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New Communism-A way forward in the 21st century.


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Posted on 3 Apr 2012 14:05:47 BDT
Mr B Tonks says:
Similarities to East Germany when the Berlin wall came down,
many East Germans now regret the demise of the German Democratic Republic,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/08/1989-berlin-wall
after the euphoria wore off and East Germans realised not everyone had a large house/car etc and there were actually huge numbers of substantially worse off people than themselves regarding health/education, large numbers were nostalgic for a return to communism,
East Germany was a successful model of communism which in the 80's was outperforming many Western economies in terms of looking after its population as well as having a dynamic export economy,
I have not visited Cuba so I could not comment on that country, but I have been to America and seen a degree of poverty which is far deeper than in the UK,

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2012 03:05:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2012 04:16:26 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Depends what you call "dying of starvation" doesn't it. Starvation of US goods perhaps, but who's fault is that. I find Cuba to be a remarkable country to have survived all this time when it's monstrous neighbour has starved it economically, in a bid to see it's collapse. Just imagine how successful it would have been if it had been allowed to sell it's goods to the United States.

Posted on 4 Apr 2012 10:46:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Apr 2012 11:02:07 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
H C Watson says.

This thread is pretty amazing ... in the last few days from 1st april, two participants have had what amounts to 'a conversion experience' somersaulting from right wing to left wing affinities. It seems to me that 'the times are right for just such transfers; but sensible discussion has also had a part to play. Congratulations to all concerned. My earlier remarks about the role played by Marx in history prompt me to say a little more.

We are all familiar with the extraordinary exceptions thrown up by history; my favourite instance is Mozart, followed by Charlier Parker and Freddy Mercury but there is a few dozen of the sort who've changed the world and who we really 'listen to' in a very special way ... Newton, Darwin, Freud and Einstein to mention but a few.

Marx is right up there if very difficult to read and understand, but he wasn't at all the demon that our media (under the control of capital, and capitalist ideologues) made him out to be. Quite the contrary.

Marx was the most humanistic of all the great thinkers who entered the fray of enquiry and portrayal. Where for starters Hinduism is based on an ever present constiutional God and Judaism on an absent, creative God, where Descartes and almost every philosopher, philosophy and thinker in European history is based on the separation of mind and body, Marx, is based on human activity broadly interpreted, but most consistently referred to as 'labour' as in hands-on labouring power.

Everyone should read at least The Communist Manifesto as part of their education, and once that dense writing is digested (not merely read) the extraordinary abilities of Marx begin to work. The Communist Manifesto is like any one of the greatest pieces of music; it is as fresh as the day it was written in 1848, predicting even then, more or less exactly the crisis-ridden outcomes as the global capitalism that is familiar all around us now. Marx was and remains utterly extraordinary in his penetrating insights, and is more than any other figure an advocate on behalf of those who work for wages. He should be read by all, discussed and celebrated anew because he more than any other figure, by a head and shoulders understood the mechanisms of history through which capitalism came into effect, and inevitably will go out of effect, that is, die when its time is ripe.

Most of us are aware that 'its time' is now ripe but need some insight to what is to be done, and Marx gives the clearest pointers we are ever likely to get; we still have to behave intelligently though.
Best wishes to all,
Hamish

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2012 11:15:48 BDT
"two participants have had what amounts to 'a conversion experience' somersaulting from right wing to left wing affinities." - Me being one of those admitedly and key reason for this was me comming to terms with the fact I judge communism by its past regimes. I of course have come to realise that it wasn't communism to blame for the oppression, more the people behind the implementation (always dictators) Anarcho-communism would mean the above would not happen. I'm all for it!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2012 12:32:01 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
How generous to be able to change one's mind in public; PP is a model for us all. But I don't understand how anarcho-communism would be an answer. Maybe I don't understand what anarcho-communism is. Best wishes to all anyway.
Hamish

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2012 13:04:31 BDT
Zip did a pretty good summary on it the other day. Have a glance back a few pages.

Posted on 5 Apr 2012 11:13:24 BDT
Mr B Tonks says:
Hi Alana,

if you are following this thread I would be interested if you might substantiate further your comment about relatives in Cuba who are kept from starving due to the money your family sends them,
although I have not visited Cuba I know plenty who have and none have mentioned anyone there actually starving,
Wiliam Podmore refers to the WHO reports which I am sure if there was starvation in Cuba would be only too willing to highlight this in the said communist country,
I respect your right to comment, but to throw in a couple of short sentences without any explanation seems to me to be more a hatred of communism than actual facts,

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 14:12:34 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
Don't tell me that this thread has now come to an end; in my view it is just getting interesting. To help things along therefore, I include something I have been writing in recent times. It may be publishable in the coming months, but who might publish it???

"There is a real question of whether capitalism has at last reached the end of the road, whether now or in any upcoming, resurgent recoveries. The main question that confronts us all is whether our future is already consigned to the management of social collapse and barbarism, or something better than capitalism itself. We are between a rock and a hard place, but in the face of dark pessimism, Total Theory encodes grounds for optimism.

"In any upcoming business cycles, the same limitations as produced the present crisis will be intensified so that soon, if not now, the management of social collapse is a reality that must be considered as a real and urgent possibility. Will this explain why 'austerity' is being phased in? Total Theory addresses the causes and possible solutions to the danger of the collapse of civilisation and, from first principles already touched on, an examination of civilisation itself therefore, is essential.

"Since global capitalism is both at the centre of our current world crisis and the primary accomplishment of Judaic dogma in the cloaks of its Christian offshoot in European history, Western civilisation quite properly attracts the main focus of attention in Total Theory.

"In exploring the role of the anti-historicist, (purely empirical) discontinuity theories of history we currently take for granted, Total Theory concludes that the present crisis of capitalism is a signal from history indicating the limits of positivism, of idealism, the limits of the anti-dialectic, and therefore signals a watershed moment that has arisen. A natural break in the continuity of history can only be seen for what it is within the context of historicism, the doctrine that history evolves according to definite laws of development ... " Any questions arising, or useful points to be made???
Best wishes,
Hamish

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 15:51:38 BDT
Britian has lost its sense of community, this is thanks to capitalism which teaches us to work hard to be rewarded for our endeavours, my question is, at what price? Capitalism teaches us to strive to meet our own goals, in a capitalist society I work overtime for personal gain not caring wheteher I step on someone elses toes as I have my own perogative. Communism would stamp out this mentallity by placing upon us all a new work ethic which would be 'working together for a better future' as opposed to 'Working to make as much for oneself as possible.' Look at the WW2, where we were all forced together by threat of invasion, we shared rations (regardless of class) we got through it triumphantly as a community and as one. Capitalism will only ever divide a nation, communism will only bring one together even when it is run by a dictator although for obvious reasons I would say communism would not last long under a dictatorship, as previously stated, anarcho-communism would be the most likely form of a communist society in the future.

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 17:10:07 BDT
Eric P says:
Yes, Popcorn Player, Britain has lost its sense of community thanks to capitalism but it is not due to people striving to meet their own goals, rather they are driven by forced consumerism and profiteering on property as a commodity. Most members of a capitalist society struggle to survive, to maintain their lot rather than better it. In the 1960's it was possible to keep a roof over a family and keep them fed on one income. This meant that in most areas there were people at home during the day who would interact socially and build a community. Now that we have allowed the banks and estate agents to push up the price of property much higher than inflation, it takes two incomes to pay for rent or mortgage of a much smaller property than a family would have had fifty years ago, food, travel to work, and holidays, and what is left over is taken up by the desire for luxuries rammed down our throats through advertising. Now there is not even a community in a household as the component parts often disappear to their own rooms and own sources of entertainment (TV, computer...) rather than interacting. People now turn to soap operas for the gossip they would have found on the street, and their gods are replaced by celebrities.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 17:41:19 BDT
Not to forget conversation itself, Facebook and Twitter get more of that now, community centres have had their funding pulled... Capitalism is unsustainable, anyone who thinks differently is in denial as I was myself, its all fine and dandy to start with (take India or Dubai now as examples) but will ultimately come to an end (UK, USA and much of Europe)

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 18:14:45 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
"A natural break in the continuity of history can only be seen for what it is within the context of historicism, the doctrine that history evolves according to definite laws of development ... ... ... the doctrine that history evolves continuously according to definite laws of development.

Total Theory gives primacy to the historical continuity of historicism, seeing the anti-historicist discontinuity theory of history of Judaic dogma as an ideological barrier to real w/human progress. What is original and crucially important in Total Theory therefore, is that for the first time, history itself has quite unwittingly converged on the exposure of a pending synthesis of natural and social science, an authentic synthesis in that it shows practical art to be the source of science in its two main forms; each is the philosophical precondition of the other within the enabling restrictions of `liberation art'.

Capitalism is the instincts of the jungle celebrated by ruthless minorities, disguised and translated into the ideological facsimile of global civilisation, is one way or another, the final stage of man's inhumanity to man. We can no longer afford it, and fortunately, this is now clear as never before.

"Capitalism, is on the point of collapse." It has been said before, and said all too often for anyone to believe immediately, that on this occasion we are already in a point of transition to something else, whether to chaos and barbarism, or to something altogether better than capitalism. It is easy to imagine why chaotic barbarism is an infinitely worse sequel than the market-chaos of existing capitalism. But unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to imagine what something altogether better might be, because the limits of imagination are confined within our alienated modes of production and consumption in capitalist society.

It is easy of course, to imagine candy mountains and lemonade fountains, rolling plains with vast herds of bison-meat on the hoof, forests with deer-meat grazing the glades, clear mountain streams and trees hanging with every kind of fruit, root vegetables there to be dug up, shiny motor cars and every sort of bling to say little of cell-phones, computers, flights to distant shores with blue skies, sandy beaches and so on.

But these and all such phantasies are the escapist, utopian dreams and desires of capitalist carrots in contemporary society; they are the problem. In short, existing society always confines the imagination of its existing participants to what is available (or missing) within its existing structures of desire. When at length these structures of desire turn out to be self-destructive, and because of it reach a point of collapse, there is a crisis of imagination concerning what next to do, whether to submit to chaotic barbarism or forge something better than capitalism or barbarism. For the moment let us call it, the desire-structure of our yet unachieved, species' maturity. All of a sudden however, ... ... ...

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 18:24:29 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
... All of a sudden however, survival itself has become a question that a few short years ago could pretty well be, or was taken for granted, and as far as desires go, few are as intense as the desire to survive; this should be taken into account in assessing what it is that might be better than the collapsing structures of existing capitalism.

We cannot yet imagine what is involved in the inner contents of our yet-unachieved species' maturity however, but, since necessity is the mother of invention, we can at least begin an enquiry into why we must stretch imagination beyond what capitalist society will permit, and expose what therefore, are the real springs to something better.

What follows is reasons why the de-schooling of society is an essential feature of our species' maturity. Reference has been made above to a point of collapse, and while a point of collapse suggests a single moment at which collapse occurs, this may be precisely true, in which case we aren't, as suggested above, already in a point of collapse; bread is still available, and buses still run in echelons sometimes early and sometimes late... ...

But, in a system as cumbersome as global capitalism, a single moment at which collapse occurs has no real meaning; the point of collapse in a system as vast and as cumbersome as global capitalism in other words, is a period during which collapse is recognised as an inexorable, irreversible plunge into barbarism... or something better. In other words, a single moment echoing around the world like the pistol-shot of a starting gun, is not to be expected, and hence,

as suggested, the transition might well have already begun. But in this light, whether collapse has already begun or will begin in the next business cycle or the one after that makes no difference, because soon, the collapse of capitalism is inevitable. This must be obvious to everyone, and the later we leave off making preparations for it, the more unlikely it will be that an acceptable, let alone better alternative can be found.

At least one thinker had the view however, that the transition currently under way is the expression of more than blind chance.

In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, (unpublished until 1932) Karl Marx had taken a view in which the then, quite recently emerged liberal economics now known as political economy, was itself an evolutionary movement leading towards a higher outcome than the strictures of political economy would itself allow. The manuscripts were I think, the first intimation ... ... ...

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 14:10:26 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Apr 2012 14:11:55 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 15:35:07 BDT
I have immensely enjoyed this current topic and the debate has mirrored my own personal intellectual journey of recent years from being a oblivious apologiser for the capitalist status quo to my sobering realisation that was ( by default ) a communist.

Zip domingo, I salute you sir. You write with sincerity and Intellectual honesty.

Popcorn player, your u-turn on this thread is something I have great empathy with. I too have had to challenge the false conceits that I held to be true but even with the most cursory research you will find to be demonstrably false

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 16:42:57 BDT
Zipster Zeus says:
Hi Hamish and all the others on here that have made this a very sensible, erudite and enlightening discussion. Compared to some forums this has been a breath of fresh air, as I believe only by calmly discussing matters with an open mind, can we all learn/gain something and move on together to meet the challeges of this century which, as I've said previously, are shaping up to be vastly different from those of the previous one.

On the Left, the current economic system being played out in the West is described as Late Capitalism, and even the most ardent proponents of lassiez-faire capitalism are facing up to that term now; for all their bluster, it is clear capitalism is reaching it's end stages now, and it cannot continue in it's current form. In fact many are recognising we are experiencing corporatism now, not traditional capitalism in the running of our economies. It is not only economically unsustainable, but ecologically and sciologically too. In that way, wealthy capitalists know the writing is on the wall, and I'm sure their attitude is by and large to make hay while the sun still shines, because it is now very close to sunset.

The challenge to us, the rest of society, is to limit the damage the elite does immediately before and during the inevitable transition away from a society dominated by capitalism. We are in new terrain here as a society, and there are no tangible pointers in our past to refer to and learn from [this has both pros, and cons]. The rich, global elite do not take a power-form that is the same shape as we are conventionally used to. In the past, power has been wrapped up not just in wealth, but in ideology, territory, nationalism and religion- and often all of them at the same time.

Now, we are faced with a global elite who are by and large highly mobile and stateless and their only, over-riding interest is money. They are only interested in maintaining and increasing their own wealth, purely for the sake of that wealth. Nothing more. This of course plays itself out in traditional geo-political shapes we understand, but it isn't really the playing out and pursuit of power in the 'old fashioned way' that we've grown to love to hate at all. It's only rationale is to enhance a small group of people's own wealth, it is increasingly short-termist in it's strategies, and simplistic in it's method of bribing/co-opting the lower but aspirational political classes in various western countries to do their bidding, something over the past 30-40 years they have been immensely successful at.

This narrow-vision obsession with money alone, and the simplistic if so far effective political methods to achieve that continual wealth creation is, however, the global elites greatest weakness. They have no human complexity in terms of ideology, spirituality or basic human understanding, that a [now increasingly global] human society needs co-operation within itself between differing people[s], in order to remain vital and achieve a sustainable, long term future. Which goes back to the global elite's crippling short-termism; they are incapable of projecting plans and vision into even the middle distance, let alone the long term one. And this will, eventually, be their undoing.

As I've said before though, the dangerous time is that one of transition, and moving away from the defunct capitalist model can take varying turns for either the worse or the better before we reach a new, viable future. The threat of a police state in many western countries- as the global elite puppeteer their lackey political classes into direct, societal control action to protect their material interests- is a very real one, but not I would say necessarily an inevitable one. There are signs all the time though from central government that we should all be aware of, and prepared to counter when they arise [in the UK, the proposals to allow governemnt to directly aceess emails etc is one], because personal liberties that we have fought for 200 years to achieve, can be taken away in a matter of months, and once gone, they can be a lot more difficult to re-instate than take away.

I've rambled on enough but just one final point; on here and elsewhere, I cans sense a palpable fear from supporters of the capitalist sytem that the alternative is authoritarianism and their lives would become hellish if any system other than full-blown unregulated capitalism was in place. After decades of propaganda telling us 'there is no alternative' that's understandable, but it has to be remembered that the curent economic system has only really been in place for thirty odd years..and there are alternatives.

in fac the alternatives are oh so much better and there is nothing to fear from communism in particular. In fact once instigated, a communist system would make for a more productive, secure, innovative, equal and happy society and the vast majority of people will wonder why on earth it took so long to realise it. In fact the establishment are well aware of this, which is why they relentlessly decry socialism and communism as evil and impracticable, because deep down they know the exact opposite is true, and the challenge is to make sure the vast majority of the ordinary population do not realise that, hence the endlessly stoked 'war' against it's ideas :))

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 17:44:01 BDT
Whilst i am broadly in agreement with the challenges that we face as a society it is your belief that we are witnessing the end of capitalisim is where I profoundly disagree.

Capitalisim despite it's contradictions and irrationalities is incredibly dynamic and flexible and it is those exact qualities which has enabled it dominate western civilisation.
It is with a wry smile that I can engage in a debate on communisim on a bastion of commercial captialisim that is amazon.com, therefore should be easy for you to see how captial
has so far infected every aspect of human activity to the extent that we have debate the alternatives within its own sphere of influence.

It is entirely concieveable that capitalisim will be able to circumvent or transend the latest barriers that it has created for it's self yet again. Although I will concede that we will see the end of neo liberalisim, but this will have more to do with the decline of US hedgemony as opposed to is idealogical and practical application being discredited.

Capitalisim has survived the crisis of the 1970's when there was a very real possibility of socialisim being established in most european nations ( i cite the Rehn-Meidner model of sweden as an example of this )
it achieved this by reframing people mental conceptions along the laudable ideas of personal freedoms etc, and I believe this will be attempted again. How they will achieve this worthy of another debate.

This reminds me of lenins famous question of " What is to be done?"

I believe it is for us to start to change peoples mental conceptions ( and this is where I profoundly agree you) and show people that they have nothing to fear from communisim and once this is achieved will be able to embark on a restructing of political, social and productive forms.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 18:01:58 BDT
Pipkin says:
Bravo Zip and thank you for your very easy to understand explainations, and solutions.
I think people need to be aware that they do have a voice, and that one man can make a massive difference.
It is time to get out there and vote for change, by electing Independents who are not afraid to speak the truth, and stand for the ordinary man and woman, and the betterment of all. It is so important that we get out there in May and start the ball rolling.
Out of curiosity, I wonder have you ever thought of 'standing?'
Do you write on any other forums? Becasue I really feel it is neccessary for the future of our children, for someone like you to be heard.
Thank you again; you have given me hope.
Margaret.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 19:31:27 BDT
H. C. Watson says:
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 17:44:01 BDT
theketchupkid (Red) says: "Whilst i am broadly in agreement with the challenges that we face as a society it is your belief that we are witnessing the end of capitalisim is where I profoundly disagree."

Hi Zip, Hi Red, my reply is to both, if especially to Zip whose earlier pieces were valuable to us all. It must be obvious that I agree with Zip on almost all the points raised.

The one exception is the definition of Anarcho-Communism about which I have some reservations because I cannot see the difference between Zip' definition of AC and my understanding of social-ism, the central point being that socialism as I understand it involves a transitional phase in which ownership of land and the duties of productive facilities are progressively assumed by the state.

To my mind, nothing is more more ideologically delicate than the initial 'mental' transition from full-blown private ownership of land and productive facilities as in capitalism, to the readiness to see the necessity for a shift of ownership in these facilities. The whole legal structure of western civilisation was built initially around the question of land-ownership, and these legal relations have been preserved with evolving variations to the present. Very understandably the significant owners of land get very hung up over these core conventions and are unwilling to give an inch.

But, since at least the Thatcher era in which home-ownership was extended, ordinary people have become suspicious that socialism might deprive them of the right to own their homes and the land on which they stand. This is nonsense of course, but significant land-owners are happy to manipulate these fears to their own advantage, and with right wing press, as always, saturate the media with the hype they need to ensure the continuation of land ownership that in various ways was 'stolen' from the people in days of yore.

It must be made clear by every socialist or anarcho-communist that existing rights of home-owners will be unaffected by any shift in land-ownership undertaken by 'the state'. I do not believe we can dispense with the state in the period of AC cum socialist transition, rather we must somehow contrive arrangements that subordinate the state to the will of the majority, a delicate matter too, a matter that relies upon the widespread agreement that the transitional arrangements away from capitalist forms of ownership are essential. A peaceful and orderly transition is an absolute must.

Policies simply must be put in place without brutal or unreasonable treatment of existing, significant land-owners, and I have often thought that with appropriate treatment in the offing they might then join the rest of us in the esssential transformations that by now have become irreversible. Is this altogether too naive? What might these policies include? Creative thinking in a whole variety of ways will be called for, but one option for me stands out, an option with a minimum of immediate disruption, yet calling for cooperation from all.

Significant landowners might be expected in the first year of socialist implementation, to remit, let us say 2% (arbitrarily) of the rent raised from their land holdings, directly to the state, and remit an additional 2% in each successive year until private landownership on any large scale becomes effectively meaningless, at which point state ownership will have advanced as precondition towards the next step, the dissollution of state ownership and the establishment of 'common' ownership, and so on. Clearly, this sort of process will/would call for immense discipline by all concerned, but is probably better by a long shot than the collapse we currently face.

As for a similar policy responses applying to productive facilities and all the questions surrounding transitional planned economies, they will require even more creativity yet. We cannot contemplate an entirely uncompromising 'domination of the proletariat' but neither can we take a laxidasical attitude towards opportunistic spoilers; we are all in this together.

The reservations Red retains therefore are very understandable, but it seems to me that we really have no choice because capitalism is unsustainable. These remarks are probably too extended, but there is more extending the earlier blogs that Red in particular might find interesting:

"The manuscripts (of 1844) were I think, the first intimation that w/human history is itself an evolutionary process in which evolutionary change would occasionally build a head of steam so to speak, an evolutionary pressure that would then impel a sharp revolutionary transition in which a new form would emerge out of the dying, outmoded embers of the old. It was 1859 in the Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy before this underlying intuition of 1844 would receive explicit articulation by Marx; to paraphrase Marx in this regard he said ... ... ...

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 20:00:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Apr 2012 20:04:21 BDT
Zipster Zeus says:
Hi Ketchup
Yes Capitalism is a very dynamic force but it also a very irratic, irrational and destructive one. It may be flexible, but only in a narrow, self-serving way and with it's inbuilt irrationality and a self-destructive urge, that adaptability is not as all-powerful as capitalism's own myths would have it. Capitalism, when left to it's own devices, ultimately eats itself. This, is precisely what is happening right now in western societies.

It is important not to confuse the ability to use capitalist devices [such as Amazon] with articles of fundamental, societal freedom. To use Amazon as an example: forums do not exist here out of the kindness of a corporations heart to see an advancement of political awareness amongst the wider population it serves, through democratic debate. It sets up customer services such as this, to garner brand loyalty- it's likely I will after writing this try to track down the new Terry Eagleton book and I will use Amazon because I am here already- and the more posts/reviews etc we make, the stronger Amazon's standing in the search engines, amongst of course many other considerations that benefit Amazon by us sat here, tonight, on their site.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining about this- and it would be grossly naive [and inept] to think you can oppose capitalism by standing aloof outside of it- you can't- and you are right of course, that this an example of how Capitalism has deeply invaded our lives on many levels. But it's wrong to equate services provided by corporations/capitalism with the provision of democracy: Amazon provides a forum for us to discuss Communism on, not purely for free-speech motives...it does it purely for capitalistic reasons. You could say we get a service we enjoy from that so there's no problem and you'd be right- but it's not capitalist democracy at work.

This area of individual freedom and free speak is in reality one that capitalism struggles with beneath all the PR gloss. Late capitalism desparately needs autonomous [but un-politicised] individuals to act as unrestrained consumers. This is why the cult of individualism has been promoted so relentlessly these past thirty years. But at the same time, capitalism doesn't want people to become too attached to organisations and cultural bodies that divert their attention away from consuming- hence the continual assault on community, families, religion, labour movements and other non-financially orientated social organisations for many years now. This is a conflict at the very heart of capitalism rarely understood, but one that will ultimately play a big part in its undoing.

I also agreee that neoliberalism is on shaky ground now, but as you argue with regard to capitalism, it is a very resilient ideology; as with capitalism though, it exists despite deep inner contradictions and flaws, and a heavy reliance on myth making. These can cause dynamism in a movement for a certain amount of time, but eventually they are problems that will eventually overwhelm it.

Finally, just a word about capitalism itself. Capitalism should acurrately be described always with a capital 'C'. It usually isn't [I don't do myself most of the time] but it should be, because it is Capitalism. It's about money [CAPITAL], and nothing else. That is why late capitalism has developed to the point since the 70s, where money itself has become a commodity. Fortunes are made in The City and on Wall street now not by trading in products, materials and company business potential, but in the trading of MONEY.

The fact is, markets, trade and wealth can exist without Capitalism. Capitalism as it has evolved today, has only really been around for a 2-300 years, and it hasn't always been the dominant economic model as it is today. It would of course be inaccurate to say it hasn't served it's purpose over that time- Marx himself freely admitted that and, that belief was actually a cornerstone of his philosophy, something else critics of marxism like to keep quiet- but it's time is coming to a close now and it's up to us, the people, to make sure what follows suits US, not an increasingly more distant and entrenched elite.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 20:13:21 BDT
Pipkin says:
Hello HC Watson,
I believe that you and Zip are a force to be reckoned with and have the seeds of hope.
As you say things have to move slowly, but I beleive that the day will come quicker if the 'Socialists' vow to re-nationalise all the major Utilities; then IMO they will have landslide votes again and have credibility, because then we will know for certain that they are socialist and have our best interests at heart and not their own pockets.
Though I wonder if this will ever be possible given the latest talk of selling bits of road off to the highest bidders.
How in God's name DO we stop it when all 'our' representatives appear to be p*****g in the same pot? With not even a piece of tissue paper between them. Galloway was right - three cheeks of the same a**e.
Please.... give us a credible alternative!
But be prepared to face the Paxman... :)
Regards
Margaret.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 20:22:49 BDT
Zipster Zeus says:
Hi Margaret thanks for your kind words.

I can understand people's apathy with politics these days, and am not surprised at all that turnout and support for the three main parties is dwindling year on year. We have an increasingly out of touch politcal class now [in Labour as much as in the Conservatives] full of the Oxbridge educated who see themselves more as socio-economic managers these days rather than politicians with a vision of where they want our society to go, for the benefit of all.

I have been on many other forums on and off when time has allowed for a number of years now, and I must say recently though, there seems to be a sea change happening in people's perceptions and understanding of the alternatives that are possible in our society and it's politics. I find this immensely heartening and I firmly believe there is a re-awakening of ordinary people now across the country, after 30-40 years of neoliberal brainwashing, that our political class is entirely unaware of and which- soon I reckon- is going to give them one almight shock.

I also take heart in my two twenty-something/teenage sons and daughter who really do give me hope for the future: they are savvy, politically aware and confident of achieving change, and thank God for that, for all of us :)

So far as personal political action goes, I've been involved one way or another for most of my adult life apart from one period where work took over- right at the coal-face of red-in-claw capitalism would you believe and where I found out the very darkest secrets of system :)))- and who knows, maybe the calling may one day come for me to actively 'step up' :)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 20:43:52 BDT
Thanks for for post hamish.

You are correct in stating that the mental transition of private owned property to publicly owned property will be "delicate" and you are also correct that large land owners will not give an inch on the subject.

However your notion that non brutal or oppressive treatment of significant might encourage members of the capitalist class to join in a socialist revolution is contradictory to your assertion that they won't "give
an inch." The capitalist class will refuse any reform which in any way weakens their grip on social power through the most brutal and oppressive means possible.

You are right that we have no choice but to try and change because capitalism is unsustainable but you must understand that capitalism it's self is evolutionary and is one reason why it is flourished and indeed I feel it must also stand that it is not necessarily so that we are currently witnessing its end as it may very evolve again like it did in the 1970's from the keynesian model to the neo liberal model we see today.

It will manage this by rearranging mental conceptions thus forcing a new concensus by which social political and institutional forms can be arranged in favour of endless capital accumulation. I am committed to a world outside of capitalist mode of production but the idea that capitalism is currently in its death throes is erroneous as it is just as likely mutate to a slightly different form and continue again.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 20:45:34 BDT
Pipkin says:
Hi Zip,
I have worked in the Comminity for 'many' years for my fellow 'men' and at one time was a member of the young Socialist party, but turned my back on them after what was done to Micheal Foot.
I have never in all my years heard Politics and Socialism explained in such an obvious and simple manner, and I only hope and pray that truth in your words reach a wider audience and that the penny begins to drop - everywhere.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!
Regard
Margaret

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 20:52:24 BDT
Zipster Zeus says:
Hi Hamish
ah yes the vexing question of 'the transition.' It's a big one, and although it sounds like a cop out, it is [almost] reasonable to say it can't be meticulously planned for, because we don't know what shape or form the collapse of the present system will take- in many ways the Left will have to stay adaptable and agile and deal with change on the hoof, which won't be easy in turbulent times.

One thing that's highly likely though, is that the collapse will be triggered by something that comes out of the blue from leftfield. I'm inclined to think it will be 'catacylsmic' [man-made rather than natural, although the latter may be a component] and it will be this process of having to survive a deep crisis that affects the vast majority of the popualtion- including the reasonably affluent and the landowners you mention in your post- that will galvanise our society as a whole.

Some sort of plan is of course necessary though, there needs to be a framework with workable objectives in it, as even anarchists do not believe things 'just happen' :)))) Land ownership, as you identified, is a big area of concern for people. Putting aside that property ownership for the vast majority of our popualtion is in fact an illusion, it is still hardwired into the British psyche. A start needs to be made now on a transfer of that wealth tied up in land back to the wider population, and even the Tories now recognise that taxation should be applied more to asset wealth, than income now. This makes a lot of sense, when you consider- I can't remember the exact figures- that 60% of the UK's total acerage is owned by 0.6% of the population. In fact I think the proud, property owning middle classes are crammed into something like 3% of that total area, again if I remember right.

in this way I think your incremental 2% levy is a good way forward- something has to be done about the inequality of land ownership in this country, it's largely tax-free staus, and our overall obsession with property ownership [or should I say more accurately, property value] which is misplaced, and actually quite economically debilitating for our society as a whole.
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  202
Initial post:  7 Mar 2012
Latest post:  7 Apr 2012

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