December 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm #19457jerry3643Member
The title is supposed to read.. “Did socialist support Lenin/Stalin because of Marx?” I just didn’t have enough space for the “of”.
Left libertarians such as Noam Chomsky say that Lenin and Stalin were not Marxist because they did not truly allow for the means of production to be controlled by the workers. How true is this argument? It seems on the surface to be true. After all Marx did advocate as the final stage of Marxism to be where the government withers away.
But then again one can posit this as tangible proof of the failure of Marxist philosophy. That is that the state would never wither away under such a system.
So anti Marxist can argue that it failed in soviet Russia because of the impossibility of Marxism working, while pro Marxist argue today that it was not implemented correctly so it really wasn’t Marxism. The latter seems to be post de facto reasoning to me. In other words, it failed so let’s distance ourselves from it.December 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #19458
The pro-Marxist, such as Chomsky (who calls himself an “Aharchist” but his “Anarchism” is simply Marxian communism under another description) is incorrect in saying it “wasn’t really Marxism.” (Chomksy also tends to think that relatively small mobs in the streets, for example, the occupy movement, represent “the people” and “the workers,” even if they are only a tiny minority of the population. So in actuality, his expressions on this are not a matter of intellectual honesty/consistency, but simply a way to rationalize away past examples of implementing his preferred model).
Remember that under Marx’s thought, what little he said about the development of socialism & communism – one starts out with Socialism, a dictatorship. Blither to the contrary notwithstanding, this will always and everywhere be top-down, led by a “vanguard,” because under Marx’s own theory, people will not hold the correct views once the revolution comes; revolutionary terror (he is very explicit about this, and had only contempt for people who romanticized things) will and must be used to purge the population of people with wrong views, and indeed this is what “permanent revolution” was all about: “the killings just go on and on” as Thompson points out (link below).
Indeed another of the things Marx was explicit about was his believe that the problem with the French Revolution was that the leaders of it lost their nerve, that they didn’t engage in *sufficient* revolutionary terror. Marx’s critique had nothing to do with the hierarchical nature of the revolution as such.
As for the rest, I’ve linked to this FEE lecture by C. Bradley Thomson on Marx and Marxism, and the features within Marx’s theory itself that explicitly lead to precisely the sort of brutal outcomes that Marxism has always perpetrated.
Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min – these were not people who somehow misunderstood Marxism, or used Marxist rehetoric illegitimately to impose a dictatorship. They were the best students of Marx, the best exemplars of what his structure demands in practice. Marxism is not some humane system, not some “good idea, it just hasn’t really been tried yet.” It’s not even some humane system that “it’s too bad it won’t work in practice.” It’s a horror show, a deliberate – conciously-outlined – horror show, and while Marx himself would have found people who claim otherwise to either be 1) usefully setting aside bourgeoisie morality regarding truth in order to persuade others rhetorically or 2) romantic dupes who themselves are useful for the revolution but have no true understanding of Marxism, the fact is he held in contempt romanticist communists who refused to admit to themselves the necessary measures that would have to be taken to pound humanity into the new form it would take in order to build communism.December 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm #19459jerry3643Member
Excellent video it clears up so much. thank you.December 10, 2012 at 11:58 am #19460
Re. Chomksy-style “factory democracy,” – which would never be put in practice by guys like him, anyhow – but if it were, well I’m just going to leave this here.
“Do you see what we saw? We saw we’d be given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it — for observing it.”December 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm #19461
And…more again on Left-Anarchism and unlimited ‘participatory democracy,’ Chomsky-style; from a post quoting a sympathetic source:
“The GA [General Aseembly] became the main venue for this torture, and sitting through it was like watching someone sandpaper an open wound. Everyone said “Fuck the GA” as a joke, but as time wore on, the laughter was getting too long and too hoarse; a joke with blood in it. The metaphorical pain became less metaphorical with each eviction, with the gnawing feeling that something was coming.
Because the GA had no way to reject force, over time it fell to force. Proposals won by intimidation; bullies carried the day. What began as a way to let people reform and remake themselves had no mechanism for dealing with them when they didn’t. It had no way to deal with parasites and predators. It became a diseased process, pushing out the weak and quiet it had meant to enfranchise until it finally collapsed when nothing was left but predators trying to rip out each other’s throats.
By the time I returned to NY from visiting the camp in DC, exhausted with the pain of six evictions, the NYC GA was a place where women were threatened with beatings, and street kids with calls to the police. All the reasonable people had gotten the fuck out. It had become a gladiator pit no one enjoyed watching. Even Weev, the famous internet troll, didn’t last through the nastiness of the GA I took him to. He left while I wasn’t looking, without saying goodbye. We never spoke about it. I didn’t blame him, and I didn’t have to ask why. It was the tiny, brutal, and bitter politics of failed people.”
Now, of course, Chomsky claims that Lenin never tried factory democracy. And to some extent this is true. But the period of the Russian Revolution did try it – “Soviets” – Worker’s councils – sprouted up in Russia all throughout 1917. They mostly produced just this outcome, as quickly as Occupy did, and either suppressed themselves (collapsed in just this fashion, though often with more internecine violence) or were yoked to the Lenin Regime then self-liquidated in the wake of the October Revolution.
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