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  1. #41
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    You're conflating capitalist-institutional *oppression* (racism, sexism, poverty, discrimination, etc.) with *interpersonal friction*, though. The latter has no fixed material basis, while poverty, etc., *does*, and that's why the world needs a thorough revolution to remove social-production, and all attendant social ills, from the control of the elitist markets, permanently.

    In some sort of interpersonal spat, many other nearby people could simply intervene and physically *separate* the antagonistic persons from each other, post-capitalism, without any overarching authority or state.


    I agree. Theoretically, communist society will see the end to systemic/institutional oppression. But inter-personal conflict still constitutes contradiction, does it not? I don't think communism will be some utopia where everyone lives in prosperity and harmony and freedom. Rather, human society will still face conflicts and strife. Communism won't be the end of history.

    You can't *agree* with me on this point and then uphold the *opposite*, as you're doing.

    Perhaps the following diagram may be helpful, which indexes three empirical, stacked 'realms' according to their respective scales: 'Lifestyle' is *personal* and happens at the scale of individuals, as with any sort of interpersonal spat. 'Logistics' is "over our heads" and requires serious infrastructure and concerted *effort* to accomplish, as with human labor, for all social production. Finally, 'politics' is paramount and socially-determines everything below, such as available logistics and the parameters of everyone's personal lifestyles.

    No, communism won't be an 'end of history', because its own ongoing history / account could realistically be explicitly written in objective terms of scale-of-cooperation and technical advancements, not to mention the humanities. There *couldn't* be intra-humanity conflicts once scarcity is abolished (abundance) because everyone would be truly independent and almost 100% self-determining over their own lives, something we don't have today because of the social ills (poverty, racism, sexism, etc.) caused by conflicting class interests over resources and wealth.


    History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle






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    In that case, I'll address your concerns below, with the other comments about moralism.


    Yes, I agree here on this sub-point, because my preceding arguments *rely* on such a post-capitalist paradigm of organic, bottom-up mass social 'mores'.

    Here's the difference, though -- it's base-and-superstructure. Communism is concerned with the *base*, mostly, I'll argue, and the 'superstructure' is always the dependent variable -- a post-capitalist paradigm of 'social values' (superstructure) could take any of many, many forms, and it's certainly not up to us in the pre-revolution here-and-now to prescribe, or even *brainstorm*, on what form communist society would ultimately take.

    What we *can* do in the here-and-now is to perhaps suggest overall *models* (like my 'labor credits'), that set out productive societal *components*, like how work roles could be realistically determined, and how factories could be controlled, *instead* of a 'blueprint' approach that attempts to put every last detail into a fixed place, before we're even 'there'.

    The ethos of communism is providing for unmet human *need*, or 'use-values'.


    I disagree on a number of points. Firstly and most importantly, the superstructure is not always the dependent variable. That's a dogmatic transposition of the Marxist model to every historical event. I agree that the base is the primary aspect in the contradiction between the base and the superstructure, but I don't at all think the latter is incapable of influencing the former. I agree with the Maoist criticism of the accepted orthodoxy on this matter, which led to him calling for a cultural revolution, a similar conclusion that I find fair.

    There's no 'contradiction' between the base and the superstructure -- they *complement* each other, and in a fully-mass-conscious proletarian revolution the transitional focus would be on the *base*, mostly, because that's the material driver. Trying to focus on the superstructure as the driver of transformation would be putting the cart in front of the horse -- it's an overreaching of authoritarian politics to think that *culture* is the independent variable, and that social transformation is derived from a (contrived) objective dynamic of 'cultural determinism'.

    To do revolution correctly the *material* has to be addressed as *paramount*, and virtually all of the cultural / social forms (superstructure) can be left alone, since they'll *have* to orient-to and follow the determining, independent variable of the 'base'.



    If you want communism, people need to change their worldview and even deeper, their nature. Human nature, according to Marx, is a reflection of the mode of production. After a given amount of time living in capitalism, capitalist ideology begins to impregnate the people with individualism and bourgeois freedom, even though it's obviously a farce. Among other things, the people also anticipate receiving payment for their work. There's a reason we can't jump to full, moneyless communism, and it's not just for logistical reasons (the need to fund the revolution), but also social. That's one of the problems that the Chinese communists encountered during the Great Leap Forward. They really wanted society to progress rapidly towards communism, but it wasn't sufficiently organic, and the masses weren't so accepting off some of those aspects.

    What you're describing is just a *symptom* of misguided top-down determinism -- if the 'leadership' stuck mainly to being geopolitically anti-imperialist (as you advocate) then much of the rest could be 'bottom-up', a rearrangement of social relations by the proletariat itself, collectively.

    Antiochus is correct at this other thread about you, since you're stubbornly refusing to address and focus-on the *material* aspect of social production, which happens to be *paramount* in importance:



    People like DoctorWasdarb are quite open about their anti-Communism, given that they openly espouse idealism and reject materialism.

    ---



    With that in mind, I believe that developing communist culture, which constitutes both the incorporation of regional idiosyncrasies into the new society (which is critically important for countries which have had their cultures suppressed by imperialism) and the development of communist ethos/mores in the minds of the people such that the society can function in the future absence of a state.

    How about *eliminating scarcity* and fully-automating social production so that the world's population can actually *access* what's available (and what can readily be-made available) -- ?



    Mao came to this conclusion and pushed for the cultural revolution more in response to the fact that party cadres were gradually abandoning the mass line. He attributed it to old ways of thinking/old ways of governing, which is why he proposed the cultural revolution to change the old ways of thinking/governing. While fair, I think it's insufficient, because it ignores the inherent class distinction between the state and the masses, through his own dogmatic transposition of the Marxist conception of the state onto all of history as an absolute rule, where as in reality it's only a general truth.

    Yup -- you're *decidedly* a 'cultural determinist'.



    For Mao the cultural revolution was essential because otherwise the superstructure of the former society was beginning to push back on socialist development. He rightfully recognized this as a threat.

    China's agricultural development was *lacking* at the time and it made for a weak kind of 'collectivization' that was also insufficiently industrial.



    However, I think it is more relevant when we look at the relationship between the masses at large and the revolution rather than between the cadres specifically and the revolution, because the masses are the defining factor of the revolution, and the masses at large are the ones who "consume," so to speak, mass culture. A theoretical culture revolution (along with historical experiences) touches the masses more broadly, and I don't see the benefit of confining our focus to the party cadres, especially since the former superstructure as a backwards force touches all of society and not just state organs.

    Here you're *confusing* the superstructure for the base -- China's 'base' was *backwards* at the time, and *that* needed to be industrialized, as a priority, before anything remotely newly 'cultural' could readily take place.



    I'm rambling a bit, but I think it was necessary in order to elucidate the complexities of my views on the subject. I want to make one final point that the development of communist ethos doesn't have to and shouldn't come from a single individual, but it should be organic and closely related to the masses. Commandism is one of the most dangerous trends in communist work.

    You don't understand the *purpose* of communist revolution, which is to provide for the most-immediate, unmet human need.


    [10] Supply prioritization in a socialist transitional economy



  2. #42
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    You can't *agree* with me on this point and then uphold the *opposite*, as you're doing.

    Perhaps the following diagram may be helpful, which indexes three empirical, stacked 'realms' according to their respective scales: 'Lifestyle' is *personal* and happens at the scale of individuals, as with any sort of interpersonal spat. 'Logistics' is "over our heads" and requires serious infrastructure and concerted *effort* to accomplish, as with human labor, for all social production. Finally, 'politics' is paramount and socially-determines everything below, such as available logistics and the parameters of everyone's personal lifestyles.

    No, communism won't be an 'end of history', because its own ongoing history / account could realistically be explicitly written in objective terms of scale-of-cooperation and technical advancements, not to mention the humanities. There *couldn't* be intra-humanity conflicts once scarcity is abolished (abundance) because everyone would be truly independent and almost 100% self-determining over their own lives, something we don't have today because of the social ills (poverty, racism, sexism, etc.) caused by conflicting class interests over resources and wealth.


    History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle
    I agree with you that the resolution of conflict in communist society will take non-institutional methods, out of both necessity, due to the lack of state apparatus, and out of what's preferable for the maintenance of communist society. Conflicting *class* interests will disappear when there are no classes. There are plenty of interpersonal conflicts which will exist. And to say that they don't constitute a contradiction doesn't make any sense. *Of course* it's a contradiction; it's just not a systemic contradiction.

    There's no 'contradiction' between the base and the superstructure -- they *complement* each other, and in a fully-mass-conscious proletarian revolution the transitional focus would be on the *base*, mostly, because that's the material driver. Trying to focus on the superstructure as the driver of transformation would be putting the cart in front of the horse -- it's an overreaching of authoritarian politics to think that *culture* is the independent variable, and that social transformation is derived from a (contrived) objective dynamic of 'cultural determinism'.

    To do revolution correctly the *material* has to be addressed as *paramount*, and virtually all of the cultural / social forms (superstructure) can be left alone, since they'll *have* to orient-to and follow the determining, independent variable of the 'base'.

    What you're describing is just a *symptom* of misguided top-down determinism -- if the 'leadership' stuck mainly to being geopolitically anti-imperialist (as you advocate) then much of the rest could be 'bottom-up', a rearrangement of social relations by the proletariat itself, collectively.

    Antiochus is correct at this other thread about you, since you're stubbornly refusing to address and focus-on the *material* aspect of social production, which happens to be *paramount* in importance:


    The base-superstructure does indeed constitute a contradiction. If they weren't in contradiction, you would be suggesting that they are one in the same. This is patently false. The superstructure is a relative reflection of the base at any given moment. But the base is constantly changing. If the superstructure grows out of the base, then changes in the base would result in a delayed change in the superstructure. For minor changes, like quantitative development of the forces of production, this doesn't pose any serious problem. But for qualitative changes, such as the change in the nature of the mode of production, or of the mode of production entirely, the delayed change in the superstructure is problematic.

    The superstructure reinforces the base. This is a commonly accepted doctrine within Marxist circles. But in the immediate stage after a change in the base, the superstructure is still lagging behind, and is thus reinforcing a base which no longer exists. That's why it's important that we address the base and the superstructure in the revolution.

    I did *not* say that the superstructure is the driving force of transformation. You're misrepresenting my line. During phases which appear to be static (that is, dialectically, during phases of qualitative change), which, when the process being analyzed is the change from one mode of production to another, I agree with the orthodox line that the base is the principal aspect of the contradiction with the superstructure. But during periods of major, qualitative change in the means of production, the superstructure plays a more important role on the base. The base, of course, continues to influence the superstructure. But at a given moment, the superstructure could be in the
    principal position of this contradiction. That's why we need to address both. Not one, nor the other.

    When the embryonic bourgeoisie was seeking to create capitalism, did it simply create capitalism, and the superstructure took care of itself? No, of course not. They took minor steps towards the establishment of capitalism, and took minor steps in the changing of the superstructure to protect their changes in the mode of production. The accumulation of these small steps ultimately led to the need for major changes in the superstructure in order for capitalism to continue growing, because the old superstructure, despite the progress that was able to be made under it, was holding back the bourgeoisie. That's (in part) the cause of the French Revolution. Changing the superstructure doesn't happen by magic. It requires an active effort to change it, or it will hold us back.

    This line is *not* anti-communist. It is the Maoist line. Was Mao anti-communist? I guess if you ask Hoxha...

    How about *eliminating scarcity* and fully-automating social production so that the world's population can actually *access* what's available (and what can readily be-made available) -- ?
    Or, how about a cultural revolution?

    Scarcity is a subjective concept. For one person, as long as they have enough to eat, drink, and have shelter, his/her needs are met. For another, he/she needs all the amenities of modern life, a nice house, two car garage, nice cars to put in the garage, etc. Unless, however, you're willing to accept that greed is contrary to communist ethos, and we should actively struggle against greed, or else greed will hold people back from struggling for full communism.

    Yup -- you're *decidedly* a 'cultural determinist'.
    Stop just dropping labels on my ideas. Explain how the above segment of quoted text proves that I'm a cultural determinist. If I think culture can and should be *changed,* is that not the opposite of cultural determinism? Or is it about how I think culture is an active social force? If so, I addressed that above.

    China's agricultural development was *lacking* at the time and it made for a weak kind of 'collectivization' that was also insufficiently industrial.
    Both are true, and they are not mutually exclusive. However, the point you've just made would back up my whole ideology more than anything, in that proletarian internationalism necessitates a relative equality in the level of industrial development across the globe.
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  3. #43
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    I agree with you that the resolution of conflict in communist society will take non-institutional methods, out of both necessity, due to the lack of state apparatus, and out of what's preferable for the maintenance of communist society. Conflicting *class* interests will disappear when there are no classes. There are plenty of interpersonal conflicts which will exist. And to say that they don't constitute a contradiction doesn't make any sense. *Of course* it's a contradiction; it's just not a systemic contradiction.

    'Plenty' -- ?

    What would be the (material) basis of these assumed post-capitalist interpersonal conflicts? Can you give any examples?



    The base-superstructure does indeed constitute a contradiction. If they weren't in contradiction, you would be suggesting that they are one in the same. This is patently false.

    So all that's even *possible* is 'contradiction' -- ?

    No, they're *not* one-and-the-same, but neither is *separate* from the other, as would be necessary for a true 'contradiction'. Rather, they're *complementary*, as I've already noted.



    The superstructure is a relative reflection of the base at any given moment. But the base is constantly changing. If the superstructure grows out of the base, then changes in the base would result in a delayed change in the superstructure. For minor changes, like quantitative development of the forces of production, this doesn't pose any serious problem. But for qualitative changes, such as the change in the nature of the mode of production, or of the mode of production entirely, the delayed change in the superstructure is problematic.

    Okay, sure, but you're speaking *historically* -- what's more-to-the-point is revolutionary *strategy*, as in how to *approach* the base and superstructure, since a proletarian revolution would be the only time in human history where the change in mode of production is *deliberate*, and engineered.



    The superstructure reinforces the base. This is a commonly accepted doctrine within Marxist circles. But in the immediate stage after a change in the base, the superstructure is still lagging behind, and is thus reinforcing a base which no longer exists. That's why it's important that we address the base and the superstructure in the revolution.

    I'll reiterate and maintain my position that:



    To do revolution correctly the *material* has to be addressed as *paramount*, and virtually all of the cultural / social forms (superstructure) can be left alone, since they'll *have* to orient-to and follow the determining, independent variable of the 'base'.

    You seem to be suggesting a 'blueprint' approach, where a vanguard-party / workers administration would have to *fully specify* all of the specifics of the base and superstructure, respectively, to then be implemented by those of the post-capitalist society. I think you're revealing a preference for more of a bureaucratic, top-down approach here, at the expense of on-the-ground workplace collective self-organizing -- the emergent, base-following post-capitalist superstructure. (This is actually congruent with your geopolitical-level anti-imperialism line.)


    ---



    I did *not* say that the superstructure is the driving force of transformation. You're misrepresenting my line. During phases which appear to be static (that is, dialectically, during phases of qualitative change), which, when the process being analyzed is the change from one mode of production to another, I agree with the orthodox line that the base is the principal aspect of the contradiction with the superstructure.

    But during periods of major, qualitative change in the means of production, the superstructure plays a more important role on the base. The base, of course, continues to influence the superstructure.

    But at a given moment, the superstructure could be in the principal position of this contradiction. That's why we need to address both. Not one, nor the other.

    I disagree that we need to address *both*, but I'll welcome a scenario here -- when, during a proletarian revolution, would the superstructure conceivably be in the principal position of the two, and why?



    When the embryonic bourgeoisie was seeking to create capitalism, did it simply create capitalism, and the superstructure took care of itself? No, of course not. They took minor steps towards the establishment of capitalism, and took minor steps in the changing of the superstructure to protect their changes in the mode of production. The accumulation of these small steps ultimately led to the need for major changes in the superstructure in order for capitalism to continue growing, because the old superstructure, despite the progress that was able to be made under it, was holding back the bourgeoisie. That's (in part) the cause of the French Revolution. Changing the superstructure doesn't happen by magic. It requires an active effort to change it, or it will hold us back.

    You realize you're talking about the *bourgeoisie*, in the context of *class* society -- ?

    Again, an upcoming *working class* revolution has to be *mass-conscious*, so 'management' concerns wouldn't be nearly as critical as under class society, since liberated workers could readily be collectively *self-organizing* no matter the geography, terrain, or resources.



    This line is *not* anti-communist. It is the Maoist line. Was Mao anti-communist? I guess if you ask Hoxha...

    I'm not a Maoist Third Worldist, so we certainly have some differences here, obviously.



    Or, how about a cultural revolution?

    How about *not* -- ?



    Scarcity is a subjective concept. For one person, as long as they have enough to eat, drink, and have shelter, his/her needs are met. For another, he/she needs all the amenities of modern life, a nice house, two car garage, nice cars to put in the garage, etc. Unless, however, you're willing to accept that greed is contrary to communist ethos, and we should actively struggle against greed, or else greed will hold people back from struggling for full communism.

    This is *horseshit* -- you're being moralistic again. You obviously want some kind of moralistic 'cultural cadre' to act like the police of the revolution, to forbid the fruits of modern industrial productivity to certain people, and not others.

    What if fucking nice houses, two-car garages, and nice cars happened to go unclaimed, post-revolution -- should such goods be left to *rot* if there's a populist-type, unmet *demand* for such -- ?

    You want to brand the abstract perjorative of 'greed' onto any kind of material consumption that conflicts with your particular personal morality -- unacceptable.


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    Mao came to this conclusion and pushed for the cultural revolution more in response to the fact that party cadres were gradually abandoning the mass line. He attributed it to old ways of thinking/old ways of governing, which is why he proposed the cultural revolution to change the old ways of thinking/governing. While fair, I think it's insufficient, because it ignores the inherent class distinction between the state and the masses, through his own dogmatic transposition of the Marxist conception of the state onto all of history as an absolute rule, where as in reality it's only a general truth.


    Yup -- you're *decidedly* a 'cultural determinist'.


    Stop just dropping labels on my ideas. Explain how the above segment of quoted text proves that I'm a cultural determinist. If I think culture can and should be *changed,* is that not the opposite of cultural determinism? Or is it about how I think culture is an active social force? If so, I addressed that above.

    You're subscribing to the idea that the superstructure is as significant as the base, in the context of proletarian revolution. This leads you to want a *cultural* revolution, which is equivalent to imposing some kind of official 'party line' / morality on people's personal behaviors and lifestyles, instead of just sticking to the principle of collectivist fulfillment of unmet human need.

    You go *so* far with this line / approach that your politics *succumb* to 'culture', showing you to think that culture is the most determining societal factor -- purported 'cultural determinism' -- when it *isn't*. The most determining societal factor is *mode of production*, once the class struggle has been completed, eliminating it as a factor from social functioning. (Note the relative scales of 'class struggle', 'mode of production', and 'regional culture' in the following diagram. You're welcome.)


    History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle






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    China's agricultural development was *lacking* at the time and it made for a weak kind of 'collectivization' that was also insufficiently industrial.


    Both are true, and they are not mutually exclusive.

    That's tantamount to agreement.



    However, the point you've just made would back up my whole ideology more than anything, in that proletarian internationalism necessitates a relative equality in the level of industrial development across the globe.

    No, not necessarily, because proletarian internationalism could readily be *self-reinforcing*, once a 'critical mass', or 'tipping point', is reached -- less-developed countries could be pulled-up by the workers of more-advanced countries in the course of revolution.
  4. #44
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    'Plenty' -- ?

    What would be the (material) basis of these assumed post-capitalist interpersonal conflicts? Can you give any examples?
    There are plenty of people I don't get along with. It's not because of conflict over the same resources. We live in a society. We're going to interact with people we don't get along with. This can and does create conflict. I hate to call it human nature, but there has always been conflict between individuals, and that's not going to go away in the future. We share the same space with other people. Unless you want everyone to go live on their own, which neither you nor any other communist wants, people will continue to share the same space with other people, and there will be conflict between some of them.

    No, I don't anticipate interpersonal conflict developing to the point of society-wide antagonistic conflict which risks the overthrow of the established society, not at all. But just because a contradiction isn't antagonistic doesn't mean it isn't a contradiction or that it doesn't have the potential to become antagonistic if not approached properly.

    So all that's even *possible* is 'contradiction' -- ?

    No, they're *not* one-and-the-same, but neither is *separate* from the other, as would be necessary for a true 'contradiction'. Rather, they're *complementary*, as I've already noted.
    No, two aspects of a contradiction are necessarily not separate. This is called the unity of opposites, and two aspects of a contradiction are necessarily complementary: you can't have one without the other. This is the very basis of dialectics. If the base and the superstructure were not complementary, then indeed it wouldn't constitute a 'true' contradiction; they'd simply be entirely separate elements which have no relationship between each other.

    Okay, sure, but you're speaking *historically* -- what's more-to-the-point is revolutionary *strategy*, as in how to *approach* the base and superstructure, since a proletarian revolution would be the only time in human history where the change in mode of production is *deliberate*, and engineered.
    The engineered nature of the revolution doesn't change the fact that the superstructure will necessarily lag behind the base, unless we seek to change both in tandem.

    You seem to be suggesting a 'blueprint' approach, where a vanguard-party / workers administration would have to *fully specify* all of the specifics of the base and superstructure, respectively, to then be implemented by those of the post-capitalist society. I think you're revealing a preference for more of a bureaucratic, top-down approach here, at the expense of on-the-ground workplace collective self-organizing -- the emergent, base-following post-capitalist superstructure. (This is actually congruent with your geopolitical-level anti-imperialism line.)
    Not at all. Firstly, rather than a blueprint, I'd equate it more with a 'rough draft,' and it doesn't have to fully specify all of the specifics of the base and the superstructure. The rough draft should provide guiding support and ideological backing, but if aspects of the draft prove to be incompatible with 'organic' communist superstructure, we shouldn't hesitate to account for that in our draft. Secondly, the existence of a rough draft, or even a blueprint, does *not* necessitate top down bureaucratic implementation of the plan. The plan itself should derive from mass discussions. I follow the theory of the mass line, because I think the masses are best equipped with the knowledge necessary for building this draft. It's like socialist economic planning in China. Communes, collectives, etc. provided their production data to the state planners. The masses had an active role in the development and the implementation of the state planning. (Of course China was suffering from other problems, such as adherence to Marxism Leninism in their political organization, which led to limitations in the mass participation in the development and the implementation of the state planning, but this limitations in the Chinese example to not prevent us from borrowing from what they did correctly.)

    I disagree that we need to address *both*, but I'll welcome a scenario here -- when, during a proletarian revolution, would the superstructure conceivably be in the principal position of the two, and why?
    There are numerous examples. I'll cite two. The first one I'll cite is about how the ideology of the masses in capitalist society is impregnated with bourgeois ideology, to varying degrees. Look at Venezuela for a moment. It, like the most of Latin America, is failing to be as revolutionary as they could be because of their idealization of liberal democracy. Without actively seeking to oppose this bourgeois ideology in the minds of the people, it could lead to an overthrow of their progress by the US-backed right wing terrorists. This isn't just a hypothetical situation; this is a true threat facing the Venezuelan people. I wouldn't say that the superstructure is in the principal position currently, but it is entirely conceivable that if this aspect of the superstructure doesn't change soon, nothing but danger awaits.

    The second example I'd like to cite is much broader, I think. I believe that the very notion of seizing political power is an admission that the bourgeois superstructure resists socialist development. Traditionally Marxists have placed political institutions into the superstructure and not the base, although as the state and private capital are so closely related, the distinction between the two is not always clear in the political realm. Therefore, the seizure of political power by proletarian revolutionaries is a necessity. If we tried to develop socialism without seizing state power, we would either be crushed immediately by the bourgeois superstructure, by means of the state, or crushed by competition with capitalists. The former is not far from the reformist line of the Second International. Opposing revolution and seeking to work within the bourgeois superstructure, they were unable to go beyond simple reforms to a true change in the relations of production. The latter is closer to the more anarchist/left-com admiration of workers collectives, as if everyone uniting into collectives would simply bankrupt the bourgeoisie and we win. I know that you're conscious of the necessity of seizing state power. I think this alone is representative of the fact that the superstructure can and does play a counterrevolutionary role. And historically (although perhaps you propose something else), the revolutionary seizure of state power even proceeded the socialist transformation of the relations of production. The socialization of the ownership of the means of production didn't happen in Russia until *after* the Bolsheviks seized power. Of course, the Bolshevik seizure of power is rooted in the base, in the fact that the masses were fed up with the war and famine. But nevertheless, I find that this example is quite pertinent.

    This is *horseshit* -- you're being moralistic again. You obviously want some kind of moralistic 'cultural cadre' to act like the police of the revolution, to forbid the fruits of modern industrial productivity to certain people, and not others.

    What if fucking nice houses, two-car garages, and nice cars happened to go unclaimed, post-revolution -- should such goods be left to *rot* if there's a populist-type, unmet *demand* for such -- ?

    You want to brand the abstract perjorative of 'greed' onto any kind of material consumption that conflicts with your particular personal morality -- unacceptable.
    Can you provide me with a precise definition of what scarcity and human need are and consist of? I ask, because you seem to deny the inherent subjectivity of such terms. I'd like you to provide your working *objective* definitions for these terms.

    You're subscribing to the idea that the superstructure is as significant as the base, in the context of proletarian revolution. This leads you to want a *cultural* revolution, which is equivalent to imposing some kind of official 'party line' / morality on people's personal behaviors and lifestyles, instead of just sticking to the principle of collectivist fulfillment of unmet human need.

    You go *so* far with this line / approach that your politics *succumb* to 'culture', showing you to think that culture is the most determining societal factor -- purported 'cultural determinism' -- when it *isn't*. The most determining societal factor is *mode of production*, once the class struggle has been completed, eliminating it as a factor from social functioning. (Note the relative scales of 'class struggle', 'mode of production', and 'regional culture' in the following diagram. You're welcome.)
    A cultural revolution is *not* necessarily top-down and bureaucratic. It wasn't in China; it wasn't in Libya (a controversial example); and to my knowledge it wasn't particularly top-down in Korea either (although today it's hard to deny a certain degree of commandism in their politics, even if we don't really have fair information on the subject; perhaps this criticism doesn't derive from the actual material conditions of the nation but simply from the bourgeois media's representation of the country, so I'm hesitant to include this example or even discuss it). Basically, it wasn't and certainly doesn't have to be top-down bureaucratic. Cultural revolution can and does come from the masses.

    I do *not* think culture is the most determining societal factor. I think it is an important one, which, if left untouched, can *become* the most important societal factor. The purpose of the cultural revolution is so that it *doesn't* become the most important societal factor, but that the revolutionary change taking place in the mode of production maintains it's superior role.

    No, not necessarily, because proletarian internationalism could readily be *self-reinforcing*, once a 'critical mass', or 'tipping point', is reached -- less-developed countries could be pulled-up by the workers of more-advanced countries in the course of revolution.
    Yes, if developed countries turn socialist, they could certainly play a progressive role in helping the less-developed countries pull themselves out of backwardness. The problem is that socialist revolution has *never* happened in the developed countries, and I don't see any reason to believe it will happen anytime soon, so I think at the very least it would be foolish for less developed countries to construct the ideological backbone of their revolution around reliance on aid from the first world revolution.

    However, you raise an interesting point that could be relevant regarding Chinese aid. I by no means think China is altruistic, but Chinese aid could be quite progressive for revolution in Africa and Latin America, since their aid is essentially unconditional, in that it doesn't come with structural adjusted strings attached. My support for 'popular nationalism' perhaps muddies the waters, but I do like internationalism; my issue is that I find most internationalism coming from the first world seems Euro-chauvinistic in that it renders the less developed countries reliant upon the more developed imperialist centers.
    "All reactionaries are paper tigers." Mao Tse-Tung
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    There are plenty of people I don't get along with. It's not because of conflict over the same resources. We live in a society. We're going to interact with people we don't get along with. This can and does create conflict. I hate to call it human nature, but there has always been conflict between individuals, and that's not going to go away in the future. We share the same space with other people. Unless you want everyone to go live on their own, which neither you nor any other communist wants, people will continue to share the same space with other people, and there will be conflict between some of them.

    No, I don't anticipate interpersonal conflict developing to the point of society-wide antagonistic conflict which risks the overthrow of the established society, not at all.

    Okay -- this is the key point and significance. Nothing you're saying is objectionable, but the *scale* of the matters is what makes all the difference. Sure, everyday people on-the-ground have disagreements and even heated arguments. You're acknowledging that such would probably not be 'political', either before or after a proletarian revolution, because such disputes are *interpersonal*, and they don't affect an entire population the way politics, etc., does on a *systematic* basis.



    But just because a contradiction isn't antagonistic doesn't mean it isn't a contradiction or that it doesn't have the potential to become antagonistic if not approached properly.

    Sure -- again, people have 'issues' with one-another. That's still not politics, though.



    No, two aspects of a contradiction are necessarily not separate. This is called the unity of opposites, and two aspects of a contradiction are necessarily complementary: you can't have one without the other. This is the very basis of dialectics. If the base and the superstructure were not complementary, then indeed it wouldn't constitute a 'true' contradiction; they'd simply be entirely separate elements which have no relationship between each other.

    Yup.



    The engineered nature of the revolution doesn't change the fact that the superstructure will necessarily lag behind the base, unless we seek to change both in tandem.

    In a consciously-revolutionary context I don't think this would be much of a problem -- and, again, my own position is that the superstructure *can* 'follow' the base, virtually on an ad-hoc basis, due to the importance of providing production for all of humanity. Given the neutralization of the bourgeois ruling class, the rest would just be workers doing what workers know best -- something that's impossible to realize today, since workers *aren't* in control of production, and it *doesn't* benefit any kind of social 'commons'.



    Not at all. Firstly, rather than a blueprint, I'd equate it more with a 'rough draft,' and it doesn't have to fully specify all of the specifics of the base and the superstructure. The rough draft should provide guiding support and ideological backing, but if aspects of the draft prove to be incompatible with 'organic' communist superstructure, we shouldn't hesitate to account for that in our draft. Secondly, the existence of a rough draft, or even a blueprint, does *not* necessitate top down bureaucratic implementation of the plan. The plan itself should derive from mass discussions. I follow the theory of the mass line, because I think the masses are best equipped with the knowledge necessary for building this draft. It's like socialist economic planning in China. Communes, collectives, etc. provided their production data to the state planners. The masses had an active role in the development and the implementation of the state planning. (Of course China was suffering from other problems, such as adherence to Marxism Leninism in their political organization, which led to limitations in the mass participation in the development and the implementation of the state planning, but this limitations in the Chinese example to not prevent us from borrowing from what they did correctly.)

    No argument here -- though, on a bit of a tangent, are you any closer to having a (tentative) approach to the political-material economy of it all?

    For example, what if *existing* routines / work roles of labor had to continue as-is during the initial weeks and months of revolutionary overthrow -- ? (My favorite example is the scuba diver who has to *unclog* the municipal sewers in Mexico City.) If the conventional approach, retention of wages under collectivist control, were to be used, how much exactly should the liberated-labor for this task be paid per-hour -- ? How would that figure for the wage be calculated, exactly, compared to all other work roles, and would it really be appropriately proportional in buying power within the vast collection of goods and services that would be available for purchase with it (Marx's 'labor vouchers') -- ?

    I'm obviously critical and detailed in my examination of how a post-capitalist material economy *should* function, but if you can elucidate anything here, I'd appreciate it.


    Pies Must Line Up






    ---



    There are numerous examples. I'll cite two. The first one I'll cite is about how the ideology of the masses in capitalist society is impregnated with bourgeois ideology, to varying degrees. Look at Venezuela for a moment. It, like the most of Latin America, is failing to be as revolutionary as they could be because of their idealization of liberal democracy. Without actively seeking to oppose this bourgeois ideology in the minds of the people, it could lead to an overthrow of their progress by the US-backed right wing terrorists. This isn't just a hypothetical situation; this is a true threat facing the Venezuelan people. I wouldn't say that the superstructure is in the principal position currently, but it is entirely conceivable that if this aspect of the superstructure doesn't change soon, nothing but danger awaits.

    I'll actually *contend* this formulation, to say that a country like Venezuela doesn't have its *base* pulled-together -- riding the wave of temporarily inflated oil prices, to benefit a bureaucratic, elitist section of the population (the boliburguesía), is hardly facing in a *socialist* direction, even though as a whole it may still be anti-U.S.-imperialism.

    You're continuing to *misrepresent* the definition of 'superstructure', I think, because its true meaning is 'Everything not directly to do with production':





    Yes, the superstructure *does* include 'ideology', which you're speaking-to, but your concerns are better categorized within the *base*, as part of the relations of production, particularly since they're mainly *bourgeois* relations, upholding private property, capital, commodity-production, etc.



    The second example I'd like to cite is much broader, I think. I believe that the very notion of seizing political power is an admission that the bourgeois superstructure resists socialist development. Traditionally Marxists have placed political institutions into the superstructure and not the base, although as the state and private capital are so closely related, the distinction between the two is not always clear in the political realm. Therefore, the seizure of political power by proletarian revolutionaries is a necessity. If we tried to develop socialism without seizing state power, we would either be crushed immediately by the bourgeois superstructure, by means of the state, or crushed by competition with capitalists. The former is not far from the reformist line of the Second International. Opposing revolution and seeking to work within the bourgeois superstructure, they were unable to go beyond simple reforms to a true change in the relations of production. The latter is closer to the more anarchist/left-com admiration of workers collectives, as if everyone uniting into collectives would simply bankrupt the bourgeoisie and we win. I know that you're conscious of the necessity of seizing state power. I think this alone is representative of the fact that the superstructure can and does play a counterrevolutionary role.

    Yes, no argument.



    And historically (although perhaps you propose something else), the revolutionary seizure of state power even [preceded] the socialist transformation of the relations of production.

    Of course I *agree* with this game-plan, and, moreover, the Bolshevik-type approach to state power is to seize it for the sake of *wielding* it as a socialism-directed *vehicle* -- a *workers* state -- for and with the masses.

    I do have concerns about how the political-material economy would or should proceed at that point of working-class seizure, so I *am* interested in 'nailing-down' that aspect of proletarian revolution, in advance, as much as possible.



    The socialization of the ownership of the means of production didn't happen in Russia until *after* the Bolsheviks seized power. Of course, the Bolshevik seizure of power is rooted in the base,

    Thank you.



    in the fact that the masses were fed up with the war and famine. But nevertheless, I find that this example is quite pertinent.

    Yes, of course. It's *the* historical example.


    ---



    This is *horseshit* -- you're being moralistic again. You obviously want some kind of moralistic 'cultural cadre' to act like the police of the revolution, to forbid the fruits of modern industrial productivity to certain people, and not others.

    What if fucking nice houses, two-car garages, and nice cars happened to go unclaimed, post-revolution -- should such goods be left to *rot* if there's a populist-type, unmet *demand* for such -- ?

    You want to brand the abstract perjorative of 'greed' onto any kind of material consumption that conflicts with your particular personal morality -- unacceptable.


    Can you provide me with a precise definition of what scarcity and human need are and consist of? I ask, because you seem to deny the inherent subjectivity of such terms. I'd like you to provide your working *objective* definitions for these terms.

    Of course -- I'll readily admit that 'human need (and want)' is on a gray-area *gradient*, so that once people have their bellies full and are safe from the elements, the remainder of 'human need' can be quite arbitrary.

    Here's a pertinent treatment of the topic, from my 'labor credits FAQ':



    Interestingly, with this system / approach, *no one* is under any obligation to do *anything*, and could still probably live decent, healthy lives -- but the problem with lack of participation in a fundamentally *collectivist* political economy would be that not much would get done for *anyone*. If in such a society, people *really* didn't want to do much, and didn't want to coordinate around work projects, that might actually be okay, if they happened to be content with whatever little *was* produced. After all, it would be *their* society, collectively, so they could have it at whatever material capacity they liked, even if such was quite minimalist. But, with all labor being their own (liberated), there *would* be an objective dynamic of wanting and needing to *automate* as much mass industrial production as possible -- if not entirely -- so that whatever liberated-labor *was* done afterwards would be *highly leveraged*, with much greater material outputs, per hour of labor put-in. This would require initiatives and work for higher-tech capabilities, for full computerization and full automation. Once a new, fully-automated workflow process would be completed and implemented, consumers could reap *repeated* productivity benefits indefinitely from that initial set-up, as we see today with web searches for information on the Internet, and with personal customized 3D printing of any arbitrary objects.

    The alternative to social-productive *cooperation* would be very low-level qualities of production, and a widespread *balkanization* of liberated-labor efforts, to where everything would become d.i.y. by default, to the extent where people might have to *forage* every day for their sustenance from nature, while technological usage and human culture would regress, etc.

    And:



    -> What about the proletarian-revolutionary *redistribution* of existing 'wealth' -- sure, there'd be no more money in usage, but who gets *what* from the world's already-produced bounty as it exists today, and why?

    I think this is an often-overlooked issue, especially since socialism is often touted as *being* a process of redistribution-of-wealth in the immediate stages of world revolutionary upheaval.

    My model framework can be readily adapted to this task, and it confers the benefits of retaining a *fully mass-intentional* political process, instead of better-known, *non*-politically-conscious methods such as 'first-come-first-served', any other kind of time-based rationing, or a randomocracy-type lottery system. For any singular, *non*-divisible or *non*-replicatable context, like that of today's mansions, the item should be turned into a museum for full public admittance.

    For finite, though *numerous* identical existing items, as for cultural collections, there may be *many* people who would like to personally possess some or all of those items from the days of capitalist commodity production -- this kind of competition, if left raw and unaddressed, would *not* be good for a post-capitalist society since there'd be no established way of deciding who-gets-what-and-why.

    'additive prioritizations'

    Better, I think, would be an approach that is more routine and less time-sensitive in prioritizing among responders -- the thing that would differentiate demand would be people's *own* prioritizations, in relation to *all other* possibilities for demands. This means that only those most focused on Product 'X' or Event 'Y', to the abandonment of all else (relatively speaking), over several iterations (days), would be seen as 'most-wanting' of it, for ultimate receipt.

    My 'communist supply and demand' model, fortunately, uses this approach as a matter of course:

    consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily

    consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination

    consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/blog.php?b=1174


    I'm also realizing that this model / method of demand-prioritization can be used in such a way as to lend relative *weight* to a person's bid for any given product or calendar event, if there happens to be a limited supply and a more-intensive prioritization ('rationing') is called-for by the objective situation:

    Since everyone has a standard one-through-infinity template to use on a daily basis for all political and/or economic demands, this template lends itself to consumer-political-type *organizing* in the case that such is necessary -- someone's 'passion' for a particular demand could be formally demonstrated by their recruiting of *others* to direct one or several of *their* ranking slots, for as many days / iterations as they like, to the person who is trying to beat-out others for the limited quantity.

    Recall:

    [A]ggregating these lists, by ranking (#1, #2, #3, etc.), is *no big deal* for any given computer. What we would want to see is what the rankings are for milk and steel, by rank position. So how many people put 'milk' for #1 -- ? How many people put 'steel' for #1 -- ? How many people put 'milk' for #2 -- ? And how many people put 'steel' for #2 -- ? (Etc.)

    *This* would be socially useful information that could be the whole basis for a socialist political economy.

    So, by extension, if someone was particularly interested in 'Event Y', they might undertake efforts to convince others to *donate* their ranking slots to them, forgoing 'milk' and 'steel' (for example) for positions #1 and/or #2. Formally these others would put 'Person Z for Event Y' for positions 1 and/or 2, etc., for as many days / iterations as they might want to donate. This, in effect, would be a populist-political-type campaign, of whatever magnitude, for the sake of a person's own particularly favored consumption preferences, given an unavoidably limited supply of it, whatever it may be.

    ---



    A cultural revolution is *not* necessarily top-down and bureaucratic. It wasn't in China; it wasn't in Libya (a controversial example); and to my knowledge it wasn't particularly top-down in Korea either (although today it's hard to deny a certain degree of commandism in their politics, even if we don't really have fair information on the subject; perhaps this criticism doesn't derive from the actual material conditions of the nation but simply from the bourgeois media's representation of the country, so I'm hesitant to include this example or even discuss it). Basically, it wasn't and certainly doesn't have to be top-down bureaucratic. Cultural revolution can and does come from the masses.

    I do *not* think culture is the most determining societal factor. I think it is an important one, which, if left untouched, can *become* the most important societal factor. The purpose of the cultural revolution is so that it *doesn't* become the most important societal factor, but that the revolutionary change taking place in the mode of production maintains [its] superior role.

    I'd welcome an elaboration here, then -- what percentage of total working-class efforts should go towards the base, and what percentage should go to 'cultural revolution', as for the superstructure?



    Yes, if developed countries turn socialist, they could certainly play a progressive role in helping the less-developed countries pull themselves out of backwardness. The problem is that socialist revolution has *never* happened in the developed countries, and I don't see any reason to believe it will happen anytime soon, so I think at the very least it would be foolish for less developed countries to construct the ideological backbone of their revolution around reliance on aid from the first world revolution.

    Okay -- I don't share your pessimism regarding the prospects for working-class revolution in the developed / First-World countries, but your latter point is well-taken that Third-World countries shouldn't necessarily be *planning* on the basis of the leading-edge of revolution coming from the Anglo nations.



    However, you raise an interesting point that could be relevant regarding Chinese aid. I by no means think China is altruistic, but Chinese aid could be quite progressive for revolution in Africa and Latin America, since their aid is essentially unconditional, in that it doesn't come with structural adjusted strings attached. My support for 'popular nationalism' perhaps muddies the waters, but I do like internationalism; my issue is that I find most internationalism coming from the first world seems Euro-chauvinistic in that it renders the less developed countries reliant upon the more developed imperialist centers.

    Yes, it's still a dynamic of being forced through the 'straw' of capitalist relations, even if the China aid is anti-neoliberalist in economic provision.
  6. #46
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    Okay -- this is the key point and significance. Nothing you're saying is objectionable, but the *scale* of the matters is what makes all the difference. Sure, everyday people on-the-ground have disagreements and even heated arguments. You're acknowledging that such would probably not be 'political', either before or after a proletarian revolution, because such disputes are *interpersonal*, and they don't affect an entire population the way politics, etc., does on a *systematic* basis.

    Sure -- again, people have 'issues' with one-another. That's still not politics, though.
    Yes, but for reasons like this, I take issue with the notion that communist society will be a virtual utopia.

    This may be the answer you were looking for earlier, but I didn't understand. There are other contradictions within communist society which could lead to the reestablishment of class society. If we think back to the original establishment of classes in society, it was related to the desire of the peoples to increase their productive forces. Of course back then life was much more difficult than modern communist society would be, such that there was more of a need for the development of productive forces, yet productive forces can never reach an ultimate stage, there will always be improvements in efficiency that could be made, even while need is satisfied relatively fine. On a side note, the development of productive forces could be better understood not as a necessity of primitive society (since all the other species do just fine without building giant farms and private property), but rather as a search for assurance of survival. It was normal back then for people to die at the age of thirty from the simplest things. They didn't really know better existed. Even though the assurance of survival is less of a problem today than back then, I can foresee similar forces being active in future communism. Based on the unity of contradiction, I certainly think there will be systemic contradictions which exist in full communism, which could potentially lead to the reestablishment of class society, or to something entirely new. We're far from there, and I don't think it's really appropriate for us to anticipate too far in advance what contradictions could exist in communist society before getting close; I would like simply to defend the position that contradictions will exist.

    In a consciously-revolutionary context I don't think this would be much of a problem -- and, again, my own position is that the superstructure *can* 'follow' the base, virtually on an ad-hoc basis, due to the importance of providing production for all of humanity. Given the neutralization of the bourgeois ruling class, the rest would just be workers doing what workers know best -- something that's impossible to realize today, since workers *aren't* in control of production, and it *doesn't* benefit any kind of social 'commons'
    .

    Except the lagging behind in the change of the superstructure *has* been a problem in previous consciously revolutionary contexts.

    No argument here -- though, on a bit of a tangent, are you any closer to having a (tentative) approach to the political-material economy of it all?

    For example, what if *existing* routines / work roles of labor had to continue as-is during the initial weeks and months of revolutionary overthrow -- ? (My favorite example is the scuba diver who has to *unclog* the municipal sewers in Mexico City.) If the conventional approach, retention of wages under collectivist control, were to be used, how much exactly should the liberated-labor for this task be paid per-hour -- ? How would that figure for the wage be calculated, exactly, compared to all other work roles, and would it really be appropriately proportional in buying power within the vast collection of goods and services that would be available for purchase with it (Marx's 'labor vouchers') -- ?

    I'm obviously critical and detailed in my examination of how a post-capitalist material economy *should* function, but if you can elucidate anything here, I'd appreciate it.
    No, I haven't made any development in my own ideas. I'm in the middle of a book about the particularities of socialist economic organization in China, written in 1965. Economic organization has never been a subject to which I've paid much attention due to my own difficulties in getting beyond a superficial understanding of the complexities. I've learned a lot about the specificities of the problem of backwardness, beyond the fact that it's a problem, and how it holds back industrialization and all. But I'm not any closer to having a precise understanding of how I'd like to see post-revolutionary state capitalist planning and eventually socialist planning, so I'm even farther from post-capitalist planning. That being said, I have taken your criticisms of my 'gut' commune based model and the backwardness it entails, and how opposition to this model requires more thorough proletarian internationalism -- *once the conditions permit it, and not a moment earlier.*

    I'll actually *contend* this formulation, to say that a country like Venezuela doesn't have its *base* pulled-together -- riding the wave of temporarily inflated oil prices, to benefit a bureaucratic, elitist section of the population (the boliburguesía), is hardly facing in a *socialist* direction, even though as a whole it may still be anti-U.S.-imperialism.
    I think you're misrepresenting the situation in Venezuela. I'm not an expert in the country. You're correct their *base* isn't really 'pulled together.' It's anti-imperialism is limited by the fact that it hasn't fundamentally restructured the economy for the needs of Venezuelans and not the imperialists. But they're still pursuing anti-imperialism, nevertheless, and it looks strongly like popular nationalist state-capitalism.

    The idea that it's all to the benefit of some bureaucratic elite reeks of the anti-materialist formulation of the state espoused by Trotsky when he wasn't elected by the Party to take over Stalin's job. Bureaucrats are a problem, but they don't constitute a class of their own -- they are a problem in that they abandon revolution and seek to restore capitalism under the yoke of imperialism. (This is one of the most important conclusions Mao made compared to Stalin.) The state in Venezuela is hardly even united behind Maduro, for one thing. To suggest that Maduro's leadership is marked by exploitation of the masses for the benefit of bureaucrats seems like a really unjust way to look at the situation.

    You're continuing to *misrepresent* the definition of 'superstructure', I think, because its true meaning is 'Everything not directly to do with production':
    I think it's reductionist to say *everything* that doesn't have to do with production. There are some things which aren't really related to either, like cooking styles in a certain regions or perhaps language evolution (although as a language freak, I'm getting more and more skeptical of this example), in that they don't reflect and reinforce the base; they exist more or less independent of the base; revolution isn't going to lead to a completely new language or way of cooking, even though minor modifications could exist, for example, as we seek to be more gender inclusive. But that's more of a tangent than anything.

    Yes, the superstructure *does* include 'ideology', which you're speaking-to, but your concerns are better categorized within the *base*, as part of the relations of production, particularly since they're mainly *bourgeois* relations, upholding private property, capital, commodity-production, etc.
    My point is that the bourgeois ideology -- part of the capitalist superstructure -- is holding back the masses from going as far as they could go, and leading them to settle for half-assed reforms. I don't see how this is false. Supporting bourgeois relations is not part of ideology??

    I do have concerns about how the political-material economy would or should proceed at that point of working-class seizure, so I *am* interested in 'nailing-down' that aspect of proletarian revolution, in advance, as much as possible.
    As do I, which is why I've focused a lot more of my own attention on revolutionary politics more than economics, even though the latter is certainly important. With my more or less orthodox Marxist understanding of the state (differentiated from the Trotskyist 'theory' about the bureaucracy), I don't have as many concerns about economic organization -- as long as it's planned by the working masses and develops towards socialist ownership. I've focused more of my attention on how to develop an organ of political power which remains as revolutionary as possible, without turning towards restoration as historical socialism has.

    Of course -- I'll readily admit that 'human need (and want)' is on a gray-area *gradient*, so that once people have their bellies full and are safe from the elements, the remainder of 'human need' can be quite arbitrary.

    Here's a pertinent treatment of the topic, from my 'labor credits FAQ':
    I made this point about the subjectivity of need in response to your point that developing communist ethos (specifically the value of individual contribution to the collective) if we eliminated scarcity through full automation. If scarcity/need is subjective, then whether scarcity has been eliminated or not is subjective, which you touch on in the quoted segments of the FAQ.

    I agree with you that if we consume less shit throughout our lives, if there are fewer cars on the road (hell I'd prefer completely public transportation, aside from bicycles, and similar means of transportation) or less junk available to us, I don't think that'd be a problem at all. That being said, given the subjective nature of scarcity, there will be some who think they are in need when they want a car, and one isn't available to them. If this is your position, then I retract my environmental argument against your automation argument. I imagine we can agree that consumer society is a bad thing, but you would have to admit that the standard of living would thus have to decrease in the centers if full communism were to be achieved, something which would *never* happen by the will of the masses. That's why I like the idea of ending the parasitism through third world struggle and not selling all their wealth away to the first world, even post-revolution.

    My overarching point is that eliminating scarcity, being subjective, isn't an objective goal. You mentioned initially that you wanted to eliminate scarcity because it would eliminate the material basis for reactionary culture. I've demonstrated why we need to develop culture. But since eliminating scarcity isn't objective, people would need to objectively believe that their needs have been met, and that *requires* anti-greed communist ethos, which I've mentioned.

    I'd welcome an elaboration here, then -- what percentage of total working-class efforts should go towards the base, and what percentage should go to 'cultural revolution', as for the superstructure?
    I take issue with the question in that it assumes that working class efforts in building the base would decrease if efforts go towards building the superstructure, which is not the case. If you'd like a number as just a hard ratio, I'd probably put around 3/4 base, 1/4 superstructure. But it would depend on the specific demands at any given moment, and ideally it would fluctuate until a perfect balance is reached, since a perfect balance can't be reached beforehand.

    Yes, it's still a dynamic of being forced through the 'straw' of capitalist relations, even if the China aid is anti-neoliberalist in economic provision.
    I don't know if you had the time to read what I wrote on Soviet foreign policy. I think the China is pursuing a similar line to what the USSR was during the 'cold war.' On the one hand, you have the imperialist media calling the other a huge menace to world peace, but in reality the other is just trying to get along peacefully with everyone, imperialists, neocolonized nations, and independent nations alike. Notice how the USSR was good friends with Cuba before the revolution; what changed is that the US stopped being friends with Cuba, whereas the USSR didn't really care about Cuba's internal policy, as long as Cuba was still willing to be friends. China seems to be pretty similar, although as of late they've been being excessively apologetic of US neocolonialism on the Korean peninsula.
    "All reactionaries are paper tigers." Mao Tse-Tung
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    Okay -- this is the key point and significance. Nothing you're saying is objectionable, but the *scale* of the matters is what makes all the difference. Sure, everyday people on-the-ground have disagreements and even heated arguments. You're acknowledging that such would probably not be 'political', either before or after a proletarian revolution, because such disputes are *interpersonal*, and they don't affect an entire population the way politics, etc., does on a *systematic* basis.


    Yes, but for reasons like this, I take issue with the notion that communist society will be a virtual utopia.

    This may be the answer you were looking for earlier, but I didn't understand. There are other contradictions within communist society which could lead to the reestablishment of class society.

    No, this is *unacceptable* -- a communist society, by definition, *has no* internal contradictions within it because it has overthrown / surpassed the class divide, and so all material interests within are in the interests of humanity for its own well-being. There is no longer any class-like schism within humanity at this point, to cut-against humane needs and wants, at *any* scale.

    I think you're too stuck in a *nationalist*-type mentality, and missing the forest for the trees.


    Political Spectrum, Simplified






    A communist society *would* be a utopia compared to what we have today under capitalism because humanity would finally be unimpeded by the mechanism of *private*-profit-making and the incessant increasing of humanity-external *exchange values*.



    If we think back to the original establishment of classes in society, it was related to the desire of the peoples to increase their productive forces. Of course back then life was much more difficult than modern communist society would be, such that there was more of a need for the development of productive forces,

    yet productive forces can never reach an ultimate stage, there will always be improvements in efficiency that could be made, even while need is satisfied relatively fine.

    Yes-and-no -- conceivably a post-capitalist / communist-type society *could* automate the production of all humane necessities for life and living, for everyone, as with the individually-customized 3D printing of all food and housing stock, on an environmentally sustainable material basis, so that, at some point, no one would have to lift a finger and yet all would receive appropriately adequate provisions and shelter (and transportation, education, health care, etc.), so as to reach an 'ultimate' level of civilizational development -- really more of a 'plateau', since further collective developments could take place subsequently, as for space travel or whatever.



    On a side note, the development of productive forces could be better understood not as a necessity of primitive society (since all the other species do just fine without building giant farms and private property), but rather as a search for assurance of survival.

    Yes.



    It was normal back then for people to die at the age of thirty from the simplest things. They didn't really know better existed. Even though the assurance of survival is less of a problem today than back then, I can foresee similar forces being active in future communism. Based on the unity of contradiction, I certainly think there will be systemic contradictions which exist in full communism, which could potentially lead to the reestablishment of class society, or to something entirely new. We're far from there, and I don't think it's really appropriate for us to anticipate too far in advance what contradictions could exist in communist society before getting close; I would like simply to defend the position that contradictions will exist.

    All you're doing is being *fatalist* / idealist and *asserting* that 'contradictions exist' within full communism -- you're not *explaining* anything. Your 'contradictions exist within communism' formulation is better termed a *belief*, and is on-par with religious-type *faith*.


    ---



    In a consciously-revolutionary context I don't think this would be much of a problem -- and, again, my own position is that the superstructure *can* 'follow' the base, virtually on an ad-hoc basis, due to the importance of providing production for all of humanity. Given the neutralization of the bourgeois ruling class, the rest would just be workers doing what workers know best -- something that's impossible to realize today, since workers *aren't* in control of production, and it *doesn't* benefit any kind of social 'commons'.


    Except the lagging behind in the change of the superstructure *has* been a problem in previous consciously revolutionary contexts.

    You're falling into the same trap here as any *bourgeois* / counterrevolutionary critic, in ascribing historical revolutionary 'failure' to the *idea* itself -- another form of ahistorical idealism.

    In the case of the October Revolution, for example, the problem of creeping revisionism wasn't due to the idea of Bolshevism itself, etc., but rather was because of *foreign imperialist invasion*:



    Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War

    The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched during the Russian Civil War in 1918. The stated goals were to help the Czechoslovak Legion, to secure supplies of munitions and armaments in Russian ports, and to re-establish the Eastern Front. After the Bolshevik government withdrew from World War I, the Allies militarily backed the anti-communist White forces in Russia. Allied efforts were hampered by divided objectives, war-weariness from the overall global conflict, and a lack of domestic support. These factors, together with the evacuation of the Czechoslovak Legion, compelled the Allies to withdraw from North Russia and Siberia in 1920, though Japanese forces occupied parts of Siberia until 1922 and the northern half of Sakhalin until 1925.[6]


    Foreign forces throughout Russia

    Numbers of Allied soldiers who were present in the indicated regions of Russia:

    600 French and British troops landed in Arkhangelsk[17]
    A number of British troops in Vladivostok.
    A number of Romanian troops in Bessarabia.
    23,351 Greeks, who withdrew after three months (part of I Army Corps under Maj. Gen. Konstantinos Nider, comprising 2nd and 13th Infantry Divisions, in the Crimea, and around Odessa and Kherson)[18]
    13,000 Americans (in the Arkhangelsk and Vladivostok regions)[14][15]
    11,500 Estonians in northwestern Russia[12]
    2,500 Italians (in the Arkhangelsk region and Siberia)[19]
    2,300 Chinese (in the Vladivostok region)[20]
    150 Australians (mostly in the Arkhangelsk regions)[21]
    15,000 Japanese soldiers in the Eastern region
    4,192 Canadians in Vladivostok, 600 Canadians in Arkhangelsk[22]

    ---



    No argument here -- though, on a bit of a tangent, are you any closer to having a (tentative) approach to the political-material economy of it all?

    For example, what if *existing* routines / work roles of labor had to continue as-is during the initial weeks and months of revolutionary overthrow -- ? (My favorite example is the scuba diver who has to *unclog* the municipal sewers in Mexico City.) If the conventional approach, retention of wages under collectivist control, were to be used, how much exactly should the liberated-labor for this task be paid per-hour -- ? How would that figure for the wage be calculated, exactly, compared to all other work roles, and would it really be appropriately proportional in buying power within the vast collection of goods and services that would be available for purchase with it (Marx's 'labor vouchers') -- ?

    I'm obviously critical and detailed in my examination of how a post-capitalist material economy *should* function, but if you can elucidate anything here, I'd appreciate it.


    No, I haven't made any development in my own ideas. I'm in the middle of a book about the particularities of socialist economic organization in China, written in 1965. Economic organization has never been a subject to which I've paid much attention due to my own difficulties in getting beyond a superficial understanding of the complexities. I've learned a lot about the specificities of the problem of backwardness, beyond the fact that it's a problem, and how it holds back industrialization and all. But I'm not any closer to having a precise understanding of how I'd like to see post-revolutionary state capitalist planning and eventually socialist planning, so I'm even farther from post-capitalist planning. That being said, I have taken your criticisms of my 'gut' commune based model and the backwardness it entails, and how opposition to this model requires more thorough proletarian internationalism -- *once the conditions permit it, and not a moment earlier.*

    Do conditions not permit proletarian internationalism *today*?


    ---



    I'll actually *contend* this formulation, to say that a country like Venezuela doesn't have its *base* pulled-together -- riding the wave of temporarily inflated oil prices, to benefit a bureaucratic, elitist section of the population (the boliburguesía), is hardly facing in a *socialist* direction, even though as a whole it may still be anti-U.S.-imperialism.


    I think you're misrepresenting the situation in Venezuela. I'm not an expert in the country. You're correct their *base* isn't really 'pulled together.' It's anti-imperialism is limited by the fact that it hasn't fundamentally restructured the economy for the needs of Venezuelans and not the imperialists.

    But they're still pursuing anti-imperialism, nevertheless, and it looks strongly like popular nationalist state-capitalism.

    Yes, agreed.



    The idea that it's all to the benefit of some bureaucratic elite reeks of the anti-materialist formulation of the state espoused by Trotsky when he wasn't elected by the Party to take over Stalin's job. Bureaucrats are a problem, but they don't constitute a class of their own -- they are a problem in that they abandon revolution and seek to restore capitalism under the yoke of imperialism. (This is one of the most important conclusions Mao made compared to Stalin.) The state in Venezuela is hardly even united behind Maduro, for one thing. To suggest that Maduro's leadership is marked by exploitation of the masses for the benefit of bureaucrats seems like a really unjust way to look at the situation.

    Okay, your point is well-taken.



    I think it's reductionist to say *everything* that doesn't have to do with production.

    'Base-superstructure' is a reductionist *model* -- while we can posit a dialectical dynamic between the two categories, we still have to subscribe to its reductionist nature if we're to use that model, or any other, for that matter.



    There are some things which aren't really related to either, like cooking styles in a certain regions or perhaps language evolution

    These are part of 'culture', or superstructure.



    (although as a language freak, I'm getting more and more skeptical of this example), in that they don't reflect and reinforce the base; they exist more or less independent of the base;

    This isn't possible to say if you're going to accept 'base-superstructure' as being a valid model.



    revolution isn't going to lead to a completely new language or way of cooking,

    How can you say for sure? I would say that both are *more likely* due to revolution, than not.



    even though minor modifications could exist, for example, as we seek to be more gender inclusive. But that's more of a tangent than anything.

    Gender roles would be *annihilated* -- you don't get that all of our current social ills (sexism, racism, poverty, etc.) are *symptoms* emanating from the 'disease' of class rule.


    ---



    I disagree that we need to address *both*, but I'll welcome a scenario here -- when, during a proletarian revolution, would the superstructure conceivably be in the principal position of the two, and why?


    There are numerous examples. I'll cite two. The first one I'll cite is about how the ideology of the masses in capitalist society is impregnated with bourgeois ideology, to varying degrees. Look at Venezuela for a moment. It, like the most of Latin America, is failing to be as revolutionary as they could be because of their idealization of liberal democracy. Without actively seeking to oppose this bourgeois ideology in the minds of the people, it could lead to an overthrow of their progress by the US-backed right wing terrorists. This isn't just a hypothetical situation; this is a true threat facing the Venezuelan people. I wouldn't say that the superstructure is in the principal position currently, but it is entirely conceivable that if this aspect of the superstructure doesn't change soon, nothing but danger awaits.


    Yes, the superstructure *does* include 'ideology', which you're speaking-to, but your concerns are better categorized within the *base*, as part of the relations of production, particularly since they're mainly *bourgeois* relations, upholding private property, capital, commodity-production, etc.


    My point is that the bourgeois ideology -- part of the capitalist superstructure -- is holding back the masses from going as far as they could go, and leading them to settle for half-assed reforms. I don't see how this is false. Supporting bourgeois relations is not part of ideology??

    No argument, but the topic is about which -- of the base and superstructure -- is *determining* (the independent variable), and which is *determined* by the other (the *dependent* variable).


    ---



    I do have concerns about how the political-material economy would or should proceed at that point of working-class seizure, so I *am* interested in 'nailing-down' that aspect of proletarian revolution, in advance, as much as possible.


    As do I, which is why I've focused a lot more of my own attention on revolutionary politics more than economics, even though the latter is certainly important. With my more or less orthodox Marxist understanding of the state (differentiated from the Trotskyist 'theory' about the bureaucracy), I don't have as many concerns about economic organization -- as long as it's planned by the working masses and develops towards socialist ownership. I've focused more of my attention on how to develop an organ of political power which remains as revolutionary as possible, without turning towards restoration as historical socialism has.

    I'll suggest the following construction as a way of *contextualizing* the problem:



    [T]he layout of *work roles* would be the 'bottom' of 'top-down' (though collectivized) social planning, and would be the 'top' of 'bottom-up' processes like individual self-determination.

    ---



    I made this point about the subjectivity of need in response to your point that developing communist ethos (specifically the value of individual contribution to the collective) if we eliminated scarcity through full automation. If scarcity/need is subjective, then whether scarcity has been eliminated or not is subjective, which you touch on in the quoted segments of the FAQ.

    I'd say that human need is both objective / empirical *and* subjective / personal, since we all have material needs in common (food, shelter, mobility, etc.), but as self-determining individuals we all have individual *preferences*, particularly for consumption, and so some may want milk, while others want beer -- or whatever.


    Worldview Diagram






    ---



    I agree with you that if we consume less shit throughout our lives, if there are fewer cars on the road (hell I'd prefer completely public transportation, aside from bicycles, and similar means of transportation) or less junk available to us, I don't think that'd be a problem at all.

    To *clarify*, I *don't* agree with your moralism here -- less-material-consumption is *arbitrary*, and should certainly be at the discretion of the individual *consumer*, with collectivist-implementation *parameters* / policy over the whole practice of sourcing.

    The problematic with your line is that it forces an automatic trade-off with material *access* -- who's to say how many different types of *bicycles* should be produced for human need, or if cars should enjoy the construction of additional roads and highways, or not -- ?

    With such an arbitrary variable in front of you you have to retreat to the sanctuary of your 'state capitalism' formulation, meaning an administrative bureaucratic elite to practically address these myriad societal-material issues. And how many specialized-role administrators would it take to properly address these societal issues? What background of education and training would such roles require? Would those people be consuming from the material-productive liberated-labor of others, for their functioning? (Etc.)



    That being said, given the subjective nature of scarcity, there will be some who think they are in need when they want a car, and one isn't available to them.

    'Need' means 'human need', or 'individual-based objective and/or subjective requirements'.

    If mass transportation is lacking then it's the responsibility of the collectivist society to proactively *address* and *fulfill* such unmet 'need', even if it's only for one person outstanding. The way I've structured my *own*, 'labor credits' framework is to have a 'synapse' between mass-popular (and/or individual) demand, and the available-and-willing liberated-labor *fulfillment* of such demand, meaning that the cumulative daily *tallying* of personal lists of ranked demands, published publicly by all communication means, provides the empirical *information* for all to see, for potential participation -- at any scale -- for potential fulfillment.



    consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination

    ---



    If this is your position, then I retract my environmental argument against your automation argument. I imagine we can agree that consumer society is a bad thing, but you would have to admit that the standard of living would thus have to decrease in the centers if full communism were to be achieved, something which would *never* happen by the will of the masses. That's why I like the idea of ending the parasitism through third world struggle and not selling all their wealth away to the first world, even post-revolution.

    Your *political* conclusion here is valid (the latter part), but I continue to *disagree* with your moralism over consumption. Sure, much *could* be collectivized and could be made available on a *mass* basis, as with transportation, if current practices (many cars) are found to be too damaging to the natural environment, but, aside from that kind of 'externalities' 'ceiling', nothing should be *proscribed* *automatically*, as you're showing with your Green-type dogmatism / moralism here.


    Also:



    -> Why would people have to visit different factory warehouses to get the things they need? Can't anything be *delivered*?


    This could be called the 'last mile' problem -- consider that if all collective production is done only *as-needed*, from only the *least* number of liberated-laborers absolutely required for any project, with the *least* amount of service-type effort necessary, and including as much computer and mechanical (full) *automation* as possible -- *mass* quantities would result and would have to be stored somewhere for the short-term, as in a warehouse.

    Any warehouse-to-home deliveries, especially done the same way for *everyone* (on an egalitarian basis), would require *additional* labor-efforts, as for driving a vehicle back-and-forth, to make all deliveries in a timely way. This issue, of course, can be left to *that* society itself, and doesn't have to have a definitive solution *now*, but a few options might be available to the people of that world: [1] Fully automate all cars and trucks (etc.) so that not even one person has to sacrifice their realtime attention for something so mundane as driving -- driverless cars are on the technological horizon of implementation at the time of this writing. [2] Build up infrastructure, like a worldwide network of always-running conveyor belts, to take things far beyond the already-existing *airport* context. [3] Focus on the development of 3D printing so that more production can be done from the home itself, for regular everyday items, etc., so that the mass industrial scale, with its accompanying bottlenecking, is no longer needed to satisfy everyone's basic material needs.

    ---



    My overarching point is that eliminating scarcity, being subjective, isn't an objective goal.

    Yes, it is -- the fulfillment of unmet human need.



    You mentioned initially that you wanted to eliminate scarcity because it would eliminate the material basis for reactionary culture. I've demonstrated why we need to develop culture.

    'Culture' is *secondary* to revolutionary politics and material development for human need.



    But since eliminating scarcity isn't objective,

    Yes, it is -- see two-segments above.



    people would need to objectively believe that their needs have been met, and that *requires* anti-greed communist ethos, which I've mentioned.

    In a communism context 'greed' is *impossible* -- at some point one's own attentions and physical presence would not be able to cover all the 'stuff' that one lays claim to, and so such 'stuff' would be seen to be unguarded and/or unclaimed, and could simply be taken by anyone else.

    I happen to welcome any addressing / discussion of the conceivable *extents* of 'personal property' in a post-capitalist social context.



    I take issue with the question in that it assumes that working class efforts in building the base would decrease if efforts go towards building the superstructure, which is not the case. If you'd like a number as just a hard ratio, I'd probably put around 3/4 base, 1/4 superstructure. But it would depend on the specific demands at any given moment, and ideally it would fluctuate until a perfect balance is reached, since a perfect balance can't be reached beforehand.

    Okay, fair enough.



    I don't know if you had the time to read what I wrote on Soviet foreign policy. I think the China is pursuing a similar line to what the USSR was during the 'cold war.' On the one hand, you have the imperialist media calling the other a huge menace to world peace, but in reality the other is just trying to get along peacefully with everyone, imperialists, neocolonized nations, and independent nations alike. Notice how the USSR was good friends with Cuba before the revolution; what changed is that the US stopped being friends with Cuba, whereas the USSR didn't really care about Cuba's internal policy, as long as Cuba was still willing to be friends. China seems to be pretty similar, although as of late they've been being excessively apologetic of US neocolonialism on the Korean peninsula.

    - Gotta run -

    I'll address this on the next round.
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    I don't know if you had the time to read what I wrote on Soviet foreign policy.

    No, I haven't.



    I think the China is pursuing a similar line to what the USSR was during the 'cold war.' On the one hand, you have the imperialist media calling the other a huge menace to world peace, but in reality the other is just trying to get along peacefully with everyone, imperialists, neocolonized nations, and independent nations alike.

    You sound like an apologist for China here.

    And:


    China overtakes US in world trade [2013]

    https://www.theguardian.com/business...trading-nation


    ---



    Notice how the USSR was good friends with Cuba before the revolution; what changed is that the US stopped being friends with Cuba, whereas the USSR didn't really care about Cuba's internal policy, as long as Cuba was still willing to be friends.

    This makes no sense because there *were no* relations with the USSR before the Cuban Revolution.



    After the establishment of diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Cuba became increasingly dependent on Soviet markets and military aid, becoming an ally of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 1972 Cuba joined the COMECON, an economic organization of states designed to create cooperation among the socialist planned economies dominated by the large economy of the Soviet Union. Moscow kept in regular contact with Havana, sharing varying close relations until the collapse of the bloc in 1991. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered an era of economic hardship known as the Special Period in Time of Peace.

    ---



    China seems to be pretty similar, although as of late they've been being excessively apologetic of US neocolonialism on the Korean peninsula.

    No, there's been no change in the friction-filled geopolitical relations between the U.S. and China:



    Relations with China have strained under Barack Obama's Asia pivot strategy, U.S. support for Japan in the Senkaku Islands dispute, as well as Donald Trump's threats to classify the country as a "currency manipulator" as part of a potential trade war.[11][12]

    As of April 2017, ongoing maritime disputes in the South China Sea have strained relations between the two.[13][14] America has conducted freedom of navigation patrols in the region to underscore the US' position that the artificial islands constructed by China are located in international waters.[15][16]


    President Xi Jinping reiterated before President Trump, in a telephone conversation held between the two men on 3 July 2017, that "China-US relations have made great progress in recent days, but they have also been affected by some negative factors."[141] By "negative factors," Geng Shuan, a Chinese government spokesmen, explained in a televised briefing: "Under the pretext of navigational freedom, the American side once again sent military vessels into the Chinese territorial waters of Xisha (Paracel) Islands. It has violated Chinese and international law, infringed upon Chinese sovereignty, and disrupted order, peace and security of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy facilities and personnel on the relevant Chinese islands. It is a serious political and military provocation. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the relevant actions by the US."[141]

    On 8 November 2017, President Trump visited Beijing as part of the Asian tour. The main theme of the meeting emphasized the issues regarding the de-nucleariziation on the Korean peninsula in addition to the stabilization of China–United States relations. President Trump reiterated the importance of trade development between the two countries and reaffirmed the American support for the One-China policy.[citation needed] However, according to the latest U.S. National Security Act from 18 December 2017, the ships of U.S. Navy can call at the ports of Taiwan. This fact breaks "One-China" law, consider the Chinese government. Chinese Ambassador to the US Lee Kexin said that "the day when any US warship will enter the port of Taiwan Kaohsiung, the CPLA forces will unite China".[142]

    Also:


    Toward a NATO-Exist. Shift in the structure of military coalitions

    https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads...65#post2891065


    ---


    DW, please double-check your sources and information so that you don't waste other people's time (including mine) with simple empirical fact-checking. Also I'm not interested in getting involved in discussions over geopolitics -- for a purported revolutionary you're *way* too concerned with the ongoing conduct of ruling-class nation-states.
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    No, this is *unacceptable* -- a communist society, by definition, *has no* internal contradictions within it because it has overthrown / surpassed the class divide, and so all material interests within are in the interests of humanity for its own well-being. There is no longer any class-like schism within humanity at this point, to cut-against humane needs and wants, at *any* scale.


    If there are, by definition, no contradictions in a communist society, then a communist society is an impossibility, because contradiction is a universal phenomenon. The very premise of dialectics is that contradiction is what causes change, which moves above vulgar bourgeois historical mechanism. If there are no contradictions in communist society, then by definition, it *would* be the end of history, because there would no longer be the basis for change.

    I don't believe a communist society is an impossibility, but I don't think it will be some mystical utopia either.

    You're accusations against me for engaging in idealism is ironic faced with your denial of the dialectical law of the unity of opposites.

    A communist society *would* be a utopia compared to what we have today under capitalism because humanity would finally be unimpeded by the mechanism of *private*-profit-making and the incessant increasing of humanity-external *exchange values*.


    Comparatively, sure. But that's not what you said. You said there would be *no* internal contradictions.

    All you're doing is being *fatalist* / idealist and *asserting* that 'contradictions exist' within full communism -- you're not *explaining* anything. Your 'contradictions exist within communism' formulation is better termed a *belief*, and is on-par with religious-type *faith*.


    There are contradictions in *everything.* I don't purport to know what form those contradictions will take. But according to dialectical materialism, a society with no contradictions cannot exist. It's not faith. It's making predictions on the future based on scientific reason -- what you accused me of not doing based on my revision of the base-superstructure model.

    You're falling into the same trap here as any *bourgeois* / counterrevolutionary critic, in ascribing historical revolutionary 'failure' to the *idea* itself -- another form of ahistorical idealism.

    In the case of the October Revolution, for example, the problem of creeping revisionism wasn't due to the idea of Bolshevism itself, etc., but rather was because of *foreign imperialist invasion*:


    An ideology can be insufficient in responding to historical conditions. It's like saying that bourgeois-led national liberation is insufficient in defeating imperialism. Bourgeois nationalism was insufficient because the bourgeoisie has a tendency to capitulate.

    Bolshevism was the construct of historical conditions. But in hindsight, we can certainly recognize it's insufficiencies. I agree that foreign intervention forced the Bolsheviks to focus on Russia/the USSR, a supposed violation of proletarian internationalism. I don't think that is revisionism. Revisionism came from other areas, such as the bureaucracy becoming distanced from the masses. It was the first socialist revolution; of course it wasn't going to be perfect. But we can and should criticize their theory for its insufficiencies and inabilities to respond to historical necessities.

    Do conditions not permit proletarian internationalism *today*?


    No, that's one of the primary points of my program.

    'Base-superstructure' is a reductionist *model* -- while we can posit a dialectical dynamic between the two categories, we still have to subscribe to its reductionist nature if we're to use that model, or any other, for that matter.


    If it's reductionist, why *shouldn't* we suggest taking a non-dogmatic look at the subject?

    [Eating habits and language] are part of 'culture', or superstructure.

    How can that be, if they exist virtually independent of the base? Did the October Revolution change Russian eating habits? Or did it change the language they spoke? If it were part of the superstructure, wouldn't it change to reflect the base? If you can demonstrate to me that they are indeed influenced by the base, then I'll concede my point and agree that everything isn't part of the base is the superstructure. Otherwise, I'll maintain my line.

    Gender roles would be *annihilated* -- you don't get that all of our current social ills (sexism, racism, poverty, etc.) are *symptoms* emanating from the 'disease' of class rule.


    Yes, oppression of women comes from class society. I read Engels' book about the family, too. But gender roles have become part of our society, and they won't *necessarily* disappear immediately -- that's why we struggle for women's rights.
    To *clarify*, I *don't* agree with your moralism here -- less-material-consumption is *arbitrary*, and should certainly be at the discretion of the individual *consumer*, with collectivist-implementation *parameters* / policy over the whole practice of sourcing.

    The problematic with your line is that it forces an automatic trade-off with material *access* -- who's to say how many different types of *bicycles* should be produced for human need, or if cars should enjoy the construction of additional roads and highways, or not -- ?

    With such an arbitrary variable in front of you you have to retreat to the sanctuary of your 'state capitalism' formulation, meaning an administrative bureaucratic elite to practically address these myriad societal-material issues. And how many specialized-role administrators would it take to properly address these societal issues? What background of education and training would such roles require? Would those people be consuming from the material-productive liberated-labor of others, for their functioning? (Etc.)[/QUOTE]

    Popular state planning is neither arbitrary nor bureaucratic.

    Your *political* conclusion here is valid (the latter part), but I continue to *disagree* with your moralism over consumption. Sure, much *could* be collectivized and could be made available on a *mass* basis, as with transportation, if current practices (many cars) are found to be too damaging to the natural environment, but, aside from that kind of 'externalities' 'ceiling', nothing should be *proscribed* *automatically*, as you're showing with your Green-type dogmatism / moralism here.


    As I've mentioned, and you ultimately agreed with, the superstructure can and does act on the base. It's not a one way road. So we need to proactively develop superstructure. That includes communist ethos.

    In a communism context 'greed' is *impossible* -- at some point one's own attentions and physical presence would not be able to cover all the 'stuff' that one lays claim to, and so such 'stuff' would be seen to be unguarded and/or unclaimed, and could simply be taken by anyone else.


    Greed can't exist in communism? I agree, but aren't you making assertions about communist ethos prior to their coming into existence -- something you've criticized me extensively for doing? Does this not constitute moralism?

    I happen to welcome any addressing / discussion of the conceivable *extents* of 'personal property' in a post-capitalist social context.


    I don't have any large answers. I'd like to bring up one issue regarding this issue, in that personal property necessarily entails personal production in communist society. Just to take a simple example, coffee drinkers in a communist society will likely have individual coffee makers in their house. IMO this constitutes personal production, although it is, of course, different from personal production in capitalist society in that the in communist society personal production produces use values and not exchange values. But it's still a question that I think requires attention. We could go on to add questions of personal vegetable gardens, and more.

    You sound like an apologist for China here.
    I'm not an apologist, but I do think they may be in the process of building a 'sovereign project' (to borrow terminology from Samir Amin and others). This is a good thing.

    China overtakes US in world trade [2013]

    https://www.theguardian.com/business...trading-nation
    Yes.

    This makes no sense because there *were no* relations with the USSR before the Cuban Revolution.
    (Quote translated from French)

    If the speeches of Batista were fiercely anti-communist, it is important to remember that it was he who established diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union in 1942.

    During the entire military dictatorship, Batista maintained commercial relations with Moscow, by selling sugar. In 1957, the Diario de la Marina, a conservative Cuban daily (newspaper), had welcomed these sales, noting that "the price of sugar has increased after the Soviet Union acquired 200,000 tons from us." At no moment was Washington worried about commercial relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba under the Batista dictatorship. History will be different once Fidel Castro arrives in power.

    https://www.mondialisation.ca/50-ver...a-cuba/5357735
    No, there's been no change in the friction-filled geopolitical relations between the U.S. and China:
    The US continues to put pressure on China to capitulate to imperialism. Just like Russia. That doesn't mean that China is acting in a particularly antagonistic manner towards the US.

    DW, please double-check your sources and information so that you don't waste other people's time (including mine) with simple empirical fact-checking. Also I'm not interested in getting involved in discussions over geopolitics -- for a purported revolutionary you're *way* too concerned with the ongoing conduct of ruling-class nation-states.
    It's important to know who our friends and our enemies are. We know that the US is an enemy, but we need to know if China is a friend. That's why I'm interested in the way China relates to the rest of the world.

    Are there any aspects of what I said that you want me to double check? I imagined Cuba was one of them, so I went immediately to my source. Any others?
    "All reactionaries are paper tigers." Mao Tse-Tung
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    The problematic with your line
    when did problematic become a noun? It’s pretentious... sorry, pet peeve, please carry on.

    It's important to know who our friends and our enemies are. We know that the US is an enemy, but we need to know if China is a friend. That's why I'm interested in the way China relates to the rest of the world.
    who is “we”? How can countries be friends? Do you mean the rulers of countries? Friends with who or what?
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    If there are, by definition, no contradictions in a communist society, then a communist society is an impossibility, because contradiction is a universal phenomenon. The very premise of dialectics is that contradiction is what causes change, which moves above vulgar bourgeois historical mechanism. If there are no contradictions in communist society, then by definition, it *would* be the end of history, because there would no longer be the basis for change.

    I don't believe a communist society is an impossibility, but I don't think it will be some mystical utopia either.

    You're accusations against me for engaging in idealism is ironic faced with your denial of the dialectical law of the unity of opposites.

    Perhaps you've noticed -- or not -- that you haven't *specified* what these civilizational-scale "contradictions" might be. You're just being argumentative, and not addressing the *scale* of contradiction that would allegedly take the place of the class division.

    Sure, the dialectic would still be appropriate to *other* scales of dynamics, like personal growth or whatever, but in terms of political economy, communism *itself* would have no internal contradictions, the way capitalism does today (the mutually antagonistic interests of the ruling class versus the working class).

    There's no 'mystical utopia' to it, either -- it's simply that once humanity is no longer divided against itself, people will enjoy full self-autonomy and self-determination because the means of life and living will be in abundance, so competing 'tribalisms' (of any race, gender, or size) would no longer confer any competitive advantage over (now-artificially-scarcified) resources.


    G.U.T.S.U.C., Individualism - Tribalism






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    A communist society *would* be a utopia compared to what we have today under capitalism because humanity would finally be unimpeded by the mechanism of *private*-profit-making and the incessant increasing of humanity-external *exchange values*.


    Comparatively, sure. But that's not what you said. You said there would be *no* internal contradictions.

    And I stand by it.

    To *contextualize* my statement, I'll provide the following:



    Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.

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    There are contradictions in *everything.* I don't purport to know what form those contradictions will take. But according to dialectical materialism, a society with no contradictions cannot exist. It's not faith. It's making predictions on the future based on scientific reason -- what you accused me of not doing based on my revision of the base-superstructure model.

    Well, the 'floor' is still yours -- you haven't yet specified what the post-capitalist societal / civilizational 'contradiction' might *be*. Could you perhaps provide a tentative scenario, in terms of base and superstructure?



    An ideology can be insufficient in responding to historical conditions. It's like saying that bourgeois-led national liberation is insufficient in defeating imperialism. Bourgeois nationalism was insufficient because the bourgeoisie has a tendency to capitulate.

    Bolshevism was the construct of historical conditions. But in hindsight, we can certainly recognize it's insufficiencies. I agree that foreign intervention forced the Bolsheviks to focus on Russia/the USSR, a supposed violation of proletarian internationalism. I don't think that is revisionism. Revisionism came from other areas, such as the bureaucracy becoming distanced from the masses. It was the first socialist revolution; of course it wasn't going to be perfect. But we can and should criticize their theory for its insufficiencies and inabilities to respond to historical necessities.

    Okay, yes, you're more-precise about the term 'revisionism' than in the way *I* used it. (I meant it in the sense of a *weakening* of the initial soviet system, due to external pressures.)

    Regarding Bolshevism itself:



    Kornilov affair

    Main article: Kornilov affair

    In what became known as the Kornilov affair, Kornilov directed an army under Aleksandr Krymov to march toward Petrograd to restore order to Russia, with Kerensky's agreement.[13] Details remain sketchy, but Kerensky appeared to become frightened by the possibility the army would stage a coup, and reversed the order. By contrast, historian Richard Pipes has argued that the episode was engineered by Kerensky.[14] On 27 August, feeling betrayed by the government, Kornilov pushed on towards Petrograd. With few troops to spare on the front, Kerensky turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help. Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries confronted the army and convinced them to stand down.[15] The Bolsheviks' influence over railroad and telegraph workers also proved vital in stopping the movement of troops. Right-wingers felt betrayed, and the left wing was resurgent.

    With Kornilov defeated, the Bolsheviks' popularity in the soviets grew significantly, both in the central and local areas. On 31 August, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, and on 5 September, the Moscow Soviet Workers Deputies adopted the Bolshevik resolutions on the question of power. The Bolsheviks won a majority in the Soviets of Briansk, Samara, Saratov, Tsaritsyn, Minsk, Kiev, Tashkent, and other cities.

    Insurrection

    Planning

    On 23 October 1917 (November 5 new style), the Bolsheviks' Central Committee voted 10–2 for a resolution saying that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe".[16] At the Committee meeting, Lenin discussed how the people of Russia had waited long enough for “an armed uprising”, and it was the Bolsheviks' time to take power. Lenin expressed his confidence in the success of the planned insurrection. His confidence stemmed from months of Bolshevik buildup of power and successful elections to different committees and councils in major cities such as Petrograd and Moscow.[17]

    The Bolsheviks created a revolutionary military committee within the Petrograd soviet, led by the soviet's president, Trotsky. The committee included armed workers, sailors and soldiers, and assured the support or neutrality of the capital's garrison.

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    Do conditions not permit proletarian internationalism *today*?


    No, that's one of the primary points of my program.

    Well, then I continue to have revolutionary-*strategic* differences with you. (F.y.i.)


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    'Base-superstructure' is a reductionist *model* -- while we can posit a dialectical dynamic between the two categories, we still have to subscribe to its reductionist nature if we're to use that model, or any other, for that matter.


    If it's reductionist, why *shouldn't* we suggest taking a non-dogmatic look at the subject?

    Just because a scientific approach is *reductionist* doesn't automatically mean that it's *dogmatic* -- either the (base-superstructure) model has explanatory power, or else it doesn't. You've referenced this model extensively, so I'd say that you consider it to be valid and usable even though it's reductionistic.


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    [Eating habits and language] are part of 'culture', or superstructure.


    How can that be, if they exist virtually independent of the base?

    We previously agreed that there's a *dialectical dynamic* between the base and the superstructure.



    Did the October Revolution change Russian eating habits? Or did it change the language they spoke? If it were part of the superstructure, wouldn't it change to reflect the base? If you can demonstrate to me that they are indeed influenced by the base, then I'll concede my point and agree that everything isn't part of the base is the superstructure. Otherwise, I'll maintain my line.

    The October Revolution *did* change the superstructure:



    Insurrection

    Planning

    On 23 October 1917 (November 5 new style), the Bolsheviks' Central Committee voted 10–2 for a resolution saying that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe".[16]

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    Gender roles would be *annihilated* -- you don't get that all of our current social ills (sexism, racism, poverty, etc.) are *symptoms* emanating from the 'disease' of class rule.


    Yes, oppression of women comes from class society. I read Engels' book about the family, too. But gender roles have become part of our society, and they won't *necessarily* disappear immediately -- that's why we struggle for women's rights.

    In the struggle for women's rights people's consciousness changes, as with reading that work by Engels (The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State) -- by the time of the working class' self-empowerment through seizing control of social production, gender roles would become *antiquated* in the real-world, and would 'wither-away', along with the rest of the bourgeois state.



    To *clarify*, I *don't* agree with your moralism here -- less-material-consumption is *arbitrary*, and should certainly be at the discretion of the individual *consumer*, with collectivist-implementation *parameters* / policy over the whole practice of sourcing.

    The problematic with your line is that it forces an automatic trade-off with material *access* -- who's to say how many different types of *bicycles* should be produced for human need, or if cars should enjoy the construction of additional roads and highways, or not -- ?

    With such an arbitrary variable in front of you you have to retreat to the sanctuary of your 'state capitalism' formulation, meaning an administrative bureaucratic elite to practically address these myriad societal-material issues. And how many specialized-role administrators would it take to properly address these societal issues? What background of education and training would such roles require? Would those people be consuming from the material-productive liberated-labor of others, for their functioning? (Etc.)


    Popular state planning is neither arbitrary nor bureaucratic.

    If you're constraining such planning to the *confines* of existing bourgeois nation-states, then, *yes*, it *is* bureaucratic, because such administrators are doing specialized *political* work, while non-administrators are *not*.

    Such administrators / bureaucrats are taking from collective socio-material production, for their own consumption, with no guarantee that their administrative efforts will be politically appropriate and constructive towards the eventual realization of communism. Their collective-institutionalized power is at least a *schism* from the rest of the revolutionary working class *at best*, and downright *class-like*, at worst.


    ---



    If this is your position, then I retract my environmental argument against your automation argument. I imagine we can agree that consumer society is a bad thing, but you would have to admit that the standard of living would thus have to decrease in the centers if full communism were to be achieved, something which would *never* happen by the will of the masses. That's why I like the idea of ending the parasitism through third world struggle and not selling all their wealth away to the first world, even post-revolution.


    Your *political* conclusion here is valid (the latter part), but I continue to *disagree* with your moralism over consumption. Sure, much *could* be collectivized and could be made available on a *mass* basis, as with transportation, if current practices (many cars) are found to be too damaging to the natural environment, but, aside from that kind of 'externalities' 'ceiling', nothing should be *proscribed* *automatically*, as you're showing with your Green-type dogmatism / moralism here.


    As I've mentioned, and you ultimately agreed with, the superstructure can and does act on the base. It's not a one way road. So we need to proactively develop superstructure. That includes communist ethos.

    Sure, but to get back to your original *point*, you can't just make arbitrary, you-centric, pronouncements about how to politically handle material-sourcing and -usage issues -- that kind of policy would be the responsibility of the entire revolutionary society *in upheaval*, at that time of upheaval and transition to workers' power.


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    In a communism context 'greed' is *impossible* -- at some point one's own attentions and physical presence would not be able to cover all the 'stuff' that one lays claim to, and so such 'stuff' would be seen to be unguarded and/or unclaimed, and could simply be taken by anyone else.


    Greed can't exist in communism? I agree, but aren't you making assertions about communist ethos prior to their coming into existence -- something you've criticized me extensively for doing? Does this not constitute moralism?

    I'm simply looking at the potential situation *logistically* -- there are only *two* types of 'property', so-to-speak, under communism: Collective property, and personal property. People can take and consume any natural resources and finished products that are not actively being used, and, as I just mentioned, hoarding wouldn't be socially *possible* within these parameters. One couldn't just stuff a mansion with toys and claim 'personal property' over it all because no one would 'own' mansions as private property -- the yardstick is that either one is (relatively-) actively enjoying actual *use values* from material possessions, or else those items really aren't in that person's *possession* because they're not being actively used, like a mansion-worth of oil paintings or whatever. Greed-like *claims* could be made, but one oneself alone cannot *enforce* extensively sprawling collections of 'personal property' for oneself if one can't actually *guard* all of it from being claimed by others due to inevitable disuse.

    I call this the 'post-capitalist personal property padlock issue':



    - Would people need / socially-be-able to use *padlocks* in a post-capitalist society -- ? (In other words, to what extents could people claim 'personal property' -- ? What might the criteria for this be -- ? Would one have to have all of their possessions *on* or *around* them, or would one be able to 'label' or lock-up one's possessions while away from them, to return to them later -- ? How would an egalitarian society determine the *limit* of stuff, and the maximum 'time-away' from it, for one person / family / small-group to claim as theirs, solely -- ?

    Possession in Communism

    https://www.revleft.com/vb/threads/1...n-in-Communism

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    I happen to welcome any addressing / discussion of the conceivable *extents* of 'personal property' in a post-capitalist social context.


    I don't have any large answers. I'd like to bring up one issue regarding this issue, in that personal property necessarily entails personal production in communist society.

    No, it doesn't -- not at *all*....



    Just to take a simple example, coffee drinkers in a communist society will likely have individual coffee makers in their house.

    Couldn't the coffee makers have possibly (most-likely) been produced by factory-type *collectivist* production -- ?



    IMO this constitutes personal production, although it is, of course, different from personal production in capitalist society in that the in communist society personal production produces use values and not exchange values.

    Yes, true -- the production of the coffee itself.



    But it's still a question that I think requires attention. We could go on to add questions of personal vegetable gardens, and more.

    The only problematic with post-capitalist *personal production*, as for permaculture farming or whatever, is that such small-scale productive efforts detract from larger-scale, *collectivist* efforts, such as the industrial-agricultural-type coordination of farming efforts from *several* / many liberated-workers, to benefit all food-consumers within the local geographic *area* -- 'economies of scale'.



    I'm not an apologist [for China], but I do think they may be in the process of building a 'sovereign project' (to borrow terminology from Samir Amin and others). This is a good thing.

    Sure -- whatever helps. I'm reminded of the 'Green Belt Movement':


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Belt_Movement


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    (Quote translated from French)


    If the speeches of Batista were fiercely anti-communist, it is important to remember that it was he who established diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union in 1942.

    During the entire military dictatorship, Batista maintained commercial relations with Moscow, by selling sugar. In 1957, the Diario de la Marina, a conservative Cuban daily (newspaper), had welcomed these sales, noting that "the price of sugar has increased after the Soviet Union acquired 200,000 tons from us." At no moment was Washington worried about commercial relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba under the Batista dictatorship. History will be different once Fidel Castro arrives in power.

    https://www.mondialisation.ca/50-ver...a-cuba/5357735

    Thanks -- that was news to me.



    The US continues to put pressure on China to capitulate to imperialism. Just like Russia. That doesn't mean that China is acting in a particularly antagonistic manner towards the US.

    Okay, acknowledged.



    It's important to know who our friends and our enemies are. We know that the US is an enemy, but we need to know if China is a friend. That's why I'm interested in the way China relates to the rest of the world.

    Ultimately even China / Russia / Syria / Iran / (etc.) is not going to be a 'friend' to the world's working class -- and even if it *did* happen this way it would still beg the question about working-class *self-emancipation*, which is *not* optional.



    Are there any aspects of what I said that you want me to double check? I imagined Cuba was one of them, so I went immediately to my source. Any others?

    Nope. Never mind.


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    when did problematic become a noun? It’s pretentious... sorry, pet peeve, please carry on.


    Noun

    problematic (plural problematics)

    (chiefly in the plural) A problem or difficulty in a particular field of study.

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