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why are all of you it seems carrying on arguments about socialism that died long ago?  can you look into alternative ways of understanding and developing technology, community development, and education.  otherwise; it seems you are just talking to yourselves.  and that is a dialogue which can get boring and self referencing after a while.  reach out and talk to people about their concerns.  why is our social system so riddled with problems of addiction, unhappiness, and violence?  those are the problems people face in the streets of our world today no matter where they may live.  from the ghetto to the gated communities; first world to third world.  paul quinlan
Date: Sun, 15 May 2011 16:19:15 +0200
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: socialism in other countries
To: [log in to unmask]

I will leave it to other list members to enter this discussion if they like, but want to follow up on just one point David raises: Whether non-socialist parties should be allowed. The problem here is that someone has to decide whether such parties are indeed non-socialist or not. Did not Stalin brand all Trotskyist parties and individuals as counter-revolutionary, and have not most Communist parties in the world followed suit even after Stalin's death?


This is what bothers me and many other people. Even if one could justify suppressing a party that is openly capitalist, can one ever justify banning a party that claims to be socialist, whether or not the majority agree that it is? It's just so easy for Communists to call people they don't agree with counter-revolutionary, to put them in jail, and to kill them. I doubt that many people in the world will ever again be persuaded to give them that power.


MB
On Sun, May 15, 2011 at 4:12 PM, David Westman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:




  
    
    
  
  
    Mr. Balter asks me whether multiple socialist parties should be
    allowed in true anti-revisionist socialist societies, but he does
    not ask whether non-socialist parties should be allowed.    I detect
    in this the realization that he understands the possibility of
    counter-revolution and recognizes the need to guard against it.    
    I think that this issue has not yet been worked out and I cannot
    give a definite answer.    I think that the working class would be
    stronger if the vast majority is united behind one single party, but
    if it becomes fragmented into several parties, that would be a
    weakness that must be overcome by non-coercive, democratic means.   
    Democracy is a way of reaching a decision, and a decision means that
    consensus is recognized at some point and a collective path forward
    is agreed on.   If a society remains stuck at a crisis point, where
    a decision cannot be reached and unity is impossible, then this
    could prevent some necessary actions and the conditions which
    brought about the crisis would only get worse.    So whether formal
    parties or factions of a single party or other means to recognize
    these disagreements are provided for, is not the real issue.  
    Coercion, administrative measures, or bureacratic restrictions
    should not be allowed unless the society is faced with a grave
    threat of destruction.   If this is the case, then we should answer
    the question - which is more important, the survival of the
    collective or the principle of multiple parties?   I don't know the
    answer to this question, and it troubles me as well.

    

    When it comes to oppositional parties, one can classify them in
    three categories:  loyal, subversive, and ineffectual.   Loyal
    oppositions really present little danger, because there is an
    agreement that the same societal framework should be maintained and
    it is merely details of policy and implementation that are at
    issue.    Subversive oppositional parties are organizations of the
    class enemy, and every sort of society has means to prevent those
    from forming and becoming organized; this is true of the USA and any
    other country that has existed or will exist.   An ineffectual
    oppositional party can be tolerated even if it is potentially
    subversive, only so long as it is ineffectual or marginal.   Here in
    the US there are many ineffectual parties of this sort, and as long
    as they do not have a mass following, the government is content to
    spy on them and harass them, but it does not seek to wipe them out
    completely (maybe at some point they will, that is conceivable).   
    But if one of these parties begins to grow and develop a mass base,
    then I would expect things to change, even in the most "democratic"
    of societies.   So I am really throwing this open for more
    discussion, because I do not have complete answers here.

    

    David Westman 

    

    On 5/15/2011 6:41 AM, Michael Balter wrote:
    When I joined Progressive Labor Party in 1968, we were
      just about to brand Mao Tse-Tung as a revisionist, and indeed went
      on to do so. Thus I have a reasonably good understanding of the
      concept. The main issue, of course, is whether we want to go back
      to those Marxist-Leninist principles, back to the drawing board in
      effect, or move on to a different conception altogether of what
      socialism means--a conception that is, for sure, anti-communist
      but pro-socialist.
      
        

      
      In that context, I would like to ask David whether he thinks
        multiple socialist parties should be allowed in true,
        anti-revisionist socialist societies he envisions, or whether he
        would on one party only representing the interests of the
        working class. Kamran provide us yesterday with a detailed
        history of this issue in the Communist movement, which I found
        very interesting and informative.
      

      
      Meanwhile, in France, accusations are already surfacing that
        Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest was a frameup either by agents
        of Nicolas Sarkozy or by his rivals in the Socialist Party.
        There is no doubt many in France would like DSK out of the way,
        so such rumors may have legs. If the maid turns out to be
        French, watch out. 
      

      
      Mitchel, what do you say, could this be a new conspiracy? I
        will be in New York for a few weeks beginning Monday night so
        perhaps we can take this one on together. :-)
      

      
      On the other hand, we might want to believe the victim...
      

      
      MB

        

        On Sun, May 15, 2011 at 3:16 PM, David
          Westman <[log in to unmask]>
          wrote:

          
             Mr. Balter is
              raising, in his own confused way, the question of "how do
              you tell fake socialism or communism from the real
              thing?".   And he acknowledges, at least implicitly, that
              mere labels do not help you here.   What he has not yet
              done is recognize that the issue of revisionism, Marxism
              which has been revised at its core to expunge
              revolutionary politics, is key here.   This is connected
              to his stance as a "left anti-communist" which provided no
              room for exploring this issue.    But if he took up the
              politics of anti-revisionist Marxism, he would see that
              there is a way out of his quandry, and I would hope he
              could recognize that.    Genuine socialism (as opposed to
              the social-democracy practiced by the European parties
              which are socialist in name only, and capitalist in
              practice, with a "human face" that is becoming
              increasingly downcast in the last few years), rests on
              building a revolutionary party that practices the politics
              of class struggle, and has as its goal the ultimate
              transition to communism.    This path was aborted by the
              Stalinists, and their fellow revisionists in the
              Trotskyist and Maoist camps have persisted in this
              erroneous path for the entire 20th century and up to the
              present day.    So what needs to be done here is to
              repudiate the bankrupt politics of the social-democrats of
              Europe (who also have followers in the USA among left-wing
              Democrats, Greens, and other groups), and the modern
              revisionists (also including Castroists and the faux
              socialists of Latin America such as Chavez and
              Morales).    The Augean stables must be cleansed of this
              filth of the past century, and anti-revisionism is the
              only way to go about this.

               

                David Westman
              
                

                  

                  On 5/15/2011 12:38 AM, Michael Balter wrote:
                  Larry asked yesterday about
                    the situation in countries that are "socialist"
                    rather than Communist, if indeed any such exist.
                    Last night the leading presumed candidate for
                    president on the French "Socialist Party" ticket,
                    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested for allegedly
                    sexually assaulting a hotel maid. DSK, as he is
                    known, is also head of the very capitalist I.M.F.
                     

                    
                    So yes, we need a democratic socialism of the
                      type Larry refers to, one that suffers neither
                      from the authoritarianism/totalitarianism of
                      so-called "Communist" states and parties, nor the
                      "capitalism with a human face" outlook of the
                      so-called socialist parties one finds in Europe. 
                    

                    
                    MB
                      

                      -- 

                      ******************************************

                      Michael Balter

                      Contributing Correspondent, Science

                      Adjunct Professor of Journalism,

                      New York University

                      

                      Email:  [log in to unmask]

                      Web:    michaelbalter.com

                      NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/

                      ****************************************** 

                      

                          
                      “Faced with the
                            choice between changing one’s mind and
                            proving that there is no need to do so,
                            almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                         
                                                          --John Kenneth
                            Galbraith
                      

                    
                  
                
              
            
          
        
        

        
        

        -- 

        ******************************************

        Michael Balter

        Contributing Correspondent, Science

        Adjunct Professor of Journalism,

        New York University

        

        Email:  [log in to unmask]

        Web:    michaelbalter.com

        NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/

        ****************************************** 

        

            
        “Faced with the choice between
              changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to
              do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                         
                              --John Kenneth Galbraith
        

      
    
  



-- 
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]


Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
****************************************** 



“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith