Are you a communist?

Yes
78% (62 votes)
No
18% (14 votes)
Don't Know
5% (4 votes)
Total votes: 80

Posted By

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:07

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Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:07

Hi

Are you a communist? Am I? How does one tell?

What is the meaning and content of communism, and will the working class ever support it with that name?

Love and peace etc

LR

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:13

Hi

It's a bit cheeky voting "yes" and not telling us what the meaning and content of communism is. Is the Morning Star a communist paper? They seem to think so, so why argue?

What do people make of the likes of Castoriadis' "anti-communism", is communism the authentic ideology of the working class after all?

Love

LR

Jacques Roux
Mar 30 2006 15:16

Castoriadis was writing in a certain time and place. I dont have any experience but i think being a leftist now is very different from 'back-then'. That said in popular culture North Korea is still called a Communist State.

I would call myself a communist in certain analytical scenarios, but i dont think it will see a resurgence as a word to be used until it drops out of popular culture as a term for places like North Korea. Same with Socialist to an extent, although that seems to have got off lighter.

I didnt vote btw.

Steve
Mar 30 2006 15:19

To me communism means a future classless, stateless society based upon common ownership of the means of production.

So in this sense I'm a communist although I don't use the term that often (if ever) to describe my politics.

Joseph Kay
Mar 30 2006 15:21
rkn wrote:
I didnt vote btw

proper anarcho, you circle A wink

me neither - communism means so many different things, c'est la différance! (i think confused embarrassed)

EDIT: ahh fuck it i'll vote yes meaning a gift economy would be nice

ftony
Mar 30 2006 15:22

well i guess i see communism (i.e. anarcho-communism) as in relation to syndicalism:

* communism: community-based organising

* syndicalism: workplace-based organising

i'm not sure which is more important, but the two spaces are quite distinct, and it's hard to endorse both unless you're employed locally (but still, there are arguably problems here as well).

dunno if that has anything to do with what other folks are talking about

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:23

Hi

Quote:
To me communism means a future classless, stateless society based upon common ownership of the means of production.

Fair enough. When does a thing become a means of production? When it takes more than one person to operate it?

Or do you mean the common ownership of everything. Are there models of common ownership which are not communist? I can think of a few which would have communists turning in their graves.

Love

LR

Steve
Mar 30 2006 15:24
ftony wrote:
well i guess i see communism (i.e. anarcho-communism) as in relation to syndicalism:

* communism: community-based organising

* syndicalism: workplace-based organising

But anarcho-syndicalists don't split workplace and community organising like that.

JDMF
Mar 30 2006 15:26
ftony wrote:
well i guess i see communism (i.e. anarcho-communism) as in relation to syndicalism:

* communism: community-based organising

* syndicalism: workplace-based organising

no no no no grin

Anarcho-syndicalists are libertarian communists, and there is no split mate.

georgestapleton
Mar 30 2006 15:26

I voted yes.

Communism to me is the supersession of commodity production and the era of the material human community. black bloc

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:32

Hi

Steve wrote:
ftony wrote:
well i guess i see communism (i.e. anarcho-communism) as in relation to syndicalism:

* communism: community-based organising

* syndicalism: workplace-based organising

But anarcho-syndicalists don't split workplace and community organising like that.

I’m with you Steve. ftony's spin on the matter is certainly unique. Makes you wonder if, really, communism is better off left to the Communists.

I overheard a couple of friends of mine at work (who’re definitely outside of the traditional political milieu) recently saying that what we needed was “a new type of communism”. It makes you wonder if one day the tide could turn.

Love

LR

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:37

Hi

Quote:
Communism to me is the supersession of commodity production and the era of the material human community

Now we're talking. So communism is a specialist Marxist approach to commodity exchange as a degenerate social relation. Very catchy I must say. I like a bit of human community, but I find commodities so handy, I wonder if it’s worth it.

Is a communist economy necessarily non-monetary?

Love

LR

georgestapleton
Mar 30 2006 16:06

I said production not exchange. And yeah I think it would be non-monetary but that's perhaps more theoretical.

Anyway I was only giving a smart-alex answer. Everyone knows communism is when society is organised 'to each according to need from ach according to ability'.

Commodities are produced for the market, i.e. for profit, and not for need thats why their production needs to be superseeded.

ftony
Mar 30 2006 16:18

hmmmm

so i'm getting a little hint that what i said pretty much sucked arse, but...

from wikipedia

Quote:
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labor movement, hence the "syndicalism" qualification. Anarcho-syndicalists view labor unions as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the State with a new society democratically self-managed by workers.

okay maybe i was thinking more like communitarianism which yes, is diffrent from communism. but maybe i've just invented something amazing...

it's been a long day sad

feel free to elaborate on why my post was dodgy

Haraldur
Mar 30 2006 16:55

I voted yes.

I think of communism as any society without a Price System which distributes goods based on need or want and in which people work through their own choice.

(It is for that reason why I view Technocracy as way of acheiving and sustaining that, so it basically is a specific type of communism, though many Technocrats would disagree with me).

While we are at it, what is the difference between anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism, ignoring methods of getting to the goal?

lem
Mar 30 2006 17:33
Lazy Riser wrote:
What do people make of the likes of Castoriadis' "anti-communism"

What is Casstoriadis' anti-communism - what sort oradical change in Britain would he want - just democratcially run work places and greater public spending?

Proletariat
Mar 30 2006 18:20
Quote:
Are you a communist? Am I? How does one tell?

What is the meaning and content of communism, and will the working class ever support it with that name?

Yes I am a Communist to be more specific I am an orthodox Marxist.

Here is a great set of articles created by a fellow Comrade you may find them of interest to you.

http://www.redstar2000papers.com/

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 18:48

Hi

Quote:
I said production not exchange.

Doesn’t the communist notion of commodity production imply exchange? “That which is made only to be sold” and other complaints.

Quote:
I think it would be non-monetary but that's perhaps more theoretical.

On the contrary. It’s a practical question of economic organisation.

Quote:
communism is when society is organised 'to each according to need from each according to ability'.

What does this actually mean in practice? It makes some rash appraisals of subjective quantities, means all things to all people and is a totally vacuous statement, not to mention a bit Christian. Each’s consumption and effort are pretty much “according” to his/her needs and abilities already, at least as measured by social consensus. Under communism, won’t the community decide on each’s needs and abilities in the same way? I’m afraid it might.

Quote:
I think of communism as any society without a Price System which distributes goods based on need or want and in which people work through their own choice.

To be literally true, this must mean “under communism there will be a lot of stuff”. In fact, there are a few people who argue that you won’t get communism until there is lot of economic security within capitalism. The precondition of abundance. Trouble is, if you already achieved economic abundance what’s the point of converting to an ideology which has been against the prevailing model all along? What’s the objective?

Quote:
Commodities are produced for the market, i.e. for profit, and not for need thats why their production needs to be superseeded.

Unfortunately, producing things for profit is a better way of giving people what they need than trying to measure need directly and making to order. The economy as a whole must profit in order to improve living standards, and the non-hierarchal economy only profits when individuals do. Orthodox victim-communism makes the flawed assumption that capitalism is a maximally profitable economic model, when in fact it’s its slim returns that render it obsolete.

Quote:
What is Casstoriadis' anti-communism

Depending on one’s source, he was either anti-Communist (a libertarian socialist) or anti-communist (proposes a non-communist economic model).

Quote:
what sort oradical change in Britain would he want - just democratcially run work places and greater public spending?

A fifteen-minute coffee break as it happens. I’m not one for trying to interpret philosophers’ intent, however I can almost guarantee that “greater public spending” would not be on the agenda.

Love

LR

Quote:
When workers launched wildcat strikes to win a fifteen-minute coffee break, trade unionists and Marxists tended to consider such a demand as trivial or indicative of the workers' backwardness. But, by lodging such a demand, the workers were challenging the very foundation of the capitalist organization of the business enterprise and of society -- namely, that man exists for production - and they opposed to this the principle of organizing production around the needs and life of man the producer.
Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 19:17

Hi

Who voted "no"? I hope it wasn't one of those pesky Christians. Political passports please!

Love

LR

OliverTwister
Mar 30 2006 19:50

like everything anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism change meanings over time.

Both would be considered libertarian communist in general.

Someone once asked some syndicalists a good question, would a communist (or anarchist or free or whatever) society be run by workers?

Edit: Here's a good section from a larger document by some very theoretically clear modern anarchist-communists (and for the very interested, they will also tell you why they are anarchist- and not anarcho-).

Haraldur
Mar 30 2006 20:38
Quote:
To be literally true, this must mean “under communism there will be a lot of stuff”. In fact, there are a few people who argue that you won’t get communism until there is lot of economic security within capitalism. The precondition of abundance. Trouble is, if you already achieved economic abundance what’s the point of converting to an ideology which has been against the prevailing model all along? What’s the objective?

According to Technocratic theory:

1. Capitalism, or any other Price System society, cannot survive under conditions of abundance. For instance, noone can sell air because it is too abundant, noone sells sand in the desert. The moment the capability to produce an abundance of goods and services is unrestrained, Price Systems become impossible, so Capitalism dies (and the Great Depression of the 1930s was in part caused by there being more stuff than could be sold. There was more food in storage than needed for people to eat, but it could not be distributed). For this reason the establishment stockpiles or destroys goods, or deliberately keeps production low, all to keep prices up. They will never unleash abundance as they can not then sell things to others. It can only be unleashed after revolution, in my opinion.

As such, Capitalism can only exist in conditions of insecurity and scarcity.

2. The continent of North America, as a whole, has had the capability to produce an abundance of goods and services since at least 1912, and I would imagine that Europe would have caught up by now. Notice that this is talking in terms of continents. With current technology, no single country (with the possible exceptions of China, Russia and the USA) has sufficient natural resources to produce an abundance of goods and services (assuming trade with the outside to be impossible).

For this reason I think that any revolution here must be a Europe-wide revolution.

3. Abundance has not been reached anywhere (and never will be under Capitalism, see above), but the capability to produce it has. This is a fact for North America, and a possibility for Europe (NET, Network of European Technocrats, is soon going to find out whether Europe has the capability).

However, I do not think of abundance as a pre-requisite for communism (as I am pretty sure they were getting there in Spain), as long as there is a certain minimum of production: enough to feed and clothe people etc., if not necessarily the capability to produce more than anyone could want.

madashell
Mar 31 2006 09:24
Quote:
When workers launched wildcat strikes to win a fifteen-minute coffee break, trade unionists and Marxists tended to consider such a demand as trivial or indicative of the workers' backwardness. But, by lodging such a demand, the workers were challenging the very foundation of the capitalist organization of the business enterprise and of society -- namely, that man exists for production - and they opposed to this the principle of organizing production around the needs and life of man the producer.

Isn't this more about a very specific branch of communism, though? I.e. vanguardist Communists/Marxists as opposed to anarcho-communists who would (I would hope!) actively support any action which improves the confidence, living conditions or autonomy of the working class.

Lazy Riser
Mar 31 2006 11:24

Hi

3 non-communists now. I wish they'd "come out".

Quote:
Isn't this more about a very specific branch of communism, though? I.e. vanguardist Communists/Marxists as opposed to anarcho-communists who would (I would hope!) actively support any action which improves the confidence, living conditions or autonomy of the working class.

Ho ho. Perhaps the anarcho-communists are the “very specific branch of communism” and the vanguardist approach represents authentic mainstream communism untainted by fluffy libertarianism.

Love

LR

David UK
Mar 31 2006 16:21
Lazy Riser wrote:

Are you a communist?

Yes. Though an Anarchist-Communist, I sometimes feel this is an uneven way to introduce my political standpoint, and so sometimes choose between describing myself as an Anarchist or a Communist, depending on who im talking to.

--

I'd describe Communism, as an ideology that advocates a classless, stateless society without money or markets organized along the lines of “from each according to ability, to each according to need”

--

I suppose I'd say im a communist, before an Anarchist, I kind of feel Anarchism is implied in the term communism, I only need mention "libertarian" or "anarcho" to show my disagreement with other forms of authorotarian communism.

sam sanchez
Mar 31 2006 17:19

I take the "from each according to" blah blah statement as meaning that you do an agreed amount of work as best you can (as agreed in directly democratic assemblies etc. you know the drill) as a conditions of joining an anarchist-communist commune, and then you can take what you want from the shops. Of course, there would be some compromises, like we might decide to ration scarce things in very high demand until we'd developed that sector. Also, if you ordered a huge luxury yacht for yourself, the workers at the ship yard would probably tell you to bugger off. You could complain about that through the assemblies and federations (in which you have an equal voice), but in such cases your fellows would probably back the shipbuilders.

So "to each according to their needs" would not only imply free access to consumables, but also that people's needs as producers would be an equal consideration, which implies some compromise rather than unconditional, unlimited consumption. But this would not be a problem, since a libertarian communist society could be built around both community assemblies and federations of all members, and dual workplace organisations such as industry and cross industry federations of workplace assemblies.

I don't think, Lazy Riser, that an anarcho-communist society would result in people's consumption choices being dictated by "the community". Of vourse, people's choices are limited now by what is produced, and how much money they have, and will be in any moneyed system. But in a communist system, with each having equal control over the decisions that effect them, why would anyone vote for the community to dictate individual consumption, since that rule would apply to themselves as well?

Lazy Riser
Mar 31 2006 17:45

Hi

Quote:
I'd describe Communism, as an ideology that advocates a classless, stateless society without money or markets

Sounds a bit Presbyterian. Assuming you would allow some form of personal property, would communism make gambling with it illegal?

Love

LR

Lazy Riser
Mar 31 2006 17:49

Hi

Quote:
But in a communist system, with each having equal control over the decisions that effect them, why would anyone vote for the community to dictate individual consumption, since that rule would apply to themselves as well?

Maybe they think others’ preferences are frivolous or offensive to their religion.

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 13:53

Quite possibly. But in intervening in such a way in they would set a precident. How do they know that others won't think the same about some of their consumption needs? Therefore it would be more in their interests to safeguard against some of this sort of interference rather than promote it.

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 13:55

Of course communism would have personal property, which is always property based on use, and even if your not using somethign at the moment, who cares when its possible for "consumer" goods to be perfectly abundant anyway. You cannot put yourself in a position of hierarchical authority by owning a video recorder.

Lazy Riser
Apr 3 2006 14:59

Hi

Quote:
How do they know that others won't think the same about some of their consumption needs?

Perhaps it’s a risk they are prepared to take, maybe they’re prepared to give up chocolate in exchange for wider temperance. The point is that the public, for whatever reason, is happy to prohibit certain consumption and will presumably be happy to continue to do so in a communist economy. Even revol68, who I’m sure is a fine communist, insists on social control of individual consumption. “Each according to their needs” suddenly becomes an objective term and we’re back to square one with regard to the specific meaning and content of communism as a model of supply and demand.

Quote:
Of course communism would have personal property, which is always property based on use, and even if your not using somethign at the moment, who cares when its possible for "consumer" goods to be perfectly abundant anyway. You cannot put yourself in a position of hierarchical authority by owning a video recorder.

Say you use it to record movies and distribute them in exchange for labour notes, or potatoes. Is that not then the “private ownership of a means of production in a market”.

Quote:
who cares when its possible for "consumer" goods to be perfectly abundant anyway

How will you decide what size TV to buy, or will there be only one? Will it be big enough for wayward tastes, or small enough to satisfy the need to save energy? This idea of cornucopia and communism magically coinciding is pure science fiction.

Love

LR