materialist history

anonymous asked:

"all his economic works from the late 1850s to his death and nothing else tbh" no love for the german ideology? it's kinda simplistic in some ways but it's still probably got the clearest exposition of the historical materialist framework for understanding history

marx was nowhere near his peak in his 20s tbh and you can find many of his earlier ideas worked out in more detail in capital. that being said, if that person just wants to know what to read then i’m the wrong person to ask because my answer will always be “everything”

I don’t think people’s lack of radicalness is a moral failure and I also don’t think the lefts focus on consciousness is meaningful in any real way. The Left and it’s vile humanism can’t win if it thinks the thing preventing revolution is the Communist ideals held by individuals. No not just communist ideals - the correct communist ideals which we should all universally adhere to.

This is mindnumbingly idealist. History is not the result of individual human actors and their thoughts and actions. That’s Neoliberal as fuck. But of course the left is idealist. Our focus on individuals reaches the point where we believe Obama or hilary or trump are ‘driving’ global capital into a direction rather than being consequences of capital. We believe them to be personifications of capital. That in our attacks of them we will somehow weaken capital. That’s naive and misguided at best.

But back to the moralizing: while I have been guilty of this in the past I no longer believe it has ever been effective to basically say people are evil for not being leftists. As if it is human subjectivity that will cause us to win. Capitalism does not require any of us to exist or function. If not Trump or Joe Revolutionary it would be someone else. Capitalism is not the result of human actions, human actions are the result of capitalism. You cannot destroy it through the lefts mass individualism that it loves so much in its romantic appeals to populism and glory.

Capitalisms institutions persist precisely because it’s workers, managers and owners are interchangeable. It’s institutions are immortal precisely because of this. All of the left, Anarchist or Marxist, requires continuously failed strategies that operate on the level of human subjectivity and individualism. I’m more concerned with dual power, mutual aid, communization as creating our own immortal institutions than convincing individuals of anything. That’s a more useful investment of resources than aesthetic radicalism. Capitalism will fail because people will no longer need to rely on it as it crumbles not because you convinced five of your friends to believe the correct ideas and to engage in some localized resistance to build a commune or socialism in one state.

Capitalisms universalizing tendency is not at all concerned about these localized resistances in rojava or in the ussr. You may say “but anticommunism!” That’s mere ideology. The actual materialist history of the Left has been an eventually return to capitals grasp. Capitalism will not abide by any political or geographical limitation. No location or resource is too sacred for it to extract. It is inevitable for localized resistances to be defeated and consumed. The USSRs defeat was inevitable. The Paris communes defeat was inevitable. Capitalism has nothing to fear from the left. It has persisted just fine. Our obsessions with human subjectivity and the ego of professional revolutionaries and activists does not allow us to see this.

This is why I’m a communist not a leftist.

atem-mypharaoh  asked:

Hello, just want to say I really learn a lot reading the responses you give to asks on your blog. I am leaning more towards communism and those principles after learning more about it. Just wanted to get your opinion, from all that I've heard/seen, communism doesn't work for long in practice (aka Soviet Union) - what's your opinion how it would work large scale (hope I've phrased this right). Sorry if I've said anything that can be taken wrongly

No worries! With regard to long-term/large-scale practice, attempts at socialism (and by extension communism) have been unwieldy for a number of reasons. I outline a few of them in this ask response. The major examples that have undergone a revolution aimed at socialism, Russia and China, were largely feudal societies at the start of their respective revolutions – this has a huge impact on how the subsequent economic system will form, generally for the worse (the level of development in the productive forces made it more difficult to create a viable socialism). In other words, the technology coming into the spotlight today – automation, 3-D printing, renewable energy technology – makes the possibility of socialism infinitely greater and infinitely easier. The materialist view of history posits that social systems are intimately tied to the economic systems – the ways people reproduce society daily – and technology plays a huge part in this relationship.

“The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.” -Karl Marx

If Marx was alive today, he’d probably argue that the automated-mill gives you society made up of liberated workers.

Hope this helped!

-Daividh

The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk about on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings.
—  G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) English writer

What would a materialist history of the Left tell us? I think it would tell us that the lefts biggest failure has been that of scale and that the scale we’ve functioned through previously has not and will not cause us as communists to win.

It would tell us that resistance at the scale or the Paris commune or even Russia was not sufficient enough. Many leftists may agree but at the end of the day they attribute the failures of the USSRs dissolution as belonging to ideological or personality failure.

Instead of looking at personalities look at patterns. Neocolonialism was a response that made sense in reaction to revolutionary movements across Africa. Eastern Asian communist states becoming increasingly class divided should not be seen as a failure of such and such Chinese or Vietnamese leader but rather an inevitability. Capitalisms global dominance demands interaction with it on its terms. Capitalism has reacted to revolutionary movements without strain or sweat. It continues doing what it does and other nations, through force or need, will have to interact with it again.

Leftist movement arises -> maybe wins in this one localized space -> is eventually defeated and capitlaism is reintroduced in that space.

This is a pattern we see time and time again. Instead of seeing it at the level of ideology, which the left often only does, what if this wasn’t a failure of such and such communist leader or the result of such and such western leader? What if this a trend we see time and time again due to the mechanics of capital?

That is what I’m saying, and from that perspective a materialist history of the Left would show capitals logics as requiring the subsumption and recuperation of such localized movements. Notice that the flows of capital accumulation continued despite all these different movements of different tendencies.

This is not saying we must do nothing or that nothing can be done but rather what has been done is doomed to fail due to severe limitations in the scale of struggle.

“The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk about on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings.”

— G.K. Chesterton

anonymous asked:

I got one thing to say to sanders fans . "Nazi punks Fuck off" I'd sooner die than vote for thAt facist scum

I couldn’t agree more anon, fuck Nazi punks.

But you seem… confused… as to who Bernie Sanders is and what “socialism” or “democratic socialism” is if you’re making a correlation to fascism (taking a wild guess here, because this message reads a lot like “I got something to say to people that like oranges.  ‘Egg lovers fuck off’ I’d sooner die than eat one of those eggs.” as you point to an orange).  

Let’s talk “socialism” versus “fascism” - oranges and eggs.  Both edible, but two different beasts, er, foods. 

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Source:  http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl_258/lecture%20notes/capitalism%20etc%20defined.htm

Defining Capitalism, Communism, Fascism, Socialism

Caveat: There are some inherent pitfalls trying to offer simple, bite sized definitions of capitalism, socialism, communism and fascism – the first being that these are complex concepts concerning both economics and government, so short definitions will be incomplete; the second being that these concepts are not always mutually exclusive (most modern states combine elements of more than one); the third being that historical states defined the terms differently; and finally, some of the terms refer strictly to economic systems (capitalism) while others (fascism) also refer to government and economic systems (communism and fascism).  

For a point of reference, the United States is a Constitutional Democratic Republic that has long embraced both capitalism (free markets) and socialism (public schools and universities, and public works – parks, roads and highways, sewer and water, dams, harbors, as well as social welfare, such as worker’s comp, unemployment insurance, social security etc.).

Capitalism

In common usage, the word capitalism means an economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated, and the investment of capital and the production, distribution and prices of commodities (goods and services) are determined mainly in a free market, rather than by the state. In capitalism, the means of production are generally operated for profit.

In a purely capitalist economy, there would be no public schools, no state owned or maintained roads and highways, public works, welfare, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, Social Security benefits etc.

Socialism

Most generally, socialism refers to state ownership of common property, or state ownership of the means of production.  A purely socialist state would be one in which the state owns and operates the means of production. However, nearly all modern capitalist countries combine socialism and capitalism.

The University of Idaho, and any other public school or university, is a “socialist” institutions, and those who attend it or work for it are partaking in socialism, because it is owned and operated by the state of Idaho.  The same is true of federal and state highways, federal and state parks, harbors etc.

Communism

Most generally, communism refers to community ownership of property, with the end goal being complete social equality via economic equality.  Communism is generally seen by communist countries as an idealized utopian economic and social state that the country as a whole is working toward;  that is to say that pure communism is the ideal that the People’s Republic of China is (was?) working toward.  Such an ideal often justifies means (such as authoritarianism or totalitariansim) that are not themselves communist ideals.

Fundamentally, communism argues that all labor belongs to the individual laborer; no man can own another man’s body, and therefore each man owns his own labor.  In this model all “profit” actually belongs in part to the laborer, not, or not just, those who control the means of production, such as the business or factory owner.  Profit that is not shared with the laborer, therefore, is considered inherently exploitive.

Fascism

The word descends from the Latin ‘fasces’, the bundle of sticks used by the Romans to symbolize their empire.  This should clue you in that Fascism attempts to recapture both the glory and social organization of Rome.

Most generally, “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”  

Unlike communism, fascism is opposed to state ownership of capital and economic equality is not a principle or goal.  During the 1930s and WWII, communism and fascism represented the extreme left and right, respectively, in European politics.   Hitler justified both Nazi anti-Semitism and dictatorship largely on the basis of his working to fight-off communism.

The church also played a major role in all of the European fascist countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal) as the authority on religious and moral issues, which was opposed to the threat of “godless communists”.

Mussolini, the Italian father of Fascism, writes that: “..Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied - the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society….

After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….

A Note On Morality: Capitalism and socialism are essentially a-moral* terms: they simply refer to economic systems – who owns what and how capital is exchanged – regardless of any other type of moral principle or goal.  Communism and fascism, on the other hand, refer to both economics, governance, and basic moral principles: that is to say they refer to overarching ideas about how people should live (rather than describing how people do business), so they imply a total ideology: a morality, an economy, a government.

* A-moral simply means neither moral or immoral.  A rock is a-moral. Driving a car is usually a-moral.  Killing someone with a rock is usually immoral.  Driving drunk is immoral.

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With this knowledge (keeping in mind the caveat mentioned above), let’s just hit a couple things about Sanders because this post is already TL;DR:

…fascism is opposed to state ownership of capital and economic equality is not a principle or goal. and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage

Note that Bernie Sanders is shooting for economic equality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VePpQBCbKBw

Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation.“

Note that Bernie  Sanders has said directly the opposite of this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mmcPZGAH3s

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Hope that cleared it up for you.  I still admire the fact you’d sooner die rather than vote for a fascist, damn straight. 

berniesanders.com
feelthebern.org

The friends of peace in bourgeois circles believe that world peace and disarmament can be realised within the frame-work of the present social order, whereas we, who base ourselves on the materialistic conception of history and on scientific socialism, are convinced that militarism can only be abolished from the world with the destruction of the capitalist class state.
—  Rosa Luxemburg, Peace Utopias (1911)