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Far Leftism |OT| Expect a splinter OT

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sphagnum

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A spectre is haunting NeoGAF - the spectre of Leftism.

It's no secret that NeoGAF is a forum that harbors many liberal sentiments. But there are also many members, especially in the OT, who hold views that may be considered further to the left than the mainstream - socialists, anarchists, etc. Especially during the course of the recent US election season the differences have become more pronounced. Many are probably curious as to what exactly self-proclaimed leftists believe or how they differ from one another and from others, and that's certainly understandable - there are a dizzying array of left wing factions out there. Here we hope to have a thread where leftists of all stripes can hold communicate and debate with one another, as well as with anyone else who may have an interest in the subject.

To put it simply, leftism is a political orientation that supports egalitarianism and the creation of a more equal society. Depending on one's country, what exactly is left and what exactly is right can vary quite significantly. Here, however, we are focusing on the far left, that which in the modern day is not mainstream, but which has historically played a very significant role and which has to some extent begun to come back into vogue.

HISTORY, TENDENCIES, AND EXAMPLES
Elements of socialist thought stretch back to ancient times. Many socialists argue that anthropology indicates that the earliest humans, in the form of hunter-gatherer cultures, lived according to "primitive communism". Class structures did not emerge until wealth became stratified following the Neolithic farming revolution, which allowed specialization of jobs and the concentration of wealth in the hands of strongmen and priests who formed the rulers of the first states. We see ideas about land redistribution and/or the communal sharing of goods pop up time and again - whether King Cleomenes III in Sparta, the prophet Mazdak in Persia, the Apostles in the New Testament, etc. However, socialism as a concept in and of itself did not arise until after the dual revolutions - the French and Industrial, one egalitarian, the other material - as the old aristocratic order was shaken by the rise of the liberal bourgeoisie and its economic system of choice: capitalism.

As capitalism transformed the global economy, allowing private individuals to amass wealth through ownership of the means of production (the property used in the workplace) in contrast to the old orders of feudalism and mercantilism, the proletariat - the working class - was born. Once serfs who labored under their lords or members of highly protective trade guilds, the common people were forced to sell their labor to those who now owned the means of production - the capitalist class - in order to make money to survive by purchasing their necessities from the market system. Capitalism and liberalism no doubt were historically progressive forces, rapidly industrializing the West like never before and entrenching the idea of democracy in the minds of the masses. But the depredations of the working class were too much to ignore, as workers toiled in dangerous environments with little to no safety, regulations, benefits, or job security. For many, the promise of a society free from aristocratic tyranny simply seemed to morph into one with a new form of tyranny - the tyranny of the few who owned everything over those who owned nothing.

Hence, the labor movement grew as trade unions gained more power. But instead of working from inside the capitalist system to better the lives of workers, there came to be another movement which proposed the common ownership of the means of production in a society run by and for the workers. This was called socialism or communism - the modern definitions of these words had been solidified yet, so they were more or less interchangeable. Naturally there were many different ideas about how this society could be achieved. Karl Marx, the founder of the ideology that bears his name, lashed out against "utopian" socialists who did not take a scientific view at how socialism could be brought about, believing that it was necessary for the working class to capture the power of the state and use it to its own benefit. Others, such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin, declared themselves to be anarchists, believing that the state itself had to be destroyed to ensure the liberty of the people.

Following the national uprisings of 1848 that rocked Europe, socialists of all stripes began to more defiantly organize, leading to the establishment of the First International Workingmen's Association in the 1860s. With the sudden rise and collapse of the socialist-influenced Paris Commune in 1871, the members of the First International debated what system to follow, leading to the "expulsion" of Bakunin's faction and the long-standing schism between anarchists and other socialists. Leftists of all kinds would continue to organize and radicalize laborers in the coming decades, culminating in a communist takeover in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Being that our modern concepts of "socialism" stem from that pivotal event, let us review some of the most notable forms of socialism that dominated the twentieth century and continue to influence the radical left today, as well as other egalitarian movements taken up by the left...

STATE SOCIALISM

-State socialists, often referred to as "statists" by detractors, are any socialists who believe in the necessity of a state, at least temporarily. The most prominent state socialist philosophy has historically been Marxism, from which comes many ideological variants. It is important to note that one does not have to be a Marxist to be a state socialist, nor do (or can) all Marxists agree with every ideological variant or descendant of Marxism.

Marxism
-An analytical approach founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marxism believes that socialism/communism - in other words, a stateless society in which everyone contributes and takes "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" - can only be brought about through the revolutionary seizure of state power by the working class. Marx promoted his beliefs as a scientific approach to socialism, one which sought actual realistic solutions to the question of how to institute socialism; ironically, however, he never went into much detail about what society would look like following the socialist revolution, as he was more concerned with critiquing capitalism than figuring out the details about post-capitalism. According to Marxist thought, the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle - the opposition of two classes, those who control production and those who work it (this ties into his theory of "dialectical materialism" influenced by Hegel, the constant opposition of a thesis and antithesis which produces a synthesis). Only by workers seizing state power and instituting a "dictatorship of the proletariat" (which translates badly into modern political speech but does not mean single-person rule, but something like "the total democratic control of the government by the working class") can they direct the economy and society to fulfill human needs rather than profits. With workers controlling the economy democratically, they will eventually build up the "productive forces" (in other words, tools, machinery, infrastructure, etc.) to such a degree that, at some point, nobody will need to work any longer to survive. In some respects this presages an automated society. In Marxist thought, this "higher phase" of socialism is the truly free society as the state will wither away, no longer needed to enforce class power.

Marxism-Leninism
-The most historically prominent variant of Marxism, this political ideology was originally simply thought by its founders - the Bolsheviks, and especially Vladimir Lenin - to be an applied form of Marxist beliefs to their particular struggle in the Russian Revolution. Following Lenin's death, Stalin declared it to be "Marxism-Leninism". Essentially, Marxist-Leninists believe that in an underdeveloped society, a revolutionary vanguard (the cadres of the Communist Party) must radicalize the workers and seize state control, governing in the interest of the people through the control of the government by the party. It was Lenin who made the distinction between socialism and communism, with socialism being the "lower phase" that Marx spoke of in which a state remained necessary and communism the later, stateless "higher phase". Marxist-Leninists are almost invariably believers in a centralized economy, believing that the government should be composed of workers elected from layers of different workers' councils ("soviets"); the degree to which has actually democratically been done, however, is debated. Despite being the most popular form of socialism in the twentieth century due to the influence of the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism has been heavily criticized by other socialists ever since its inception. There are multiple subdivisions of Marxist-Leninists: Anti-Revisionists ("Stalinists") who criticize the changes adopted by the party following Stalin's death, Trotsykists who criticize the end of democratic centralism and world revolution under Stalin, and a slew of others, including Maoists.

Maoism
-Officially an application of Marxism-Leninism to China (hence "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism"), Maoism is seen by many other socialists as its own unique ideology. Maoism seeks the revolutionary seizure of the state in the context of a mostly agrarian society, with an alliance between non-bourgeois classes under the leadership of the Communist Party in the theory of "New Democracy". Maoism is very concerned with revolutionary strategy and tactics such as "protracted people's war", put to effect in China, Nepal, India, the Philippines, and other locations. Much like Marxism-Leninism, Maoism has been criticized by other socialists for its authoritarian tendencies.

Libertarian Marxists/Left Communists
-An anti-authoritarian ideological strain of Marxistm opposed to the actions and tendencies of Marxist-Leninists and other variants. Libertarian here does not coincide with the American meaning of the word, but with the original meaning still used outside the North America of anti-authoritarianism. Libertarian Marxists and Left Communists often claim that Marxist-Leninists failed to achieve socialism as the workplace and government were not sufficiently democratic, abusing state power to maintain control and forming nothing more than "state capitalism" - the ownership of the means of production by the state, which existed in a similar employer-employee relationship with the proletariat. LMs/LCs are not a unified bloc but a tendency that is also critical of reformists who seek to gradually evolve capitalism into socialism, as well as anarchists and social democrats (see below). They still believe in the necessity of revolution but may seek a minimal state or party apparatus, or one controlled through highly democratic councils ("council communism"). Many revolutionaries of the early Russian Revolution fit this mold before the Bolshevik ban on factionalism and subsequent purges. Other socialists have criticized this group for being perfectionists.

Market Socialism
-Rather than a political program, market socialism is an economic belief that contrasts with the traditional centralized, distributive model upheld by Marxist-Leninists or the non-market beliefs of anarchists. There are many types of market socialists - those who believe in turning all companies into co-ops (such as Mondragon) allowing the workers to control the means of production directly within a decentralized market framework; those who believe in a socialist state but within which all industries work according to market systems; those who believe in utilizing markets temporarily as a means to an end to build up the productive capacity of the socialist state so that later a different form of socialism can be segued into (such as Leninists with the New Economic Policy in the USSR, or Deng Xiaoping in China), etc. Currently the government of China officially supports the last option within the framework of "Socialism with Chinese characteristics", but the genuineness of their commitment to a transition to socialism is often heavily criticized by other socialists. Those who believe in centralized economies tend to see market socialism as merely "democratizing exploitation".

Reformism
-Reformism, founded by Eduard Bernstein, seeks to bring about socialism not through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism but by influencing and evolving the capitalist state from the inside through bourgeois democratic legislatures. One well-known example is the Fabian Society. Reformism has traditionally been heavily castigated by Marxists as impossible to achieve or subversive to socialist goals; many social democratic (see below) parties have historically begun as reformist parties that eventually shed their adherence to socialism. By virtue of their belief in a gradual transformation to socialism, many reformists tend towards market socialism.

Social Democracy
-Derived from reform socialist, social democracy is a political ideology that is not explicitly socialist in nature. Many social democratic parties, being descendants of socialist parties, still call themselves socialist but rarely if ever demand giving control of the means of production to the working class. Under social democracy, the capitalist mode of production is maintained but heavily regulated by an elected government, with high taxes on the wealthy used to redistribute money for welfare purposes. Social democratic parties were once the mainstay of Western Europe and despite not being socialist they are included here as they represent much of the far left, comparatively speaking, in American politics. Bernie Sanders - who describes himself as a "democratic socialist" - has stated his desire for the American economy to be reoriented along the lines of the Scandinavian model, which is actually social democratic rather than democratic socialist.

ANARCHISM

-The other major strain of socialism, anarchism opposes the institution of a state - even one with socialist aims - believing that the state itself relies on and upholds exploitation and oppression. Anarchists, also known as libertarians outside North America (in contrast to what some anarchists refer to as "propertarians" who have co-opted the term), are by nature anti-hierarchical and therefore tough to wrangle. This may help to explain why anarchist schools of thought tend to be named after organizational procedures ("mutualism", "syndicalism", etc.) whereas Marxist ideologies tend to be named after their founders. There are a number of non-socialist anarchistic philosophies as well, but they will not be mentioned here. State socialists have historically been at odds with anarchists, believing that their methods are not pragmatic.

Collectivist Anarchism
-A revolutionary form of anarchism associated with Marx's opponent, Mikhail Bakunin, which opposes private ownership of the means of production, preferring collective ownership. Being anti-state, they oppose the dictatorship of the proletariat. Not all collectivist anarchists oppose money or labor vouchers, with some being adherewints of Parecon ("participatory economics"). Some, but not all, collectivist anarchists see the philosophy as a transitional one leading to anarcho-communism, but others see it as an end goal itself.

Anarcho-Communism
-A revolutionary form of anarchism associated with Peter Kropotkin, anarcho-communism seeks to overthrow all forms of hierarchy and oppression and immediately institute communism through associations and councils, viewing the concept of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" not as an end goal but a process itself. Unlike collectivist anarchists, anarcho-communists are strictly against currency and the concept of "ownership" of the means of production, favoring instead focusing on the usage of the means of production. Anarcho-Communism was influential in revolutionary territories such as Aragon and Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, as well as the Free Territory of Ukraine during the Russian Revolution.

Anarcho-Syndicalism
-Anarcho-Syndicalists believe in utilizing trade unions to replace capitalism through direct action, leading to workers' self-management and democratic control of the means of production. By capturing the power over the means of production, they hope to re-orient the focus of production away from profit to human needs as well as abolish wage slavery. Because of its focus on labor unions, other anarchists have often criticized it for being too narrow in scope or outdated; however, anarcho-syndicalists themselves often find their beliefs compatible with other forms of anarchism. The syndicalist CNT-FAI played a very prominent role in the Spanish Civil War.

Communalism and Democratic Confederalism
-A new line of thought, communalism takes much of its influence from anarchism without being explicitly anarchistic itself. Created by anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin after his break with anarchism in general, communalism seeks not the nationalization of the economy as in state socialism or the collectivization of the economy as under syndicalism but giving control of the economy to democratically elected municipal assemblies. Communalists believe in democratic confederationism - the interlocking of these municipal assemblies to represent the people as a whole. Unlike anarchism, communalists may or may not be comfortable working within currently existing civil frameworks for purposes of transition. The most notable example of the institution of democratic confederalism is Rojava, a revolutionary autonomous region in Syria fighting against the Islamic State.
 

sphagnum

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Oct 26, 2009
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FURTHER FRONTS


Outside of doctrinal disputes, leftists are committed to egalitarianism in all areas of life. Because of this, leftists have long been supportive of anti-imperialism and national liberation, anti-racism, feminism, LGBTQ liberation, anti-consumerism, ecological movements, and a host of other issues too numerous to count. Here we will simply mention a few noteworthy examples.

Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, and Black Liberation
-Leftists have long been involved in the fight for racial equality in the United States, particularly in regards to black liberation. There were obviously difficulties in the early labor movement, which fell along racial lines, and American socialist/communist parties themselves were mostly comprised of European immigrants and their descendants who were familiar with radical politics back home. As the concept of intersectionality had not yet been fully developed, leftists tended to focus their analysis almost entirely in terms of class to the point that racial discrimination was seen as a peculiar form of extreme capitalist exploitation. However, desiring to end oppression in all forms and seeing the black worker as a key component of a revolutionary vanguard, communists began to make specific efforts towards recruitment. In organizations like the Mine Mill and the UAW, leftists fought against discrimination on the part of entrenched white interests, though this was not always done as successfully as one might have hoped. A number of black intellectuals and notable figures such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Paul Robeson became involved with communist parties and movements. During the Civil Rights era, socialists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X led the charge, and in the following Black Power era the Black Panthers became especially notable for their open revolutionary views and activities. Socialists today continue to push for and be supportive of policies and movements to end racism and white supremacy such as Black Lives Matter, often through the lens of economics with an intersectional eye.

Feminism and Gender and Sexual Equality
-Leftists have also long been advocates for gender and sexual equality. Though Marx and Engels believed that gender inequality would disappear under socialism, as they viewed the oppression of women as a unique aspect of class relations, modern leftists tend towards a more intersectional approach, viewing sexism and class struggle - as well as racism and other forms of oppression - as interlocking but equal problems. Anarchist feminists such as Emma Goldman saw the overthrow of the patriarchy as an integral element of the larger anarchist struggle against oppression, while the Mujeres Libres in the Spanish Civil War confronted the sexism of male anarchist fighters. Communists such as Alexandra Kollontai and Rosa Luxemburg played important roles in the revolutions of the twentieth century, the former arguing against the traditional family structure which she viewed as born out of the patriarchy and the latter being one of the most prominent revolutionaries in Germany. In modern times, women have filled the ranks in the revolution in Rojava, fighting for their own liberation as well as confederalism. Leftists, such as Angela Davis and bell hooks, have also been involved in transnational/postcolonial feminism, womanism, and other intersectional forms of feminism. The sexual struggle has unfortunately not always been one without flaws within the socialist movement owing to entrenched chauvinism, though socialists seek to purge themselves of unegalitarian notions. Despite the abolition of tsarist laws regarding abortion, divorce, and homosexuality under Lenin during the Russian Revolution, Stalin pushed for a return to family norms and recriminalized homosexuality. During the course of the Cold War, most communist states remained culturally fairly conservative; however, leftist movements within capitalist nations embraced liberation in all forms during the Sexual Revolution, aligning themselves with feminists and LGBTQ activists such as Bayard Rustin. However, some radicals have criticized the "commercialization" and "normalization" of LGBTQ activism (particularly in regards to LG) in recent years, arguing that the focus has shifted from liberation to fitting in with established systems and notions created by straight society. This is, however, controversial.

Ecological Movements
-With its heavy focus on the working class, earlier socialist movements favored mass industrialization. As environmental issues became more prominent during the course of the twentieth century however - both in capitalist and communist nations - many leftists have come to adopt a "green" focus. Green Parties, generally socialist or social democratic, are prominent parties across the globe and "green anarchism" has become one of the more notable strains within the anarchist movement. Ecosocialists seek to build an economy that is both democratic and conscious of environmentalism after some of the more disastrous failures of not only capitalism but communist projects such as that which led to the destruction of the Sea of Azov. Joe Kovel, for example, has criticized Marxism for its "naive faith in the ecological capacities of a working class defined by generations of capitalist production." As ecosocialists have no set doctrine, their methods and beliefs vary wildly, some preferring party politics and others direct action.

Labor Unions
-Labor unions still remain at the forefront of the battle for workers' rights. Most unions seek to work within capitalism to represent the rights and benefits of their members, though some unions - such as the IWW - have historically been very radical and worked in alliance with socialists and communists. However, in a neoliberal and increasingly autonomous age, unions find themselves under great pressure. Generally speaking, unions tend to be quite successful at providing better working conditions and benefits for their members, though they have been criticized by socialists for acting as a pressure valve within capitalism that staunches radical fervor.


Q&A
Why do so many leftists use violence as a tactic?
Many on the far-left believe that a successful revolution will need a mixture of violent and non-violent activity. Strikes, the mobilization of workers, spreading ideology, and other methods are very important aspects of a revolution. There's a lot of theory and discussion about when to use violence and how to use it successfully, or even at all. Certain strains of the far-left like anarcho-pacifists and democratic socialists believe in achieving communism without a violent revolution.

Is communism a dictatorship?
No. Marxists believe in a temporary "dictatorship of the proletariat"; this is state socialism, not communism. Communism is a democratic, stateless society. A dictatorship of the proletariat is not meant to be a literal dictatorship in the sense that we commonly use the word today, but signifies the complete power of the proletariat over the government. Other socialists, such as anarchists, disregard the need for such an institution at all.

Do anarchists want chaos?
No. Anarchism is a political philosophy espousing a stateless, democratic society; lifestyle anarchists devoid of politics have helped contribute to this negative perception. There is much debate within anarchism about how to maintain peace within an anarchistic framework, but the basic idea is that many crimes stem from inequality and other injustices created by capitalism and the state and so they will fade away as the root of the problem is addressed.

Why did ____ fail?
This is a difficult question that can have a million different answers, depending on what tendency someone subscribes to; alternatively, it can be a loaded question that disregards various forms of progress made by socialists throughout history. There are so many possible answers to such a question that it is probably just better to ask in the thread itself! That said, socialists seek to learn from past failures rather than sweep them under the rug.

Is North Korea communist/socialist?
The majority of leftists would say that North Korea is not socialist, however there is a small group of Leninists that are pro-DPRK. Here's a good article taking the perspective that the DPRK has shifted to state capitalism.

Can't we just "fix" capitalism?
Unless you subscribe to social democracy, the answer is no. The negative effects of capitalism can be ameliorated, but the contradictions at the heart of capitalism cannot be done away with without an alternate system. At its core capitalism rests on the exploitation of the working class for the benefit of the few, meaning that the struggle between labor and capital will always exist so long as humans are required for labor.

Are socialists liberals?
No. Unless you're from North America, then yes - we're super liberals. This is just a terminological confusion since North America uses the term "liberal" to essentially mean "left wing" in a context that basically means "left of the Republican Party". Everywhere else, there is a distinct divide between leftists and liberals, being that liberals believe in private property and capitalism.

Why are leftists against private property?
In socialist parlance, private property means a particular sort of property - that which is privately owned but used in socially for production (in other words, factories, workplaces, and the things within them). Nobody wants to take away your shoes or your consoles, which are your personal property.

Isn't socialism impossible because of human nature?
-No. What people believe constitutes "human nature" is largely a construct of the ideology of the time in which people live. Most socialists believe that human society reflects the "material conditions" that exist at a given time. In the pre-agricultural age, humans were "naturally" communalistic. In the agricultural age, when labor became specialized, humans began to need to exchange items through trade, leading to the foundations of modern society. In a society without a profit motive or significant hierarchical power structures, much of the things that drive us under capitalism - greed for example - will no longer be exacerbated.

Why would anyone work in a society without wages?
-Depending on your tendency, there can be multiple answers to this question. However, humans have labored for millennia without wages - the purpose of wages is to provide an employee with recompense for selling his or her labor time to an employer. When there is no longer a distinction between the two and production is geared towards human needs, especially as technology makes it increasingly possible to produce mass quantities of things and automation replaces unnecessary labor, the need for money will disappear. Many socialists believe that payment will still be required during a transitional phase; but it is helpful to remember that the ultimate goal is human liberation from work.

What can I do?
-Educate yourself and educate others! Leftism in all its colors is egalitarian and seeks to unite people in all their diversity who seek to end oppression and exploitation. Read as much as you can, debate as much as you can, join organizations, participate in protests, carry out direct action, vote (if you're not against electoralism of course). And always remember that despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, you live in an age that is more progressive than ever before entirely because those who came before you struggled, fought, and often died to give you a better world. History has shown that change is inevitable - but it requires human action to direct change towards progress.

HEADLINES
- CPN-M warns of the launch of an armed insurgency
- The CNTE and police clash in Mexico over proposed reforms that would privatize and standardize the Mexican education system, while also hurting teacher unions.
- Air France pilots join the general strikes in France over proposed labor law
- 150,000 students in Chile protest for free education

Resources


News websites:
Insurrection news worldwide - Insurrectionary anarchist news
Signalfire - Maoist news
The Rojava Report - News on Rojava
Libcom - Libertarian socialist news

Books and resources:
The Anarchist Library - Free anarchist books
Marxist.org - Free Marxist/Leninist books

Youtube and media:

Economic Update
- Marxist economics podcast
The Final Straw Radio - Anarchist podcast from Asheville, North Carolina
Libertarian Socialist Rants - Libertarian Socialist youtuber
Anarchopac - Anarchist youtuber
Reading Marx's Capital - Guided video reading of Marx's Capital
The Finnish Bolshevik - Leninist youtuber, discusses theory and events
crimethinc movies - Anarchist documentaries
belabored - A leftist podcast
RichardDWolff - Lectures by Richard D Wolff
SubMedia.tv - Anarchist media
subMedia's youtube channel
SubMedia's podcast
Zero Squared - Leftist philosophy podcast
NovaraFM - Leftist podcast with a larger focus on British politics

Other:
Michael Roberts Blog - A Marxist economist blog
Rojava Plan - The main Rojava website
mccaine.org - Marxist book reviews and analysis
Black Rose Federation - A North American anarcho-communist organization
Jacobin - Leftist magazine
The North Star - Leftist opinion articles
In Defense of Marxism - Marxist news, articles, and theory


Please Remember
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  • Debating is fine, but no trolling
 

Mecha

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The spectre of communism now haunts NeoGAF! Thanks for writing up the vast majority of the thread sphagnum.
 

LizardKing

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I dunno man. When I get shouted down when I say free trade has a negative impact on jobs and our middle class is shrinking, and a majority come back with "it's inevitable" and "but it keeps the price of goods down" (ignoring how this does not cause the price of essentials such as housing and food and healthcare to come down in the same way. So basically people just like their cheap tvs and are fine with losing their quality of life and overall spending power), I'm not too convinced how leftist the youngins of today are.

They will go to bat for individual rights though unless it means guns or due process, so they do have that going for them. Well except strangely when it comes to workers right though which are hardly every discussed or given a second thought. Seems GAF is socially liberal but pretty pro corporate.
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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Great title. When I was a part of the International Socialist Organization in high school, whenever we went to a protest, there was always some argument with one of the other far-left organizations.

We can get a lot done if we didn't spent all of our time arguing over which philosopher was best.
 

Elandyll

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Oct 13, 2014
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What's funny about political alignment is that it's all relative. In France I am pretty much a centrist/ center left, while in the US I guess I am a full blown Socialist :)
 

kavanf1

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Oct 27, 2013
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Scotland, originally Ireland
Having read the OT, my conclusion is that leftism is fine in theory, it's putting it into practice that causes problems. Can't agree with the human nature part at all. As long as there is scarcity of resources, there will be haves and have nots, and politics that supports that.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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NSA watchlist IP check-in: the thread

:p I'm kidding (but not really considering how many lives have been ruined in the West over even discussing the cause.) While I love a lot about the revolution, it seems both current reality and history has no place for it. I believe established powers and business interests suppress it every time and Orwell was right about so many things but particularly "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

What will happen once the final trade zone abolishes factory labor due to automation or worker revolt? I have no idea. I still repeat "there are no nations" as a nice mantra though to calm me down in a sea of jingoism.

I stole this from a mod in a previous discussion because it makes me laugh:

 

jay

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Oct 25, 2006
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I always thought the distinction between liberal and left was silly. Then I watched this election cycle on gaf.
 

Boney

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I wouldn't call myself far leftist in terms of abolishing all private property, at least realistically in my lifetime, but I support this thread whole heartedly and thanks for the very concise writing regarding the various differences of ideals and the q&a. Fantastic work.

Seems GAF is socially liberal but pretty pro corporate.
Was insane to see this first hand in the US election cycle. A bit scary.
 

sphagnum

Banned
Oct 26, 2009
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Are you a far leftist OP? Never got that sense from your prior posts.

It says no trolling right in the second post!

LizardKing said:
I dunno man. When I get shouted down when I say free trade has a negative impact on jobs and our middle class is shrinking, and a majority come back with "it's inevitable" and "but it keeps the price of goods down" (ignoring how this does not cause the price of essentials such as housing and food and healthcare to come down in the same way. So basically people just like their cheap tvs), I'm not too convinced how leftist the youngins of today are.

They will go to bat for individual rights though unless it means guns, so they do have that going for them. Well except strangely when it comes to workers right though which are hardly every discussed or given a second thought. Seems GAF is socially liberal but pretty pro corporate.

Yeah, I don't think American youth are leftist. They're more socially liberal than ever before and have certain progressive economic policies they'd like to see put in place like free college or universal health care, but being raised in the world's foremost capitalist haven is going to make most people capitalistic by default. There were some polls done previously that seemed to indicate Millennials aren't necessary social democrats so much as they just support more leftish things that directly benefit them like the aforementioned policies. That said, socialism is no longer the immediate scare tactic word it used to be and there's fertile ground for us to continue spreading leftist messages.

I'm kind of interested in seeing what the general ideology of Generation Z ends up being.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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I'm a communist.

I'm a black communist to be exact.

I live my life trying to not be too soaked up and influenced by media and consumption. But at the same time, it's not something you can inherently always fight against. I buy food locally, I try to buy things such as electronics frugally. I participate in local communist/socialist groups.

What brought me over was when I worked a certain job. We were being paid chump change. It was literally back breaking work and hours were long. I used to be a capitalist. I thought it worked so long as it was regulated, but what I saw was far from regulation. We had an old lady over 50 years old, she'd work 14 hours a day. After 8 hours, you got a pay bump for over time to about 12 per hour. So people were outright hinted that it was best to work 12-14 hours a day. When I wanted to go to martial arts class after working 9 hours one day, I was given a speech and guilt tripped about how I'll have more money if only I work more hours and that "karate" (I was doing muay thai) can wait. It didn't take long to see capitalism, and more particularly American capitalism for what it was: absolute evil and complete leeching on hard working people for the bottom line. Where money and work are life. Stay in line, citizen.

Soon afterwards I read the Manifesto and I knew it in my bones that what it said was true. From there I went on to Noam Chomsky and more.

In no way do I believe communism is achievable in my life time. But I do try to get a little socialism in when I can by volunteering and being a part of my community, fighting for my co-workers rights, and being pro-union.

I do what I can, but it's a pretty lonely experience.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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I always thought the distinction between liberal and left was silly. Then I watched this election cycle on gaf.
I imagine by now you've seen that funny gallup poll where the American public prefers Muslims and Athiests over Socialists in terms of governing associations. Not that the gallup group isn't incredibly flawed but still.

Edit: Working in non-union trade for a decade in America solidified a lot of ideas I'd only read about. I do not believe in or condone any of the violence that occurs in the name of words written in books.
 

lord

Member
Feb 28, 2012
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italy
I like the Chinese model. A more democratic and free version of it should be achievable. I believe that history has shown that markets are a necessity for the transformation of a country. Being an apparent accelerator in infrastructure development and economic output. The issue is maintaining the commitment to achieve a social transformation, years, decades after.
 

Mecha

Member
Jan 5, 2012
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I wouldn't call myself far leftist in terms of abolishing all private property, at least realistically in my lifetime, but I support this thread whole heartedly and thanks for the very concise writing regarding the various differences of ideals and the q&a. Fantastic work.


Was insane to see this first hand in the US election cycle. A bit scary.

Far-leftists believe in a distinction between personal and private property. Owning a house and using it is personal property, when you own 10 houses and only 1 is used by you then the rest are private.

Anyone can feel free to correct me on this.
 

Boney

Banned
Jan 6, 2010
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In terms of millenials. I expect environmentalism to pick up considerably but I'm not optimistic about the Information Age ushering any kind of revolution because there's still too much control of it and kids are busy in Instagram.
 
Jul 18, 2015
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In terms of millenials. I expect environmentalism to pick up considerably but I'm not optimistic about the Information Age ushering any kind of revolution because there's still too much control of it and kids are busy in Instagram.

Not sure if it's related, but I am considering vegan because of climate change.
 

Lego Boss

Member
Aug 15, 2013
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Been reading some of Henri Lefebvre's Rhythmanlysis on my mega (delayed) train ride home.

Two things strike me:

1) He is as radical as any other European philosopher of the 20tg century (e.g. Deleuze, Baudrillard)

2) Railways in the UK need to be owned by the public for the public. Capitalism does not work with public transport!!!
 
Jul 18, 2015
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Been reading some of Henri Lefebvre's Rhythmanlysis on my mega (delayed) train ride home.

Two things strike me:

1) He is as radical as any other European philosopher of the 20tg century (e.g. Deluxe, Baudrillard)

2) Railways in the UK need to be owned by the public for the public. Capitalism does not work with public transport!!!

How bad is the train system is in the UK? In the USA it's abysmal and completely agreed.
 

Mecha

Member
Jan 5, 2012
2,796
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In terms of millenials. I expect environmentalism to pick up considerably but I'm not optimistic about the Information Age ushering any kind of revolution because there's still too much control of it and kids are busy in Instagram.

The worsening environmental situation should be a focus of the far left. Sadly, most people aren't going to care about any radical solutions to environmental problems (within capitalism or not) until we are struggling to keep the ocean from flooding major cities.
 

sphagnum

Banned
Oct 26, 2009
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Thanks for this thread.

No problem. Thank you for the testimony.

I've always found it kind of odd when people say socialists are all idealistic college students and once they get a real job they'll become capitalist. I played around with all sorts of left wing ideologies in college, and once I graduated (half a decade back at this point) and started to experience the daily grind of real work, not just part time jobs but knowing that this was going to be the situation every day of my life, socialism went from being a theoretical idea to something extremely obvious.
 
Feb 23, 2011
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I like the Chinese model. A more democratic and free version of it should be achievable. I believe that history has shown that markets are a necessity for the transformation of a country. Being an apparent accelerator in infrastructure development and economic output. The issue is maintaining the commitment to achieve a social transformation, years, decades after.

As a liberal/social democrat, it seems like hell. The worst excesses of Capitalism (with some strong state controls, sure), combined with a backwards, autocratic approach to civil liberties/rights.
 
Jun 13, 2014
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What are the far lefties views on whats happening in Venezuela?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...-life-is-undervalued-and-death-is-overpriced/

To me, as an unabashed enthustiastic capitalist, Venezuela is an example of what happens when corrupt people are able to ruthlessly exploit the flaws in socialist environments. Many of the same flaws exist in capitalist environments, but the key difference is that the monopolies are run by corporations, not the government. Its much easier to "disrupt" corporations and for new entities to take over, than it is to change corrupt governments.
 

sphagnum

Banned
Oct 26, 2009
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Having read the OT, my conclusion is that leftism is fine in theory, it's putting it into practice that causes problems. Can't agree with the human nature part at all. As long as there is scarcity of resources, there will be haves and have nots, and politics that supports that.

Well, that's certainly something that I think most Marxists would agree with, which is why they believe you can't make the jump to communism - you have to go through the socialist state first, which is imperfect and retains the "birthmarks" of capitalism. Whether or not scarcity can ever actually be effectively conquered is up for dispute, but even if we can't make the full leap to communism I think a political/economic system that democratizes the workplace is better than the alternative.
 

Mecha

Member
Jan 5, 2012
2,796
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No problem. Thank you for the testimony.

I've always found it kind of odd when people say socialists are all idealistic college students and once they get a real job they'll become capitalist. I played around with all sorts of left wing ideologies in college, and once I graduated (half a decade back at this point) and started to experience the daily grind of real work, not just part time jobs but knowing that this was going to be the situation every day of my life, socialism went from being a theoretical idea to something extremely obvious.

College students usually do the most militant action, so I can see why some people make such assumptions. It's still a pretty lame way to try to undermine any movement.
 

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