Dean's World: The Legacy of Karl Marx
May 28, 2002
During the years 1958 and 1959, China experienced what was hailed by Marxists as the "Great Leap Forward." During this time, Mao's regime was directly responsible for between 30 and 40 million deaths. Starting in 1966 (the year of my own birth), a lesser pogrom known as the "Cultural Revolution" began, with a new wave of terror and torture that killed mostly-uncounted numbers of people. Mao Zedong was, quite simply, the greatest mass-murderer in human history. Funny how most people don't know that. Want to know more?
"In the summer of 1966, in Beijing alone more than 1,700 people were beaten to death openly by the Red Guards. On the surface, the persecution of 1968 was not as severe as that of 1966. Some people were still beaten in public but usually were beaten to death only behind locked doors. "
"...They hacked Liu's hair, put dirt into her mouth, and beat her. [She] was forced to crawl on the playground and repeatedly say: 'I am Liu Meide. I am a poisonous snake.' ...After a journalist of the Beijing Daily took a photograph, the student kicked Liu from the table to the ground. Liu was pregnant at that time. Her baby died from prenatal injuries soon after the birth."
"At the Shanghai Foreign Languages School, after the Red Guards from Beijing came and beat teachers...during the next day students of this school followed the example of Beijing students and beat their teachers. After some teachers were wounded and bled, they forced the teachers to lick the blood on the ground."
Youqin Wang, who teaches at the University of Chicago, has created the Chinese Holocaust Memorial. All that I've written about and more can be found at the amazingly important site. She is also attempting to construct an online memorial for the victims of the Cultural Revolution. Like the famed American Vietnam War memorial, she is simply listing the names of every person beaten to death or otherwise executed during Mao's second and third waves of terror in the 1960s. The horror is, no one knows all their names. She has made it part of her life's work to find out as many names as she can. She has "only" about 10,000 so far, but viewing it is still a powerful and heartbreaking experience.
Youqin Wang is a true champion of human rights, and one of my new heroes. Here's her site again: http://www.chinese-memorial.org. Make a point of visiting it. It's important.
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Discuss This Article!
I love reading your weblog because I disagree with it so often :)
Anyhoo, I just wanted to say that Chinese so called "socialism" has very little to do with Old Karl.
I think the Chinese define "socialism" somewhere along the lines of "Production"--that is, increasing output, rather then the true meaning of "communism", which questions the "means of production" and "ownership".
This should be titled "The Legacy of Mao" or the "Legacy of Lenin"---two very embarrasing figures for socialists like meself!
Posted by Qualiall at June 3, 2002 03:58 PM
As Sir Walter Scott said, “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, he was not, in his twenties, Red?” I was a socialist, too. I have sympathy for those who continue to believe in this dream. I respect their idealism and desire for a better world. But it would be wrong to stay silent: apologizing for Marxism is no better than apologizing for National Socialism. It's time we admit that, no how painful it may be to say or to hear.
As at least one former Marxist thinker put it, if the world's Marxists would turn around and plunge their heads into the legacy of what they've wrought in trying to create a better world, they would instantly drown in an ocean of blood.
It's not just Lenin, Stalin and Mao. It's Kim, Castro, Ortega, Mengistu, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Jaruzelski, and all the rest. It's every nation whose leaders have taken Marx's credo seriously and attempted to implement a society based on it. Marx's ideas are wrong, at the most fundamental levels, and it is in the attempt to force human beings into this very wrong view of human nature that totalitarianism is wrought.
Marx's apologists continue saying things like, "True Communism has never been tried" and "Marxism and Communism aren't the same thing." But every Communist called himself a Marxist. Every one after Lenin said he would do better, learn from the mistakes of those who went before him. Every one wrought death and repression and economic devastation. Almost always, the ones most harshly crushed (in the long run) by the Marxist tyrants were the very proletariat they claim to act in the name of. Almost always, when the proletariat have been given a free choice, they have rejected Marx.
Marxists are almost invariably the spoiled children of the bourgeois class they despise. The proletariat never rises to support them: the bourgeois Marxists always wind up imposing their will on their beloved proletariat, "for their own good" of course.
At its core, Marxism is a philosophy of hate. It paints a false picture of a ruling elite, and treats with contempt the bourgeoisie that supposedly support this mostly-mythical ruling class, and posits their "inevitable" destruction.
You're the new Marxist ruler in charge. I believe your ideas are wrong, and will cause destruction. I won't stop saying so. If I won't give in, won't cooperate, and won't shut up, what will you do with me?
I can tell you what Marx said: people like me would be inevitably ground under the wheel of history. I can tell also tell you what every Marxist who has gotten into power has done with people like me: killed us, tortured us, or put us into reeducation camps until our wills are broken. What else could they do with us? Marxism at its core does not accept the idea that its assumptions about human nature and human history can be wrong. Even questioning the idea is counterrevolutionary. So if we question the ideas, we must simply be reactionaries, to be ground under the wheel history.
Anywhere and everywhere--there are no exceptions--when Marxists have taken power, blood has poured in the streets. Countless people die, countless more are tortured, and increasing repression and totalitarianism are always the end result.
Marxism is the beautiful, seductive dream of the devil. It doesn't work and never has--and almost certainly never will.
I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anger you. But you need to hear it. Apologize for Marx, and you make the same mistake the intellectuals made over and over again as they first apologized for Stalin, then rejected him. Then embraced Mao, then rejected him. Then embraced Pol Pot. Then rejected him. Then embraced Mengistu. Then rejected him. Then embraced Ortega, Tito, Kim... it never ends, the pattern is always the same. Castro is one of the last relics, and they still haven't rejected him. But they will, when he dies and the historians come in to document the horror and devastation he wrought. The truth will then no longer be deniable.
But still, some will say, "Ah, but Castro never tried TRUE Marxism." It will be the same old comfortable lie. But a few will be brave enough to question what they believe, and contemplate the notion that just because Marxism sounds wonderful, that doesn't mean it works.
The great butcher Mao is more than an embarassment to Marxism. He is its apotheosis.
Posted by Dean Esmay at June 8, 2002 03:27 AM
I am planning to build a memorial for the victims of the Cultural Revolution in Beijing, China, and I hope to contact Youqin Wang for a joint efforts. However, it seems her website has been blocked and I cannot access it. I wonder if it is possible that I contact her through your help here. Thank you.
Posted by Shu Hangsheng at October 14, 2002 10:28 AM
I would be honored to help you in any way I can. I can try to reach the professor by telephone for you, or help track down her email address. Would that be helpful? What else can I do for you?
I have sent you an email, but I don't know if those are blocked or screened. If so please feel free to post further messages here--I doubt very much that this page will be noticed.
Posted by Dean Esmay at October 14, 2002 04:13 PM
I have read the vast majority of the Communist Manifesto, and I still say that no so-called "Communist" state has done anything that even remotely resembles the ideas of Marx. True, Marx left many loopholes in his writings that leave room for perversions, but most of his ideas were never carried out by any of the alleged "Communist" states. Karl Marx was a brilliant man, and his critique of capitalism is incredibly accurate; the only reason it still thrives is because people are fed the lies about it as well as the fact that the "War Economy," which is what has kept capitalism from collapsing, has been perfected, particularly with the United States government. In truth, capitalism has been proven to truly benefit 50% of any given population (at best). However, there is another factor involved: no state has ever practiced pure capitalism. Both pure capitalism and communism are idealistic and impractical, as they are extremes, but there have been many more nations who follow the majority of Adam Smith's ideas than those who have followed Marx's (ideas). Every so-called "Communist" state has followed in the footsteps of one historical monster: Stalin. I have compared Stalinism with Marx and Engels' Communism, and the two barely resemble eachother. Socialism, on the other hand, can and has been done successfully, since it is based more on logic than anything else-- and the ironic thing is that it has much more in common with true communism than with capitalism. Learn all of the information first before making a judgement.
Posted by Zumbi at October 26, 2002 07:46 PM
Ah yes. The old "True Marxism has never been tried" canard. A familiar refrain, and one used by countless despots, and apologists for despots. It's as big a lie as Marxism itself.
It's you who need to learn more, Zumbi. You might start by reading all of the Communist Manifesto and not just the "majority" of it.
Then consider the possibility that Marx was dead wrong in most of his description of human nature and human history. All of his major predictions were also wrong. Then consider that almost every society that you decry as not being true Marxism was set up by people who said the exact same things you do here.
Mao said the same things you're saying, for example.
The real reason that Communist states always fail economically, and almost always result in mass repression and murder, is that the Marxist ideas themselves are wrong. So any experiment attempting to implement them in reality inevitably results in failure.
And since Marx also said that those who fight against the ideas are reactionaries doomed to be crushed under the wheel of history, well then, it becomes obvious what must be done with dissenters who say the system isn't working, doesn't it?
Marx himself laid the excuse for most of the worst mass-murdering despots in human history with those words.
And it is to the massive discredit of those who defend Marxism when they fail to acknowledge that fact.
Posted by Dean Esmay at October 26, 2002 08:21 PM
You do raise some interesting points, and I acknowledge that. I also acknowledge that Communist theory is flawed and, as an extreme, doomed to fail. However, you must also consider that fact that every major (and minor) American war during the 20th century was preceded by some kind of economic slump which put the country to fear of ultimate economic collapse-- this is what Marx predicted for the future of capitalism. The most efficient economic/political system would consist of a Democratic synthesis of capitalist and socialist principles. Karl Marx's ideas were also a major influence on sociology and psychology, and they seem to be held in pretty high esteem. Also, his description of the class struggle and the economic conditions/alienation of the working-class still hold true in many Westernized nations; just look at the United States, Mexico, and England (to name just a few). Like I mentioned earlier, The Communist Manifesto has too many ambiguities in it that can easily lead to perversions (much like the Christian Bible), and I fully acknowledge that. I also know that Mao said many of the same things I said, but there are two factors which stand out: 1) Every so-called Communist leader and nation we have had in the 20th Century came after Stalin's reign of terror 2) Every one of those so-called Communist nations was ruled by a dictator (who seemed more influenced by fascism than Marxism), which defeats the chances of any major Marxist principles from being carried out; democratic processes are essential for any of those ideas to become realized and take place. Orthodox Communism is, if taken in its literal and pure form, an ideal which is ultimately impossible to abide by; however, Stalinism, Maoism, and Castroism still bear very little resemblance to the written Communism.
Posted by Zumbi at October 27, 2002 02:04 AM
1) Marx did not much believe in Democracy, and generally viewed it as a bourgeois value. He considered it at best a temporary bourgeois fetish that would be useful to Communists only in the short run.
Lenin's cynicism and manipulation of democratic ideas, which were followed by all the other Communist leaders of the 20th Century, stem straight from Marx, who viewed democracy with contempt. You need to read more Marx, you really do.
2) Every war of the 20th century was not preceeded by economic collapse--that is simply false-to-fact. Where did you come up with that?
3) You give way too much credit to Stalin. Lenin was a despotic, ruthless butcher who killed millions and oppressed millions more. Stalin was no more than his heir. He surpassed the master, perhaps, but not by all that much. Future Communist butchers repudiated Stalin--and continued their butchery anyway.
This view of Stalin perverting Marxism is, in my view, little but a desperate grasping at straws by people who are unable to acknowledge the possibility--even the possibility--that Stalin was a logical outgrowth of Marxist illusions, and not a perversion at all.
4) You may believe that Marx was right in his descriptions of class warfare, but I've read Marx and I've read history, and I've come to the opposite conclusion.
I really have to wonder where you get some of this stuff, Zumbi. Is this the kind of thing they're teaching at Loyola Marymount these days?
Posted by Dean Esmay at October 27, 2002 04:07 PM
I kind of enjoy this friendly battle of economic viewpoints. However, I never claimed that Marx believed in Democracy; I only said that many of his ideas could work if democratic processes were involved. I doubt that the idea of democracy included the working class during Marx's life. Perhaps I do need to read more Marx; I never claimed to be an expert on his work. I also readily admitted that The Communist Manifesto has a lot of holes in it which makes it open to interpretation-- socialists draw upon it to create a blueprint for a democratic form of moderate communism. Perhaps what I really need to read more about is Lenin. Also, I did not say that every war in the 20th century was preceded by economic collapse; I said that every 20th century war in which the United States government was involved was preceded by a slump of some sort-- this could range from a stable economy which lacked economic growth to a major near collapse like the Great Depression. The ultimate written goal of Communism (according to Marx and Engels) is a classless society with no government; obviously, there are no truly anarchist nations, and a truly classless society would not have an elite ruling class (like the former U.S.S.R.). Given the ambiguity and lack of clarity in Marx's text, it is at least somewhat possible to form a state like that of every previous "Communist" nation; however, in all honesty (and I think deep down you could agree somewhat with me) the regimes of every communist dictator does not have very much in common with what is written in the Manifesto. Regarding your comment about Marx and class warfare, that depends on whether you are looking at all class systems in history or post-industrialization class systems. England's condition after the Industrial Revolution certainly fit Marx's description, and if his ideas were not valid at all, why do sociologists continue to pay homage to Marx? I have a couple of questions for you: 1) Do you read international news? 2) How many political science professors have you every spoken with? Once again, I do acknowledge that you raise interest points. Also, just for your information, I am not a Communist; I see Marx as an idealist. Peace.
Posted by Zumbi at October 27, 2002 08:53 PM
I'm sorry Zumbi, but I've got to keep challenging you on this business about wartime economics and class warfare.
But tell you what, let's just cut to the chase:
Yes I've talked to PoliSci professors. With Ph.D.s. Including at least one former Marxist who would find very little of what I've said particularly controversial.
So let me ask you this: in your studies, have your poli-sci professors exposed you to any books written by, oh, let's say, Hayek? This thinker was arguably more influential on the ideas of class warfare and economics over the last half-century than Marx, and yet it has been remarked by a large number of intellectuals (many of them with Ph.D.s and new a few of them former Marxists) that such ideas are all but locked out of most poli-sci and other university departments around the country.
I can point to at least three different authors whose books are on my shelves who were deeply respected Marxist philosophers, who published entire books on Marxist philosophy, who later came to the conclusion that Marx is almost nothing but lies. Some are, indeed, far less kind to Marx than I am. Have your teachers exposed you to any of these people?
One of the things many people--myself included--have noted is that the idea of a true liberal education seems dead on many universities today. That anything I say here should surprise you makes me suspect that this is quite true.
I'm certainly interested in hearing more about your perspective.
about the only place where Marxism is taken seriously
Posted by Dean Esmay at October 28, 2002 10:49 PM
There's no need to apologize, my friend; you have done nothing wrong. In the grand scheme of things, our views are not that far apart; neither one of us thinks that Marxism works. I've spoken with PoliSci professors myself, and none of them agree 100% with Marx's point of view; however, they wouldn't agree with you in saying that everything written in the Communist Manifesto is a "lie." Sociologist writer George Ritzer would certainly disagree with you on this. The general conclusion is that Marx was neglectful in his writing, leaving a lot of things unexplained and with very large loopholes. About an earlier comment you made about Marx and democracy, the "democracy" of Marx's time did not include the working-class, and it genuinely did fit his description; the best way to look at the Communist Manifesto is in context with its historical period-- it still has some valid ideas, but it is not a completely accurate analysis of society as it is today (or as it was back then). Of course I've heard of Friedrich Hayek, the great defender of Liberal (not liberal, Liberal) Capitalist (more or less) economics. His views were arguably more influential than those of Marx's (at least in the 20th century), but they are not absolute. True, his analysis is more genuinely scientific than Marx's, but they must be taken into the historical context as well. Of course, many people certainly found his points more appealing, as capitalism and near-capitalism appeal to people's wants, hopes, desires, and emotions, but Hayek's arguements are, like Marx's, not absolute. By the way, I recommend that you read material from and about Chris M. Sciabarra; he raises some interesting points about both Marx and Hayek. Just so you know, nothing you have said surprises me, and I agree with your theory about a liberal education in todays universities, as it is impossible to even speak of these things with many people in our society.
Posted by Zumbi at October 29, 2002 12:48 PM
hey, i think you should at least have said what honors and awards karl marx had, because i need to write a paper and I cant find anything that says what honors and awards he had gotten.
Posted by melissa at March 13, 2003 11:19 PM
You obviously don't have a good grasp on Marx's ideas. He was a dialectical materialst so the claim that communism failed because of his ideas is as ridiculous as your liberal idealism (in the philosophical sense).
If you read more of Marx than the Communist Manifesto, you can get a better idea of what Marx's ideas are. The Communist Manifesto was drafted by Marx and Engels at the behest of the Communist League. It by no means fully represents his work in political economy or philosophy. It is merely an outline of the work that he is about to undertake that is understandable to the "layperson".
It is true that Marx did not say much about what socialism should be. This does not mean that Marx did not believe in his own project. He did not feel that it should be the intellectuals that decided what socialism was to be like, but rather the workers themselves. He did, however, give a few pointers to workers, advocating against a standing army, a recall system for elected officials and paying the elected officials no more than the average workers salary. There is also, of course, Marx's "The Civil War in France", which would show you that the Paris Commune of 1871 was the type of society Marx had envisioned.
Now, to address all of those other "communist nations". Again, a closer reading of Marx's full works would reveal the problem with these nations. I will address the Soviet Union specifically, because I know more of the details about it, but the same basic thing goes for China.
Marx argues that communism should happen in industrialized nations first. The Soviet Union was not industrialized. Lenin knew this, (and you would too if you actually read Marx) but he insisted that if some of the western industrialized countries, i.e. Germany or France, which were on the verge of revolution at the time, were to help Russia, it could possibly work. Needless to say France and Germany did not have their revolutions and so Russia had to "go it alone".
Now, as I have already said, Russia was not industrialized, so that had to be done. Around now, Lenin dies and Stalin takes over. Russia then goes through the brutal process of indutrialization that took place in the western industiralized nations. Yes, I am stating that the development of capitalism was a horrible process on the workers. Don't believe me? Look at a good text book about Industrialization in England. The brutality is well documented.
The only difference between what happened in Russia and what had happened in England is that what happened in England happened over the course of 400 years, and what happened in Russia, took place over one generation. This had a devestating effect on the population, thus all of the death. The devestating effect was on the working class (proletariat) and much of it was destroyed. The destruction of the working class caused the economy to be extremely weak, and made a desperate Stalin into the killer we know him as today. The rest is history, so to speak. It was not Marx's ideas that were flawed, but the fact that the pre-conditions for socialist revolution had not been met that led to the eventual "failure of communism" the Soviet Union, China, et. al.
If you are going to misrepresent Karl Marx or his ideas in the future, at least do it with his collected works under your belt. I'm sure it is hard for you to part with your copy of Hobbes' Leviathan, but it will make you look like less of an ignoramus.
Posted by American Marxist at April 3, 2003 12:14 AM
I have a very good understanding of Marx, thank you.
It is a philosophy of hate and bloodshed. It was from the very beginning.
More important, all his most important ideas on economics were wrong. And resulted in the endless bloodshet he advocated by saying that it was "inevitable."
It is a philosophy which has proven utterly wrong in most of its particulars. And which, as a result, spawned the greatest movement of mass murder in human history--in an effort to force its deranged and utterly mad notions of how humanity works onto the very workers of the world who wanted nothing to do with it.
The diletantes that call themselves Marxists today defend the indefensible.
You are no better than a National Socialist or a member of the Klu Klux KLan, and deserve all the verbal abuse that can possibly be heaped upon your head.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 03:51 AM
I'm glad that you are good at regurgitating mindless liberal garbage, but you have not convinced me of anything. In order to do so, I would have to see some textual evidence of a "philosophy of hate and bloodshet". It is true that Marx's theory involved revolution, but I would hardly classify it as inevitable, or one filled with hate. Marx would have certainly advocated a peaceful revolution like the one in the Paris Commune, but that scenarios like that would be few and far between.
The Paris commune happened because the military left Paris for a while, leaving the people to their own devices. They organized on their own, without a police force or much of a hierarchy and life was better for the people of Paris until the military came back and laid seige on the commune, eventually crushing it militarily. Certainly the ruling class is not going to just hand over the power, and so a struggle must ensue; a struggle that will most likely be bloody.
Your allegations that Marx was a historical determinist are also unfounded. A reading of his collected works would reveal that there is still a level of human action that is required in order for a revolution to take place. The "laws of motion of capitalism" set up a window of opportunity every 30-40 years. In that window of opportuinty, workers have to organize, otherwise, the system resets itself and capitalism regains profitability. We call these times "recessions" or "depressions". The cost of this "resetting" is a few years of utter misery for the working class and further centralization of the means of production in the hands of a few. In these times, the contradiction of capital are laid bare. While children starve, milk producers will dump milk down the drain to preserve profit rates. I refer you to any good history text about the US economy in the 1890's, 1920's, 1960, and the recession we are slipping into right now. There is a distinct pattern to the economy... one that Marx clearly predicts in his economic texts. If Marx was so wrong about the economy, how did he predict our current situation? You probably didn't know he predicted such crises because you haven't actually read Marx. You aren't fooling me.
This "inevitability" you talk about is probably Marx's beilef that in order to have a truly free society, you must shrug off the chains of capitalism.
There are some good points to be made against Marxism, but you aren't hitting on any of them. If you want to make a successful argument against Marx, The first step is to provide some kind of textual evidence. Misquoting Marx or repeating a Rush Limbaugh rant is in no sphere of serious academics considered to be a good argument.
Posted by American Marxist at April 3, 2003 01:19 PM
So let us be clear then. If Marx contradicts himself, then nothing done as a result of what he says can be held against him. Right?
Did Marx advocate bloodshed? Yes, but at other places he didn't, so he is innocent.
Was Marx a racist, an anti-semite, and a religious bigot? Yes, but since his intentions were benign, this is excusable.
Indeed, it appears that what Marx actually wrote never counts, since he contradicted himself elsewhere. He contradicted himself frequently. His followers, even moreso. So therefore, we can ignore the bad and accept only the good?
Even if "the good" could be well explained by philosophies having nothing to do with Marx at all. Marx gets credit anyway, because he's Marx. So if it's good, it's to Marx's credit. If it's bad, well, it was just a misunderstanding. Right?
In the meantime, his philosophy was used as direct justification for the bloodshed of 100,000,000 innocents. And not just by one regime, but by countless regimes, many of which claimed that all the others failed because they got Marx wrong. Never pausing to contemplate if it were Marx himself who was wrong.
And Marx is not at fault because... what was it again? "True marxism has never been tried?" I'll bet you have that ready to cut and paste into every argument like this one, don't you?
Marx was wrong in all his particulars about how the world works. His interpretation of histroy, his interpretation of the class struggle, his interpretation of the oppressors vs. the oppressed, even his view of how economics worked. Every single bit of it discredited by history.
His intentions? From an ideologue who contradicted himslef constantly, I'd say his only determinable intentions were destruction of the system. Which he failed to do, although countless millions died trying to make his utopian dreams come to pass.
You may, if you wish, spend your idle hours in ivory-tower academia, contemplating how "true Marxism has never been tried," probably at taxpayer expense (i.e. on the backs of "the workers" you claim to speak for, even though "the workers" have never, in the last 200 years, supported Marxism). In the meanwhile, I point out that "true Nazism has never been tried" would be an equally valid statement, and just as vile.
The reality is what Marxism has wrought. And it has been nothing but intolerance and death.
Continue to defend the indefensible if you wish. And if it comforts you to compare me to Rush Limbaugh, well, I'm not surprised. After all, like Marx himself, most of the fools who call themselves Marxists go straight to ad hominem attacks whenever confronted with arguments they cannot refute.
If Marxists such as yourself would only turn around and plunge your busy heads into the legacy of what you advocate, you'd instantly drown in an ocean of blood.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 02:00 PM
Not suprisingly, you misunderstood. What you "quoted" was no quote. It was one word. It proves nothing. Show me a contradiction in Marx. Go find an online text of Marx's and find me one contradiction. I'm not interested in seeing another one of your broad misgeneralizations about Marx, but I would like to see one of these so-called contradicitons.
As far as Marx's anti-semetism, I have seen evidence from both sides. Some say he was anti-semetic, some say he was not. I pose this question to you. Does Marx's anti-semetism make a difference on whether his economic theory is correct or incorrect?? If it does, then it is a short leap for me to make the claim that John Locke, the champion of liberalism, was a hypocritem (or any other philosopher for that matter). After writing his treatises on civil government, he was asked by the North Carolina colony to design their constitution. What did he produce? A landed aristocracy that in no way resembled the republic he theorized.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. it does not even touch on the other critiques of the logic of Locke's philosophy itself. I would make the claim that Locke was sexist and racist, given his social contract theory. The most ridiculous of Locke's philosophical arguments was his treatment of property. He claimed that you own something when your labor, which is a part of you, is combined with that item. So, if I pick an apple, then it becomes mine. This seems plausible, but what then about the doctor, who labors on the patient? Does that patient become his property? Perhaps only the organs he is working on become the property of the doctor. Locke never adresses these holes in his argument, but instead goes on and treats property as a given. Now he's what I call an "incoherent philosopher".
As for the effects of Locke's philosophy... well, it has been used for the justification of colonization in Africa, Asia and South America. it has been used to justify slavery and it has been used to justify the imperialism we are still battling today, including free trade, sweatshops and the current War in Iraq. I think overall, Locke has more deaths on account of his ideas than Marx, wouldn't you agree? But I digress.
I don't really see where National Socialism fits in here, but I think you are trying to insinuate that it was some kind of socialism. This is kind of like red baiting, but you are trying to associate Hitler and Marx. The problem with this argument is, Hitler hated Marxism. He destroyed the German communist party. I can't believe you haven't even read Mein Kampf, since it is quickly becoming a staple of liberalism. You can argue that national socialism is a type of socialism because "socialism" is in the name, but I think it would be more accurate to call it "state corporatism" because thats how Mussolini defined it, and afterall, he was the author of fascism.
I will again remind you that there is no "true Marxism". Marx laid no foundation for socialism. The possibilities are endless and are, in part, dictated by what means of production we have when the revolution occurs. If we all have robot servants, then socialism will look different than what it is theorized to look like now. Laying the groundwork for socialism was the undertaking of Marx's predecessors: Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci, Mao, Castro, Stalin etc. etc. Although important, they are not Marx's ideas. And as I have already argued and you have already ignored, it was primarily material circumstances that led to the problems in "communist countries".
I have a feeling that I am talking above your head since your rebuttals have been resembling insults more than anything useful. All I'm asking for here is that you stop acting as though you know what you are talking about. It is obvious that you do not.
Posted by American Marxist at April 3, 2003 03:15 PM
Always and everywhere, Mr. "American Marxist," the workers and the masses have rejected your revolution. Always and everywhere, where Marxists have taken power, they have only been able to do it by force, usually led by a group of elitist academics such as yourself to force the revolution on the masses at the point of a gun.
But why should I say this? It has been my experience that arguing with Marxists is like arguing with Objectivists, conspiratorial anti-semites, Lyndon LaRouche followers, and bible-literalist fundamentalist Christians. They can never be proven wrong on any point, because the tautological logic they use makes it impossible.
Try educating yourself and get back to me. Start with the vast coterie of former Marxists who say all the same things I do.
But as long as you call yourself a Marxist, I will have nothing to do with you. Because by wearing that badge, you identify yourself as a zealot and an apologist for oppression and genocide--and are no better than a Neo-Nazi. I'd rather spit on you than argue with you. It would certainly be a more productive use of my time.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 03:32 PM
Your response is even more pathetic than I ever could have imagined it to be. Do you even know what a tautology is? Or do you just bring the big words out to impress your friends? I think you have done the job of proving your own incomptence better than I could have ever hoped. Save your spit. It's not as though you were arguing with me anyhow. An argument is usually between two formidable parties. This could be characterized more as a schooling. Good Luck defending your liberalism, you'll need it.
Posted by American Marxist at April 3, 2003 03:51 PM
Begone, you pathetic, ignorant apologist for genocide and general waste of human flesh.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 03:53 PM
"Marx was wrong in all his particulars about how the world works."
I think Marx recognized 'the world works' how everybody in the world agrees it works. You seem to have a preconceived notion that the world is a certain way apart from what the people decide. Marx also recognized that workers are the majority of the world, yet own only a tiny portion of the wealth.
This is still the case today, as was it when Marx wrote.
"'the workers' have never, in the last 200 years, supported Marxism"
Do you mean in this country? (I can only assume you're American. Your sort of nonsense comes from nowhere else.) There have been, and indeed, are currently popular socialist revolutions in the world. Beyond that, there has been, and is a socialist movement in this country. I'm not really sure where you got this idea from, unless it was state education. We've been indoctrinated in this country that marxism is evil a good part of this century.
On a side note, marxism hasn't existed for 200 years.
"After all, like Marx himself, most of the fools who call themselves Marxists go straight to ad hominem attacks whenever confronted with arguments they cannot refute."
It seems to me that American marxist refuted every one of your arguments. Furthermore you resort to an ad hominem attack while accusing him of such! ("fool")
"Always and everywhere, where Marxists have taken power, they have only been able to do it by force, usually led by a group of elitist academics such as yourself to force the revolution on the masses at the point of a gun."
Then they are not marxists. Marx advocated popular revolution. A military coup that calls itself marxist is certainly nothing of the sort.
I hope I've helped to clear up some of the points you were confused about. If you're interested in modern socialism, I highly recomend "International Socialist Review" (magazine) and "Socialist Worker" (newspaper).
Posted by Sebastian at April 3, 2003 06:41 PM
Oh, here we go. Another Marxist apologist who thinks he can win an argument with childish nit-picks.
A) I am fully aware that Marxism hasn't been around for 200 years. This was a generalization--in the past two centuries, Marx has been proven wrong in most of his particulars, and his truly original ideas--ideas that didn't originate elsewhere or independent of him--have either failed or been rejected everywhere, or enacted at the point of a gun. And not just in America.
2) Since when are socialism and Marxism the same thing? Oh I get it. When we're socialist, we are Marxists, except when we're BAD socialists, in which case we aren't Marxists.
Any idea that sounds Marxist that actually works out, that's to Marx's credit. Any actual bad results, however, are not Marx's fault.
Typical monomaniacal cant from worshippers of a creed.
I am utterly disgusted that in a thread on the greatest holocaust of all time--caused by Marxists--people are actually trying to defend Marx. All the bad things, why they have nothing to do with Marx at all. But all the good things--of course they are to Marx's credit!
Fabulous bit of reasoning, that. And now we are supposed to read socialist newsletters, then we will fully understand how Marx is truly misunderstood.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 07:06 PM
The previous discussion has been quite enlightening. I have learned three things:
1) The number "two" is a letter following "A".
B) All claims by the owner of this website to being an authority on Marx's work or the history of class struggle in the world (much less an authority on anything) are highly incredulous.
I have not seen any indication that any serious treatment of Marx's works, nor the arguments of the "apologists," has occured here on Dean's part. Furthermore, the level of understanding of the history of China or any other socialist movement is paltry at best. A "schooling" has indeed occured here. I once had some esteem for autodidactics, and once thought of pursuing that route myself. I now am very appreciative of Dean for providing me with new insight into the worth of my college education.
Call these "ad hominem" attacks if you wish. But until some cogent arguments are published here by Dean, this is as far as I will go.
Posted by Peter at April 3, 2003 09:08 PM
1) People are incredulous. Facts are not.
2) Again with the nit-picking as meaningful arguments?
3) I'll be happy to provide you with copious references to the history of China if you like. But you haven't asked for any. Nor, do I suspect, that you are interested.
4) My level of understanding is paltry becuase I disagree with you? Funny thing is, there are plenty of people with Ph.D.s who agree with me. Even professors who teach at places like Berkeley. Double-funny bit--you haven't asked me for any names on that either, even though I've pointed out that there are numerous former Marxists who agree with everything I've said.
Closed minded, much? It's nothing new for Marxists. It is, after all, less an intellectual movement than a religious faith.
Oh, woe is me: defenders of the greatest ideology of oppression and mass-murder in history don't respect my intellect. However shall I live with myself?
Oh yeah: by remembering that a Marxist is no better than a Klu Klux Klansman or a Neo-Nazi.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 3, 2003 09:15 PM
I will address this to you personally, Dean. In previous debates/posts with me you misquoted me twice, even though what I had written was right in front of you. It makes one wonder how exactly you were reading Marx; I think I can see how. I also know that you mentioned Friedrich Hayek in our last few posts. Intelligent? Yes. Absolute? No. Flawed? You bet! Hayek was working from the same platform that anarchists have done for a long time. He saw many so-called socialist countries fail and decided that no socialist situation could work; anarchists look at the problems with all forms of government and come to the conclusion that none of them work. Also, an inherent flaw of his "spontaneous order," which is more like economic chaos, is inherent and guaranteed economic instability, especially since the backbone of the liberal capitalist economy is based on spontaneity and the capricious desires of the general public (as opposed to actual needs). I also have to say that American Marxist did genuinely win his or her debate with you; s/he presented the stronger arguments. I could go on about flaws of capitalism and free market economies, but I think I'll save them for a later post. Peace.
Posted by Zumbi at April 9, 2003 09:45 PM
American Marxist did not have any debate with me, so there was nothing to "win." He came in spouting Marxism, and I angrily attacked him and treated him with extreme loathing and contempt.
For which I am not in the least bit sorry.
I will repeat my offer to provide references to former Marxist thinkers who agree with all or most of what I've said. Including academics attached to major universities and respected historians. Indeed, one young gentleman recently asked me to email him some suggestions since he was writing a paper on the topic, and I was happy to provide it. He thanked me profusely, and I was glad to have helped him with his assignment.
But make no mistake: I am here to discuss the vileness that is Marxism. And that is all I am here for.
Otherwise, I do not debate with Marxists, for the same reason that I do not debate with Ayn Randian Objectivists, Bible-literalist Fundamentalist Christians, John Birch Society members, Neo-Nazis, Holocaust Revisionists, occultists, or general lunatics. There is simply no point in doing so, and "debating" them gives them a credibility that they do not deserve in any decent society.
I am sorry if that hurts anyone's feelings. Except the feelings of Marxists, which I am happy to hurt at any opportunity. Call it a personal quirk. ;-)
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 9, 2003 11:40 PM
Oh, by the way, I am not a Hayekian. I merely mentioned him some time ago as an example of how pitifully bad our institutions of higher education are, when a more influential thinker like Hayek is mostly ignored. As is Rand, for that matter, even though she's also arguably more influential. (Even if she herself was rather crazy, and even though some of her followers are every bit as daft as Marxists.)
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 9, 2003 11:56 PM
It certainly is suspicious how all you do is spout against Marxism these days; what happened to the intelligent critiques you used to make? Also, I am sure that there are former Marxists who agree with your position, at least to some extent; however, there are many who still critique neoliberalism and capitalism, with good reason. I know based on many things that you have said that the Black Book of Communism is one of your references. I have not read the whole thing myself, so I will not claim to be an expert on it. However, from what I have read from it I did notice that there seemed to be few references to Marx and his writings. I read up about the source and it seems that many of the authors are modified Marxists as opposed to blatant opponents. Just so you know, there is a Black Book of Capitalism currently being written in Europe; this will expose all of the lives that capitalism has claimed-- I predict that this body count is rather large. In terms of "reactionaries doomed to be crushed under the wheel of history," you may interpret this as justification for mass murder, but I interpret it as meaning that those who do not subscribe to the idea will be left behind as those who do subscribe to it move forward. There is no mention whatsoever of mass murder or suppression of free speech in the language he used. Marx may have been anti-Jewish in some respect, but labeling him as anti-Semitic is probably incorrect; I doubt that he had anything against Arabs, who are also Semitic. Marx himself was a Jew as well as a critic of organized religion, and it seems perfectly logical to me that one of the faiths he would critique the most is the one that he was brought up with. I myself was brought up Christian, and I criticize Christian cults more than any other. Complicated old Karl was right about one major thing: in history, there have been a few "haves" and an enormous majority of "have nots." I don't think even Hayek would disagree with this.
Posted by Zumbi at April 10, 2003 12:11 AM
Look, I don't have to interpret lines from Marx as justification for mass-murder--countless actual self-described Marxists ahve done it for me.
I'll discuss Marx with non-Marxists, in the same way I'll discuss Ayn Rand with people who aren't Objectivists, or discuss the Bible with people who are not bible-literalist evangelicals, or John Birch lunacy with John Birchers.
But you must surely know by now that I view Marxism as a dead ideology responsible for more death than any ideology in history--with the witness of the history of what actual self-proclaimed Marxists have wrought as my evidence. So from there, what point in debating this or that bit of doctrine, falling into "oh, when Marx said this he really didn't mean that," "oh, but what about this good thing that Marx said that we all agree with," and ad nauseum.
The simple fact is that in schools of economics, almost nothing Marx said is taken seriously anymore, and he is widely acknowledged to be wrong at the most fundamental level in most of his ideas. Other historians have pointed out that many ideas which Marxists claim should be credited to Marx were actually things that many thinkers independent of Marx with came up with quite without his help.
Do you wish to critique capitalism? Feel free.
But I do not debate Marxism with Marxists, any more than I debate the Holocaust with Holocaust Revisionists or Neo-Nazis, or the Bible with fundamentalist literalists. Sorry, that's just me.
The witness of history is incontrovertible: anywhere and everywhere that self-proclaimed Marxists have taken political power, mass oppression and mass murder have been the result. Anywhere and everywhere that self-proclaimed Marxists have taken power, it has been by crushing and ignoring the proletariat that they claim to speak for.
Yes, the Black Book of Communism is one book you should read. You might also look at the works of Robert Conquest, Brian Crozier, and countless others who've dissected Marx and found it wanting.
You might also try asking an economist what, if any, statement about economics of Marx's is still taken seriously by any practicing economist. Try to get him to be specific.
I would most strongly recommend Robert Conquest's "Reflections on a Ravaged Century." The chapter on Marx is alone worth the price of the book. And as a former Marxist himself, Conquest's critique is devastating.
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 10, 2003 12:26 AM
Okay, Dean. I guess I have a better understanding of where you are coming from; however, discussing Marx with a Marxist could be an enlightening experience. I myself engage with discussions and debates about the Bible with so-called fundamentalist believers, even though each fundamentalist is merely a selective literal interpreter. I still believe that it is more accurate to say that what people have done with Marxism or Marxist doctrine is more responsible for the horrors of the 20th Century "Communist" regimes than the writing itself. The same thing goes with Christian regimes and the Bible; the book itself is not directly responsible for the millions of atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, but rather what troubled or naive individuals did with it. There was once an article in some magazine where a man molested his children and used what was written in the Bible as justification for his actions. Does this make the Bible responsible? Of course not; it was the result of a very sick person misusing what was written in it. Even then, it calls us to question interpreting the Bible too literally, or examining it even closer to look for obvious grounds for abuse. In my opinion, the same could be said about Marx's writings. As I have informed you before, I am not a Marxist myself, but I think that some of his ideas are genuinely good and applicable to many societies today, an example being socialized medicine. I agree with you in saying that not all of his ideas are original; socialism and even communism existed before he even wrote the Communist Manifesto. All he did was attempt to scientize these systems and philosophies based on his observations on history and society. It is even arguable that his writings had an influence on modern egalitarian democracy, since it aimed to give a voice and control to the working-class majority; yes, Marx did not believe in the democracy of his time, but it was more of an oligarchy than the democracy we think of today, and its aim was to aid the middle-class in preserving their power. I also find it very easy to see how those so-called Communist countries went wrong. It is very easy for a politician to come into power and win support by promising equality for all; however, this does not guarantee that s/he will follow through with it, especially in countries that are relatively unfamiliar with democracy. Once the politician is in office s/he can pretty much do whatever s/he wants, particularly with countries that are used to monarchies and dictatorships. Even then, there is one thing in which I disagree with you completely: the idea that Marxist writings are useless. If so, then how is it that successful socialist countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands borrowed many of his ideas? Many economists would agree that Communism is definitely not the way to go about for economic growth, but this does not discredit all of his ideas at all; even you were not able to do this successfully. Getting back to a previous point, if you take any book or "manifesto" too literally or seriously (or in an extremely naive manner), you will be subscribing to an extreme, and scientifically speaking, extremes do not work. The same thing that has been done with the Communist Manifesto can very easily be done with Adam Smith's the Wealth of Nations and the Christian Bible which, historically speaking, have been equally abused.
Posted by Zumbi at April 10, 2003 12:12 PM
heh. in india, 'marxists' control one or two states in open ELECTIONS without bloodshed, WITH the support of the masses. hardly what i'd call a failure or totalitarian.
Posted by spikeb at April 28, 2003 03:01 AM
heh. in india, 'marxists' control one or two states in open ELECTIONS without bloodshed, WITH the support of the masses. hardly what i'd call a failure or totalitarian.
Posted by spikeb at April 28, 2003 03:01 AM
The pattern has been the same over and over for the last century.
Preach about the non-violence and tolerance and progressivism of Marxism. Win some local elections, and even though that doesn't give you the power to really affect massive social change, it wins you respectability.
In the meantime, in private, continue to treat things like democracy and freedom of speech as contemptible bourgeois values that have nothing to do with the "real" rights, which are strictly economic and only understood by Marxists. Everyone else has false-consciousness, but their fate will be sealed when the revolution comes--when they will either see the true Marxist light, or be ground under the wheel of history. Inevitably.
It never varies. If they come to power nationally, they'll be as horrible as all the rest. Until then, they'll be nothing but contemptible leeches--spoiled children of the bourgeois pretending to represent the masses, winning elections now and then mostly by appealing to the intelligentsia and by promising things they can't deliver. Demonizing others whenever they fail, all along the way.
And since when do Marxists believe that those who win elections have the "support of the masses?"
Posted by Dean Esmay at April 28, 2003 05:42 PM
Dean, the truth is that so-called Communist regimes have made their greatest failures by either straying too far from Marxism or paying too much attention to one particular aspect of the philosophy. For example, Stalin was literally capitalizing the former Soviet Union when 10 million died under his rule; it was state-capitalism, not Marxism, that killed those people. It is theorized that Stalin may have taken Marx's idea that "capitalism precedes socialism, which precedes communism" too seriously. Also, Marx never said anything about the suppression of free speech; where did you get that? Was it your cynicism manipulating what is actually written in Marxist doctrine? By the way, I've said this before, but the "democracy" of Marx's time was not the democracy we think of today; instead, it was more of an oligarchy which served little more purpose than to preserve the wealth of the middle-class. Marx was the one who advocated true democracy in giving power to the proletariat majority; they were the ones who would dictate over the factors of production. You make the same mistake that many others make, my friend: you critique so-called Marxist regimes, but you fail to make any significant connection between them and Marxist doctrine. This is the main critique that I have been reading about the Black Book of Communism; admittedly I still have not read it, but many critiques of the book state, or imply, that very little reference is made to what Marx actually wrote. After having spoken with some economics professors of mine, I came to the conclusion that Marx's communist system is just as flawed as I thought it was, but his critique of capitalism is still pretty accurate, and some of his ideas could still be useful in today's world. Global capitalism is a prediction of Marx's that came true, and it seems to be doing more damage than good. Sorry, brother.
Posted by Zumbi at April 29, 2003 03:37 AM
There’s a very close similarity between Communists (based on pure Marxism) and Islamic fundamentalists (based on pure Quran; the book of Islam).
While I am not willing to explain how but, I’ll point out some of the resemblances between them:
1- Both are for Groups concerns (they claim: group rights) rather than individual rights.
2- Both are bloody Ideologies that have certain inviolable rules.
3- Both have a founder(s) which always referred to, Marx and Engels for Communists and Mohammed for Islam; Islam claims Mohammed was a profit which it doesn’t make any difference.
4- Both claim that their Ideologies have not been applied fully or correctly yet.
5- Both believe in one Globe without borders.
6- Both believe in one people. (Internationalism)
7- Both breed, in case of applying, Chaos and Mass killings and violation of human rights.
8- Both have followers with only a handful of them understand what’s really going on.
9- Both claim of a better world for humans.
10- Both are outdated Ideologies that cannot fit today’s world.
Well, if you think of surround you with an open and free mind; not with a closed and limited circle, such as of Islam or Communism, you’ll find yourself supporting Capitalism and see it as the only solution of a better world for Humans.
Wish you a free-mind,
Posted by Balen at July 24, 2003 09:12 PM
the same can be said about Christianity; it certainly has a longer and bloodier history than both Marxism and Islam. Even then, the historical Christianity (and today's, really, since it has not been totally reformed as of yet) as a religion bears very little resemblance to the message of the philosopher Jesus. Just one more tidbit: I am not a Marxist.
Posted by Zumbi at August 7, 2003 12:50 PM
It's remarked that every Marxist country has blood on its hands because it is inherently totalitarian. Not so, I'd say. After the establishment of the USSR, the Soviet system was taken as model to follow- one-party etc. And this was subsequently copied by every other country. We all know about the 'conditions for Socialism not existing in Russia', so basically they all copied a flawed application. I'd also point out that Moldova (a crucial country, I know) is ruled by an elected CP but there's no blood there. Also, Zyuganov, the General Secretary of the Russian CP is on record as saying that the old methods cannot be returned to. So the general lesson learned has been that post-Soviet Communism must follow a new, less dogmatic, method. For all the focus on the bad, what of the good? Polls conducted throughout the ex-Eastern Bloc have consistently shown a view that Socialism is preferable to Capitalism, and that life in the 'old days' was better- although part of that is probably explained by looking back with rose-tinted specs. It wasn't all bad. Just about every country on Earth is soaked in the blood of its victims. The scale varies according to the methods available at the time. You can kill on a greater scale by shooting than by burning at the stake. The cliche about it being 'responsible for more deaths' is again probably more that better killing methods were available to thoroughly beat down enemies.
Posted by Steve at August 22, 2003 10:30 AM
I would have to agree with Steve regarding that last comment. There just isn't enough textual evidence (in regards to Marxist writing, that is) to prove that Marx's ideas were genuinely responsible for the "communist" monsters that the world has born witness to in the past.
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Posted by Zumbi at September 30, 2003 12:46 PM
I wonder what it means to not have enough textual evidence to prove that Marxism leads to death camps and sociopaths in power.
First of all, Marx was a journalist and he was writing for the effect on the public mind. He won't outright say "lets exterminate the bourgeoisie"
Second, he was the leader of the Socialist International, he needed to attract pissed off workers in droves. He was not going to scare them away, instead he would pay lip service to freedom.
If its actuall text you want, it will have to take the form of identifying which ideas lead in principle to a dictatorship. Engles himself said that a revouloution is the most authoritarian thing in there is. Marx's rival Mikhail Bakhunin, wrote an anti Marxist polemic which predicted that his system leads to a highly regimented society which resembles a barracks. Where the "proletariat" would rise and work to the beat of a drum. If anyone wants, I'll quote it.
But if its more blatant textual evidence you want, start with Marx's Ten Points in the Communist Manifesto. Look at number 8 and 9. Every communist despotism did this, but none more lterally and horrifically than Pol Pot.
Marx ends off that section with emotional drivel like "... we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." This was supposed to happen after the dictatorship of the proletariat and the implementation of the Ten Points( which not only are despotic but hardly the basis for a new society). When one reads Marx critcally, one gets the feeling he's being snowed.
Best Wishes and thanks.
Posted by leninsbane at November 10, 2003 08:31 PM
Ah, Leninsbane, perhaps you would like to elaborate on how "equal obligation of all to work" and "abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country" inevitably lead to a regime like that of Pol Pot, a pseudo-Marxist who has gone down in history as one of the fiercest monsters to come from our species. Here is the address to an interesting article about Pol Pot that sheds some light on his true ties to Communism (which are nonexistent): http://www.plp.org/cd_sup/khmerrouge.html
Whether Capitalist, Communist, or anything outside or in between, I admire your desire for a better world. Peace.
Posted by Zumbi at November 10, 2003 08:54 PM
Obviously the ten points discussed in the communist manifesto were the closest he came to a plan of action. He didnt have much a plan of action which is one of the reasons that Marxists today are able to discuss "true Marxism" vs communist despotisms.
I will elaborate on the points I mentioned. A thourough point by point exposition on how Karl Marx laid the groundwork for nothing but death camps is a lengthy undertaking and would take many posts.(I'm sure you agree)
I was showing that there is textual support for such an interpretatin of Marx, as a minor example, I referred to the ten points. The ten points dont "lead" to Pol Pot, they are policy implementations. What led to Pol Pot was an almost religious desire to overthrough existing society down to its very roots. A desire Marx shared.
Point 8 should be obvious, an equal liability of all to labor is simply slavery. Forced, free labor in the service of the state. The second part should be equally obvious, the creation of "agricultural armies" pressuposes soldiers who are led and leaders who give orders. It also pressupposes a large buraucratic apparatus that overseas this and augments it with the threat of force.
Every point in the communist manifesto is an act of coercion. But Pol Pot really outdid himself by creating vast, forced agricultural armies. He also forced people out of the cities to begin the obliteration of the distinction between town and country. This had disterous consequences.
Pol Pot became a Marxist during his interactrions with French Marxists in Paris. I'll take a look at your link, but the controversy and reinterpretaions of Pol Pot abound, and the debate continues. Mostly between Noam Chomsky and his opponents. If you call Pol POt a psedo Marxist, I wonder what your criteria are. Marxists today who are still Marxists will say that ALL communist despots were pseudo-Marxists.
Lastly, if you want more textual evidence, see the "Adress to the Central Committee to the Communist League".
Posted by Leninsbane at November 11, 2003 08:29 PM
Just a few more things. I hope I am forgiven for discussing things that were said in past posts, I am a newcomer and the debate is fascinating so I'll adress a few more things.
" State Capitalism" is a very duboius concept. The term was first coined by Marxist critics of the Soviets. Capitalism itself requires enough freedom to function at the societal level of a given country. Under capitalism "states" are not capitalist, government transcations involving goods and services are not necessarily linked to a free market. Stalin increased agricultural output with the use of slave labor and collective farms, and sold the grain on the world market. How is this capitalist? Capitalism implies the freedom not only of entrpreneurs and businessmen, but of wage labor as well. What Stalin did was done by countless despots predating capitlism. It doesnt wash.
The idea that Russia was not ripe for socialism according to Marx's historical framework, does not exonerate Marxist ideas and motives for the despotism of the Soviets. All this proves is that Marx's view of history was flawed from the beginning. Ironically, if his view was correct, he could just sit on his ass and let the "inevitable" revoloution" come.
Lenin was obsessed with the creation of a society that was different from all in history. He was sure that he could bring about a worldwide revoloution in which class antagonisms would vanish.
Such a society requires that everyone be of one mind. Antagonisms are not dependant on "the forces of material production", they arise form the simlpe fact that interests and opinons differ. Since such a society would be impossible without oneness of mind, anyone who didnt share the view of the revoloutionary would be seen as holding history back. He would also be seen as insane to reject what is now the absolute truth. Since in a collectivist society, any deviation from the accepted norm is seen to harm the whole, death camps await.
This is a logical conclusion that the idea of false consciousness leads to. Period.
Posted by Leninsbane at November 11, 2003 09:08 PM
Finally, an intelligient challenger of Marxism! Just so you know, I'm not a Marxist, but I certainly subscribe to many of his ideas, probably more in regards to his critiques of capitalism. I'll respond to your second post first, since I am working at the moment and do not have much time. Well, Leninsbane, what you say about State Capitalism holds much merit, but, if we are going to take into account Adam Smith's structure of capitalism, corporate capitalism is not capitalism either. It eliminates the competition through already acquired funds, which is a far cry from Smith's discussion of pure competition between businesses; in this model, small, independent businesses stand little to no chance of surviving. What Stalin did was perhaps closer to Feudalism than Smith's capitalism, but end result was largely the same: the exploitation of the many to benefit the few. Almost nobody benefitted from the Soviet system but the elite few, the upper-class that tends to form equally well in any capitalist system with very limited government interference. I'll post more about this later. Look forward to hearing from you again.
Posted by Zumbi at November 12, 2003 12:47 PM
My thanks for your kind comments. There is certainly much to discuss. Reply at your leisure, dont piss the boss off.
Your points are fertile ideas for discussion. But I'll let you reply to my first post before I continue.
Sorry for the 2 long posts but you know how it is...
Posted by Leninsbane at November 12, 2003 11:42 PM
Marxism is so crazy but you just dont see it the way it used to be. Why, when I was a child I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons. Now I've got that fever once again, I can't explain you would not understand, this is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb.
Posted by frank chavez at November 26, 2003 10:32 AM
Just letting you know that I haven't forgotten about you, Leninsbane; it will just be a while until I can post again, and we can resume our discussion.
Posted by Zumbi at December 5, 2003 09:18 PM
No problem Zumbi, I'm in no hurry. In the meantime...Hey Frank you feeling alright? Can you elaborate more on your point, it is intriguing.
Posted by Leninsbane at December 7, 2003 02:06 AM
Hey Leninsbane, Frank is jut quoting from the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb." I'm sure that he's fine.
Posted by Zumbi at December 8, 2003 06:52 AM