• @Gray
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    629 months ago

    I think the way we argue over labels hurts us. If I use heavy regulation and government aid to limit the abuses in a capitalist system, at what point does the label change to “socialism”? I think we do ourselves a disservice to create these strict conceptions of systems like capitalism, socialism, or communism. Then when one fails we get to say “well that wasn’t true x”. And the labels allow people to boogeyman an idea. And worst of all, we eliminate the possibility to take good lessons from multiple different systems and incorporate them into our system. I think we would be better served promoting policies on a case by case basis instead of using these huge words. And to be clear, I’m a bit of a hypocrite here. I’ve been mostly telling people I’m a “social democrat” or that I support “capitalism with heavy regulations”. But even those words can get picked apart and don’t really capture nuance. My main point is that I think this thread is a perfect encapsulation of how these arguments stop us from getting behind good policies when we bicker about the definitions of words that mean different things to different people.

      • @Gray
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        109 months ago

        Yeah. Like saying you believe that companies beyond a certain size should be legally required to seek a vote from their employees before implementing certain types of changes is a real policy to argue about. Call it democratizing business or whatever you want. And then that’s an actual concrete issue we can argue about. Or if you believe in the government buying out businesses beyond a certain size, that’s a specific conversation we can have and we can discuss the hypothetical implementation of that. Call it business seizure or whatever. Just saying “I believe in socialism” doesn’t dig enough into the details of how you perceive socialism or how you would implement it. And frankly, I think it hurts the socialists or communists or whoever is trying to persuade the current culture away from what we have more than anybody else. Ideas grow when you make real, concrete proposals. These exceedingly large scale labels usually end up killing a conversation rather than feeding it. Someone gets mad at a label and then everything shuts down on that sticking point.

    • @[email protected]
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      9 months ago

      Then when one fails we get to say “well that wasn’t true x”. And the labels allow people to boogeyman an idea.

      Essentially a No True Scotsman fallacy.

      I think it’s better to simply state that things like Stalin’s USSR weren’t communist. Period.

      It wasn’t “almost communist”; it was a dictatorship. So to say it wasn’t “real communism” is like boiling a sock and saying it’s not “real dinner”. It’s not dinner at all, it’s a sock.

      • @[email protected]
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        29 months ago

        There was a soviet joke about a banner “our party is fighting for the title ‘communist’”. I can not translate it well, but it shows that people sensed the absurdity of the continious slogans about fighting for something they forgot is related to the meaning of the world communism. In the last decades especially, thd pride in building a better future through emancipation was replaced by simply nationalist pride and the pride in ww2 victory.

        • @[email protected]
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          09 months ago

          27 million Russians died. This is a “victory” in the same way a chihuahua is a dog. Nationalism is a brain disease.

    • @[email protected]
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      79 months ago

      I think labels are still useful for discussion, but I completely agree that we should regularly rediscuss what they mean and how they evolve.

    • @[email protected]
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      29 months ago

      I find this arguing over labels more and more as I browse online, and it is sooo exhausting. I have noticed so many instances of arguing and discourse where both sides have similar ideals and want the same things, but argue with each other over stereotypes of labels on the other side, and point to the faults of the vocal rabid minority on the other side as if to prove a point. Sigh.

    • Move to lemm.ee
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      9 months ago

      The label changes to socialism on the same day that the old institutions are thrown out and the new institutions are introduced.

      Socialism is the transitionary stage of society between capitalism and communism. Its defining feature is that it is a society run by the proletariat as the ruling class instead of the bourgeoisie. Everything else about it can be in some state of flux based on the conditions, because it is transitional. Socialism is a process, not a magic button.

      Social democracy is not socialism. You are just a capitalist that likes welfare. Your ideology has absolutely no desire to change the ruling class or overturn the system that is currently burning the world and leading us to destruction.

      • @[email protected]
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        39 months ago

        Bumner, you should have started your comment with the last paragraph. It would have been easier to get the point across

        • Move to lemm.ee
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          29 months ago

          The liberals obsessed with the “nordic model” still would’ve downvoted it. They don’t like having to wrestle with the reality of climate change. Our options are socialism or extinction.

          • @[email protected]
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            -29 months ago

            Climate change will not cause human extinction. Even the worst predictions aren’t close to extinction level. There’s 8 billion of us and we have technology.

            Climate change will cause bad shit to happen. It already has. But bad shit is not the same as extinction.

            • Move to lemm.ee
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              9 months ago

              Oh man we won’t go extinct so we shouldn’t worry about 80% of us dying ! Nevermind the absolutely hostile and inhospitable conditions those who do make it through will have for the rest of eternity.

            • @[email protected]
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              29 months ago

              Near-total collapse of the ecosystem is not something we are anywhere close to teching through. Whether there are a few enclaves of civilization clinging to life or not, life on Earth as we know it is being destroyed by industry.

      • @Gray
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        9 months ago

        You are just a capitalist that likes welfare. Your ideology has absolutely no desire to change the ruling class or overturn the system that is currently burning the world and leading us to destruction.

        I don’t think you help your case arguing this way. I’m not even dissecting socialism when I say that - just your approach to argument. You don’t know my ideology. Creating a strawman of my views isn’t going to convince me or anyone else that you have a good point. Hell, for a long time I did consider myself an actual socialist. I would love to lay out my reasons for my movement away from that, but I’m not sure you’re ready to have that respectful exchange of views.

        The liberals obsessed with the “nordic model” still would’ve downvoted it. They don’t like having to wrestle with the reality of climate change. Our options are socialism or extinction.

        Beginning an argument with “Your head is up your ass so far that I won’t bother arguing. I’m right no matter what.” is a sure way to have people dismiss your arguments outright. I say this all because I want my opponents to be good at arguing. I want to hear persuasive viewpoints. I don’t believe for a moment that I have all the answers, so I welcome any opposition to the beliefs that I’ve come to possess. If you believe that you have the answers, then I’m genuinely all ears. But unfortunately, arguing isn’t about being right - it’s about persuading other people that you are. The internet has made it easy to lose sight of this and argue with hostility instead of respect. I’m trying to be sincere here. Please consider the purpose of getting into these internet spats. I see so much hostility outright from people on the left and it genuinely sucks. I find that when I try to dig even a little bit into arguments for socialism or communism that I often hit this barrier of hostility. It’s not a good way of selling a viewpoint. And you can say that it’s not your job, but then I ask why we’re even here having this conversation.

        Now, I’ll stop patronizing you. I’ll throw my argument out there so you can tear it to pieces. Back to labels - what socialism looks like to you depends on who you are. You say it’s when “the old institutions are thrown out and the new institutions are introduced”. I’ll take that to mean some form of government is in possession of the means of production across the board? My hesitancy towards socialism is mostly centered on my knowledge of history and the repeated trends of powerful institutions decaying into corruption and greed. I think socialism could genuinely work really well as long as the people in charge were kept honest. But my skepticism is towards the long term sustainability of such a system. Time and again we see institutions decay and fall prey to humanity’s worst impulses. The fall of the Roman Republic (and the regular chaos of the Roman Empire for that matter) is my classic go-to for this, but there are plenty of non-western examples as well. The best cases I’ve seen in my studies of various histories seem to be centered around cultures that dispersed their power into many smaller institutions. My problem with socialism is that it inherently says “we’re going to get rid of business corruption and government corruption by combining the two”. I think creating an even smaller, more focused center of power in society is a dangerous proposal - it becomes all the more easy for the wealthy elites to worm their way into that power and take control. Essentially you’re taking all of those wealthy capitalist greedy dirtbags and then moving them into the government.

        Capitalism, on the other hand, removes business from government which allows, in theory, for the government to act as a counter-weight to business. Now, you and I both know that that hasn’t stopped wealthy elites from worming their way into capitalism and capturing government interests. But my main point here is that socialism isn’t solving that problem. It’s throwing fuel on the fire by cutting out the one supposed protection we do have, which is a separation of government interests and business interests. Ostensibly, when capitalism is working the way it should, the government is acting as a counterweight to business greed. I think there are better ways to strengthen that counterweight that don’t necessarily fall under the label of “socialism”. I think heavily regulated capitalism is better than outright socialism because in the ideal case the government is still acting as a tool of the people, flexing its power in opposition to businesses. The ideal case in socialism has the government acting as the businesses itself, which I believe would encourage greed and would actually cause even less incentive to address things like climate change.

        • Move to lemm.ee
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          19 months ago

          Now, I’ll stop patronizing you. I’ll throw my argument out there so you can tear it to pieces. Back to labels - what socialism looks like to you depends on who you are. You say it’s when “the old institutions are thrown out and the new institutions are introduced”. I’ll take that to mean some form of government is in possession of the means of production across the board? My hesitancy towards socialism is mostly centered on my knowledge of history and the repeated trends of powerful institutions decaying into corruption and greed. I think socialism could genuinely work really well as long as the people in charge were kept honest.

          Nah man this is nonsense and it comes from people who exist on the fringe of politics who don’t actually participate and have never actually had a political education or tried to give themselves one.

          Socialism is exceptionally well defined as an ideology. You take Marx’s historical materialism and come to the conclusion that all of human history is driven by class struggle and revolution. You then reach the understanding that there is a possible ending of all class struggle through the abolishment of class (communism). After that you accept that communism can not be jumped to straight from capitalism because it would simply be crushed by capitalist states through being unable to defend itself. This leads you to the belief that a transition exists between capitalism and communism - socialism. What is the socialist state? A state in which the proletarian class of society overthrew the bourgeoisie(capitalist class of society) and built a dictatorship of the proletariat. This of course is not a dictatorship of an individual but a dictatorship of class, the opposite of capitalism where the bourgeoisie have designed a system and institutions that always comes to the outcomes that benefit them the most, instead it is a society where the proletariat designed their institutions to always come to proletarian outcomes. Economics and everything else within this socialist state differ from country to country, because conditions differ and what is possible differs. The important aspect is that the proletariat control the power.

          This is a basic 101. The fact that you see liberals misusing the word socialism does not change the fact that this is definitionally what socialism is. We’ll argue about whether market economies or single party or multi party or completely centralised planning or something in between are best, but all socialists will agree on the above. It is the core definition of socialism and is more or less what Engels and Marx laid out 200+ years ago. It is materialist and it is non-utopian because it accepts that these states will have their flaws, socialism isn’t a magically perfect society, it has problems and struggles, the difference is that it comes to better outcomes for its populations than capitalist societies when compared at an equal level of development. (This is a very important point with regards to the difference that proletarian rule vs bourgeoise rule has.)

          But my skepticism is towards the long term sustainability of such a system. Time and again we see institutions decay and fall prey to humanity’s worst impulses. The fall of the Roman Republic (and the regular chaos of the Roman Empire for that matter) is my classic go-to for this, but there are plenty of non-western examples as well. The best cases I’ve seen in my studies of various histories seem to be centered around cultures that dispersed their power into many smaller institutions. My problem with socialism is that it inherently says “we’re going to get rid of business corruption and government corruption by combining the two”. I think creating an even smaller, more focused center of power in society is a dangerous proposal - it becomes all the more easy for the wealthy elites to worm their way into that power and take control. Essentially you’re taking all of those wealthy capitalist greedy dirtbags and then moving them into the government.

          This is contrary to what socialist institutional design actually is. You don’t get smaller numbers involved, you get much bigger numbers involved. The basic socialist democratic system implemented in the single party states is one where you start with a small group of people, 150 or so, called a worker’s council, these people select a representative and are intended to physically know their representative. This person then represents them at the local workers council. Then every representative on this council selects from among their reps someone to represent that council at the next tier. And the next and the next. 12 tiers up until the national congress, where the final tier selects leaders councils and various committees etc. This design removes popularity contests from the leadership and builds a democratic meritocracy where anyone at the top has also worked their way up through the entire system demonstrating actual ability to improve the lives of the people to their peers at every single level. The design of this differs slightly from country to country of course but these fundamentals remain the same. My point here is that you don’t have less leaders, or bigger centralisation of power, you actually have a larger spread of power across more people. Even the highest councils like the politburo don’t typically have a leader with special powers above anyone else on the council, even if we go to controversial figures like Stalin, he didn’t have special powers, he had exactly the same powers that the other 5 members of the Politburo had. But let’s stay off controversy. There’s a neat video of Cuba’s system here that I strongly recommend

          Capitalism, on the other hand, removes business from government which allows, in theory, for the government to act as a counter-weight to business.

          This is not really true is it? Capitalism is designed from the ground up to ensure that the people in power are the bourgeoisie - the financial elite. Assuming you’re american (correct me if not) who runs your country? The people on Wall Street do that’s who. No not the people. No not the government. The people on Wall Street run the country through the think tanks they fund dictating policy, through the media they own deciding who wins and who loses, through the political parties and representatives that they fund with hundreds of millions of dollars. This system is designed from the ground up to ensure that it does not produce proletarian outcomes, in fact there are several quotes I could give you where founders explicitly state such.

          It’s throwing fuel on the fire by cutting out the one supposed protection we do have, which is a separation of government interests and business interests. Ostensibly, when capitalism is working the way it should, the government is acting as a counterweight to business greed. I think there are better ways to strengthen that counterweight that don’t necessarily fall under the label of “socialism”.

          Under capitalism you have a system that is designed to chase profit. Everything about it is built around that central point. A very good way to chase profit is to hold the levers of power in order to wield them in a way to chase more profit. You can not counterweight this in a society where the people chasing the profit have all the money, own all the media, own all the politicians, own all the policy tanks, etc etc etc. This is the way bourgeoise-democracy is designed to come to outcomes that benefit the bourgeoisie. It is a dictatorship of class built for them.

          The proletarian democracy on the other hand is a dictatorship of class built for the people. And it does a lot of shit things, because it’s a state and states do shit stuff. It does all the shit stuff that the capitalist states do in fact (and oh boy they’ve done a lot of shit things we could reel off). But what it also does is come to outcomes that are proletarian, and thus benefit a massively larger number of the population than the bourgeoise-democracy does.

          You talk about needing government to mitigate business and I AGREE. But the reason government does not mitigate business in the bourgeoise-democracy is because the bourgeoisie run the government, so they obviously do what benefits their class. When you put the proletarians in power on the other hand you get a government that DOES mitigate the power of business, oppressively so in fact (oh boy they love to remind us of that). In exactly the same ways that the bourgeoise state oppresses the proletariat, the proletarian state oppresses the bourgeoisie. This is your government that mitigates the worst aspects of business. Properly.

          • @[email protected]
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            29 months ago

            Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I think both of you have the same general ideas, I enjoyed reading both you and Grays thoughts.

            You both argue that a heavily regulated capitalist system is preferable to current state, but you believe that is mostly impossible since the bourgeois/ruling class makes the rules and wouldn’t voluntarily self impose restrictions on themselves. How can that be prevented or mitigated within something like the American political framework?

            • Move to lemm.ee
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              39 months ago

              How can that be prevented or mitigated within something like the American political framework?

              You’d need a revolution or an economic collapse to happen first to trigger an absolutely massive amount of introspection among their class. I doubt revolution is viable at the current moment in time with the size of and loyalty that the american military has to the american civil religion and see no likelihood of it becoming viable in the near future so economic collapse is likely the only possibility. Two things will happen as a result of it, the military around the world will have to be reined in because it simply won’t be able to continue to afford it while also keeping the population in check, and also the bourgeoisie will get a scare from it occurring and have to ask themselves whether they want to continue to risk their existence in the global headquarters of capitalism. This would likely trigger new interest among them for a New Deal similar to the one Roosevelt implemented, which contrary to what americans think about him and other bougies of his time being “nice” it was actually implemented for the same reasons - stopping the threat of a working class revolution from occurring.

              It might sound odd that an economic collapse would need to happen (which would make the country poorer) before seeing the ruling class implement better standards of living, welfare and protections. But it makes sense when you realise that these things are implemented not because the ruling class are nice but because they are threatened. Revolution is and always has been the primary threat that the working class can use to extort compromise from the ruling class. As we saw with Bernie, they are unwilling at the current point in time to allow it to go ahead, anyone that watched the democrats all conspire together to ratfuck him out of the race saw that.

              This of course wouldn’t fix capitalism. It would just make the poor live a little better and rein in some of the worst excesses of their class in society for the sake of maintaining their rule.

              Is economic collapse likely or possible? Not right now. The american dollar being the world’s global reserve currency allows them to print infinite amounts of money to prop up the system whenever it’s under strain. Dedollarisation is underway worldwide as an effort to remove that ability from their toolkit, when a financial crisis hits and they no longer have that ability then such a collapse is quite likely, this of course depends on when the next 2008 happens but you can count on those occurring every 10-20 years or so because it’s capitalism and the boom/bust is never ending.

              • @[email protected]
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                19 months ago

                Thanks for the thoughtful reply, I definitely agree. I strongly believe the best avenue of success is through removing the dollar dependence. It feels like there was some rustling when Bitcoin started to gain traction but I believe that threats been coopted by the rich.

                How can I subscribe to Lenincatfacts? You have a mastodon or something?

                • Move to lemm.ee
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                  9 months ago

                  Nope just follow me around here I suppose. I’m more active on Hexbear.net though and there’s much much better and more educated comrades than myself there. I don’t really think crypto was ever a threat, it certainly manage to convince people it was to sell itself to libertarians though.

        • @[email protected]
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          9 months ago

          There’s no use arguing with Lenins2ndCat. I’ve argued with them before, and they already know they’re right despite any arguments or evidence to the contrary.