SkyscraperCity banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
761 - 780 of 1305 Posts

·
...........
Joined
·
22,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #761
Agreed, just like saying 'All Lives Matter' is not supporting white supremacy or racism
Is showing disdain to the needs of a group of people usually divided by race not racism? It's actually quite direct, even if unintentional.

How is taking a knee directly related to violence and looting?
 

·
...........
Joined
·
22,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #762
So binary and absolute. I think all we are saying, and as I pointed out before that the normal lay person identifies BLM as the more simple things you point out? I said no one would disagree with that (assuming all true of course but that's another argument). Hey, Hitler built some good shit and awesome tech but the underlying movement was shit. All I am saying is that the underlying BLM movement is a whole lot more than about police brutality to black men. Their mission statement hardly alludes to what most lay people identify the movement as. That's all I am saying. To be blunt, BLM is a political machine and fund raiser for god knows what. It absolutely is a very very Left organization bound in very hard Left ideology.

Hey, that's fine if you identify with the watered down idea of it and most people do. I just think when you start to dig it's good to know what you are actually supporting. Remember, this is a very new movement so mutation is hardly set in.

Fine, but by reinforcing this at every opportunity, you are distracting from the message that needs to be heard.

Again, by supporting the idea that black lives matter, you aren't supporting the group Black Lives Matter any more than the fight against systemic racism.

Again, unless you can provide another group that fights for these causes, it's purely a distraction to fighting against racism and nothing else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
Russian political interference in US politics is a fact and well proven. Trump didn't create partisan politics he has further added to its strengthening and uses it to enhance his political positions.
Yeah it is but Trump colluding is not. Russia interferes every time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
Fine, but by reinforcing this at every opportunity, you are distracting from the message that needs to be heard.

Again, by supporting the idea that black lives matter, you aren't supporting the group Black Lives Matter any more than the fight against systemic racism.

Again, unless you can provide another group that fights for these causes, it's purely a distraction to fighting against racism and nothing else.
That's pretty judgmental. I am dead against racism and the brutality of what happened to Floyd. I'm just not sold on the official mission statement published on the BLM webpage and the crap I have seen spouting out of the founders mouths on the videos I have watched of them.

It's my choice to support BLM or not. I don't support them but I do support the effort against oppression and racism. I just don't need, what I see as a corrupt organization to empower me in that regard.
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
..For now, have a look at this rather fun and animated video (it's not too long, only 30 mins or the length of a sitcom you could watch over dinner) I saw recently which addresses most of these 'common sense' criticisms. If after you've watched it you have follow up questions or you feel any of the questions you've listed weren't covered I'm happy to take it from there.
I can’t get that last link to play unfortunately (perhaps it’s been ‘canceled’?). I won’t read too much into the tongue in cheek title “ debunking every argument against communism” because clearly, debunking every argument is impossible. But thank you for those other links. I’ve watched them and yes, they’re very interesting.
However, it’s a fallacy to nest inequality within capitalism as you may have inadvertently pointed out. Inequality goes way back into human history and there’s an argument to say that the fundamental cause is actually about economic surplus and the resulting Pareto distribution of wealth, if left unchecked. . A book that’s on my reading list is Sheidel’s The Great Leveler and seems to paint a fairly grim picture of the the future of equality. But there’s nothing n the Marxist, Communist experiment that gets anywhere close to solving the problem. Even the CPC is merely communist by name only- their socialist modernization seems to take a hybrid approach with approx 50% (I’d have to verify that) of their GDP attributed to a globalized capitalist private sector. Time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
Yeah it is but Trump colluding is not. Russia interferes every time.
The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goals of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton which boosted the candidacy of Trump so one would expect the Democrats to want Trump investigated.
We will see what happens if Trump is defeated and removed from office and with it the loss of power and then watch everyone squeal like a pig.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I can’t get that last link to play unfortunately (perhaps it’s been ‘canceled’?). I won’t read too much into the tongue in cheek title “ debunking every argument against communism” because clearly, debunking every argument is impossible. But thank you for those other links. I’ve watched them and yes, they’re very interesting.
However, it’s a fallacy to nest inequality within capitalism as you may have inadvertently pointed out. Inequality goes way back into human history and there’s an argument to say that the fundamental cause is actually about economic surplus and the resulting Pareto distribution of wealth, if left unchecked. . A book that’s on my reading list is Sheidel’s The Great Leveler and seems to paint a fairly grim picture of the the future of equality. But there’s nothing n the Marxist, Communist experiment that gets anywhere close to solving the problem. Even the CPC is merely communist by name only- their socialist modernization seems to take a hybrid approach with approx 50% (I’d have to verify that) of their GDP attributed to a globalized capitalist private sector. Time will tell.
Cheers man, I'm glad you learned something from the links I pointed to. Weird that the last one wasn't working. I just tried it again and it's fine for me. Try this one.

The Great Leveler is a good source on inequality and world history. I wouldn't claim inequality is unique to capitalism. Actually I'd argue that inequality was more rigid and extreme under both slave-based economies (let's say 8,000 of the last 10,000 years of class society) and feudalism (1,000 years of class society). Capitalism is more egalitarian than either of those forms of class society. In theory, as in that of the classical political economists like Adam Smith, John Locke, Riccardo and the kind that tend to believe in universal laws like Pareto principle, capitalists regard the system that they fought to create by defeating the feudal aristocracy was supposed to be a society of small business owners where everybody owned a little bit of capital. The problem is that the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of return on labour so if you inherit capital or you acquire it at any point in life you're going to see gains that someone who has only their labour to rent to an investor in order to survive is never going to experience - see Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the 21st century. Also, in actually existing capitalist societies they failed to abolish the relics of feudalism like rent and landlordism, hereditary privilege etc. Socialism just continues the trend from one system to another towards egalitarianism. In terms of how successful actually existing socialist states like Cuba, the PRC, USSR, Laos, Vietnam etc have been at achieving a reduction in inequality, you're wrong if you're arguing that they failed to achieve that as the below graph shows:

From Soviets to oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016



Both graphs illustrate that it is perfectly possible to reduce inequality in a dramatic way. Not a theory, not some utopian dream. It's a fact. In the 1st one you can see that between 1905-1925 (the period surrounding the first Russian revolution and the end of the civil war which led to the founding of the USSR) the richest 10% and the richest 1% of Russia's population lost the big majority of their wealth. This didn't just disappear - it was used to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise help the other 90% / 99% of the population.

You can also see the massive increase in inequality again from 1990 onwards when socialism in the USSR was overthrown in the American-backed 'colour revolutions' which swept across eastern Europe.

Another source you might want to look at is the Gini co-efficient, and McAuley's 1977 study of inequality across the USSR and a range of Western countries including Australia for the scientific journal Soviet Studies:



Again the statistics show that actually existing socialism is significantly more egalitarian in distribution of wealth than the capitalist countries which have higher levels of inequality between say the top 10% and the bottom 10% etc. Not a theory, a fact. I'm not saying this is some kind of perfect classless utopia or 'absolute equality' where brain surgeons and rocket scientists get paid the same wage as a street cleaner. Socialism just reduces the extremity of inequality.

You also need to consider the fact that in all these countries they completely eliminated homelessness, unemployment, starvation etc - problems that the richest capitalist countries have never been able to eliminate. You might not be able to buy a mansion, or say find every exotic form of food or imported luxury consumer products, or work in say a Wall Street type finance job where you get to rip off entire nations and millions of people for your own personal profit, but everybody had basic economic security guaranteed by the state and that meant inequality was massively reduced.

To bring this back to Black America, socialist states were also extremely successful at reducing racial inequality through their internationalism. The degree to which BLM's founders are 'Marxists!!' in the hysterical way conservative media critics declare them to be is exaggerated. But there's every reason that Black people in America should feel oppressed and exploited, and there was a time when it was much more common for them to use actual Marxist thought and the example offered by socialist states to fight for justice and equality in the US. Consider this quote from the famous American singer Paul Robeson about his visit to the USSR:

"In the Soviet Union, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life. I knew what was to walk in full human dignity."

287361


More extended comments in this article from when he performed in Moscow in 1935:

"I was not prepared for the happiness I see on every face in Moscow," said Robeson. "I was aware that there was no starvation here, but I was not prepared for the bounding life; the feeling of safety and abundance and freedom that I find here, wherever I turn. I was not prepared for the endless friendliness, which surrounded me from the moment I crossed the border. I had a technically irregular passport, but all this was brushed aside by the eager helpfulness of the border authorities. And this joy and happiness and friendliness, this utter absence of any embarrassment over a 'race question' is all the more keenly felt by me because of the day I spent in Berlin on the way here, and that was a day of horror-in an atmosphere of hatred, fear and suspicion."

Commenting on the recent execution after court-martial of a number of counter-revolutionary terrorists, Robeson declared roundly: "From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!

It is the government's duty to put down any opposition to this really free society with a firm hand," he continued, "and I hope they will always do it, for I already regard myself at home here. This is home to me. I feel more kinship to the Russian people under their new society than I ever felt anywhere else. It is obvious that there is no terror here, that all the masses of every race are contented and support their government."


Robeson commented on the absence of slums, on the huge building of workers' apartments in the factory districts, such districts as are invariably slums in capitalist cities. He declared that he will make an extensive study of the club life of the Soviet worker, especially as the clubs are centers of instrumental and vocal musical training, and of dramatic art.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stuwa

·
...........
Joined
·
22,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #768
That's pretty judgmental. I am dead against racism and the brutality of what happened to Floyd. I'm just not sold on the official mission statement published on the BLM webpage and the crap I have seen spouting out of the founders mouths on the videos I have watched of them.

It's my choice to support BLM or not. I don't support them but I do support the effort against oppression and racism. I just don't need, what I see as a corrupt organization to empower me in that regard.

So again, what other organisation is able to bring people together against racism in an active way?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
Gee with this much said concern, one does wonder if the same effort that is put into invalidating and criticisng BLM went into doing something about racism and police brutality.
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
Just out of curiosity, do you study this topic formally PE?

The irony of Robeson's is palpable and disturbing to all but the most dedicated ideologues.

"From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!
This is coming from a man of oppressed background. Interesting.

It is the government's duty to put down any opposition to this really free society with a firm hand," he continued


..
and he did get his wish a few years later, opposition to the tune of approx 700000 souls?

It is obvious that there is no terror here, that all the masses of every race are contented and support their government.


..all the masses of every race are contented? That's simply a ridiculous statement regardless of politics.

I'm surprised PE that you feel Robeson's speech in any way strengthens your anti-capitalism stance. His background is one of unimaginable oppression, racism, discrimination, corruption etc. What does that specifically have to do with capitalism?
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
Gee with this much said concern, one does wonder if the same effort that is put into invalidating and criticisng BLM went into doing something about racism and police brutality.
It’s good that you recognize that the BLM movement and the push against racism/police brutality are two separate things! ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
917 Posts
Cheers man, I'm glad you learned something from the links I pointed to. Weird that the last one wasn't working. I just tried it again and it's fine for me. Try this one.

The Great Leveler is a good source on inequality and world history. I wouldn't claim inequality is unique to capitalism. Actually I'd argue that inequality was more rigid and extreme under both slave-based economies (let's say 8,000 of the last 10,000 years of class society) and feudalism (1,000 years of class society). Capitalism is more egalitarian than either of those forms of class society. In theory, as in that of the classical political economists like Adam Smith, John Locke, Riccardo and the kind that tend to believe in universal laws like Pareto principle, capitalists regard the system that they fought to create by defeating the feudal aristocracy was supposed to be a society of small business owners where everybody owned a little bit of capital. The problem is that the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of return on labour so if you inherit capital or you acquire it at any point in life you're going to see gains that someone who has only their labour to rent to an investor in order to survive is never going to experience - see Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the 21st century. Also, in actually existing capitalist societies they failed to abolish the relics of feudalism like rent and landlordism, hereditary privilege etc. Socialism just continues the trend from one system to another towards egalitarianism. In terms of how successful actually existing socialist states like Cuba, the PRC, USSR, Laos, Vietnam etc have been at achieving a reduction in inequality, you're wrong if you're arguing that they failed to achieve that as the below graph shows:

From Soviets to oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016



Both graphs illustrate that it is perfectly possible to reduce inequality in a dramatic way. Not a theory, not some utopian dream. It's a fact. In the 1st one you can see that between 1905-1925 (the period surrounding the first Russian revolution and the end of the civil war which led to the founding of the USSR) the richest 10% and the richest 1% of Russia's population lost the big majority of their wealth. This didn't just disappear - it was used to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise help the other 90% / 99% of the population.

You can also see the massive increase in inequality again from 1990 onwards when socialism in the USSR was overthrown in the American-backed 'colour revolutions' which swept across eastern Europe.

Another source you might want to look at is the Gini co-efficient, and McAuley's 1977 study of inequality across the USSR and a range of Western countries including Australia for the scientific journal Soviet Studies:



Again the statistics show that actually existing socialism is significantly more egalitarian in distribution of wealth than the capitalist countries which have higher levels of inequality between say the top 10% and the bottom 10% etc. Not a theory, a fact. I'm not saying this is some kind of perfect classless utopia or 'absolute equality' where brain surgeons and rocket scientists get paid the same wage as a street cleaner. Socialism just reduces the extremity of inequality.

You also need to consider the fact that in all these countries they completely eliminated homelessness, unemployment, starvation etc - problems that the richest capitalist countries have never been able to eliminate. You might not be able to buy a mansion, or say find every exotic form of food or imported luxury consumer products, or work in say a Wall Street type finance job where you get to rip off entire nations and millions of people for your own personal profit, but everybody had basic economic security guaranteed by the state and that meant inequality was massively reduced.

To bring this back to Black America, socialist states were also extremely successful at reducing racial inequality through their internationalism. The degree to which BLM's founders are 'Marxists!!' in the hysterical way conservative media critics declare them to be is exaggerated. But there's every reason that Black people in America should feel oppressed and exploited, and there was a time when it was much more common for them to use actual Marxist thought and the example offered by socialist states to fight for justice and equality in the US. Consider this quote from the famous American singer Paul Robeson about his visit to the USSR:

"In the Soviet Union, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life. I knew what was to walk in full human dignity."

View attachment 287361

More extended comments in this article from when he performed in Moscow in 1935:

"I was not prepared for the happiness I see on every face in Moscow," said Robeson. "I was aware that there was no starvation here, but I was not prepared for the bounding life; the feeling of safety and abundance and freedom that I find here, wherever I turn. I was not prepared for the endless friendliness, which surrounded me from the moment I crossed the border. I had a technically irregular passport, but all this was brushed aside by the eager helpfulness of the border authorities. And this joy and happiness and friendliness, this utter absence of any embarrassment over a 'race question' is all the more keenly felt by me because of the day I spent in Berlin on the way here, and that was a day of horror-in an atmosphere of hatred, fear and suspicion."

Commenting on the recent execution after court-martial of a number of counter-revolutionary terrorists, Robeson declared roundly: "From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!

It is the government's duty to put down any opposition to this really free society with a firm hand," he continued, "and I hope they will always do it, for I already regard myself at home here. This is home to me. I feel more kinship to the Russian people under their new society than I ever felt anywhere else. It is obvious that there is no terror here, that all the masses of every race are contented and support their government."


Robeson commented on the absence of slums, on the huge building of workers' apartments in the factory districts, such districts as are invariably slums in capitalist cities. He declared that he will make an extensive study of the club life of the Soviet worker, especially as the clubs are centers of instrumental and vocal musical training, and of dramatic art.
The problem is that the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of return on labour so if you inherit capital or you acquire it at any point in life you're going to see gains that someone who has only their labour to rent to an investor in order to survive is never going to experience

There is no problem with this at all. No-one will invest the capital in the first place if it didn't earn a higher return than labor. You seem to think that those that risk their capital to generate a return are evil ? You'd rather they employ no-one? And then if you are successful, you seem to think that those who take no risk deserve a large share of the returns of those that do. ...nuts !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Just out of curiosity, do you study this topic formally PE?

The irony of Robeson's is palpable and disturbing to all but the most dedicated ideologues.

This is coming from a man of oppressed background. Interesting.

..and he did get his wish a few years later, opposition to the tune of approx 700000?

..all the masses of every race are contented? That's simply a ridiculous statement regardless of politics.

I'm surprised PE that you feel Robeson's speech in any way strengthens your anti-capitalism stance. His background is one of unimaginable oppression, racism, discrimination, corruption etc. What does that specifically have to do with capitalism?
Yes, I do research this topic formally for academic books/journal articles that I'm writing. I have a PhD in sociology.

Robeson's life story is about an incredibly talented and articulate Black artist, a singer, who was the son of a slave, who the American government treated like a sub-human monster. Conservative politicians bullied and harassed him throughout his life for being a communist and a critic of colonialism and imperialism - including that of his own government. He gave a heroic speech in front of the fascistic House Unamerican Activities Committee which existed as recently as 1975. He was beloved throughout the socialist world, especially in the USSR where he said again, I think you missed this crucial point, 'In the Soviet Union, I am not a Negro but a human being for the first time in my life. I knew what was to walk in full human dignity.' In USA, because of the colour of his skin he was treated like a pariah and a criminal. That history is not over by the way. Many Black communists, such as members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense are still in prison to this day. Assata Shakur is still in Cuba to this day because if she returns to US soil she will be imprisoned. That brings us to the next topic which I hesitated to include but seeing as you've raised it I'll respond. Repression by the state.

To understand the latter part of the comments from the article about Robeson, we need to distinguish between the capitalist state and the socialist state, and then repression in defence of capitalism and repression in defence of socialism. Two very different things.

In capitalist countries like say the USA which calls itself 'the land of the free' and yet has a higher prison population than any country on earth including China which has 4 times its population, repression is used by the state in order to maintain and defend the capitalist system overall, the institutions and the people with power within that system. Naturally, this privileges the capitalist class above all others. Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates will never EVER face repression by the American state. Why? Is it because they're good guys and really ethical in their business practices and they've never broken any laws? No. If they break some silly law they have armies of lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists who will twist the arms of regulators to make the problem disappear. Many members of the capitalist class pay effectively no taxes. How can this be? The simple fact is we're living in their system. They own it. Their material economic interests dominate our lives. That's why it's called capitalism. On the other hand almost everyone - we can call them the 99% but really it's closer to the 99.99% - is outside of that club. Our interests do not dominate capitalist society because we're not members of the class that controls the capital and therefore gets to decide how it should be used and to fulfil what aims. Now in order to maintain and stabilise this system of massive wealth inequality where most people are not in control and feel themselves to be powerless, the state plays a crucial role. Otherwise what's stopping you, me or any of the hundreds of millions of people in the USA with basically no capital and no savings etc from going up to Jeff Bezos' mansion or Bill Gates' Swiss bank vault and simply taking everything we want? What's stopping us from doing that? Well, we laws i.e. rules written on paper that by themselves don't really have much power, but when combined with the threat and actual use of force by the state in the form of the local police, the federal police, the military, paramilitary organisations, spies/intelligence agencies, we are indoctrinated from childhood to respect the law or fear the violent repression that would immediately follow breaking it. So who faces this kind of repression under capitalism, generally speaking? We need to look primarily at crimes of survival. Think of someone who has been recently been made unemployed doesn't have any savings to rely on, so is unable to provide for their full nutritional needs, so they steal some food from the local supermarket. Would Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos ever do this? No, not in a thousand years. This is the kind of crime of survival that could only ever be committed by someone who is working-class or who has been made a member of the underclass (i.e. someone who doesn't have regular access to a full-time wage). Now, think about the kinds of inequality statistics I've shared in this thread and you'll quickly notice that there are millions of people, in the US tens or hundreds of millions of people who are falling into this status where they have to rely on petty crime to survive. Like inequality generally, crimes of survival are also a racialised problem - in the US context meaning that these are performed by Black people at an excessive rate due to the excessive poverty imposed upon Black communities. Ultimately you end up with the Black population massively over-represented in the prison system. Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 Black men in the US will spend some part of their life in prison. So they're a major target for repression by the state for those sorts of reasons. If they weren't the Black Lives Matter movement would not exist because the police would be holding hands with them skipping down the street instead of standing on their necks and shooting their kids in cold blood etc.

Another category of repression used in capitalist countries naturally applies to those that want to overthrow capitalism. All kinds of revolutionaries, socialists, anarchists, ecologists, radical Islamic terrorists etc all need to be repressed by the capitalist state in order for the capitalist system to not be overthrown. They are either imprisoned, killed, tortured, locked away in indefinite detention in black-sites and never heard of again. It's hard to estimate numbers but I already talked about the Black Panthers in the USA, they had about 50,000 members at their peak in the early 1970s at which point the FBI went around the country literally murdering them in broad daylight. You probably don't believe me or think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. Here's one story to demonstrate that capitalist repression of groups that intend to overthrow capitalism like the Panthers is very real: the FBI's assassination of Fred Hampton and his family in 1969.

Now with that being said, we can talk about the rest of the Robeson quote on repression in socialist states. Just as the capitalist class uses its control over the state repressive apparatus to preserve and defend their interests and maintain the stability of the capitalist system, the same is true after a revolution has occurred and a transition to a socialist economy has happened. In that situation, the revolutionary working class must use its newly won control over the state in order to preserve and defend their interests and maintain the highly uncertain stability of a new socialist system. Now immediately before and following any revolution (i.e. the taking of political power by one class from another), you will find that there are groups in favour of the old system and other groups in favour of the new system. That's just a universal truth. In the context of the USSR for example, the socialists had many enemies both before and after the revolution. Think about the Tsar himself. Obviously the Tsar and his family wanted to overthrow the socialist state and go back to the old system where he and his class had power, I hope you would agree? Equally, there were many landed gentry/aristocracy throughout all regions of Russia (a huge country) that wanted to go back to the Tsarist system and overthrow socialism. There were many capitalists - the owners of factories and warehouses, bankers, financiers, rentiers etc who all wanted to continue hoarding the majority of Russia's wealth and thus go back to the old system by overthrowing socialism. There were many reactionaries and conservatives who were culturally attached to the way of life under feudalism in Russia. Landlords did not want to give up their parasitic lifestyle of living off of the rents of their tenants, thus they wanted to overthrow the socialist state. Senior officers in the army and senior bureaucrats in the state who had been financially very well off and given immense power and status under Tsarism, they wanted to overthrow the socialist state because they were suddenly being treated as equals to a bunch of filthy, demanding peasants and workers. And lastly the capitalist class of other nations desperately wanted to crush the world's first socialist state in order to send a clear message to the working class in their own country and to the world "Don't you dare try to do this here! If you try to have revolution, we will kill you and burn everything to the ground, so just shut up and do as you're told". That's why in 1917-1921 there was a little thing called the 'Russian Civil War' - really though it was a foreign enemy, the capitalist class and the armies of 15 nations, intervening to support the Tsar and his White Army because they desperately wanted to overthrow the socialist state. They failed because the socialists had built up an army - the Red Army - and they had built up an intelligence agency - The Cheka - to capture and stop all the spies pouring into Russia from all directions attempting to overthrow the socialist state.

Once you understand what the USSR and all of its achievements meant to the working class around the world and particularly what it meant to the politically engaged sections of that class like Paul Robeson, for an oppressed people to stand up for themselves, to defeat their enemies - who are much bigger and stronger than them - and build a new society where they were in control of how to distribute the fruits of their labour, you'll understand why Robeson defended the right for the socialist state to defend itself through repressing enemies that seek to overthrow it. Again - repression by the state means very different things under capitalism vs. socialism.

NB - you mentioned something about death counts of people repressed by the Soviet state. All historically existing states have inflicted violence on people and repressed them. The idea that this is some kind of unique power of socialist states because they're somehow especially evil or something is ridiculous. The USA murdered about 100 million indigenous people on it's march Westward to 'manifest destiny'. The USA murdered tens of millions of African people over the centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The British Empire murdered 50 million people in India alone through famines. 3 million alone in the Bengal famine of 1943 to which Winston Churchill said "Good - it's their own fault for breeding like rabbits". According to the UN 10 million people - mostly children - are dying every single year due to starvation under capitalism, mostly in Africa and Asia. If you want to talk about the total death count of capitalism as a result of its expansion into the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia, we'd be talking hundreds of millions or more likely over 1 billion people over the course of 1492- the present day. So what? Honestly, this is an old anti-communist cliche that doesn't prove anything. It's not a real argument, it's just a lazy attempt to fear-monger and make people think that the countries where workers had a revolution all failed and led immediately to mass murder just because.

The question is what kind of society do we want to live in? A kind of economic dictatorship governed by an oligarchy where powerful owners like Bezos and Gates make every decision for us a a society based on what's going to make them richer and to hell with the rest of us? Or would we prefer to live in a more democratic society where ordinary people get to participate in and decide together how we should use the surplus created by all of our labour? Maybe instead of investing it in yet another luxury mansion for Mr Bezos or another complex financial instrument that's going to make Mr Gates lots more money on the futures market, maybe we want to use that capital to build roads, bridges, railways, public housing, new hospitals, free childcare facilities, new universities, massive agricultural production facilities in all the areas where people are dying from starvation, centres devoted to maximising the rate of technological advancement and scientific research to serve human health and general prosperity etc. Basically, everything that elites and their sock-puppets always say "it's a nice idea but we just can't afford that right now, we have to protect the budget surplus, we can only afford $270 billion on bombs right now, k sweety?" etc.
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
Impressive but I’ll push you on this:

Two years after Robeson’s visit, did Stalin begin to forcibly relocate Koreans, Germans, Finns, the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks up to and during the Second World War? (‘37-‘44)

did Robesons activism extend to these ethnic groups or was he only concerned about African Americans?

Did these actions justify the defense of communism? Why did Stalin shrink from a worthy race-blind internationalism outlook to a nationalistic ethnic cleansing? Were his capitalism enemies exaggerated as some historians are beginning to suspect?
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
You mention Zuckerburg and Co. The fact is that we are all free to move up and down the capitalist system, depending on our own success or failure. Of course there are own natural limitations, discrimination, unequal opportunity etc that give us headwinds, some more than others. But the system is blind.

If only we had thought of a simple app game whereby small birds with attitude pummel the shit out of pigs...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Two years after Robeson’s visit, did Stalin begin to forcibly relocate Koreans, Germans, Finns, the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks up to and during the Second World War? (‘37-‘44)
The territory of the former Russian empire is massive and highly multi-ethnic. As I explained above, the period following the revolution was one of unimaginable societal upheaval. 10s of millions of people moved all around that territory. I don't believe the claim you're hinting at which is a partisan anti-communist historian myth that this was some sort of racist policy to oppress particular ethnic minorities.

did Robesons activism extend to these ethnic groups or was he only concerned about African Americans?
I have no idea if Robeson commented of the fate of the Tatars or the Chechens. I don't think it matters and it's bizarre that you're trying to erase the substance of his universalist internationalism by obsessively looking for hints of national difference and division within the USSR. It was an extremely multi-ethnic society, yes, but it also became immensely unified because of the class nature of the state having been occupied by the multi-ethnic working class, i.e. the vast majority of the population.

Did these actions justify the defense of communism? Why did Stalin shrink from a worthy race-blind internationalism outlook to a nationalistic ethnic cleansing? Were his capitalism enemies exaggerated as some historians are beginning to suspect?
As I pointed out in the above post the crimes of capitalism vastly outweigh the so-called victims of communism. You say 'Stalin did ethnic cleansing'. Gibberish. This is an old-fashioned way of trying to pretend that there's no difference between communism and fascism or between Hitler and Stalin etc. The Third Reich under the Nazis built a formal system of camps specifically designed to execute the mass murder of the Jewish people and Gypsies. No such camps or programs existed in the USSR, for any ethnic group. If you've been told something to the contrary I suggest that you show the original sources for this information along with any peer-reviewed academic publications you can find that verify it, because right now it sounds like good old-fashioned, make it up as you go along anti-communist propaganda.

"Were his capitalist enemies exaggerated?" Western anti-communist historians have been saying the same thing since 1917, that somehow there are no counter-revolutionaries in the whole of the USSR, no real enemies and they're all 'innocent victims'. 'There's no need for you to have an army or an intelligence agency! We're not spying on you or invading your country to overthrow your government! We'd never do that!' These historians seem to be suggesting...Absolute rubbish. I've gone over the list of likely victims of state repression under socialism in my previous post so I won't rehash it. My view is that like all leaders Stalin was human, therefore he made many mistakes, he was in power for a long time so those mistakes are bound to add up. He also did some things right - the 5 year plans to industrialise were very successful, his decision to move the capital to Moscow and industrialise further inland helped ensure that the bulk of the USSR's industry was not destroyed immediately after the Nazi invasion began in 1941, his friendship and the national friendship between the US and the USSR during WW2 was an extremely good thing since it could have led to a future of peace and prosperity in the world system and it's a great tragedy that Truman had to take over from the much wiser FDR and later Krushchev from Stalin - both deeply inferior to their predecessors, his decisions also helped lead to the defeat of fascism in Europe etc. So to say he was pure evil and did nothing right is foolish. I'm also not a fan of dictators as a principle and would prefer if in his time more power would have been given to the workers' councils and other collective institutions (whether at the national or local level) since this is more democratic.

Your claim that that the USSR was nationalistic rather than internationalist is misguided, but I will admit it's contradictory debate. It was a nationalistic society in that people there were proud of the achievements of the working class in having built their own society which went from feudalism to a space-age super-power in 50 years. Nationalist propaganda posters promoting these achievements hung on every wall wherein a capitalist country it would have been advertising for consumer products. Nationalism was also deeply felt in relation to their defeat of the Nazis and fascism, and the need to defend themselves against NATO aggression. But then look at how many countries the USSR helped free from colonialism in the 1950s and 60s across Africa and Asia by providing them with food, supplies, arms, engineers, construction workers, teachers, doctors etc. This was an intensely internationally-oriented and outward-looking society. We are taught that they were freakishly insular and self-isolating (as we are taught today about say North Korea or Cuba) but it was the US/NATO that externally imposed sanctions on them to create a situation of besiegement. It was the US who used their military and a navy blockade to surround their borders and make sure their ability to get anywhere beyond their control was as difficult as possible. The West essentially tried to strangle the Soviet economy by preventing as many countries around the world as they could from trading as many different kinds of products with the Soviets as they could, with the explicit goal of starving the Soviet people and triggering a capitalist revolution, which they finally succeeded with doing in 1991. They have been doing the same thing to Cuba for over 60 years. The effects and consequences of those aggressive acts are a product of our own external interference in their economy, not a failure of socialist economies as such.

If you want to continue this discussion, stuwa, please PM me as we're going slightly OT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
You mention Zuckerburg and Co. The fact is that we are all free to move up and down the capitalist system, depending on our own success or failure. Of course there are own natural limitations, discrimination, unequal opportunity etc that give us headwinds, some more than others. But the system is blind.

If only we had thought of a simple app game whereby small birds with attitude pummel the shit out of pigs...
Social mobility and meritocracy are both myths that are aggressively promoted to us since childhood to make us believe as you, unfortunately, incorrectly do, that capitalism as a system offers us 'equality of opportunity' etc. If you want proof that we do not live in a meritocracy consider that Donald Trump, a senile, fraudulent reality TV show host who probably has an IQ of about 85, currently occupies the most powerful position of any government on earth. And he has handed out jobs and government contracts to friends and relatives non-stop since obtaining the office in an open display of nepotism. There's your meritocracy... It's just so dumb and so obviously wrong I can't be bothered making my own analysis of it. Oxfam does a useful study every year. Here:

OXFAM annual global inequality report said:
The world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population, reveals a new report from Oxfam today ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Oxfam’s report, ‘Time to Care’, shows how our sexist economies are fuelling the inequality crisis —enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls:
  • The 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
  • Women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day —a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the size of the global tech industry.
  • Getting the richest one percent to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare, education and health.
According to your claim that we are all 'free to move up and down the capitalist system depending on our own efforts', those 22 billionaire men worked harder than all the women in the whole of Africa - roughly 500 million people. This is absolute bullshit. Billionaires do not work hard. They own lots and lots of capital. The more they own the faster the rate of return. The women of Africa own nothing but their own labour.

Let's be very generous and assume the African women only worked 40 hours a week. That's something like 20 billion hours of work a week and 1 trillion hours of work a year, assuming a 2-week holiday.

You're saying that the 22 billionaires who probably don't work a full 40 hours a week, but sure, let's be generous again to your beliefs, that's a total of 880 hours a week or 44,000 a year. Let's be insanely generous and say these billionaires are exceptionally hard-working and each work 80 hours a week LOL, ok mate. Still, that brings us to a grand total of 88,000 hours a year.

You're saying that every woman in Africa - who together currently work 11,363,636 times the number of hours as those 22 billionaires can magically join the ranks of the billionaires if they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work a little harder? Just come up with a great idea and hey presto, the magical meritocracy will kick into gear...I don't think you have thought this through properly.
 

·
certains mots étrangers
Joined
·
637 Posts
I agree we are way off topic! But an interesting debate nonetheless.

..and yes, I unequivocally believe that we are all obliged by our very existence to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” but we are unfortunately limited to one lifespan.

How’s that PhD worked out by the way?Were you rewarded for every hour spent? or would you expect to see some sort of continuing economic dividend based on a multiplication factor of effort, that perhaps may benefit your family into the future.

On the topic of the 22 billionaires, yes factually correct and startling. On that matter, I wonder how many African women’s average wealth is your own wealth (or mine) equivalent to? I take it that you’ve given it due consideration and decided that that particular inequality is arbitrarily acceptable. You live it so it must be so. But seriously, I take your analogy but I’m not sure where you’re going with it.

So yes, we have a growing number of individuals who are managing to transcend through exponential capital gain. I certainly think that enforced appropriate taxation is the answer but it’s probably too late. I was in Dublin a few years ago visiting a friend and was left scratching my head because the tech giants (fb, google etc) gain favorable tax conditions from the government, to encourage the setting up of their campuses. The Young Post Modern Left flock there from all over Europe like bees to honey, and seemingly happy to be paid a pittance for the privilege. Saying that, Irelands GDP/capita is pretty good so what do I know. Seemed ironic to me but I digress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
@stuwa

I can’t see the other half of your conversation as I have PE ignored, but a little anecdote to back up your point.

I have a background in technology and involved in many startups and i was in a taxi about 10 years back and got talking to the driver. Once he found out what I did for a living, he proceeded to tell me all about his little project he was working on. He said his taxi gig was where he was getting his money to live, but all the spare cash he had he was pouring into his side project to do with the auto industry. He had no technical knowledge, and was using offshore developers to get what he wanted done. I didn’t give it much further thought, as I know how hard it can be for startups to get off the ground and make a success, except for some reason the name of the project stuck in my mind, and I remember I thought he had commitment to it. Anyway about 5 years later I saw a commercial for his project. It was clearly a success, his commitment must have paid off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
It's funny conservatives love to pretend that they have no ideology and they're just believers in 'common sense'. There's a book by one of the classical economists who were critical of Marx's Capital, a guy named Max Weber who wrote a book called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism which you can read about at this link. He basically said that capitalism thrived in the Western world and its colonies because the working class were gullible and manipulated by elites into believing in the mythology of Protestantism/Calvinism/Puritanism which held that human beings are inherently bad (sinful) and they must work hard to redeem themselves. You're all completely brainwashed into believing that hard work is going to lead to some sort of reward because of the legacy of the Christian tradition (even if you're an atheist). It's great if you're a factory owner or a banker - you're going to collect much fatter profits if your workers are working twice as hard and producing twice much as they otherwise would. The reality is that depsite the intensively promoted examples of 'rags to riches' stories like Jack Ma or Jordan Belfort, 99.99% of the time, nobody goes from being a worker to a capitalist. And the moment you've become a capitalist the source of your wealth is that you own capital not that you perform labour (whether by working hard or working poorly).

There are (almost) 8 billion people on earth (8,000,000,000). Only 2,000 of them are billionaires. To justify this kind of extreme inequality, you must believe that almost everyone on earth is just incredibly lazy and unworthy of having the basic necessities of living while every one of those 2,000 are exceptionally ethical, talented, hard-working and deserving of massive power and status over the rest of us. You're saying that oligarchy is a good thing, that billionaires have the merit to be on top and you, your family and everyone you know does not. That you and everyone you know are a failure. I think you're wrong about that.

There are literally billions of people across Africa and Asia who work intensely hard for long hours every day all year and who get paid basically nothing. I'm talking 16 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week for tens of dollars. According to this theory, they could all be billionaires if they just worked harder. The problem is, they can't! They're being worked to death already. In Japan they have a name for death from overwork - Karoshi. And you geniuses would have us believe that these billions of people are "just too lazy" and need to "pull their bootstraps up".

The fact is that owning capital is what makes it possible for someone to own a lot of capital, simply by sitting on it over time thanks to compound interest. If you don't own any capital, you will never be a billionaire. There is no member of the billionaire class who has only their labour to rent to an investor. None of them are members of the working class. They are all members of the class that owns lots and lots of assets that provide returns whether they get up in the morning and sit in an office building or not - property portfolios, shares, bonds, gold, precious metals, complex financial instruments etc. These assets provide returns even in your sleep. These people become wealthier as a result of owning these assets which provide returns that compound, year after year. Hard work is utterly irrelevant to this equation.

Another way to look at this question is to consider what forms of labour are socially necessary - i.e. the kinds of work that society needs to happen in order for everyone to get up and go to work, do their shopping, reliably turn on the electricity, internet, water etc. I would argue that the work performed by nurses and cooks and cleaners is 100% socially necessary. And yet nurses, cooks and cleaners are not particularly well paid. They often work in casual precarious conditions and for much longer than 40 hours a week, and struggle to pay the cost of living.

On the other hand, we have plenty of people that work in industries like advertising, public relations, insurance, and especially the finance industry that have literally zero utility for society. Some of these workers are paid unimaginably high amounts of money to produce nothing of any value to society, other than profits for the owners of their companies. What use is a Collateralised Debt Obligation to anybody? In a rational society, insurance of any kind would not be necessary. If your house burns down, it should be rebuilt, period. You should not need to pay some giant parasitic corporation your whole life, fearing some hypothetical disaster that will only be solved if you make this company that creates nothing, which does NOTHING, even more profitable.

If one thing that COVID19 crash has confirmed it's that we don't pay 'essential workers' anywhere near enough based on the massive value they create for society.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bazza667
761 - 780 of 1305 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top