"so WHY do we need socialism and communism? If ethics are purely subjective and "muh feelz" are based on ideology and therefore false, then how do you make your case for communism? Why does HistMat imply socialism is needed?"
Historical materialism works in mysterious ways.
In all seriousness, there’s class struggle as a result of the mode of production. Capitalism creates the preconditions for socialism in terms of productive forces. Communism is a political program articulated on the basis of the inherent potentials of capitalism: there’s the potential for classless society. There’s no “objective case for communism” but that’s some sleek academicism; tbh people like living good lives and capitalism screws people over, communism is a viable alternative.
the white government and police of Ferguson are parasites, extorting millions from the Black population of that city to the tune of 1.5 cases and 3 warrants per househould per year. this is racism. racism is systematic, and system-wide. this is happening elsewhere, probably everywhere across the US. this is white privelege, and white supremacy.
A report issued just last week by the nonprofit lawyer’s group ArchCity Defenders notes that in the court’s 36 three-hour sessions in 2013, it handled 12,108 cases and 24,532 warrants. That is an average of 1.5 cases and three warrants per Ferguson household. Fines and court fees for the year in this city of just 21,000 people totaled $2,635,400.
In the chamber where Officer Darren Wilson received a commendation six months before killing Michael Brown, a minor court generates major money from the city’s poor and working people.
Simply put, that true innovation isn’t born from greed but from creativity. And creativity is something we’re born with, and as we grow up it can either be subdued or encouraged.
The idea that creativity is born from economic incitaments is pretty absurd really. Are people just sitting around in droves and simply refusing to put out their ideas until someone comes along to pay them enough for it?
If anything, capitalism is hindering innovation. Take the software engineering branch for example, it’s populated largely by people with a passion for computers. Every single programmer I know, which is quite a few despite not being in the business myself, has learned programming in their free time and I know of no one who learned it with a profit motive.
With capitalism, these specific people can actually make a living doing what they love - programming. But what are they programming? Products which are in demand, products which already exist (some may be in R&D and have more creative jobs, but broadly speaking).
Take a look at the computer gaming industry, compare the indie games and studio made games. Which are the more creative and which are the less creative?
Of course, indie companies are still run by a profit motive, but much less so. Given enough spare time (i.e. enough resources, which they would get in a society where everything is shared), these are the games most likely to be made with or without the profit motive. I.e. as much in a capitalist as in a socialist society.
And this is of course not an isolated case. Look at the movie industry, where do the more daring creative films come from? Hollywood or independents? Music? Ever heard of a painting corporation (besides graphic designers)? Scientific research generally isn’t a very well paid profession either (I study molecular biology, hoping for a low-paid base research job when I’m done…), people go into it because they want to do scientific work not money.
tldr: A capitalist society encorages people to create more of what’s already in demand, the inate creative drive (if encoraged) will blossom in anwhere where it’s allowed to.
Profit motive does not make for efficiency, it makes for profit maximization. For instance many retail and restaurants in the US will throw away perfectly suitable materials for use, because it is more profitable to destroy them, than it is to give them away. As an example from my life, working in a construction supply warehouse, when perfectly good lumber, sinks, paint, etc was discontinued, it was thrown into the compactor by company policy.
Most often efficiency is aimed at labor, producing more for less labor. Which in a socialist society would provide more time for the workers engage in other actives beneficial to themselves and perhaps society, however in a capitalist society it means higher competition among labor and lower wages.
I would say efficiency would be a stronger motive in a socialist society as it would directly benefit everyone.
Marx himself never imagined that socialism could be achieved in impoverished conditions. Such a project would require almost as bizarre a loop in time as inventing the Internet in the Middle Ages. Nor did any Marxist thinker until Stalin imagine that this was possible, including Lenin, Trotsky and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership. You cannot reorganise wealth for the benefit of all if there is precious little wealth to reorganise. You cannot abolish social classes in conditions of scarcity, since conflicts over a material surplus too meagre to meet everyone’s needs will simply revive them again. As Marx comments in The German Ideology, the result of revolution in such conditions is that “the old filthy business” will simply reappear. All you will get is socialised scarcity. If you need to accumulate capital more or less from scratch, then the most effective way of doing so, however brutal, is through the profit motive. Avid self-interest is likely to pile up wealth with remarkable speed, though it is likely to amass spectacular poverty at the same time.
Nor did Marxists ever imagine that it was possible to achieve socialism in one country alone. The movement was international or it was nothing. This was a hardheaded materialist claim, not a piously idealist one. If a socialist nation failed to win international support in a world where production was specialized and divided among different nations, it would be unable to draw upon the global resources needed to abolish scarcity. The productive wealth of a single country was unlikely to be enough. The outlandish notion of socialism in one country was invented by Stalin in the 1920s, partly as a cynical rationalisation of the fact that other nations had been unable to come to the aid of the Soviet Union. It has no warrant in Marx himself. Socialist revolutions must of course start somewhere. But they cannot be completed within national boundaries. To judge socialism by its results in one desperately isolated country would be like drawing conclusions about the human race from a study of psychopaths in Kalamazoo.
Among the bourgeoisie, you’ll find more forgiveness for the murderer who takes a life from the human community than for the thief who […] simply changes the place and ownership of things.
I agree; but we no longer live in 1917. Hell, we no longer live in 1948. Production capacity world wide is such that even very poor people can have access to mass communication of all kinds. Industry is slowly being taken over by automation and most jobs in the first world are pretty much busy work in the Service industry that is also being slowly displaced by automation. Labor is becoming more intellectual and affective everywhere you look. It is becoming participative in a way that is necessary for its functioning as qua industry goes as opposed to being just a cog in an assembly line. I just think that the Fordist/Tayorist model of production that Leninism was completely necessary for managing socialism in the past is becoming less relevant overall.
Especially of course in the first world where it most prevalent but we must remember that in Marx’s time only a small section of the working class was Proletariat, however the hegemonic model of all labor regardless became based on that industrial/Taylorist model of production.
We see the same today in this post-Fordist era where automation is replacing industrial production. Intellectual labor and being a “people person” is collectively needed for it to function. Whether you are a Nanny who is a migrant laborer at the bottom end or an IT worker at the top end.
The proletariat today- and what is often required of them- flexibility, sociability, access to the internet, etc- is completely different now than it was when the model was the shop floor that brought together Industrial workers in solidarity to either create unions to mediate with the boss (if you were in a liberal democracy) or bolstered a Vanguard into power to leap your backward country forward through state capitalism to become on par with more advanced Industrial nations.
Leninism is in crisis because it no longer presents a relevant managerial in an age of Post-Fordist production. It made a lot of sense in the last century but now it is shrinking out of existence and being replaced by systems that are Socialist in name only like China (Ironically that would be abbreviated as “SINO”).
I am not of course saying that we will be able to have 100% directly democratic voting online or whatever anytime soon. However that it is just becoming harder and harder to keep any monopoly on information and every reason to keep channels of communication and social participation open because of the way this mode of production shapes the social and cultural landscape. (Superstructure is a reflection of infrastructure in the end. If politics is not insync with this it will falter and be replaced by a political system that is.)
Okay, I am sure I just rambled on to no end and probably didn’t really articulate that well but I would I like to continue this conversation at another time when I am not pressed for time…
arguments surrounding the internet, cell phones, automation, and potentially 3d printing have sort of got me on the fence about being more anarchist.