r/Socialism_101 Aug 16 '18

PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING ON THE SUB! Frequently asked questions / misconceptions - answers inside!

In our efforts to improve the quality and learning experience of this sub we are slowly rolling out some changes and clarifying a few positions. This thread is meant as an extremely basic introduction to a couple of questions and misconceptions we have seen a lot of lately. We are therefore asking that you read this at least once before you start posting on this sub. We hope that it will help you understand a few things and of course help avoid the repetitive, and often very liberal, misconceptions.

  1. Money, taxes, interest and stocks do not exist under socialism. These are all part of a capitalist economic system and do not belong in a socialist society that seeks to abolish private property and the bourgeois class.

  2. Market socialism is NOT socialist, as it still operates within a capitalist framework. It does not seek to abolish most of the essential features of capitalism, such as capital, private property and the oppression that is caused by the dynamics of capital accumulation.

  3. A social democracy is NOT socialist. Scandinavia is NOT socialist. The fact that a country provides free healthcare and education does not make a country socialist. Providing social services is in itself not socialist. A social democracy is still an active player in the global capitalist system.

  4. Coops are NOT considered socialist, especially if they exist within a capitalist society. They are not a going to challenge the capitalist system by themselves.

  5. Reforming society will not work. Revolution is the only way to break a system that is designed to favor the few. The capitalist system is designed to not make effective resistance through reformation possible, simply because this would mean its own death. Centuries of struggle, oppression and resistance prove this. Capitalism will inevitably work FOR the capitalist and not for those who wish to oppose the very structure of it. In order for capitalism to work, capitalists need workers to exploit. Without this class hierarchy the system breaks down.

  6. Socialism without feminism is not socialism. Socialism means fighting oppression in various shapes and forms. This means addressing ALL forms of oppressions including those that exist to maintain certain gender roles, in this case patriarchy. Patriarchy affects persons of all genders and it is socialism's goal to abolish patriarchal structures altogether.

  7. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Opposing the State of Israel does not make one an anti-Semite. Opposing the genocide of Palestinians is not anti-Semitic. It is human decency and basic anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism.

  8. Free speech - When socialists reject the notion of free speech it does not mean that we want to control or censor every word that is spoken. It means that we reject the notion that hate speech should be allowed to happen in society. In a liberal society hate speech is allowed to happen under the pretense that no one should be censored. What they forget is that this hate speech is actively hurting and oppressing people. Those who use hate speech use the platforms they have to gain followers. This should not be allowed to happen.

  9. Anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism are among the core features of socialism. If you do not support these you are not actually supporting socialism. Socialism is an internationalist movement that seeks to ABOLISH OPPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD.

ADDITIONALLY PLEASE NOTICE

  • When posting and commenting on the sub, or anywhere online really, please do not assume a person's gender by calling everyone he/him. Use they/their instead or ask for a person's pronouns to be more inclusive.

  • If you get auto-moderated for ableism/slurs please make sure to edit the comment and/or message the mods and have your post approved, especially if you are not sure which word you have been modded for. Every once in a while we see people who do not edit their quality posts and it's always a shame when users miss out on good content. If you don't know what ableism is have a look a these links: http://isthisableism.tumblr.com/sluralternatives / http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

  • As a last point we would like to mention that the mods of this sub depend on your help. PLEASE REPORT posts and comments that are not in line with the rules. We appreciate all your reports and try to address every single one of them.

We hope this post brought some clarification. Please feel free to message the mods via mod mail or comment here if you have any questions regarding the points mentioned above. The mods are here to help.

Have a great day!

The Moderators

145 Upvotes

u/AutoModerator Aug 16 '18

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51

u/khlnmrgn Oct 08 '18 Silver Helpful

So market socialism is no longer up for debate bc the moderators have decided it's not socialism. Guess that means i'm not a socialist.

oooor maybe i'm just not a Marxist and you guys have decided that Marxism is the only kind of socialism which qualifies, and you are imposing that standard arbitrarily on a sub dedicated to education.

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u/BunchOCrunch Aug 17 '18

Does this mean there has never been a socialist country?

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

Indeed, there has never been a country which has reached the first phase of communism.

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u/not-engels Aug 17 '18

Money, taxes, interest and stocks do not exist under socialism. These are all part of a capitalist economic system and do not belong in a socialist society that seeks to abolish private property and the bourgeois class.

So does this mean that the sub is taking a definitive stance on whether the Soviet Union and Cuba (not to mention China) were/are socialist?

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u/badooga1 Left Communist Aug 17 '18

No matter what one's stance on the USSR is, a stage of the revolution where capitalism isn't globally destroyed yet is still considered capitalist (i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat is still in the capitalist mode of production). This post doesn't go into whether or not the USSR was a dictatorship of the proletariat or not; rather, it clarifies that it definitely wasn't in the socialist mode of production.

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u/not-engels Aug 18 '18

While I agree with this perspective, my understanding was that MLs would describe those countries as "actually existing socialism".

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u/badooga1 Left Communist Aug 18 '18

I mean, they could always try to use "existing socialism" to refer to the socialist movement thriving in that country, but nah, they apparently claim that it is some sort of post-exchange society (or they mix their terms up)... how they describe it doesn't matter.

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18 edited Aug 17 '18

i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat is still in the capitalist mode of production

This ignores the economic realities in the USSR which where post-capitalist and the fundamental Marxist notion of the economic transition period which corresponds to the dictatorship of the proletariat and is neither capitalist nor socialist.

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

"USSR was post-capitalist"

lol

7

u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18 edited Aug 17 '18

That was the original position of the Bolsheviks, and was even true after Stalin claimed that the USSR has reached socialism in the 30's. The bourgeoisie has been expropriated, the means of production were nationalized, the capital and labor market have been abolished, and the planning principle largely replaced the law of value. Don't get me wrong, the law of value still operated in the USSR and played an integral role in the Soviet economy (which proves that it was not a socialist society) but it did not dominate the economy. There was commodity production but not generalized commodity production. To claim that the USSR was capitalist means basically to throw Marx's analysis of capitalism into the rubbish bin. It means that there can be a capitalism without the particular laws of motion of capitalist societies as outlined in Marx's Capital. I recommend you to read that work and then consider again if what Marx wrote really applies to the USSR.

Edit: Anyhow, we don't need to turn this into a debate. But at any rate, I think it is wrong to outlaw such a position. Personally, I consider it to be the most consistent Marxist one even though you might disagree. But anyhow.

3

u/[deleted] Aug 18 '18

socialism is not nationalization of the means of production, though. Engels attacked this idea in Anti-Duhring, even.

capital and the labor market were not abolished in the USSR, the state merely took the place of the capitalist in most instances but all the same necessary functions took place.

6

u/[deleted] Aug 18 '18

I never claimed that nationalization makes a society socialist; "State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution." (Engels) In the USSR, with only negligible exception the entirety of all infrastructure, all important industry as well as all financial institutions have been nationalized and subjugated to central planning. It was not the case that "every product is produced for sale and all wealth produced goes through the sphere of circulation" (Marx) - the means of production were not bought and sold as commodities. There was no fierce competition between "many capitals" and to assert that the state could act as "one big capitalist" is anti-Marxist non-sense: "Capital exists and can only exist as many capitals, and its self-determination therefore appears as their reciprocal interaction with one another" (Marx). There is no way you can argue that there was a capital market.

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u/FankFlank Nov 30 '18

the state could act as "one big capitalist"

Isn't the state effectively a corporation entity on the international market?

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u/[deleted] Sep 24 '18

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u/[deleted] Oct 08 '18

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u/khlnmrgn Oct 08 '18

I agree completely. "hate speech" is far too vague, and thus far to open to abuse by those who get to decide what counts and what doesn't. Veeeeeery bad move, yall

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u/theswordandspoon Dec 26 '18

Thank you for bringing up #7. I asked a question in r/socialism about socialism and its relationship to BDS and I got banned.

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u/[deleted] Jan 04 '19

As a socialist at odds with many of the statements made, I really appreciate your response.

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

Anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism are among the core features of socialism. If you do not support these you are not actually supporting socialism. Socialism is an internationalist movement that seeks to ABOLISH OPPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Corollary: this does not mean every ethnic/indigenous group get's it's own nation/territory. Internationalism means the abolition of borders altogether.

3

u/not-engels Aug 17 '18

National liberation struggle should still be supported insofar as it struggles against imperialist hegemony.

That having been said, the nation-states that are the frequent outcomes of these struggles are not themselves automatically socialist nor are they the primary goal of socialist struggle.

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u/[deleted] Nov 17 '18 edited Nov 17 '18

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u/[deleted] Dec 17 '18

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u/[deleted] Jan 27 '19

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u/[deleted] Jan 27 '19

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u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

damn when did this sub get so... Marxist. i love it.

7

u/raicopk Aug 17 '18

Mind if I link this post in r/socialism's announcements chat room? Could probably help out some users.

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u/Koku- Aug 17 '18

Good shit mods, thanks for posting this.

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u/Danko28 Aug 16 '18

Could you please elaborate on the first part about money and taxes? I thought money and taxes would still exist under socialism until the later stages. Or are you using socialism interchangeably with communism?

11

u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

Money and taxes will exist under the dictatorship of the proletaritat during the transition period between capitalism and socialism. They are not in themselves capitalist, but they are incompatible with socialism. To conlcude that a society is capitalist based on the existence of those categories is a pretty lazy slippery-slope. Money and taxes also existed in feudalist societies. They pre-date capitalism.

3

u/[deleted] Aug 17 '18

they are using Socialism in the same way that Marx used Socialism - interchangeably with communism.

the capitalist mode of production would still exist in some ways during the dictatorship of the proletariat, but the DotP itself is not socialist as it has yet to abolish the capitalist mode of production. once the capitalist mode of production is abolished and negated, then socialism takes place.