thirdform

Active member
Is this written in all seriousness?

I mean, in a sense it's correct, if "thanks to socialism" can be taken to mean "thanks to the end of Soviet socialism".

that article was saying *socialism was state capitalism from the point of view of the proletariat*

I mean, sure, disagree with it, but read the damn thing before pulling out random quotes without realising that it was a diss of 20th C socialism there. It was saying that socialism completed the civilising tasks of the victorian enlightenment. now we have to go beyond the enlightenment without succumbing to reactionary anti-enlightenment.
 
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thirdform

Active member
it's like tea says marxists aren't critical enough of their own failures. all well and good. i completely agree. noone's a closetted stalinist here (if only for the fact that there is no more need for super-industrialisation.) maybe some former posters were closetted stalinists, but we are all women of knowledge here and have no need for the putrid stink of that provocateur Zizek.

Then when there are articles quite critical of soviet orthodoxy in much more incisive form than a telegraph commentator like Alastair shitspitter Campbell tea is up in arms ready to bad faith it.

so which one is it? do you wanna just say the free market will solve our troubles, or are you gonna not get indignant. there is no middle ground. you can still be part of the lads if you're a free marketeer.
 

thirdform

Active member
goldner said:
On one level, this seemed a perfectly coherent explanation of the world into the mid-1970′s. Had not the highest expression of the revolutionary workers’ movement taken place in Germany and Russia? Had not everything since been disaster and bureaucratic nightmare? Bordiga anticipated this attitude when he wrote, sometime in the 1950′s, that “just because social evolution in one zone (by which he meant Europe and the U.S.) has come to the next to the last phase does not mean that what happens on the rest of the planet is socially of no interest”. For this worldview, (shared in that period by the author) what was happening on the rest of the planet was precisely socially of no interest. Who could seriously propose China or North Korea or Albania, or the national liberation movements and their states, as models for American or European workers? But such a view, while correct, was not adequate.
Why not?
Because it ignored two realities already well underway in the mid-1970′s: the double movement of Third World industrialization and technology-intensive (“high-tech”) development in the advanced sector that were about to crash down around the Western working class movement, upon which the whole earlier perspective rested. In 1970, in the midst of Stalinist, Maoist and Third World euphoria over peasant-bureaucratic revolutions, it was right and revolutionary to look to the Western working class as the only class that could actually end class society. It was necessary to reject that Third Worldist hogwash then, as it is necessary to reject its (quite enfeebled) remnants today. But what has changed since then is of course that de-industrialization in the West and industrialization in the Third World (two sides of the same coin) have created real workers’ movements in the Third World itself, South Korea being the most recent important instance. Into the mid-70′s the world looked pretty much like what could be extrapolated from the early, heroic Comintern view sketched above. The countries that were the core of world industry in 1914 (Western Europe, the U.S. and Japan), were still the core. In terms of the earlier discussion, if a country had not been “internally reorganized” by the 1860′s it wasn’t going to be in the “industrial club” in 1914 and still wouldn’t be circa 1975. Further, the percentage of workers in manufacture in the advanced industrial counties, which had peaked at circa 45% in Germany and England circa 1900-1914, was still close to that figure for the advanced capitalist zone as a whole in the early 70′s. What had changed in the interim? Clearly, the advanced capitalist world had gone from a (very rough) breakdown of its work force, in 1900-1914 of 45% in industry, 45% in agriculture, 10% in white-collar services, to 40-45% in industry, 5-10% in agriculture, and 40-45% in white-collar services (not to mention the creation of a large arms sector that had only barely come into existence around the turn of the century). What did this indicate? It indicated that the “story” of capitalist development was as follows. In 1815-1914 the phase of “classic” or “competitive” capitalism, the system had primarily transformed peasants into workers, atleast in England, the U.S., France and Germany. In the post-1914 period (in reality beginning circa 1890) the new phase of “organized” capitalism, “monopoly” capitalism, the “epoch of imperialist decay” continued to deplete the rural populations of the Western world (and Latin America, the Caribbean, southern Europe and Africa), but to accomplish what? Instead of continuing to expand the industrial work force, it used the greatly increased productivity of a stagnant percentage of the work force to support an ever-growing white collar “service sector” (and arms production). But to return to the basic theme, Communist Parties start to erode and be super by integrated Social Democratic type parties precisely when the agrarian population of the country in question is reduced to a trivial (5-10%) of the work force. This is what has happened, for example, in France and Spain in the last 15 years.
This is what has not happened in Portugal, precisely because small producer agriculture remains a very significant percentage of the Portuguese work force. This is the backdrop to the transformation of the PCI. It is what happened long ago in northern Europe and the United States. It is, finally, the strict parallel to the problems encountered in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union when the “extensive” phase of accumulation is completed and it is time to move to the intensive phase which the West arrived at through the crisis of 1914-1945. In short, from enlightened absolutism in the 17th century to Communist Parties in the 20th century, the problematic is that of the extensive phase of accumulation – the transformation of peasants into workers. The ultimate implication of this is that a society is only fully capitalist when a trivial percentage of the work force is employed in agriculture, i.e. that a society is only fully capitalist when it has moved from the extensive/formal to the intensive/real phase of accumulation.
This was written in 95 so consider that in mind.
 

vimothy

yurp
communism is not necessarily antagonistic towards civilisation. there's a sense in which it arises out of (intellectual) currents and tendencies characteristic of european civilisation, in particular (zizek's "european toilets" of german philosophical idealism, french political radicalism and british classical economics). it also positions itself as the concluding part of a civilisational process (going from feudalism to communism via capitalism). so although the "barbarian ideal" has a certain relatable romantic appeal, idk how much it has to do with communism
 

vimothy

yurp
maybe. still I don't think communism conforms much to a "barbarian ideal", in the main. it's actually quite congruent to european civilisation, both in self-conception and practice.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
that article was saying *socialism was state capitalism from the point of view of the proletariat*

I mean, sure, disagree with it, but read the damn thing before pulling out random quotes without realising that it was a diss of 20th C socialism there. It was saying that socialism completed the civilising tasks of the victorian enlightenment. now we have to go beyond the enlightenment without succumbing to reactionary anti-enlightenment.
OK, I've read the whole thing now. Some of it makes a good deal of sense (while other bits, to me, certainly don't). Might write some more later. But it still hasn't remotely convinced me that "communists are barbarians". My knowledge of communist theory is fairly scant but I believe vimothy is right in saying that Marx regarded communism teleologically, as the most advanced and complete form that society will take, after *starting* with barbarism (or perhaps hunter-gatherer 'savagery' even before that), before passing through feudal monarchy and bourgeois capitalism en route to this perfect future state.

Of course people have thought and written a great deal about communism since Marx's time, but I would have a hard time accepting a statement about it that apparently flatly contradicts Marx's own thought on the subject.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
OK but he regarded communism as a "stage" that came after feudalism and capitalism, didn't he?
 

thirdform

Active member
maybe. still I don't think communism conforms much to a "barbarian ideal", in the main. it's actually quite congruent to european civilisation, both in self-conception and practice.
aren't you like tea substituting marx with Burnstein? certainly today any transition to communism worldwide would have to be capitalistic and will have little need for the peasantry (mostly because agricultural production is a very small percentage of production) but i reject some anarchist analyses that stipulate that communism would have not been possible from the russian experience. That in itself is an easy, comforting answer that transmutes the economic determinism to a question of political determinism. But, for innstance, the workers in germany circa 1920-23 did make a colossal mistake by surrendering their own autonomy back to the social democratic party. similarly with Stalin in 1927 urging chen duxiu and an earlier Mao to ally with Chang ki shek. none of these may have aided the proletarian revolution, granted, but unless you want to argue that history is total chaos, you have to at least acknowledge marx's dictum that we make history (we still have agency) but we don't determine the circumstances that lead to our choices. which, i think, solves the pseudo-non problem of free will vs determinism. After all, god is powerless when confronted by the past.
 

vimothy

yurp
aren't you like tea substituting marx with Burnstein?
I don't think so, no. in what sense? from a theoretical POV, communism arises out of intellectual currents that are characteristic of european civilsation. even forgetting about the theory, communism arises from forces operating within civilisation (not without - like barbarian hordes rolling in off the steppes).
 

thirdform

Active member
excellent quote (there should be a thread collecting your best quotes, which includes this, imo). however, god does not necessarily experience time as man.
that's assuming that God experiences rather than man imputing that experience onto God.
 

thirdform

Active member
I don't think so, no. in what sense? from a theoretical POV, communism arises out of intellectual currents that are characteristic of european civilsation. even forgetting about the theory, communism arises from forces operating within civilisation (not without - like barbarian hordes rolling in off the steppes).

if you are saying that the proletariat is a part of capitalist civilisation, then sure, you have no disagreement from me here, in the same way if you claimed that the working class cannot have an independent existence from capital, and thus is inarguably shaped by the totalising effects of real subsumption, again no disagreement here. working class culture is a bit of an obfuscatory term, yes. If you are saying communism involves bringing virtu and high culture to the proles, then I'd say that was the biggest mistake of the 20th century left.
 
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