The defamation of socialism

FWD to 57:30


[i]We should recognize what I think is true, I’ve written about it plenty myself, that the Bolshevik Revolution, was really a coup, was really a counter-revolution, which placed state power in the hands of a highly authoritarian anti-socialist group which within a couple of months had destroyed the factory councils, had destroyed the Soviets, had dismissed the Constituent Assembly (because they knew they were gonna lose) and have eliminated every popular movement; and had done exactly what Trotsky said: turned the country into a labor army under the control of the maximal leader. That was mid 1918. And since then there hasn’t been a shred of socialism in the Soviet Union!

Now of course they called it “socialism”, but they also called it “democracy”, you know, they were “people’s democracies”, “the purest form of democracy”, they were “socialism”. The West, the big propaganda system in the world, of course, just laughed at the “democracy” part, but it loved the “socialism” part because that’s a way to defame socialism. So if you think that the fall of the Soviet Union is a blow to socialism, you ought to also think, on the same grounds, that it’s a blow to democracy. After all, they call themselves democracies too, so why isn’t it a blow to democracy? Makes as much sense. It’s only when it gets filtered through the Western propaganda system that it’s not a blow to democracy, but it is a blow to socialism.

But, you know, there’s actually no reason to play that game. Whether you play it in Dissent [the magazine] or in the Nation [the magazine] or on the Right or anywhere else, expose it for the fraud that it is.

[Someone asks question]

What ideology? The ideology of totalitarianism? Yeah it’s deeply flawed. I mean, they were the initial modern totalitarians.

[Asks another question]

It doesn’t have anything to do with socialism. They destroyed socialism within weeks! You know. They didn’t wait. By 1918 it was finished. And they knew it. You know. Like, it’s not a secret; they knew it. I mean, in fact, Lenin as soon as, you know, as soon as he sort of got grips of things, he moved to what he called “state capitalism”. Which is what it was. It had nothing to do with socialism.

Socialism… I mean we can argue about… there’s no point arguing about what the word means, but what it always meant at the core was that producers take control of production, working people take control of production: what’s sometimes called industrial democracy, that was the absolute core of it. Well, you know, there was more socialism in Germany, in Western Europe, than there was in Russia.

No, Russia’s about the most anti-socialist place you can imagine, since 1918. It had wage-labor, had super-exploitation, had no element of worker’s control or involvement or participation. What’s that got to do with socialism? It’s the exact opposite on every point.

As I say, the West liked to call that “socialism” while laughing at the fact that they called themselves “Democrats”, but that’s for purely propaganda reasons. I mean, unless you’re committed to being part of the Western propaganda system, there’s nothing to say about that issue, except to laugh.[/i]

That’s a good reason to be cautious. Someone peddling socialism might be a totalitarian in disguise.

Look at you. You call socialism any system where the government spends a lot - it could be a monarchy or a dictatorship.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Who is the government?


Normal regular people who are told what to do just the same as if they are in a private business. The motivation, incentive, ethic - it’s the exact same for all wage labourers, whoever they work for.

Doesn’t matter who your totalitarian boss is: Capitalist or public payroll, if you take what you’re told for granted with no conscience, that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s how genocides happen, doesn’t matter one bit who orders it as long as the people who get paid will do whatever they’re told. Nothing to do with government or capitalist payroll, Socialism or Capitalism. Zero.

So what are you saying? Don’t worry because it’s all the same anyways?

I agree, though I would add the same thing can be true for someone peddling capitalism - it could be a monarchy or a dictatorship also.

This is not to discount your point. I am wary of governments and corporations, powerful private and powerful public players. I see them generally in cahoots, which is true in both socialisms and capitalisms, at least often.

Right. Develop your ‘spidey sense’ and use it.

I tend to agree and my reaction was similar, but I think it is good for the discussion to look at the specific concerns around power in each system - and also, I would like to add, not assume that these are the two systems and one must choose one of them.

One of the problems with socialist countries/communist countries has been the potential for a world encompassing idealism. Now of course leaders in capitalist nations can also ‘do things for the people’ and ask people to ‘do things for the people’. But there is something all encompassaing aobut the idealisms in some of the larger far left regimes. China and Russia and the USSR for example. Here we can sacrifice for a great future in ways that I think would be hard in the capitalist nations. Because these latter are trying to convince you that their current policies, in general, are good for you. Selfishness is more built in - for good and for ill - and presumed.

Which is why capitalist nations have to come up with wars, and have creatively got a few going at once now, when we include the war on drugs and the war on terrorism. Wars allow them to shift powers to their buddies/themselves but also make it sound like it is in all our interests.

But in socialist countries there really is a kind of God’s kingdom is coming, though without God, and the government, in that system, is much more able to couch policies in the name of some future proletariet heaven and guilt trip formally and punish depending on the government powers directly based on what all of you need to sacrifice for our ideals. Capitalist regimes have more of a sales job.

I think we also need to look at what happens in powerful socialist nations, because it is the smaller ones that tend to have good human rights records.

What’s good for Denmark, might be problematic in a superpower. You have less degrees of separation between those people in government and those they rule. In Denmark the chances a someone fairly high up in government has kids in a daycare that also has your cousins kids go way up. Large governments with massive militaries and intelligence communities may handle left wing rule in a very different way. I don’t know that’s the case. I see some historical support for that. I think it might be the case.

Now I wouldn’t even know what to call myself. My position is not that socialism is better or that capitalism is better. Honestly I dislike both, though there are facets of both that appeal to me. I see the current US as an oligarchy with socialist facets.

What do we say to people coming from the old USSR or other communist regimes when they raise skepticism about socialism. They lived through the consequences of when leaders put on false humility, and considered inviduals only valuable as parts of the whole and in fact often not valuable in and of themselves. And could even say this out loud. Leading to very intrusive intelligence communities, because the I does not matter. Of course our little NSA with infinitely more highpowered tools is extremely intrusive, but they are joke in terms of intrusion compared to STASI.

Of course socialism does not have to be like in the USSR. Just as capitalism does not have to be like is Saudi Arabia or Guatamala in the 80s.

And then Scandanavia is not really socialist. Certainly not anymore. Though most middle americans would call them commies if they knew what happens there.

WE can smile and say that something mixed is best. Sort of like it is assumed that something with a mix of democratic and republican policies makes for the best.

I am skeptical.

But I do not have an answer.

I can’t really create/designe at the level of 100s of millions of people. If we are talking about the US.

But to repeat: The US being socialist is nto the same as Denmark being socialist. More degrees of separation betwene gov and people. More massive intelligence and military. A history of much more violent law enforcement. Law enforcement that is vastly more heavily armed.

So as you look around the world now, which government do you, using your spidey sense, trust the most. Or distrust the least, might be better.

I found this an interesting take on what happened in Soviet Russia, but I think an even better description of what happened can be found in “The Gulag Archipelago”, from someone who actually suffered the betrayal.

Solzhenitsyn wrote:
“Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb, too. The imagination and spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology. Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes… That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations… Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.”
— The Gulag Archipelago, Chapter 4, p. 173

There is a pattern described here of how ideology works, and the pattern is being repeated again in our time. Just as then, people seem to be oblivious of the fact, even the evildoers. It is as though they are possessed.

The best systems available are democracies with strong limits on the powers of the government and robust tools for removing politicians.

So for example, increasing the length of time that a president or prime minister can serve would be strictly forbidden.

An example of robust tools, is the removal of Mussolini by the Grand Council of Fascism in 1943. When things got really got out of hand, they still retained ways of getting rid of the dictator. That significantly deduced the damage to Italy and the Italian people. (non-democratic example, I know :-$ )

Of course, if put your faith in democracy, you have to trust that the average human will do the right thing.

Yes, like National Socialism that has zero to do with socialism by any definition.

It’s often the case that politicians don the label of socialism to garner whatever appeal it may offer.

But it’s also prudent to be aware of the ongoing propaganda campaign to defame socialism by pointing to the USSR or the Nazis, neither of which had any socialistic aspects whatsoever.

Or Venezuela which neither puts the people in charge of production nor issues wealth to its citizens by virtue of having the largest oil reserve on the planet.

If Denmark tops every list of measures of prosperity, mainly due to its oil and lack of Islam, then how much more should Venezuela?

down with socialism.jpg

Government spending is an attribute of socialism and not necessarily the equivalency. However, it’s impossible to have a socialistic system without government spending.

The accretion of capital is an attribute of capitalism and the dispersal of capital is an attribute of socialism.

Even then, at least 50% of monarchies are social and fairly prosperous. Norway is a monarchy.

Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Power is separated among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country’s supreme legal document. … government

The UK is a monarchy and Canada is technically under the Queen, so you’re living in one lol. Not so bad, eh?

I agree that a monarchy is not the way to go, even if it’s purely ceremonial.

The best democracies are those where people are encouraged to have informed debates on subjects, which are completely transparent as to where the people (or the information) are/is coming from. This is, of course, difficult because many people rely more on their uninformed “opinions”. I believe also that those who do have power should be held accountable, which also means that the job must be worth the hassle. :wink:

They do and did.

All 55 counties in West Virginia voted for Bernie, but Hillary won the state.

3 million more votes were cast for Hillary, but Trump won the election.

In 2000, Gore won 1/2 million more votes, but lost the election.

The people have excellent spidey sense, but the US does not have democracy.

There is also propaganda meant to demonize academia and intelligentsia causing people to believe there is virtue in ignorance.

“I realize you’re under a bit of a penalty because all our professors are stupid liberals, but that’s the best we can do.” … ain_folks/

That is spouted on AM radio and youtube daily.

And on here with this post speculating that “communists” have taken over academia: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=194702#p2720670

The first step is to attack and marginalize academia:

Totalitarian governments manipulate and apply anti-intellectualism to repress political dissent.

The totalitarian regime doing this is the plutocratic corporations, and Rush Limbaugh is their Goebbels.

Yes, there is an ongoing attack on academia, but the counter-attack seems to be falling into the trap that ideologies on both sides fall into. If you give your opposition what they’ve been giving you, you could adopt your own system of ideology and be in danger of being just the other side of the coin. I get the feeling that people know that the right-wingers are doing this, but are not aware that left-wingers tend to use the same strategy. You know when someone on the right oversteps the line of being beyond an appropriate reaction. Do we know when the left overstep?

I think the Orwellian warning is valuable in assessing the present situation because there is a tendency to confuse the whole issue, so that simple working people are left trying to work out what on earth is going on. There are many people who regard themselves as left-orientated who have now become confused when looking at the battlefield. It is hard to find the people you actually agree with.

Yeah. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are important for a democracy.

It has more democracy than a lot of places.

You guys don’t appreciate what you have.

Oh yes, I hate that the left focuses on Russian collusion and appealing to grave threats to humanity through climate change while legitimate perils of poverty and lack of education and healthcare exist. Their ploy seems transparent to me, but I hope it’s not too transparent to everyone else. I wonder if Chomsky is more sly than I thought. Maybe he doesn’t buy climate change, but knows it’s the surest way to slay the real dragon.

Green is the new Blue. The easiest way to make the country Blue is to first make it Green :wink:

For half a century Chomsky battled the corps with nary a mention of climate, then suddenly he jumped on the climate bandwagon and shutup about his most passionate crusade, only in the last handful of years.

But the working people of the future will be better equipped to handle it. We’re in a transition period from scarcity to abundance and such demands social reforms that those of old just can’t embrace because all they know is hardship and what it takes to overcome it.

All I have that you don’t have is sunshine… and the ability to go out and waste ammunition anytime I want. Canada tops the US in almost ever measure except prisoners and number of people thinking the devil is real.

Canada ranks 7th in happiness, the US ranks 18th.
Canada ranks 13th in life expectancy, the US 32nd
Canada ranks 4th in freedom, the US 53rd.
Canada ranks 6th in democracy, the US 25th.

Once again, only focusing on the negative. Focusing on what “the other guy” has. No appreciation of what you have.