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blazingstar
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29 Nov 2022, 7:57 pm

Dox47 wrote:
Just a quick note on the Nordic countries; many of the have enormous oil wealth, and that has allowed them to prop up generous social welfare programs despite otherwise lackluster economies. Make of that what you will.


Norway has a lot of oil. Denmark has significant oil, but not as much as Norway or even Great Britain.

Sweden does not have oil. Neither does Finland which I think has a high quality of life.

You can't lump all of Scandanavia into one basket.


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29 Nov 2022, 10:47 pm

magz wrote:
I found it an interesting question, indirectly asked in this thread: viewtopic.php?t=409591

What is communism?
And does it have any chance of working in the real world?

I think we should start from the utopian slogan:
From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.
Great.
Now: who decides abilities and needs of each commune member? And how?

Please, no "commies good", "commies bad", etc. in this thread. Let's look into this idea in an analytical way - trying to pinpoint why it notoriously failed in every state that tried it - and, possibly, give us some broader idea on what is possible or not in societes and states.


The only way I can see this being done perfectly with at least a chance of being fair is in a very small group, like a band of hunter-gatherers. Even that wouldn't necessarily be a guarantee, since I'm sure that, just as some families are dysfunctional, some hunter-gatherer bands were likewise. It's just that those bands probably wouldn't survive very long.

In a larger community, you're likely to have various resentments and rivalries. These can be between individuals, neighborhoods, or entire groups of people. It's one of the reasons that intersectionality is kind of complicated, since it's not always clear who needs more help. And even if someone does need more help, the kind of help they need may be difficult to communicate or for the authorities to understand.

Now, my point here isn't that we shouldn't help anyone. Just that it gets more complicated the more people you have. Most of the communist states that existed tried to decide this through a very top-down method, which resulted in brutality and failing to even accomplish this basic goal (since in many cases, the nomenklatura became pretty similar to the bourgeoisie they replaced).

Likewise, "from each according to their ability" gets tricky, since there are also larger and non-negotiable needs. You need to be able to produce enough food. And that means someone has to work the farms, regardless of their actual level of ability.

This, to me, is why communist/anarchist theories don't usually hold up as a practical model. Someone still has to do the grunt work that nobody (or almost nobody) actually wants to do. In our current system, we offer compensation through payment. Now, it does feel good to help others, so maybe that could motivate some reluctant peasants. But a lot of them might be wondering why they couldn't do things like be musicians or actors or whatever. Sure, maybe farming is "to their ability"... but that can be a bitter pill to swallow.

I've read The Communist Manifesto a few times. It's excellent in its analysis of class struggle and capitalism. But it's quite weak when it comes to offering solutions. Marx is quite vague on how communism would be established, to the point that it feels more like an eschatological model than a social one. And that's probably because there's no way to predict exactly how things will turn out even if workers did manage everything.

I'm not a communist or a Marxist (while his analysis was excellent, I also think it was myopic). The various communist regimes that have existed were brutal enough that I'm wary of anyone who still considers themselves one. I've met survivors of these regimes, so to me, the name is forever tainted. But I don't think the current system in the United States is sustainable, so I'm in favor of spending more money to help the poor, establishing a healthcare system that doesn't bankrupt people, and stronger environmental laws.



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30 Nov 2022, 3:51 am

^ I have similar thoughts that communism can operate on a small scale of a family or a tribe but not on a scale of a state.
I think there's one more aspect: "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" can be systematically applied to a relatively small group (capable of a consensus on capabilities of "each") operating on a level of survival. The level of survival gives incentive to work (so we all - people I personally know - survive) and it makes the concept of needs of each something pretty clear.

Once surplus appears, I believe even bands of hunter-gatherers introduce a concept of merit - the best hunter gets the best parts of the game and shares them with the best hunting tools maker or things like this. While the survival-level needs are adressed according to everyone's most basic needs, surplus, quality and fame can be distributed differently, to increase productivity of the tribe.

I think capitalism focuses on increasing productivity, forgetting the part about ensuring survival, or even ideologically rejecting it. Communism (the utopian version), on the other hand, ignores merit. Mixed economies try to balance the two, with various results.


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magz
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30 Nov 2022, 4:31 am

League_Girl wrote:
I am thankful for my landlord we had when we lived in an apartment, our landlord never raised our rent and she didn't care for profit. She never updated her units, she only kept them maintained and it was a place to live in, we didn't care for updated stuff, home was a home and we had a roof over our heads and everything was functioning. That was all it mattered. And she just collected rent and would only pay property taxes and maintain the place. Greedy landlords who do it for profit raise rent and update their units for profit so they can charge more in rent and get new tenants because they know there are people that are willing to pay that much because they're rich and being rich means they won't be there forever and they will move out when they get a new job or get a house. Poor people can't save for a house if it's all going towards rent so they're stuck. In a way our landlord helped us get a house. Because we saved, we were able to move out and move to another roof over our heads than the streets. In return, I cleaned the entire apartment from top to bottom and only left the keys and the carpet cleaning receipt, and within a week she already had it rented out.

Your former landlord sounds like an example of simple human decency that wasn't spoiled by an ideology that promoted greed as a virtue...


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Texasmoneyman300
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30 Nov 2022, 4:43 am

I have read the Communist Manifesto for college.I am a Christian Communist not a Traditional Marxist Communist.My utopian views are inspired by Acts 2 and Acts 4 and not Karl Marx.I think communism can work in families and communes and some churches.I think its sad that there's people with hundreds of billions yet theres so much more that are penniless and unable to afford a home.But still i would rather live in Modern American Capitalism than the 1950's Soviet Union but thats just me.I think communism fails partially because it removes the incentive to work for many.I think having no rich and no poor is a good idea in theory but just does not work in the real world due to human nature.



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30 Nov 2022, 6:56 am

I have some comments about the former Warsaw Pact countries having visited a couple back in the day. Later.

However I would like to remind people of the huge amount of worldwide support shown for the Cuban Revolution during the Cold War and even nowadays. For example, the English Language Wikipedia page on Fulgencio Batista reads as a justification for the Revolution more than actually being about Batista. Plus the worldwide expression of outrage over the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende Gossens in Chile which had intended to emulate the Cuban Revolution. When the DDR government was overthrown, Chile was the friendliest place the Honecker family could find for exile. The Chileans had a great deal of nostalgia for Marxism/Leninism and considered Honecker to be a friend. Not to forget Pierre Elliott Trudeau's unashamed admiration for the Cuban government. Ironic in part because the Cuban approach to Communism was more extreme than what existed in the Warsaw Pact. No political freedom whatsoever (I believe it's slightly better nowadays).


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30 Nov 2022, 7:17 am

Sure….there are people who support the Cuban model of government.

But they don’t take into account the conditions which actually exist in Cuba—which, with the possible exception of health and education—are really bad, over all. Does anyone feel that Castro and his close cohorts would have accepted surviving on under $100 a month, with constant shortages of basic foodstuffs?

I don’t believe a starving Cuban urban worker would care what Pierre (or Elliott) Trudeau thought.



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30 Nov 2022, 7:52 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I don’t believe a starving Cuban urban worker would care what Pierre (or Elliott) Trudeau thought.

But this is about all the good press the Cuban Revolution always seemed to get worldwide, not what living in Cuba actually is like. I rather suspect that reports of rough living conditions in Cuba were widely attributed to US propaganda and may still be so attributed nowadays. Because Cuba refused to knuckle under to US demands.

During the Cold War, it seemed as though the Soviet Union got very little direct grassroots support in the West, but most people in Western Europe and Latin America seemed to be on the same side, intellectually, of certain conflicts as the USSR, for example the war in Vietnam and Chile. The USSR was also seen as a steadfast enemy of Apartheid and Zionism whereas the US was reviled for its acquiescence to those 2 "inhumane" policies.


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magz
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30 Nov 2022, 9:16 am

What do all these trends in press and opinions of outsiders have to do with realities in which people lived?
People in the West were aware of shortcomings of capitalism and dirty tricks of USA - and had little to no idea on what was happening on the other side.
You know journalists from the West visited USSR in the middle of Holodomor and saw nothing of it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor ... viet_Union
Press sympathies and trends are not a good measure of realities. They are rather testimonies of past propaganda wars. This problem is not limited to communism-capitalism, by the way.


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30 Nov 2022, 9:28 am

It’s the experience of the people living under a regime, the anecdotal experience, that counts most in this instance.



magz
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30 Nov 2022, 9:38 am

It's a funny thing... I don't know when Westerners started to be aware of Holodomor but we were thinking about it recently and it turned out both me and my husband "knew for so long that we don't know when we learned it".
I think both our families had contact with its survivors and preserved the knowledge.


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30 Nov 2022, 12:15 pm

magz wrote:
It's a funny thing... I don't know when Westerners started to be aware of Holodomor but we were thinking about it recently and it turned out both me and my husband "knew for so long that we don't know when we learned it".
I think both our families had contact with its survivors and preserved the knowledge.

Anti-Soviet propaganda didn't really begin until the Cold War. During WWII the USSR was officially an ally, propaganda was targeted at the Axis. After the war people were so horrified about what we learned about the Holocaust that everything else paled in comparison.


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30 Nov 2022, 12:30 pm

The Holodomor was a major genocide committed against Ukrainians in the early 30s. How can it not be etched in people’s memories?

Poles, I sense, feel a kinship with Ukrainians.



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30 Nov 2022, 12:51 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
The Holodomor was a major genocide committed against Ukrainians in the early 30s. How can it not be etched in people’s memories?

Poles, I sense, feel a kinship with Ukrainians.

As a young person I knew nothing about the Holodomor. When I was in elementary school, the leader of the USSR was Ukrainian. Lee Harvey Oswald was married to a Ukrainian. As far as we were concerned, Ukrainians were basically Soviets. I would say this is how we saw all Soviet republics except possibly the Baltic States. I'm not trying to justify any of it, that's just the propaganda we were exposed to. This is part of my reason for suspecting that some anti-communist propaganda to which I was exposed as a young person was less than accurate. It seemed that people in France and Italy weren't exposed to the same intensity of anti-communist rhetoric. Which should not by any means be seen as a defense of Communism.


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30 Nov 2022, 1:22 pm

It’s true: Americans didn’t know about the Holodomor.



magz
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30 Nov 2022, 2:13 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
The Holodomor was a major genocide committed against Ukrainians in the early 30s. How can it not be etched in people’s memories?
American press denied it, with the leading role of Walter Duranty. They called reports of mass artificial famine - guess what? Anti-Soviet propaganda. In the 1930s.

kraftiekortie wrote:
Poles, I sense, feel a kinship with Ukrainians.
There's a long history and not all of its chapters were bright but now the better we know each other, the more we understand how close our cultures are. And how incompatibile with the traditions of Moscow.
Now Ukrainian situation is extremely relatable to our history. It's easy to think in terms of "we" - especially that we are facing a common threat we both understand too well.

MaxE wrote:
Anti-Soviet propaganda didn't really begin until the Cold War. During WWII the USSR was officially an ally, propaganda was targeted at the Axis.
Are you at least aware of this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland
Soviets weren't with the Allies until Germans invaded them. It was stupidity of Hitler that put both on the same side.

MaxE wrote:
After the war people were so horrified about what we learned about the Holocaust that everything else paled in comparison.
It didn't pale. It was silenced. Germans were even blamed for some Soviet attrocities (Katyń!) and the West accepted it because it was more comfortable than the truth.


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