Author Topic: When Revolution started?  (Read 31398 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2011, 10:34:39 AM »
"the infallibility of the market'  is that the "they are too big to fail" train of thought that brought about the US government now owning (in the guise of taxpayers) part of General Motors and other big banks and insurance companies?

Sorry, Alixz, I don't quite catch your drift, are you arguing that the US government is becoming more socialistic? And if so, exactly why would that be a bad thing, since the government is quite possibly the only force propping up the economy at this point? As it was back in the early 1930s, I might add, when last this country faced a recession of this magnitude. And yet we didn't go all communist back then, and undoubtedly we won't go all communist now, either.
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline Petr

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2011, 11:16:13 AM »
[Marx stood not only for apocalyptic class warfare (in some interpretations) but also simply for social justice (in others). I'm sick and tired of this very American attitude that everything socialist is necessarily bad for you. Look at Scandinavia, look at Germany, even look at France and Great Britain. For that matter, look to your own shores. Without Marxism there would probably be no social safety net for anybody but the very rich, anywhere in the world.
Dear Elizabeth: I don't think very many people would argue with the premise that social justice is an admirable goal. But as Ross Perot used to say, "the devil is in the details." I think it is a falicy to believe that any western democratic government can be characterized today as a capitalistic economic system in its purest laissez faire sense. Over one hundred years of social welfare policy in varying degrees have tempered what the left would criticize as the more unattractive characteristics of such a system. On the other hand, experience has shown that  a purely socialist system is not a very good allocator of economic resources since there is no real price/value recognition mechanism which yields to inefficiency and distortions in supply. Hence, in the old Soviet system there would be over supplies of brassieres when there was no sausage in the stores, a typical failing of a command and control economic system. The European countries are not really purely socialist in the Marxian (or even classic socialist) sense, far from it. In general the means of production are not in state hands (Maggie did alot in the UK to undo what Clement Atlee wrought). And certainly, there is nowhere near the coercive state control which charaterized the Communist system in Russia (the "Leninist" component of "Marxism/Leninism"). So, as always, the Aristotelian mean is the best. We need the rule of law to provide a level and fair playing field to temper the excesses of capitalism but at the same time minimize the intrusive power of the state which has the tendency to trample human rights and distort the economy. I posit that Marxism/Leninism which saw the state as saviour tilted much to far in the wrong direction with dire and tragic results for millions. 

By the way, I don't believe that Marx was responsible for creating social democratic movements in Europe. Those were well established before he came along. In fact, I believe one could argue that he did more harm than good by influencing those social democratic currents to move in a direction which was much harsher premised as his philosophy was on class warfare.                 
Rumpo non plecto

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2011, 11:47:36 AM »
The problem with a lot of right wingers is that they think Socialism and Communism are the same thing, when they aren't. 

The big difference is that Socialists believe in freedom and democracy, they can be voted out.  Communists, on the other hand, once they're in, they're IN.  The only way to get them out is to overthrow them.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

  • Guest
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2011, 11:48:35 AM »
TimM, was your source for the Niemöller quote perhaps American (or even Rush Limbaugh), since it failed to mention not only Communists and Social Democrats, but also trade unionists? :-)

Rush Limbaugh said something along the lines that a few Communists should be put in museums, so the world would never forget these people and what they stood for.

Either is Rush Limbaugh himself too ignorant or he presumes his audience to be so ignorant as to not know that there is a museum with a very prominent dead Communist on the Red Square, with the most evil Communist's (Stalin's) grave right next to it.

(Yes, I know Lenin's mausoleum was built as a monument in honour of him, but everything can be a museum of horrors to someone: The Kremlin will offend anti-tsarists, St. Basil's Cathedral will offend atheists, GUM will offend the anti-capitalists and I'm sure someone can make themself offended by the State Historical Museum too, it is after all an official definer of history itself! Heck, as much as I'm fascinated by them, I'm offended and horrified by the Pyramids, wondering what kind of charismatic "divine" leader could exploit people's muscle power for something as pointless as that! Mubarak certainly seems like Mr. Nice Guy compared to the Pharao Kheops!)

And really, his statement is so wonderfully right-wing American in all its simplicity, focusing on the individual instead of the collective, when it was the collective thinking that was the double-edged sword of Communism (I.e. "This class is the people and can overthrow the state if it unites." and "All other classes should be exterminated like vermin".)

Yesterday I watched the Oscar-winning Danish movie "Pelle the Conqueror", about the wretched life of the rural proletariat in Christian IX's Denmark. Great movie, highly recommended and when you watch it, remember that conditions were many times worse in Russia!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 12:20:41 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2011, 11:48:53 AM »
Rush Limbaugh is a complete moron, and a cynical moron at that, which is an unusual combination to say the least. Trust me, he doesn't believe a word he says. But he says it because like Ann Coulter he knows he'll get high ratings for being totally unfair and outrageous. The more unfair and outrageous the better.

Marx stood not only for apocalyptic class warfare (in some interpretations) but also simply for social justice (in others). I'm sick and tired of this very American attitude that everything socialist is necessarily bad for you. Look at Scandinavia, look at Germany, even look at France and Great Britain. For that matter, look to your own shores. Without Marxism there would probably be no social safety net for anybody but the very rich, anywhere in the world.

Nice post, and very much to the point. Westerners often overlook the massive benefit Commuism delivered to THEM in holding capitalism in check. Without the fear of western nations in turn "going Bolshie" if they didn't it is highly unlikely that any capitalist nation would ever have acceeded to the creation of a welfare state.

I am afraid that it seems to me that there is something of an idiotic "we won" attitude at large in the west since the fall of communism, which is starting to produce some nasty effects in terms of the way that governments - and their sponsors - behave. This is very noticeable in Britain and the U.S., but also in Sarkozy's France to a degree. As an agnostic, I don't want to live in a country enslaved to the infallibility of the Market any more than I want to live under Stalin. :-)

It was this post from Janet Ashton that I was asking about.

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2011, 01:24:00 PM »
[Marx stood not only for apocalyptic class warfare (in some interpretations) but also simply for social justice (in others). I'm sick and tired of this very American attitude that everything socialist is necessarily bad for you. Look at Scandinavia, look at Germany, even look at France and Great Britain. For that matter, look to your own shores. Without Marxism there would probably be no social safety net for anybody but the very rich, anywhere in the world.
Dear Elizabeth: I don't think very many people would argue with the premise that social justice is an admirable goal. But as Ross Perot used to say, "the devil is in the details." I think it is a falicy to believe that any western democratic government can be characterized today as a capitalistic economic system in its purest laissez faire sense. Over one hundred years of social welfare policy in varying degrees have tempered what the left would criticize as the more unattractive characteristics of such a system. On the other hand, experience has shown that  a purely socialist system is not a very good allocator of economic resources since there is no real price/value recognition mechanism which yields to inefficiency and distortions in supply. Hence, in the old Soviet system there would be over supplies of brassieres when there was no sausage in the stores, a typical failing of a command and control economic system. The European countries are not really purely socialist in the Marxian (or even classic socialist) sense, far from it. In general the means of production are not in state hands (Maggie did alot in the UK to undo what Clement Atlee wrought). And certainly, there is nowhere near the coercive state control which charaterized the Communist system in Russia (the "Leninist" component of "Marxism/Leninism"). So, as always, the Aristotelian mean is the best. We need the rule of law to provide a level and fair playing field to temper the excesses of capitalism but at the same time minimize the intrusive power of the state which has the tendency to trample human rights and distort the economy. I posit that Marxism/Leninism which saw the state as saviour tilted much to far in the wrong direction with dire and tragic results for millions.  

By the way, I don't believe that Marx was responsible for creating social democratic movements in Europe. Those were well established before he came along. In fact, I believe one could argue that he did more harm than good by influencing those social democratic currents to move in a direction which was much harsher premised as his philosophy was on class warfare.

I agree that the Aristotelian mean is best. That's why I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater as far as Marx is concerned, or for that matter Freud (and some of the things Freud wrote about women writers are so misogynistic it takes one's breath away). I don't agree with you that the social democratic movement was much in evidence, much less strong, before Marx. It's pretty clear that Marx & Engels gave social and political progressives not only their theoretical framework but also their modus operandi back in the latter half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century.

Marx was -- is -- also not clear cut when it comes to "class warfare," remember. What he called it was "class struggle" (a much more ambiguous and potentially merely descriptive term). Moreover, he was apparently at odds with Russian revolutionaries who believed that Russia was ripe for a socialist revolution, just as he was at odds with French revolutionaries earlier. Dealing with his French followers he famously said, "if this is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist."
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 01:35:12 PM by Elisabeth »
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline Sergei Witte

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 131
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2011, 02:05:04 PM »
Rush Limbaugh is a complete moron, and a cynical moron at that, which is an unusual combination to say the least. Trust me, he doesn't believe a word he says. But he says it because like Ann Coulter he knows he'll get high ratings for being totally unfair and outrageous. The more unfair and outrageous the better.

Marx stood not only for apocalyptic class warfare (in some interpretations) but also simply for social justice (in others). I'm sick and tired of this very American attitude that everything socialist is necessarily bad for you. Look at Scandinavia, look at Germany, even look at France and Great Britain. For that matter, look to your own shores. Without Marxism there would probably be no social safety net for anybody but the very rich, anywhere in the world.

Nice post, and very much to the point. Westerners often overlook the massive benefit Commuism delivered to THEM in holding capitalism in check. Without the fear of western nations in turn "going Bolshie" if they didn't it is highly unlikely that any capitalist nation would ever have acceeded to the creation of a welfare state.

I am afraid that it seems to me that there is something of an idiotic "we won" attitude at large in the west since the fall of communism, which is starting to produce some nasty effects in terms of the way that governments - and their sponsors - behave. This is very noticeable in Britain and the U.S., but also in Sarkozy's France to a degree. As an agnostic, I don't want to live in a country enslaved to the infallibility of the Market any more than I want to live under Stalin. :-)

Janet and Elisabeth, I completely agree with you. Btw this goes for the Netherlands as well.

Offline Petr

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2011, 02:30:33 PM »
[I agree that the Aristotelian mean is best. That's why I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater as far as Marx is concerned, or for that matter Freud (and some of the things Freud wrote about women writers are so misogynistic it takes one's breath away). I don't agree with you that the social democratic movement was much in evidence, much less strong, before Marx. It's pretty clear that Marx & Engels gave social and political progressives not only their theoretical framework but also their modus operandi back in the latter half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century.
Dear Elizabeth: I'm not sure that one "throws the baby out with the bath water" when one disavows Marx. I also disagree that social democratic movements were not in evidence before Marx. I believe the revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe, the development of labor unions and even Proudhon in France were evidence of social democratic movements which had nothing to do with Marx (in fact he was a critic of both the 1848  revolutions and Proudhon as you may know). Rightly or wrongly Marx tends to be held up as a hero for the left when in my view history has shown that the Emperor had no clothes and whatever theoretical framework he gave progressives was deeply flawed.  Also, progressive movements in various countries developed along their own indigenous national lines. I think the IWW and the progressive movement of Robert LaFollette had more to do with the New Deal in the US than Marx ever did (and to much better effect).

As for Freud, that's a more ambiguous legacy in my view. Clearly by bringing an organized analytical approach to the study of mental disorders he broke new ground and opened an avenue to treatment which I believe has helped many. But by the same token, Freudian analysis has much too often been misused to excuse conduct and has led to moral relativism and situational ethics (a hop step and jump to "the end justifies the means") at the price of individual responsibility. I find it interesting that in the modern world psychiatry has increasingly moved to pharmacological treatment. It's hard to find a true Freudian analyst these days who doesn't write prescriptions. Apart from Freud's  attempt to classify and categorize behavior I often think that the Father Confessor does as much good, at much less cost and with the added benefit of granting divine absolution.           
Rumpo non plecto

Offline Petr

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2011, 03:10:17 PM »
Dear Elizabeth:

Obviously my views on Marx probably go too far in denigrating his impact (most likely because I detest what was done in his name by Communists and not only in Russia but in Cuba, China and elsewhere as well). However, to the contrary I ran across an edition of The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics 2002) with an Introduction by Gareth Stedman Jones which does a good job in placing Marx in context in a post-Soviet, post-industrialized and globalized world and certainly supports your view of his importance in many respects.

I also find it interesting how both Marx and Freud attempted to use a "scientific" analysis of their respective areas of interest. In many ways I find it characteristic of a 19th Century faith in the then rapid development of the scientific method, a manifestation of the displacement of religious faith by secularism. Darwinism culminating in the elimination of the conception that man was created in God's image replaced by humanity being buffeted by immutable economic forces and primal urges in the face of which it stands helpless. I simply rebel against this deterministic view of life, devoid of compassion, kindness, beauty and hope. I'm getting old.                      

Rumpo non plecto

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #54 on: March 22, 2011, 03:33:31 PM »
I posted this elsewhere, but I think I'll post it here too.  It fits with the dicussion.

A century and a half ago, Karl Marx gave birth to a monster.  This monster rampaged through the 20th Century.  Wherever the monster went, death and misery followed in its wake. Millions of people, centuries old traditions, the monster consumed them all.   The monster had one ruling dictum:  Everyone and everything must be the same.  To be different was a threat, and the monster would tolerate no threats.  When the monster was finally slain in the twilight years of the 20th Century, the horrors it had inflicted were there for all to see.  The monster is gone, the monster is dead, may we never see its like again.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #55 on: March 22, 2011, 04:26:36 PM »
Dear Elizabeth:

Obviously my views on Marx probably go too far in denigrating his impact (most likely because I detest what was done in his name by Communists and not only in Russia but in Cuba, China and elsewhere as well). However, to the contrary I ran across an edition of The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics 2002) with an Introduction by Gareth Stedman Jones which does a good job in placing Marx in context in a post-Soviet, post-industrialized and globalized world and certainly supports your view of his importance in many respects.

I also find it interesting how both Marx and Freud attempted to use a "scientific" analysis of their respective areas of interest. In many ways I find it characteristic of a 19th Century faith in the then rapid development of the scientific method, a manifestation of the displacement of religious faith by secularism. Darwinism culminating in the elimination of the conception that man was created in God's image replaced by humanity being buffeted by immutable economic forces and primal urges in the face of which it stands helpless. I simply rebel against this deterministic view of life, devoid of compassion, kindness, beauty and hope. I'm getting old.

Dear Petr, I am also getting old, *sigh*. That's the way of things. And as I get older I get considerably more tolerant. When I was a college student I couldn't stand the emphasis on social history that was the tendency among American historians of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. I really rebelled against it. I remember in one class somebody gave a report in which he mentioned that tens of thousands of Soviet citizens thronged the streets of Moscow during Stalin's funeral, trying to see the dictator in the flesh one last time. I remarked (off the cuff as usual) "They wanted to make sure he was dead." My professor turned around and looked at me. She smiled. So you see, even the strictest Sovietologists were not without a sense of humor, or a sense of perspective.

In this forum I have often argued strenuously against Marxism, following my own instincts on the one hand and historians like Martin Malia on the other. And I was also extremely anti-Freud, for all the reasons you cite, and then some, when I was younger. But now that I'm advancing in years, I am beginning to see the contributions to humanity of these great minds. I mean, okay, let's face it -- Freud was an artist of genius. You're absolutely right, not a scientist for all his claims, not by a long stretch. But an artist almost on par with someone like Dostoevsky, in the breadth and depth of his imagination. So as much as I deplore many of his statements and much of his influence, I nevertheless believe that ultimately, he influenced our culture for the better...

About Marx, I am not so confident, because I do not see him as an artist so much and of course, you're right, like Freud he did aspire to be a scientist, and he was completely wrong about so many things. You are no doubt correct, too, about the growth of progressive social and political movements long before Marx ever hit the scene. And you do right to remind me that I find Marx's replacement of absolute values with conditional ones (based on changing circumstances, such as history, class, etc.) highly disturbing. So, as I said before, I don't have any answers. I just think that both Freud and Marx offer, at their best, a new way of examining and learning about things. At their worst, of course, they encouraged and still encourage the dogmatic and the fanatic to tighten their hold on humanity "in the name of science," and always of course "for our own good," with often lethal results.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 04:45:59 PM by Elisabeth »
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2011, 04:37:49 PM »
One has to wonder what Karl Marx would have thought of Communism as it was practiced.  Would he have been horrified and said:  "That's not what I wanted!"  Or would he have been pleased that his writings allowed monsters like Joseph Stalin and Nicolae Ceausescu to take power.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline Elisabeth

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2131
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2011, 05:11:25 PM »
One has to wonder what Karl Marx would have thought of Communism as it was practiced.  Would he have been horrified and said:  "That's not what I wanted!"  Or would he have been pleased that his writings allowed monsters like Joseph Stalin and Nicolae Ceausescu to take power.

Dear Tim, remember that Marx was a nineteenth-century gentleman. I have no doubt he would have been absolutely appalled by the horrors perpetrated in his name. No one could envision such horrors in that historical era. In some sense they were all a bunch of Chekhovian characters spinning utopian daydreams for the future.
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

  • Guest
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #58 on: March 22, 2011, 08:10:33 PM »
The monster had one ruling dictum:  Everyone and everything must be the same.  To be different was a threat, and the monster would tolerate no threats.

This sounds a lot like a combination of the two dictums that shaped modern Denmark, the Nordic Social Democracy voted the most happy country in the world:
- At faa skal have for meget, og færre for lidt - That few shall have too much, and fewer too little. (By N. F. S. Grundtvig, who was to post-absolutist Denmark what Marx was to the Soviet Union and who interestingly, just like Marx, was married to aristocrats.)
- Du skal ikke tro du er noget.....Du tror måske ikke at jeg ved noget om dig? - Do not think you're anything special...... You perhaps don't think I know anything about you? (The Law of Jante aka Tall Poppy Syndrome, as formulated by its critic Aksel Sandemose, who was to modern Denmark what Solzhenitsyn was to the Soviet Union.)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 08:22:26 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Offline TimM

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1938
    • View Profile
Re: When Revolution started?
« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2011, 08:30:43 PM »
Except in Denmark, it wasn't a death sentence to be different.
Cats: You just gotta love them!