Socialism Is the Only Way

Much like Charles Darwin, who discovered immutable truths regarding of the origins and evolution of life, Karl Marx was a pioneering scientist. He guided humanity through the reasons capitalism was born, why it would thrive and dominate for a time, and how its inherent contradictions condemn it to death. Marx forecast capitalism, once dead and buried, would be replaced by a superior economic system. Under socialism the shots would no longer be called by a wealthy few but by all the productive people in society in a genuine democracy. For the sake of human survival, sharing rather than competition would be at the foundation of the new system.

History up to Marx’s day and time recorded the transition from feudalism to capitalism as a bloody mess. So Marx well knew that it was likely to be just so when capitalism was forced to make way for socialism. One thing he could not gauge was the scientific and technical advance capitalism would make before it reached its dying days.

So the problem humanity faces is that capitalism in its last throes, rotting internally, irrational and increasingly insane, is now armed with doomsday weapons and has created the technology to create the Orwellian state. The system infects culture and controls the mass media and education across a growing part of the world. It places its servants in seats of political and military power, and creates philosophy and myth to glorify its own existence. It is complete amoral. It has now evolved into a system that would not bat an eye before killing every single human being on the planet.

In the near term, capitalism will take increasing advantage of war, disaster, disease, terror, and slavery to feed itself. Wholesale destruction and regime change will be visited on the oil producing states like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela and other resource-rich areas. Left unchecked, eventually the United States, China, India and the European Union will fight wars for control of world markets and access to resources.

Capitalism depends on profits to live and the appetite for those profits simply cannot be satisfied! For example U.S. oil companies have realized world record profits every quarter for the past several years yet Big Oil must continue to raise the price of gas. The fact is, unless they make ever-greater profit into the indefinite future ExxonMobil and Chevron will whither and die. That is why, against every instinct toward justice, the oil company’s servants in the Congress reject a windfall profits tax, have given away billions of dollars of royalty rights revenues, and will eventually give up drilling rights prohibitions on the Gulf Coast and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today, even the largest corporations, like General Motors, Nissan and Renault, seek the comfort of each other’s arms. They will only survive in combination as wealth is consolidated in fewer and fewer entities!

But wars for resources, higher commodities prices and mega-mergers are only putting off the day of reckoning for capitalism. There is only so much technology can boost production or wages can be depressed until a slave system must be created. Even at that, the system will then stare into the eyes of its fatal contradiction. Slaves cannot buy the products they produce.

The American electorate again slogged through the political muck to try to be heard in 2006. Their effort turned out to be an exercise in complete futility or the nation’s symbol of anti-war motherhood Cindy Sheehan would not be challenging the nation’s first female House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008. The experience, frustrating as it was, will open more minds to the real source of our oppression and the true telling of our nation’s history. The fact is that the story of the United States of America is bound up in the birth and rise of capitalism, and the nation’s present descent into dictatorship is part of the same economic system’s decline and inevitable death.

Coincidental with the birth of the US, fueled by the Industrial Revolution, the capitalist system was beginning to break the brutish shackles of feudalism on the people of that day. At the same time capitalism began creating the only force capable of destroying it—the working class. Nascent capitalism enjoyed explosive growth and it spawned revolutions around the world, including the American Revolution. The young and dynamic economic system found that a bourgeois democracy was the most fertile soil for development. The new nation and several other rising industrial countries adopted this form of government.

From the birth of the republic, capitalism has been able to provide the American people with several powerful incentives to buy into the program. Five percent of the world’s population is invited to consume 30% of the world’s resources by way of imperialism. Then the white American majority is invited to enjoy a disproportionate share of that material wealth by way of racism. An especially comfortable place is provided to politicians, intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats, and entertainers in the narrow strata of society Marx called the petty bourgeois.

Nowadays though, the deal with the capitalist devil is becoming more and more difficult to keep! The U.S. is being integrated into a global economy as capitalism searches for the lowest possible wage and the greatest possible profit. The process is steadily reshaping ours into a subsistence-wage service economy. The jobs of elite industrial workers, from auto and steelworkers to airline pilots, are disappearing across the country along with their health benefits and pensions. Even white Americans have begun to feel the pain of a declining standard of living. It is a process that will not be reversed.

Capitalism’s contradictory impulses have begun bumping into each other. It’s happening in the ongoing national debate on immigration and it happened in the recent Dubai Ports World controversy. Profits remain the system’s lifeblood so the ruling class craves an immigrant guest worker program and the United Arab Emirates’ petrodollars but the rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Arab sentiment coursing through U.S. society blocked that path to greater riches. The situation is worsening though. No matter the potential backlash now, desperate crumbling financial pillars of the system like Citicorp and Morgan Stanley are happily accepting the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi, Singapore and China.

Racism and xenophobia and nationalism and patriotism and every other tactic of division have been promoted relentlessly by capitalism with good reason. White supremacy, Black Nationalism, religious fundamentalism, sexism, homophobia, and all the crackpot schemes and the nihilistic cults of the bourgeoisie, like al-Qaeda, are dead ends for all of us who work. In contrast, our unity would be a poison arrow shot into this system’s Achilles’ heel.

Now as capitalism enters its final stage, a nearly seamless political transition to fascism is well underway in the United States. The mass media, the electoral machinery, and both major political parties are under corporate control. The trappings of bourgeois democracy are a hindrance on profits and so they are being shredded. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights are being rendered meaningless by plans for perpetual war, by presidential signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive, extraordinary rendition, government surveillance programs and the like. Programs based on democratic principles like the public schools, Social Security, and Medicare are being starved to death. Separate and parallel Internet and military forces are being constructed along with internment camps and the legal construct for a martial law declaration. Blackwater is the growing private military force of the ruling class, protecting them in Baghdad and patrolling the streets of New Orleans for them now. Because there are too many sons and daughters of the working class in the US military it can not be trusted by the bourgeoisie when the order is given to attack the American people. Likely the two militaries will one day face each other in combat.

Bloodless coups in 2000 and 2004 installed George W. Bush in the White House and it would take a team of psychoanalysts and profilers to catalogue the many and varied mental pathologies of Bush and his henchmen in the U.S. government. The point to keep in mind is that in this time and in this place the capitalist system required barely human persons in power capable of carrying out insane and grotesquely inhumane policies, up to and including nuclear warfare. Capitalism, like the HAL 9000 computer onboard the spaceship Discovery in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey is out of the control of its makers. The system now has only human sentinels, best represented by the so-called Neo-Conservatives in ruling circles.

American bourgeois democracy is being held under water. It will drown, never to be resuscitated. The liberal intelligentsia of the petty bourgeois spins its wheels in the mud of this reality. On this point Al Gore’s quixotic campaign to sound the alarm on the ecological disaster right around the corner is instructive. In An Inconvenient Truth Gore lays out the incontrovertible facts of global warming, hoping to organize and agitate to a tipping point that changes governmental policy. A young Al Gore saw Dr. Martin Luther King do just that in his confrontation with racism. Despite titling his recent book “The Assault On Reason” Gore and clings to the idea that rationality still has influence in American ruling circles. The real inconvenient truth is that even the great Dr. King could not generate an effective civil rights movement in this era and that the rape of the planet will not end until a stake is driven into the heart of capitalism.

The sad truth is that the petty bourgeois cannot defeat the capitalist ruling class! They are a timid and passive group who, in this time for warriors, gather at the gates of the palace to nag and complain essentially to each other. There are scores of Internet websites, magazines, newspapers, radio programs and networks, and some small television networks where liberal, left, progressive, and other commentators show up to whine out loud. They rail against the outrages and inhumanity of the U.S. government and the Bush Administration. They point out the duplicity, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the inhumanity, and the utter criminality loosed in the world today but to no useful end since capitalism will not be reformed nor shamed to death. Pointing out the defects of capitalism has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. The ruling class brushes its liberal democratic critics off like gnats as long as they stay away from the third rail. But let one of these voices dare mention unity based on working class-consciousness and a mobilization to strike at profits and great danger would shortly thereafter visit.

No matter the danger, it must begin to be spoken by a warrior vanguard: socialism is the only way humankind will live into the distant future on this planet. Only a working class with a consciousness of itself and united across all racial, national and cultural boundaries is capable of seizing power. Only a working class in power will see to the end of this madness and willingly share our available resources for the sake of human survival.

Malcolm Martin is a teacher and an elected teacher's union official of an American Federation of Teachers affiliate. He can be reached at: Malcolmxmlk@aol.com. Read other articles by Malcolm, or visit Malcolm's website.

55 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on December 27th, 2007 at 5:42am #

    Does “Malcolm Martin” really exist? This thing reads like it was generated by a computer! Random sentences based on jargon! Sounds like somebody had too much to drink over Christmas!

  2. Ron Horn said on December 27th, 2007 at 10:24am #

    Excellent article. But the working classes throughout the world do not have much time left. The capitalist classes are well on their way to destroying conditions on this earth that supports a human race. As Rosa Luxemburg said back in 1919, it is either socialism or barbarism. I think that we are well on our way to barbarism, and then in short time we will perish as a human race.

    We need more intellectual warriors like Mr. Martin to help us, the wealth producing working class, to become conscious of our power and the necessity to use that power to construct a human society that will thrive while living in sustainable harmony with the earth.

  3. Douglas Fiser said on December 27th, 2007 at 10:50am #

    Until more people are willing to use the word socialism openly and speak out for it nothing will ever change. The right has succeeded in demonetizing the word until people fear to say it. There can be no democracy without socialism.

  4. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:18am #

    I have to agree with Mr. Kenny’s critique. There is a lot of conjecture and assumption made in the article. You can easily pick out the contradiction in Mr. Martin’s article:

    [1] The author mentions wars based on nation states competition for resources however at the same time he mention how the U.S. is rapidly being integrated into a “global” economy. War clearly disrupts the stability that is required to maintain the smooth operation of the “global” economy.

    [2] No mention of Zionism. While author in passing mentions “anti-Arab” racism, there is no analysis about Zionism’s influence on U.S. foreign policy and the War on Iraq. Zionism’s interest is not necessarily aligned with the interests of capitalism and imperialism therefore clear analysis of this aspect is vital in order to formulate the proper understanding and response.

    [3] Clearly the author’s thought of placing “Black Nationalism” adjacent to “White Supremacy”. This is extremely disturbing because “Black Nationalism” is a response by oppressed people to White Supremacy. Anyone believing otherwise will clearly be looked upon with suspicion by people of color. Clearly by not mentioning Zionism but by aligning Black Nationalism to White Supremacy illustrates the sheer duplicity and muddled thinking that exist on the “left”. Such attitudes is why the “left” is incoherent and why there is little solidarity and unity.

    Clearly Mr. Martin hasn’t taken the time to explore why there is much greater unity among the left in countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Bolivia among their working class while there is little unity here in the U.S. Perhaps that is where Mr. Martin should begin because it is obvious that he has a lot to learn.

  5. corylus said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:23am #

    Michael Kenny, if you really exist, keep your insults to yourself, since you clearly can’t argue the merits or weaknesses of Martin’s article. Pinhead critics like you should be rejected by the computers controlling internet discourse. Have another drink yourself, lamebrain Kenny!

  6. AJ Nasreddin said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:50am #

    My favorite quote:

    “So the problem humanity faces is that capitalism in its last throes, rotting internally, irrational and increasingly insane, is now armed with doomsday weapons and has created the technology to create the Orwellian state. ”

    So, I always thought the “Orwellian state” was Socialism gone bad. Is this what Malcolm wants?

    I read Marx, and he has some interesting points, but I found him merely reactionary against the very bad conditions brought forth by the Industrial Revolution.

    I prefer a system were the person is not reduced to a commodity – which is what happens in the current capitalist system and also in the communist system.

    Personally, I feel the future is in interest-free capitalism. God has been saying for millenia that usery is bad – maybe now, in the mother-of-all credit bubbles, we will recognize this slimple wisdom.

  7. Al Parinello said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:52am #

    I just happened to run across this amazingly stupid web site. Crap like this is exactly why America is falling apart at the seams. Give an intellectually lazy individual the false hope of a better life by offering guarantees and what you will get are lazy intellectuals who become pissed at the disappointment of such pabulum. If you want a guarantee-Buy a toaster. For the rest of us, hard work and honesty will get us to see and experience the wonderful opportunities America has to offer. Try http://www.PreserveTheAmericanDream.com

  8. Chad Woodburn said on December 27th, 2007 at 1:17pm #

    The good news is that the author’s panacea is really just a pipedream. It will never really go anywhere. But even if it does, a vast majority of us will use armed resistance (if necessary–hopefully it won’t be) to keep the author’s “socialist dream” (more like “nightmare”) from becoming a reality.

    His definition of democracy is to many of us not democracy, but dictatorship. His view of what is reasonable is to many of us insanity. I doubt if there is anything that he believes that I agree with — once you scratch below the surface.

    As a working-class person (many are the years my income has been below the poverty level–despite a master’s degree and a willingness to work hard), I find his solutions to be the problem, not the cure. It is the “tender mercies” of the left that have habitually kept me down and stiffled my income-earning abilities and advancement.

  9. rev. bev said on December 27th, 2007 at 1:22pm #

    Please for the sake of you, your children, grandchildren and humanity as
    we know it. Please listen and take heart.

    Mr. Kenny, this is true. Wake up and realize we do need to become one to save civilization, not just in our precious country, but on the whole
    earth.

    We’ve been bamboozled and we must let go of our egos and see this
    IS happening to all of us, you, too, whether you’ll admit it before or after you see it on your very doorstep. We are not each others enemy although they try to keep us separated…..this is in the blueprint of every successful fascist government, including our own.

  10. maha said on December 27th, 2007 at 2:30pm #

    The trouble with believing that everything’s just floundering along, eg as in this statement: “..that capitalism in its last throes, rotting internally, irrational and increasingly insane..”, is that’s exactly what those in power want everyone to believe. The problem is things are not foundering along, those in power are not bumbling idiots — they have carefully engineered our present sick society, controlled our media and perceptions, provided, funded and headed groups of all colour. We are not in the “last thros” of anything, we are heading exactly where we’ve been led, a feudal system. Most people I know behave exactly as sheep — they trust their leaders are looking after them, they pay their taxes and think war is unavoidable, they smile and say “oh well” if you mention the crimes of this country and the suffering we sponsor, they’re mesmerised by TV and media which always has the purpose of preparing us for the next step into police state. This is not by chance. Hell, in England we even have an education initiative called SHEEP — I kid you not. How much in you face does it have to get?

  11. Malcolm Martin said on December 27th, 2007 at 2:46pm #

    Reflections on the Zionist State

    Capitalism has begun wheezing and sputtering under the influence of its fatal contradictions. One of the more graphic illustrations of the system’s growing irrationality has now been painted by one of its forward outposts—Israel. The state that Zionism created has begun sensing its mortality and is thrashing around accordingly. The guardians of the state are clearly in the grip of fear and uncertainty. The indiscriminate bombings of last summer in Lebanon and Gaza and the resultant killing of civilians and destruction of infrastructure, the kidnapping of Hamas legislators, the targeting of a U.N. observer post, and the outrage on Qana were desperate acts. Each farther outside the bounds of common sense than the one before.

    Completely out of the blue on repeated occasions and in leaflets dropped on the Lebanese, Israeli leaders have felt compelled to mention their power to erase Lebanon from the planet. The Israelis are blustering past the graveyard and their bully’s trepidation is bound to grow now that their adventure has gone badly. Prime Minister Olmert and his security cabinet moved in fits and starts. When the Israeli military’s nose was bloodied at Bint Jbail, they gave up on the idea of driving to the Litani River to establish their so-called buffer zone. Then the security cabinet realized the electrifying effect of this turn on the Arab people and they poured troops across the border. Even as they veered back to their original plan, deep down they knew that militarily speaking, only a Pyrrhic victory was available against Hizbollah.

    One thing the Israeli assault on the Gaza and Lebanon has made clearer is the alignment of forces in the Arab and Muslim world. Ironically, in different fashions both Hamas and Hizbollah were creations of Israel. Hamas was supposed to act as a counterweight to the Palestine Liberation Organization when Israel considered the PLO the most immediate threat to their domination of the Arab majority. Hizbollah filled the gapping chasm Israel created with the 1982 invasion and years long occupation of southern Lebanon. Both Hamas and Hizbollah have, through years of disciplined work and organizing, woven themselves into the lives of the respective peoples they seek to liberate. What a stark contrast with the rich Arab boys who have created the cult they call al-Qaeda. The clownish Ayman al-Zawahiri rushed to his camcorder after Hizbollah faced down the Israeli military to spout some silly rhetoric about a caliphate from Spain to Iraq in front of a poster that screams, “Please remember us, we did 9/11!”

    Under normal circumstances the impending death of a form of racism like Zionism (see the pictures of young Israeli girls writing messages and drawing on missile warheads soon to rain down on Lebanon) and the establishment of a secular state on the territory Israel now occupies where Palestinian Arabs of various religious persuasions and Jews of different nationalities could peacefully co-exist as equals would be cause for human celebration. Unfortunately, the panic that clearly grips Israel means they will likely join in U.S. attacks on Damascus and Tehran and resort to the use of their nuclear arsenal when all else fails. And that, on a larger scale, is the dilemma that the whole world faces as the capitalist system spearheaded by the United States begins experiencing it’s last gasps.

  12. Eric Patton said on December 27th, 2007 at 3:13pm #

    Socialism is classist and authoritarian. It privileges the coordinator class over the working class.

  13. maha said on December 27th, 2007 at 4:11pm #

    Al Parinallo, America’s hard at work murdering millions of innocent people abroad. No wonderful opportunities for these people..

    Thanks for providing the perfect example of the mesmerised, self serving, thoughtless, western citizen I was trying to describe earlier.

  14. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2007 at 4:14pm #

    None of this, including the discourse rising from it has any connection with reality.

    It is neither socialism nor capitalism which is at the center of our condition. These are the pre-texts and inventions we give to our manifest inability to make anything we touch work.

    We hem and haw about capitalism as a “greed” based system which seems quite deniable given Adam Smith’s writings (particularly on ethics), and much the same can be said of Marx. None of these templates are reflected in reality. And Mr. Patton the same can (and perhaps will some day) be said of PARECON.

    Dostoevsky has perhaps the last word.

  15. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 5:47pm #

    It is neither socialism nor capitalism which is at the center of our condition. These are the pre-texts and inventions we give to our manifest inability to make anything we touch work.

    Wow! That’s a pretty depressing outlook. With an attitude like that why struggle — struggle is futile. With an attitude like that there would never have been struggle. Struggle, especially struggle against oppression, is what effect change. Humans are imperfect and through history we should learn lessons. Clearly the people of South America are now engaged in a struggle to improve their lives with the rejection of neoliberal capitalism. This is an ongoing struggle and there will be setbacks because oppressors will not easily yield their power and will use all the tools at their disposal to disrupt progressive change. We can easily see see the effects of such disruption by the weakness and incoherence among the left in the U.S.

  16. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2007 at 5:54pm #

    Deadbeat that comment is derived from those who beat this up around the ears of capitalism and socialism.

    There are alternatives, there are workable solutions, solutions we know work; but we’re “content” to keep this going with anachronistic discussions around neo-classical capitalism and socialism.

    I agree that South America appears to be one of the brightest spots on the planet. Today, what countries like Pakistan need is a grass roots movement fashioned on the example set by a number of South American movements – notably Venezuela. South east Asia is in dire condition.

  17. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 6:13pm #

    Max,

    Thanks for the clarification. I do agree with you that there is too much rigidity on “old school” definitions rather than real analysis, clarity and actions that reaches the masses.

    Happy New Year

  18. dresden said on December 27th, 2007 at 6:33pm #

    Max, Venezuela! — God forbid. Hugo Chavez is a Cubanesque dictator in training. But then again, maybe you’re a fan of what Castro has done in Cuba. Chavez’s friendship with Iran is great news for everyone in the western hemisphere.

  19. Max Shields said on December 27th, 2007 at 7:05pm #

    A healthy dose of critical thinking is a wonderful antidote, dresden.

    Deadbeat, Happy New Year

  20. dresden said on December 27th, 2007 at 7:36pm #

    Antidote to what?

  21. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:18pm #

    Malcolm Martin says…
    Unfortunately, the panic that clearly grips Israel means they will likely join in U.S. attacks on Damascus and Tehran and resort to the use of their nuclear arsenal when all else fails. And that, on a larger scale, is the dilemma that the whole world faces as the capitalist system spearheaded by the United States begins experiencing it’s last gasps.

    James Petras would disagree with Mr. Martin’s conclusions. It presumes that the support for Israel, today, is influence by “the capitalist system”. It think Dr. Petras has clearly demonstrated that capitalism is NOT the driving force in the U.S. relationship with Israel.

    It appears that Mr. Martin’s response is designed to make analysis fit doctrine rather than provide readers with clarity and critical radical analysis. Thus “socialists” are missing the obvious elephant in the room while making insanely ignorant commentary that will only result in irritating the very folks the left needs to ally with.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 28th, 2007 at 12:43am #

    Dear me, dresden doesn’t like Castro or Chavez. Hardly surprising as these are the only two leaders in South America who head governments that rule for all the people, provide healthcare according to need not the ability to pay, provide universal,free, education and who are spreading these benefits to other South Americans, in a continent where neo-liberal capitalism would prefer that the poor starve. Caring for people before profit is anathema to capitalists, the unforgivable sin. I agree, on the other hand with Maha. Market Fundamentalism, neo-liberal capitalism-call it what you want, is basically a neo-feudal project. The parasite class despises the rest of humanity, one another included, but particularly the masses whose labour they exploit. When faced with resistance to their exploitation, they readily resort to murder, torture and ‘disappearances’ as the South Americans well know. For the capitalist class, apartheid South Africa was a close friend, a vastly profitable business opportunity and living proof of the inherent superiority of the white race and that Western Civilization that brought the world capitalism. I think the best metaphor for capitalism is cancer. Malignant, metastatic, designed for endless growth until it kills its host, humanity or the planet, take your pick. Individual capitalists are like cancer cells, each devoted to unending pursuit of ‘More’, as Johnny Rocco said. More, give me more! Forever and ever, Amen. Until Death do us part.

  23. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 1:43am #

    Well Mulga, that sure tells us how little you know about the workers’ paradise of Cuba anyway.

    http://www.cubaverdad.net/freedom_of_speech.htm

    http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=367

    In Cuba, any journalist who does not work for the official media is considered to be an “enemy of the state” or a “mercenary…

    There are currently 24 of them who have paid with their freedom for having founded an independent news agency, written for a dissident review or spoken to a media in the Cuban diaspora. Some are serving prison sentences of 14-27 years. Others are being held without trial. Another, despite being put on trial, has never been told what his sentence was. All of them however suffer the same overcrowding, appalling prison conditions and mistreatment from the prison authorities that are the lot of more than 300 prisoners of opinion on the island.

    In 2006, Cuba was still the second biggest prison in the world for journalists after that other workers’ paradise: China.

  24. dresden said on December 28th, 2007 at 6:53am #

    Thank you jaime. That is the lid that is slowly closing on the communist’s coffin. Oppression of dissent is the most prominent reason why communism is being whittled down to a quaint idea that never survives in the wild. Mulga, you obviously believe in freedom of speech and thought, and are eager to express yourself in the town square. Yet you refuse to address the fact that most could not do anything of the sort in a communist system. Or maybe it’s that you could express “your” views beneath the shadow of such an insecure ruling class, but those of us who disagree could not. Is this not the ultimate hypocrisy?

  25. Siamdave said on December 28th, 2007 at 7:47am #

    Escaping capitalism is indeed the major problem facing all of humanity today, and that means the major problem of we who understand this danger is educating those who do not. An accessible book that can be shared with others (free) is They’re Building a Box – and You’re In It – http://www.rudemacedon.ca/dlp/box/box-intro.html .

  26. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 9:53am #

    I don’t know how many of you have actually BEEN to a communist country, but I have, and

    1) there’s no such thing as a classless society
    2) in every society people want to do business and enjoy comfort
    3) everybody leads a “double life”

    In Cuba, China and North Korea, the “party members” or connected bureaucrats are the “elite” with access to goods and services ordinary people are denied. They also have more access to information and travel, which are in very short supply for your average Jose.

    One of the great ironies of Cuba, is that people have access to higher education, but are unable to realize their potential because of crushing bureaucracy, politics and lack of freedom.

    Why do you think people risk their lives to escape these places?

  27. Max Shields said on December 28th, 2007 at 10:27am #

    jaime, you so easily conflate, but I ask what makes China a communist country? What is communism?

    How does, say, North Korea’s educational, health care and food system compare to Cuba’s?

    Are you saying that communism is by definition totalitarianism? Have you ever read Marx? Do you think he was preaching totalitarianism?

    Yours and dresden seems so simplistic a world view – cozy though it may be.

  28. Nonoi said on December 28th, 2007 at 11:52am #

    Cuba has been ostracized and embargoed for 47 years (except for some help from the USSR, until Yeltsin). What kind of United States would have developed had England, France, Spain and the other big powers of the day got together to embargo the new republic, preventing Americans from doing business with anyone and blocking their western expansion? No doubt the new US of A would have managed to survive. But what kind of system would have emerged from such an ordeal?

  29. dan elliott said on December 28th, 2007 at 12:26pm #

    In spite of starting out claiming to have found “the only way” I found this article to be interesting, and the thread of comments/discussion even more so. But before I attempt to contribute a thought of my own, let me take a second to repeat what I believe is the best SOP for dealing with such as “dresden”, “jaime”, “neal” etc:

    IGNORE THEM. They have zero interest in the ideas being discussed. These indefatigible rightwing Trolls are not here to assess the articles or to talk about serious ideas at all: their purpose is primarily to disrupt, mislead novices, and waste as much of our time as possible. So my recommendation is “Just Shine ‘Em On”.

    Okay, back to the topic: “Socialism”. A word in search of a definition.

    What, pray tell, is “the socialist way”? Last time I looked, there were hundreds of “ways” being touted out there, all claiming to be the One True Faith. So to me “socialism”, the word, has gone the way of “freedom”, “peace”, “solidarity”, “love” and MLKjr’s “I have a dream” speech: it is now just one more cliche trotted out whenever it’s time to recite one version or another of the Conventional Wisdom, blah blah.

    There are probably hundreds of organizations you could find online that all recite a very accurate comprehensive litany of the many evils currently plaguing our species, and with which we’re plaguing the rest of the still-extant species, who all end their rap with The Answer: SOCIALISM!!!. Others vary the menu by offering a side of REVOLUTION!!
    Which leaves the reader still facing the same question: what to do next.

    Karl Marx was very smart; he didn’t attempt to provide answers to questions history had not yet posed. When asked how “socialism” should be organized, his reply was always along the lines of “The working-class will cross that bridge when it comes to it.”

    Yes, Marx was a great thinker. I’m not sure it’s useful at this stage to keep describing him as a “scientist”. But if you insist, we can compare his contribution in the social/historical realm to that of Newton in the physical sciences. Unfortunately, no Einstein or Max Planck has so far appeared in Marx’s field. So while he provided us with some basics, we have to figure out for ourselves how to apply these insights to the concrete realities facing us.

    “Socialism” means different things to different people. The word scares a lot of people. So I think we can approach the challenges and opportunities (if any) our “current conjuncture” presents, without that or any of the other buzzwords so popular with hypocrites.

    If we need a unifying slogan, what would be the USA 2008 equivalent of “Peace, Bread, Land”?

    There are certain historical tasks we USians need to accomplish. First of all we need to free our minds from the Demock-rat/Rethuglican Electoral Duopoly. Which we must approach nationally, continentally and globally. Neither Utopian experiments in a single US state, or Socialism In One Country are worthy of consideration.

  30. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 1:47pm #

    “Are you saying that communism is by definition totalitarianism? Have you ever read Marx? Do you think he was preaching totalitarianism?”

    Marx’s theories are one thing….what became of them and what has been done in the name of communism is quite another.

    Some of his theories were reasonable. A People should control their own economy. From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. Universal education, health services. Workers organizing collectively. And some societies, notably those that could be called “social democracies” ie: The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden have incorporated elements of Marx’s ideas. But they are also meritocracies, and people can enjoy freedom and speech and movement and ability to profit…along with a basic social safety net.

    Stalinist Russia slaughtered, tormented, gulagged millions and millions needlessly through forced collectivization in pursuit of a “communist” vision. It was not Marx’s idea, but what became of it.

    Pol Pot slaughtered millions in Cambodia to achieve his “communist utopian” vision.

    Your average Cuban cannot just jump on a bus and travel from Havana to Santiago even if they have the price of a bus ride in their pocket. They must receive dispensation to travel from their party member.
    Food is rationed, even though the nation is not at war. This is to ensure equal distribution, but it also means severe social control.

    The people there are not free. And the country is by no means a democracy.

  31. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 1:52pm #

    I’m not going to dwell on this, but earlier in this thread there’s all kinds of babble about Zionism and it’s purportedly negative influence on the world.

    This is a racist fantasy, which is repeated here at DV so often, that I can’t be bothered to make a confrontation of it every time it appears.

    It’s just plain ignorance, bigotry…. And fear.

    But if you want to talk about real socialism and applied Marxism, then Israel’s Kibbutz movement is or rather was (because it has had to evelove and change over time) perhaps one of the most successful examples of applied Marxist philosophy ever.

  32. Eric Patton said on December 28th, 2007 at 2:01pm #

    Both capitalism and coordinatorism are classist. But that doesn’t mean classlessness is impossible.

  33. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 2:33pm #

    “Classlessness” can work, but in smallish societies. Once you get much past the clan or tribal level it’s unworkable. For big things to get “done” you need a chain of command, a system of taxation distribution and someplace for the buck to stop.

  34. Ron Horn said on December 28th, 2007 at 2:51pm #

    Dan, I absolutely agree with you about how to deal with the trolls that love to inhabit this site. But I feel that you obscure the issue with regard to your views about socialism. Yes, there is a lot of confusion about it especially in the USA, but that is largely because of the overwhelming influence of the agencies of indoctrination to confuse the issue. The rest of the confusion is due to people in different historical and developmental conditions trying to implement the principles of socialism. The basic problem seems so clear and simple to me as it is to most people in the developing world: the private ownership of the economy with all its associated evils. Malcom Martin and others on this website have argued well that it is urgent that we move away from capitalism to socialism to save both the human race and the planet. Socialism simply means public ownership of the economy and the production of goods and services to meet human needs rather than private profit. (Clearly this is a very radical and dangerous notion, and it is viciously fought by the capitalists every time it rears its head.) Now how you organize a society to manage public ownership is a matter of discussion which I think should be the ongoing focus for this website.

  35. Max Shields said on December 28th, 2007 at 3:27pm #

    Dan,
    I think you’ve touched on an an important point – Marx’s thinking and the comparable likes of Einstein. Here’s the issue, as we turned into the 20th Century, physicist were stuck in terms of the physical laws long established as edict by Newton. Relativity and quantam theory pushed them beyond the mechanical realm imposed by the thinking of Newton and Decartes.

    The biological sciences made similar advances. The world view for these sciences shifted from simplistic duality (cause and effect) to complexity theory. The latter took on one of utter chaos and organized complexity. It is organized complexity which has been vital to the life sciences, molecular and ecological.

    Cultural, social, and economic “sciences” have had a much more challenging time breaking past the Newtonian world view. In fact, culturally and politically we are still dominated by the Newtonian world view. In the last decade there have been significant alternatives to our more simplistic view of the world and systems both natural (environment) and invented (economic). There are powerful alternatives to the economics of 19th century Marxism and Adam Smith (and their many derivatives). One taking on great momentum is Sustainable Economics. This is not a dismantling of socialism nor capitalism nor is it a synthesis, but rather this economics embraces the notion of organized complextity and with it makes the old world of Newton/Marx/Smith historical artifacts worthy of understanding but not adherence.

    There are real signs of this kind of economics in Latin America (the areas of food systems and cooperatives). It is not a blueprint – quite the contrary. It is an understanding of complexity at all levels, that wealth is derived and distributed organically through vibrant cities which are ever increasing in their complexity.

    It just seems that this continued talk of either/or (Capitalism/Socialism) does not move us forward in a world on the hinge of potential destruction because of our misbegotten notion of production and the dominat themes of Newtonian politics.

    I’d suggest starting with Henry George’s (a classical political economist) Progress and Poverty and work your way up to Geonomics if you want real 21st Century alternatives.

  36. jaime said on December 28th, 2007 at 5:00pm #

    Ron wrote:
    ” .. how you organize a society to manage public ownership…”

    Well here’s how:

    - free, transparent, public elections and a civil bureaucracy disinclined to corruption

    -a civil, peaceful society that upholds law and order, discourages malfeasance, encourages investment both both small and large

    - a free market economy, open to trade

    - separation of judiciary and religion. Basic human rights for all.

    - freedom of the press and individual liberties

    - equal access to education, health services.

    - juried academia

    How’s that for trolling?

  37. dresden said on December 29th, 2007 at 4:58am #

    Bravo jaime. I stepped out of the discussion because I wanted to hear about someone who had actually been there, done that. I appreciate your insight. I had a long debate with Mulga on the “Butcher’s Apron” thread, and he refused to address any of the points I brought up about freedom of speech, self-determination and redistribution of wealth by choice, not government edict. I was directed to this site by a link from another site a few days ago and I decided to “troll” for a while, like dan so selfishly put it, because I feel the socialist ideal, i.e. communism, can sound so good to the disillusioned or uneducated unless challenged by the light of day. And even though history is littered with endless examples of how Marx’s theories devolve into totalitarianism when put into practice, his devotees keep on preaching from his pulpit. Communism may work in a very small group, but as you said, jaime, when you go beyond, say, a couple of hundred people, it breaks down because of the need for chain-of-command decision making. If you want to live in a commune in California; great, go for it. If you want to live in the real world, you’re going to have to accept a form of government that works on a larger scale. Of course, there are problems with capitalism and representative democracy, and there always will be. But the day some socialist tries to take away my freedom of expression, my right to self-determination, and my freedom to go where I choose, is the day this will go from civil debate to an “over my dead body” struggle. You guys here can talk about your ideas in the laboratory all you want, but here in the west, if you want to take away our freedoms and replace it with your collectivism, trust me, it ain’t gonna happen. And one other thing…as far as dan’s comment on ignoring the trolls goes; thank you for making my point about freedom of expression perfectly. Socialism, the pretty word for communism, can’t bear criticism or dissent, yet democracy and capitalism invites it and thrives on it. Beyond this, though, I’m going to move on. I sure hate to, “disrupt” or “mislead novices” or “waste as much time as possible.” And dan, I hope you’ll forgive me for raining on your utopian parade.

  38. jaime said on December 29th, 2007 at 10:37am #

    Don’t leave just yet, please Dresden.

    Though I certainly empathize why you or any normal person would dismiss this “progressive place” for its poorly thought out political and social theories.
    Marx’s theories and thoughts deserve sincere study.

    Sadly, many who tout them these days lack the intelligence or are too lazy to think for themselves and actually delve into what has become of communist regimes and why.

    I, myself, have spent time in Cuba. It’s a fascinating place, full of contradictions. The people have an amazing spirit. All this spite of a really unfortunate regime. It certainly doesn’t help that the US has blockaded the place for so many years.

  39. dresden said on December 29th, 2007 at 11:56am #

    jaime, I’ll probably continue to check out this site. If for no other reason, so that I can keep up with your incisive comments. But also because I believe that the left in this country (and mind you I am not affiliated with any political party) is at its heart, based in Marxist dogma, and this site is a good place to see the direction it’s headed. But I will say that dan, who tried to shame those of us who said anything in opposition, represents what I feel is utterly repugnant about leftist philosophies. As long as you agree with them, you’re a good little soldier; say anything against, then off to the gulag you go. But I will chime in from time to time. I do have a hard time keeping quiet.

  40. Roger Anderson said on December 29th, 2007 at 11:57am #

    If Socialism is such a ‘bad thing’, why is it that the countries that have this system also have the higest Quality of Living, the best health care, less people in their prison systems and the best educational systems on the planet. I’m pretty sick of being a part of a system that makes very little effort to insure everyone has ‘something’ to live for. If Revolution would do the job, I would be in favor of that. Unfortunately, violent governmental change just seems to put the folks with the most guns in charge. Just like now.

  41. Paul said on December 29th, 2007 at 12:03pm #

    “No matter the danger, it must begin to be spoken by a warrior vanguard: socialism is the only way humankind will live into the distant future on this planet.”

    The result of knowing nothing about economic history–but having an eye for rewriting history based on 21st century PC thinking.

    I pity your students. More importantly, I pity our future with ‘intellectuals’ such as this teaching our children. What a fine educational system we have with “warriors” of socialism in the classroom.

    Marxist philosophy has been dead for sometime, although it is fashionable in some academic circles to espouse it. Thank God, fashion tends to be a fad. Be interesting to see what fad this quack will grab hold of next. Maybe he’ll take Marxist philosophy with its premise that goes against human nature to its logical conclusion and become a nihilist.

  42. Hans Bennett said on December 29th, 2007 at 12:30pm #

    Martin and Malcolm both said ABOLISH CAPITALISM.

    In the last year of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. specifically argued that: “The evils of capitalism and militarism are as great as the evils of racism.” At the time of his assassination he was attempting “to bring the social change movements through from their early and now inadequate protest phase to a stage of massive, active, nonviolent resistance to the evils of…a system where some people live in superfluous, inordinate wealth while others live in abject, deadening poverty.” King was very openly questioning the effectiveness of past tactics for Black liberation. Shortly before his assassination, he declared: “For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions…, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the whole society.”

    In his last year, Malcolm X was also increasingly anti-capitalist. In May, 1964 Malcolm X argued that “you can’t have capitalism without racism.” During a December, 1964 speech in Harlem, Malcolm X, again, clearly articulated what he thought about capitalism. Declaring: “You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker,” Malcolm X urged the Black liberation movement to reject capitalism.

  43. Gary Lapon said on December 29th, 2007 at 2:17pm #

    It’s interesting to read the same people (rightfully) denounce dictators like Stalin and Mao for their crimes while at the same time buying into their propaganda about seeking to create communist utopias. People capable of slaughtering millions are certainly capable of telling lies. Stalin was familiar enough with Marx and Lenin to know that his idea of “socialism in one country” was in direct contradiction to Marxism and Lenin’s version of it, and wasn’t socialism at all. But, Lenin was a hero of the Russian Revolution, and a popular figure, so Stalin used Lenin’s image (robbed of its revolutionary content) as a veil to hide behind while he put the final nails in the coffin of the revolution. Whether or not he believed he was creating a utopia is as relevant as whether or not Bush thinks his administration is creating “democracy” in Iraq.

    Let’s cut through the propaganda and ideology and look for the content. Malcolm Martin is talking about socialism in the real Marxist sense: the working class organized as the ruling class. The vast majority ruling in the interests of the vast majority. This is different than a Stalinist bureaucracy, a minority ruling in the interest of a minority, whether or not people have used the same words to describe both. The fact that George Bush uses the word “democracy” to cover for his crimes of imperialism does not mean that democracy should be discarded. Nor should the fact that Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and others used the word “socialism” as cover for theirs.

  44. revbev said on December 29th, 2007 at 5:13pm #

    dresden, you said, ” jaime, I’ll probably continue to check out this site. If for no other reason, so that I can keep up with your incisive comments. But also because I believe that the left in this country (and mind you I am not affiliated with any political party) is at its heart, based in Marxist dogma, and this site is a good place to see the direction it’s headed. But I will say that dan, who tried to shame those of us who said anything in opposition, represents what I feel is utterly repugnant about leftist philosophies. As long as you agree with them, you’re a good little soldier; say anything against, then off to the gulag you go. But I will chime in from time to time. I do have a hard time keeping quiet.”

    And Jaimie gave us an example of what you call her incisive comments, ” Though I certainly empathize why you or any normal person would dismiss this “progressive place” for its poorly thought out political and social theories.
    Marx’s theories and thoughts deserve sincere study.

    Sadly, many who tout them these days lack the intelligence or are too lazy to think for themselves and actually delve into what has become of communist regimes and why.”

    revbev:

    Do you see the hypocrisy in your words as you both arrogantly shame the left? We do not support the jailing of those who disagree with us or the Bush administration. We did not eliminate habeas corpus or lobby for torture of those we lock up, fail to charge, and then eventually release for no reason. We do not harass and murder journalists who would investigate and report Bush administration war crimes.

    It won’t ever be the left putting anyone in a gulag for disagreeing. That’s crazy.

    It frightens me that you really believe what you say. Could you accept for a day that you are misinformed and really investigate and read the information available from somewhere other than the mainstream press? It is not “the liberal press.” It is corporate propaganda controlled by people who love to keep us disagreeing. Can’t you see their purpose? They want us to mistrust each other so we don’t look at them and the Bush administration who are involved in destroying our democracy, our Constitution that we love and want to preserve. We are not each other’s enemies. Please think about this. Thanks.

  45. Maxwell Black said on December 29th, 2007 at 11:28pm #

    The only thing that has ever brought progress to any of us “working class” people is struggle. Capitalism and Communism are mostly religions. Fuck that. What is really needed is what has powered every movement that ever won. Solidarity. I love reading history as much as the next nerd, but at some point we have to put it all into action.

    Max
    PS: stop being afraid of the word “Socialism”. More importantly, stop being afraid of the word REVOLUTION. Even if it’s kind of corny right now.

  46. Donald J Donaker said on December 30th, 2007 at 9:15am #

    I am a member of Real Union Of Social Science (RUSS) which is not a political organization. RUSS will not endorse any political party that does not totally subport the interest of the working class. At this time, the only political party that fits this catagory is the Socialist Labor Party (of America).

    I posted a comment on Bill Moyers Journal offering:

    Poll: Are Unions Over?

    Answer our poll question, then debate the topic below.

    748 total votes 87% voted no to the question and 12% voted yes

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2007/06/poll_are_unions_over.html

    Here is my comment:

    Labor union demise.

    There is almost always one key element omitted when discussing the union question! Before getting into that, the air would be cleared if set and distinguishable terminology is used. To start off, since capitalism is generally accepted as being the best of all possible systems, it follows that there must be a capitalist class, proceeding from that there must be capitalists who belong to that class. Since that class owns the means of production and it is a tiny minority of the population, then the majority are compelled to work for the capitalists. The majority being workers, it follows that they must belong to the working class. Therefore exists a class divided society.

    Now, back to the key omitted element. We had, right here in Minneapolis, the creation of a union in the early 1930’s. Who created it? Workers! Well, if you go by the vague jargon in common usage today, you might miss their existence as workers; we are bombarded day after day with reports on consumers and their confidence. Nothing about workers and what they feel about their plight. That was not the case with the union referred to. It was the Teamsters, and they were not subjected to the ceaseless vague jargon in prevalent usage today, identifying them as “consumers,” with their main concern being whether they had “consumer confidence” enough to go to the store to buy the necessities for life. They knew that they belonged to the working class and they knew that their interest was in opposition to that of the capitalist class. They knew that they were not getting enough pay to buy the necessities for life needed by them and their wives and children. They were class conscious. They didn’t need anyone to tell them what to do. On their own part, they had the gumption to organize and form a union. That in spite of the actual fire power used against them as it was done all over the United States by the proud back shooters (themselves being members of the working class, mind you) who dutifully served the capitalist class, but that is another part of the story.

    It didn’t take long for the capitalist class, since direct force including the “blacklist,” was ineffective. It only riled up workers more and besides, of most importance, it interfered with production and the making of profit. What to do about it? Eureka! We don’t know which capitalist or group of capitalists came up with the panacea, what matters is that it solved the problem, production went on uninterrupted, and profits kept rolling in. It was the creation of the pro capitalist union leader, what some have referred to as the “labor merchant” or the “labor faker.” He says to the workers, “Your busy doing your job and strikes always stop your pay and you get behind on your rent and grocery bill. Let me save you the misery, I will handle the boss.” Gradually with the compliance of the labor faker, the vague jargon sets into what we have today, “consumers” and “consumer confidence.” Capitalist class, what? Working class, what? Class consciousness, what?

    It didn’t take a “Hitler” to wreck the unions in the US, as was done in Germany. Calmly and persistently, with an occasional ranting and raving against the boss of course, it was the pro capitalist union leader, the “labor merchant,” the “labor faker” who performed the dastardly deed. During all this time, with the assistance of union labor for its operation, the media and the educational system has been aiding and abetting the obscuring of workers’ class consciousness. Until finally, labor faker union leaders have rendered themselves into an endangered species. The top ones, of course, having seen to it to become virtual capitalists themselves before their demise.

    From capitalist use of force against the working class, to guile by using the labor faker to increase profits, comes the next obstacle to increasing profits, the Constitution of the United State. What now? Eureka! Again, we don’t know which capitalist or group of capitalist came up with the replacement panacea, all that matters is that its working, profits are going up by leaps and bounds. Go to a country with a huge working class that is largely unemployed or marginally employed and best of all, a country with a Constitution not fit to wipe your, you know what, with–China. For the promise of a couple of fish heads and a bowl of rice a day, Mao roused the starving peasants to the glory of the Korean War human slaughterhouse. Now, for not much more, the Chinese workers submit to slaving away until they are driven into the ground, while the Chinese ruling class, once considered by the US to be tyrants behind the bamboo curtain, hell bent on spreading communism, serve as the new labor merchant to US capitalism.

    Just as did our home grown labor merchant, the Chinese replacement makes sure to get a cut out of the action to become a well heeled virtual capitalist. The hitch is, just as our home grown labor merchant helped bring about its own endangered species status so will the Chinese labor merchant despot. Just how long is the scheme of merchandise streaming into the US from China, with American workers’ payment continually being lowered, going to last? Just how long is the consumers’ consumer confidence going to be sustained to remove the glut of merchandise on store selves, so they can be refilled again and again, while the caravan of super container ships from China come streaming day after day into the California docks to be unloaded?

    Class conscious unions, anyone? Return of workers having the gumption to organize, form and operate unions by their own initiative, anyone? Or do we just sit in front of the boob tube and wait for the inevitable? Another breed of labor merchant, maybe!
    During all this time, the merchant in question does not sell to the highest bidder as was done with the chattel slave on the auction block. He or she sells to the lowest bid of each capitalist concern, the commodity labor power. The labor merchant shill is on the take, getting paid on the side for offering the work time of workers at the lowest possible hourly pay. Not only is the labor merchant on the take with the capitalist class, he or she leeches union dues from workers to perform such a dastardly deed. Labor time is merchandise, a commodity, an investment of capital by the capitalist class. Right now that capital (commodity) is cheapest in China.

    Here is one class conscious union that doesn’t beat around the bush. But that is hardly enough for the total working class, but a start.

    http://socialismmarxdeleonforarealunion.org/index.html

  47. Cawdor said on December 30th, 2007 at 9:05pm #

    “One thing he could not gauge was the scientific and technical advance capitalism would make before it reached its dying days.”

    Yes he could, he chose not to. Capitalism is about competition. Innovation is the currency of competition hence science and technology are the left and right arms of capitalism.

    “capitalism in its last throes, rotting internally, irrational and increasingly insane, is now armed with doomsday weapons and has created the technology to create the Orwellian state.”

    Actually it’s statism not capitalism thats is rotting internally. As the Federal Government runs more and more of people’s lives, the economy and social/moral agendas. the inefficiency with which this onslaught of socialism has shown for is the Orwellian state, just like in the Soviet Union, North Korea, China and Cuba

    “Capitalism depends on profits to live and the appetite for those profits simply cannot be satisfied!”

    Incorrect. Capitalism is the drive to provide the best goods at the lowest price. In essence to be driven to do the best you can.

    Socialism promotes sloth, mediocrity and inefficiency since the rewards for you efforts are stolen from you by the state

    “For example U.S. oil companies have realized world record profits every quarter for the past several years yet Big Oil must continue to raise the price of gas.”

    Incorrect. The profits are there becuase the state subsidizes them with the money of the people. The profits are generated by socialist business welfare. If capitalism and true free markets were put in place, then these profits would be washed away since the safety net of State subsidies would be removed.

    “Today, even the largest corporations, like General Motors, Nissan and Renault, seek the comfort of each other’s arms. They will only survive in combination as wealth is consolidated in fewer and fewer entities!”

    Incorrect. They are coming together becuase of the over-regulation and economic interference of the state.

    Because the state will not let these businesses die as they would under capitalism, they are surviving the only way the State will let them .. mergers.

    “But wars for resources, higher commodities prices and mega-mergers are only putting off the day of reckoning for capitalism. ”

    The only day of reckoning is the American empire cast in the same mold as the Soviet empire. The Soviets fell by bankrupting themselves becuase socialism crushed their economy. The US is falling to the same disease as the Soviet system.

    “The process is steadily reshaping ours into a subsistence-wage service economy. The jobs of elite industrial workers, from auto and steelworkers to airline pilots, are disappearing across the country along with their health benefits and pensions.”

    Because the welfare State mandates ridiculous economic penalties and over-regulation as it tries to control every aspect of American society instead of letting the citizens think and work for themselves.

    “Slaves cannot buy the products they produce.”

    Agreed, one only has to see North Korea and China before CHina adopted -quasi-capitalism. Once China adopted some capitalistic practices, a new middle-calls was born. The freedom for an INDIVIDUAL to manage their destiny can bear greater rewards then the over-regulation of a social state ever could.

    The rest of the diatribe is irrelevant(and long) in the face of the failures of socialism throughout history.

    Socialism does not work. The welfare state does not work and the warfare state does not work

    Free markets, sound money, a small limited government whose only involvement should be the preservation of individual liberty, and DEFENSE national defense and the elimination of group-think ideology is the only successful equation to a healthy and happy state

  48. Seven said on December 31st, 2007 at 8:36am #

    Well, after reading through this rather informative, and enjoyably civil, conversation – perhaps we can all agree on one thing:

    Be it communism or capitalism, or any other -ism you want to tag onto something – there is no perfect system. There is no cure.

    I think the contradiction lies in the human condition, and not in the system. That is to say, human beings are inherently social creatures, we are drawn to living in socities and groups – yet, our behavior is remarkably antisocial. The whole “gimme, gimme, gimme” of capitalism is a good example, but communism has its own pitfalls, a great deal of them in fact.

    I personally subscribe to Hobbes theory of “the war of all against all”. Not because I wish it that way, but to me – it just seems that way.

  49. Glenn said on January 1st, 2008 at 4:36pm #

    Max
    I think many people miss your point that what we see in the real world labelled as “capitalist” or “communist” or “socialist” does not actually conform with the theoretical model. This has resulted in most people having a false understanding of these models. What it also perhaps empirically indicate is that these theoretical models do not adequately account for human psychology – the reasons why they are not implemented in a pure sense in the real world.

    I am intrigued by a number of comments you have made here (and elsewhere), implying some alternatives. Of particular interest is the comparison of the development of scientific theory with the development of economic/social theory.

    I wonder if you have time to write and submit an article with more substance (though if course it would of necessity still be an overview) of an alternative (complex) economic/social model (after all, our economy and our behaviour are inextricably linked).

  50. glenn said on January 2nd, 2008 at 5:34pm #

    I disagree with Cawdors view of the role of government. He/she assumes perfect markets, thereby effecting an efficient allocation of resources EVERY TIME.

    However, a number of economists agree that market forces do not always efficiently allocate resources, nor through the decisions of participants reflect societal values and preferences.

    Even moreso in a world of multi-national corporations that do not have an intimate connection with the society/community within which they operate.
    Working to maximise the wealth of the shareholders (and upper management – often the same thing), often results in decisions with deleterious effects for the wider society. The current system places too much emphasis on monetary wealth, and insufficient on non-monetary forms.

    This is where government must step in, to correct for the failure of the markets to adequately consider social costs and long-term social well-being.
    If you want (extreme) examples of what happens when governments bow to the matket, look at Union Carbide in India, and Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria.
    A responsible government is obliged to act on the peoples behalf to regulate to protect the society (and its values) that it represents. The real question is – how much is enough? Where does government draw the line in regulations.
    My personal view – government should be creating the regulatory framework (reflecting the values of society on a macro scale). But the society itself should take responsibility for encouraging agreed values on a more intimate level – moral, behavioural etc.

  51. Mike McNiven said on January 3rd, 2008 at 1:49am #

    There is no doubt that socialism is the only option for the just survival of this planet and all that is part of it!

    However, those of us living in the imperialist countries (the looters), first need to agree on a minimum anti-imperialist platform! This immoral/illegal/unethical/ destructive practice of stealing the non-imperialist nations’ human and material wealth must stop fast! Imperialism must be classified as crime against humanity!

  52. Donald J Donaker said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:27pm #

    From my comment on December 30th, 2007 at 9:15 am

    “They knew that they belonged to the working class and they knew that their interest was in opposition to that of the capitalist class. They knew that they were not getting enough pay to buy the necessities for life needed by them and their wives and children. They were class conscious. They didn’t need anyone to tell them what to do. On their own part, they had the gumption to organize and form a union. That in spite of the actual fire power used against them as it was done all over the United States by the proud back shooters (themselves being members of the working class, mind you) who dutifully served the capitalist class, but that is another part of the story.”

    Is there any sign today of workers having the gumption to bank together to organize for the betterment of society–to produce for use instead of profit, with profit continually increasing and workers pay decreasing. Or is everyone waiting for the man on the white horse to come galloping to the rescue.

    Those workers I refer to are long gone, blacklisting, firing, intimidation, have tamed the brave and if that isn’t enough throw in a war now and then to keep them occupied with protecting the American dream.

    All I see in the present is disorganized confusion.. I have been in the bowls of the beast, where workers are pitted against each other to secure a job, job consciousness instead of class consciousness. How pathetic to see a worker such up to the boss so he or she retains their job while another gets canned due to global outsourcing. It is happening every day.

    If that condition doesn’t change, forget about the improvement of workers’ lot. I know because it happened to me more than once–I didn’t suck up to the boss. I personally know a worker who was involved in the formation of the Teamsters–the way they were then, not today. Now, that union stoops to fighting other unions for control shoveling more money in the pockets of the union leaders, “labor merchant,” “labor faker.”

    When workers are ready to cut to the chase I will be there but not before. In the meantime, I am gone fishing.

    Until something better comes up, I will offer my suggestion for a workers’ organization here:

    http://socialismmarxdeleonforarealunion.org/index.html

    Don

  53. Donald J Donaker said on January 6th, 2008 at 9:32am #

    Donald J Donaker, on January 6th, 2008 at 10:27 am Said:
    AJ Nasreddin said on December 27th, 2007
    “Personally, I feel the future is in interest-free capitalism. God has been saying for millenia that usery is bad – maybe now, in the mother-of-all credit bubbles, we will recognize this slimple wisdom.”

    You claim to having read Marx. Then you should have gleaned from the reading that the very first requirement for a worker to understand his or her economic relationaship in a capitalist society. One would think that you would not have delve deeply into Marx’s writing to grasp some of that. Be aware of your surroundings, Marx didn’t just conjure stuff out of his head, he was aware of his surroundings and a schoar of history. Do you fancy yourself a scholar of history.

    The US capitalist economy came to screeching halt during the “Great Depression.” Why? The system was able to produce an abundance of everything for everyone. Well, why not, the capitalist class extracted excessive surplus value through exploitation of wage labor (what Marx referred to as “wage slavery”). In layman’s terms excessive surplus value means excessive profits. Here is the key to the rub. Pay workers more and they are able to buy more. Pay them less and they are able to buy less. All workers should know that the tendency of the capitalist class is to reduce its capital investment, socially necessary labor time (the hourly time a worker expends in the production of a product). It follows that all workers should know that when the capitalist class does that (squeeze blood out of a turnip) and take his reduce pay check to the store, he can buy less of the merchandise. That is not a tendency, it is a fact of life exerted upon the worker by the veracious appetite the capitalist class has for profit.

    What brought the US capitalism out of the depression was a great war (”the war to end all wars”!!!). But along with that came a major hitch. Who is going to pay for it. The more that the capitalist class foots the bill, the less their profit margin is–perish the thought. The capitalist class informs its governmental lackys, just charge it. Charge it to who or what? From thereon came about the floating of paper. But there is a limit to floating paper within the nation. Upon the great war, it is piled upon by the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War and all the other minor military expeditions. There came a time when the domestic float of paper became saturated (workers should know what a float is, with the use of computers,transaction became almost immediate. Workers can no longer float, write out a check without funds in the checking account to cover it and hope to make a deposit to cover it in time. Even before the advent of computers, the worker’s float would be saturated quickly). Several years ago, the US started to stretch the float with foreign countries. In the beginning mainly with Japan and now heaped on with China. Can you imagine, dealing all those year with that “red scare” and now heaping upon our country’s float from that country, and the Chinese Communist Party is still intact! A corollary is the float (plastic) of the working class (commonally referred to as consumers), the vast majority of the country. Now with the saturation of paper float is added the saturation of plastic float. One doesn’t have to laboriously peruse the writings of Marx to see that. Just plant your eyes on the business section of the daily newspapers (be aware of your surroundings). The one thing that economists agree on is that the major element that drives the American economy are the everyday consumers, of course they shudder to say the working class.

    As any worker should readily see, the country is in dire straits. The first order of the day is not to frantically dissipate energy thrashing the proposition of socialism. If a worker so fervently rejects socialism, then the logical thing to do is come up with a better proposition to put an end to the dire straits of capitalist economy. “Government for the people, by the people and of the people,” and “we the people,” lets us hear it. The silence is deafening.

    Don

  54. Donald J Donaker said on January 6th, 2008 at 9:39am #

    AJ Nasreddin said on December 27th, 2007
    “Personally, I feel the future is in interest-free capitalism. God has been saying for millenia that usery is bad – maybe now, in the mother-of-all credit bubbles, we will recognize this slimple wisdom.”

    You claim to having read Marx. Then you should have gleaned from the reading that the very first requirement for a worker to understand his or her economic relationaship in a capitalist society. One would think that you would not have delve deeply into Marx’s writing to grasp some of that. Be aware of your surroundings, Marx didn’t just conjure stuff out of his head, he was aware of his surroundings and a schoar of history. Do you fancy yourself a scholar of history.

    The US capitalist economy came to screeching halt during the “Great Depression.” Why? The system was able to produce an abundance of everything for everyone. Well, why not, the capitalist class extracted excessive surplus value through exploitation of wage labor (what Marx referred to as “wage slavery”). In layman’s terms excessive surplus value means excessive profits. Here is the key to the rub. Pay workers more and they are able to buy more. Pay them less and they are able to buy less. All workers should know that the tendency of the capitalist class is to reduce its capital investment, socially necessary labor time (the hourly time a worker expends in the production of a product). It follows that all workers should know that when the capitalist class does that (squeeze blood out of a turnip) and take his reduce pay check to the store, he can buy less of the merchandise. That is not a tendency, it is a fact of life exerted upon the worker by the veracious appetite the capitalist class has for profit.

    What brought the US capitalism out of the depression was a great war (”the war to end all wars”!!!). But along with that came a major hitch. Who is going to pay for it. The more that the capitalist class foots the bill, the less their profit margin is–perish the thought. The capitalist class informs its governmental lackys, just charge it. Charge it to who or what? From thereon came about the floating of paper. But there is a limit to floating paper within the nation. Upon the great war, it is piled upon by the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War and all the other minor military expeditions. There came a time when the domestic float of paper became saturated (workers should know what a float is, with the use of computers,transaction became almost immediate. Workers can no longer float, write out a check without funds in the checking account to cover it and hope to make a deposit to cover it in time. Even before the advent of computers, the worker’s float would be saturated quickly). Several years ago, the US started to stretch the float with foreign countries. In the beginning mainly with Japan and now heaped on with China. Can you imagine, dealing all those year with that “red scare” and now heaping upon our country’s float from that country, and the Chinese Communist Party is still intact! A corollary is the float (plastic) of the working class (commonally referred to as consumers), the vast majority of the country. Now with the saturation of paper float is added the saturation of plastic float. One doesn’t have to laboriously peruse the writings of Marx to see that. Just plant your eyes on the business section of the daily newspapers (be aware of your surroundings). The one thing that economists agree on is that the major element that drives the American economy are the everyday consumers, of course they shudder to say the working class.

    As any worker should readily see, the country is in dire straits. The first order of the day is not to frantically dissipate energy thrashing the proposition of socialism. If a worker so fervently rejects socialism, then the logical thing to do is come up with a better proposition to put an end to the dire straits of capitalist economy. “Government for the people, by the people and of the people,” and “we the people,” lets us hear it. The silence is deafening.

    Don

  55. Donald J Donaker said on January 6th, 2008 at 9:50am #

    Sorry for the duplication. I waited for the first one to be posted but I didn’t wait long enough.

    Don