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Archive for the tag “revolution”

TRAITOR

What is a traitor? Well, according to the dictionary 

trai·tor
/ˈtrātər/
Noun
A person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.

Oh, ok. It is someone who betrays someone or something. Is being a traitor always a bad thing though? I think the answer to that is an easy no, and here’s why.

Edward Snowden: Traitor

The news in the last couple of weeks has been full of the story of Edward Snowden, a man who has given, not just the NSA, but the whole US and the US State Department a black eye. The internet is exploding with angry democrats, who are foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs just wanting to get their claws on this traitor to the US. Now, the story in detail has been written to death online, so I’ll let you fill yourself in on those details elsewhere, but let’s step back for a minute though and think about what being a traitor to the US really means.

Traitor to the US

I would like to announce, first, that I am absolutely a traitor to the US. 

I am a traitor to the country that was founded on the graves of millions of slaughtered, raped and exploited Native Americans.

I am a traitor to the country that built it’s material wealth on stolen land, with stolen resources and with the stolen labor of untold millions of African slaves, Chinese laborers, and wage slave immigrants.

I am a traitor to the country that is responsible for the violent overthrow of many many legitimate foreign governments, including the Kingdom of Hawaii, Panama, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and too many more to list here.

I am traitor to the government that has committed many many war crimes, from the atomic bombs on Japan to the murder and rape of the Philippine people and again, too many to list here.

I am a traitor to the government that has killed over a hundred thousand innocent people in Iraq, and has destroyed the country of Libya, and is seeking to destroy Syria.

I am a traitor to the country that has since its genesis been engaged in endless war, aggression, and colonialism. 

Yes, I am a PROUD PROUD TRAITOR to the world’s greatest evil, the capitalist imperialist racist exploitation murdering enslaving bombing impoverishing monolithic behemoth that is the United States of America.

See, being a traitor isn’t always a bad thing. When you betray the US, you are choosing loyalty to humanity, to the working class of the world, to the oppressed peoples of the world, to those who have suffered under the brutal boot of the US. 

By being and continuing to be a traitor to the US, I will and forever will remain, loyal to my principles of equality, and first and foremost to the working class, and I’ll never betray that.

 

British Man Burns to Death

Debt has killed another person as news reports have come out telling the story of a Mr. Anthony Breeze, age 36, who being 1,600 GBP in debt set himself on fire after suffering from harassment from loan sharks trying to get him to repay a debt that was out of his control. Press TV reports that he was taken to a hospital where they reported burns over 76% of his body, but the doctors were unable to save him, and he perished. Press TV also reports that payday loans in the UK have interest rates as high as 200%, preying on the poor and desperate, and further ruining their lives. The only way to alleviate this scourge of debt and hopelessness is a complete change, a systemic overhaul, a revolution. Too many have already died under the shackles of debt and capitalism, it is time to build a better world.

Story here: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/15/303708/debt/

The Problem with Human Nature

I’ve heard it a million times if I’ve heard it once. “But Tim, communism doesn’t take human nature into account.”  Today we’re going to discuss this argument, and examine what “human nature” is. Sound like fun? I thought so. Read on.

Human Nature: Is there actually such a thing?

I think that it’s a good rule of thumb to immediately put on your thinking cap and skeptic specs any time you hear the term “human nature”. Why? Because in my experience, and I think that many an academic will agree with me here, is that the term “human nature” used in a polemic is usually for the purpose of falsely claiming the naturalist umm, nature of one’s ideology to benefit one’s own position. For example, the fascists that argued that class structures of high to low, rich and poor was simply a natural occurrence and one that could not be altered. Or racists who argue that there are naturally occurring races, and that naturally, some are more y’know, superior than others. Surely we can see this, right? Surely some countries are poorer than others, right? That should mean some nations are superior to other nations, right? Right?

Wrong. You see, the whole “natural” thing is a complete and utter logical fallacy. Please see the following entry on the Naturalistic fallacy. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/naturalistic/

Before we get into what human nature even is, if you argue that communist ideology is at odds with “human nature”, you are implying two assertions:  1. Human nature cannot change 2. Human nature is not wrong because it is natural.

Leaving the first alone for a  moment, let’s focus on the second thing. Yeah, that’s the problem. There’s your fallacy fucking up your argument. tsk tsk. Alright, but why? Well, let me put it this way. Human nature is good. Humans have human nature. Ergo all humans are good. Well, what about Hitler, Mussolini, and Timothy McVeigh, they were human, so they must be good, right? And in fact, since what they were doing was only natural, as they were only acting upon their human nature, there’s no way, or hell, even reason to try to stop them, right? WRONG. This is the problem with this kind of thinking. It is a logical fallacy. It is also wrong in the first implied assertion I listed above. Human nature is not one thing. Humans don’t all have one nature. We’re a diverse species of over 7 billion people.

Anthropologists have studied human beings for many years, and if you’ve even taken even one anthropology course in college, you should know that any one-size-fits-all idea of human nature is absolutely bullshit. Do all humans share certain characteristics? Yes. Do we all share the same social, economic, religious and political systems? Fuck no we don’t. If you have primitive communism in one place, advanced capitalism in another, semi-feudal agrarianism in another, how can you say that human nature is uniform? Furthermore, humans have changed their political and economic and social systems many times over the course of human history. You had the republican (actually mostly supported by slaves) system in Rome, the early form of democracy in Greece, you had god kings in such places as Egypt and Japan, while in other countries you had regional war lords jockeying for power and control. You had some pacifist societies, and some societies that were organized along strict military lines, like Sparta. So, what is human nature? Greed? Selfishness? If you claim that greed and cut-throat selfishness are at the core of human civilization, then you have to ignore all the societies that have been pacifist, egalitarian and or communal. In fact, a majority of the world’s cultures lean more towards collectivism than they do towards cut throat individualism.

I could argue that because humans are a social animal, and always have been (argument from antiquity); or I could argue that humans are majority collectivist (argument from popularity) or that humans have been more equal throughout time than unequal, but those are logical fallacies. You see, we are not completely at the mercy of fate. We have brains, we can think, we can reason. We invent things, we invent culture, we invent art and we, yes, invent political and economic systems.  Human nature, whatever it is, and whatever you may think it entails, is not an argument, and never has been an argument against communist ideology.

Marx explained in the Manifesto of the Communist Party that all history is the history of class struggle. He explained how human political, economic, and social systems evolve. If you want to start somewhere, start there, right on this blog. Check it out. And then read more, because if you’re making the argument against communism based on “human nature”, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world; the point, however, is to change it.”—–Karl Marx

The Value of Nothing

There is an old saying about economists, about how they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. That has a lot of truth in it. Many economists focus on price mechanisms, the behavior of the market, and many related topics. Understanding how economics works is important, to be sure. There are, however, more important things in life. Let’s have a brief discussion about what is important in life, and why capitalism doesn’t satisfy the emotional, economic, or psychological needs of human beings.

Alienation

Our current economic system is one that alienates people. It alienates on basis of nationality, race, religion, language and other categories. We are taught to hate other people who are not like us. We are taught to distrust Muslims, we are taught to attack foreigners. It is us vs them. We verses they. The nation vs the other. This alienation divides society, but not like the alienation of the worker from his labor. He is separated from the work of his hands (or her hands as may be the case of course) because he doesn’t own the means of production. The proletariat sells their labor, the only thing they have to sell. They sell away their lives, making others rich by their work, produced wealth they will never get to enjoy. We are alienated from our dreams, our hopes, and our creativity. Young people who would like to attend school, gain an education and change the world are imprisoned in bad neighborhoods with violence, crime, poverty and an early death more likely than their success. Artists who would show the world great beauty, are forced instead to sell their labor for a pittance, to pay outrageous rents, utility payments and for food. We are held back by the “invisible hand” that is really the tentacles of international capitalism.

The Value of Life

For those who think that life is about making money are many in our society. This system has taught us to be cold, ruthless and unflappable. No crying, no hesitating, no compassion. You step over others to get to the top, and when you’re there you sit on your rightful throne as the king of a dog eat dog world. Except, you just may be all alone. What good is money without love? What good is money without happiness, and fulfillment? What if you’re rich, but you live in a poor society? You pass the homeless on the streets, the boarded up houses and the refuse littered walkways. People searching for drugs to escape their empty desolate lives, trying to get away from the pain of a society alienated from itself.  They search for an escape, but there is not one to be found. The capitalist wasteland is all encompassing, it touches everyone, and ruins everything. Can you be happy in such a world? If you are financially secure, can you assuage your conscience? Can you stand to see the poverty of the world, see the people in Greece light themselves on fire in one final gasp of desperation? Perhaps those that have committed suicide to escape this heartless world performed one last act of individual autonomy, of freedom, of stubborn resolve.

What good is money if you are all alone? Isolated, unloved and unaccompanied? What good is it to be as rich as King Midas, yet lack any human warmth? Money isn’t everything. The pursuit of profit is a poor substitute for the pursuit of happiness, and no the two are not the same. Would you rather have a rich daughter, or a healthy and happy daughter? Would you rather be poor and happy, in love and content, or would you rather be rich, sick, miserable and depressed? Do you want a society that rewards greed, avarice and malice, or do you want a society that rewards cooperation, innovation and equality? Do you want riches, or do you want social justice? We can have a better world. This world of contradictions, alienation, exploitation and despair is not a good place to live in. So what do we do? We learn that humans are the most valuable things in the world. More valuable than diamonds, more valuable than all the gold in Fort Knox. We are the universe aware of itself. That’s pretty awesome. A better world is possible, and it’s called socialism. I want a happy, egalitarian world. What kind of world do you want?

This Land’s not your Land, This Land is my Land

First let me wish a Happy New Year to all of my readers, and thanks for joining me for another year. (Yes, you’re committed now, don’t try to back out.) I started this blog in 2011, and here we are now in 2013. My readership has grown a bit, and although I am not a huge blog, I also don’t have the time to write every day here (The daily part of communist daily is because you can read it daily, whether or not I’ve posted new content. At least that’s how I rationalize it.) All things considered, I’m grateful for those who take the time to read my rantings, and who take the time to comment and give their opinion. This is what makes the internet great. (Well that and videos of cats doing ridiculous things.) Anyway, thanks for joining me here again, and I wish you and yours all the best in the coming year. That being said, on to the topic at hand!!!

The Melting Pot

Immigrants. In the US we have this image of dirty and gaunt immigrants standing at Ellis Island gaining access to the greatest country on earth (TM). OK, American immigration history is a lot more complicated than the stories of Ellis Island, but many Americans like to think of the US as a land of immigrants. However, we’re not really that kind to immigrants, and we never have been. You see, this is just another in a long line of lies that make up the myth of America. We want to think of ourselves as tolerant and open, but we are nothing of the sort. From the Italians to the Jews, Chinese and Japanese,  immigrants to the US have faced an often hostile place of racial and ethnic tensions. Discrimination abounded and campaigns to disenfranchise millions of immigrants litter our history.

Now after the recent end of the congressional debacle that was the fight over the self imposed and completely absurd fiscal cliff”, it is being reported that Obama wants to tackle immigration reform. No, this probably won’t make much of anything better, it will likely be cosmetic changes. In fact, the Huffington Post is reporting that although the details of the so called reform is a complete mystery, many rightists in congress are already gearing up to address it. Of course that’s assuming it ever gets brought up at all since the fight over the fiscal issues is far from being really resolved and congress spends more time telling each other to go fuck themselves (that’s not hyperbole either) and getting huge paychecks than they do their actual jobs. So what can we expect from the ultra-right assholes in the blogosphere on this issue of immigration reform? (Please note again, I seriously doubt that the Democrats will come up with anything close to progressive, seeing since Obama spent his first time completely putting Bush to shame when it came to deportations.) Well, let’s take a look at the rambling idiot (and ironically an anchor baby of sorts) Michelle Malkin. I’ll spare you her stupdity, and won’t quote the article I’m taking the following from, but in a recent article on her website, she screamed and ranted about the dangers of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. At the end of her hysterical and xenophobic rant, she listed something from the US Commission on Immigration Reform, which she uses as a template for how immigrants should assimilate to the US. And if they don’t assimilate to her liking, they should get the fuck out of here, because this is HER country. Anyway, here it is (With my responses to it):

We believe these truths constitute the distinctive characteristics of American nationality:

Wait, what makes you think you have the right to define what the identity of 300 million (or whatever the population was in the 90s) people is?

*American unity depends upon a widely-held belief in the principles and values embodied in the American Constitution and their fulfillment in practice: equal protection and justice under the law; freedom of speech and religion; and representative government;

Except those things aren’t true. Plenty of people in the US don’t like the constitution, or want it changed drastically. Plenty of people in the US are bigoted in many ways as well, including violence and discrimination against Muslims, Sikhs and other religious groups.

*Lawfully-admitted newcomers of any ancestral nationality—without regard to race, ethnicity, or religion—truly become Americans when they give allegiance to these principles and values;

Yeah, but I was born in the US and never agreed to these rules, ideas or principles. Ever. Sure, I was forced as a kid to say the pledge of allegiance, sure I was forced to make a stupid oath when I joined the military to be able to go to college, but I don’t agree with the bullshit ideas of the slave owner written constitution and actually look forward to the day the people of THIS time can choose a government that truly represents them. Also, these are recent ideas for the most part. There has been extensive discrimination against religious, and ethnic or national groups throughout US history.

*Ethnic and religious diversity based on personal freedom is compatible with national unity; and

That’s funny. Ethnic diversity was mostly allowed in the US for slave labor purposes, but go on.

*The nation is strengthened when those who live in it communicate effectively with each other in English, even as many persons retain or acquire the ability to communicate in other languages.

Ignoring of course  that the US has no official language, never has, that multilingual countries are not more dysfunctional, and that forcing Americans to learn more languages couldn’t hurt.

As long as we live by these principles and help newcomers to learn and practice them, we will continue to be a nation that benefits from
substantial but well-regulated immigration.

As long as we let in mostly white, rich, and well established immigrants. Also we will never really help immigrants learn English, but we will most certainly make fun of those with accents or struggle with the language. The next part is Frau Malkin again spewing her bullshit nationalist bullshit:

 

Those principles have been abandoned, scorned, and sabotaged. You have not heard an iota about them from Washington. It is the erosion of Americanization and the ascendancy of the collectivists that helped create the conditions for Election Day.

Those principles are jokes that never existed but in the wet dreams of right wing fascists like yourself Michelle. White people, and white people wanna bes, like YOU Michelle, you fascist dick. “Collectivists”. Ha. You don’t know the meaning of the word you privileged fucking Stepford wife.

Amnesty instead of assimilation is a recipe for even greater GOP losses at at the ballot box.

OOOOOOOH, that’s that real reason, isn’t it? You’re afraid that the poor immigrants who crawl through our borders won’t vote the way you want them too. That’s the real issue here isn’t it? You’re afraid that the immigrants who come here won’t be a fascist like you, that they won’t want to work for starvation wages to feed their families. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Who saw that one coming.

Amnesty instead of assimilation is a recipe for the furtherance of American decline.

And while they’re at it, make them convert to Christianity, and dye their skin right, is that the plan Malkin? You want them all to be like the Philippines, whence your ancestry hails. It got so much better there after the Christian Spanish, and then the US raped and plundered and colonized it, didn’t it? Oh, wait…

 

Nationalism and Racism

Immigration policies have long been used as excuses for racism, and xenoophobia. They wrongfully claim that immigration, “legal” or otherwise, causes higher crime (that would be poverty sweethearts, not immigration) and that certain groups just cause trouble. It is racist, and it is wrong. If we really thought that freedom was the way to go, and I do personally, I would say that human beings should be allowed to live where they fucking please. Yep, that simple. Oh, you don’t like all those poor people pouring into your country? Well, makes that whole colonialism thing ironic now, doesn’t it. When we allow open borders around the world, capitalism can’t control that. It will help destroy it. So by all means, immigrate illegally, legally, or otherwise. Help break down national barriers, and break the illusion of nationality. We are all human beings, and when we stop allowing countries to hoard resources and power, we stop allowing the rape and colonization of poorer countries. That’s all I want to say today. Fuck nationalism, fuck racism, and fuck capitalism. They all go together. Do what you can to help lead the world to revolutionary change.

 

War is in the Air

It’s no secret that things are heating up in the Asia-Pacific region. After more than a decade of focus on the Middle East, including two disastrous wars fought by the US against helpless foes in the region, the US has decided that its hegemony in the Pacific region is being threatened by an ascendant China, and changing balances of power. The USA Today newspaper reported back in June that the US is planning on shifting 60% of its warships to the Pacific by 2020. The report came as a result of remarks by Secretary of Defense Panetta on the “re-balancing” of the US military towards the Asian region. The US has announced greater presence in Australia, building new bases there just recently, in addition to restructuring of other Asian partnerships in the region. Just today however, it was announced that the US is planning on moving more and more troop activity to the Philippines, claiming that it is aimed at helping victims of natural disasters. This is widely seen as a convenient excuse for increased US pressure on the region. Tempers have been flaring over territorial disputes, such as China’s dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoals, or their dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands. Those are just two examples of many territorial disputes that are threatening to endanger the peace in Asia, and the actors that are maneuvering are not backing down in the slightest. China is a growing regional power that is increasingly rubbing shoulders with its neighbors, claiming that it has to protect its territorial integrity. Meanwhile, Japan, China’s old arch-nemesis is electing politicians who are promising to revise Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, allowing Japan to throw away the peace part of their so called “Peace Constitution”. Such moves towards militarism should be viewed with great caution and reserve, as what happens in the coming months could forever change the course of history.

Now you might be thinking that I am being a bit too alarmist. I don’t think that I am, at all. Tempers are really heating up. The newly re-empowered Liberal Democratic Party of Japan has not only set their sights on revision of the pacifist constitution, but are also have said that they will not back down or compromise on the issue of the Senkaku Islands. Japan refuses to even admit there is a dispute. Japan is also at loggerheads over the issue of the Dokdo Islands, claimed as well by Korea, and with Russia over islands the Russians seized at the end of WW2. China has a large military, and recently announced their first operational aircraft carrier, a huge leap for a growing military force. China is a force to be reckoned with, and they are not afraid to assert their new found strength. In an article in the news site “RT”, a Russian news organization, they reported on the coming growth in the US military presence in the Philippines. In case you are thinking I am overstating the threat to the region from different directions,read what RT reported at the end of the article

“Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping urged his military to prepare for a struggle, without mentioning the potential aggressor.

“Push forward preparations for a military struggle,” he told the People’s Liberation Army, which consists of 2.3 million servicemen.”

It is my hope that things calm down in the area. A blow up in Asia could, and probably would start another world war.

What do you think of the current situation in Asia? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

 

Liberal Mindset

I’ve been doing some reading and studying, a lot of it. This blog is basically a place to hash out my ideas and my learning process, and share my views and thoughts with other people, namely you my valued reader. I have to admit that like all writers, I am doing this almost as much for me as I am for you. What this journey of thought and political discovery has led me to is some startling realizations about the society we live in, the state and the future of humanity. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I have all the answers. However, I think I have stumbled upon some insights that have made me rethink previous positions, and reassess how I see politics and economy a bit. So why the title of liberal mindset? Because I think that the liberal mindset of the “left” in the US is holding back the working class from realizing its real potential, and I’m going to tell you why.

Socialists for Bourgeois Government?

What is the ultimate goal of socialism? Is it to have a chicken in every pot and a house for every family? Or is it something more than that? I would venture to say that the ultimate goal of socialism is the completely change how societies are run. We aim to as Marx said, “overthrow the existing order of things”, and to establish a new society for the benefit of all, instead of just a few. Now we should take a look at the prevailing “socialist” groups in the Western world (the world with which I am the most familiar) and ask ourselves if we moving towards our goals, or away from them. Are we really achieving our objectives? I would answer no, that we aren’t coming close to realizing our goals. The reason is very simple. Take a look at the CPUSA, a political party that I some time ago used to be a member of. When I first joined that party it was the result of my political awakening, and my desire to be an advocate of communism. I wanted to work for the emancipation of the working class, and the destruction in the end of class society and the state itself. Inspired by the rousing words of the Communist Manifesto, I wanted desperately to bring about the fall of capitalism. That goal, those feelings have not changed. What changed was my awareness that the CPUSA was not what I thought it to be. The more I was involved in the organization, the more I realized that it had become the political equivalent of a stone age tool. Sure it may be interesting to look at, but it’s pretty meaningless as an actual tool for accomplishing anything practical whatsoever. I’ve talked before about their current incarnation as red-dyed democratic party cheerleaders, but I want to focus on something that just happened to accentuate why the left in the US has lost its bearings. In a recent post on their site “Peoples World” the party condemned the so called “right to work” laws that were just passed in the state of Michigan. They start out the article by stating that “By taking their first votes to pass anti-worker “right-to-work” legistlation (SIC) on Thursday (they have to wait five more days to finish the job), Michigan’s Republican Party and Gov. Rick Snyder have now resorted to open class warfare.” What the fuck are you talking about? Do you even know what class warfare is? Have you read a single goddamn page Marx? Do you know what class warfare is? The very existence of the bourgeois state is class warfare!!! The state, and yes, Democratic and Republican parties alike, are representatives of the capitalist class!!! The state only exists to advance the rights and privileges of one class over another, and it certainly isn’t a new thing. “Resorting to class warfare” is a phrase uttered by those who have no freaking clue what class warfare is, let alone a clue how to win such a war. The US is also almost completely bereft of unions, and the unions that do exist have lost their bearings as the true representatives of the workers anyway. What the CPUSA and other faux socialist organizations have done is replace their revolutionary spirit with one of acquiescence and have joined forces with a sick political system to perpetuate the capitalist state. “We can’t achieve revolution, we can’t achieve anything but crumbs from the table” they seem to be saying. They uphold Obama as the answer to their questions. OBAMA! For fucks sake this is a man that gave trillions to the banksters as a way to keep the capitalist fucking state intact and stable. They state in the article that they want a good economy, and that workers rights are essential to that aim. Oh yes, I am completely for workers rights. I really am. That’s why I am a socialist. However, in the large scheme of things the right to work laws are not really all that important. I know that I’m going to catch some hell for saying that but let’s look at the real story here. While this capitalist system exists, the unions cannot progress beyond a union mindset. They can’t, it’s not in their interest to. Think about the contradiction here. We as socialists are supposed to be pushing for the complete destruction of the capitalist state, yet you have the CPUSA fighting for its continued existence! How does that in anyway make sense? What we should realize is that the CPUSA and parties like it have a complete disconnect from the lives of workers, from the material conditions that they face, and no understanding of the modern capitalist system whatsoever. They support and defend a corrupt capitalist system at the expense of the people. They are class traitors, stabbing us in the back. They tell us that they support the workers while they do the opposite. Workers rights will not be secured by the victories in the increasingly alienated state, or by meaningless laws about unions. They will be secured by nothing else than the full goddamn emancipation of the working classes by the seizing of the means of production. These piddling little laws taken as “class warfare” -which, if you know even a little bit of Marx, you’d know is a continuous aspect of class divided society- is the height of ridiculous liberal bullshit. I’m sick of seeing supposed communists fighting little diversionary battles. What we should be fighting for is the overthrowing of the corporations, and the overthrowing of the wage slavery that funds them, not the continuation of said system. Are you content to stay in this system with its wage slavery and capitalist mode of production? Then you are not, my friend, a communist. You are at best a social democrat. And that’s being kind. What will bring about the emancipation of the working classes? It will be none other than the greed of the capitalist class the crushes the working class under its heel. When that oppression affects so many people, when their chains are too hard to bear, when they are starving and they are beaten and jailed and killed in the name of capitalism, these are the things that produce a class consciousness. It does not come as a result of welfare state politics. This liberal welfare state mindset is helping capitalism to continue, not ending it. The left has become the group of people in our societies most responsible for the perpetuation of this horrible capitalist system of wage slavery. We have become the epitome of the misled, the vacuous and misinformed masses who fight for the perpetuation of the very thing that keeps us in chains. Raising taxes on the rich will not free us, ending the so called “right to work” laws will not free us. In fact, they will keep us enslaved. We communists are for the full emancipation of the working classes, and the contradiction is that the capitalist system as it exists is not going to allow that. So what’s the answer?

Envisioning a New Society

We must realize that the only way that we are going to move forward is quite counter-intuitive. We must increase the alienation of the working classes. This means that we must let capitalists take the workers for all they’ve got so that they realize that their interests are directly opposed to the goals and motivations of the capitalist class. We must end liberalism, the force that keeps the working classes enslaved, and that means opposing a welfare state that keeps the working classes just happy enough to not revolt. The progression of economy and politics is one that must lead to the abolition of the capitalist state, and one that must lead to the abolition of the need for welfare, for taxes, for the whole capitalist state apparatus. We must work towards building a whole new society. Our so called socialists seem to have missed the entire point of Marx and Engels, and in a coming blog post I am going to take a look at Engels’ work titled “On the origin of the state” and what it means for our current understanding of contemporary politics. The point for today though is a rallying cry against the liberal bullshit that is perpetuating this evil system of enslavement, and the parties like the CPUSA that is helping them to keep their power. Down with capitalism! Down with wage slavery! Down with starvation welfare society! Down with nationalism imperialism and the people who support it! We must unite as workers to bring about the full destruction of this system, a complete overturning of the order of this society. No amount of welfare or union protecting laws is going to change that. Stay tuned comrades, there’s more to come.

Hope for a Hopeless World

It’s common knowledge that the world today is in bad shape. Worldwide war, warmongering, overblown nationalism, starvation, sickness, poverty, wealth disparity, hate, racism, police brutality, recession, depression and too many more to list. It seems sometimes that the world has entered the post-modern apocalypse we always feared. Sure, we have our twitter, our iPhones, our apps and our laptops. We have our cheap goods at walmart produced with slave labor. We have our movies to entertain us and our dime a dozen novels to read on our shiny new kindles. we have our TV and our Starbucks and our glittery worship of vacuous celebrities. And it just seems so, so empty. There doesn’t seem to be any way out of the doldrums. We are told time and time again, by people such as Francis Fukuyama, that this is the end of history. There is no more progress, there is no other alternative. We just have to fall in lockstep with our system, because there can never be any other. I’m here to tell you that history has just begun.

Looking Back

Before we look to the future, and since we’ve taken a look at the less than stellar present, let’s take a quick stroll down history lane. Yeah, things are bad right now. The world has a lot of problems, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering. However, things are better now than they’ve ever been in history. You don’t believe me? Ask the ancient Romans, who although having running water, heated baths and paved roads, could never dream of the luxuries that we now enjoy on a daily basis. The Romans had a slave state, so if you weren’t lucky enough to be among the members of the ruling class, life really sucked for you. It was truly brutish and short. The middle ages was a time of superstition, rule by religious authority, and death. Lots and lots of death. Executions in public squares, the Black Death, autocratic kings and queens, endless wars and the feudal system. Oh boy, the feudal system. The rulers had lost much of the technology of the Greeks and Romans and Egyptians, but for the serf life was much more harsh. You could expect a short nasty life, working your fingers to the bone every day just to make the ruling class richer and more comfortable. Your wife might die in childbirth, most of your children by the time they turned 5. Then came the age of enlightenment! Oh grand theories of science and art, philosophy and exploration! (Ignoring the rape, theft and murder that came from those colonizing missions for a moment) Galileo! Copernicus! Thomas Paine! The world moved beyond the feudalistic system of old, through the new mercantilism, and right into capitalism. Once again revolutions led the way, violent or by threat of violence. Old regimes overthrown, new inventions, the moveable type, the explosion in literacy rates and on and on and on. Yet life was still nasty, brutish and short. Women couldn’t vote, there was widespread slavery and abuse, no votes for the poor, the workers who made the economy hum and grow. Then came the industrial revolution (I know, I’m moving through this pretty fast) children working in mines, Chinese immigrants in the US dying building the transcontinental railroad, while being discriminated against and denied rights as citizens.  Now we are here again in the present. We have come a long way. Did that help cheer you up a little bit? If no, the next part just might.

Historical Materialism

What’s that you say? What’s historical materialism? Well, without getting into a major philosophical dissertation, it’s basically what I just wrote above, in a nutshell. You see, the universe is in constant flux. It’s always changing. Changes in our societies, our politics, our economies are no different. There is a war going on, a struggle between two things. One is called the thesis, the other antithesis. The thing, and the opposing thing. This is how things change. The fight between the aristocracy and the growing burgers, townspeople who were beginning production of goods, ended with the abolition of the aristocratic class as the ruling class. That new ruling class grew, and became the giant capitalist class we know today. And the working class? Those who, not owning the means of production must sell their labor? Well, we’re still selling our labor aren’t we? We still live in the capitalist system. However. Marx explained that we already see the seeds of the destruction of this exploitative capitalist order. We see it because of the contradictions in capitalism that will bring it down. We are once again engaged in class warfare, and history has shown us that the result of that battle between thesis and antithesis produces the answer, the synthesis. The answer to the problem. That answer is socialism, the democratic control of the means of production. You see, it may be hard to see it from day to day when you’re struggling, but we are moving forward. The whole weight of history is behind us, and we cannot lose. Things are changing, and they’re changing perhaps even faster than you think. Things are getting better. So keep your chin up comrades, and keep fighting. In the meantime my fellow workers of the world, how about uniting?

If you’d like to read a more in-depth body of work about historical materialism, or any other concept in Marxism, here are a couple of websites for you to check out:

http://www.PSLweb.org

http://www.marxists.org

Have a great day, and happy reading!

Powerless

Permit me a little rant, my dear readers.

It’s hard to read so many statuses, see so many pictures, read so many articles about the suffering in Palestine, and feel helpless to change it. It’s hard to know that I have the loftiest dreams of changing the world, but at the moment am just trying to keep my personal life together, my academic life intact. It’s hard seeing the great injustices of the world, of seeing one big system of hate, racism and exploitation that kills babies and ruins families while I am powerless to do anything about it. Indeed, it seems that our societies have raised us to be silent against the evils of the world. You’re  a nerd if you care about the plight of the Palestinians, if you’re aware of the horror that was inflicted upon the Iraqis, Libyans, Afghans, Chileans, Philippines, Korea or any other country touched by the ravages of capitalist imperialism. It’s hard to sit back and ignore the cries of the oppressed, at the risk in our societies of being laughed at, scorned and shunned. It’s difficult to have a conscience, to have a sense of right and wrong, in a world that seems to be floundering without a moral or logical compass. It’s hard to know that millions of people work long hours for starvation wages at Walmart so that the Walton family can have more money than they could ever ever hope to spend. It’s had to know that America is paying for the bombs that are dropping on Palestine right now, and seeing the face of the father, holding his 11 month old son with a look of pain and agony I never wish to know on his face. It’s hard to know that the US is supporting the terrorists in Syria, and condemns the government of Syria for defending itself against terrorists who have torn the country apart, all the while they support the incredibly inhumane treatment of Palestinians. It’s hard knowing that Israel can get away with anything, call it self defense and be viewed as heroes even while they commit crimes against humanity. It’s hard for me to think that so many Americans rejoiced in the election of yet another capitalist imperialist warmonger, as if all their problems were solved and the world was right again. It’s hard to know that the voices of nationalist vitriol are growing louder over all the world, and the small voices of internationalist working class people cannot be heard above the din. It’s hard knowing that the US spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on war, but can’t afford college for the poor, or even food for the starving. It’s fucking hard to think that here in 2012 we as the human race cannot seem to rise above our petty differences, cannot set our priorities straight, cannot seem to progress beyond the level of primal savagery. It’s hard to think that we can send men to the moon, but can’t feed the world. It’s sad to think that we can cure a myriad diseases, but cannot for the life of us figure out how to bridge gaps, unite humanity and move forward. It’s sad that we are still tied up over the myth of race, the myth of nation and the myth of religion more than the reality of humanity before us.

It’s difficult to think that my voice is one lost in a cacophony of hate, and may never see the light of day.

It’s difficult to think that I can’t make a difference, that things won’t get better, that we will never solve our problems, that we will never end the pain so many of us humans live in from day to day.

Too difficult in fact, because I won’t. I won’t think that. I will grieve for the state of the world, I will hope for a better future, I will work day by day, to be a better person, to continue my education, to do what I can, to speak out about how I think and feel. I will fuck up a lot, I will have days where I am so depressed I can barely make it out of bed, but I will not fucking give in to the overwhelming pessimism threatening to take the world down to the seventh level of hell. I will not give in to hopelessness. I will take my licks and keep on kicking. Maybe I don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Maybe my voice is drowned out by the load of bullshit swirling through the media outlets of the world. Maybe tomorrow will just be another day of struggling to survive. Even if all that is the case, I will not give up. I will not give up because the moment I give up, I am truly

powerless.

 

The Problem with China

Before I begin this post, I want to head off some possible criticisms, nip em in the bud, to use the common parlance. I am not promoting the US, Japan, the EU or any capitalist run system over that of China. I am not, I repeat, NOT advocating various forms of nationalist and imperialist aggression, I am simply highlighting a problem I see on the left, everywhere, and particularly in the case of China. I also want to highlight the fact that I am not an expert, I am a student, and I am still struggling with a variety of positions that I have been considering. This is meant to spark dialog, to incite discussion, and to provoke thought. Please join the conversation in the comments section below, and feel free to criticize my position on this, and really anything. If you feel I am wrong, and you want to challenge me on it, please do so, but come prepared with documentation, and sound reasoning. And since every discussion of nationalism or China is bound to cause tempers to get a little heated, please keep this a civil discussion. Attack ideas, not people. At least in this case. Now, without further ado, the question at hand.

Is China Socialist?

I understand why many revolutionary communists support the government of China. I really do. However, I feel that there is a growing current of communist thought which discourages any criticisms of China and its program, and the government that runs it. Being one of the few “socialist” countries in the world, many wish to protect the legacy of the Chinese proletarian revolution, and further the cause of socialism in the world. The problem I see, is that this is self defeating. As scientific socialists, as scholars, we should be held to a high standard of intellectual honesty. The name of a political party is not as important as the real material conditions on the ground. It doesn’t matter if the flag over them is red, yellow, blue or green. It matters how the division of labor is carried out, who is benefiting from the state, and who is running the country. When we examine China closely, we see that there have been deep and systemic problems in its model from the very start. To answer our question of whether or not China is socialist, we need to look at China’s history, and see the basis for the modern state of China, and where it is headed.

A Great Revolution

China was once called “The sick man of Asia”. It was dogged by imperialist aggression during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and under the weak and corrupt imperial government of China, it let the Western powers walk all over it. There were signs in Shanghai that read “No Chinese or dogs allowed.” China was humiliated, abused and exploited. Without going into a detailed history of China (you can study that in your own time comrades) let me just say that what China was subjected to under imperialist aggression is despicable and disgusting. The British forced opium on the people, the Americans enjoyed extraterritoriality, as did many Western powers, and China was being carved up like a Christmas ham to please the palates of the capitalists and aristocrats of the capitalist powers. The government of China was powerless to stop them. Japan also took part in this aggression, taking Chinese land and humiliating the Chinese in war and in the peace treaty that followed. (See the Treaty of Shimonoseki for more information) Japan would eventually even go as far as to massacre thousands in Nanking, and take possession of Manchuria, establishing a puppet regime there called Manchukko. What happened to China is wrong, what the imperialist did is wrong, and that can be said without reserve or any caveats.

Long story short, the Communists, led by Mao Zedong eventually helped to defeat the Japanese, and then defeated the KMT nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek. On the 1st of October, 1949, Mao declared the People’s Republic of China as a sovereign state. It was a huge victory for the people of China, and they regained their pride as a people, as a nation. Eventually even the Western powers acknowledged the rightful government of China as being in Beijing, not Taipei, and China then embarked on economic expansion that allowed it to raise millions out of poverty, and establish itself as  world power. (I realize that this is a very short version of China’s modern history, please don’t think I’m trying to be comprehensive here)

China Today

The problem is that China today has lost much of its connection to the revolution that culminated in a communist victory, and it has abandoned many of the original goals and methods of the revolution. Let’s look at some facts about China. Is it a socialist country? We will tell by the material conditions of the Chinese people, not by the mere claims of the government of China.

International corporations

International corporations have been allowed to run rampant in China, fearlessly and blatantly exploiting the Chinese people. Horrible working conditions, low pay and heavy handed control tactics have combined to create a multitude of problems that only benefits China’s ruling class. Foxconn comes to mind. China has allowed, for the benefit of the government, horrible terrible abuses of the Chinese people. These abuses include dangerous working conditions, long working hours with little or no overtime pay, suicides, and much much more. This benefits such companies as Motorola, Apple, Amazon.com and others. This kind of worker abuse is being allowed in China, and protests against it are squashed by the government.

Human Rights

The same people who protest angrily against the violations of civil liberties in the US and Europe, are the same ones who ignore horrible human rights abuses in China. Unfair trials, massive use of the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, censorship of radio, TV, the internet and newspapers and every other possible medium, China is not upholding the rights of  human beings in their country. The suppression of the people means that they are losing the support of the people, and are undermining the validity of the revolution they claim to be continuing. (Once again, before I get inundated with “the US does it too” note that I don’t consider the US a socialist country either.) You cannot claim to be the voice of the people, when you crush protests, throw political opponents in prison, censor all media that dares criticize the actions of the government and kills thousands of Chinese citizens every year. That is not the work of socialism.

The rulers of the Chinese communist party have established themselves as the bourgeoisie in China. They have allowed capitalism to spring up, they have ignored the contradictions in their ideology, and they are building the fall of the people’s republic. They have established a state capitalist form of economics, and one that has abused and betrayed millions of Chinese. The Chinese communist party has become a end unto itself, for its own power. There is no accountability, there is no transparency, there is no democracy, and it is NOT a socialist country. It once was, it once had the promise of socialism, but has now thrown that out the window. It has sold its soul for entrance to the WTO and the capitalist club, and it cares not about the material conditions of the Chinese people.

I am fully aware that I am going to catch hell from some of my comrades for expressing this opinion. I fully understand that some think that it is more important to support China,than criticize it. However, if we cannot criticize, we cannot think, and if we cannot think, then why are we communists at all?

Communism must be democratic, it must uphold economic equality, it must uphold the people as the ruler, not a government that is beyond criticism. We will not achieve communism by handing over the lives of our people to corporations, but by handing over the means of production to the working class. I will not continue to support the Chinese government. It silences dissent from the left, those who dare to push for economic equality and rights for workers are silenced, that is not socialism. China has become a country that is ruled by those who are communists in name only. If we cannot admit that China is no longer socialist, if we cannot think critically about China, then we should just throw in the towel now. China is ruled by the bourgeoisie of China. Party members who run state corporations are becoming millionaires at the expense of the workers. This must not stand. China needs to change course, it needs to acknowledge these problems, instead of diverting attention by attacking its neighbors with territorial claims and stoking nationalist hysteria. China has already fallen to capitalism. It is not upholding socialism. If we are to be communists, we must be honest.

In conclusion, China is not socialist. It is not democratic. It is not free. It is not what it purports itself to be. Until the working class is truly in control of the government, and the means of production, it is not a socialist country. State ownership in and of itself is meaningless. What matters is who runs the state, and who benefits from that ownership. What do you think? Is China a socialist country? Am I overreacting? Bring your argument. Let’s talk about this.

 

 

 

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