Make Socialism History is… history

It seems that this is yet another scourge of the left that dissolved into nothingness.

History, as ever, has much to teach us.

9 thoughts on “Make Socialism History is… history

  1. Someone really ought to start archiving these pages before they disappear down the memory hole.

    I never read that blog, but searching for it on google brought up: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Sounds like a neocon blog. If it is, it’s not the first one I’ve come across that has suddenly disappeared.

  2. What is socialism to you, then?
    What does a socialist-run economy do that a capitalist one doesn’t?
    What does a socialist-run government do differently from other political theories?

    Is there a continuous spectrum or is there a definite cut-off point at which THIS can be defined as Socialism, and THAT isn’t?

    Do socialists agree on what makes socialism socialism?

    “Socialism is X,Y, & Z but not A,B, & C” ???

    I try to listen to both sides, but reality seems to be somewhere in between, and much closer to the ground.

  3. Ray – “What is socialism” is one of the most asked questions in left-wing debate and defining what it should be has led to fights, struggles and even wars.

    The simplest possible definition of socialism that I can think of is that it’s an economic standpoint designed to correct the abuses and exploitation of modern capitalism by advocating the workers’ collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of the goods produced. The means to achieve this goal vary between different strands of socialism but on the whole, the strands agree on the importance of equality of gender and race and the abolition of class (which is considered a construct of capitalist society). Socialism has, since the late 19th century generally applied a Marxist criticism of capitalism and an anti-imperialist perspective.

    “I try to listen to both sides, but reality seems to be somewhere in between, and much closer to the ground.” – I’m not sure what you mean by this. The so-called “3rd way” of, inter alia, Anthony Giddens, Tony Blair and (to a certain extent) José Luis Zapatero, proposes a combination of social democracy and free market capitalism and for many people, this seems to find a ‘sweet spot’ in terms of balancing socialism and capitalism. The truth is that capitalism’s exploitation continues unabated, it’s just generally transplanted to far-off places.

    I suppose the question is, what would you consider to be the perfect, just society, Ray?

    With reference to the website, it was packed with hyperbole and the sort of place that would refer to Barack Obama as ‘socialist’.

    Oh, and with reference to the document you linked to, Che Guevara is a figure that the right have been very happy to demonise for some time. I’m thinking of writing something on that topic very soon. You approve the execution of 300 people and you get called a monster… you organise the killing of a million and get called a champion of democracy by the same thugs who loathe Guevara.

  4. I have a couple ideas for a perfect and just society.

    If there were an omniscient being, who made perfect laws, and that could not be swayed by any individual in the society, I’d say I’m a monarchist, and below the one perfect king, there would be no poor, and all goods and property would be held in common stewardship, as a responsibility to the king, and not as an actual possession. Perfect commune-ism. It would seem that we screwed-the-pooch on this one when us humans chose to murder the god that came to tell us that we should love one another, though.

    If anarchy would work, I’d say the perfect society has no need of government at all. But, since people treat each other poorly, then there has to be a way to abate this, and to try to instill justice.

    So, if humans don’t deserve a perfect and just government of their society, at least it can be as small an unobtrusive as possible.

    I believe that individuals and families should own their own possessions and property, and that it should be able to pass from generation to generation, without having to ask permission or paying a fee to some government thug.
    I believe that government has a few, limited roles to play, and very, very few of them are economic. Establishing and defending borders, judging court cases without bias, negotiating with enemies to prevent wars, etc.
    I believe the proper way to collect taxes is through a straight, flat tax on goods sold. No withholdings, no income, no sliding scale. I think this would limit the wasteful things such as ‘wars’ on drugs and other institutions that are draining resources.

    (A few of my childhood friends, growing up outside D.C., were grand-nieces and nephews of people who Guevara actually murdered himself.)

  5. Yes, it is.
    My across the street neighbors, for awhile, were Kurds who left in the 80’s.
    Other friends were Jews who escaped Stalin, and I’m related to Jews who escaped Hitler.
    The problem with hate is that it can be used by any philosophy, violence; by both right and wrong.

    Given the choice, I prefer a country whose laws limit the power of government, so that when it is doing wrong, it is limited.
    Of course, I understand that that also means that it is limited in doing good.

    Hamlet seemed suicidal, and said that his country was bad, and that it was his “prison,” and one of the worst.
    When Rosencrantz tried to disagree, Hamlet attempted to argue from the position of moral ambivalence, saying “nothing is good or bad, lest thinking make it so.”

    While I disagree, and believe that there is a right and a wrong, or a better and a worse in each decision that is to be made, I also recognize that a series of good and bad decisions runs together into a kind of grey. It pays to look to the good that is achieved, as well as denounce the evil.

    Life is longer and more enjoyable that way, although mistakes are unavoidable, and among the political theories out there, it seems that one just trades one set of ‘elites’ for another. The less official, legal, ‘on the books’ power the government has, (as long as it is composed of people who make mistakes,) the less likely it is to convert a country into a ‘prison’ for those of us who live there.

  6. I generally agree with you, Ray (I’m not sure if your comment was directed at me or not). I am no naive anarchist, nor do I believe collective ownership is the solution. But I also believe that unfettered capitalism is a utopian model. I believe in progressive change, not a crystallized form of government. (the quiz you linked to labeled me a “liberal” though…)

    Pure socialism might appeal to some, might be a nice way of living if we were all what Nietzsche called Last Men. But that’s simply not what evidence before our eyes is telling us. Even Zapatero has seen limits to his socialism and tolerance – look at the wall in Melilla, the failure of his talks with ETA. For me, this is not the way to go – but I lean more towards his political approach than that of the rancid old politics of the PP. Does that make me a socialist? Yeah, about as much as Obama is a socialist – ie not at all. Maybe we need some new terms.

  7. My point earlier was that some of those blogs espousing the invasion of Iraq and Friedman-Strauss ideologies have begun to disappear. There was some audacious shit written at the height of war fever, and it would be good to save it for the future.

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