Socialism Art Nature

The real problem is that there are not enough riots in the U.S. against police violence, racism, U.S. wars abroad, imperialism, misogyny, poverty, homelessness, etc …

If it takes a broken convenience store window in Ferguson, MO, to get the police, the media, and the nation to pay attention to the epidemic of police lynchings of Black people, then so be it.


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International Socialist Review (ISR):

ISR #94 is on the way! Subscribe at ISReview.org featuring: The Affordable Care Act: The reality behind the rhetoric by Helen Redmond  The neoliberal restructuring of healthcare in the US by Sean Petty Marxism and ecosocialism by Hadas Thier Crisis in Iraq: The bitter fruit of war and occupation by Ashley Smith Sexuality and capitalism: The Italian Renaissance by Colin Wilson and much more!
ISR #94 is on the way! Subscribe at ISReview.org featuring: The Affordable Care Act: The reality behind the rhetoric by Helen Redmond
The neoliberal restructuring of healthcare in the US by Sean Petty

Marxism and ecosocialism by Hadas Thier

Crisis in Iraq: The bitter fruit of war and occupation by Ashley Smith

Sexuality and capitalism: The Italian Renaissance by Colin Wilson

and much more!

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So long as the state exists there is no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state.

The economic basis for the complete withering away of the state is such a high state of development of communism at which the antithesis between mental and physical labor disappears, at which there consequently disappears one of the principal sources of modern social inequality—a source, moreover, which cannot on any account be removed immediately by the mere conversion of the means of production into public property, by the mere expropriation of the capitalists.

This expropriation will make it possible for the productive forces to develop to a tremendous extent. And when we see how incredibly capitalism is already retarding this development, when we see how much progress could be achieved on the basis of the level of technique already attained, we are entitled to say with the fullest confidence that the expropriation of the capitalists will inevitably result in an enormous development of the productive forces of human society. But how rapidly this development will proceed, how soon it will reach the point of breaking away from the division of labor, of doing away with the antithesis between mental and physical labor, of transforming labor into “life’s prime want”—we do not and cannot know.

That is why we are entitled to speak only of the inevitable withering away of the state, emphasizing the protracted nature of this process and its dependence upon the rapidity of development of the higher phase of communism, and leaving the question of the time required for, or the concrete forms of, the withering away quite open, because there is no material for answering these questions.

The state will be able to wither away completely when society adopts the rule: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, i.e., when people have become so accustomed to observing the fundamental rules of social intercourse and when their labor has become so productive that they will voluntarily work according to their ability. “The narrow horizon of bourgeois law”, which compels one to calculate with the heartlessness of a Shylock whether one has not worked half an hour more than anybody else—this narrow horizon will then be left behind. There will then be no need for society, in distributing the products, to regulate the quantity to be received by each; each will take freely “according to his needs”.

From the bourgeois point of view, it is easy to declare that such a social order is “sheer utopia” and to sneer at the socialists for promising everyone the right to receive from society, without any control over the labor of the individual citizen, any quantity of truffles, cars, pianos, etc. Even to this day, most bourgeois “savants” confine themselves to sneering in this way, thereby betraying both their ignorance and their selfish defence of capitalism.

Lenin, State and Revolution

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On this day one hundred years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the World War I. The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing seventeen million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anticolonial struggles.

What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today?

 …

  • Socialists did not wait until the danger of world war exploded in their face. They acted as soon as the danger was apparent.
  • Socialists did not rely on persuading imperialism to take the sensible course. They worked to build an independent mass movement. 
  • Socialists did not try to set the date for insurrection. They resolved to pursue the struggle however long was necessary.
  • Socialists did not merely seek peace. They aimed to utilize the war crisis to put an end to capitalism, the true cause of war.

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"or a Maoist party which seeks to take over the state by the mobilization of a clandestine band of guerrilla fighters." you really have never read any theory at all of what the protracted people's war actually is, have you?

okay, i’ve edited it to better reflect my sentiments on Maoism:

" … or a Maoist party which seeks to take over the state either through the mobilization of a clandestine band of guerrilla fighters or through a purely military conquest of territory on the part of a standing army."

don’t get me wrong. i support the revolutionary war of national liberation in China in 1949, just the same as i did the struggles for national liberation in India, Vietnam, Congo, Nicaragua, etc.

but to equate the Chinese revolution of 1949 with a proletarian, socialist revolution premised upon a mass workers’ uprising which collectively seizes the means of production and places it under the autonomous control of the associated producers … well, that’s just too much of a stretch. it’s one thing for a revolutionary peasant army to seize the means of production. it’s another for the organized working class to place those means under its own democratic control.

the Chinese revolution was not a socialist revolution because it was precisely aimed at the industrial development of Chinese society. that is, it was a revolutionary and anti-imperialist, but nonetheless bourgeois, revolution, which used the instrument of the state to undergo the process of national development through the accumulation of resources and the exploitation of labor.

many radical and revolutionary bourgeois movements throughout history have used the state to take over all or part of the national means of production in order to accelerate the pace of industrial development. we saw this during the jacobin revolution, then under napoleon; the Northern government during the american civil war; in Japan during the Meiji Restoration; in Germany under Bismarck; and so on …

see

http://www.isreview.org/issues/01/mao_to_deng_1.shtml

http://isreview.org/issue/87/maoism-global-south

http://isreview.org/issue/67/crisis-and-class-struggle-china

http://www.marxists.de/china/harris/


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"... forms of socialism in which the working class remains more or less passive — or at least subsidiary — while an elite group of would-be socialist saviors introduce socialism to the masses from on high." Do you think that this description fits Lenin and the Bolsheviks? Why/why not?
Anonymous

By way of an answer, I would invite you to read some of these articles which I agree with and which detail the history of the Russian revolution as a mass workers’ uprising premised on workers’ and peasants’ control of the economy and their own state. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party merely played a leading role in this revolution because they were the only party in Russia at the time advocating precisely such a course, i.e., Marxism.

Of course, this would only last no longer than a decade before the revolution was strangled and fell victim to a counter-revolution led by Stalin and his cohorts.

http://www.isreview.org/issues/03/russian_revolution.shtml

http://redplebeian.tumblr.com/post/42221993840/in-defense-of-leninism-by-sharon-smith

http://www.isreview.org/issues/10/TheFallOfStalinism.shtml

http://isreview.org/issue/86/legacy-october

http://www.isreview.org/issues/60/feat-leninmyth.shtml

http://isreview.org/issue/92/marx-lenin-and-luxemburg

And, by way of a comparison and contrast, see -

http://www.isreview.org/issues/01/mao_to_deng_1.shtml


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Is there any particular form of socialism that you advocate above all others? Any you fervently oppose, aside from the obvious totalitarian socialism?

I consider myself a revolutionary socialist, as per the original writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Luxemburg in the Communist Manifesto, State and Revolution, and Reform or Revolution, respectively.

The socialist Hal Draper also described it well when he counterpoised “socialism from below” to “socialism from above.” Socialism from below comprises the classical Marxist notion that the “emancipation of the working class must be the self-conscious act of the working class itself.”

This is opposed to various forms of socialism in which the working class remains more or less passive — or at least subsidiary — while an elite group of would-be socialist saviors introduce socialism to the masses from on high. This could include either a reform-oriented electoral socialist party which seeks to win seats in Parliament from which to “enact” socialist legislation on behalf of the workers; or a Maoist party which seeks to take over the state either through the mobilization of a clandestine band of guerrilla fighters or through a purely military conquest of territory on the part of a standing army.

See the following for some good info on all of this:

http://socialistworker.org/2008/04/11/socialism-utopian-scientific

http://socialistworker.org/2014/05/23/socialism-and-democracy


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What is Marxism? (Karl Marx + Super Mario Bros.) – 8-Bit Philosophy

This is an awesome animated introduction to the ideas of the “German poet and philosopher Karl Marx.” It reminds us that “even to this day” there are those for whom the “ushering in of the Marxist utopia still lies in the not-too-distant future.”

Covers: dialectical materialism, alienation, capitalist inequality, class struggle, revolution.


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How NOT to be a revolutionary socialist: Condemn the right of a people facing genocide and colonialism to resist by any means necessary and of their choosing.

The violence of the oppressed and the violence of the oppressor are not equivalent.

Seattle Socialist Alternative Councilmember Kshama Sawant: “We also condemn the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against the civilian population living in Israel. We stand in solidarity with the ordinary people of Israel and their desire for security … “

===

The ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas hit Seattle this morning, when socialist council member Kshama Sawant and her colleague Tom Rasmussen exchanged sharp words over the violence in the region, which has resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, mostly of Palestinians in Gaza.

Sawant said during this afternoon’s council meeting that she is drafting a letter, which she hopes other council members will sign, addressed to President Obama, condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza.

UPDATE: The letter, which PubliCola obtained a draft of this afternoon, reads in part: 

"The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is reaching a critical breaking point. The 139 square mile territory contains 1.8 million people who literally have nowhere to go and no place to hide from Israeli attacks. The UN reports that medical facilities are “on the verge of collapse.” An attack on Gaza power plant has left more than half the population without electricity, and more than 270,000 people are reportedly crammed into 90 UN shelters. Without an immediate end to all hostilities, the Palestinian death toll will continue to rise rapidly.

"We also condemn the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against the civilian population living in Israel. We stand in solidarity with the ordinary people of Israel and their desire for security, and in particular with the Israeli anti-war movement. We stand in solidarity with the ordinary people of both Israel in their desire for security. … 

"We call on President Obama, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate to issue a formal statement denouncing Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza. We also call for an immediate end to all U.S. government military aid for the Israel."


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Are there any books you can recommend for getting a better understanding of capitalism, or books for beginning to learn about other types of government (communism, anarchism, marxism etc)? I don't know anything at all about any form of government other than capitalism, and even that I don't know much about. I want to know more about other systems to support, other than just being anti-capitalist. Anything you could recommend to me would be very helpful. Thank you for running this blog!
Anonymous

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Support Disabled Liberation!
"From each according to our abilities, to each according to our needs."

Support Disabled Liberation!

"From each according to our abilities, to each according to our needs."


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Neither Zionism nor Anti-Semitism

It is important to note that the two primary groups of people who categorically equate Zionism with Judaism tend to be Israeli Jews and hardcore anti-Semites.

The rest of the world and the rest of world Jewry understand that Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine has more to do with colonialism, racism, and/or imperialism, than it has to do with religion or Judaism, as such.

The fact is that Israel is not a “Jewish project” — it is a colonial-settler project that serves the interest of Western imperialism in a vital political-economic region of the world. It just so happens for historical reasons that this project is being carried out by a substantial proportion of European-descended Jews who for the past 60 years have largely put themselves at the service of one or the other of the world’s biggest post-war empires — first the British, and now the U.S.

Neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism offer a way forward — for either Jews or for any oppressed people anywhere. Both ideologies are premised upon racism and national chauvinism. Both contain either the implicit or explicit germs of fascism within them. And both must be rejected in favor of genuine international solidarity amongst all oppressed people in a united fight against the various world powers and ruling elites who exploit and crush all of us — from Greece to the United States to Ramallah.

The real enemy is the system of imperial conflict between competing nation-states over control of resources, land, and labor. It is the capitalist system which gives rise to this international conflict by repressing all human trends towards cooperation, equality, justice, and genuine democracy amongst the masses of the world. It is a system which has brought us to the state of affairs in which 400 of the world’s billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire global population. It is a system in which billions of people — comprising millions of people in virtually every country — suffer from chronic hunger, poverty, and homelessness, while the elites of each country enjoy unprecedented luxury and spend unprecedented mountains of wealth on instruments of war rather than peace.

That is why I am a socialist and why only a united world premised upon the mutual betterment of all under the guiding collective hands of all can truly lead humanity through its present impasse.


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Lol id like to see some spoiled socialist living in a democracy live in a country like Venezuela, Cuba, or Russia where you can't vote because the voting system is rigged. Let's see how much longer you'll be walking around in a Che Guevara shirt. I laugh at people like you. So blind
Anonymous

there is not a true democracy anywhere on this planet. and if you don’t think the voting system in the U.S. is rigged then you are either a member of the 1% (i.e., the only people for whom the US voting system actually works), or you are hopelessly deluded.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/21/americas-oligarchy-not-democracy-or-republic-unive/

also, russia is not socialist. it, like, china, are fully capitalist, and have been for a long time (even before the toppling of the Communist Party in Russia, in fact). the misery of those countries is the result of vast economic inequality, low wages and the exploitation of cheap labor, and the repression of trade unions and workers’ rights. these are all the ABCs of capitalist economics. it’s why China is currently the wet-dream of all Western capitalists and and financial investors.

finally, venezuela and cuba are both Third World countries. they are more impoverished than the u.s. not because they are socialist but because they are poorer countries. one need only look at all the other capitalist Third World countries of the world to see how they are actually more so impoverished than venezuela or cuba.

the true liberation of all these places — from cuba to venezuela to vietnam to iraq to the philippines — can only come when we abolish the power and parasitism of the large Western imperial powers of the world. only then can these former countries be allowed to freely develop without having to depend on the un-fair and un-free trade regimes and debtor systems imposed upon them by the latter.


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Prefatory note: Abram Leon was a Jewish Marxist who died in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Before perishing, however, he compiled these essays and notes attempting to develop an historical materialist analysis of the history of the Jewish people, the Jewish religion, and the phenomenon of anti-semitism, both in its pre-capitalist, feudal form, as well as in the form of modern fascism.

It is essential reading for anyone who truly wants to understand these questions.


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Have you read Richard Wolff's <i>Democracy At Work</i>? If you haven't, I highly suggest both you and your followers to do so, or to at least watch some of his talks on Youtube. I feel like he's going to go down in history as one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the century.

yes, i have read that book, actually. and i agree with you. it is a significant contribution to a clearer understanding of the nature of capitalism — both in its free-market and state-control (so-called “Communist”) forms, as well as looking at what genuine workers’ democracy, i.e., socialism, would mean.


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