also completely wrong.

 


And industrialization in the West was similarly aided by the centralization of private property through things like the Inclosure Acts, which was a great factor in rural exodus and the subsequent formation of an urban working class.

Which was a process of privatization, which is different, even opposite, from collectivization. Qualitatively different.
 

The point is that the fact that their efforts followed different strategies and were faster or more brutal doesn't mean they are qualitatively different,

But they were qualitatively very different, clearly.

Of course they weren't. They both represented textbook cases of primitive capital accumulation, and TVS is completely right in mentioning the gulags as part of this, because they assumed a vital function in the Russian economy after some years. The whole process of collectivization was an attempt to proletarianize the peasants, which is to say, make them wage-laborers, which is exactly the same process as the Inclosure Acts. Again, there was a private sector as well, and the produce from privately owned plots came to account for a large part of the national agrarian produce--in fact Bordiga was writing about this in the early 50s. The whole 'collectivization' thing doesn't mean anything more than state ownership. It has nothing to do with abolishing rights over land and making it a common possession, but pretty much the contrary.

 

I should say the book I was referencing is not The Entrepreneurial State, which is not by Chang as far as I can tell, but Bad Samaritans, which is a study and dismantlement of the free market myth of industrialization.

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Melchior
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#640

Posted 21 September 2017 - 12:10 PM

 

That and the fact that it's obviously just a string of buzzwords put together to sound spooky and conspiratorial.

It's relevant though, that all the famous postmodernists were members of communist parties or Marxists at moments of their life. It can at least be argued that postmodernism grew out of Marxism. The page I linked to points out how Foucault's early work argued mental illness was caused by the alienation under capitalism, and that Marxism was a defining influence on his early theorizing. So calling it "postmodern neomarxism' is accurate. 

"Postmodern Marxism" as it's been pointed out already is a meaningless clump of words. It's Marxism in the sense that you and I are Romans. There's more theoretical continuity between liberalism and Marxism than Marxism and postmodernism. You're just parroting Peterson, who I guarantee you has never heard of anarchism, where as you know leftism is broader than Marxism. Calling it 'neoanarchism' makes about as much sense but you don't do that because you're regurgitating the words of someone who thinks ML is the only form of Marxism and that Marxism is the only form of socialism.

 

And like, why is it neomarxism and not just Marxism? And wouldn't neomarxism suggest that its a radical reinvention of Marxist analysis which kind of undermines your point? The term is just gibberish. 

 

 

 

That is what you called 'liberal class analysis', ergo, stating obvious fact. It's stating exploitation/oppression, which is a Marxist framework, one of class warfare.

They did more than acknowledge disparity, they regarded it as exploitation backed by state power. Hence all the revolutions lead by liberals to abolish feudal, clerical and royal power and establish formal equality before the law.

 

 

 

Adam Smith makes 'class analysis'. But not really in the Marxist sense where one class is exploited/oppressed by the other. This is full of 'class analysis'

It's absolutely full of class analysis, especially his analysis of divisions of labour (ie, class systems) and how they'll have to be abolished to allow for human flourishing. 

 

 

 

John Stuart Mill criticizing socialism and communism

Nobody is arguing that liberals are actually socialists? Rather that just engaging in class analysis doesn't make you a Marxist. Social democracy is basically just 24/7 liberal class analysis, unless you think Bernie Sanders and Bill Maher are socialists. 

 

 

 

John Stuart Mill was a liberal feminist. I'm a liberal feminist really.

Mill was a liberal feminist in the sense that he was both a liberal and a feminist. What we call 'liberal feminism' today takes no cues from him you're right, since his work was premised on the division of labour within a marriage (it really comes up a lot in classical liberalism) which was the basis of feminism until postmodernism came along. But liberalism has developed since John Stuart Mills, and what we call liberalism today doesn't take any cues from him either.

 

Our political system is a liberal democracy even if its a warped parody of actual liberal principles, but its still meaningful to call it liberal. Liberal feminism likewise is a far cry from liberal individualism but its a liberal individualistic reaction to second-wave radical feminism, premised on our societies liberal individualistic logic, however warped it is.

 

I shouldn't have to explain why liberal feminism is liberal. You're claiming its actually 'neomarxism' because it says men are bad sort of and Marxism says the rich are bad or whatever. It's ridiculous. 

 

 

 

 'Speech is violence' is not compatible with John Stuart Mill, or any other classical liberal for that matter.

Well its hardly compatible with like any philosopher from any school of thought. It developed more from corporate PC culture than from some sh*t Foucalt wrote. All of these lines you're drawing are incredibly tenuous. Foucault said speech can have massive social effects comparable to structural violence, therefore student histrionics must be because of Foucault. Marxists got big into postmodernism after the fall of the USSR (around the same time a lot of  them got really big on neoconservatism as well) therefore postmodernism is actually neomarxism. It's just tiring, this constant effort on your part of ape liberalism as the only enlightenment ideology in history and everything outside of it as Rousseau Was Right counterenlightenment. Thi Peterson cult stuff is just South Park for the IQ 140 crowd. 

 

 

 

I know enough to know that "ML is associated with the largest period of economic growth in human history" is a joke. That's obvious from simple observation.

Well your idea of the history of the USSR is like "the government took over everything then everything because industrial for some reason which is definitely in spite of rather than because of the government consciously trying to do that and they fell apart like 70 years later because there was no competition lol" so I don't think much about the USSR is obvious to you. 

 

 

 

Your rationale is pretty much, if it isn't laissez faire capitalism, then it is state capitalism, and all state capitalism is the same. This is very superficial and silly.

No it's the fact that they both developed in tandem with each other and are in effect the same form of economic arrangement, wherein Capitalism is reformed with state management of industry. Imagine Soviet policies in the West under our liberal system: that's basically social democracy 

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Eutyphro
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#641

Posted 21 September 2017 - 10:24 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 21 September 2017 - 10:37 PM.

You can't really say it grew out of Marxism when the whole process of arriving at that theory--insofar as postmodernism actually is a theory--involved an abandonment of Marxism. Postmodern neomarxism doesn't make any sense because it's attempting to make it sound like there's any connection between the French postmodernists and the German critical theorists (who are often wrongly called 'neomarxists') to point to some vague conspiracy taking place in academia and civil society to brainwash the masses, which is just the 'cultural Marxists' bit rebranded. It also doesn't make any sense to call a theory neo-something when it clearly has no connection to the original something; in this case the whole concept of neomarxism falls apart because Marxism is historically invariant.

Like I said, it's perfectly possible to argue postmodernism is not Marxism anymore. It's a reasonable point. But all postmodernists are far leftists, almost all of them are/have been Marxists, and members of communist/Marxist organizations. So it is fair to make a connection between postmodernism and Marxism. But if we want to understand the possibility of the combination, let's see what eminent literary critic and Marxist Fredric Jameson has to say about it:

 
Marxism and postmodernism: people often seem to find this combination peculiar or paradoxical, and somehow intensely unstable, so that some of them are led to conclude that, in my own case, having ‘become’ a postmodernist, I must have ceased to be a Marxist in any meaningful (or in other words stereotypical) sense. [*] For the two terms (in full postmodernism) carry with them a whole freight of pop nostalgia images, ‘Marxism’ perhaps distilling itself into yellowing period photographs of Lenin and the Soviet revolution, and ‘postmodernism’ quickly yielding a vista of the gaudiest new hotels. The over-hasty unconscious then rapidly assembles the image of a small, painstakingly reproduced nostalgia restaurant—decorated with the old photographs, with Soviet waiters sluggishly serving bad Russian food—hidden away within some gleaming new pink and blue architectural extravaganza. If I may indulge a personal note, it has happened to me before to have been oddly and comically identified with an object of study: a book I published years ago on structuralism elicited letters, some of which addressed me as a ‘foremost’ spokesperson for structuralism, while the others appealed to me as an ‘eminent’ critic and opponent of that movement. I was really neither of those things, but I have to conclude that I must have been ‘neither’ in some relatively complicated and unusual way that it seemed hard for people to grasp. As far as postmodernism is concerned, and despite the trouble I took in my principal essay on the subject to explain how it was not possible intellectually or politically simply to celebrate postmodernism or to ‘disavow’ it (to use a word to which I will return), avant-garde art critics quickly identified me as a vulgar-Marxist hatchet man, while some of the more simplehearted comrades concluded that, following the example of so many illustrious predecessors, I had finally gone off the deep end and become a ‘post-Marxist’ (which is to say, a renegade and a turncoat).

https://newleftrevie...d-postmodernism

Fredric Jameson on 'cultural Marxism':

The specific use of the term cultural in a certain Marxist tradition, most notably the Soviet: here culture designates daily life and daily practices in general (or, if you like, the “superstructural” in general). This is of course an immediately central political area for any postrevolutionary society, since what is now designated is a level of collective consciousness, issues of education and social reproduction, and most significantly what we might be tempted to call ideological attitudes: literacy, the relationship of the peasant to industrial and technological phenomena, the relationship of hitherto dominated classes to images of authority, sexual politics and gender attitudes including the place of the family, and so forth. This brief list is enough to suggest that when Lenin and others termed this or that problem a “cultural issue,” they did not thereby intend to marginalize or trivialize such problems, but on the contrary to designate them as a crucial area for which some enlarged conception of political work and collective reeducation had to be invented. Gramsci’s notion of a struggle for hegemony, or more precisely, for the construction of a counter-hegemony, seems to me very obviously to designate this same area, whose problematic has now been widened to include “cultural” struggles that must precede and prepare a social revolution; while the Chinese conception of “cultural revolution” obviously also develops very squarely in this tradition, although to discuss it (and to show the originality of this conception, which can now be distinguished from its limited historical experience in revolutionary China) would take too much time here.

 

https://thecharnelho...arxism-2007.pdf
 

Of course they did reflect on material causes. I would also throw in Max Weber as one of the very best liberal theorists just for the range of subjects he wrote on. I was referring to modern liberal analysis above all, but even in Weber, for example, you can clearly see explicitly idealist explanations to some phenomena (for example, Protestantism and capitalism).

You can't really understand Protestantism merely through materialism though. Understanding Protestantism merely through materialism would be bizarre and reductionist.
 

And of course liberalism isn't politically neutral, but you presented these concepts of truth and justice as if they weren't completely politicized, which is disingenuous. It doesn't mean much to say liberal thinkers support them because, in effect, what you're saying is that liberal thinkers defend a liberal order.

Free speech as John Stuart Mill argues for isn't a hegemonic construct to enforce some specific societal order. That's really, exactly what it is not. He argues that regardless how offensive an opinion is, offense is not a reason for censorship. He argues for the protection of minority opinions, because opinions are generally only half truths, and that this is also true of majority opinions. That's not a reasoning with the aim to push through a specific type of order. Is it political? Sure. But it is not an aim for 'liberal dialogue', to aim for 'liberal truth', and 'liberal justice'. It is not premised on reaching a specific end.
 

The whole 'collectivization' thing doesn't mean anything more than state ownership.

And state ownership, collectivization, is the opposite of privatization, which was the purpose of the enclosure act. So that's not 'the same'. It's even opposite.
 

I should say the book I was referencing is not The Entrepreneurial State, which is not by Chang as far as I can tell, but Bad Samaritans, which is a study and dismantlement of the free market myth of industrialization

Yeah, I mixed them up, because they both argue against popular free market myths, and were on Chomsky's reading list.

 

They did more than acknowledge disparity, they regarded it as exploitation backed by state power. Hence all the revolutions lead by liberals to abolish feudal, clerical and royal power and establish formal equality before the law.

They didn't really consider it 'exploitation'. They just thought it was incompetent and unjust. As for the legitimacy of state power. Godwin is a classical liberal and a proto anarchist. But he is an exception in that respect.
 

It's absolutely full of class analysis, especially his analysis of divisions of labour (ie, class systems) and how they'll have to be abolished to allow for human flourishing. 

He, doesn't really say that. He mainly rants on praising how gigantic the increase in productivity is under it. He also criticizes it for making human beings mere cogs. He gives a mixed picture, but the positive is a more dominant element. It's fair to say that negative comment is all too often forgotten, and Adam Smith is misrepresented as a free market fanatic, which he was not. He was nuanced.
 

unless you think Bernie Sanders and Bill Maher are socialists. 

Bill Maher, no, obviously. But Bernie Sanders does seem to engage in class warfare rhetoric against 'the 1%'. There's a devestating amount of inequality in the USA, so criticism of it is justified. It's even very laudable, and I think Bernie is important. But he does go overboard on the rhetoric sometimes. Probably because he needs to compensate for a lack of such thinking in the mainstream. Though I think that has changed, partly because of him.
 

I shouldn't have to explain why liberal feminism is liberal.

You should.
 

It developed more from corporate PC culture than from some sh*t Foucault wrote.

That is indeed an interesting influence. I think ideas that were conceived by people like Foucault are popularized also due to corporate PC culture, and marketing aimed at identity, which is funny and strange.

wherein Capitalism is reformed with state management of industry

In Western countries states don't 'manage' industry. They subsidize and participate in innovation, provide natural resources on the cheap, and engage in protectionist patents and trade barriers. But.. They don't run the business. They do a lot, but not that.


Fonz
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#642

Posted 22 September 2017 - 12:22 PM Edited by Fonz, 22 September 2017 - 12:22 PM.

That's not really a convincing case for the combination of the two, it's simply a rebuttal to clichés and misconceptions about each of the theories. It doesn't apply here because I'm not referring to any aesthetic difference between the two--the stereotypes he's discussing--but to a fundamental difference in critical methods, understandings of history and subjects of study more broadly. As far as we know, Oscar Niemeyer might've been a Marxist. That's not the point.

 

As far as the cultural part goes, he's very obviously discussing something different from 'cultural Marxism' as it's designated today, i.e. as a rehash of Nazi propaganda. Even then, he's still completely wrong in believing there's a Soviet Marxist tradition at all (which is a misreading what Lenin was doing and in turn feeding into Stalinoid fabrications) and in following typically Gramscian (read: idealist) nonsense about the 'counter-hegemony', which is at best a terrible reading of the German Ideology and at worse plain reactionary garbage. The whole idea of a proletarian culture is ridiculous and has nothing to do with Marxism; communism is the abolition of the proletarian condition and class in general, it's not a glorification of it. The idea that there's a group of Marxists trying to subvert Western culture and create a Marxist culture™ instead is utterly ridiculous, both because there is no such group and because Marxism itself already repudiates that notion. That's why Gramsci is adored by left-liberal professors and has no actual place in Marxist theory aside from some interesting comments on Machiavelli and Catholicism.

 

You can't really understand Protestantism merely through materialism though. Understanding Protestantism merely through materialism would be bizarre and reductionist.

That's not the point. And what does understanding them "merely" through materialism really mean? Materialism doesn't mean "lol thought doesn't matter". Protestantism, or more specifically Lutheranism, can obviously be understood as a political movement with a very definite class composition--in particular the nobility--, which distinguished it very starkly from the much more radical movement led by Thomas Munzer, which was composed of peasants and plebeians. In fact Luther, despite paying lip service to the peasant movement, was very quick to denounce it and actively fight it after embracing the nobility fully. The point is to shed light on the political content of these movements without simply settling for a lazy analysis of it as simply religious divergences or whatever. There's a book on this by Engels which is without a doubt one of his greatest moments and really shows the scope of his historical knowledge--some biographers consider his knowledge of European history deeper than Marx's.

 

Anyway, what Weber was arguing was that Protestant asceticism had formed an irrational basis for the accumulation of capital and helped the whole generalization of wage labor, commodity production (though he doesn't use that term). It's true that Weber had a deep understanding of political economy and religion, but his explanation is admittedly not built on a materialist understanding of history. This isn't a critique of Weber, I'm just trying to juxtapose him to Marx.

 

Free speech as John Stuart Mill argues for isn't a hegemonic construct to enforce some specific societal order. That's really, exactly what it is not. He argues that regardless how offensive an opinion is, offense is not a reason for censorship. He argues for the protection of minority opinions, because opinions are generally only half truths, and that this is also true of majority opinions. That's not a reasoning with the aim to push through a specific type of order. Is it political? Sure. But it is not an aim for 'liberal dialogue', to aim for 'liberal truth', and 'liberal justice'. It is not premised on reaching a specific end.

The issue isn't so much whether it's working towards a specific end. Free speech promotes a vision of open discussion in the marketplace of ideas, but in practice this is not threatening to the liberal order and as we've seen countless times, as soon as we leave the whole fantasy of the marketplace of ideas and enter the realm of action where things become actual movements, any government (not necessarily self-identified liberal ones) will step in and disrupt it violently. The concept of justice under liberalism is just as political as it was under the Old Regime, for example. The fact that it takes a more transparent appearance doesn't really change that.

 

And state ownership, collectivization, is the opposite of privatization, which was the purpose of the enclosure act. So that's not 'the same'. It's even opposite.

No, because both are private property, just managed by different groups. Private property isn't a question of management nor does it stop being private property when the state takes over it. That's not the important part here: what matters is the fact that the two represented cases of primitive accumulation of capital through the same process of transforming peasants into wage earners. There's no qualitative difference between the two cases.

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Eutyphro
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#643

Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:06 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 22 September 2017 - 02:40 PM.

I'm not referring to any aesthetic difference between the two--the stereotypes he's discussing--but to a fundamental difference in critical methods, understandings of history and subjects of study more broadly.

Well, yes, there is a fundamental difference in the critical methods. I agree.
 

As far as the cultural part goes, he's very obviously discussing something different from 'cultural Marxism' as it's designated today, i.e. as a rehash of Nazi propaganda.

It looks a lot like the Nazi 'Sexual Bolshevism' conspiracy really. But that book is generally full of material linking critical theory, criticism of modernity and mass consumption, postmodernism, and Marxism, together. I can't really argue with you about either Marxism or critical theory, as you know far more about it than I do. I think Fredric Jameson is entertaining to read though. I think I'm going to read more from him.
 

That's not the point. And what does understanding them "merely" through materialism really mean? Materialism doesn't mean "lol thought doesn't matter".

It seems to me that religious ideology is typically something that is hard to understand through merely historical materialism. But historical materialism is a reductionist argument in general really.
 

Anyway, what Weber was arguing was that Protestant asceticism had formed an irrational basis for the accumulation of capital and helped the whole generalization of wage labor, commodity production (though he doesn't use that term).

I know that text by Weber. I've read it a few years ago.
 

The issue isn't so much whether it's working towards a specific end. Free speech promotes a vision of open discussion in the marketplace of ideas, but in practice this is not threatening to the liberal order and as we've seen countless times, as soon as we leave the whole fantasy of the marketplace of ideas and enter the realm of action where things become actual movements, any government (not necessarily self-identified liberal ones) will step in and disrupt it violently. The concept of justice under liberalism is just as political as it was under the Old Regime, for example. The fact that it takes a more transparent appearance doesn't really change that.

The concept of justice is just as political, because justice is fundamentally a political concept. Depending on the specific liberal government there can be cases of repression, such as COINTELPRO. But COINTELPRO is fundamentally illiberal, and John Stuart Mill would disapprove of it. That's also why most of those cases of repression are actually unconstitutional. In general it seems revolutionary projects fail in Western liberal democracies, not because of liberal repression, which is a contradictory idea anyway, but because revolutionary ideas fail at creating popularity. Most people simply don't agree with them.
 

Private property isn't a question of management nor does it stop being private property when the state takes over it.

It does stop being private property if the state takes over, actually.

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Fonz
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#644

Posted 23 September 2017 - 05:07 PM

It looks a lot like the Nazi 'Sexual Bolshevism' conspiracy really. But that book is generally full of material linking critical theory, criticism of modernity and mass consumption, postmodernism, and Marxism, together. I can't really argue with you about either Marxism or critical theory, as you know far more about it than I do. I think Fredric Jameson is entertaining to read though. I think I'm going to read more from him.

Yeah, I want to read from him as well to get a better idea of his whole perspective, especially what he has to say about the whole idea of post-Marxism.

 

It seems to me that religious ideology is typically something that is hard to understand through merely historical materialism. But historical materialism is a reductionist argument in general really.

It's made to look that way because of the sad abuse of the term throughout the years, but it's not at all. It doesn't ignore ideas because only matter is real or anything of the sort, but attempts to explain ideas not as abstractions, divorced from the real world but shaped by it and by the development of political history, which is itself constrained by the technological development of each time. This is a framework that includes lots of considerations on political systems and ideas but through a very thorough analysis; it's definitely not a set of ready-made answers and slogans that can substitute careful study of history. In this sense, not only is it essential to understand religious ideology but also to look for a material explanation of its prominence. It's unfortunate that "material conditions" has become such a buzz phrase, though.

 

Weber is excellent, by the way. Someone once called The Protestant Ethic a dialogue with the ghost of Marx, and it's interesting to read them side by side to see where they converge. I wonder if Weber read Engels' book on the Peasant War and the radical Reformation and whether it influenced him in some way.

 

The concept of justice is just as political, because justice is fundamentally a political concept. Depending on the specific liberal government there can be cases of repression, such as COINTELPRO. But COINTELPRO is fundamentally illiberal, and John Stuart Mill would disapprove of it. That's also why most of those cases of repression are actually unconstitutional. In general it seems revolutionary projects fail in Western liberal democracies, not because of liberal repression, which is a contradictory idea anyway, but because revolutionary ideas fail at creating popularity. Most people simply don't agree with them.

 

The thing is that, even assuming the best intentions on the part of statesmen, the realities of government trump personal convictions because governments establish themselves as centers of power anyway. Weber is relevant here since he laid out this notion better than any of his peers, which is really admirable because he was a liberal himself, although a very subversive one. Liberalism may disapprove of repression in theory but the whole capitalist order cannot exist without it. Mill himself, for example, was a supporter of British colonialism, as was his father. I think the thing to take away from liberalism is its importance as a revolutionary movement, but it can't be divorced by the class composition of that movement and its interests. This is not moralism, though: socialism is also a class movement and serves specific class interests. A proletarian revolution is repressive just the same as a bourgeois revolution.

 

Your last point is salient, I think, because it sheds light on the nature of left-populist movements. Generally, trying to make socialism happen by converting as many people as possible is a waste of time and totally ignores the meaning of a class movement. We all wish we had a formula for revolution, but that's just not how it works. Revolutionary moments are premised on the objective conditions of the class rather than how many newspapers were sold. That's why I think the whole fetishization of just doing something for its own sake is problematic, aside from reeking of ego-boosting and feelgood activism. Trots trying to infiltrate parties, tankies obsessing over nationalist movements and 'supporting' online, etc., you know the deal.

 

It does stop being private property if the state takes over, actually.

 

That's not how private property is defined. Private property is a social relation of exclusivity, in this case the exclusivity of control over productive resources which, under capitalism, manifests itself as the opposition of wage labor and capital. This is independent of which institution takes on the role of the capitalism. Or for a clearer definition,

 

But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. —Engels
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