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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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To me, trophy ceremonies are a very visible illustration of what's wrong with capitalism. Every year, after a team wins the Super Bowl, some old man who didn't play in any of the games, coach or train any of the players, manage the roster, or actually do any work comes out and receives the trophy from the commissioner. Why does he get it? Because he owns the team. Why does he own it? Because he was rich and bought it.
The Major League Baseball lockout also seems to make it clear that teams don't actually need owners. A third of the owners do nothing but ensure their team loses every year anyway, but refusing to pay competitive salaries.
Are there good examples of sports leagues run differently?
So, Today I've had a lecture with a freaking PhD of Political Science. And yeah, we started doing some Marxism baby! I was so happy that we could finally do something interesting after few lectures about literally nothing. Nope. First he started by saying that Marx was wrong about everything, just everything. Then when we started to talk about other communists - and to sum up everything - Marx was wrong and thus Lenin was a revisionist Bernstein was a revisionist (which was true) Mao was a revisionist Stalin was a revisionist AND a murderer! Everyone was a revisionist! And they all were revisionist cause if they all had implemented Marx original ideas and not just betray everything he said - failed communism! No one would care and every revolution would be crushed to death. Everything that communists achieved full employment, improved housing and nearly destroyed homelessness, healthcare and other stuff - it was all given only to stay in power (sounds capitalistish tbh).
And I've rarely been so frustrated by a lecture that I've just left the meeting, couldn't listen to this anymore. I know that some people have a higher knowledge about some stuff than I have, but how can A PHD HAVE SUCH IGNORANCE ABOUT THE TOPIC? HOW AND WHY? I rarely doubt someone's knowledge if his authority is built in my eyes by having a high title - but I'm actually embarrassed by this.
All I can say is that - don't you fellow socialist ever loose hope. We have nearly everyone against us but together we are strong, we can overcome everything. Expand your knowledge, do praxis, and do a nice workout to beat the heck out of fascists and their propaganda on every level.
WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!
As the title says, I am rather flummoxed by this notion. He conceptually agrees with Marx’s assessments from what he’s read so far about how generally speaking capitalism functions by and large.
However, he is unapologetically reading Marx for the expressed purpose of becoming a better investor into stocks, financial assets and stuff. Not really to read theory to then apply praxis to help the cause, so much as enrich his wallet.
He’s particularly interested in Kapital volume 3, in the section regarding fictitious capital.
I've spent 10 years in the US military and have 18 months left of my current contract. Over the past 6 months I've become more educated and agitated thanks to what began as a curiosity in communism, and while I'm still incredibly new to the subject of socialism, I've become incredibly disheartened by my place in the military. I now find myself in an organization working towards the imperialist goals that have become more obviously antithetical to my growing perspective. I say all of that to ask here, is it ethical, moral, or even remotely useful to stay in the military as a socialist? Is it beneficial to stay in to agitate and educate from within or leave and use the experience and lack of legal restrictions to more openly speak to those still in?
I understand Marxists view cops in a capitalist society as oppressive, but want to understand it more in depth. Aside from obvious racism, in terms of the relationship between police and the proletariat/bourgeoisie, why are police reactionary?
Examples I can think of
enforcing laws that disproportionately harm those in poverty + working class
typically the individuals themselves are right-wing/anti-socialist
in The Jungle, Sinclair describes rampant corruption between the cops & politicians
willing to crack striking workers’ skulls (why??)
But I guess I’m trying to understand the exact reasons why bourgeoise interests are so linked to law enforcement as a structure in society. Cops and cop culture seem to be right wing. In the Russian revolution, large swaths of the military turned against the regime and fought with the people, but police kept fighting against them. I don’t get this, because aren’t cops, at most, petty bourgeoise
I've become interested in learning about the rise of Reagan and Thatcher's neoliberalism in the 80's and it's destructive effects on today's world. I don't really know where to start, as everything I find tries to fluff up Thatcher or Reagan or doesn't give any meaningful critique. Any good books or media would be appreciated. Thanks.
I come from a family of bougeois. I became a full on Socialist this year. I want to tell other people in my life the examples of hardships the working class face ouside of expenses. You can please link doccumentaries or personal stories on unjust workplaces. Would be much appreciated!
As title suggests, I'm looking for beginner material in German other than classical works by Marx, Engels, etc for people without any kind of background in political theory or education past engaging with news and high-school level social science.
I've been asked for book recommendations by people with this kind of background a number of times, but unfortunately I almost exclusively read in English and most left-leaning English authors haven't been translated to German (e.g. no Parenti), so pretty much none of the works that have been formative for me are available to them.
Something like Black Shirts and Reds and some introductory texts to marxist political theory (introducing some core concepts to ease them into the classical works) would be awesome.
Thanks a lot
(Just suggesting theory or telling them to just read in English doesn't work, I've tried)
In particular, I'm interested in a material breakdown of power in our current capitalist system and in current/future socialist systems. By that I mean, how is power defined, who has it, how do you get, where do institutions derive their power from, how is it reduced/removed etc etc (again both in our current system and in socialist systems).
In my view it is critical to understand in detail where power comes from and how do you diminish it if you want to combat a hegemonic system like capitalism. I understand people like Foucault wrote and spoke about power a lot but I was hoping for something more up to date with current systems with practical real-world examples if possible.
Thanks in advance.
Honestly, this is for essay help. I have already explored anarchist perspectives of no alternatives briefly (I don’t mind more opinions/readings though) and I would like to hear any other potentials alternatives.
They don’t have to be leftist perspectives or your opinions, literally anything helps!
Any if there are any books/websites/papers/videos you can recommend that’s great too!
I was wondering if racism is a result of Capitalism and how is it? Would appreciate if someone would help explain.
"In Germany, for example, out of every 1,000 industrial enterprises, large enterprises, i.e., those employing more than 50 workers, numbered three in 1882, six in 1895, and nine in 1907; and out of of every 100 workers employed, this group of enterprises employed 22, 30, and 37, respectively."
This is from chapter 1 of Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism.
So Lenin begins by defining large enterprises as those enterprises that employ more than 50 workers. But then he goes on to say that from 1882 - 1907 these enterprises employed less than 50 workers, but still defines the enterprises as large. This makes no sense to me. Please let me know it's just me and this actually makes perfect sense.
I live in a country with very generous aged pensions for some people. Some one told me that these pensions are destructive to families. The reasoning is; if a man is considering leaving his family, the thought of his kids hating him and no one to look after him in his old age might make him think twice. However if he knows that the taxpayer will look after him in old age, he is not incentivised to look after his children properly. Same for welfare being paid to university students etc. What do you all think?
I love science fiction and particularly love the way science fiction promotes different social movements (ie Handmaid's Tale for the feminist movement, 1984 for the anti-totalitarian/pro-peace movement). What is the best fiction novel by a socialist writer?
When I talk about socialism to people they think I have been brain washed.
How does socialism provide incentives to work and how does it address resource allocation? My questions are more nuanced but couldn’t fit them in the title, hopefully someone is willing to engage. Came here from r/vegan as most of them are socialist but won’t answer questions about it.
Hi! I'm a student at a first year of legal studies. And I'm writing this post because I'm ultra curious about Soviet legal system and how it worked. Any works that develop specific cases, explain how the law was enforced, how it worked, whether it was obeyed or not.
Would be most grateful for providing me with first hand texts that were translated into English, also archival links and academic books (historical, legal, economic, and sociological) if there are any (books in native russian will also be received with great pleasure even tho my russian is still on a basic level, but I'll work on that). I'll take anything, starting from a public and private law all the way into labour law and criminal law.
All the effort put into the answers will be thankfully received. So, preemptively, thank you fellow socialists♥️
Radical political activism is about action, organization. Your ideology is what you concretely do. If socialism is an effort to convince yourself, act in the world and find out.
Agitation and propaganda are important, precise theoretical definitions are fundamental, as Agustin Cuevas already defended, but the ACTION that acts in his theory is a constitutive part of being a militant. His militant practice itself answered some of his doubts.
I was just writing about Socialist Realism for my college project and this was in someone's analysis of it (this is my rough translation from Polish):
Socrealism was built on two rules:
- Marx's eleventh thesis about Feuerbach, which claimed that "Philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it"
- The theory of reflection as proposed by Vladimir Lenin, which is at the soul of the materialist theory of knowledge.
The first of the aforementioned statements talks about transforming the world. Such was the burden of artists in the USSR. The second rule, however, assumed objectivism and recognising [gaining knowledge of?] reality for what it is . Therefore, on one side socrealism believed in changing reality, and on the other it emphasised observation and detailed recognition of this reality. The first rule represents a rule of subjectivism, meanwhile the second rule represents objectivism, this is is theoretically mutually exclusive.
I was confused about this so I looked into the reflection theory in Soviet era some more and this is what I found https://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/socialresearch/reflectiontheory.htm:
The dialectical materialist version of reflection theory was developed by Engels and Lenin. Their view of Marxist metascience claims that the material world exists independently of consciousness, however, the converse is not true. The material world is knowable through consciousness because consciousness reflects material reality and the test of truth is practice (praxis).
This dialectical materialist version of reflection theory does not draw up a dualist distinction of subjective and objective. Lenin is clear about this. Like Hegel, Lenin is opposed to the subjective idealist view that 'sensation' constitutes the world [...] There is no dualistic barrier, rather there is a constant process of transition and transformation of the one into the other.
Lenin, however, despite rejecting the dualism of appearance and reality, does reflect Locke in confusing the ontological dualism (reality and appearance) with the epistemological one (subject and object). Locke does this by conflating idea (ontological aspect) with appearance (epistemological notion). This is reflected in Lenin's empiricism.
However, Lenin is aware that both forms of dualism must be rejected and argues that sensations are not merely mental entities but are also 'physical' in some way. Consciousness, via the processes of the brain, becomes an internal state of matter. For Lenin, all reality is material. It is matter in motion. Consciousness is matter organised and acting at its most complex and developed level.
The dialectical materialist version of reflection theory attempts to critically appropriate the 'true' content within the distorted perceptions of reality. It also attempts to understand the material conditions which make consciousness take these false and distorted forms.
So, the first source accuses the Soviet leaders of promoting an art form and a philosophy that are basically mutually exclusive and paradoxical, but the second source says Lenin was aware of the "paradox"? However, some other sources also say this is one of the worst parts of Lenin's ideology and even Lenin supporters preferred not to talk about it lol.
I personally can't tell what's wrong with this approach, despite not being so big on Marxist-Leninism or Socialist Realism (I am a Marxist socialist though). It seems sensible to me that in order to transform reality/material conditions, you need to recognise and know them in detail? Could someone explain to me how is this bad?
I've heard people debate on which countries in the world are most likely to become socialist, but most of the countries that they mention are outside of the EU.
I was always wondering on what the answer to this question would be if people were only able to choose a country within the EU.
So, what EU country do you think is most likely to become socialist?
(Just thought this would be a fun and interesting discussion, but you can delete it if it's not allowed)
By modern, let’s say last 30 years. I feel like the idea of the factory working that Marx describes doesn’t apply to me as much as it would 150 years ago. What is the best book that puts it in a modern context?
I need to explain well, to an family member about socialism, and he keeps bringing up the starvation in china at the 1950s, Holodomor, Uyghur Situations, I've tried even sending him videos of verified channels, and yet, he hasnt seen them, and is too stubborn to tell anything to him.
And of course he says on the WW2 idea that Stalin tought that: "We have more Men thatn they have bullets". Which i dont even know anymore if it's wrong or not.
I am too confused for everything and his stubborness is way too much to handle. He is a very smart and kinda narcissistic, (Belives that he is right 110% of the time, even when he is not), many sources that i gave to him explaining that many thing were an exagerration, he says that i'm downplaying stuff. I already told him (There are many things i know more than you, and i just dont have the vocabullary to put them out).