Decadence

135 posts / 0 new
Last post
Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 12 2006 22:15
lem wrote:
Quote:
You have yet to offer any specific analysis, something which I find of little use.

What will you do when you work out where the revolution is most likely?

Move there! grin

At the moment I think I'm in the right continent and my prediction is that I'm only a "Dover to Calais" crossing away from the place where the first functioning Communist society will be. Better start learning French!

Demogorgon303 wrote:
Empiricism is part of the scientific method, not the whole thing. It is not equivalent to historical materialism, which you claim to be employing precisely because it is ahistorical....

Well historical materialism is, if you like, a macro science. It can give you a "big picture" and it can also help you understand specific events.

However, when using historical materialism to analyse a specific event, we need to take a "snapshot" and find out as much empirical data about that event.

For instance, from a historical materialist perspective we know that Russia in 1917 was a bourgeois revolution. However, to further elaborate on that we need to take a "snapshot" of Russia - from say 1917 to 1930 (or even 1990) - and then collect empirical data from that period.

This data will either confirm or invalidate the original hypothesis - the bourgeois revolution in Russia - and therefore through "a-historical" analysis of Russia, we will have proved a historical analysis.

Basically, if Marxism is to be considered a Science - and historical materialism its most important instrument - then we need to be able to present a hypothesis using the historical materialist method and then proceed to try and verify that hypothesis empirically.

Anything less and we reduce ourselves to Ideologues at best, and "holy prophets" at worst.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
In the same way, just because national liberation struggles were progressive in one period does not mean they are progressive in all periods. Your method reduces capitalism to an eternal, unchanging category.

Well you see you and I judge "periods" in different manners. I (crudely) judge "periods" by "levels of technology" and therefore will occasionally say the Russian Revolution was Russia's 1789, or what's happening in Nepal now, is Nepal's 1789.

You on the other hand, seem to judge "periods" as strict global chronological things. So while I'd say in Nepal it's 1789 and in Britain it's 2006, you'd say everywhere is 2006 and therefore draw your conclusions from this.

As for the original point - national liberation struggles ceasing to be progressive - I feel you have a fair point there.

In some places, they have ceased to be "progressive". For instance, I'd say Independence for Northern Ireland is probably a waste of time, the same applies to Independence for Quebec (?) and if Welsh (or Scottish) Nationalists picked up arms "for Independence", I'd emigrate to somewhere else!

However, in these places it is 2006, where as Iraq is say 1850-1900 and Nepal 1789. You see it's not that I think these things are "progressive" for all eternity, just that I dispute the way you measure "periods".

Demogorgon303 wrote:
On your point about specifics, all you seem to want to know is which country will have a proletarian revolution.

Got it in one.

I would personally love to live in a functioning Communist society before I die and to do that, you need to know where they are - or are going to be.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
I notice you've totally ignored the quote from the manifesto where he makes the point that you have to understand each "national struggle" in international, global terms.

Well if you look back a few pages in this thread, you'll see that I pointed out a victory for the Iraqi Resistance would create a far more hospitable "climate" in Britain and America for "revolutionary ideas".

Good ideas - as I'm sure you know - don't change anything. Rather when certain material conditions arise, people get attracted to certain ideas and then act on these ideas.

This means that as revolutionaries we should try our hardest to "knock down" the things that stand in the way of these processes. We can't influence Capitalism and create economic crises, but we can do our best to help destroy the things - Religion, Patriotism, Racism, Sexism, etc. - that delay the process in which people are attracted to "radical ideas".

That is all "we" can do. It may sound gloomy and pessimistic - to the Leninists it downright "blasphemous" - but it is the truth.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
In the case of decandence, its consquences mean a total rejection of all national liberations struggles, rejection of union work, rejection of bourgeois democracy.

Those sound fine, when applied to the Modern Capitalist Countries, but for everywhere else....

1) As I have said, National Liberation struggles in outer shitholia are "progressive".

2) Union work in "young" Capitalist countries can take on a revolutionary "edge".

3) I agree with that one. Parliamentary cretinism is always a complete waste of time.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
....where national liberation gangs turn on the proletariat as soon as they come into power (Ho Chi Minh)....

This one stems straight from your universal "period" outlook. Ho Chi Minh is portrayed as a "villain" who "turn[ed]" on the proletariat (I was unaware of a substantial proletariat in Vietnam at that time).

Yet what seems not to have occurred to you, is that that's what happens in bourgeois revolutions. It's not "villainy" or "nastiness" or anything else. It is what was dictated by material reality.

It's actually rather similar to the way of thinking employed by Leninists. They moan that it was Stalin's fault, or Kruschev's fault, or Deng's fault and so on.

Without realising that there was no "personal villain", just the material conditions (bourgeois revolution) producing a new set of material conditions (Modern Capitalism).

Demogorgon303 wrote:
You've castigated the theory for failing to predict where the revolution will break out, yet you have not actually shown that you have a better method. Very well then, as it is so clearly important to you, lets see you answer you own question! More to the point, you can explain why it is more "useful" to know this rather than knowing what the tasks of the proletariat will be when such an explosion occurs?

Is there a direct question in there somewhere? ....because the paragraph implies it, but I can't seem to find it.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
And I repeat again, what intergration does take place is at the price of disintergration elsewhere - it is estimated that over a million textile workers across Europe will lose their jobs in the next year.

Of course, if Marx was right, one would expect this type of thing.

Demogorgon303 wrote:
The threat is not just to the "old capitalisms" - other developing nations are feeling the pinch....

Well that is the problem "developing" countries face from "developed" (China is more or less a developed Modern Capitalist Country) Capitalist Countries.

It has happened before and in my opinion is not "proof" of "capitalism's decadence".

Demogorgon303 wrote:
Stalin's Great Terror was a better deal?!

Well the "Great Terror" was mainly directed at political opponents and not the working class in general.

However, when you look at the "benefits" Russian workers had, I'd say it was far better to be a worker in 1930's Russia than 19th century England. Wouldn't you?

Demogorgon303 wrote:
Finally, on War Economy....

This is a whole other topic. If you really want too, start another thread and we'll discuss it there.

Needless to say, my criticism of "decadence theory" doesn't rely on, or even stem from, the idea of a "war economy". It's actually a distraction from my main criticisms.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 12 2006 23:07
Armchair Socialism wrote:
At the moment I think I'm in the right continent and my prediction is that I'm only a "Dover to Calais" crossing away from the place where the first functioning Communist society will be. Better start learning French!

I have, why do you think that.

I do like this thread, although AS could you consider slightly shorter posts? It can get a bit much sometimes. "Brevity is the soul of wit"

Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 13 2006 00:15
Jef Costello wrote:
....why do you think that.

Well there are a combination of reasons....

1) This is the most important, Capitalism in France is one of the older Capitalist epochs around - indeed depending on when one places the date of bourgeois hegemony in England, it could be the oldest.

This means that the everything in that class structure is very strained and (maybe) getting close to total collapse.

2) Very high amount of atheists and nominal believers (atheists in practise) there. Plus, the Government continues to attack superstition. grin

3) Follows on from 2, France in my opinion has the most advanced "culture" in the world.

4) Paris of 68' and the spontaneity of that event really puts the Parisian working class ahead of any other working class before them. That they weren't forced into action, speaks volumes in my opinion for the possibility of a Communist working class in France within the next 50 years.

That's all I can think of "off the top of my head", but here's another daft one....

5) I like France! grin

Jef Costello wrote:
....although AS could you consider slightly shorter posts?

Duly noted. I will keep that in mind next time I post.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 13 2006 11:28

While France is an old capitalist economy it does have a lot more socialist provision in the system than this country for example, there's been a lot over trouble recently over pensions and benefits.

French workers are more militant, Paris was such a beautifully revolutionary city.

The government is not acting against superstition, it is picking a fight with muslims to identify the cadres for a militant islamic militia that could be used to crush secular opposition. black bloc

Beltov
Offline
Joined: 10-05-05
Feb 13 2006 14:58
Armchair Socialism wrote:
Questions, goody....
Beltov wrote:
Does he think that capitalism is eternal?

The evidence so far points in the direction of Marx's hypothesis being correct. However, only a functioning Communist society will prove this.

Could you clarify what you mean by 'Marx's hypothesis'?

So, do you think that it's possible to have socialism in one country (or a number of developed countries) amongst a sea of capitalism? If so, for how long?

BTW, do you really have to put every other word in bold? The form of your posts really obscures the content.

Beltov.

lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Feb 13 2006 17:00

"

Armchair Socialism wrote:
5) I like France! grin

So I'll

Armchair Socialism wrote:
Move there!

" smile

Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 13 2006 18:42
Jef Costello wrote:
The government is not acting against superstition....

Well I consider the liberation of young Muslim women (and young Jewish boys) from the oppressive symbols of a Medieval Superstition a pretty "progressive" thing.

Sure the motives of the French Government are "nasty", but the end result will be great!

Beltov wrote:
Could you clarify what you mean by 'Marx's hypothesis'?

That Capitalism and class society would "give way" to a functioning Communist society.

Beltov wrote:
So, do you think that it's possible to have socialism in one country (or a number of developed countries) amongst a sea of capitalism?

Well it depends upon the countries....

http://www.revolutionaryleft.com/index.php?showtopic=45554&view=findpost&p=1292010770

Beltov wrote:
If so, for how long?

Well I'd estimate (guess) that a "proletarian Britain" say, would last around 50 to 100 years before collapsing if there were no other revolutions. A "proletarian North America" or a "proletarian European Union" would last a lot longer, if not indefinitely in my opinion.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 13 2006 19:12

Hi

I think an economically self-sufficient Britain could survive as a Working Class Autonomy, especially if we took advantage of our excellent robotics industry and coal.

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 13 2006 20:52
Lazy Riser wrote:
I think an economically self-sufficient Britain could survive as a Working Class Autonomy,

Isn't that self-evident?

Could Britain actually be economically self-sufficient?

I'm not convinced that it could hold up in relation to other economies.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 13 2006 21:12

Hi

What do you mean "hold up"? I'm sure the Norwegians and French would be on side soon after, if not before.

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 13 2006 22:03

I don't believe this country has the raw materials to make it without trade and lacks the ability to produce the consumer goods required to stop people bitching.

"If not being oppressed is so great why don't I have a big TV?"

People are idiots. (I'm just bitter because my TV is small and doesn't work very well.)

The French would rather die than join us. Unless it REALLY pissed off the Americans and the Germans smile

I'd take the Finns and the Swedes too.

I'd like Morocco, I was meant to be going with a mate and he dropped out on me. He'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes, mark my words.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 13 2006 22:43

Hi

Quote:
I don't believe this country has the raw materials to make it without trade

Cheap energy and process cycle time/costs are the deciding factors. I think we’ll have access to enough basic materials through reclamation, discovery and swapped in exchange for access to our processing facilities.

Quote:
lacks the ability to produce the consumer goods required to stop people bitching.

People bitching about product quality is a good thing. Nationalisation caused the degeneration of our manufacturing capability by disconnecting product quality and bonus income.

Quote:
"If not being oppressed is so great why don't I have a big TV?"

I’d venture that money and markets are still taboos in just about every leftist niche other than afraser’s disturbing “Market Socialism” and my equally horrifying “Playground Economics”.

Quote:
The French would rather die than join us

The French Working Class would rather be destroyed and perish utterly than see the British Working Class abstain from a single act to which their nature moves them.

Quote:
I'd take the Finns and the Swedes too

Agreed. The Finns are key.

Quote:
I'd like Morocco, I was meant to be going with a mate and he dropped out on me. He'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes, mark my words.

An early Anglo-Franco-Moroccan axis would be a powerful revolutionary block and no mistake. The Dutch would be in, they could translate.

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 13 2006 23:19

My point is that bigger TVs are not better material conditions Jack.

I bet your TV is bigger than mine, you guys are so bourgeois.

LR, the UK has little primary industry and not too much secondary industry. Our economy is geared around teritiary industry and as a result it is especially vulnerable to isolation.

I don't reckon its possible for tis country to be self-sufficient with its current population, mind you I reckon this country is doomed anyway.

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Feb 13 2006 23:40
Lazy Riser wrote:
People bitching about product quality is a good thing.

so will there still be markets after the revolution? i ask because one of the many things no libcommie has been able to tell me is what recourse i'll have if my things, my stuff, is for crap. sad

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 14 2006 00:15

Hi

Quote:
UK has little primary industry and not too much secondary industry

Systematic deindustrialisation orchestrated by the IMF and Tories, capitulated to by Labour and the CBI.

Have you noticed Bush’s new programme for U.S. energy-self-sufficiency? Capitalism’s trajectory is changing, finalising the arena of its own doom.

Quote:
so will there still be markets after the revolution? i ask because one of the many things no libcommie has been able to tell me is what recourse i'll have if my things, my stuff, is for crap

I imagine markets are pretty much forbidden by all self-identified communists, you’d presumably have a complaints procedure. I don’t really understand how you’d get really nice, soft, luxury, toilet paper. This gives me considerable cause for concern regarding the viability of contemporary communist economics.

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 14 2006 00:26
Lazy Riser wrote:
I don’t really understand how you’d get really nice, soft, luxury, toilet paper.

In a worker's paradise we will have that scratchy stuff that looks like tracing paper. Stop being such a reactionary.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 14 2006 10:11
Jack wrote:
I've also got a digital projector.

That is cool, but I couldn't afford one of them tho sad

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Feb 14 2006 13:24
Lazy Riser wrote:
I don’t really understand how you’d get really nice, soft, luxury, toilet paper. This gives me considerable cause for concern regarding the viability of contemporary communist economics.

aye!

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 14 2006 13:43

Hi

Indeed. I think "labour notes" might work, but you'll have to allow some kind of market for someone who especially likes expensive soft toilet paper to, maybe, put up with a smaller TV in recompense. In which case the difference between said scrip and money is hardly worth pondering.

With a market in toilet paper and TV’s and money to boot, is that still communist? Dunno.

The Communist Manifesto, as usual, avoids the matter by telling us that we’re all so poor it doesn’t matter. Very useful.

At some point leading up to our complete transcendence from bourgeois rule, we’re going to have to write off working class debt and give people ownership of their current rented accommodation. What’s the best way of making that process fair enough for people to be happy with it? Perhaps we could let people off the interest on the loan, and get them to pay off the principal into a special pot for the winners of disco dancing competitions. Universal citizen’s income should make that reasonably painless. Anyone got a problem with it, random jury courts can save the day.

Love

LR

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Feb 14 2006 14:34

What is 'afraser’s disturbing “Market Socialism”'?

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Feb 14 2006 14:44

I am intrigued. Can afraser explain it for me?

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 14 2006 15:24

Hi

Don't encourage him...

http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=61878&highlight=#61878

Market Parecon with tax and usury. Nasty biz if you ask me.

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 14 2006 18:27

Would all comrades not have a right to soft toilet paper? I don't see how we can have a worker's paradise if some of the workers have itchy arseholes.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 14 2006 18:51

Hi

Perhaps the cost of luxury toilet paper will make the planners think it is too frivolous to produce. Also, the devil will find work for supple ring-pieces to do.

I can imagine Brinton knocking out a quick pamphlet showing how authoritarian conditioning and itchy ring-pieces are linked via Freudian anal obsession.

I expect Jack will be along in a moment. The thread will be binned, and it’s all my fault. Mwha ha ha ah.

Some communist had better pipe up with a recipe for tomorrow’s cookshop soon, or someone’s going to have to build their own toilet paper factory and incur the wrath of the Special Commissar for the Inhibition of Markets, not to mention the officer in charge of the Elimination of Private Ownership.

Love

LR

Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 14 2006 19:51
Lazy Riser wrote:
I think an economically self-sufficient Britain could survive as a Working Class Autonomy, especially if we took advantage of our excellent robotics industry and coal.

Quite possible.

None of us can predict what Britain will be like (technologically) just before and after a revolution. For all we know, Cornwall may be able to survive as a self sufficient place!

Lazy Riser wrote:
This gives me considerable cause for concern regarding the viability of contemporary communist economics.

Remember, Communism requires abundance. However, you may like the suggestions in here....

http://www.redstar2000papers.com/theory.php?subaction=showfull&id=1083202823&archive=&cnshow=headlines&start_from=&ucat=&

And....

http://www.redstar2000papers.com/theory.php?subaction=showfull&id=1083079914&archive=&cnshow=headlines&start_from=&ucat=&

There are some really good Anarchist pieces about post-revolutionary societies and I think some pieces by the French Marxists of 68', but these are the only pieces that I have read that suggested the use of "swipe-card" technology in helping determine want and need.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 14 2006 20:53

Hi

Quote:
Communism requires abundance

That’s something communism and I have in common. How do communists suggest we achieve an appropriate level of frivolous indulgence? The general strike perhaps?

Love

LR

Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 14 2006 21:49
Lazy Riser wrote:
How do communists suggest we achieve an appropriate level of frivolous indulgence?

Technological advancement, how else?

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 15 2006 10:19

Hi

Armchair Socialism wrote:
Remember, Communism requires abundance
Lazy Riser wrote:
How do communists suggest we achieve an appropriate level of frivolous indulgence?
Armchair Socialism wrote:
Technological advancement, how else?

So, do we require abundance to have working class revolution in the first place?

If so, does that imply that capitalism’s productive forces can still be developed in the interests of humanity, and can still afford significant gains to the workers?

Love

LR

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Feb 15 2006 10:43

I love you guys

Armchair Socialism
Offline
Joined: 28-01-06
Feb 15 2006 18:45
Lazy Riser wrote:
So, do we require abundance to have working class revolution in the first place?

Well that's a difficult question, because "abundance" is a loose term and basically means enough to enable a Communist society to function - and of course until we see a functioning Communist society we won't be able to tell what actually constitutes an "abundance".

However, I'd speculate that when we start to see the real proletarian revolutions - not the bourgeois revolutions of the last century that "cloaked" themselves in Marxist rhetoric - there will already be a suitable "abundance" which will make Communism materially possible.

Why? ....because class societies tend to "fall apart" when technological development seriously undermines the existing ruling classes hegemony.

The Printing Press for instance, made it possible for the French Revolutionaries to mock the King - and Religion - with great "gusto". This kind of attack on the existing social relations wouldn't have been possible without that particular piece of new technology.

Similarly I expect new technologies to do the same to Capitalism whilst also creating the conditions under which a Communist society could flourish.

Of course with Capitalism there were many Industrial developments that helped the rise of the bourgeois, the rise of the working class will be - I expect - very similar in that respect.

Lazy Riser wrote:
If so, does that imply that capitalism’s productive forces can still be developed in the interests of humanity, and can still afford significant gains to the workers?

In certain places, yes.