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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-29-09 02:37 PM
dtq Im a bit late coming to this discussion :D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAvo001 View Post
communisim is a great idea in theory ( everyone is equal, everone pulls their own weight, no benifit leaching scum)
but in practice (it has been proven by every country to try i) it fails.(altho china seams to be doing ok and its still sort of communist)
it is human nature to seek power and those with power will eventualy abuse it .
a sad truth.
I dont believe its ubiquitous to all of humanity to seek power. For myself Its never been of interest, but then Im a bit of an oddball. I dont believe it is the case that power always leads to abuse, I believe it is possible for a person to be in a position of leadership and have an altruistic nature. I do however believer that people likelly to abuse power will be drawn to achieving power.

I dont believe communism can work without compulsion, Dont get me wrong, I can see why people would do things for the good of others, no problems understanding the idea of people doing things out of the goodness of their heart, or for the "state" of the art etc etc. But theres a difference between doing so of free will and "having" to do so. I dont believe that its in the nature of all people to be like this, many are very self centred. Communism doesnt allow for these people. Many people are only motivated by direct visible personal betterment.

I hate the term capitalism, I dont believe in a system based soley on "capital" Where only those with capital have "power". Perhaps in marx's day it was more true than today, but In most countries labelled "capitalist" even the most poor have opportunities to seek rich's should they so desire. The days of the downtrodden working class having no chance to improve their lot in life are long gone - if they ever truelly existed... (although the current financial situation may make starting out on your own harder).

I prefer "freedom" or "opportunity" or "choice". I believe strongly that every man and woman should have the freedom to pursue their own path. If wealth and influence is what they want, let them seek after it. I could be classed as a capitalist if it wasnt for the fact that I disagreed strongly with the basis of the term. I believe that in a "capitalist" society I have the opportunity to seek wealth should I desire it, Im glad the chance is there for those whom that brings joy.

For myself Ive made a lot choices not chase after wealth or power. Thats not where my heart is, For me its my choice to live in a relatively rural coastal area, where theres low demand and low wages for my skills, I choose it because the beauty of the natural environment, the atmosphere etc... Its worth more to me than higher wages, I like the fact my kids go to school not in something looking like a industrial park cum prison, but in a quite beautifull old stone built building (whilst being decently modern indoors). I have a job that whilst no where near testing my abilities pays enough money to put food on the table and roof over our heads. I dont feel the need to chase the trappings of wealth, I dont mind struggling a bit financially for the sake of an easy going family life.

I quite enjoy improvising to save money, I build 90% of our furniture I do all the maintenance on the house, If I want something I make it happen, rather than buying it off the shelf. Not so long ago I built a new modular corner sofa a 8'x4' 2 layer table that gets used as both a dining table on one level take the top off and its a 8'x4' gaming table underneath. Out of the left over wood Im building an arcade style cockpit for my space sim gaming. I Like the fact that I have a CHOICE to be able to do this. I can without feeling guilt make these things and not worry that Im "consuming" more than my share or someone saying that I dont "need" these things.

I dont believe a system that provides only for ones "needs" of food and shelter is utopian, to me a world in which I get what I need and have no opportunity to get what I "want" is drudgery and hell. I believe that pursuit of ones wants as well is necesary for happiness. Hust because I dont CHOOSE to pursue wealth doesnt mean I dont support the freedom of those who do. How in a "perfect" communism system does it get decided who gets what? Who is "allowed" wood to build furniture who is allowed furniture ready built, who gets this that or the other, or do PC's grow on trees in plenty enough to be handed out to all? Resources are finite once all the world is fed who exactly gets what? and who decides what goes where?

I dont believe our forms of Government "repress" the poor, I dont believe that a bin man is forced to be a bin man. I believe that anyone has the freedom to chase their dreams. I also believe people have the freedom to help the less fortunate. Whilst this may well be outside the scope of "pure" capitalism I dont believe its outside of either human nature or freedom of choice.

My view is that to the same degree as there has never been a true Communist system that there has never been a "true" capitalist system, But I believe Im far happier for a system that leans towards what people call "capitalist" than I would posibly be under anything that leans towards what people would refer to as "communist".

I reject the totally the idea of communism as much as I do the idea of "pure" capitalism. I dont believe human hapiness can be achieved under either, I dont believe that "capitalism" as we have it enforces class's or divides. I dont think you have to start with an inherited fortune to earn money. I believe that if any person wants it badly enough they can achieve wealth, I applaud a system that allows that. I applaud a system that allows the freedom of choice to attempt to achieve your dreams.

I think if anything is true of human nature it is diversity any extreme regime is destined to fail unless it takes into account the diversity of mankinds needs \ desires and happiness. Lets face it as a species mankind is kind of given to "messing up" and "making bad decisions". No system is idiot proof, the best thing a system can be is "flexible".
04-29-09 01:08 AM
cafel Red Orc do you just have the standard, 'There has never been a true communist society in recent history, ect. ect.' just written down so you can copy paste it at this point? Cause if not, then I might end up doing that.
04-28-09 11:14 PM
DAvo001 communisim is a great idea in theory ( everyone is equal, everone pulls their own weight, no benifit leaching scum)
but in practice (it has been proven by every country to try i) it fails.(altho china seams to be doing ok and its still sort of communist)
it is human nature to seek power and those with power will eventualy abuse it .
a sad truth.
04-21-09 12:50 PM
normtheunsavoury Well done to Red Orc and Cabbage for one of the best threads I have had the pleasure to follow in a very long time!
All too often emotions run high in these debates and they descend into arguments and bad feeling, not here though.
If I could rep you both on here I would, but I'll have to settle for for a big imaginary pat on the back.
Well done for a great debate, well written, well thought out and well tempered.
04-21-09 04:39 AM
the cabbage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Orc View Post
Well, I don't think cabbage is arguing that capitalism is reality per se, just that class society and domination are inevitable - class society and domination come in a lot of forms other than private property, wage labour and commodity production, to be fair.

But it does seem that we've reached a point where further elaboration of this particular strand of the argument seems pointless; either, humans are capable of working together sufficiently well to establish communism, or they aren't. Only the 'future of history' will judge whether we do. But even if we don't, I'd still hold that it's not impossible. It might just be hard.
Definately right, I am no capitalist or bust salesman.

In the main I like the system the UK has now in theory. You work you pay tax. Certain services free at the point of use are provided to you by the government, ie education and the NHS. The welfare state is a safety net, you break your back in an industrial accident and you are looked after by the state until you can work again or not.

As i'm sure you'll agree our system has been twisted all out of shape and I wait with interest to see if it will snap back. For example loafing about on benefits is now a lifestyle choice, fashion accessory children, the demise of the working class. The fact that it is currently twisted does not make it broken though and I live in hope that it will roll a six and self repair.
04-20-09 06:14 PM
Red Orc Well, I don't think cabbage is arguing that capitalism is reality per se, just that class society and domination are inevitable - class society and domination come in a lot of forms other than private property, wage labour and commodity production, to be fair.

But it does seem that we've reached a point where further elaboration of this particular strand of the argument seems pointless; either, humans are capable of working together sufficiently well to establish communism, or they aren't. Only the 'future of history' will judge whether we do. But even if we don't, I'd still hold that it's not impossible. It might just be hard.
04-20-09 06:04 PM
Fallen so...from what i can gather from cabbage's last post is that...basically a true communist state, however big, is a fairy tale? a utopia that is often dreamed for yet never becomes a reality, as it always dissipates once we wake from slumber? that capitalism is the distopian world that we are forced to live in because it IS reality?
04-20-09 05:47 PM
the cabbage I still contend that over time a heirarchy will naturally/inevitably establish itself in any human society. You and your friends going to the pub is a bad example IMO. It is in terms of size, group dynamic and time nowhere near representative enough. A part of any larger group/society under different conditions you would IMO find yourselves moving up and down the heirarchy individually. That doesn't mean you can't drink together but have you naturally fallen into a system where you all pool your wages, resources and possesions? I thought not.

I only mention classical Athens as an example where IMO we made an attempt at a true, one man one vote, democracy. And as you yourself state it was human beings acting against it which caused it to fail. That backs up my argument. Our human nature (the whole created by a combination of nature and nurture) will not allow us to live as equals. Precisely because we are not equal.

I have no intention of aguing whether communism or capitalism is better (I know that is the whole thread) because I believe that true communism cannot ever happen in anything other than isolated times and places where a peculiar set of circumstances come about. You are clearly well informed on our attempts at communism to date. However the central tenet to my contributions is that out nature (environment and genetics) make living in a equality based utopian idyll impossible (however desirable).

Evidence with more than a night out with friends or the failed paris commune will be required to overturn my convictions. All your examples including Russia and China and every other attempt at communism (however bad) have been ruined by human beings, more evidence for my argument IMO.

We can change our environment but not our genetics. And as they combine to produce our capabilities and personalities how can we ever live as true equals? As a political thoerist you argue persuasively for true communism. As a realist I contend that our nature makes it impossible to create or maintain.

+rep for a really good discussion in which you haven't tried to post bully but stated your opinions and arguments pleasantly. Or at least I would if I could in this board.
04-20-09 10:41 AM
Red Orc Well, in some ways cabbage, you're re-inforcing my contention that a reduction in the environmental stress will lead to a reduction in the competitive urges in society; and I've seen no evidence presented that humans have to compete even if there's no need.

I agree that in class society, the rules of class society tend to (but don't inevitably) replicate themselves. That says nothing about societies without classes. All the argument boils down to is "we have competition now so we can't ever have communism", which I think you'll agree is a poor argument.

But I disagree that leaders and heirarchy inevitably (which is what I take it you mean by 'naturally') emerge. When my mates and I want to go to the pub we don't start little faction fights, set up armies or command structures, elect a president or anything; a couple of people make suggestions, and we all talk about it for a few minutes, until we decide. It's pretty strightforward really, and almost never involves death or even temporary dictatorship.

Decisions can be arrived at by debate, even under capitalism. So it's not 'inevitable' that groups are riven by competition or the establishment of heirarchical leadership structures, even under these circumstances.

But even if it were inevitable that some people would seek to dominate, then communism is still a better system, because it makes it harder to do that. Instead of setting up a society where 'the scum rises to the top' - and you can look at Stalin or Hitler or Mao or Churchill or Kennedy or any other mass-murdering capitalist warmonger - it's surely better to have a system where the power-hungry are not rewarded for their Machiavellianism.

You (I think it was you anyway, apologies if not) mentioned classical Athens earlier; while I don't accept that classical Athens was really all that democratic (what with women, slaves, and other categories of non-citizens it wasn't actually much more democratic than Sparta say), for the citizen body at least it was democratic; and the times that Athens lost its way were precisely when that democracy was subborned. It was political machinations against democracy that led to farcical and tragic episodes like the Sicilian expedition.

But under communism, which must be a worldwide system, that couldn't really happen. Athens was a class state, competing with other class states; communism will be universal, and I can't see the Glorious 1st May Bakery voting to invade the Internationalist Bicycle Factory next door, or even the Internazionalist Bicycle Fabrikwerken in the former territory of Germany. It doesn't make much sense.

Cafel, Lenin, the Bolsheviks, and the Social-Revolutionaries and Anarchists who all let's not forget collaborated in the October revolution in Russia weren't seeking to establish Socialism (or even 'take power' as such) in one country. They thought that they were just the first. They expected the revolution to break out in Germany (which it did, but was crushed), France and Britain, and then America (which it didn't).

On 'taking power', the Bolsheviks' conception was that the workers' party (ie the Bolsheviks) could somehow 'stand for' the working class; it 'represented' the working class in the state/government. This is the same conception that any political party has in any bourgeois-democratic setting, and was a hangover from the earlier history of the workers' movement when socialists tried to get elected to parliament. No workers' revoltion had ever succeeded in taking power for more than a few weeks in a single city before (Paris Commune, 1871), and no-one knew what to expect taking power in a whole country. But the conception was not that the 'Soviet Republic' was it; it was all provisional until the German revolution 'rescued' Russia from its isolation. "Socialism in one country", the idea that the USSR should attempt to move towards communism alone, wasn't formulated until Lenin had been dead 3 years.

So for me the 'split' wasn't between Lenin and Marx, but between Stalin and Lenin. That's not to unequivocally defend Lenin however. I think Lenin mad a lot of mistakes; but Stalin didn't. Lenin tried, and failed (because the task was actually impossible), to preserve the Soviet Republic as a 'proletarian bastion' should the revolution catch hold in Germany. Stalin, however, tried and succeeded, to make the Soviet Union an imperialist power, through brutal exploitation and militarism.
04-20-09 04:44 AM
the cabbage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Orc View Post
Archaeologists keep upping the population estimates of ancient civilisations. Every few years they make the figures bigger. Not certain what the current figures are for world population, but in the field of British demography, the estimates for the Roman period have more then trebled over the last 50 years or so. So it's quite probable that the population graphs that show an explosion over the last 3-400 years are actually way wrong, and the populations of the Mesolithic (around 7,000BC) and before are higher than you think.

Not that I agree with Lawrence that we need to kill 90% of the population for communism to work. I think that's madness. The whole point of communism, as I see it, is that we don't have to kill anybody (unlike capitalism, of course).
I suspect you are correct on this. For my interest what the accepted timeline? When were we at 50% of the current and when at 10%?

My main point however that our species, as a result of nature (genetics/personality) and nurture (environment) could never live in a utopian true communist society. And I haven't seen this point effectively beaten down.

The point on populations is actually mainly irrelevant to my argument. Sure increased populations create more competition for resources and space. However I'm talking about human interactions in all sizes of groups from families to populations. Even in small groups a heirarchy will establish itself.

I've been in the forces for 18 years and we even use this natural evolving heirarchy during officer and SNCO selection processses. In any group in a surprisingly short period of time a leader will emerge. And it becomes even more obvious in stressfull situations such as on operations.
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