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well, i would first start with some of the 'anarchist' writers like kropotkin, bookchin, and even the old catholic worker peter maurin and his companion dorothy day.  i will explain more later.  but i think beyond ecological destruction, serious maldistribution of wealth we can focus on issues around technological organization of our society, a la ellul.  and to how society lives and breathes in its own image someone like guy debord.  first; we must understand who and what we are and then dialogue about how and what can be done.  and that takes much (prayer and reflection!) to know let alone understand.  that is where someone like thomas merton and thomas berry enter into the fray.  just food for thought and hopefully dialogue.  pq

Date: Sun, 15 May 2011 21:38:58 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: socialism in other countries
To: [log in to unmask]



Hi Paul,


Well if there's a social system NOT called "socialism" and
that's not based on private ownership for profit of production, that
could be interesting -- but I don't know of any. Do you?


If not, that's why ecosocialism -- is very much worth discussing, I
reckon.


Mitchel


At 09:26 PM 5/15/2011, Paul Quinlan wrote:


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













http://www.MitchelCohen.com




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