/ Is Labour about to explode?

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The Lemming - on 09 Sep 2013
Over the last year, the Conservatives have handed Labour chance after chance to score political goals. Even the Prime Minister offered to help by leaving his Red Box unattended on a train.

So what does Labour do?

It picks a fight with the hand that feeds it. The Conservative's default battle plan is divide and rule however it would seem that Labour is doing the job for them, and so close to the next election as well.

Are we really on the cusp of one party politics as Labour are about to go nuclear?
icnoble on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I hope so!
The New NickB - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to icnoble:
> (In reply to The Lemming) I hope so!

Not a fan of democracy then!
andic - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I hope so too, rapidly followed by the Conservative party and Lib dems; because I am a fan of democracy
andrewmcleod - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Historically the Labour party has never assassinated their own leader and generally have a good unity (a few grumbles notwithstanding).

Unlike the Conservatives, whose backbenchers always have the knives close at hand, which is why their leader has had to do so many weird things...
Postmanpat on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

What is Labour? Old Labour exploded 25 years ago and Nulabour exploded three years ago. The embers can keep on fighting each other but until they have a new philosophy they're going nowhere.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to icnoble:
> (In reply to The Lemming) I hope so!

Whatever you say Iain the UK would be a much unfairer society and the class divide much greater without the labour movement. We would probably not have National Parks the NHS and a minimum wage. Rights for women would possibly never have been considered and there would be thousands more homeless and living on the streets. They may not be perfect but at least most labour governments do try for fairness.
ByEek - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I can sort of see what they are doing. Given that elections are won in the centre ground and the unions are generally viewed as bring rather left wing, I can see why Labour is putting a bit of distance between themselves and the unions.
Mike Stretford - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to icnoble)
> [...]
>
> Whatever you say Iain the UK would be a much unfairer society and the class divide much greater without the labour movement.

That's true, but as Pat said that party exploded (or imploded) some time ago. Same for New Labour, they've been and gone, with a varied legacy.

The current incarnation seems rudderless.
andic - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

The labour movement was a fine thing before it was hijacked by Communists and latterly champaign socialists, who could not care less about "the working man". I don't understand why people cannot grasp that the parties they cling to exist only in a rose tinted corner of their minds. The modern parties are interested only in obtaining and holding power and any differences you think you see are only skin deep
Giles Davis - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to andic:

agreed
Simon4 - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to andic:

> The modern parties are interested only in obtaining and holding power and any differences you think you see are only skin deep

All modern political parties are shadows of there former selves, with tiny and diminishing memberships who are in any case largely ignored and despised by the leadership of mainly indistinguishable Oxbridge PPE graduates. These PPEs have gone straight from student politics into being special advisors/researchers, then they normally stand as a candidate in an unwinnable seat before they are appointed to a rotten borough where the party in question would win if they stuck the appropriate coloured rosette on any ruminant animal.

The dynastic nepotism is slightly worse in the Labour party, with 20 year olds being parachuted into largely ethnic minority inner London seats just because they are somebodies daughter or son, or Islington latte drinkers (Fair Trade, Organic latte of course), being presented with Northern former industrial towns that they have barely heard of and certainly can't identify on the map, but the difference really is only slight.

There was a time when parties had memberships in millions, and internal debates at party conferences for example were passionate and the results unpredictable. Party conferences and all other internal fora are now of course utterly stage managed media affairs, while the idea that anyone is influenced by having a party worker persuade them of the rightness of the parties cause by knocking on their doorstep is ludicrous - elections are fought, if they are fought at all, on television.

If any party undergoes an expenses or other corruption scandal, it is unwise for the others to crow too much - it is largely coincidence that one of their own comparable scandals has not been exposed, and mostly a matter of time before something similar is exposed about one of their number. At the same time, due to FPTP and media laziness (not to mention an over-cosy media-politician circle), the barriers to entry for any new party are very high, with only UKIP in recent years looking even close to breaking through, so we are left with the existing main parties who no-one thinks are particularly good left in power solely due to inertia and lack of alternatives.

The main chance of breaking down this paralysis would be if people stopped voting tribally, so "safe" seats became much less so, so ceased to be rotten boroughs to be awarded to favoured offspring. But people generally tend to stop voting rather than vote for alternatives, so the old patterns remain, even if at much lower voter turnout.

Having said all that, even by the very diminished standards of modern politicians, Milliband really is a walking disaster who seems to invariably make the wrong choice, on the very rare occasions that he makes any choices at all rather than just dithering. Even given very low standards, he stands out as being peculiarly dreadful, so he is at least winning one race - the race to the bottom!
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: I think he was dealt a tough hand at Falkirk, it seems likely that skullduggery was going on but various witnesses were leaned on before the final report, leaving him somewhat high and dry.

Having been put in that position, it seems to me he has seized the moment to bring in much overdue reform and reduce the Labour party's dependence on union bosses. If sold with some conviction this could well go down well with the general public; on the other hand the drying up of funding could well be catastrophic. Interesting times.

Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> The labour movement was a fine thing before it was hijacked by Communists and latterly champaign socialists, who could not care less about "the working man". I don't understand why people cannot grasp that the parties they cling to exist only in a rose tinted corner of their minds. The modern parties are interested only in obtaining and holding power and any differences you think you see are only skin deep

Jesus Christ, I can accept the champagne socialists (though I like your misspelling) but who on earth with any position of responsibility has been a communist in the Labour Party since the last world war?
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: I have attended many party conferences over the years of all denominations, but only ever been scared by speakers at the Conservative Party conferences.
neilh - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:

We get what we vote for, its down to the voters to sort it out. Until that happens it will carry on. So my view is the current system is what most people want, which is neither one thing nor the other, just middle of the road.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Papillon:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> [...]
>
> That's true, but as Pat said that party exploded (or imploded) some time ago. Same for New Labour, they've been and gone, with a varied legacy.
>
> The current incarnation seems rudderless.

Well hopefully the people left in the boat can use the oars to steer it back on track.
Jim C - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
> Over the last year, the Conservatives have handed Labour chance after chance to score political goals. Even the Prime Minister offered to help by leaving his Red Box unattended on a train.
>
Personally, I don't want our politicians (of any party) to spend their time scoreing political goals, better that they work together and do something constructive.

Postmanpat on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to andic)

> The main chance of breaking down this paralysis would be if people stopped voting tribally, so "safe" seats became much less so, so ceased to be rotten boroughs to be awarded to favoured offspring. But people generally tend to stop voting rather than vote for alternatives, so the old patterns remain, even if at much lower voter turnout.
>
One of the problems is that the big philosophical differences of the 20th century have been largely resolved (or at least undermined). The socialist solution was discredited by 1989 both by the experiences of Eastern Europe ad 1970s Britain. The "free market" solution has been undermined by the experiences of 2008. So the major parties have no big "story" and are left fighting with managerial "solutions" for the middle ground.

Furthermore, the increasing "sophistication" of electioneering has led them to focus their appeal on a small group of swing voters in marginal seats who, by definition are sitting in the middle ground.

As you imply, this narrow focus on those swing voters has actually had the effect of alienating the parties' natural supporters who have either switched to minor parties (eg.libdems or UKIP) or stopped voting. So the electioneering strategies have, in the longer run, been self defeating but without any big "philospshy" to win these voters back it seems the major parties are doomed to further decline.
Simon4 - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to neilh:

> We get what we vote for, its down to the voters to sort it out.

At best only partially true.

We can only vote for the parties that present themselves, given my comment about the immense barriers to entry for a new party. Certainly voters are not blameless, they really should not consent to be cannon fodder for these rotten boroughs.

Why specifically any white working-class English (and I use the word "English" intentionally, the situation is significantly different in Scotland), person would vote for a Labour party that views them with such contempt and derision is beyond me. The Mrs Duffy incident revealed this dramatically, but it was only symptomatic of a deep seated attitude. The incessant pejorative references to the papers that the working class are presumed to read, or their attitudes to "progressive" ideas are really largely class-based snobbery and sense (quite unjustified), of superiority - from self-proclaimed left-wingers.


The Lemming - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

My brain hurts.

Is the fight that Labour are picking as simple as getting union members to opt into the Labour Party, rather than the default setting of saying that all union members are automatically considered as Labour Party members?



In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to Simon4)
>
> We get what we vote for, its down to the voters to sort it out. Until that happens it will carry on.

I would love to know how, short of a revolution.

In reply to The Lemming:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> My brain hurts.
>
> Is the fight that Labour are picking as simple as getting union members to opt into the Labour Party, rather than the default setting of saying that all union members are automatically considered as Labour Party members?

Yes, but with it being about paying in to the Labour Party (I'm not sure if that is the same as membership). It seems like a sensible thing to do to me. Sort that out and then turn attention on the Tory's funding, which stinks.
Simon4 - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Furthermore, the increasing "sophistication" of electioneering has led them to focus their appeal on a small group of swing voters in marginal seats who, by definition are sitting in the middle ground.

FPTP is an added problem here, as is the EU.

FPTP was fine when candidates genuinely were local, the caricature Geordie representing Newcastle going to Westminster and saying "wa ha the lads", and fighting for his city and its interests. This produced a sort of rough and ready justice that made unrepresentative constituency sizes and badly drawn borders (often deliberately so) sort of OK.

Where the candidates barely know the name of the seat they supposedly represent, this becomes pointless. We should either scrap FPTP for some form of PR that retains some local link but ensures that the number of MPs corresponds much more closely to the number of votes, ignoring for a moment widespread postal vote fraud (multi-member constituency for example), or have a rule that says all candidates have to have lived in the constituency for 5 years. At present we have all the disadvantages of FPTP without the claimed major benefit, local representation and familiarity.

The EU is a major problem apart from all the many reasons that the EU is a failure, in that it leaves less and less power to decide with British citizens - no MP can genuinely influence matters if most important things are dictated by Brussels bureaucrats.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: That's fine about the big philosophical/economic strategies, but there are, or should be significant human rights issues within the parties, and traditionally the Labour and Liberal parties have defended the underdog while the Conservatives have defended big business interests in the main. I feel it is still essential to have a power in the nation that defends the rights/welfare of the underdog rather than the captains of industry, the Conservatives will never do this and thus Labour is not a spent power, it is essential for our democracy, even if it is a bit off track at the moment.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> Where the candidates barely know the name of the seat they supposedly represent, this becomes pointless. We should either scrap FPTP for some form of PR that retains some local link but ensures that the number of MPs corresponds much more closely to the number of votes,

The only problem with PR is that it has never worked, it leads to weak government and leads to the decline of a country as with Italy now, a major user of PR and hardly a good recommendation. It leads to easier corruption in the voting process, and complete inability to deal with major issues without upsetting the coalition, seen to a lesser extent in the current government in the UK which wasn't arranged by PR, it would be significantly worse if it was.
Darron - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

As an example of what Al is on about I note that Milliband is promising to 'get tough' on zero hours contracts. I cannot imagine a Tory leader doing the same.

Simon4 - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Simon4) I think he was dealt a tough hand at Falkirk, it seems likely that skullduggery was going on but various witnesses were leaned on before the final report, leaving him somewhat high and dry.

That is probably correct, but if he claims to be prime ministerial material, he has to show that he can deal with the many no-win situations that will present in that office. He seemed to manage to get the worst of all worlds, offending his financial backers while not likely to implement any real reforms.

It is extraordinary that anyone can defend the idea that people should be automatically assumed to be supporters of a political party, just because they join a union, especially as unions tend to project themselves as a sort of insurance company, should you ever have some dispute or problem with your employer. Imagine if your car insurance automatically enrolled you in the Tory party just because you had bought a policy with them! Also, was it not the case at Falkirk (and almost certainly elsewhere), that some unions were enrolling people in the Labour party without the people concerned even knowing they were supposedly members, let alone agreeing to it?

I can actually remember closed shops, where people had to join a union to get a particular job - it is almost unimaginable now, but it had its ardent defenders then, who claimed they were putting a high-minded and morality based argument. The idea of automatic enrollment in a particular party is as much of an anachronism, though clearly you could reasonably do something like offer a reduced rate to union members if they WANTED to join the Labour party.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: Seems like he's doing the right thing then?
ballsac - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Darron:

ah, but will he?

if i thought, as a dyed in the wool, old style tory, that Milliband would actually outlaw these dreadful, disgusting contracts - or at least ensure the didn't exist in the public sector, and that anyone deciding not to take one would not have their JSA removed - then i might vote for him.

but i don't. i *know* that he'll roll over under pressure (and cash..) from big business, that the treasury will say they cost too much that could otherwise be spent on chavs - err.. i mean skools 'n hospitals - and that they'll get called something else and the LP will claim they've eliminated them while doing nothing of the sort.

why vote for a party that proclaims social justice but does bog all for it - you may as well vote for the party of self interest and at least be honest about it.
Mike Stretford - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Simon4)
> [...]
>
> The only problem with PR is that it has never worked, it leads to weak government and leads to the decline of a country as with Italy now, a major user of PR and hardly a good recommendation. It leads to easier corruption in the voting process, and complete inability to deal with major issues without upsetting the coalition, seen to a lesser extent in the current government in the UK which wasn't arranged by PR, it would be significantly worse if it was.

I'm sorry Al but that's rubbish. Have you never questioned why Italy is brought up time and time again by people who repeat this flawed argument, despite all these countries using PR?

http://tinyurl.com/brak95

There's some fairly successful countries in there, and some unsuccessful ones, but clearly no correlation.

Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
>
> I can actually remember closed shops, where people had to join a union to get a particular job - it is almost unimaginable now, but it had its ardent defenders then, who claimed they were putting a high-minded and morality based argument. The idea of automatic enrollment in a particular party is as much of an anachronism, though clearly you could reasonably do something like offer a reduced rate to union members if they WANTED to join the Labour party.

You have completely misunderstood the reason for closed shops, they were not just political they were meant to uphold the standards and integrity of people within the proffesion and defend their rights. There was nothing to stop you being in a closed shop and being a member of the conservative party. Indeed the closest closed shop was probably Equity, the actors union which vehemently protected it's members rights, many of whom were wealthy people in the conservative party.
It was such a defender of actors rights that when we, as cameramen were used in a programme for transmission in a 'starring' role, we were paid the basic minimum wage for an Equity member so that we would not take actors jobs.
To join a closed shop you didn't just need to join a union, you needed to get to the standards of excellence that the closed shop required of it's members before being accepted, I see nothing wrong with that.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans: ' they were not just political they were meant to uphold the standards and integrity of people within the proffesion and defend their rights.'

Crikey Al, I'm a bit of a pinko but if you fell for that you really were naïve. Do you really think Red Robbo was campaigning to 'maintain the integrity of his profession?' Do you really think that printers bought Fleet St to its knees to maintain standards? Er no, they were classic examples of restrictive practices - make it impossible for anyone who isn't part of your club to get a job and so increase wages way above what would otherwise be a going rate. They were doing that back in mediaeval times, ffs, and it wasn't about maintaining standards then either.

There are plenty of ways of maintaining professionalism, ensuring quality skills etc, but forcing people to join a politically affiliated union isn't one of them.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>

>
> FPTP was fine when candidates genuinely were local,

Like that famous Dundonian Churchill? I think there has always been a mix of local and not-so-local politicians. While it's probably true the choice at the ballot box is limited, party policy is deeply affected by many factors. It's not true to say the populace has no way of changing the policies of the main parties. UKIP for example has pushed the Torys in to promising a referendum on Europe, and Labour had to become more tolerant of wealth under Blair or face never being elected again. FPTP means all the bargaining and negotiating on policy is done prior to government rather than in government, as in somewhere like Italy with a more proportional system. I am not sure the outcome in terms of the policies implemented is so different, and FPTP is certainly more stable.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Al Evans) ' they were not just political they were meant to uphold the standards and integrity of people within the proffesion and defend their rights.'
>
> Crikey Al, I'm a bit of a pinko but if you fell for that you really were naïve. Do you really think Red Robbo was campaigning to 'maintain the integrity of his profession?' Do you really think that printers bought Fleet St to its knees to maintain standards? Er no, they were classic examples of restrictive practices - make it impossible for anyone who isn't part of your club to get a job and so increase wages way above what would otherwise be a going rate. They were doing that back in mediaeval times, ffs, and it wasn't about maintaining standards then either.
>
> There are plenty of ways of maintaining professionalism, ensuring quality skills etc, but forcing people to join a politically affiliated union isn't one of them.

I really don't have a problem with what closed shops did, I was a member of one for gods sake, and I believe they were a force for the good of the working man and the professional skills of the workforce.
Plus, ITV bosses and all the companies preffered negotiating with one force rather than a fragmented workforce. The Unions/closed shops were all together when Thatcher ruined UK television for the benefit of rich entrepeneurs. There are many stories I could tell you about the so called liberalisation of television in the UK, suffice to say it did not do any of the staff or any of the great Television programme makers, or the viewing public , any favours.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans: I can remember turning on the telly as a child and seeing a blue screen informing me that no programs were being broadcast whilst there was strike action going on (70's).

Haven't seen that since Thatcher. So I think she improved my viewing pleasure
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Thanks for spelling this out so clearly, Al, for bigoted people who have no real grasp of the subject or the historical truth.
GrahamD - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

> I really don't have a problem with what closed shops did, I was a member of one for gods sake, and I believe they were a force for the good of the working man and the professional skills of the workforce.

....and led directly to the rise of a leader like Margaret Thatcher. There are no actions without consequences. Thatcher came to power because for every person in the 'work force' who benefited, two others were being held to ransom. The ballot box did the rest.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Are you suggesting closed shops were similar to say doctors requiring registration with the General Medical Council? If so it hardly seems born out by the "historical truth".
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Are you suggesting closed shops were similar to say doctors requiring registration with the General Medical Council?

I can only speak about the union I was in in the film industry, the ACTT. In that case, yes, extremely similar (from what I know of the medical profession as it was at the time ... my main climbing partner was a surgeon in S Wales.)

>If so it hardly seems born out by the "historical truth".

Haven't a clue what you're on about.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG: Bit odd, creative people who presumably are confident of their technical and creative abilities seeking protection behind restrictive practices.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Did people die then if you were incompetent and helped make a poor film?
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to MG) Bit odd, creative people who presumably are confident of their technical and creative abilities seeking protection behind restrictive practices.

Wrong again. It was the last thing I wanted when I left film school, and it took me 4 years to get a union ticket. But I came to respect the reasons for the closed shop, and was honoured, frankly, when I was eventually given my ticket. What it meant was that everyone, or just about everyone, in the ACTT was bona fide, had proved themselves, and was good/very good at their job. And there weren't huge numbers of people out of work. The system definitely sorted the wheat from the chaff i.e. the people who were really committed and good, from the dreamers and the cowboys.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Haven't a clue what you're on about.

Well very little closed shop activity seemed to be about maintaining professional standards and an awful lot about restricting who could do what to artificially raise wages, and to pressurise political change. If what you say is true, you would also have expected very high levels of workmanship in the UK in the 1970s when the opposite appears to have been the case.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Did people die then if you were incompetent and helped make a poor film?

There were very few poor films made then, actually (I really think there was a much higher success rate then.) People who were incompetent probably starved, yes.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Al Evans) I can remember turning on the telly as a child and seeing a blue screen informing me that no programs were being broadcast whilst there was strike action going on (70's).
>
> Haven't seen that since Thatcher. So I think she improved my viewing pleasure

If that happened, I can't remember if it did, it would have been once or twice only, hardly a significant moment in the class struggle compared to , oh for christ sakes all the bad she did, I can't even begin to bother to elucidate all the negative aspects of Thatcherism, except to say that they impacted on me and millions of others at the time and are still impacting on most of the 'less than rich'. Even if not physically you have been damaged by Thatcherism if only in the way you view poor people and indeed television (sic) these days.
Mike Stretford - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús)
> [...]
>
> If that happened, I can't remember if it did, it would have been once or twice only, hardly a significant moment in the class struggle compared to , oh for christ sakes all the bad she did, I can't even begin to bother to elucidate all the negative aspects of Thatcherism, except to say that they impacted on me and millions of others at the time and are still impacting on most of the 'less than rich'.

Well, that's FPTP for yer!

Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> [...]
>
> Well very little closed shop activity seemed to be about maintaining professional standards and an awful lot about restricting who could do what to artificially raise wages, and to pressurise political change. If what you say is true, you would also have expected very high levels of workmanship in the UK in the 1970s when the opposite appears to have been the case.

I've just said: I can only speak about the film industry, where the standards were always awesomely high (and are still quite high). It had very little to do with party politics, as Al has said, and in the film industry, at least, it worked, and worked well. I can't speak about closed shops elsewhere. There are other 'closed shops' nowadays which are rather more sinister. In many professions bullshit has risen supreme, and cliques and rather closed networks of people work very strongly to keep out anyone they see as a threat.

PS. I'll be writing quite a lot about this in very old age.

Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: IIRC there were very few films made at all in the UK, I don't know what proportion were any good. And what was the reason for that?
teflonpete - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> Thanks for spelling this out so clearly, Al, for bigoted people who have no real grasp of the subject or the historical truth.

Claptrap, the past viewed through rose tinted glasses. The print was a closed shop where sons and relatives of existing workers were given preferential employment over applicants from outside. It was a great club with great perks if you were in but getting in without knowing someone on the inside was nigh on impossible. The cinema film processing industry was the same through the '70s and early '80s. Practically a gentleman's club that did nothing to improve the lot of the majority of working class people.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> I've just said: I can only speak about the film industry, where the standards were always awesomely high (and are still quite high). It had very little to do with party politics,

Well I was thinking more about mining, dockworkers, car makers etc. In any case there is surely a distinction between unions (basically wanting higher wages etc.) and professional bodies (upholding standards). Confusing the two will inevitably lead to conflicts of interest.

In many professions bullshit has risen supreme, and cliques and rather closed networks of people work very strongly to keep out anyone they see as a threat.

I doubt this is anthing new, but if it is a bad thing then surely formalising it in the form a closed shop is doubly bad?
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Claptrap, the past viewed through rose tinted glasses. The print was a closed shop where sons and relatives of existing workers were given preferential employment over applicants from outside. It was a great club with great perks if you were in but getting in without knowing someone on the inside was nigh on impossible. The cinema film processing industry was the same through the '70s and early '80s. Practically a gentleman's club that did nothing to improve the lot of the majority of working class people.

Who said the film industry has ever been anything about 'improving the lot of the majority of working class people'? Yet, in the 60s there were some fantastic Social Realist movies by British directors that, for the first time ever, showed the lot of the working man truthfully ... so indirectly did a lot to help.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: 'In many professions bullshit has risen supreme' You might choose to do some careful research before you launch too enthusiastically on your crusade.

To give a single, specific example: the history of medicine is one where centuries of bullsh*t, repeating the mistakes of the past and restrictive practice have in recent years have become replaced with evidence based medicine, vastly higher ethical standards, and continuous training.

In what other professions do you believe that bullshit reigns supreme, (apart from my own of IT, which I sadly accept, though it's arguably not a profession anyway.)
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:

What is your personal knowledge of the 'closed shop', I wonder?

In the film industry, at least, when it came to union membership, there was precisely zero bullshit. You had to be promoted and seconded by some top names. My first application was seconded by Walter Lassally, and still failed. It was extremely similar to joining the Alpine Club.
teflonpete - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
> Who said the film industry has ever been anything about 'improving the lot of the majority of working class people'? Yet, in the 60s there were some fantastic Social Realist movies by British directors that, for the first time ever, showed the lot of the working man truthfully ... so indirectly did a lot to help.

Isn't that what you and Al are saying that unions are for, improving the lot of working people? I'm saying the closed shops in the print and film industry did nothing of the sort in terms of jobs and wages open to all. Nothing to do with the creative aspect of the work of British directors and DOPs.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) 'In many professions bullshit has risen supreme' You might choose to do some careful research before you launch too enthusiastically on your crusade.
>
>
> In what other professions do you believe that bullshit reigns supreme, (apart from my own of IT, which I sadly accept, though it's arguably not a profession anyway.)

The publishing world.

MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> What is your personal knowledge of the 'closed shop', I wonder?

Based on knowledge of history , as I assume yours is other than direct experience of one niche area.

>
> In the film industry, at least, when it came to union membership, there was precisely zero bullshit. You had to be promoted and seconded by some top names. My first application was seconded by Walter Lassally, and still failed. It was extremely similar to joining the Alpine Club.

I don't follow your point and have no idea who Walter Lassally was. Am I meant to be impressed?

Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Isn't that what you and Al are saying that unions are for, improving the lot of working people? I'm saying the closed shops in the print and film industry did nothing of the sort in terms of jobs and wages open to all. Nothing to do with the creative aspect of the work of British directors and DOPs.

No, I never said that. It was about protecting people in the industry, and making sure that dross wasn't allowed in. I know of no case of anyone who deserved to get into the industry who failed to do so. It went more or less entirely on merit (well ... there was a lot of nepotism, but that is a different subject ... and still applies in all walks of life - in fact, today more than ever.)

Why do you only mention directors and DOPs? You have failed to grasp the most fundamental truth of film making: that everyone on a film crew is equally important. All the great directors realised/realise/know that.

MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
It went more or less entirely on merit (well ... there was a lot of nepotism, but that is a different subject

Eh? "It was all good, expect a lot of it was bad (but that's different)"
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Based on knowledge of history , as I assume yours is other than direct experience of one niche area.
>
> [...]
>
> I don't follow your point and have no idea who Walter Lassally was. Am I meant to be impressed?

No, you're not meant to know who is is, just as no one is 'meant to know' about anything. My point is that you had to get some very well respected union members to support your application. Mr Lasally happened to win the Oscar as Director of Photography for Zorba the Greek.
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Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: 'I know of no case of anyone who deserved to get into the industry who failed to do so.'

How on earth could you possibly know that???!!! You cannot possibly know how many creative, talented, enthusiastic people dashed themselves against some arcane gentleman's club admission policy before being forced to make a living by some other means. And how would you know them if they didn't get into the industry? Utterly self serving, self justifying tautology. You should know better than that.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
. there was a lot of nepotism, but that is a different subject ... and still applies in all walks of life

You know, I can honestly say I have never known any nepotism influencing employment choices in my career, either as candidate or interviewer. Choices have always been on merit (sometimes poorly judged by that has always been the intention). I think you are coming at this from a very particular angle. Maybe the film world is a bit different to most walks of life?
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> It went more or less entirely on merit (well ... there was a lot of nepotism, but that is a different subject
>
> Eh? "It was all good, expect a lot of it was bad (but that's different)"

That's not what I meant - how could it be? If I was in it how can you say I 'expect' it was different. The nepotism hadn't got much to do with the union, but to do with families being in a very advantageous position, and able to bring in assistants as trainees, without much question. As still happens, today, more than ever, completely irrespective of the existence of unions.

Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Hi Gordon, when I was deputy shop steward in those troubled days for ACTT, my shop steward was a guy called Jim Grant, you may have known him, he was made redundant in the Thatcher purges and decided to become a writer, he is now called Lee Child and is a multi millionaire writer of the Jack Reacher series. I met him a few years after his dismissal and he said 'Al , get yourself made redundant and write a book' Well if we all had that talent :-)
The thing is he was a socialist, also a barrister and a serious member of ACTT and all it's values. If any of you guys out there read Jack Reacher novels look inside them to the fair play aspect of the hero.
MG - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: As far as I can tell Gordon is talking essentially about a guild rather than a union, as usually understood. Clearly for insiders guilds are great, but for everyone else the story is a bit different!
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) 'I know of no case of anyone who deserved to get into the industry who failed to do so.'
>
> How on earth could you possibly know that???!!! You cannot possibly know how many creative, talented, enthusiastic people dashed themselves against some arcane gentleman's club admission policy before being forced to make a living by some other means. And how would you know them if they didn't get into the industry? Utterly self serving, self justifying tautology. You should know better than that.

What I said was (might have to resort to upper case) 'I KNOW OF' ... I did not claim anything else than my own freelance experience of working for 15 years on dozens of film and TV productions. I know about almost everyone who was at film school with me (I think there were 18 in my year) and only about 5 of us got into the industry. As I say, it took me a long time, because I decided to go in at the bottom, as an assistant editor, whereas the three highest fliers got director's jobs almost immediately.

Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:

Well, you're right. The film union worked exactly like a guild.
teflonpete - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
Sorry Gordon, we're talking about opposite ends of the film industry, I'm talking about labs, where working class people work doing jobs like humping sacks of chemicals around and printing film in darkrooms, turning out millions of feet of film copy to cinemas every week. They were all members of the union too in the 'ups but it was a closed shop and nepotism was rife, same as in the print where the Father of the Chapple ruled the roost. They were clubs for friends and family of the people who were already in.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) 'I know of no case of anyone who deserved to get into the industry who failed to do so.'
>
> How on earth could you possibly know that???!!! You cannot possibly know how many creative, talented, enthusiastic people dashed themselves against some arcane gentleman's club admission policy before being forced to make a living by some other means. And how would you know them if they didn't get into the industry? Utterly self serving, self justifying tautology. You should know better than that.

PS to last. Almost nothing in the UK could be less like an arcane gentleman's club than the film industry. Below the top level of directors ... i.e. everything else, it was more or less completely working class, 99 per cent of whom had never been in higher education, and a large proportion of whom were very sharp East Enders with tenuous links with the criminal classes and circus industries. The BBC was utterly different (very much a gentleman's club), but in the film industry it was (and probably still is largely) a cut-throat world of pure talent. This was the world Hitchcock was born into, and the world we saw very much alive and well at the opening of the Olympic games, helmed by Danny Boyle.
teflonpete - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
'70s, not 'ups. Phone typing!
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> Sorry Gordon, we're talking about opposite ends of the film industry, I'm talking about labs, where working class people work doing jobs like humping sacks of chemicals around and printing film in darkrooms, turning out millions of feet of film copy to cinemas every week. They were all members of the union too in the 'ups but it was a closed shop and nepotism was rife, same as in the print where the Father of the Chapple ruled the roost. They were clubs for friends and family of the people who were already in.

I don't remember any great issues with the labs. The key ones in London were very good, and I got to know quite a lot of the guys at Ranks very well. Great people, working very hard to the highest standards. The head link man, Chester xxxxx, was a great guy and much liked by the lab team and film directors alike.

Postmanpat on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
> No, I never said that. It was about protecting people in the industry, and making sure that dross wasn't allowed in. I know of no case of anyone who deserved to get into the industry who failed to do so. It went more or less entirely on merit (well ... there was a lot of nepotism, but that is a different subject ... and still applies in all walks of life - in fact, today more than ever.)
>
I'm unclear. Why couldn't there simply be a meritocratic set of of transparent standards that people had to meet to be considered for employment and then the employer/producer/director etc decided who they wanted? What you appear to be describing is a system which may well, in this particular case, have ensured high standards but also, as you acknowledge, encouraged corrupt nepotism or at least enabled it by its lack of transparency.

There is, of course, quite a strong case for nepotism. The Royal Navy thrived on it in its heyday. If you knew you were going to depend on somebody for your life standing on the quarterdeck under fire you made sure you trusted their sponsor's judgement and in turn sponsored the right people yourself. However, I'm not sure that makes it a very fair way to run a modern industry.

captain paranoia - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> PS to last. Almost nothing in the UK could be less like an arcane gentleman's club than the film industry.

I think you've taken the phrase "gentleman's club" a little too literally. I think it was meant to mean a closed, self-appointing society. As said, like a Guild, or a Masonic Lodge, or an East End criminal gang... Entrance only open by invitation of those already inside.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
> I'm unclear. Why couldn't there simply be a meritocratic set of of transparent standards that people had to meet to be considered for employment and then the employer/producer/director etc decided who they wanted? What you appear to be describing is a system which may well, in this particular case, have ensured high standards but also, as you acknowledge, encouraged corrupt nepotism or at least enabled it by its lack of transparency.
>
> There is, of course, quite a strong case for nepotism. The Royal Navy thrived on it in its heyday. If you knew you were going to depend on somebody for your life standing on the quarterdeck under fire you made sure you trusted their sponsor's judgement and in turn sponsored the right people yourself. However, I'm not sure that makes it a very fair way to run a modern industry.

As you say, of course there's an argument for a degree of nepotism. The system I described was totally meritocratic for incomers who had no contacts in the industry. If you take away those difficult entry requirements, as you suggest, with producers/ directors (well, each team under that, too) picking who they like, then the level of nepotism of course would be much, much higher. Of course, under the old system, the department leaders would still pick exactly who they liked, all down the chain. No one ever got in, except at the very lowliest trainee level, without a good track record. That was the Catch-22, and always will be/should be.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to captain paranoia:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> [...]
>
> I think you've taken the phrase "gentleman's club" a little too literally. I think it was meant to mean a closed, self-appointing society. As said, like a Guild, or a Masonic Lodge, or an East End criminal gang... Entrance only open by invitation of those already inside.

Incorrect. It had nothing to do with invitation. You applied through a formal application process. I tried first after one year (of working on a few jobs, very naughtily, without a union ticket), was rejected, and then waited another three years until I was working freelance on a succession of BBC documentaries for an editor who had taken me under his wing, and it was then more or less a formality. (The truth is that it's really a kind of word of mouth thing: roughly adding up to: this guy is good at his job and is a good bloke.)

Postmanpat on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> As you say, of course there's an argument for a degree of nepotism. The system I described was totally meritocratic for incomers who had no contacts in the industry. If you take away those difficult entry requirements, as you suggest, with producers/ directors (well, each team under that, too) picking who they like, then the level of nepotism of course would be much, much higher. >
what were the ACTT's entry requirements?
Eric9Points - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Re the charge that most MPs are simply lobby fodder. Can I point out that only a few days ago parliament decided that a Government should not take military action against another country.

Sometimes they get it right.

Re the unions. There must be more to this we're aware of. No one in the Labout party is going to piss off the unions to the extent that they'll withdraw their funding, unless there's a water tight plan B. I await plan B with interest.
Chambers - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Simon4)
> [...]
>
> [...]
> The socialist solution was discredited by 1989 both by the experiences of Eastern Europe ad 1970s Britain.

Simply not so. From the Russian Revolution until the late eighties Russia had a state capitalist economy. To argue that the collapse of state capitalism is an argument against socialism is just plain wrong. And just to make you even more wrong, the Labour Party - until the abolition of Clause 4 - only ever advocated state capitalism. Now, you might want to argue that state capitalism is a poorer way of organising the profit system that so-called free-market capitalism but the fact is that both are pretty shit when it comes to meeting human needs. Socialism will be a classless, stateless, global society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. The Labour Party has never advocated that and has been a party that has sought a mandate to run capitalism.
Mike Stretford - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> Re the charge that most MPs are simply lobby fodder. Can I point out that only a few days ago parliament decided that a Government should not take military action against another country.
>
> Sometimes they get it right.
>

Like a broken clock.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
> what were the ACTT's entry requirements?

Officially, that you had been asked by someone to work as their assistant because no one else was available (e.g. at very short notice), and the person asking you had to be a union member. There also had to be someone else to vouch for you i.e. basically, two people had to say that in their opinion you should be a member.
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Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Dear God, in what world would that be considered fair, equitable, meritocratic or even efficient?
Postmanpat on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Simply not so. From the Russian Revolution until the late eighties Russia had a state capitalist economy. To argue that the collapse of state capitalism is an argument against socialism is just plain wrong.
>
We've been through this before. "State capitalism" is what happens consistently in the pursuit of socialism, usually accompanied by undemocratic authoritarian rule. Despite your denials Lenin and the the rest of them were pursuing socialism. They failed and produced something quite horrible instead. It's inherent in the dream. End of.

Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I'd take issue a bit with that, if you got a job with a TV company, be it BBC or ITV, you did 6 months to see if you made the grade, if you did you got sponsored by the company and a member of ACTT, if not you were probably fired, I don't know it didn't happen to me. But, the selection process was so good that hardly anybody failed, certainly nobody in my time in ACTT.
Gordon's experience may have been different coming in as a freelance whereas I had a job offered with ITV. I did know and climb with a lot of young actors seeking equity cards, for instance Jeff Rawles and his flatmate Terry King who both worked as trainees in Sheffield theatre before their television careers to get their equity cards. Neither seemed to mind it, I still think the closed shop was overall a good thing.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
The Labour Party has never advocated that and has been a party that has sought a mandate to run capitalism.

Whoa! but until the abandonment of clause 4 it has always been a socialist party. Which is incidently when I resigned my membership.
Ridge - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

On the subject of nepotism:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/euan-blair-the-real-heir-to-tony-is-back-and-may-have-...

So we have the next generation of Blairs, Prescotts and Straws bringing their solid working class credentials to the Labour party.
Richard J - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
All three parties are in trouble. The Conservatives have lost their activists, Labour is about to lose its money, and the LibDems have lost their voters.

"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."
stroppygob - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> What is Labour? Old Labour exploded 25 years ago and Nulabour exploded three years ago.

Agreed. Labour once the party of the working man and woman, is now the party of the chattering classes, the unemployed, and the disabled, single parent, Muslim, lesbian, asylum seeker.

Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
> We've been through this before. "State capitalism" is what happens consistently in the pursuit of socialism, usually accompanied by undemocratic authoritarian rule. Despite your denials Lenin and the the rest of them were pursuing socialism. They failed and produced something quite horrible instead. It's inherent in the dream. End of.

Yes, we've been through this before. And you are still wrong. Your evidence for thinking the way you do is flimsy, to say the least, and hinges on a small excerpt taken from 'State and Revolution'. Lenin was very clear that the revolution that he and the Bolsheviks hijacked could not establish socialism, and that state capitalism was what was being established in Russia. Doesn't matter what he said before that, any more than it matters what Labour Party leaders might say before they take office. It's what they do when they have power that matters.

Now,as I've said, socialism - when it's established - will be a classless, stateless, moneyless society. Private ownership of the means of production will be abolished. There will be no government, no buying and selling, no wage-slavery. And here's the point that you really need to grasp in order to disabuse yourself of your misconceptions: It will only come about as the result of the political actions of a class-conscious majority of workers across the planet who understand that capitalism cannot work in their interests and have rejected the notion of leadership. And there's the rub. You can't impose socialism on people. They have to consciously choose it. So, once again, to argue that the thoroughly repugnant actions of elitist Leninist vanguards lead to a failure of socialism is to completely misunderstand socialism.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
> The Labour Party has never advocated that and has been a party that has sought a mandate to run capitalism.
>
> Whoa! but until the abandonment of clause 4 it has always been a socialist party. Which is incidently when I resigned my membership.

No, Al, it was never a socialist party. Clause Four called for wholesale nationalisation of the means of production. That's not socialism, it's state capitalism.
Simon4 - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: This will be administered by the fairies at the bottom of the garden then?

As a matter of interest, do you actually believe any of this gibberish, or is this just a wind-up?
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: Well, Simon, I'm sure that I don't need to point out that there aren't any fairies. Any more than there are politicians that you can elect who will magically reform capitalism in a meaningful way.

I'm not sure where the gibberish charge comes from? Makes perfect sense to me. Why is it that you think I'm talking gibberish? Do you really think that there's no alternative to capitalism? Or perhaps you think that workers are incapable of organising themselves and co-operating in order to abolish capitalism? You see, it's difficult to respond to ridicule like this without actually knowing what your argument is.
MG - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: You may not have noticed but you are an ape, and a type of ape that has evolved to live in and form a heirarchical society. Even ignoring all the other problems you gloss over (why would anyone do anything??), this will mean you will never have a "classless" society
teflonpete - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Yes yes yes, but can we talk about the real world for now, rather than a utopian dream that will never happen.
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Now,as I've said, socialism - when it's established - will be a classless, stateless, moneyless society. Private ownership of the means of production will be abolished. There will be no government, no buying and selling, no wage-slavery.

Do you find many people believe this? No, clearly not, so I think we can safely say that your utopian socialism has been discredited as well.
teflonpete - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to teflonpete)

> I don't remember any great issues with the labs. The key ones in London were very good, and I got to know quite a lot of the guys at Ranks very well. Great people, working very hard to the highest standards. The head link man, Chester xxxxx, was a great guy and much liked by the lab team and film directors alike.

You're sidestepping the point Gordon, the objective of a union should be to protect the rights of the working man and woman and be open to any man or woman working in the relevant industry to join, not by invitation to a club or through nepotism. At one point during the '70s you couldn't work at Ranks as a cleaner or plumber unless you knew someone in the union who could get you in. How is that fair to all the perfectly capable cleaners and plumbers who could have applied for a job there but never got the opportunity because they didn't know the right people in the closed shop?

The fact that both the union and the employer did a good job for the employer's customers and people like Chester forged good working relationships and personal friendships with Stanley Kubrik et al is neither here nor there when we're measuring who unions are supposed to be looking after.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Do you find many people believe this? No, clearly not, so I think we can safely say that your utopian socialism has been discredited as well.

Actually, PP, there are a growing number of people who look beyond capitalism and see an alternative along the lines that I advocate. But that's not really the point, is it? Now, the case for socialism is far from being utopian. In fact, it's thoroughly scientific. Which is one of the reasons why Albert Einstein thought that socialism was the future for human society. But look. You can't discredit ideas by simply asserting that the fact that they aren't widely believed renders them utopian. That's no argument at all.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Yes yes yes, but can we talk about the real world for now, rather than a utopian dream that will never happen.

Do you mean the real world in which you can't solve problems without removing their root causes? Yep, that's the one I'm talking about. If you think - as your comment implies - that it is worth talking about ways of reforming capitalism by voting for leaders then I'm afraid that it is you that is the utopian dreamer.

Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) You may not have noticed but you are an ape, and a type of ape that has evolved to live in and form a heirarchical society. Even ignoring all the other problems you gloss over (why would anyone do anything??), this will mean you will never have a "classless" society

I haven't glossed over anything at all and am happy to write for hours on what would motivate people in a socialist society. I probably will before long! But this ape thing. I've heard some funny explanations for the way society is currently constituted and the argument that capitalism is somehow a product of something in our nature is one of the more amusing. If capitalism is the product of human nature then most people clearly aren't human! But even if it were true - which I really can't believe - then you'd still have a lot of work ahead of you. You'd have - just for a start - to explain away the behaviour of groups of people who choose to live in non-heirarchical systems.
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> You can't discredit ideas by simply asserting that the fact that they aren't widely believed renders them utopian. That's no argument at all.
>
Frankly it's so silly it's not worth arguing. Over the years you've repeatedly been asked how this is going to come about and repeatedly failed to produce any answer, and repeatedly deny that the numerous socialist revolutions were trying to create socialism despite all the evidence that they thought they were.
Can I suggest that instead of reading your socialist website you get stuck into some anthropology?

teflonpete - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

We've had the discussion before my friend, I have no faith in the current capitalist system but no faith that the vice of greed that forms part of human nature can be overcome either.
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Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Dear oh dear. I've actually spent many, many hours reading anthropology and I find nothing in it that discredits the case for socialism. The problem here - or one of them - is that you know as little about the case for socialism as you did when you first attempted to engage in debate with me. Which is puzzling. If I was going to take on an opponent I'd spend a lot of time thoroughly investigating their ideas before engaging. You seem woefully unwilling to do that, which means that you spend all of your time attacking the wrong ideas.

Now, even if it were true that the leaders of your so-called socialist revolutions actually were concerned with establishing the kind of society that I'm arguing for it simply wouldn't be possible. You can't lead people to socialism. As for the question of how socialism can come about - the question which you erroneously accuse me of dodging - I've often made this clear. Most recently about twenty minutes ago! The problem, I suspect, is that you just don't see it because you think you know the truth of the matter. Socialism will come about when a majority of workers globally come to understand that capitalism cannot be reformed in their interests and organise democratically to overthrow it. Now that'll be a socialist revolution.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

I'll have to confess to knowing nothing about the relationship between the labs and the union (which I'm not even sure was the ACTT, but perhaps NATKE or BETA ??) I never heard that there was any requirement for cleaners and plumbers to be part of any film union in the studios - if they were, it was certainly not an issue I ever heard discussed, and I don't remember ever seeing anyone other than film technicians at the very few union meetings I ever attended. The situation you describe was, indeed, disgraceful, if it was exactly as you describe.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> We've had the discussion before my friend, I have no faith in the current capitalist system but no faith that the vice of greed that forms part of human nature can be overcome either.

And no doubt we'll have it again! You don't need faith. Just look at the evidence. For something to be a part of the dreaded disease that is human nature it has - by definition - to be displayed by all humans. It isn't. So greed cannot logically be a part of human nature. And even if it were it wouldn't be an obstacle to socialism. In fact, if workers were more greedy they might long ago have stopped accepting a few crumbs of what they produce and taken over the whole bakery!

Al Evans on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> [...]
>
> No, Al, it was never a socialist party. Clause Four called for wholesale nationalisation of the means of production. That's not socialism, it's state capitalism.

That's not true, to be precise Clause IV.4 stated

"To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry of service."

That seems to me a reasonable description of socialism rather than state capitalism, it doesn't even endorse nationalisation wholeheartedly.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans: To fully understand my position on the non-socialist nature of the Labour Party, Al, it's necessary to grasp something of the origins of the Labour Party and what it set out to achieve. Towards the end of the nineteenth century there was a fierce debate going on in the labour movement as to what the movement could realistically hope to achieve. It isn't an oversimplification to suggest that the debate was polarised between those who argued for piecemeal reforms of capitalism as a way of bringing about a better society and those who argued - as I do - that capitalism cannot be reformed in the interests of the working class and that a working class party should not seek to administrate capitalism. This debate took place over a period of years and led to the formation of two distinct groups. In 1904 a group of revolutionaries committed to the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with a classless, stateless, moneyless society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production formed the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The convoluted twists and turns of those in the labour movement who were willing to compromise the revolutionary position in favour of the struggle for piecemeal reforms within capitalism led to the formation of the Independent Labour Party in 1906 the Labour Party that we are now discussing.

An analysis of Clause Four furthers my argument against the reformist policies of the Labour Party: The clause envisages the continuation of a banking system, albeit a state-run one, within the framework of common ownership. SPGB'ers argue that socialism will have no need for banks since there will be no buying and selling. So clearly the SPGB and the Labour Party were talking about very different forms of society. If Clause Four describes socialism then I'm not a socialist!
tony on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

So we have a better understanding of your position, can you point to some examples of successful socialist states? That way we can avoid any possible confusion between state capitalism and socialism.
dissonance - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> And no doubt we'll have it again! You don't need faith. Just look at the evidence. For something to be a part of the dreaded disease that is human nature it has - by definition - to be displayed by all humans. It isn't.

That doesnt follow, an attribute doesnt need to be displayed by the entire population. It could just be genetic subset who dont show it and, unless it is being selected for (or against) could die out.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to tony: Hi Tony. No, I can't do that. From the point-of-view of an SPGB member, the phrase 'socialist state' is a contradiction in terms. There will be no state in a socialist society. It will be a global society - just as capitalism is - and it will be based on the democratic control of the means of production. The kind of society I'm arguing for has never existed, and the countries that are widely referred to a 'socialist' are all forms of capitalism.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance: I think the confusion arises out of the very term 'human nature' itself. Surely if something is going to be referred to as an intrinsic part of the make-up of something then all examples of that something must have that quality? Or can you have a table without legs?
tony on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Do you think there's a reason why the kind of society you're arguing for has never existed?
Al Evans on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: I take your point there Chambers, but the SPGB state is about as likely as muslim suicide bombers are to get to heaven with 31 (or whatever) beautiful virgins at their beck and call. Both are futile attempts to make goals that will never be realised, at least clause 4 was feasible.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

... So globally we shouldn't be surprised to find an economic system that reflects human selfishness and greed (as most people would agree that they are - to some extent at least - an intrinsic part of human nature ... just as a there is also a degree of selflessness and altruism)?
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Do you think there's a reason why the kind of society you're arguing for has never existed?

Yes, I do. I think there are a number of reasons, in fact. But there's no short answer and I'm going climbing now! I'll get back to this later. :)
dissonance - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance) I think the confusion arises out of the very term 'human nature' itself. Surely if something is going to be referred to as an intrinsic part of the make-up of something then all examples of that something must have that quality?

Not really since name a characteristic and I suspect there will be exceptions.

> Or can you have a table without legs?

yes, you could stick it to the wall, suspend it from the ceiling or have an anti grav pack holding it up.

teflonpete - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)

> yes, you could stick it to the wall, suspend it from the ceiling or have an anti grav pack holding it up.

Indeed, I saw a very nice 6 foot long cantilevered dining table on a narrow boat a couple of months ago. Quite a nice piece of engineering. But I digress...
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) If I was going to take on an opponent I'd spend a lot of time thoroughly investigating their ideas before engaging. You seem woefully unwilling to do that, which means that you spend all of time attacking the wrong ideas.
>
You seem not to have noticed that I'm trying not to engage, for much the same reason that I don't engage with creationists. I don't know all the convoluted reasons that creationists use to provide spurious academic justification for their article of faith. I know enough to realise that on any rational level it's bollocks.

> You can't lead people to socialism. As for the question of how socialism can come about - the question which you erroneously accuse me of dodging - I've often made this clear. Socialism will come about when a majority of workers globally come to understand that capitalism cannot be reformed in their interests and organise democratically to overthrow it. Now that'll be a socialist revolution.
>
Except that this is not a clear at all. It's just an empty truism. It's like me saying I've told you how England can win the world cup. It'll be when England has the best team in the world. It doesn't address the question at all.
You have avoided the question of
a) How and why the workers will understand this?
b) How they will organise?
c) How will they agree on the alternative?
d) How will they persuade others that this is the right thing to do?
e) How will they disband the organisations that were created to achieve the change (commonly known in previous attempts as the "party").

The reason that the goals of "socialism" of so many socialists are unclear is because most of their writing is about how to achieve these goals rather than the actual goals.. Despite your wide reading on the subject you seem to have largely ignored the issue and think a simple sentence can replace libraries full of debate on the subject.

MG - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> a) How and why the workers

Before we get to those questions, what are "the workers"? I, like most people, work and also own shares in various companies that produce stuff. Am I a worker or an evil capitalist?
MG - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
But even if it were true - which I really can't believe - then you'd still have a lot of work ahead of you. You'd have - just for a start - to explain away the behaviour of groups of people who choose to live in non-heirarchical systems.

Such as? Possibly there are some slightly odd communes that come close for short periods but basically all humans live in heirarchical societies.

kevin stephens - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

We will just get back to the two party system; Conservatives and UKIP

The trade unions brought this on themselves by block voting Ed Milliband in in preference to his considerably more able brother
teflonpete - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> Before we get to those questions, what are "the workers"? I, like most people, work and also own shares in various companies that produce stuff. Am I a worker or an evil capitalist?

Fascist! Come the revolution you'll be stripped of your evil capitalist wealth to have it... err... given back to you?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
> You seem not to have noticed that I'm trying not to engage, for much the same reason that I don't engage with creationists. I don't know all the convoluted reasons that creationists use to provide spurious academic justification for their article of faith. I know enough to realise that on any rational level it's bollocks.

This is precisely the kind of non-argument that characterises your approach to debate. It's just the hurling of meaningless insults and it seems to be founded on nothing but a breathtaking arrogance. How is it that you feel able to dismiss a system of thought that has a pedigree that spans centuries with nothing more than a few ad hominem jibes? Unbelievable, really! You compare my position to that of a creationist. This, PP, is utterly ludicrous. Especially from someone whose blind faith in capitalism leads them to defend the most thoroughly anti-social economic system of society ever devised.
>
> [...]
> Except that this is not a clear at all. It's just an empty truism. It's like me saying I've told you how England can win the world cup. It'll be when England has the best team in the world. It doesn't address the question at all.

It most certainly does, but let's indulge your puerile nonsense for a while...

> You have avoided the question of
> a) How and why the workers will understand this?
> b) How they will organise?
> c) How will they agree on the alternative?
> d) How will they persuade others that this is the right thing to do?
> e) How will they disband the organisations that were created to achieve the change (commonly known in previous attempts as the "party").

I haven't avoided any questions at all. You see, there are no difficult questions when it comes to the case for world socialism. It's all very simple. You just need to ask. So, question a. How and why will workers understand that capitalism cannot work in their interests?

The 'why' is straightforward enough. It's the truth. A matter of fact. The working class are forced by economic necessity to sell their labour-power to an employer in return for a wage or salary. Now, human labour-power sold on the market as a commodity has -as Marx so clearly points out in Das Kapital - has a peculiar characteristic in that it can create a value greater than its cost. And so, under the wages system, we have a situation where workers are paid for their labour-power and the application of their labour-power produces a greater value. The worker is being paid less than the value of what he produces. The surplus value is creamed off as profit. So we have an economic situation in which wage-workers are exploited. That's the nature of capitalism, whether the employer is the state or a private capitalist. So to argue that capitalism can work in the interests of the working class is like arguing that an abattoir can be run in the interests of the animals being slaughtered in it. Sounds like the kind of argument you'd advance, come to think of it.

But here's what happens: As people go through their working lives and get consumed by the system the lies that they'd believed from the outset about working hard and saving and getting ahead all begin to wear a little thin. People become discontented and disgruntled, especially when capitalism is going through one of its periodic slumps. They realise that actually, they've been had, and the only people who get rich through hard work are the rich, who are rich because other people work hard for them. A similar thing happens with people's trust in politicians. The more you listen to their empty promises the less convincing they sound. So the delusions get eroded. It's easier to talk to people about the case for socialism now than it ever has been. Most rational people know that capitalism can't satisfy the needs of the majority, and the growth of the anti-market, anti-capitalist perspective is beyond even what I thought possible thirty years ago. It's too late to stop that growth. The revolution is coming whether you like it or not.

As to the 'how' of the understanding, well, that's really simple as well. There's nothing difficult to understand, unlike the convoluted defences of capitalism. The case for socialism is less difficult to grasp than the off-side rule, and even Sun readers can grasp that one.




Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
Let me tell you a little story...
About ten years ago, in the course of my work for the World Socialist Movement, I became involved in the running of an internet debating forum in which myself and others put the case for peaceful, democratic social revolution. We had some fierce opponents as well as the usual quota of bigoted idiots that you invariably get on an internet debating site. One of the more informed opponents was a very intelligent and well-read property lawyer. For some two years we argued the case with him. Here was an affluent member of the working class who was a very well-informed apologist for capitalism who firmly believed that capitalism would be just fine if we could only eradicate the poverty, the inequality, the racism and the inexorable drive to war...He's now an active member of the party. Members of the World Socialist Movement take every opportunity to discuss the case for a better world with our fellow humans. That's how ideas spread. And the struggle for socialism is nothing short of a battle of ideas. When it comes to understanding why society is the way it is now and how it might be changed, we're the guys who kick ass. You can hold on to your belief in capitalism as long as you like. You can look at the world however you like, but in this day and age failing to see that your ideas are outmoded and indefensible just makes you a reactionary, utopian dinosaur.

Question b. How will workers organise to overthrow capitalism? Here comes another simple answer. They'll organise democratically. Without leaders. The circumstances will differ depending on localised conditions, but those two things are crucial. Democratically and without leaders.

Question c. See question b.

Question d. Same again.

Question e. Let's assume that a majority of workers worldwide have achieved an understanding of the exploitative nature of capitalism and have developed the political will to abolish it and establish a classless, stateless, moneyless society based on production for use and not for profit. Such a situation will necessarily have arisen out of the growth of the World Socialist Movement, and the bigger the movement gets the more opinions on how the new society will work will be expressed. By the time that majority exists we'll have thrashed out the details. You see, just one more reason why so-called socialist revolutions haven't even begun to be socialist revolutions is that they've been revolutions enacted by and in the interests of a minority of people bent on imposing their will on the majority. That's inherently undemocratic and definitely unsocialist!


>
> The reason that the goals of "socialism" of so many socialists are unclear is because most of their writing is about how to achieve these goals rather than the actual goals.. Despite your wide reading on the subject you seem to have largely ignored the issue and think a simple sentence can replace libraries full of debate on the subject.

Just so. Now, it's clear to me that working out a blueprint by which people are going to live in a free society is a bit bleeding silly and not a little undemocratic. I know people who call themselves socialists who've worked out where everyone's going to sleep, what they're going to eat and the shape of the cities they'll live in. Those are the kind of people that Marx called utopian socialists. We're not of that ilk. We're scientific socialists, and we see the process of building the revolution as part of the revolution. Nevertheless, if you'd like to know how various socialists have envisaged socialism working then I can suggest a few texts for you to look at. But it's important to grasp that talking about future societies before they're established is a bit like writing sci-fi. In twenty years your writing will look dated.

tony on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

So why has none of this happened yet?
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to tony: I hadn't forgotten your question from earlier in the day, Tony, and I will endeavour to answer it shortly. However, after two hours shopping for walking boots for my partner and a too-fleetingly brief visit to Horseshoe Quarry, I've not long been home. And now I need to cook dinner. Give me an hour or so! Plus I've got more questions to answer, as well!
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> But even if it were true - which I really can't believe - then you'd still have a lot of work ahead of you. You'd have - just for a start - to explain away the behaviour of groups of people who choose to live in non-heirarchical systems.
>
> Such as? Possibly there are some slightly odd communes that come close for short periods but basically all humans live in heirarchical societies.

Supposing I cite the example of a group of more than five-hundred people who have existed as members of a movement that has - since it's inception in 1904 - completely eschewed the concept of leadership and has organised its affairs in a thoroughly democratic fashion without recourse to the need for leaders? And that's happened within capitalism. But I'm just talking about my party. I know it doesn't really count...

But wait! There's a great deal of evidence that suggests that primitive human societies were considerably less hierarchically organised than present-day society. Is it not possible that human societies that pre-date our knowledge of human history were organised in a totally different way than the human societies that we have even limited knowledge of? I think it's possible. Although I don't think we can know for sure. Also, I don't think it matters. Not that much, anyway. PostmanPat exhorts me to read some anthropology. I don't know, but I think I've probably read more than he has. What does it matter? As a species we are capable of producing enough food, clothing and shelter to satisfy the needs of ten times the current population of the planet. If we stopped being dicks great things could happen.

Funnily enough, PostmanPat and I would agree on the historical necessity of capitalism. Capitalism as an economic system did something that no hitherto existing economic system could do: it centralised the means of production and developed them to the point where an absolute abundance of wealth could be produced with minimal effort. Capitalism made socialism possible. But now its outlived its usefulness and has become - just like feudalism did - a fetter on production. It's almost all over for capitalism.
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> This is precisely the kind of non-argument that characterises your approach to debate. It's just the hurling of meaningless insults and it seems to be founded on nothing but a breathtaking arrogance. How is it that you feel able to dismiss a system of thought that has a pedigree that spans centuries with nothing more than a few ad hominem jibes?
> [...]
It's not ad hominem. Remarkable though it may be, in addition to the ignorant rednecks there seem to be quite a lot of successful, intelligent and well educated creationists. They just happen to believe in an irrational idea. I guess the same is true of fundamentalist socialists.
>
>
> I haven't avoided any questions at all. You see, there are no difficult questions when it comes to the case for world socialism. It's all very simple. You just need to ask. So, question a. How and why will workers understand that capitalism cannot work in their interests?
>
Actually you were asked similar questions about 2 years ago and went climbing! :-)

> The 'why' is straightforward enough. It's the truth. A matter of fact. It's too late to stop that growth. The revolution is coming whether you like it or not.
>
Marx described the theory of surplus labour in 1867, since which time amongst other things we've experienced numerous recessions, the Great Depression, a couple of world wars and countless revolutions.
Still the workers have apparently not got the hang of it. What is going to be different and when?


Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Let me tell you a little story...
> About ten years ago, in the course of my work for the World Socialist Movement, I became involved in the running of an internet debating forum in which myself and others put the case for peaceful, democratic social revolution. He's now an active member of the party. Members of the World Socialist Movement take every opportunity to discuss the case for a better world with our fellow humans.
>
Let me tell you a little story. I knew a smart, materially successful and well educated couple, one a financial analyst, the other a bond specialist.
They gave up their careers to live in Hawaii and start a crystal healing centre. Well, Hawaii's nice enough but it doesn't really convince me that crystal healing is the future of mankind.

> Question b. How will workers organise to overthrow capitalism? Here comes another simple answer. They'll organise democratically. Without leaders. The circumstances will differ depending on localised conditions, but those two things are crucial. Democratically and without leaders.
>
This is not sufficient answer. Given that this has not happened in the past 150 years you need to provide some explanation of how many millions of people nationally or globally will manage to agree on such principles when in the whole of human history such widespread agreement has never been experienced before.

> [...]
>
> Just so. Now, it's clear to me that working out a blueprint by which people are going to live in a free society is a bit bleeding silly and not a little undemocratic. I know people who call themselves socialists who've worked out where everyone's going to sleep, what they're going to eat and the shape of the cities they'll live in. Those are the kind of people that Marx called utopian socialists.
>
You're not being asked the details of how people will live. we all understand, because we were taught when we were 12 years old, that a true communist (socialist if you prefer) society is Stateless, classless and private propertyless. The details are not the point.

The point, which most socialist intellectuals seem to have understood and discussed endlessly, is how to get from here to there and how to maintain the agreed principles if the human race ever got them.

You're answer seems to be, in a nutshell, is that its such a great idea that everybody will agree to it. That is not an answer.

Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Supposing I cite the example of a group of more than five-hundred people who have existed as members of a movement that has - since it's inception in 1904 - completely eschewed the concept of leadership and has organised its affairs in a thoroughly democratic fashion without recourse to the need for leaders? And that's happened within capitalism. But I'm just talking about my party. I know it doesn't really count...
>
> But wait! There's a great deal of evidence that suggests that primitive human societies were considerably less hierarchically organised than present-day society. Is it not possible that human societies that pre-date our knowledge of human history were organised in a totally different way than the human societies that we have even limited knowledge of?

Can you spot the difference between reaching an agreement amongst 500 self chosen individuals or related people in a primitive society and between 65 million of us?

Have you ever spotted that your little group seems to have quite a few rivals on the left. You can't even agree amongst yourselves!!! Are you the Judea People's Front of the Peoples Front of Judea?

Rob Exile Ward on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: I have some bad news for you. Capitalism doesn't exist, per se: nobody invented it, plans it or implements it. It's basically a description of how people behave in industrial/post industrial economies. 'Destroying capitalism' is the same as saying 'blowing up the internet' or 'resisting gravity.'

And although it's terrible that there is such a huge disparity between richest and poorest, it's an uncomfortable fact that the poorest seem to become better off as their economies become more 'capitalist.'
Sir Chasm - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: You're terribly negative about world socialism, I look forward to it. I'm sure it will be followed (or do I mean preceded?) by world peace.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> So why has none of this happened yet?

I've been thinking about this - on and off - for much of the day, Tony. Why hasn't the revolution happened? Maybe it's because you aren't a member of the movement yet? Maybe you joining will finally tip us into a state of critical mass? How the hell am I meant to know the answer to this question? What we're talking about here is humanity finally waking up and throwing off its chains.

Marx thought that the revolution was going to happen sometime soon, but he was wrong. I could be wrong, too. Tell you what, I spent my early thirties thinking that I probably wouldn't see socialism in my lifetime. These days I think it could happen next week...

The point is this, I think: As capitalism develops it throws up contradictions. Here's an example. We can produce enough to feed everyone but two-thirds of the population of the planet go to bed hungry whilst food is destroyed to maintain profit levels. Here's another: Thousands of builders are sitting idle, without jobs. But there are materials enough to build houses for homeless people. Most folk can't be arsed with fighting people they never met, yet capitalist nations continually provoke wars with other nations. It's contradictions like this that get people thinking about different ways to live. Capitalism, as Marx said, creates it's own gravediggers. What's being created here is history. It's the working-out of an historical process. We can look back at history and try to interpret it, but no amount of historical interpretation will produce a crystal ball that allows us see into the future.

dissonance - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Supposing I cite the example of a group of more than five-hundred people who have existed as members of a movement that has - since it's inception in 1904 - completely eschewed the concept of leadership and has organised its affairs in a thoroughly democratic fashion without recourse to the need for leaders?

Did anyone ever leave that group after objecting to how it was run, form other groups etc?
If not must be the first political group never to splinter.

> But wait! There's a great deal of evidence that suggests that primitive human societies were considerably less hierarchically organised than present-day society.

There is also a lot of evidence that suggests they were rather violent. Although this would depend on whether people clashed over resources or not.
Fun but irrelevant unless you are going to wipe out most of the worlds population to recreate the circumstances for those societies.

> As a species we are capable of producing enough food, clothing and shelter to satisfy the needs of ten times the current population of the planet. If we stopped being dicks great things could happen.

I think thats a rather large "if".
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: 'It's the working-out of an historical process.'

And this is where you are wrong. There is no such thing as an 'historical process' - we are not 'going anywhere.' All we are doing is acting in accordance with our inherited characteristics tempered by a new phenomenon of self consciousness.

One of Elizabeth Gaitskill's characters summed it up best. I can't quite quote exactly, but the essence was that if everyone was made equal today, someone would get half an hour earlier tomorrow and become wealthier than their peers. And that's how it is.
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
> It's not ad hominem. Remarkable though it may be, in addition to the ignorant rednecks there seem to be quite a lot of successful, intelligent and well educated creationists. They just happen to believe in an irrational idea. I guess the same is true of fundamentalist socialists.
> [...]
> Actually you were asked similar questions about 2 years ago and went climbing! :-)
>
> [...]
> Marx described the theory of surplus labour in 1867, since which time amongst other things we've experienced numerous recessions, the Great Depression, a couple of world wars and countless revolutions.
> Still the workers have apparently not got the hang of it. What is going to be different and when?

PostmanPat, you outrage me! We really should go climbing. That'd be an interesting day out! We should get someone to film it! I've got some ideas written down already...

Look, capitalism hasn't changed in two hundred years. If you'd actually read Das Kapital as opposed to just having fooking Googled it to get some vague notion of what I'm talking about you'd know that the very same conditions that Marx was describing still exist in developing nations. It's all very well sitting there smugly and talking about the historical horrors that capitalism has produced and continues to produce on a daily basis whilst thinking that this in some way validates your unhistorical posturing, but really! What have you done on grit lately?!?!

We can bandy insults forever, my friend, but what you really need to do is to understand what capitalism is. It's an historical condition. Hasn't always existed and there's no reason to suppose that it will always exist.

Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]

>
> Look, capitalism hasn't changed in two hundred years. If you'd actually read Das Kapital as opposed to just having fooking Googled it to get some vague notion of what I'm talking about you'd know that the very same conditions that Marx was describing still exist in developing nations.
>

But you haven't answered my question about what's different now.

(You seem to work on the basis that if people don't agree with you it's because they haven't read anything or don't understand what you saying. For your reference I probably first came across the theory of surplus of labour about 25 years before Google was founded. I've never read Das Kapital (I've been told its mainly pretty dull by people who had to) and it's possible that all the descriptions and discussions I've read of its content in the past 40 years are wrong and yours is right but I'll take my chance on that.)

> We can bandy insults forever, my friend, but what you really need to do is to understand what capitalism is. It's an historical condition. Hasn't always existed and there's no reason to suppose that it will always exist.

No, it hasn't always existed. It was one of mankind's great achievements to "create" it.

Capitalism has changed. That's the nature of it. It morphs to survive and drive socialist nuts as it does it. That's why it survives:human ingenuity. I'm quite open to the idea that capitalism as we recognise it may change or even fail. I agree it has inherent weaknesses. I just probably disagree what they are or that a socialist nirvana will emerge spontaneously to replace it.

Oh, a handful of mid grades things at Burbage with a hangover ten days ago.
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Oh, and apart from it being "the truth so everyone will agree" can you elaborate on how this will be achieved?
Chambers - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Yes, I have answered your question about what's different now. What's different now is that the contradictions thrown up by capitalism are even more glaring than they were in the 1800s. And there's more. Capitalism has created some fantastic shit. (It's also created some really bad shit. Like a market for pet psychologists and 'reality television'. But hey! That'll disappear.)

Look, you've got me all wrong. I want you to disagree with me. I want you to prove me wrong. And I know exactly what you need to do to prove me wrong. But you're getting nowhere. First off, you mean either the labour theory of value or you mean Marx's explanation of surplus value. I'm not sure which you are referring to, but you clearly have no grasp of either. Which is fine. I'm not concerned with defending Das Kapital except to say that the only people who have had to read it have been ordered to read it by academics who don't understand it themselves. I've never met an academic who understood what Marx was talking about. Let's forget about Das Kapital for the moment.

So, what I'm interested in now is your defence of capitalism. I agree that it's unrealistic to expect a 'socialist nirvana' to emerge spontaneously, and I've never argued that that is a likely scenario. Perhaps you might explain the inherent weaknesses that you think capitalism has? Incidentally, capitalism doesn't drive me nuts.
MJ - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

(It's also created some really bad shit. Like a market for pet psychologists and 'reality television'. But hey! That'll disappear.)

What if you enjoy 'reality television'?
'Who' will decide that it should disappear?
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) Yes, I have answered your question about what's different now. What's different now is that the contradictions thrown up by capitalism are even more glaring than they were in the 1800s.
>
Rubbish,all over the Western world people are materially better off than they've been in human history and the same process is beginning in the rest of the world. For an alternative to develop capitalism has to implode, which it may, but the existing contradictions are not enough to do .

> So, what I'm interested in now is your defence of capitalism. I agree that it's unrealistic to expect a 'socialist nirvana' to emerge spontaneously, and I've never argued that that is a likely scenario. Perhaps you might explain the inherent weaknesses that you think capitalism has? Incidentally, capitalism doesn't drive me nuts.

Well if 65 million people agreeing without any leadership or organisation to do away with property, class and money isn't spontaneous how would you describe it? And why isn't the end "nirvana"?

And you get me wrong. As I said much earlier, I'm not much interested in a debate comparing a practical if flawed reality with an idea(your socialist vision) which I think is a fantasy. I'd be much more willing to defend market capitalism against a realistic alternative such as State socialism (or State capitalism as you prefer to call it) although i'm a bit bored by that as well.Since you entered the debate I thought I'd check out whether you had any more convincing explanations about how it should come about than last time but you don't seem to.

Incidentally, it's not 200 years of political philosophy I'm dismissing. It's your dismissal of the same. ie. 200 years of debate, discussion and violent struggle about how to achieve socialism which you claim has never been tried but will happen because its true and everyone will see that....

Happy cragging!

Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Look, you've got me all wrong. I want you to disagree with me. I want you to prove me wrong. And I know exactly what you need to do to prove me wrong. But you're getting nowhere. First off, you mean either the labour theory of value or you mean Marx's explanation of surplus value.
>
No, I was referring to what is widely known as his "theory of surplus value".Maybe because he described it in his work "Theories of surplus value". I don't doubt it's also widely known as his explanation of surplus value.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> (It's also created some really bad shit. Like a market for pet psychologists and 'reality television'. But hey! That'll disappear.)
>
> What if you enjoy 'reality television'?
> 'Who' will decide that it should disappear?

So what if you enjoy 'reality television'? Well, let's see...Nah, I don't want to go there. It's perfectly possible that the kind of 'reality television' that capitalism produces for profit will continue in socialism, but I suspect not. From the establishment of socialism onwards I think that we'll be watching tv programmes that are representations of the reality of a world that has freed itself from the stupidity of capitalism. We might, for example, relax after a day's work by watching reality documentaries about how a group of fantastic people - freed from the constraints of the profit system - are shipping food to starving people and showing them how to grow their own. Or we might tune in to a piece on how people who have spent their lives producing useful things show ex-bankers or ticket collectors or royal families or stockbrokers or insurance clerks or hedge-fund managers or politicians or reality television producers or gameshow hosts or lottery administrators or newspaper editors or media hacks or papparazzi or pharmaceutical marketeers or anyone else you can think of who doesn't actually produce anything how to do meaningful work. I dunno.

What I do know is that when humanity comes to its collective senses and stops behaving like a semi-evolved primate we can all do what the f*ck we're best at, rather than sell ourselves like whores in the labour market. What I also know is that if people really want to create shit television in programmes in socialism they'll be able to, because there'll be free access for the whole of humanity to all socially-produced wealth. I just wonder how long such people will carry on making that kind of drivel when there's important work to be done.

Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Chambers) I take your point there Chambers, but the SPGB state is about as likely as muslim suicide bombers are to get to heaven with 31 (or whatever) beautiful virgins at their beck and call. Both are futile attempts to make goals that will never be realised, at least clause 4 was feasible.

Clause Four was more than feasible, Al. It happened. We've seen it. It was rubbish. (You know, I don't have a huge amount to be proud of, but I am proud of the fact that I belong to a movement that pointed out over a hundred years ago that the Labour Party was doomed to fail.) The nationalisation of the mines and the railways was Clause Four in practice. The SPGB pointed out when it happened that it made not one iota of difference to the working class whether they were employed by the state or a private capitalist, and history proved us right. Don't believe me? Check this:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1940s/1947/no-509-january-1947/nationalisation...

Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> ... So globally we shouldn't be surprised to find an economic system that reflects human selfishness and greed (as most people would agree that they are - to some extent at least - an intrinsic part of human nature ... just as a there is also a degree of selflessness and altruism)?

Hi Gordon. I think that what you're doing there is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Material conditions engender forms of behaviour, no? If people are born into a state of war - and let's be clear about this, that's exactly what capitalism is - then they are going to grow up in a society in which they never feel secure, are alienated from themselves and others, suffer the adversity of real or threatened scarcity, so on and so forth...F*cking astonishes me that we aren't more f*cked up than we are! Speaks volumes about what it is to be human, actually...

Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Not really since name a characteristic and I suspect there will be exceptions.
>
> [...]
>
> yes, you could stick it to the wall, suspend it from the ceiling or have an anti grav pack holding it up.

Yeah, those'd be exceptions. I think my point holds.

Sir Chasm - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, those'd be exceptions. I think my point holds.

Yeah, yeah, apart from the exceptions your point holds (ignoring any exceptions of course).
Quick question, do you expect to see your version of socialism in your lifetime?
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)

> This is not sufficient answer. Given that this has not happened in the past 150 years you need to provide some explanation of how many millions of people nationally or globally will manage to agree on such principles when in the whole of human history such widespread agreement has never been experienced before.
>

Kiss me, fatboy! Now you're claiming to know the whole of human history! See, I can imagine a time when we were down to maybe sixty thousand individuals spread across the savannah in Africa, and realised we might die out...Here's something of which I'm sure, PP. If - as humans - we didn't have a built-in genetic disposition towards solidarity with our fellow humans and the need to socialise and co-operate we would have died out.

Get this: If I come across someone at the crag who might need my help I don't ask them about their political perspective before I decide whether to help. Do you have a list of people that you wouldn't help?

Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

There was war (e.g. tribal war) long before capitalism, mate. Cheers.
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Yeah, yeah, apart from the exceptions your point holds (ignoring any exceptions of course).
> Quick question, do you expect to see your version of socialism in your lifetime?

Yes. Next week! On Wednesday. Just after I close my kitchen. Incidentally, it's not my version of socialism. Belongs to everyone.

If we're having a serious discussion - and I'm mindful that serious discussions on UKC are as rare as a grown-up ascent of anything harder than E5 - I do seriously think that the new society could happen very soon.

Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> There was war (e.g. tribal war) long before capitalism, mate. Cheers.

I'm well aware of that, Gordon. What I wasn't aware of was that we had suddenly become 'mates'. Last I knew I worked at a pub in Capel Curig and you came in flogging a book. Hardly makes us mates. :) Was there a point to this very obvious statement of the stark-staringly and blatantly f*cking apparent thing?

Sir Chasm - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
> Yes. Next week! On Wednesday. Just after I close my kitchen. Incidentally, it's not my version of socialism. Belongs to everyone.
>
> If we're having a serious discussion - and I'm mindful that serious discussions on UKC are as rare as a grown-up ascent of anything harder than E5 - I do seriously think that the new society could happen very soon.

It was a very simple question and yet it was still beyond you. I asked if you expected to see your version of socialism in your lifetime. Not whether it could happen, but whether you expected to see it.
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: What on Earth are you on about? I have to assume that you've read some of my writing. How could you possibly thinbk that I'd waste my time pursuing an empty dream? Yes, since I apparently need to spell it out for you, I think that the socialist transformation of society can be realised within my lifetime. If I'm optimistic, that's another forty years.
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Although I still maintain that it could happen next week.
dissonance - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Yeah, those'd be exceptions. I think my point holds.

Not really. The point was whether or not an attribute had to be displayed by all to be considered a feature.
I was simply arguing that it didnt and that it would just need to be displayed by a fairly significant proportion of the group and that exceptions could occur.
dissonance - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Kiss me, fatboy! Now you're claiming to know the whole of human history! See, I can imagine a time when we were down to maybe sixty thousand individuals spread across the savannah in Africa, and realised we might die out...Here's something of which I'm sure, PP. If - as humans - we didn't have a built-in genetic disposition towards solidarity with our fellow humans and the need to socialise and co-operate we would have died out.

This doesnt necessarily scale. For example Ants have extremely hard coded genetic dispositions to solidarity with their fellow group members. The rest of the ant world can go take a flying jump however, normally helped by another ants foot.
So just that we, may, have co-operated when there was a small population doesnt mean we will now. Which I think was Gordon's point, even with fairly small populations conflict occurs.

Sir Chasm - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm) What on Earth are you on about? I have to assume that you've read some of my writing. How could you possibly thinbk that I'd waste my time pursuing an empty dream? Yes, since I apparently need to spell it out for you, I think that the socialist transformation of society can be realised within my lifetime. If I'm optimistic, that's another forty years.

Still you can't answer. Not "can" it be realised, I'm asking if you expect to see it in your lifetime. Do you think it's going to happen in the next 40 (to use your figure) years?
Chambers - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: Ah! Now I see what you're getting at. If only you'd made it clear from the start that you're playing infantile games with language I wouldn't have wasted fifteen minutes thinking about your shit. Yes, I expect to see socialism in my lifetime. I have a crystal ball. Fool!
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

(I'm starting to assume that you're someone having a huge laugh, possibly even a right-winger. Otherwise, it's reading a bit deranged. OK, it's late on a Friday night ...)
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> I have a crystal ball. Fool!

Whilst I am not opposed to a few random insults I am not pushing for a socialist revolution (or indeed a revolution of any flavour). Do you feel this is a good way to bring it round quicker, insulting rather than putting forward arguments?
Sir Chasm - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm) Ah! Now I see what you're getting at. If only you'd made it clear from the start that you're playing infantile games with language I wouldn't have wasted fifteen minutes thinking about your shit. Yes, I expect to see socialism in my lifetime. I have a crystal ball. Fool!

As you seem to be struggling I'll try and explain. If I buy a lottery ticket I know I "can" win millions of pounds, but if I buy a lottery ticket I don't necessarily "expect" to win millions of pounds.
I know this may come across, to you, as playing infantile games with language, but in a written medium words is all wot weeve got.
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> Not really. The point was whether or not an attribute had to be displayed by all to be considered a feature.
> I was simply arguing that it didnt and that it would just need to be displayed by a fairly significant proportion of the group and that exceptions could occur.

And what I'm suggesting is that for something to be part of our 'nature', which is to say something that is a part of the essence of being a human being it must necessarily be a quality that is displayed by all human beings.

You see, I don't think that there's much we can really say with any kind of certainty about that. A handful of fairly basic imperatives, perhaps. The need for warmth - we're warm-blooded mammals, after all - the need for companionship, a sense of morality, the compulsion to communicate...

Other than that we're looking at things that can't be observed in isolation and - it seems to me - are impervious to empirical verification. One only has to witness the utter confusion of 'experts' who would tell us what to think on this matter to realise that there is no truth to be known nor, quite probably, that can be known. Personally, I'd jump over ninety-seven Steven Pinkers, seventy-three Douglas Adams and five-hundred and twenty-three thousand Steve Jones's to get next to one Karl Marx who said, in 1852, that 'Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.'

That - for me, at any rate, sums up what we can actually know. Certain people - and I use the word advisedly - under duress can kill to survive. Less certain people can't.

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Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I've read your books, Gordon, and I hear the ice underneath your feet creaking...
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: I seem to be struggling? Do you have any mirrors in your house?
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance: I'm really dreadfully sorry if you think that I've insulted you. I'm also going to try to make you feel dreadfully sorry if you can't explain what I've said that made you feel so insulted.
stroppygob - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm) What on Earth are you on about? I have to assume that you've read some of my writing. How could you possibly thinbk that I'd waste my time pursuing an empty dream?

I preferred you when you were Gudrun.
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob: Two things are clear, here, stroppygob. One: I don't know what you're talking about. Two: Nor do you. XXX
stroppygob - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to stroppygob) Two things are clear, here, stroppygob. One: I don't know what you're talking about. Two: Nor do you. XXX

That's better, you're getting back to being Gudrun now.

Bergvagabunden - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: I've read pretty much all the posts on this thread , and I can't believe anybody still believes a thing Karl Marx wrote - you sound like all those socialist worker idiots I encountered at university - Marxs writing has been , indirectly I agree , responsible for the deaths of millions of people , but I suppose it's the same , after all , as all those neo nazis you get still kicking around .
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance) I'm really dreadfully sorry if you think that I've insulted you.

genius the classic non apology. Think your groups non leader might need to sort out a communications and PR course.

> I'm also going to try to make you feel dreadfully sorry if you can't explain what I've said that made you feel so insulted.

not got the hang of quotes then? I was just finding it amusing your insults lobbed at Sir Chasm and the postie.
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Do you ever have any doubts about any of this? You seem very certain of your ability to predict the future.
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> You see, I don't think that there's much we can really say with any kind of certainty about that. A handful of fairly basic imperatives, perhaps. The need for warmth - we're warm-blooded mammals, after all - the need for companionship,

hermits

> a sense of morality

sociopaths and psychopaths. Or any number of lunatic political leaders.

> the compulsion to communicate...

again see hermits.

> That - for me, at any rate, sums up what we can actually know. Certain people - and I use the word advisedly - under duress can kill to survive. Less certain people can't.

ok, but you havent explained the relevance to over turning all modern cultures and reverting to a hypothetical early stage culture?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> hermits
>


Have you noticed how hermits have gone out of fashion? I think there should be more hermits. Living in hermits' caves.
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
>
> Have you noticed how hermits have gone out of fashion? I think there should be more hermits. Living in hermits' caves.

here you go.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori

Although they fail on the caves bit.
stroppygob - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
>
> Have you noticed how hermits have gone out of fashion? I think there should be more hermits. Living in hermits' caves.

You just cannot get decent caves these days.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: "Do not besmirch my reply as some bombastic attempt at wooing the masses. But I will repudiate my attachment to the beauty of the English language if it shall cast a fog over the crucible of my argument."

Add that one to your arsenal of pompous replies. It will be an improvement on your current ones. Maybe ask your highly intelligent ex property lawyer comrade for some tips.
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Bergvagabunden:
> (In reply to Chambers) I've read pretty much all the posts on this thread , and I can't believe anybody still believes a thing Karl Marx wrote - you sound like all those socialist worker idiots I encountered at university - Marxs writing has been , indirectly I agree , responsible for the deaths of millions of people , but I suppose it's the same , after all , as all those neo nazis you get still kicking around .

First of all, the SWP are Leninists and Trotskyites and not Marxists, whatever they may claim. Secondly, they aren't socialists. They advocate state capitalism and not socialism. Third of all, Marx's analysis of capitalism is unsurpassed and as relevant today as it was 150 years ago. Fourthly, there is precisely nothing in Marx that supports the wholesale slaughter of workers that you refer to.

Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús: You what?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Bergvagabunden)
> [...]
>
> First of all, the SWP are Leninists and Trotskyites and not Marxists, whatever they may claim. Secondly, they aren't socialists.

Splitists!!
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Can you spot the difference between reaching an agreement amongst 500 self chosen individuals or related people in a primitive society and between 65 million of us?
>
> Have you ever spotted that your little group seems to have quite a few rivals on the left. You can't even agree amongst yourselves!!! Are you the Judea People's Front of the Peoples Front of Judea?

Once again, you're labouring under some serious misapprehensions, Patster. They'll be easily dispelled though. You speak of my little group - which is in reality a global network of companion parties - having rivals, and suggest that there's a problem with the fact that 'we' - as you put it - can't agree amongst ourselves. The whole of the left - whether it be the SWP or the CPGB or the name-stealing Socialist Party or any other left-wing sect are and always have been opponents of the case for socialism. Which is why we have clause seven of our Declaration of Principles. Clause seven reads "That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party." That should have cleared that up for you.

I think that you underestimate the scale and magnitude of the ways in which ideas can change. Sixty-five million people have agreed that we drive on the left. That might have seemed a pipe-dream 200 years ago. There's actually a lot more agreement between people than is sometimes acknowledged. I see no reason why a majority of people can't agree on a general framework for organising society in the interests of everyone.

Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG: That's exactly what they are, yes.
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)


> ok, but you havent explained the relevance to over turning all modern cultures and reverting to a hypothetical early stage culture?

Not sure what you're asking there. Can you clarify the question?

ads.ukclimbing.com
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Isn't that a bit of a problem for world harmony and agreement? Anyway, to return to a question above. Could you clarify whether I am a worker (I work) or a member of the "master class" (I own bits of compnaies)?
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> This doesnt necessarily scale. For example Ants have extremely hard coded genetic dispositions to solidarity with their fellow group members. The rest of the ant world can go take a flying jump however, normally helped by another ants foot.
> So just that we, may, have co-operated when there was a small population doesnt mean we will now. Which I think was Gordon's point, even with fairly small populations conflict occurs.

Yes, it has occurred often and continues to do so. It's usually as a result of scarcity - real or threatened. A socialist society will produce an abundance of wealth, however, and that wealth will be freely available. What do you suppose people are going to fight over when all of their basic needs are met?

Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) Isn't that a bit of a problem for world harmony and agreement? Anyway, to return to a question above. Could you clarify whether I am a worker (I work) or a member of the "master class" (I own bits of compnaies)?

Oh, yeah. I had made a mental note to answer that one. It got kind of lost in the melee, so thanks for reminding me. I'm still not sure what you're asking me with your latest question. Maybe I'm just mis-reading you, but I don't get it.

In answer to your question about class, that's straightforward enough. If economic necessity forces you to sell your labour-power to an employer then you are a member of the working class. Owning a few shares isn't relevant to your class position. If, on the other hand, you own and control enough to be able to live without working that makes you a capitalist.
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> If, on the other hand, you own and control enough to be able to live without working that makes you a capitalist.

so once you finishing working your entire life and retire at age 70 with enough to live off you suddenly switch to being a capitalist.
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

If, on the other hand, you own and control enough to be able to live without working that makes you a capitalist.

Many pensioners will live on income from shares in retirement. Does that mean they suddenly become capitalists on the day they retire after being workers all their lives? Your proposal seems a bizarre way to view the world. What about small - possibly one-man - business owners?

MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance: snap!
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Yes, it has occurred often and continues to do so. It's usually as a result of scarcity - real or threatened. A socialist society will produce an abundance of wealth, however, and that wealth will be freely available.

Dont you think there is a rather large problem you have just casually dismissed?

> What do you suppose people are going to fight over when all of their basic needs are met?

For fun or because I want more than the basics and quite fancy your house as well.
off-duty - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> And what I'm suggesting is that for something to be part of our 'nature', which is to say something that is a part of the essence of being a human being it must necessarily be a quality that is displayed by all human beings.
>
> You see, I don't think that there's much we can really say with any kind of certainty about that. A handful of fairly basic imperatives, perhaps. The need for warmth - we're warm-blooded mammals, after all - the need for companionship, a sense of morality, the compulsion to communicate...
>

And passion. You (and many socialists) appear to ignore emotion.
Throughout human history there are tales of love and the deeds done as a result.
On the plus side we have compassion, altruism and heroism, on the minus side we have jealousy, hate and treachery.

In the happy socialist compound of the future we will all live in our identical little boxes - except that I want to impress Ivana, by outperforming Ivan, or having a nicer little box, or giving her better presents, or maybe by just beating up Ivan.

So my motivation changes from "helping everyone else" to "hhelping myself".
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> so once you finishing working your entire life and retire at age 70 with enough to live off you suddenly switch to being a capitalist.

No, of course not. Being a member of the capitalist class means having enough capital to invest with a view to making a profit. (See my posting above about surplus value.)

neilh - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
Will you be able to enter for the lottery in this utopia?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> No, of course not. Being a member of the capitalist class means having enough capital to invest with a view to making a profit.

Well I do that. I must be evil. Sorry.
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Splitists!!

Nah! That's one of their shrieks, MG!

Do these guys have any interest in working people? I don't think so, do you? - except as fodder to fuel their own political ambitions. To do the splitz, you have to have something to split from. These politicos tore themselves from working class movements in 1917 when they saw an opportunity to seize power and ruthlessly exploit the very people they claimed to represent. Where have we heard that before? That's the nature of propaganda. People are defined by what they do, not what they say.
Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> Dont you think there is a rather large problem you have just casually dismissed?

Nothing casual about it, at all. I just have limited time right now. But look, show me a conflict between humans that doesn't have property rights as its root cause?
Postmanpat on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> You speak of my little group - which is in reality a global network of companion parties - having rivals, and suggest that there's a problem with the fact that 'we' - as you put it - can't agree amongst ourselves. The whole of the left - whether it be the SWP or the CPGB or the name-stealing Socialist Party or any other left-wing sect are and always have been opponents of the case for socialism. Which is why we have clause seven of our Declaration of Principles. Clause seven reads "That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party." That should have cleared that up for you.
>
Brilliant stuff! Have you thought of sending it off to John Cleese? He needs some cash to pay his alimony and may be able to incorporate it into his next film.
I forget, was it the Judean People's Front or the People's Front for Judea that wasn't the real voice of independence because it didn't hate the Romans enough?

> I see no reason why a majority of people can't agree on a general framework for organising society in the interests of everyone.

We sort of gathered that. Just to clarify: because a network of groups that are connected to each other because they agree with other actually do agree with each other, this is evidence that everybody could agree with everybody? (Except, of course, the groups that aren't rivals because they don't agree with with the you?)

Chambers - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Nah! That's one of their shrieks, MG!
>
> Do these guys have any interest in working people? I don't think so, do you? - except as fodder to fuel their own political ambitions. To do the splitz, you have to have something to split from. These politicos tore themselves from working class movements in 1917 when they saw an opportunity to seize power and ruthlessly exploit the very people they claimed to represent. Where have we heard that before? That's the nature of propaganda. People are defined by what they do, not what they say.

Just so! Which is why the SPGB has opposed all left-wing parties as well as all right-wing parties for over a hundred years.

Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> Will you be able to enter for the lottery in this utopia?

LOL, You are very welcome to enter the lottery in our current Utopia, Neilh. And you might even win it! Till then, you can live on dreams. Gd Luck.

dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> No, of course not. Being a member of the capitalist class means having enough capital to invest with a view to making a profit. (See my posting above about surplus value.)

Thats the entire concept behind pension investments. To invest to make enough of a profit so you can give up work at some point in the future.

Or to try another tack. If I set up my one man business and it does rather well, at which point do I switch to being a capitalist?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Do you think this "framework for organising society", might need some agreed rules, maybe we could give them a name, perhaps "laws"? Also, maybe the system for deciding on these laws, needs a name - how about "democracy"?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> Just so! Which is why the SPGB has opposed all left-wing parties as well as all right-wing parties for over a hundred years.


SO you are right and every else wrong and they all agree with you. One day.
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Just so! Which is why the SPGB has opposed all left-wing parties as well as all right-wing parties for over a hundred years.

That reminds me. You said this party has been around for a 100 years or so and that showed how sound the foundation was.
Did anyone ever leave (outside of death) either just to get out of the party or to join/set up a different organisation?
ads.ukclimbing.com
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> Just so! Which is why the SPGB

You couldn't make this up. The wiki entry for SPGB begins

"Not to be confused with British Socialist Party or Socialist Party (England and Wales). Socialist Party of Great Britain"

Heaven forbid!! And then continues

"... and is regarded as within the impossibilist tradition."

Yep!
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG: I am having a Poe's law moment after reading a bit more of the entry!
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> And passion. You (and many socialists) appear to ignore emotion.
> Throughout human history there are tales of love and the deeds done as a result.
> On the plus side we have compassion, altruism and heroism, on the minus side we have jealousy, hate and treachery.
>
> In the happy socialist compound of the future we will all live in our identical little boxes - except that I want to impress Ivana, by outperforming Ivan, or having a nicer little box, or giving her better presents, or maybe by just beating up Ivan.
>
> So my motivation changes from "helping everyone else" to "hhelping myself".

LOL, then I'll not follow you to your imagined, abstract and airless Utopia, off-duty! Socialists on the whole have a fair current and historical understanding of what capacities people have and the way they respond to their social and natural environments.

I notice the straw man arguments are beginning to pile up now. Always a sign of the emotion you were talking about.

Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> You couldn't make this up. The wiki entry for SPGB begins
>
> "Not to be confused with British Socialist Party or Socialist Party (England and Wales). Socialist Party of Great Britain"
>
> Heaven forbid!! And then continues
>
> "... and is regarded as within the impossibilist tradition."
>
> Yep!

Yep, indeed. We have started to reclaim that title. It comes, incidentally from a response to the French social democrat view at the end of the nineteenth century that it is *possible* to remain a socialist while taking power in a capitalist government. We said no, *impossible*. We're proud of that tradition of non-compromise. It's why we have survived and others haven't.
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Nothing casual about it, at all. I just have limited time right now. But look, show me a conflict between humans that doesn't have property rights as its root cause?

The Thirty years war started on religious grounds although then expanded.
However not sure even if your claim was true how this would help your case?
Since it gives a rather big hurdle to get past, particularly since plenty of wars have been instigated by leaders who had plenty of land but just wanted even more (or to piss off the neighbour).
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> That reminds me. You said this party has been around for a 100 years or so and that showed how sound the foundation was.
> Did anyone ever leave (outside of death) either just to get out of the party or to join/set up a different organisation?

Yes, of course! What would you expect? People are not robots, they change their minds; leave; come back; go elsewhere. We have had very few splits though in comparison to other parties, and the ones we have had have been very small, mostly just a few members; the largest was two branches.


MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> Yes, of course! What would you expect? People are not robots, they change their minds; leave; come back; go elsewhere.

Doesn't bode well for this socialist utopia where everyone agrees on how to run the world if even a few 100 "believers" can't agree, does it?
off-duty - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> LOL, then I'll not follow you to your imagined, abstract and airless Utopia, off-duty! Socialists on the whole have a fair current and historical understanding of what capacities people have and the way they respond to their social and natural environments.
>
> I notice the straw man arguments are beginning to pile up now. Always a sign of the emotion you were talking about.

And a LOL right back at you. Not sure how it can be a strawman when it is in direct response to a list of basic human motivations by chambers.
I also notice that you utterly fail to mention how your system would address the basic human competition for love, other than by suggesting that you have a good understanding of it. Whatever that might mean.
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
>
> SO you are right and every else wrong and they all agree with you. One day.

Who is right and who is wrong can only be decided by public argument and debate. In the meantime, we individually choose our sides. Is there anything unusual in this, MG? Or have I missed something?

We are not principally interested in whether people agree with us, we are interested in helping them to see and acknowledge the exploitative nature of the world they live in and its consequences. If capitalism can be overturned by some other means than the one we advocate and a genuinely post-capitalist society established, then we're fine with that, or if it is achieved outside the framework of the SPGB and its companion parties, then we're fine with that too. In the meantime, taking the balance of argument and evidence, our members hold with Marx (and against Lenin), that a society with a genuinely co-operative structure can only be built co-operatively by the working class, and that there are historical precedents that indicate that this is achievable.
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
Hi Off-duty. I would take a different approach to Chambers on this. The vast majority of time that humanity has existed on the planet as a separate species, it has existed in hunter gatherer bands which are highly egalitarian in structure and generally unwarlike - though they are not without examples of individual conflict mostly initiated by young men. (Someone mentioned 'tribes' earlier. Tribal organisation is a much more recent phenomenon in which social stratification has developed, though not to the point of full class-division.)

Modern egalitarian hunter gatherer bands are very skilled at avoiding conflicts of the kind you mention and of effecting social reconciliation when they do occur.

We don't simply lift this as a straight model for a post-capitalist society as someone here assumed (straw man), since, its economic foundations would, for historical and technological reasons, be quite different. But the example of hunter gatherer societies, along with other evidence, does indicate that the kind of situations you propose are socially manageable.

Nor do we claim (another straw man) that a post-capitalist society would be Utopian or perfect or harmonious or realise some kind of 1960s hippy-dippy fantasy. That would be absurd. We do claim though that there is plenty of evidence to indicate that conflict in a post-capitalist world could be much more effectively managed than in capitalism and would not threaten the structure of society.

Not all conflict arises in the abstract uncontextualised way you present it though. Human behaviour is not a direct or blind expression of emotion but is mediated through a complicated system of social structures, institutions and beliefs. We also argue that a post-capitalist world would eliminate many of capitalism's unnecessary structural drivers towards conflict, waste and inequality.
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> Doesn't bode well for this socialist utopia where everyone agrees on how to run the world if even a few 100 "believers" can't agree, does it?

Several straw men here, MG. See my comment above. Why would everyone have to agree in a post capitalist society?

By the way, the constitution of the SPGB encourages disagreement and debate among its members. That is the only way for ideas and understanding to progress, don't you think? Incidentally, if you are looking for a moral here, you might notice that this free and open structure has held us together much more effectively than the closed, authoritarian structures of Trotskyist and Leninist groups which are endlessly splitting, splintering and factionalising. With us, as I pointed out, splintering is minor and rare.
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Several straw men here, MG. See my comment above. Why would everyone have to agree in a post capitalist society?
>


Well they would at least have to agree not be capitalists!
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> Well they would at least have to agree not be capitalists!


Erm... OK, MG. :-)

The clue is in the name: "post-capitalist society."

Societies have definite economic structures that support and limit the kind of economic relationships that can be formed within them. Try putting people to work as serfs and living as a feudal lord in 21th century Kensington, or surviving as a hunter gatherer on a medieval baronial estate, or as a slave-owner in a hunter gatherer band.

The concept of a post-capitalist society is structural, a society whose collective property institutions would not support an exploitative wage-labour/capital relationship. To be a capitalist in a post-capitalist world would not be a choice anyone could make.
GrahamD - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> To be a capitalist in a post-capitalist world would not be a choice anyone could make.

Are you serious ? do you think that human nature will have changed so much that no-one will try to turn a profit ?
MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
To be a capitalist in a post-capitalist world would not be a choice anyone could make.


And if I disagree? Say by offering some service that I am good at for other goods, what then?
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: So prostitution be free in this post capitalist world? F*ckin a!...why wasn't that your first line? Now we are interested. Do go on..
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> Hi Off-duty. I would take a different approach to Chambers on this. The vast majority of time that humanity has existed on the planet as a separate species, it has existed in hunter gatherer bands which are highly egalitarian in structure and generally unwarlike - though they are not without examples of individual conflict mostly initiated by young men.

I am somewhat curious how you managed to establish this, since its not the sort of thing which would appear in the archeological record as far as I am aware?

> Modern egalitarian hunter gatherer bands are very skilled at avoiding conflicts of the kind you mention and of effecting social reconciliation when they do occur.

Even if we take this statement as true, how do you deal with the fact they are damned rare? How will you bring that model back into the mainstream?

ps. will the rest of the party be turning up?
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> Thats the entire concept behind pension investments. To invest to make enough of a profit so you can give up work at some point in the future.
>
> Or to try another tack. If I set up my one man business and it does rather well, at which point do I switch to being a capitalist?


Those are not a simple questions to answer as you clearly perceive in asking them, dissonance, but nor do they pose any problem for the analysis. Social classes and the relationships between them are not sharply defined like joints in a fine piece of cabinet making, but tend to shade into one another, as you would expect in a complex system with multiple levels of interaction. What matters is the big picture and what sustains it.

An entrepreneurial business person might in the early days of a new business join their employees in doing some productive labour, so their income may only be partly derived from surplus-value. As the business grows, though, that will change. Where the exact point of transition comes between worker and capitalist may be difficult to establish and there are other factors to consider like the poor survival rate of small businesses and low social mobility between classes within capitalism, but none of these affect the big picture of social relations within capitalism as a whole. The paradigms are clear.

The same can be said of investment in pension funds which is a way of using an element of the system to provide for the needs of retired members of the working class in some societies. Yes,it means that a small percentage of the value created by the working class is returned to them via surplus value, but this hardly makes up for a lifetime of exploitation. If it did, the system would collapse.

These interactions of the capitalist property system do nothing to obscure the fundamental relationship between capitalist and worker, since they are both minor and secondary. They are minor because they only apply to a small percentage of the population in the grey area between worker and employer and a small percentage of investment. They are secondary because without the wage/capital relationship or the primary function of surplus value as accumulated capital for reinvestment in production and consumption by the capitalist class, these other features could not even exist.

Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
Actually, in the present state of our knowledge, the archaeological evidence for our 100,000-200,000 years as hunter gatherers is uncontroversial. The findings are not universal, and there is some recent evidence that tribal forms of organisation developed earlier than we supposed in some places, but the big picture is very clear and the evidence overwhelming.

As for why there were only a small number of hunter-gatherer bands today, I would have thought that was obvious. State-formation over the last 300 years forced pre-state peoples increasingly onto marginal land and then absorbed them into other forms of social relationship either through economic pressures or through coercion. Until the sixteenth century, however, a large portion, possibly most of mankind still lived in hunter-gatherer bands, tribal societies and chiefdoms.

Band hunter-gatherers still exist, though, on all habitable continents, and are interesting because, despite the impossibility of communication between them, they all have broadly similar social arrangements. All are egalitarian and co-operative, yet at the same time provide individuals with a freedom of action and sense of personal responsibility that would make the average American anarcho-capitalist sick with envy. As they have no permanent centres of power or influence, warfare is almost unknown among them, though it does exist in a few groups that live in close proximity to warlike neighbours or have been the victims of aggressive colonialism. They all have a deep understanding of the causes of social conflict and have sophisticated and well-developed ways of limiting it. If you need evidence of any or all of this, then the anthropological literature is very extensive.

As for your question 'how would you bring that model back into the mainstream?' I suggest you go back and read my post again. We cannot go backwards. We have to start from where we are and history places strict limits on what we can achieve. To repeat, we don't look to hunter gatherers as a model, only as a confirmation that institutionalised warfare and conflict are not part of an abstract human 'essence' as some claim but are manageable given economic relationships not based on conflict. Capitalism, by contrast, because of its institutionalisation of economic conflict right down to the level of the family and individual promotes destructive behaviour and provides working people with one among many reasons for moving on as soon as possible.
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Hud)
>
> [...]
>
> Are you serious ? do you think that human nature will have changed so much that no-one will try to turn a profit ?

Hi GrahamD.

Being a capitalist is not an innate quality of a human being like having two legs, a liver or a sense of smell; it's a social relationship. You cannot have capitalists unless you also have a very specific system of private property to support their role and one in which a degree of capital already exists in private hands. Nor can you have capitalists unless you have first created a body of wage or salary workers to work for them. And that requires a property system that has a) progressively denied a vast mass of working people the right to own land and b) given them no choice but to sell their labour to the capitalist class as their only means of subsistence.

And when you have those fundamentals, you still cannot kick off the capitalist/wage worker relationship unless you have a) evolved a property system which gives free title to ownership(one quite unlike the property system that prevailed in earlier medieval Europe for instance), b) created a financial system based on universal monetary values, c) developed a legal system that supports and promotes the institutions of usury and profit, d) developed a universal market system that allows prices to find their own levels without interference from local elites, e)a universal unit of exchange, etc, etc, etc.

Let me ask you a question. The modern capitalist appeared making a profit for the first time in human history very roughly around the end of the eighteenth century at the same time as these institutions began to develop. If being a capitalist is a natural and inevitable product of some abstract quality of our species called human nature, explain to me how, until 300 years ago, no obvious capitalists have been previously recorded or dug up walking the earth during all the vast period that behaviourally modern human beings have existed? And even more puzzling to me, explain how until some 10,000 years ago there is hardly any sign not just of a capitalist extracting surplus value out of a worker, but of any form of social organisation that shows an institutionally exploitative set of relationships.

Frankly, it sounds like you believe we live in a sort of social vacuum, where we behave like dolls which move around swinging our legs in empty space and behaving only according to the demands of our inner clockwork. The idea that we are born into a pre-existing world which has a complex social, legal and economic structure, a world which limits and shapes our choices, our identities and our roles, and one in which we undergo a protracted period of socialisation, development and learning seems to have escaped you, at least when you come to address this issue.

In short, Graham, you cannot climb the greasy pole unless there is a greasy pole to climb.


ads.ukclimbing.com
Sir Chasm - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: But there is a greasy pole. So how do you intend to persuade people to get rid of the greasy pole?
Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Hud) So prostitution be free in this post capitalist world? F*ckin a!...why wasn't that your first line? Now we are interested. Do go on..

LOL, sorry Bjartur, I didn't realise you were so interested in the social analysis of human relationships, or I would have said something.

Yes, absolutely, by taking the means of production into common ownership, it follows that women would not be in a position to charge for sex. However, there is a small caveat to this. It also means that finding a woman at the kerbside who is willing to give herself to you for sex just for the asking might prove rather more difficult than you obvious imagine.

MG - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: How can agreeing to sex be in 'common ownership'? Will people recieve instructions on who to sleep with?
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> Actually, in the present state of our knowledge, the archaeological evidence for our 100,000-200,000 years as hunter gatherers is uncontroversial.

I am interested in your specific claims about the social structures, especially the lack of warfare. Where is the evidence for this?


> As for why there were only a small number of hunter-gatherer bands today, I would have thought that was obvious.

Thats the point really. Those approaches and social structures didnt scale well with changing population. Its all well and good living peacefully with your fellow man if the only ones you will come across is your kin.

> Band hunter-gatherers still exist, though, on all habitable continents, and are interesting because, despite the impossibility of communication between them, they all have broadly similar social arrangements. All are egalitarian and co-operative, yet at the same time provide individuals with a freedom of action and sense of personal responsibility that would make the average American anarcho-capitalist sick with envy.

I see you are taking one of the more rosy views provided by the anthropologists. It tends to be a somewhat self selecting sample in that its quite difficult to write a thesis about the Mashco-Piro or the Sentinelese.


> If you need evidence of any or all of this, then the anthropological literature is very extensive.

I have seen some and I know it is nowhere near as clear cut as you are suggesting.

> To repeat, we don't look to hunter gatherers as a model, only as a confirmation that institutionalised warfare and conflict are not part of an abstract human 'essence' as some claim but are manageable given economic relationships not based on conflict.

Apart from the only time they seem to succeed is in small groups with abundent resources. Which is a rather big restriction.
If you manage to solve that issue then pretty much any system from feudalism to capitalism would seem peachy.

Hud - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Hud) But there is a greasy pole. So how do you intend to persuade people to get rid of the greasy pole?

Hey, at last, the $64,000 question. Phew! It's a good job I'm off work today to nurse my wounds. This will have to be the last post for now. My initial intention was to bat around a few cheerful insults and then retire. What happened? Chambers, if you are around, come back. What did I do?

I've covered this here already (I think? Or was that somewhere else. I'm getting tired). It's a matter of historical precedent. Overturning the existing order is what rising economic classes have done repeatedly throughout history. They have recognised that their interests are not being served by the current economic arrangements; they have acted together to take power away from the existing ruling class and they have then remade the economic structure of society in their own interest and likeness. That was sometimes a quick process; at other times it was prolonged. It took the British capitalist class at least 200 years through the Civil War, the Glorious Revolution and finally the First Reform Act to wrest control of the state from the aristos. Dozy bastards!

Capitalism has reduced the previously numerous classes down to only two: the capitalist class and the working class (or perhaps more accurately, the employed class). The working class is exploited by the capitalist class and used in other ways to further their interests (No time now to elaborate, sorry, apply to Chambers if it snags you.), so they have a collective interest in overturning the system. And ultimately people tend to follow their interests. That's the historical driver.

If they do that then the only sustainable way they can reconstruct society in their own interest is to act together as a social majority, remove the source of exploitation and the current source of class conflict - the private ownership of the means of production and restructure society. As far as I can see, the only way we will ever reduce human conflict is by removing the institutions that promote or support it.

There are no guarantees this will happen. It is only inevitable in the sense that there are strong historical precedents for it and social forces at work tending in that direction. But capitalism could wipe us out before then with its inability to get a handle on global warming, or fry us all in a nuclear conflagration (happy thoughts!)

And people like me? Well, we might have a small role to play countering the tonnage of propaganda that is pumped into people's minds by the education system and the media, but the process is a material one locked into the conflict-ridden nature of the capitalist system itself, which reflects continuously in people's minds. History shows that huge social movements spring up from nowhere. No-one was predicting the French Revolution the day before it happened.

Sorry, that's a bit pat, squire, yer lordship, sir. Gotta go and get some zzzz's. Going motorcycle camping at the weekend (if I'm recovered enough). Definitely need some fresh air. Lots of it. Thanks all for filling up a deadly empty time stuck in the house. Enjoyed abusing you all. Take care.
Postmanpat on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
>
> Sorry, that's a bit pat, squire, yer lordship, sir. Gotta go and get some zzzz's. Going motorcycle camping at the weekend (if I'm recovered enough). Definitely need some fresh air. Lots of it. Thanks all for filling up a deadly empty time stuck in the house. Enjoyed abusing you all. Take care.

Don't leave me this way
I can't survive, I can't stay alive
Without you love, oh baby
Don't leave me this way
I can't exist, I will surely miss
Your tender kiss
So don't leave me this way
dissonance - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

these SPGB party members dont seem to have a lot of staying power.
Hud - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>

Oh all right, this is my fun subject. Very quickly.

> I am interested in your specific claims about the social structures, especially the lack of warfare. Where is the evidence for this?

Try referencing any works on the !Kung, the Aka or the Ju/'hoansi for instance or the Inuit or Inupiat. The early chapters of Kelly's The Foraging Spectrum are worth reading for a history of how the research has changed. ('Forager' is an alternative title for hunter gatherers). Anything by Marshall Sahlins is interesting but be aware that some of his more polemical and roseate claims from the Man the Hunter conference have been qualified, though not entirely disproved. There was quite a useful textbook called Key Issues in Hunter-Gatherer research from the mid-90s I recall by Burch and Ellanna which covered some of the more conceptual issues. You could also try some of the general chapters at the back of The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Hunters and Gatherers, edited by Richard Lee and Richard Daly. But Lee and Daly tend to lump all hunter gatherers together, so it can be hard to distinguish one social formation from another.
>
>
> [...]
>
> Thats the point really. Those approaches and social structures didnt scale well with changing population. Its all well and good living peacefully with your fellow man if the only ones you will come across is your kin.

It's not changing populations, but contact with other social structures which have exploitative forms of organisation that has caused their demise. But I agree with the point I think you are raising. Capitalism is now near enough a global economy, and requires a global response. A post-capitalist society would also have to be on a global scale.
>
> [...]
>
> I see you are taking one of the more rosy views provided by the anthropologists. It tends to be a somewhat self selecting sample in that its quite difficult to write a thesis about the Mashco-Piro or the Sentinelese.

Yes there is a problem of this kind but I think some careful reading will reveal that it is not as widespread as you suppose. I can't stress enough that when approaching this material, you need constantly to beware of definitional issues. Social anthropologists unlike their more scientific 'biological' cousins, can be quite woolly in their terminology. There are for instance two types of hunter gatherers: immediate and delayed return groups which should not be confused since they have quite different social structures. And many groups like the warlike Yanomami often referred to as hunter gatherers, aren't at all. They are largely horticulturalists.

Anthropologists have a fair understanding of the general structure of many modern non-state populations and we know which are band (aka immediate return) hunter gatherers and which are not. Groups like the Sentinelese and the Mascho Piro are largely unknowns but any group that has experienced hostile colonial contact in the past needs to be carefully bracketed. We also have no idea which hunter-gatherer group they fall into.

Having identified band hunter gatherers, it is also easy to research them since they are in fact almost all unwarlike and amenable to detailed study. If you can cut through the terminological confusion anthropologists are pretty much agreed on their egalitarian and predominantly non-warlike natures. (Individual violence within them is another matter and varies widely from the non-existent to the extreme. One of the interesting research areas of recent years is to determine if these differences are ecological).
>
>
> [...]
>
> I have seen some and I know it is nowhere near as clear cut as you are suggesting.

it is not absolute. Nothing is absolute. But as above, I think you will find it becomes more clear cut once you have got past all the terminological confusion. This daunted me for years. Took me ages to even understand what the issue was.
> [...]
>
> Apart from the only time they seem to succeed is in small groups with abundent resources. Which is a rather big restriction.

All band hunter gatherer groups are relatively small, of necessity but their access to resources varies. Some go hungry at some parts of the year, others don't. But the degree to which social structures break down during periods of absolute dearth is to my understanding relatively low. You also have to factor in the fact that almost all existing hunter gatherer groups have been forced into marginal land, where making a living has become much harder. The size of the group would be a problem for our purposes, if we were expecting to model some future society on these structures, but as I've pointed out, we only use Hunter Gatherers society as a counterweight to the claim that some abstracted thing called human nature will lead all human beings in all societies to acts of violence and war. Any conceivable post-capitalist society would be light years from a hunter gather society technologically and in terms of its structures, and would have to evolve its own social means of limiting conflict. It would be foolish to assume it would do so completely. Despite the brickbats thrown at us we are not Utopians. We are looking at a potential post-capitalist society in relative contrast to a society like capitalism which acutally promotes warfare.

> If you manage to solve that issue then pretty much any system from feudalism to capitalism would seem peachy.

Look at this materially. If the problem of real scarcity had been solved by medieval times, the technology would have been different and it is unlikely that a feudal-type society would have emerged. Today meeting fundamental needs would not be a problem for a rationally constituted society. UN agencies have been producing report after report for years showing that if agricultural resources where rationally used we could feed the world population several times over, even at its current levels.

Scarcity is a modern economist's abstraction based on a bit of philosophical trickery. Scarcity exists, they say because human wants are infinite. But this just ain't so. Each society has its own dynamics that determine the level of human want. Hunter gatherers are the living refutation of the economist's claim. In many cases they collectively restrict their wants. Sorry this is very rushed, so hope it makes sense.

Hud - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Hud) How can agreeing to sex be in 'common ownership'? Will people recieve instructions on who to sleep with?

LOL, what IS going on in your head, MG. The working class only need to take the means of production into common ownership. The means of reproduction are quite another matter!!!! No-one is going to demand communal rights to your gonads! Not unless you want them to, that is. People are generally quite obliging, though.

stroppygob - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> Yes, it has occurred often and continues to do so. It's usually as a result of scarcity - real or threatened. A socialist society will produce an abundance of wealth, however, and that wealth will be freely available. What do you suppose people are going to fight over when all of their basic needs are met?

I definitely preferred you when you were Gudrun.
andrewmcleod - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Personally I believe revolutions only cause regression to the mean - so in a place that has been held back from the path of progress (like some Middle Eastern countries courtesy of us propping up oil dictators) a revolution (Arab Spring) can improve things, but in countries where things like human rights are quite well-developed, revolutions are only going to make things worse.

That said, everyone who argues that 'socialist' ideas (and I have no idea how exactly 'socialism' will turn out, but the current setup is clearly non-optimal) are some sort of utopian dream should consider that we already live in a utopia. At least, it would look like that to someone from 100, 200, 300 years ago...

There are people who argue that once we create a socialist society there will be a surplus of wealth/resources; this is clearly silly. We will be able to create some sort of increasingly socialist, or at least fair, society as we acquire a surplus of wealth/resources. In an ideal world, no-one would have to work in primary production - and this is the way things are going even in our imperfect society. Consider the self-checkouts at supermarkets - one day there will be no 'McJobs' because technology will mean that these jobs can be done by machine. Of course the pattern of history is that we create more work for ourselves by demanding higher living standards, but at some point it won't matter if a significant fraction of the population don't work. Or at least it shouldn't - it only matters in a free-market capitalist society revolving around money. It is also interesting that we don't make so much stuff these days, so a lot of our 'work' involves things that are of no use to society in general - advertising, sales and marketing for example...

My political beliefs are simple: Aim left. Walk carefully. Keep walking.

PS much earlier in this thread people were arguing FPTP produced 'strong governments'. I have never understood why people want a strong government? If you want a 'strong government', look at Syria - Assad has not resigned in the face of civil war.
AJM - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> at some point it won't matter if a significant fraction of the population don't work. Or at least it shouldn't - it only matters in a free-market capitalist society revolving around money.

How on earth is this perfect world going to manage the distinction between those who have to work to provide something essential society really does need and those who they support who don't need to work and can therefore just kick back?

At the moment work is rewarded, nominally speaking, by greater material comfort than not working.
dissonance - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> Oh all right, this is my fun subject. Very quickly.

quick answer. You still fail to provide the 200,000 years worth of evidence. You may be trying to extend from some studies but that doesnt actually count as archeological evidence for the happy lifestyle you suggest.

> Try referencing any works on the !Kung, the Aka or the Ju/'hoansi for instance or the Inuit or Inupiat.

ok, lets take the Inuit. Oral tradition of violence towards other tribes and known violent encounters with outsiders.Admitted those with low population density and encounters with outsider less so but that doesnt indicate anything other than lack of opportunity.


> A post-capitalist society would also have to be on a global scale.

good luck with that.

> And many groups like the warlike Yanomami often referred to as hunter gatherers, aren't at all. They are largely horticulturalists.

This seems rather convenient. So you use an ultra tight definition and then go wahey some groups meet that defintion and so, it proves what exactly?


> Having identified band hunter gatherers, it is also easy to research them since they are in fact almost all unwarlike and amenable to detailed study.

so by selecting those groups which arent violent you find non violent people. You dont feel there might be a certain bias in play there.


> it is not absolute. Nothing is absolute. But as above, I think you will find it becomes more clear cut once you have got past all the terminological confusion.

Seems selection bias at play.

> The size of the group would be a problem for our purposes, if we were expecting to model some future society on these structures, but as I've pointed out, we only use Hunter Gatherers society as a counterweight to the claim that some abstracted thing called human nature will lead all human beings in all societies to acts of violence and war.

The problem is you fail to do this. You confuse internal and external group interactions. The size of the group is rather important both for internal (larger it is the more you need rules rather than peer pressure) and external in terms of conflict over resources.

> We are looking at a potential post-capitalist society in relative contrast to a society like capitalism which acutally promotes warfare.

yet this seems based on perfect resources appearing from nowhere. Capitalism would do quite well under the same scenario. Peoples eagerness to fight goes down as the risk/benefit changes.

> Hunter gatherers are the living refutation of the economist's claim. In many cases they collectively restrict their wants. Sorry this is very rushed, so hope it makes sense.

They arent since so few of those societies survive and most have external supplies now. There are exceptions to every rule but you seem to be basing your entire case on finding the exceptions and then extrapolating to them being the norm without explaining how you will get past the problems which made them the exception.
GrahamD - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> Let me ask you a question. The modern capitalist appeared making a profit for the first time in human history very roughly around the end of the eighteenth century ..

Sorry, nations have been rising and falling on the back of commercial enterprise for as long as humans have lived at a high enough population density to make it practical on a large scale. Plenty of mediterranean civilastions came to prominence because they were on strategic trade routes.
Chambers - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> these SPGB party members dont seem to have a lot of staying power.

That's only what you think, my friend! I work longer hours than most members of the working class. That's through choice, by the way. Unlike a lot of our class who work long hours for money because they need it I cook great food for people who love to eat it because I want to. But I am very tired now, and the woman I love needs my company. Hud and I, despite being members of the same political party, disagree on a number of matters. But we agree on the matters that matter. More on this tomorrow when I've closed my kitchen. Goodnight all. There's not one of you that I wouldn't help if you fell off a rock.

stroppygob - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> I cook great food for people who love to eat it because I want to.

You don't get much more middle class than that.
Chambers - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob: You're absolutely right, stroppygob. I'm as middle-class as you can get. I work very hard for not much money, but that's fine with me. Most of the time it doesn't even seem like work, because cooking great food for people who love to eat it is what I like to do with my spare time when the sun's not out and I can't go climbing.

I don't work in a shitty factory or a shop or a warehouse anymore. I no longer ride a motorcycle around London for money. I've done my share of that. For money. Nowadays, I'm a chef. For money. Get it yet? I don't own the means of production. In fact, I own next to nothing. My knives, my climbing gear, some books and a few guitars. That's about it. Don't want to own anymore.

You see, class isn't about occupation at all. It's about your relationship to the means of production and whether or not you work for wages. I might run a kitchen that uses the finest ingredients to produce great food, but I'm just as much a wage-slave as the poor kitchen manager at any Wetherspoons establishment. The fact that I'd still do what I do now in a socialist society whilst the Wetherspoons slave would almost certainly choose to do something useful instead is neither here nor there.

stroppygob - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to stroppygob) You're absolutely right, stroppygob.

That's a given.

>
> I no longer ride a motorcycle around London for money.

I didn't know you could order in a rent boy, learn something new...

> I don't own the means of production. In fact, I own next to nothing.

Have you figured out where you're going wrong yet?

> You see, class isn't about occupation at all.

No one said it was....
MJ - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I don't work in a shitty factory or a shop or a warehouse anymore.

Nice!
stroppygob - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> I don't work in a shitty factory or a shop or a warehouse anymore.

The working class can kiss my ar$e,
I've got the foremans' job at last.
I'm out of work and on the dole,
You can stuff the red flag up your hole.
The working class can kiss my ar$e,
I've got the foremans' job at last.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Chambers - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob: I'd love to respond to your points before I go to work. Problem is, you didn't make any.
Chambers - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> That's a given.

I think it's a given that you miss the point. I work for about sixty hours a week at something I love to do and which I would do if we lived in a society where people no longer worked for wages. Within capitalism, I have to work for wages. I'm just fortunate to have found an occupation that pays me reasonably well and which doesn't even seem like 'a job' to me. Now, that clearly makes me a member of the working class. Which - and this is the point you missed - is about as middle class as you can get. Which is to say not at all. You are funny, you know?

>
> [...]
>
> I didn't know you could order in a rent boy, learn something new...

You haven't actually learned anything there, have you? Just another cheap and puerile stab that serves only to emphasise the fact that you really have nothing to contribute here.
>
> [...]
>
> Have you figured out where you're going wrong yet?

No. For the simple reason that I'm not going wrong anywhere. I lead a very contented life and have no need to own very much. It's a lifestyle choice. I'm not a slave to commodity fetishism like you are.
>
> [...]
>
> No one said it was....
Well, actually, you implied it. But I suspect you don't think too much about the implications of your bletherings.

Chambers - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> these SPGB party members dont seem to have a lot of staying power.

You gotta be joking! Over a century of relentlessly arguing the case for world socialism makes us the motherf*cking Duracell of the whole political spectrum. Look at any of the other parties and you'll see that they change their tune every election.

stroppygob - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to stroppygob)
> [...]
>
> I'm just fortunate to have found an occupation that pays me reasonably well and which doesn't even seem like 'a job' to me. Now, that clearly makes me a member of the working class.

What nonsense, it makes you someone happy in his work, in one of the most capitalist industries out there. It affects your class not one jot.


> You haven't actually learned anything there, have you? Just another cheap and puerile stab that serves only to emphasise the fact that you really have nothing to contribute here.

I was responding to you at your level. Now yo have learned something, haven't you?

> No. For the simple reason that I'm not going wrong anywhere. I lead a very contented life and have no need to own very much.

Ah, the choices available to one so middle class, you should thank the benefits of capitalism for that. Others, the real working class, do not have that option.

> It's a lifestyle choice. I'm not a slave to commodity fetishism like you are.

Interesting, you must know me so well to make that very middle class value judgement.

> Well, actually, you implied it. But I suspect you don't think too much about the implications of your bletherings.

I definitely preferred you when you were Gudrun.

Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> What nonsense, it makes you someone happy in his work, in one of the most capitalist industries out there. It affects your class not one jot.
>
>
> [...]
>
> I was responding to you at your level. Now yo have learned something, haven't you?
>
> [...]
>
> Ah, the choices available to one so middle class, you should thank the benefits of capitalism for that. Others, the real working class, do not have that option.
>
> [...]
>
> Interesting, you must know me so well to make that very middle class value judgement.
>
> [...]
>
> I definitely preferred you when you were Gudrun.

And I prefer you when you shut the f*ck up. Look, you fool, you are clearly incapable of responding to me at my own level, which is why I'm getting a headache thinking down to yours. I work for wages. I am a wage-labourer. I generally work sixty hours a week and I get a pay-packet at the end of it. Chefs work harder than people in factories. I know this because I've done both.

There are no benefits to capitalism anymore. It's an obsolete system that should have been abolished by now. It's outlived its usefulness and, worse than that, it produces apologists for its own stupidity. Apologists like you. Devoted, ill-informed, ignorant and slavish.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: And furthermore, I have no idea who 'Gudrun' is.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: And incidentally, just before I go for a well-earned very long bath in which I'll be relaxing for the first time since Tuesday evening, I'll just point out the idiocy of your statement about the industry in which I'm exploited being one of the 'most capitalist'. I mean, really? Do you understand nothing about capitalism? All businesses under capitalism are businesses that operate under the laws of capitalism. Which is to say that production takes place primarily with a view to realising a profit. Actually, mofo, you should come and spend a few hours in my kitchen...you any good at washing pots? :) What you'd see would open your eyes a bit. See, 'cos I'm a revolutionary socialist mofo, my kitchen runs without any need for the usual shit you get in kitchens. No bullying, no super-exploitation, no sexism, no racism, no shouting or throwing things about, no chef tantrums and no-one makes more than seven knob-jokes a day.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Nice bath. I do like a nice, hot bath now and then. I especially like nice bubbles in my bath, and pleasing soap, too. Wright's Coal Tar soap is my soap of choice. Reminds me of my childhood, which was awful. At the moment I've got some girlie Matey bubbles. Reminds me of my children's childhoods, which were nowhere near as awful as my own. Presumably, this is the 'progress' that defenders of capitalism keep banging on about. I don't quite get it, though. So maybe a tenth of the working class globally is better off. But there are still millions of people who can't get clean drinking water, let alone afford a hot bath. No progress at all, then.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: But let's get back to the Labour Party. That, after all, is what this thread is about. The Labour Party. Formed in 1906 along some seriously anti-working class lines of thought. Established by people who knew nothing about capitalism and even less about socialism. Let's talk about those mofos.
stroppygob - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

it doesn't take much to bring Gudrun out again, does it?
dissonance - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob:

> it doesn't take much to bring Gudrun out again, does it?

nah it aint Gudrun, unless she is a damned sight more subtle with sock puppeting than I would expect.
In fact shame she isnt around since dont think Chambers attacks on soviet russia would go down to well.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob: OK. I can deal with your inability to form sentences, and now you've forced my hand. I'm going to have to - in the absence of you making any kind of sense at all - Google 'Gudrun'.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: I knew - deep down - that that would be a waste of my time.
AJM - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Its another poster on here. Named after someone more famous, but its the poster being referred to.
Chambers - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Any arguments against the case for world socialism? Previous applicants can suck my f*cking dick.
Sir Chasm - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Ok, you've persuaded me. How many people is that you've converted now? How many more until we form a majority and world socialism becomes a reality?
Simon4 - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Chambers)

Perpetually responding to yourself, in a long series of posts involving no interaction with other posters - Gudrun, Naedan, etc, etc, check!

> Any arguments against the case for world socialism?

Attempt to reverse the burden of proof, Gudrun, Naedan, etc, etc, check!

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, there is no duty for those who think you are talking ludicrous nonsense to refute it, it is for you to prove it. Quite apart from the fact that you give no tangible description of what "it" might be, that they could refute even if it amused them to accept your totally invalid challenge.

> Previous applicants can suck my f*cking dick.

Rapid reversion from the superficial semblance of coherence to foul-mouthed abuse - Gudrun, Naedan, etc, etc, check!

You do realise that the responses you inspire are of the car-crash sort? That people are (rather cruelly), laughing at you, not with you?
Chambers - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers) Ok, you've persuaded me. How many people is that you've converted now? How many more until we form a majority and world socialism becomes a reality?

Converted? You really don't get it, do you? This is no religion that I'm talking about. It's an inexorable historical movement that is taking place regardless of what I do or say. The growth of socialist ideas is a phenomenon that occurs because we live under capitalism. The contradictions of capitalism generate the movement towards socialism. As Marx put it, "Capitalism creates its own gravediggers".

How many people have become convinced of the case for socialism as a result of my political activity? I have no way of knowing. Nor do I need to know. I have, however, encountered many people who have come to similar conclusions without any apparent contact with the WSM. None of this matters. There are more people talking about the alternative to capitalism than ever before.

Of course, there are still more people who oppose the case for socialism than there are who embrace it. Often, and this thread demonstrates this clearly, those who oppose and ridicule the case are the very people who have failed to grasp it. New ideas that challenge the way that people think about their lives are often scary and disturbing, and ridicule is often a useful way of not being scared or disturbed. Poking fun at people is a common way of staying entrenched.

I'm sure that many of the posters on this thread think that they've made some conclusive point or other. Unless I've missed some postings, this is not the case. The anthropological objections - which were the strongest oppositional point - have been dealt with in detail. The argument is won.

I'm accused of making extraordinary claims. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only claim I'm making is that humanity can organise society along co-operative and democratic lines. Not a bold claim at all considering the fact that most of us behave that way under capitalism.

The piss-taking and abuse? Part of the game. Who cares?

dissonance - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> As Marx put it, "Capitalism creates its own gravediggers".

remind me when he wrote that?

> How many people have become convinced of the case for socialism as a result of my political activity? I have no way of knowing. Nor do I need to know. I have, however, encountered many people who have come to similar conclusions without any apparent contact with the WSM. None of this matters.

Tad confused by this. You clearly seem to care about your politics and as such I thought you would be doing your best to get people to share them.

I thought the traditional idea was convince people your ideas are right, get them out canvassing at the election, get power and carry out policies.
Seems a somewhat pointless party if you dont care about how the outside world relates to you.

> New ideas that challenge the way that people think about their lives are often scary and disturbing, and ridicule is often a useful way of not being scared or disturbed.

wait, what? You have been saying how old your party is. So exactly how does it count as a new idea?

> I'm sure that many of the posters on this thread think that they've made some conclusive point or other. Unless I've missed some postings, this is not the case. The anthropological objections - which were the strongest oppositional point - have been dealt with in detail. The argument is won.

Nah, just checked. Cameron and co are still in power.

Chambers - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> remind me when he wrote that?

Certainly. In The Communist Manifesto, 1848. I know what you're going to say next. Hasn't happened, has it? Which isn't the point, at all.
>
> [...]
>
> Tad confused by this. You clearly seem to care about your politics and as such I thought you would be doing your best to get people to share them.

Yep. I'd love to be able to convince everyone that capitalism can't work in their interests and that the socialist alternative to capitalism is something that should be pursued. Indeed, members of the movement seize on every opportunity to advance our ideas. But, ultimately, my activity is insignificant. If I thought that the revolution was dependent on the activity of a handful of people I'd have given up years ago. But it's an historical process that is borne out of material conditions thrown up by capitalism.
>
> I thought the traditional idea was convince people your ideas are right, get them out canvassing at the election, get power and carry out policies.
> Seems a somewhat pointless party if you dont care about how the outside world relates to you.

Sure. And we could water down our ideas to make them more palatable to workers. We could promise to run capitalism slightly differently to other parties. We could lie about what politics can actually achieve. We could, in short, do all of the things that other political parties do in their desperate, grasping bid for power. Sure, we could do that. But we wouldn't be socialists anymore, and we'd be as wrong and as useless as any other political party.
We do contest elections, however, but not because we seek power as a political party. Rather we argue that the working class must seize political power solely to abolish that political power. At present there is precisely no chance of even saving our deposit, and the exercise is one of taking the opportunity to publicise the case for socialism.
>
> [...]
>
> wait, what? You have been saying how old your party is. So exactly how does it count as a new idea?

It's a new idea when it is put to someone who's never encountered it before.
>
> [...]
>
> Nah, just checked. Cameron and co are still in power.
Another point missed!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Eric9Points - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
>
> How many people have become convinced of the case for socialism as a result of my political activity? I have no way of knowing.

Neither do I but I think I can hazard a guess.

> Nor do I need to know. I have, however, encountered many people who have come to similar conclusions without any apparent contact with the WSM. None of this matters. There are more people talking about the alternative to capitalism than ever before.
>

I'm really not sure that's the case. Certainly people were still talking seriously about socialism in the 70's in the mainstream media. It's become a dirty word now, something regarded as rather passe.

My take on this is that the evolution of capitalism in Eastern Europe after the end of the Soviet Union and it's empire showed how unlikley it is that socialism of any sort would develop even in a political vacuum. Think of all those countries who had rejected communism and had a blank political slate in front of them. What did they choose?

Anyway, if you want to convince anybody I'm afraid you are going to have to be a bit more prescriptive about how change can happen and how your ideal world would really work. For example, if money were abolished, how would I obtain a packet of my favourite Korean noodles? I don't see how you could organise trade of any sort of complexity without resorting to some form of money.
GrahamD - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I'm intrigued as to who the workers to whom you refer actually are ? does it, for instance, include people who work on the stock exchange ?
Jim C - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Are you suggesting closed shops were similar to say doctors requiring registration with the General Medical Council? If so it hardly seems born out by the "historical truth".

There is little difference between the working man's 'union' and professional bodies. Many of the mangers that deride unions, are at the same members of these bodies , but seem to think it is ok to try and deny others a similar right.
MG - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Jim C: The difference as I see it is one is led by a desire to maintain professional standards while competing with fellow professionals, the other collective better pay etc. often at the expense of standards and competition. There be overlap but the difference is clear
Jim C - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jim C) The difference as I see it is one is led by a desire to maintain professional standards while competing with fellow professionals, the other collective better pay etc. often at the expense of standards and competition. There be overlap but the difference is clear

Not that clear, they can do some good things, but not always ( same as unions)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_association
Chambers - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Neither do I but I think I can hazard a guess.
Anyone can a hazard a guess, yes. I know of at least twenty-odd socialists who are socialists because I introduced them to the case. Beyond that, I really don't know. Ideas change slowly, and I've certainly planted the seed of revolution in the minds of hundreds of people over the years.
>
> [...]
>
> I'm really not sure that's the case. Certainly people were still talking seriously about socialism in the 70's in the mainstream media. It's become a dirty word now, something regarded as rather passe.

Interesting. Because I'm really sure that it is the case. Here's why. The people who were talking about 'socialism' in the 70s weren't discussing the possibility of a classless, stateless, moneyless society along the lines that Marx envisaged, and the SPGB has been advocating for over a century. What was been discussed was state-capitalism. People's perceptions of socialism are coloured unfairly by the horrible events that occurred in the name of 'socialism' or 'communism' in Russia and its satellites. (Incidentally, Marx and Engels used the words 'communism' and 'socialism' interchangeably.)
>
> My take on this is that the evolution of capitalism in Eastern Europe after the end of the Soviet Union and it's empire showed how unlikley it is that socialism of any sort would develop even in a political vacuum. Think of all those countries who had rejected communism and had a blank political slate in front of them. What did they choose?

They chose a different form of capitalism. Not much different than a western democracy sacking one government and electing another. It was state-capitalism that was rejected. But I think your point about socialism developing in a political vacuum is spot-on. Ain't gonna happen that way. We've always argued that socialism can only come about as the enactment of the political will of a majority of class-conscious workers. The systems that you're talking about were imposed by a vanguard party that seized political power in an extremely undemocratic fashion.
>
> Anyway, if you want to convince anybody I'm afraid you are going to have to be a bit more prescriptive about how change can happen and how your ideal world would really work. For example, if money were abolished, how would I obtain a packet of my favourite Korean noodles? I don't see how you could organise trade of any sort of complexity without resorting to some form of money.

I agree that money - as a universal commodity exchangeable for all other commodities - is essential to trade. Indeed, it was through the development and expansion of trade globally that we ended up having money as a universal commodity. But there won't be any trade in socialism. It's not just the abolition of money that we're advocating, here. It's the abolition of the whole set of social relationships that demand the existence of money. No market-based economy, no buying and selling. Just free access to socially-produced wealth. In socialism there will be the common ownership of the means of production. Goods and services will cease to be commodities to be bought and sold on a market with a view to profit. We'll have production for use, instead. Under capitalism goods and services are produced primarily for sale. So what's likely to sell gets made. No profit means no production. In socialism we'll produce directly for human needs.

As far as being prescriptive is concerned, we are. But only to a point. We socialists are only too happy to talk about how we think socialism could be organised -indeed, we've published a lot of material on the subject - but, as scientific materialists and thorough-going democrats we fully recognise that the new society will be the outcome of the democratic discussion and debate of the movement that grows to the point where socialism becomes a reality.

Chambers - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> I'm intrigued as to who the workers to whom you refer actually are ? does it, for instance, include people who work on the stock exchange ?

Those who are forced by economic necessity to sell their labour-power to an employer in return for a wage or salary.

dissonance - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Which isn't the point, at all.

handy that. So care to explain what you feel is going to change to make that statement true?

> Yep. I'd love to be able to convince everyone that capitalism can't work in their interests and that the socialist alternative to capitalism is something that should be pursued. Indeed, members of the movement seize on every opportunity to advance our ideas. But, ultimately, my activity is insignificant. If I thought that the revolution was dependent on the activity of a handful of people I'd have given up years ago.

Near enough everything starts with a handful of people, the point is despite saying the party is 100yo it doesnt really seem to have gained any traction. What do you think is going to change?

> We do contest elections, however, but not because we seek power as a political party. Rather we argue that the working class must seize political power solely to abolish that political power.

so how is that going?

> It's a new idea when it is put to someone who's never encountered it before.

nope, seen it and working on past evidence dont hold out hope.

> Another point missed!

no, just taking the piss.
off-duty - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>

> The anthropological objections - which were the strongest oppositional point - have been dealt with in detail. The argument is won.
>

Err, not really.

It has been suggested that primal motivators such as love, jealousy and competition might not derail society - using the example of hunter gatherer societies as a model by which these traits apparently don't exist or are successfully managed within the community.

I have to confess that this is an area I find interesting and I will try and read some of the references Hud quoted. As such I am in no position to argue about the egalitarian nature of these societies.
My experience of human nature makes me deeply cynical - whilst I have witnessed heroic compassion I have also seen incomprehensible hatred, and I feel it is a little to glib to blame it all on "capitalism" or external forces.

However what is clear is that these societies appear to function as "hunter gatherers" only. They are subsumed into other societies, or transform themselves into other forms of society as a response to internal or external pressures.
They still exist today as subjects for study - due to the fact that they cling to their static way of life. And when I say static - that's what I mean. When the equilibrium of their society is disrupted - by the invention of technology, new methods like "farming", competition for resources then they either remove themselves from any "improvements" or the structure of their society fails.

If a modern socialist paradise is modelled on the ability of hunter gatherers to co-operate then it needs to very carefully consider the shortfalls of these societies. If the only way to live in a co-operative manner is to exist in small groups who have access to unlimited resources and movement then we are going to have to forego a lot of technology, and probably massacre people on a global scale.


stroppygob - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
> Converted? You really don't get it, do you? This is no religion that I'm talking about. It's an failed historical movement that is no longer taking place despite what I do or say.

Sorted.

> The piss-taking and abuse? Part of the game. Who cares?

You must you keep coming back under different guises for more. Strong streak of masochism there young lad.

What are you going to be called the next time you appear?

Hud - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Hud)
>
> [...]
>
> Sorry, nations have been rising and falling on the back of commercial enterprise for as long as humans have lived at a high enough population density to make it practical on a large scale. Plenty of mediterranean civilastions came to prominence because they were on strategic trade routes.

Are you really 'sorry' Graham? You should be for repeating that kind of unhistorical garbage. I don't know what your politics are but that's the kind of statement usually put about by so-called Libertarians and ultra-right-wing apologists for capitalism who mangle history and wallow in category errors to promote their own bizarre vision of hell.

You speak of commercial enterprise and trade. Well, yes, trade has occupied a more-or-less important place in many societies throughout history and prehistory since the advent of state formations, but its centrality to many cultures during that time is not as universal as your comments suggest. In some its role was quite minor.

Trade is broadly a process of exchange which adapts its form to the specific kind of property relationship within a given society. The term 'Capitalism' on the other hand describes a unique productive system.

Capitalism is a private property system and therefore contains within it a process of trade or commercial exchange, but commercial exchange within capitalism has a number of unique features. Principal among them is the rather peculiar way the system allows the market to control exchange values, a major factor in its instability as a system and found in no other form of social organisation before the end of the eighteenth century.

But, that isn't really the issue. What primarily distinguishes capitalism from all previous forms of society before the end of the eighteenth century and makes it so unusual is that it has a unique system of production. In all previous societies goods were produced for consumption and no capital was systematically accumulated. The driving force behind capitalism, however, is not consumption or social need but capital accumulation. (The clue is in the name.) Capital, (loosely 'profit') is capitalism's primary product, not goods for consumption. In capitalism, if there is no 'profit' to be made, then there is no production, no matter how pressing the social need.

So no. The capitalist whose role in society is to accumulate capital is wholly unknown in human society in anything other than very recent centuries.
aln - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to off-duty: Where and when did you do the observing you're talking about?
Hud - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>

> My experience of human nature makes me deeply cynical - whilst I have witnessed heroic compassion I have also seen incomprehensible hatred, and I feel it is a little to glib to blame it all on "capitalism" or external forces.

Can I suggest SC, that like the rest of us, you have no experience of human nature at all, since human nature is an abstraction and you cannot experience an abstraction. What you have deep experience of no doubt, is the way human beings behave and the consequences of those behaviours under very specific social conditions. Such conditions are, of course, those of a capitalistic society which has institutionalised conflict to such a degree within its property system that it is extraordinary that any of us are still capable of co-operating with each other at all. Put another way, if you and I grew up in a different society, we would be very different people.

As our experience of social formations is so limited, I'd suggest that is glib to draw any direct conclusions about 'human nature' directly from it - even cynical conclusions.

Once it becomes clear that human nature is not a direct experience, it very quickly reveals itself as an ideological construct which like other ideological constructs are merely covers for our deeper attitude to the human world.


>
> However what is clear is that these societies appear to function as "hunter gatherers" only. They are subsumed into other societies, or transform themselves into other forms of society as a response to internal or external pressures.

This is not contested, SC. I think you are missing the point here.

>
> If a modern socialist paradise is modelled on the ability of hunter gatherers to co-operate then it needs to very carefully consider the shortfalls of these societies. If the only way to live in a co-operative manner is to exist in small groups who have access to unlimited resources and movement then we are going to have to forego a lot of technology, and probably massacre people on a global scale.

Two points of information. Hunter gatherer societies tend to remain stable even though by no means all of them have access to unlimited resources, and few have unlimited movement. These are false presumptions. Your comment about massacring people on a global scale is, though, just a decent into cynical rhetoric. (Apply it to 21st century capitalism, however, and it might stand as an arguable case.)

You are still clinging defensively to straw men arguments. No-one envisions a paradise, socialist or otherwise, and no-one is proposing to model socialism on band hunter gatherer society.

You will understand the Marxian socialist position more clearly if you get hold of the idea that our views are underpinned by a thoroughgoing historical materialism. For us, socialism is not a dreamed up 'wouldn't-it-be-good-if-we-could...' construction, but an extrapolation of our reading of history. The shape of any post-capitalist society will of material necessity have to start from where we are. Modelling socialism on small groups of band hunter gatherers, or giving up technology, is just not feasible and any claims of that kind would be quite Utopian.

As I said before, our interest in band hunter gatherers is that they give us an opportunity to counter unreal and abstract arguments about 'human nature' by demonstrating that human behaviour is various and alters with altered social circumstances.

Perfection, too, is for fantasists. Our claim is that something better than we have now is possible(and given the horrors of capitalism, I don't think that is asking much.)
Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

What an interesting post. What you say might just happen eventually, in dire circumstances, out of sheer necessity, or we may simply die out/exterminate ourselves as a species through our sheer greed.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: Are yes, our happy bands of peaceful hunter gatherers. What an extraordinarily unlucky coincidence it must be that the most recently discovered corpse of such a stone age hunter gatherer - the Otzl iceman - was, er, murdered.

If you want to read something other than the fantasies of someone who dreamt up most of his fantastical theories of 'historical progression' in the reading room of the British Museum, may I refer you to the Better Angels of our Nature, by Steven Pinker It may surprise you. But I don't suppose you expose yourself to the risk of having to modify your views, do you?
Al Evans on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jim C) The difference as I see it is one is led by a desire to maintain professional standards while competing with fellow professionals, the other collective better pay etc. often at the expense of standards and competition.

That was never the case in closed shops, fair pay and conditions was merely a spinoff, the main point was to build the masonic expertise of the members, just as in a 'professional brotherhood'.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Evans: 'the main point was to build the masonic expertise of the members'

What, a bit like the Chamonix guides in the 19th C? Where clients were obliged to take the next available guide, even though many of them were known to be incompetent and dangerous?

Or the mediaeval guilds, which were at least as much about keeping serfs in their place and maintaining wage levels as they were about passing on 'craft skills'.

And don't get me started on the Fleet Street closed shops. I loathe Murdoch with a passion, but some of the printers union bosses ran him close.
dissonance - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> What an interesting post. What you say might just happen eventually, in dire circumstances, out of sheer necessity, or we may simply die out/exterminate ourselves as a species through our sheer greed.

The latter has pretty much occurred on a local level before. I say pretty much since it was more a massive population drop and collapse of the civilisation instead of complete extermination which would be fairly unlikely.
Hud - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Hud) Are yes, our happy bands of peaceful hunter gatherers. What an extraordinarily unlucky coincidence it must be that the most recently discovered corpse of such a stone age hunter gatherer - the Otzl iceman - was, er, murdered.
>
> If you want to read something other than the fantasies of someone who dreamt up most of his fantastical theories of 'historical progression' in the reading room of the British Museum, may I refer you to the Better Angels of our Nature, by Steven Pinker It may surprise you. But I don't suppose you expose yourself to the risk of having to modify your views, do you?

LOL. Keep the ad hominems coming Rob. I've been reading anthropology for years and am currently doing a course of study. Do you think you are the only person in the world who has read Pinker's latest missive? Or do you really believe because you have read it, it must be the last word on the subject? There is a great deal to be said about Pinker, his dubious methodology and his misuse of empirical data. And a great deal has been said. May I refer you to the already extensive critical response to his book. As for Otzi, beyond the fact that he was murdered we know nothing about the *social* circumstances of his death, certainly nothing that allows us to draw definite conclusions, though there has been no end of speculation.

People have been pointing to this or that incident in human pre-history for years and drawing vast and unwarranted conclusions from them. The evidence of prehistory is huge and conflicted and needs to be weighted very carefully. Making sweeping generalisations from one book or one incident like this, and launching it on the back of a rather foolish sneer doesn't do much for your credibility.

I am well acquainted with the tribe of people who, never having read Marx in detail, resort to calling his theories names like 'fantastical' yet who are never able to say why they believe so. Marx was a painstaking empiricist and it takes more than a wave of the hand to meet his arguments. You give yourself away by describing his theory as one of 'historical progression.' Marx was not a historical determinist: he analysed historical movements without attempting to impose metahistorical trends on them. Come back when you have done some reading.
johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> The capitalist whose role in society is to accumulate capital is wholly unknown in human society in anything other than very recent centuries.

This is bollocks, as sweeping statements like this tend to be. There were certainly capitalists in Ancient Rome (pretty much the only historical society I know anything about).

jcm
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Rob Exile Ward on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: Unfortunately I received an upper second in politics and sociology from York University in 1977 at a time when it was considered one of the centres of academic Marxism, so I actually spent quite a lot of time studying Marx. FWIW I still think a great deal is insightful and heuristically useful; his insights into the relationships between culture and economics should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand 'how the world is.'

But he was still locked into German philosophical mode that believed that there was an inexorable march of history - he claimed to turn 'Hegel on his head' but suffered from the same delusion that there was a predictable historical progress. And his idea that his theories were 'scientifically proven' by praxis - 'we know its true because it is going to happen' - was plain bonkers. We're still waiting.
GrahamD - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

I'd be interested to know how you think city states like Carthage got rich on the back of trade if it wasn't through a form of capitalism.
GrahamD - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:


> Those who are forced by economic necessity to sell their labour-power to an employer in return for a wage or salary.

Anyone who works for a salary, then. So workers on the stock market are 'workers' by your definition. As are managers. The only people who aren't workers are the people who don't work and company owners (who ironically usually do much more work than their employees).

Glad that one's cleared up. We are all the workers !

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: " Wright's Coal Tar soap is my soap of choice. Reminds me of my childhood, which was awful "

That line from Chambers says it all as far as I am concerned. Not happy unless he's suffering. Explains the theories and is probably best avoided.
dissonance - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> This is bollocks, as sweeping statements like this tend to be. There were certainly capitalists in Ancient Rome (pretty much the only historical society I know anything about).

Be interesting to hear how Crassus, for example, doesnt count as a capitalist.
aln - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to off-duty) Where and when did you do the observing you're talking about?

? C'mon polis.
off-duty - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> ? C'mon polis.

What's the point of your question?Don't you believe that those extremes exist?
I've seen it when I am "on-duty" and also to a lesser extent in general life.
Chambers - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Poor Rob. If only you weren't such a closed-minded fool you might learn something useful. Nobody is denying that some hunter-gatherer societies were pretty brutal. If you actually followed the arguments rather than jumping in every now and then with your ill-informed glib nonsenses people might take you seriously. Furthermore, as has been made abundantly clear already, no-one is suggested that we model the new society on an old one.

As far as Marx is concerned, he has very little to say about the new society, and his work on analysing capitalism is nothing short of scientific. But you wouldn't know that because you haven't read Marx. And you think that you know all about socialism whereas you know nothing about socialism.

I've been a socialist for over thirty years. During in that time I've modified my views countless times in the face of new evidence. That's a part of thinking about society scientifically. It's something that socialists embrace. During those three decades I've met some incredibly well-read comrades, and, indeed, my own reading is both wide and not insubstantial. It might surprise you to find out that one of the books currently sitting amongst the (large) pile of books that I'm currently working on is 'Blank Slate' by your beloved apologist for capitalism. I find little to disagree with in his research. His conclusions, however, reveal a rather large axe in his hand with he fully intends to grind.

Now, instead of sitting there condemning others for being dogmatic why don't you actually go and find something out about the SPGB and come back with some informed questions?
dissonance - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) Poor Rob. If only you weren't such a closed-minded fool you might learn something useful. Nobody is denying that some hunter-gatherer societies were pretty brutal.

ok, so why do you think the traits of the ones you like will win out?
Bearing in mind the results so far?

> I've been a socialist for over thirty years. During in that time I've modified my views countless times in the face of new evidence.

can you give any examples?

> That's a part of thinking about society scientifically.

interesting, how exactly have you been carrying out your experiments?
What hypothesis are you currently testing and how?

> It's something that socialists embrace.

All of them or just those who tick your boxes?

> Now, instead of sitting there condemning others for being dogmatic why don't you actually go and find something out about the SPGB and come back with some informed questions?

you mean he could find a member and try and get some answers from them?
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: 'his work on analysing capitalism is nothing short of scientific.' Not by any reasonable definition of scientific. Interesting, yes. Insightful, definitely. Falsifiable? Hardy. Hypotheses capable of being tested, and the results used to refine the hypothesis? Hmm.

Now let's see, shall we. One of Marx's central tenets was that there 5 stages of historical development, each of which inexorably would lead to the next until we reached the final stage of communism. Well it's a bit of a beggar that the first time anything approaching a socialist revolution occurred was in a society that was still practically feudal. And in fact, no revolution has yet occurred in a developed capitalist society.

In science if you have a theory and it's proven wrong, that theory gets replaced by a better one.
Hud - on 17 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Hud)
>
> I'd be interested to know how you think city states like Carthage got rich on the back of trade if it wasn't through a form of capitalism.

Ummm... by exploiting slave labour, Graham. Carthage was a slave state. It held chattel slaves, as did its neighbours. The Carthaginians were great traders, but trade in a fair market does not create wealth for the trader: it merely increases the utility value of the trader's wealth when he exchanges goods he doesn't want for goods he does.

And to be precise, 'Carthage' didn't grow rich at all, only its elites did. They grew rich by sucking the labour out of others, principally the slave population. Their excess wealth was the measure of others' destitution.

Personally, I've never read anyone who was mad enough to argue that chattel slavery was a form of capitalism. But maybe a crazy 'Libertarian' might. One day.

Of course, the Carthaginian elites also grew rich on the booty of warfare, but that's not a capitalist process of capital accumulation either.
Hud - on 17 Sep 2013

>
> But he was still locked into German philosophical mode that believed that there was an inexorable march of history - he claimed to turn 'Hegel on his head' but suffered from the same delusion that there was a predictable historical progress. And his idea that his theories were 'scientifically proven' by praxis - 'we know its true because it is going to happen' - was plain bonkers. We're still waiting.

Well, that explains a lot, Rob. Under the influence of Leninist academics, it was fashionable for a long while in British universities to read Marx as a historical and economic determinist. I too have sat through many a lecture by these guys, and many in which every single statement about Marx was incorrect.

In reality, Marx was anything but a determinist. He described his materialist conception of history, for instance, not as a theory of history but as a 'working method'. And once you turn to his actual historical writing or analysis, this becomes clear. In his correspondence with Vera Zasulich, for instance, he gives a good demonstration of how his historical thinking turns on historical particulars and not on some grand theory of social progress. Or try the Eighteenth Brumaire (if you can struggle through it!). If you want to typify Marx's approach to history, his was a generalised theory of social change not of rigid social progression.

The fundamental statement of Marx's method couldn't be clearer: "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." The one thing this does not add up to is a theory of historical determinism.

Hud - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Chambers) 'his work on analysing capitalism is nothing short of scientific.' Not by any reasonable definition of scientific. Interesting, yes. Insightful, definitely. Falsifiable? Hardy. Hypotheses capable of being tested, and the results used to refine the hypothesis? Hmm.
>
> Now let's see, shall we. One of Marx's central tenets was that there 5 stages of historical development, each of which inexorably would lead to the next until we reached the final stage of communism. Well it's a bit of a beggar that the first time anything approaching a socialist revolution occurred was in a society that was still practically feudal. And in fact, no revolution has yet occurred in a developed capitalist society.
>
> In science if you have a theory and it's proven wrong, that theory gets replaced by a better one.


1. I'm not keen on calling Marx's work 'scientific' because in Marx's time that word had not yet achieved its modern meaning and it is not the meaning he gave it. The word that Marx used in German translates more accurately as 'evidence-based'. And Marx was nothing if not keen on researching evidence.

2. No he didn't. As in my previous post, Marx did not rigidly propose 5 stages of historical development, he merely described how the class dynamic he theorised had worked its way out in Western Europe. (He was quite aware that he was not describing a universal process, as is demonstrated by his research into (and description of) 'Asian' modes of production, for example, which did not follow the same pattern.)

3. Your Leninist influence is showing again. Because Lenin called his Russian coup a socialist revolution, that does not mean we have to slavishly follow his example. There was nothing socialist in Marxian terms about the events in Russia in 1917. All that happened there was that Lenin and his cohorts succeeded in seizing power and then constructing a form of state capitalism. ('State capitalism' was Lenin's term for what he was building in Russia, by the way, not mine. Though I'd pretty much agree.) You can describe the Soviet economy in various ways, but whatever you choose, it was unlike the classical pattern of western capitalism described by Marx, or his concept of socialism. But then, as the old boy said: Men make their own history...

4. You are right. No socialist revolution has yet occurred in a developed capitalist country - or anywhere, but to suppose that means it will not or cannot happen is a most basic logical fallacy. In reality, there is very little we can conclude from this fact.

5. Incidentally, in science, if counter-evidence for a theory is found, then the theory is very rarely replaced. First, it is adjusted, new hypotheses are introduced or old ones removed, and it is retested. The process then continues. It is only after all possible or reasonable adjustments have been made and the theory fails repeatedly that it is eventually discarded. In reality though, no such serious counter-evidence has occurred to throw doubt on Marx's MCH and the theory still has a great deal of juice in it.

off-duty - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Can I suggest SC, that like the rest of us, you have no experience of human nature at all, since human nature is an abstraction and you cannot experience an abstraction. What you have deep experience of no doubt, is the way human beings behave and the consequences of those behaviours under very specific social conditions. Such conditions are, of course, those of a capitalistic society which has institutionalised conflict to such a degree within its property system that it is extraordinary that any of us are still capable of co-operating with each other at all. Put another way, if you and I grew up in a different society, we would be very different people.
>
> As our experience of social formations is so limited, I'd suggest that is glib to draw any direct conclusions about 'human nature' directly from it - even cynical conclusions.
>

That's a reasonable point. Our experience of human nature is to a large extent an experience of humans response to the environment and society within in which we exist.

> Once it becomes clear that human nature is not a direct experience, it very quickly reveals itself as an ideological construct which like other ideological constructs are merely covers for our deeper attitude to the human world.
>

I'm not sure that you can then say it human nature is "ideological" - if by ideology you are suggesting that some sort of thought or philosophy underlies certain almost instinctive emotions that make up some of human nature.
I think there is still a debate to be had about human drivers like love, hate, jealousy which might well be better expressed or controlled in certain environments and societies - such as the hunter gatherer groups that you use as an example.
I am interested in finding out more about them - I find it hard to believe that they don't experience the same, sometimes irrational, emotions, though I can envisage that they might control them better, both individually and within their societies.

> However what is clear is that these societies appear to function as "hunter gatherers" only. They are subsumed into other societies, or transform themselves into other forms of society as a response to internal or external pressures.
> This is not contested, SC. I think you are missing the point here.
>
> [...]
>
> Two points of information. Hunter gatherer societies tend to remain stable even though by no means all of them have access to unlimited resources, and few have unlimited movement. These are false presumptions. Your comment about massacring people on a global scale is, though, just a decent into cynical rhetoric. (Apply it to 21st century capitalism, however, and it might stand as an arguable case.)
>
> You are still clinging defensively to straw men arguments. No-one envisions a paradise, socialist or otherwise, and no-one is proposing to model socialism on band hunter gatherer society.
>

My point here, perhaps not made in the clearest manner, is that if the suggestion is that the negative aspects of human nature can be successfully overcome, or removed from existence and the demonstration of this ideal condition is illustrated within hunter gatherer groups then it is important to look at whether the organisation of these groups place any limitations on human behaviour or development.
Does the structure of such societies somehow have a built in failure mechanism such that it is unable to cope with increased numbers, technology, development?
It is clearly such a positive and beneficial way for humans to exist together there must be a reason it fails.

The limitations would appear to include the points I previously listed :- They still exist today as subjects for study - due to the fact that they cling to their static way of life. And when I say static - that's what I mean. When the equilibrium of their society is disrupted - by the invention of technology, new methods like "farming", competition for resources then they either remove themselves from any "improvements" or the structure of their society fails.


> You will understand the Marxian socialist position more clearly if you get hold of the idea that our views are underpinned by a thoroughgoing historical materialism. For us, socialism is not a dreamed up 'wouldn't-it-be-good-if-we-could...' construction, but an extrapolation of our reading of history. The shape of any post-capitalist society will of material necessity have to start from where we are. Modelling socialism on small groups of band hunter gatherers, or giving up technology, is just not feasible and any claims of that kind would be quite Utopian.
>
> As I said before, our interest in band hunter gatherers is that they give us an opportunity to counter unreal and abstract arguments about 'human nature' by demonstrating that human behaviour is various and alters with altered social circumstances.
>
> Perfection, too, is for fantasists. Our claim is that something better than we have now is possible(and given the horrors of capitalism, I don't think that is asking much.)

I agree perfection is for fantasists. I agree that from what you have written about hunter gatherers they appear to demonstrate a very positive display of human nature. I agree that there are things that can be learned from these societies eg- they work really well in this circumstance, they collapse when subject to this pressure, but we could avoid that by doing X, Y and Z.
However there appears to be no questioning on whether these egalitarian societies have inbuilt constraints as I mentioned above.
It may be, for the sake of argument, that when there are greater than say 300 people, considerations of communal good become subsumed by considerations of personal advantage.

It just seems a bit glib to suggest - "humans can definitely get along and work in an admirably socialist manner - hunter gatherers 'prove' it is possible" without at least some consideration of whether there are any drawbacks of this type of organisation.
And there must be drawbacks - they don't appear to survive some internal pressures - resulting in them becoming another form of less well-functioning society or external pressure other than by withdrawing.


PS :- What's the reason for referring to me as "SC"? Are you suggesting that I am a special constable? Why?
Hud - on 18 Sep 2013
> [...]
> Oh really, jcm. (This is bollocks as sweeping statements like this tend to be.) We are supposed to take this on your authority it seems! But the world doesn't work like that. Try again. Evidence please of the capitalist mode of production functioning in Ancient Rome.

In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> [...]
>
> Be interesting to hear how Crassus, for example, doesnt count as a capitalist.

More interesting to me is what sort of a confused understanding of economic organisation throughout history would make you assert that Crassus was a 'capitalist.' The idea is ludicrous. As far as I can discover Crassus was an unscrupulous property speculator, a dealer in slaves, an exploiter of slave labour, and a con-man. That was nothing unusual in Ancient Rome, of course. Property speculation, tax farming, sharp trading practices, commercial enterprises, military adventuring, were all common ways of amassing wealth among its elites. But none of these are defined by the very particular mode of wealth creation that typifies capitalism and therefore none of it characterises them as capitalists.

That's because the wealth of Roman elites was founded, not upon capital accumulation, but upon the direct exploitation of slave labour and also upon the tribute of conquered peoples which was in turn largely the creation of slave or 'peasant-type' labour. All other practices like property speculation, were secondary. You can't speculate on property (wealth) until that wealth has first been created. The wealth of Crassus was founded directly and indirectly upon the exploitation of slave labour not on the exploitation of wage labour in the process of capitalist production. Unlike the modern capitalist, the Roman elites amassed wealth but they did not create capital. Their aim was consumption of the surplus product, not its accumulation for further investment.

The systematic accumulation of wealth for the purpose of investing it in the creation and accumulation of further wealth ('capital') in endless cycles of production was a practice that simply did not exist until recent times in any society, anywhere on earth. To say that speculators like Crassus in Ancient Rome were capitalists is to make the absurd claim that capitalism existed at least sixteen hundred years before capital accumulation began.('*Capital*ism:' the clue is in the name.)

Calling Crassus a capitalist is as unhistorical as calling Richard Branson a slave-owner.
Chambers - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
>
> [...]
>
> Anyone who works for a salary, then. So workers on the stock market are 'workers' by your definition. As are managers. The only people who aren't workers are the people who don't work and company owners (who ironically usually do much more work than their employees).
>
> Glad that one's cleared up. We are all the workers !

Instead of the knee-jerk ridicule response, Graham, you really ought to think about what I've said there. Focus on the 'forced by economic necessity' bit for a moment or two. That should help you to grasp what I'm saying. What happens to the manager who doesn't go to work? Do his bills get paid? Of course not. He has to go to work and is therefore a worker. The company owners that you talk of who do more work than their employees? I'm guessing that you're talking about self-employed proprietors running a business that happens to employ workers. Yep, seen plenty of those in my line of work. Publicans or hoteliers who employ a dozen or more people and work eighteen hours a day themselves. What's forcing them to do that? Economic necessity, I'd suggest.



Sir Chasm - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: >Converted? You really don't get it, do you? This is no religion that I'm talking about. It's an inexorable historical movement that is taking place regardless of what I do or say.

No, I probably don't get it. And that's quite a problem for world socialism. SPGB has about 500 members (a meteoric rise since 1904), now I'm sure there are more advocates than that for world socialism but in order to get a democratic majority (that's how the SPGB want to progress isn't it?) you might need to do something to speed up your inexorable movement, because I suspect most people, outside your self-selected circle, don't get it.
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: I too have sat through many a lecture by these guys, and many in which every single statement about Marx was incorrect. '

Ah, that's what they said you'd say!
Hud - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Hud) I too have sat through many a lecture by these guys, and many in which every single statement about Marx was incorrect. '
>
> Ah, that's what they said you'd say!

LOL. Fair comment, Rob. However, if you had known me at the time, that's what I would have said they would say. However, I've had a lifetime's fill of doctrinaire Leninists and general-purpose authoritarian leftists. Let's look at what the old boy actually wrote and move on...



Jimbo W on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> interesting, how exactly have you been carrying out your experiments?
> What hypothesis are you currently testing and how?

Strange view of science.. ..science is about establishing knowledge; that's what the word means. History, for example, is a "science", but not one that involves "experiments".
dissonance - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Strange view of science.. ..science is about establishing knowledge; that's what the word means.

They were using "scientific" which is normally associated just with the scientific method.

dissonance - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> More interesting to me is what sort of a confused understanding of economic organisation throughout history would make you assert that Crassus was a 'capitalist.' The idea is ludicrous.

oh lets see why.

> As far as I can discover Crassus was an unscrupulous property speculator, a dealer in slaves, an exploiter of slave labour, and a con-man.

he went rather further than speculation.

> Unlike the modern capitalist, the Roman elites amassed wealth but they did not create capital. Their aim was consumption of the surplus product, not its accumulation for further investment.

No plenty of them accumulated it for further investment with many getting wealth to run for office so they could then gain further wealth.

> The systematic accumulation of wealth for the purpose of investing it in the creation and accumulation of further wealth ('capital') in endless cycles of production was a practice that simply did not exist until recent times in any society, anywhere on earth.

I think you are using one of your special definitions here to try and convince yourselves that its still inevitable that your party will convince the world.

Jimbo W on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:

I don't see what that changes. What is the method of science in history etc? It isn't experimental is it, and that's the point. The popular view of science appears to be one in which the only real knowledge is that which can be scrutinised via the "scientific method". Now while the modern conception of the "scientific method" is fairly particular (though much less so than assumed), that is absolutely not what is necessarily referred to by "science" or the word "scientific", which merely refers to a method of revealing new knowledge, and which will be necessarily particular to the subject of that knowledge.
andrewmcleod - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

To me it is fairly simple - we will all get along swimmingly when we all have enough. Currently we don't. Hopefully we will soon; technology has always helped.
Chambers - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod: Nice to see some new voices getting involved. Unfortunately, I'm at work right now, and my prep list is longer than my arm. I'll get back on later.
dissonance - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to dissonance)
>
> I don't see what that changes. What is the method of science in history etc? It isn't experimental is it, and that's the point.

The point is he isnt talking just about history but about how humans behave. Therefore rather than trying to extrapolate from a carefully selected case studies which explicitly ignore the vast majority it makes far more sense to study it directly(albeit somewhat tricky to do on a decent scale and potentially unethical).

> The popular view of science appears to be one in which the only real knowledge is that which can be scrutinised via the "scientific method". Now while the modern conception of the "scientific method" is fairly particular (though much less so than assumed), that is absolutely not what is necessarily referred to by "science" or the word "scientific"

By science I would agree, scientific not so much.
For example if we find x percentage of the population are sociopaths then that presents a real problem for the proposed utopia since they will not play nicely.
Hud - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Hud)

>
> he [Crassus] went rather further than speculation.

Yes, peculation as well as far as I can see. But I fail to see the relevance of your point. In fact, I fail to see a point here at all.
>
> [...]
>
> No plenty of them accumulated it [wealth] for further investment with many getting wealth to run for office so they could then gain further wealth.

Sigh! Accumulating wealth to gain office is not of itself a process of capital accumulation and neither is using the influence of office to put you in a position to turn a deal. While some members of the Roman elite created vast landed estates, for instance, they were unable to use their wealth as a capitalist would because their world lacked the necessary social infrastructure and social relationships. In capitalism, capital accumulation is driven by market competition, and becomes not just an end in itself but a necessary end. Capitalists *must* reinvest if they want to stay in the market and they *must* accumulate capital to do that. As a result, they *must* constantly expand their businesses. The wealthy Roman, on the other hand, accumulated wealth as you have nicely indicated to maximise consumption, status and influence. He did not accumulate to survive in the market, and nor did he need to. For him, wealth accumulation in the form of capital was not a necessary end in itself.

You can redefine words to your heart's content, diss, but trying to tear them from their contexts in this way only damages our ability to communicate with precision. A capitalist is someone who functions within the bounds of a complex social system called capitalism whose social relationships, codified in law, define for him which economic roles he can and cannot perform. Outside that social context, those roles are just not available. If you doubt this, try setting up as a slave owner in modern Kensington or as a feudal lord in a tribal society in East Africa and see how far you get.

We have a perfectly good language in which to understand and describe the economic roles of Greek merchants and Roman senators without stretching the meanings of words like 'capitalist' until they become so baggy they cease to communicate meaningfully. I'm curious, then, why you feel the need to do this. Do you have a political agenda behind your claims, or are you just argumentative? (Not a criticism, by the way!)

>
> [> The systematic accumulation of wealth for the purpose of investing it in the creation and accumulation of further wealth ('capital') in endless cycles of production was a practice that simply did not exist until recent times in any society, anywhere on earth.]
>
> I think you are using one of your special definitions here to try and convince yourselves that its still inevitable that your party will convince the world.

How many straw men and ad hominems can you pack into a single sentence, dissonance? Actually, I'm speaking as an individual here, but just for the record, the SPGB has no aim to convince the world. It doesn't see that as its function.
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: I'm an employer. I employ people. Am I a capitalist?
Chambers - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Hud) I'm an employer. I employ people. Am I a capitalist?
We really can't answer that, Rob. What would happen if you didn't go to work tomorrow, apart from your employees heaving a sigh of relief and saying "Thank f*ck that useless shitwit isn't coming round today?" :)

My employer employs people, too. I hire some of them for my kitchen, but it's his money I'm spending. If he and his wife don't work extraordinary hours each week they'll go out of business. Capitalists? Certainly not. We've already explained what a capitalist is, and only you can know whether or not you have to work for a living.

We don't care either way. Everybody gains from the establishment of socialism, and we have no particular problem with individuals who happen to be capitalists. We don't fantasise about standing them against a wall and tickling them until they wet themselves and promise never to exploit anyone again. Our beef is with capitalism as an economic system. And its abolition will herald the liberation of all humanity.

Hud - on 18 Sep 2013
To Off Duty
> (In reply to Hud)
> I'm not sure that you can then say it human nature is "ideological" - > I think there is still a debate to be had about human drivers like love, hate, jealousy
>I find it hard to believe that they don't experience the same, sometimes irrational, emotions,
> Does the structure of such societies somehow have a built in failure mechanism
> It is clearly such a positive and beneficial way for humans to exist together there must be a reason it fails.
>

> However there appears to be no questioning on whether these egalitarian societies have inbuilt constraints as I mentioned above.

whether there are any drawbacks of this type of organisation.
> And there must be drawbacks - they don't appear to survive some internal pressures - resulting in them becoming another form of less well-functioning society or external pressure other than by withdrawing.
>
> PS :- What's the reason for referring to me as "SC"? Are you suggesting that I am a special constable? Why?

OK, I need to be clearer. I didn't intend to say that human nature was ideological, only the *concept* of 'human nature' was ideological and the way that it is used as a political football.

Hunter-gatherers are often very free with their emotions (There are certain exceptions, like the Inuit for whom the expression of anger in an adult is shaming and incomprehensible). There is no question that people in hunger gatherer societies share the same emotions as anyone else: love, jealousy etc. The really interesting thing is the way they manage them and their social consequences. The almost universal use of humour to maintain social cohesion and in particular to undermine young men who start seeking status within the group is fascinating. And the way they treat their kids is quite astonishing - with utmost respect. To hit a child in some societies would result in an immediate divorce from the offenders partner. The child would then have complete freedom of choice whom to live with.

There are a lot of interesting things in your post. No time or space for all, I'm afraid. I'll reply to one that I find particularly interesting. Three kinds of hunter-gatherers are generally recognised: immediate return (band) hunter gatherers, delayed return hunter gatherers and a third group (complex hunter gatherers) which is rather rare. The material difference between immediate return and delayed return HGs is that delayed return HGs store food for later use and immediate return HGs don't. This distinction correlates very clearly with their social structures. Immediate return hunter gatherers are egalitarian. Delayed return hunter gatherers, though they are far from having rigid hierarchies are noticeably more stratified. Certain individuals among them have a higher status than others. No-one knows why this should be, though there is quite a lot of research going on into the difference. Clearly if the correlation is a direct causal one (which has yet to be established) then just a slight shift in attitude towards maintaining goods (not quite property) can have quite a significant effect upon how individuals relate within communities. There is some evidence that immediate return hunter gatherers understand this, and deliberately limit the food they acquire to preserve their egalitarian lifeways (or if they do generate a surplus they gorge on it or throw it away). I find the idea that they are materially managing their social relationships fascinating. There are all sorts of theories why this way of life fails once HGs become farmers. Clearly it has something to do with the idea that once you have a fixed resource it must be defended. Division of labour develops strongly at this point, property develops and classes emerge. Property is universally divisive because it immediately creates the ability to hold it and if you are strong enough to prevent others from holding it. Conflict arises between exploiting and exploited groups and the state emerges to hold the balance (in the interests of the most powerful.) Labour contributions also become an issue at that point which they aren't in many HG groups. (In some immediate return HG bands free-loaders who do no work are not just tolerated but remain valued members of the band, with every right to demand their fair share of the kill after the hunt. There is no distinction between work and socialising in these bands. Hunting and gathering is just part of what they do together in the course of a day.)

Yes there are huge drawbacks to HG lifestyles. Parasites, disease, periodic lack of sufficient nourishment, in some cases a high homicide rate, vulnerability to expansionist state societies. HG lifeways have been remarkably tenacious, but once again, there is no way of going back to them. We have to start from where we are. At the very least a post-capitalist world would have a very different social structure, one which, as far as we can see, would eliminate the unnecessary institutionalised drives to competition, waste and inequality that are inherent in capitalism and similar societies, but it would have a vast accumulation of property invested in the community(the technological means of production we now use to satisfy our needs). That would create a quite new dynamic. It is possible to project ahead to a small extent and see that this kind of social arrangement would have its own internal mechanisms for maintaining an egalitarian structure, but beyond that we would be dependent on our social consciousness to maintain social homoeostasis once it is liberated from the divisive conflict-ridden ideologies that pervade propertied societies.

Anyway...

Sorry, still getting to know you guys. Got you muddled up with Sir Whatsisname (SC). Nothing sinister.
Chambers - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> To me it is fairly simple - we will all get along swimmingly when we all have enough. Currently we don't. Hopefully we will soon; technology has always helped.

A very good point, Andrew, and welcome to the debate.

It's very hard to get contented people stirred up enough to go out and kill people they've never met. No doubt about that. One of the main thrusts of our argument as members of the SPGB is that capitalism has - on the one hand - developed the means of production to the point where we can collectively produce an abundance of wealth. On the other hand, capitalism, as an economic system under which production takes place in order to realise a profit for a minority rather than to directly satisfy human needs, is utterly incapable of distibuting the wealth it is capable of producing in such a way that human needs are met. And so we have the huge disparity in wealth ownership that characterises capitalism - it couldn't be any other way, and we can't all be millionaires - which is such a fertile breeding ground for conflict.

So we are faced with this over-arching contradiction of capitalism. We're smart enough to feed, clothe, house and generally provide for the needs of everyone but we can't do it within capitalism, in which human needs can only be met if they are paid for and someone's making a profit out of it. The answer looks stark-staringly bleeding obvious from where I'm looking at it.

Chambers - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> To Off Duty


> Sorry, still getting to know you guys. Got you muddled up with Sir Whatsisname (SC). Nothing sinister.

That'll be Sour Chasm!

Hud - on 18 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Hud) I'm an employer. I employ people. Am I a capitalist?

Hiya Rob

Probably. If you are an employer of any size, then definitely. In smaller businesses the definition becomes less clear. If you own slaves though or demand labour services from peasants, we would have to re-evaluate :-)

I used to be a small employer as well. Was I a capitalist? Probably not: my drawings from the business were no more than I paid individuals in wages.
MJ - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud & Chambers:

A couple of questions to you both: -

1. If your favoured type of society replaced the current one, would you expect the lifestyle of the average UK person to stay the same, improve or worsen (if possible, could you quantify it)?
2. If your favoured type of society was in place and individuals/groups/countries started to take advantage of the situation to 'feather their own nest', what would be done to stop them?
Chambers - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Hud & Chambers)
>
> A couple of questions to you both: -
>
> 1. If your favoured type of society replaced the current one, would you expect the lifestyle of the average UK person to stay the same, improve or worsen (if possible, could you quantify it)?
> 2. If your favoured type of society was in place and individuals/groups/countries started to take advantage of the situation to 'feather their own nest', what would be done to stop them?

Hi, MJ, and thanks for taking an interest. Just by the way, what have you done on grit lately? For my part, I was a grovelling wreck on a measly VS at the Roaches a couple of weeks ago. My only defence is that I turned 50 a month ago and have, of late, whereof I know not, become a fat bastard!

Good questions, though, and I'll attempt to answer them before my comrade, Hud, jumps in and upstages me with his superior knowledge and understanding. We're very competitive, us revolutionaries, and the Hudster certainly knows more about anthropology than I do. I defer to him on matters anthropological, but I play better guitar and I'd beat him in a race from Sheffield to Manchester on big f*ckoff motorbikes. Also, I look younger than he does, have far bigger biceps and am far more attractive to women. All the stuff that matters, then. Chambers. Always the deep one! :)

If socialism were to be established tomorrow...well, let's do this thought experiment and see what I can say about it. It'll perhaps give my jack-booted, reactionary critics a better idea of what I actually think as opposed to what they've been told I think. Give me ten minutes.
Chambers - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to MJ: I needed less than ten minutes to think about your first question. The establishment of world socialism - which is our objective, by the way - will improve the lifestyles of absolutely everyone. Poverty will be abolished, there'll be no more politicians, unemployment will disappear, crime will become a rarity that shocks, personal liberty will become a given, coercion will be very difficult to achieve and impossible to maintain, and the notion of an average UK person will be rendered utterly meaningless.

I know that I need to elaborate on all of that, and more, but there's my answer for now. Oh, and you won't have to rush to the bank on payday anymore because there won't be any banks or paydays!

Your second question took no thinking time at all. It can't happen once socialism is established. For reasons that I'll explain once I've ordered supplies for my kitchen and been for a piss.

Except Hudster'll probably pre-empt me!
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
An interesting comment Jim, which I've only just picked up. It's even more complex than that on the ground. My union is Unison, and in my branch about a quarter of the membership are managers, some of them senior ones. Despite all the indoctrination and demand for professionalism, these people recognise that the employer is fundamentally not looking out for their interests any more than it is looking out for the interests of those they manage. There is a fundamental recognition here, that underneath the workplace roles, there is a community of interest between management and staff.

(It gets pretty 'interesting' though in disciplinary or grievance meetings where both manager and staff are Unison members. Such, though, is the crazy, conflicted nature of the system we live under.)
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MJ)
>
> Except Hudster'll probably pre-empt me!

LOL. Is that a complaint? Am I spoiling your fun? :-)

My bad! (My grandkids love saying that. I think it's great!)
MJ - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers & Hud:

You two seem to be in a cheerful mood!
I always thought Socialists were a dreary lot!!!
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Hud & Chambers)
>
> A couple of questions to you both: -
>
> 1. If your favoured type of society replaced the current one, would you expect the lifestyle of the average UK person to stay the same, improve or worsen (if possible, could you quantify it)?
> 2. If your favoured type of society was in place and individuals/groups/countries started to take advantage of the situation to 'feather their own nest', what would be done to stop them?

I suspect I'm a bit more nerdy than Chambers, so I'll take a different tack on this and probably go on for far too long. I don't have a favoured type of society. But every time I look up and consider the world around me I get a stomach-clenching attack of the horrors.

My starting point is not a vision of my favoured type of society, but a real experience of my most unfavoured one, which is the one I happen to live in. As I'm not willing to collude with its universal features of exploitation, conflict, inequality, waste and carnage I need to think about how it could be done away with. Sure as eggs is eggs, I can't do it on my own. And it's not going to be done away with by my employer, either: he has far too big a stake in it for that. If action is going to come, it will come from those who have an interest in disposing of it: the exploited, the short changed, the manipulated, the working class. And if the working class do it they are going to want to replace it with a world that meets their particular needs and interests.

Now here's the problem. The working class are very limited for choice in what they can do to replace capitalism with a sustainable alternative. They have to start from where the world is at. The immediate source of their exploitation is the capitalist class and the particular institution of private property that underpins their relationship with the capitalist class. That means both the capitalist class and private property will have to go. Get rid of private property and the capitalist class and both classes just simply dissolve into a bunch of people.

If there is now no longer a capitalist class to privately own the means of production, then the means of production will have to be held in some other way. The only possible alternative, without reintroducing the private property and exploitative relationships, is to take the means of production into common (social) ownership. If private property, the means of production and the material resources of the earth are owned in common, then there will be no need to exchange them one for another. So no medium of exchange (money, barter, etc) will be required either, no banks, no insurance companies, no financial institutions, no mints, no till manufacturers or people who clip your ticket at railway stations. And without on-going economic rivalry between classes, the state, which originally arose to manage the conflict between them in the interests of the most powerful, will no longer have a function either.

So that's the scenario. It's not my favoured society, dreamed up to meet my personal needs or my vision of what other people might just want, but my basic understanding of what is materially and sustainably possible in a post-capitalist world.

So to your questions: no I couldn't quantify anything. And there isn't room or time to go through all the issues in detail, so here's the glib sound bite answer.
1. With no private property we can presume reduced conflict, reduced inequalities of access to social wealth, greater co-operation, reduced alienation, an ability to make rational choices unconstrained by the bizarre and convoluted demands of a capitalist 'economy', more efficient production, vastly reduced waste, a reduction in labour needed for production, more effective distribution of necessities, and greater freedom of action. As to the precise details of your first question, I'll leave you to decide.

2. This one is simple. The question that lies beneath your question is a valid one. Socialism could only be global. Capitalism, however is now a global economy. Communication is global. Social movements are increasingly global. Essay: a post-capitalist society is likely to have a global birth. Discuss.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Chambers & Hud)
>
> You two seem to be in a cheerful mood!
> I always thought Socialists were a dreary lot!!!

No, not us MJ. You are confusing us with Leninists and all those serious power-hungry types on the left. One of the personal advantages of seeing the world through socialist eyes, is that the daily antics of the capitalist world as it attempts to justify itself to itself are hilarious!
Chambers - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> LOL. Is that a complaint? Am I spoiling your fun? :-)
>
> My bad! (My grandkids love saying that. I think it's great!)

No complaints from me, Hud. And no, you're not spoiling my fun. You're enhancing it!

Sweet deal! (My son won't stop saying that, no matter how much I upbraid him for it!)

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Chambers and Hud ponder capitalism at their last SPGB meeting

http://www.apdl.co.uk/riscworld/volume7/issue5/tvcard/images/fig13.jpg
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Chambers) Chambers and Hud ponder capitalism at their last SPGB meeting
>
> http://www.apdl.co.uk/riscworld/volume7/issue5/tvcard/images/fig13.jpg

LOL, I wish! I could do with a weekend on the allotment...
Simon4 - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> The establishment of world socialism will improve the lifestyles of absolutely everyone. Poverty will be abolished, there'll be no more politicians, unemployment will disappear, crime will become a rarity that shocks, personal liberty will become a given, coercion will be very difficult to achieve and impossible to maintain, and the notion of an average UK person will be rendered utterly meaningless.

Will everyone become beautiful and charming, disease be abolished, eternal youth be granted to all and the land flow with milk and honey? Will the lion lie down with the lamb and every valley be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain? Which will be crap for any climbing, but I suppose you can't make an omelette (or a perfect socialist society, where everyone is happy and no-one disagrees about anything), without breaking eggs.

Please tell me that is satire, nobody could be quite so stupid as to believe this stuff. You may not have noticed, but at present a rather different messianic millenarian ideology to yours, that also promises ultimate universal harmony and paradise is doing a bit better than you - militant, aggressive, intolerant Islam. It has well over a billion followers, while you have, what is it, 500 in the UK?

Your ultimate success may be inevitable, your future paradise guaranteed. But you might want to revisit your timescale, or someone else may get there first, with their version of paradise that will be rather different to yours. And possibly somewhat less tolerant of dissent, although maybe that is not the case.
Chambers - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: I don't know what drugs you're on, Simon, but I'd get a medication review if I were you.

Either that or practice your reading skills, because you're seeing stuff that just isn't there.
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
* by - Hud ?L on - 20:39 Thu
> (In reply to Simon4)
> [...]
>
> Will everyone become beautiful and charming, disease be abolished, eternal youth be granted to all and the land flow with milk and honey? Will the lion lie down with the lamb and every valley be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain? Which will be crap for any climbing, but I suppose you can't make an omelette (or a perfect socialist society, where everyone is happy and no-one disagrees about anything), without breaking eggs.
>
> Please tell me that is satire, nobody could be quite so stupid as to believe this stuff.


Of course it is satire, Simon4. And messianic, millenarian crap, too. You should know - you wrote it!

But at least you realise that stuff like that is only for fanatics (not everyone I talk to does, believe me.) welcome to the real world.
Hud - on 19 Sep 2013
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
>I'd beat him in a race from Sheffield to Manchester on big f*ckoff motorbikes.

Is that a challenge, Pots? (What kind of crotch rocket do you ride, then, eh?)

Snake pass. Two wheels. At Dawn. Time and place?
Simon4 - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:

> Of course it is satire, Simon4. And messianic, millenarian crap, too. You should know - you wrote it!

Projection, mate, projection. The thing that delusional fanatics like you do best.

> welcome to the real world

Is your real world Pluto or Saturn? Because life of any kind there has about the same chance of being achieved as your imaginary paradise has of happening here.


Hud - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Hud)

> Projection, mate, projection. The thing that delusional fanatics like you do best.
> [...]
> Is your real world Pluto or Saturn? Because life of any kind there has about the same chance of being achieved as your imaginary paradise has of happening here.


LOL. The only projection around here, mate, is the knob-head who thinks in stereotypes, heckles imaginary opponents, and reckons with coloured beads.

If you *can* think in anything other than primary colours and respond with anything other than neural reflexes, I'd suggest you take another look at the discussion and apply some thought. If not, then we'll await your next round of satirical grunts.
Chambers - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Hud)
>
> [...]
>
> Projection, mate, projection. The thing that delusional fanatics like you do best.

Simon! How dare you call me and my comrades such horrible things? Oh, yeah. It's because you're sitting in front of a screen. You're a product of the society that you live in. And look what it turned you into. I mean, really, you've excluded yourself from rational discourse already, haven't you? But do you know what? Your delusional and fanatical friends are quite happy to tolerate your ridiculous shit in the interests of humanity as a whole. We're happy to read your ill-informed and unfounded ad hominem diatribes and we giggle when you call us names whilst thinking that you're having a debate. We love the way that you wriggle and squirm like a maggot on a hook. We do this because we care.

Don't misunderstand us, here. We don't care about you. We aren't here to save you or your soul. (You don't have a soul. Nor does anyone else.) No, what we care about is what is in our own self-interest. We're phenomenally selfish, us socialists. There's absolutely no morality involved in our case. What we care about is what's best for us as individuals. We also realise that we can't be free if you're a slave. And you are. Pretty simple, really.
>
> [...]
>
> Is your real world Pluto or Saturn? Because life of any kind there has about the same chance of being achieved as your imaginary paradise has of happening here.

You should go climbing more. You'll meet a whole bunch of strangers who are happy to share their knowledge and experience, point you in the direction of some great times and generally do everything they can to look after you. We'll even scrape you off the floor when you f*ck up. And share out the climbing gear you left behind you.

Ever had an accident whilst climbing, Simon? I suspect not. Ever needed mountain rescue? Again, I don't think so. If you had you'd have a very different view of your fellow man and wouldn't sound so much like a self-centred, spoiled and stupid child.

andrewmcleod - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> So we are faced with this over-arching contradiction of capitalism. We're smart enough to feed, clothe, house and generally provide for the needs of everyone but we can't do it within capitalism, in which human needs can only be met if they are paid for and someone's making a profit out of it. The answer looks stark-staringly bleeding obvious from where I'm looking at it.

I think that we would probably agree on the end point, but not the manner in which we get there. I agree that a nice Star Trek TNG money-free society for the benefit of all is an obvious nice thing to have .

'Socialism'* may be the answer, but I don't think it is the solution - I assume it is something that will happen naturally once we sort out the millions of other problems we have to sort out first. Like not really being a global society at all, but having hundreds of countries all bickering at each other and for entirely rational, logical and defensive reasons playing games where nobody wins.

In reply to Simon4:
> Is your real world Pluto or Saturn? Because life of any kind there has about the same chance of being achieved as your imaginary paradise has of happening here.

I think this is wildly pessimistic - it is true that only a small fraction of people on this planet currently enjoy a good quality of life, but technology is always improving. In fifty to a hundred years, everyone should have what we consider an excellent quality of life even if we only continue at our current rates. Of course, people may expect more by then...

* Socialism for me meaning the general sense of 'being nice to each other and sharing for the benefit of all', details to be determined...
Hud - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:

Hi Andrew

I like the attitude behind your comments in general but disagree with some of your assumptions. (You are not related to Ken McLeod, by the way, are you? :-))

As to the method, of creating a more social world, I'd agree, it would certainly be a good thing if we could arrive at a moneyless, classless world by slow degrees without significant disruption on the way, as I think you suggest. I'd put it to you, though, that there are two features of our present world that make this extremely unlikely.

First, we have within our current system, a group of very powerful people, the owners of industry, who have a vested interest in not allowing this to happen, and a willingness to do almost anything to prevent it happening - a willingness that they have demonstrated over and again.

Second, I'd suggest that the millions of problems that you allude to are insoluble within the present system, not least because it is the major cause of many of them. Capitalism is not designed to solve social problems; it is designed to meet the immediate needs of the few for profit and reinvestment - a need that the system itself creates. And the system is a totalising one, which means that within it no other way of organising is possible.

Consider, for example, the system's less than half-hearted attempt to solve the problems of climate change. The structure of capitalism gives it only one possible means of dealing with the material world, and that is to commodify it for the purposes of profit. Insofar as it has even tried to deal with climate change, that is what it has done here, too. It has tried to commodify carbon emissions. Some have profited from the arrangement but that's all. Carbon trading has done nothing to solve our collective problem because that's not what commodification is designed to do.

On your point about technology, a hundred years from now, if we still have capitalism, we will still have the problems that capitalism creates, whatever advances have taken place in technology. Technology will create the *potential* for solving many problems, but it doesn't exist in a social or economic vacuum, and its effects are not independent of the economic circumstances in which it is created and used. As the United Nations has been telling us for years, we have the technological potential to feed the world adequately even at double its present population. We don't though. That's not because the technology is inadequate, but because the economic structure of capitalism prevents it.

As human beings living in a capitalist world we don't have a free hand to do the things we need to do to sort out our collective problems. We are constrained on all sides by a system in which there is no possible mechanism for addressing them and huge vested interests that will make sure we don't. I'd suggest then that to sort out those problems, we first have to get rid of the cause of the problems and in its place establish a new way of relating to each other that places the focus on meeting social as well as individual needs. It goes under a number of different names. Some call it a resource-based economy; we call it socialism.
Postmanpat on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> * Socialism for me meaning the general sense of 'being nice to each other and sharing for the benefit of all', details to be determined...
>
That is not a very useful definition since iris neither necessarily true of socialism nor exclusive to socialism.

Chambers - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: This may be the very first time I've agreed with PotmanPost! Socialism does not require people to be nice to each other, and I have no doubt that in a socialist society there will still be some nasty behaviour going on.
Bob Hughes - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) Socialism will come about when a majority of workers globally come to understand that capitalism cannot be reformed in their interests and organise democratically to overthrow it. Now that'll be a socialist revolution.


This is the part of socialism which i most object to. The idea that the whole world has to move towards a pre-designed system in one movement. What happens if, when we get there, we realise it doesn't work? Humans have not generally been good at grand design type projects largely because society, political systems and economies are highly complex systems which are impossible to predict accurately. If the proposal was to start small and let the system grow organically, i would be much more comfortable with the idea. If, for example, the evolution of supra-national government (e.g. the EU) led to devolution of power into smaller units (as has happened in the UK) and the nation-state gave way to a smaller collection of principalities and regional government, I could see some of those smaller regions moving towards socialist systems. If they were successful more would follow suit; if not, they wouldn't. But the idea that the workers of the world will unite in revolution and together build the "Right Answer" for a just and equal society is terrifyingly naive.
Hud - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

You make some good points, Bob. But before discussing them further, let's clear up a couple misunderstandings.

First, the structure of a post-capitalist society isn't something socialists have 'pre-designed' in the way, say, that an engineer would pre-design a turbo engine to a set of functional specifications. It's not as easy as that. Creating a post-capitalist society would need to be both revolutionary and evolutionary. It would be revolutionary because it would make a fundamental change (the latest in a long line of fundamental changes) to the structure of society, but also evolutionary because those undertaking it will naturally adapt existing institutions to meet their needs. And the process won't stop there. As more time passes, they will continue to evaluate, learn and adapt those institutions according to their experience - just as happens today under capitalism.

To insist on a fixed blueprint for a post-capitalist society would not only be utopian but unworkable and probably disastrous. Detailed and rational decisions can only made by those involved at the time because only they would have a clear understanding of the current circumstances and needs. What socialists have is not a blueprint, but a) a broad analytical understanding, based on historical precedent, of what is likely to happen in the run-up to such a societal change and b) a general understanding of the interests, material opportunities and limitations that would face people at that time.

Second, no society has ever been or can ever be a 'grand-design' type project. Capitalism wasn't 'designed' in that way, feudalism wasn't, classical slave societies weren't either. And neither will socialism be. And that's simply because we don't have control over the material circumstances under which we act. Societies emerge from one another as one group of people, pursuing its particular class interest, comes to dominate all others, a process that we anticipate will be repeated in the next major change from a capitalist to a post-capitalist world.

I agree wholeheartedly with your point that it would be better if society could evolve slowly from capitalism into its successor society. But, as I argued in my previous post, there are very strong reasons, both historical and theoretical for believing that this is not realistic. (I won't repeat them here butif you have doubts about them, we can discuss them in more detail and see where they take us.) The short answer to your point, for now, is that the capitalist class has no interest in letting capitalism evolve or change in a way that damages its interests. And that would certainly include massively fettering trade by creating hundreds of tiny states in preparation for such a change. As the capitalist class have shown in the past, they will resort to any means possible, including a bloodbath if necessary, to prevent the abridgement of their economic interests.

Will socialism work? Let's put it another way: does capitalism 'work'? Take a look. It persists, even if only by staggering from one crisis to another without actually collapsing, and it performs its function of shifting wealth into the hands of the wealthy pretty well. But from the point of view or you and me and working people, to say that it 'works' is a joke. It is hugely unstable. It creates international and intranational conflicts leading to massive industrialised commercial warfare and endless human carnage. It creates waste on a gigantic scale. It is wasteful, too, of human lives. It creates poverty in the midst of plenty. It is exploitative. It provides less than fulfilling lives even for the most fortunate of workers. It creates unnecessary insecurity and personal conflict. It is wholly unable to meet social challenges like climate change. And it could quite conceivably annihilate us all in a huge nuclear conflagration.

Capitalism doesn't 'work.' But no society will ever 'work' in the sense that it produces perfectly harmonious and stable relationships. From that point of view, it's not a very useful question. The only reasonable question is, will socialism give us a better chance of providing for human need. The answer socialists give is yes, that by eliminating most of the structural drivers towards human misery that are built into the capitalist system, socialism has every chance of offering a far better deal, even if not a perfect one. Yes, I agree with you: there are risks inherent in dismantling capitalism and establishing a post-capitalist society, but they are only the ordinary risks faced by human beings with our incapacity to predict the future. If you doubt this, ask yourself what the future will look like under capitalism in ten years time. None of us know. Given its history, though, it will probably be pretty grim for a great number of people.

I don't know what processes of thought has led you to the view that we are 'terrifyingly naïve' in our claim that a global movement for socialism is possible, so I can't comment. But I can say that when most people make statements like this they generally mean that, having given the matter five seconds thought and formed a vague image of the problem, a gut feeling has kicked in, and that's it. We all do this sort of thing. But I'd suggest that, if this is the case, a considerably more detailed examination of this issue is possible. Another post, perhaps.
Chambers - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes: Hi Bob. I know that my comrade, Hud, has already given you an answer to your statement, and whilst I agree with most of what he's said I think that there's more to be said.

First of all, you seem to be suggesting that some parts of the planet could be more or less socialist in their mode of production and that other parts of the planet - still being avowedly capitalist in their mode of production - could co-exist alongside each other. This kind of thinking, I think, is the outcome of not fully understanding the global nature of capitalism. Can you really imagine the ruling class of a neighbouring nation of a country or region that had 'gone socialist' tolerating the existence of a threat to its economic hegemony living next door? I can't see it. I think that what you need to do here - and I say this with all due respect - is to read more about our case. You can find it here: www.worldsocialism.org .

You see, you can't have a system of society that is a bit capitalist and a bit socialist. There's a mutual contradiction between the two. Kind of like it not being possible to be partly pregnant. It's one or the other.

Now then. Whether you know it or not - and I want you to know it - you just joined the revolution. Let me explain what I mean by that. As a member of the World Socialist Movement I have every opportunity to argue about how I think socialism should function. As the movement grows and more and more people express opinions about that we'll have a clearer idea about how to organise society. Project that forward to the point where there's almost a majority of socialists and we'll have a very clear idea about how to organise society.

There's no naivety in our case, and the right answer might be different for...well, you see where that's going? The point is that socialism offers the framework for people living the kinds of lives that suit them best.
Bob Hughes - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> First, the structure of a post-capitalist society isn't something socialists have 'pre-designed' in the way, say, that an engineer would pre-design a turbo engine to a set of functional specifications. It's not as easy as that.

But you already know you want to dispose of the institution of private property and the capitalist class. These are two very significant changes to make to a society. Private property is getting on for 1,000 years old in English law. Getting rid of it, globally, is surely the very definition of a grand design style project.

> I agree wholeheartedly with your point that it would be better if society could evolve slowly from capitalism into its successor society. But, as I argued in my previous post, there are very strong reasons, both historical and theoretical for believing that this is not realistic. (I won't repeat them here butif you have doubts about them, we can discuss them in more detail and see where they take us.) The short answer to your point, for now, is that the capitalist class has no interest in letting capitalism evolve or change in a way that damages its interests.

I don't buy this argument at all. Those who benefit from capitalism - the merchant class - are not the same as those who benefit from Feudalism. And yet capitalism replaced feudalism in a largely organic way. no revolution, no great global movement.
>
> Will socialism work? Let's put it another way: does capitalism 'work'?
>
This is dodging the question. My point is, nobody knows if socialism would work because, as socialists point out, it hasn't been tried. But neither are socialists willing to accept small-scale, incremental and reversible change; It has to be global and revolutionary. Whatever you believe about the ills of capitalism, a botched global revolution can make things a lot, lot worse.

> Yes, I agree with you: there are risks inherent in dismantling capitalism and establishing a post-capitalist society, but they are only the ordinary risks faced by human beings with our incapacity to predict the future.

You think? We may not have examples of socialism but we do have examples of attempts to dismantle societies and rebuild them according to designer's ideals. Iraq, The Soviet Union, Venezuela, The Great Leap Forward etc.
>
> I don't know what processes of thought has led you to the view that we are 'terrifyingly naïve' in our claim that a global movement for socialism is possible, so I can't comment.

i should have written "terrifying and naive" - sorry. In any case, perhaps the difference is slight. The naivety lies in (a) believing that the theoretical answer (dispose of property rights, dispose of the capital class, get rid of money (did I read that here or on another website?)) will work in practice and doesn't need to be tested or implemented in some reversible way. And (b) not taking account of the very real likelihood that the global revolution might become co-opted by people and forces less high-minded than yourselves. i.e. once you start dismantling societies you really don't know where you're going to end up.

Hud - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)


>But you already know you want to dispose of the institution of private property and the capitalist class. These are two very significant changes to make to a society. ... Getting rid of it, globally, is surely the very definition of a grand design style project.

Socialists are not planning to introduce socialism on behalf of anyone or imposing their minority view on them. The working class have an interest in overturning a system which viciously exploits them. If, like earlier classes they choose to pursue that interest the only way they can do it is by getting rid of the source of the exploitation, by dissolving both private ownership of the means of production and class society. That’s not a grand plan, any more than the capitalist fight to take control of the state from the seventeenth to the twentieth century was the result of a grand plan. It’s a historical movement of classes pursuing their interests. If the working class decide to go about things some other way, or a new understanding arises, so be it. This, however, is the best perspective we can get on the situation from our moment in history. It’s our starting point. We are not imposing a blueprint.


> Those who benefit from capitalism - the merchant class - are not the same as those who benefit from Feudalism. And yet capitalism replaced feudalism in a largely organic way. no revolution, no great global movement.

You appear to be assuming, that by ‘revolution’ we mean some necessarily violent upheaval. We don’t. By revolution, we mean a fundamental change in the productive relations within society. That can happen in all sorts of ways depending on material circumstances, and they need not necessarily be violent. Historically, however, they usually were, and the fight was often protracted. In the UK the conflict between the classes manifested early in the British Civil War and led to the temporary victory of the merchant capitalists in the execution of the monarch. The monarchy was restored. The second and more important victory was the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in a constitutional settlement with the crown and led to the establishment of the central bank. The capitalist class finally broke through only with the agitation that led to the First Reform Act which allowed them for the first time to enact legislation that favoured their own interests and not those of the aristos. In France, the process went off with a much bigger bang, first with the French Revolution, and then with the turmoil and conflict of the decades that followed in the Napoleonic wars which removed foreign monarchs from their thrones, followed by empires, followed by more monarchies followed by republics etc as the political battles ranged back and forth.. In the German and Italian states the processes were fragmented and complex but the general movement is the same. There were frequent uprisings and conflicts between republicans and aristocratic governments. Similar processes took place in Belgium and the Netherlands. Wherever you look there was generally some level of conflict and violence. Outside the Western states, a new capitalist class was aggressively imposed on traditional societies through colonisation.

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Hud - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

>This is dodging the question. My point is, nobody knows if socialism would work because, as socialists point out, it hasn't been tried. But neither are socialists willing to accept small-scale, incremental and reversible change; It has to be global and revolutionary. Whatever you believe about the ills of capitalism, a botched global revolution can make things a lot, lot worse.

I think you miss the point here, Bob. It doesn’t make sense simply to ask, will a post-capitalist society work, any more than it makes sense to ask, does capitalism work. If you simply mean, can a post-capitalist society sustain itself, then the answer must be, in one form or another, yes, because that’s what we do as a species, we form social relationships and create social structures. The more important question is will it sustain itself in a form that is stable and meets human need, or more important yet, will it be more stable than capitalism and meet human need more effectively. That takes us into a different raft of arguments and we can go through them in further detail. I've made a start below. But as for making things a lot, lot worse, I think you have a somewhat rosey concept of capitalism. I don’t carry around the statistics for global hunger and death from starvation, from global commercial conflict, (100+ million in the 20th century – that one I know), unnecessary deaths from disease, or from the projected consequences of global warming or nuclear annihilation, all of which situations are creations of the capitalist system, but the picture is not an enticing one. For many people in the world the situation could not be worse.


> You think? We may not have examples of socialism but we do have examples of attempts to dismantle societies and rebuild them according to designer's ideals. Iraq, The Soviet Union, Venezuela, The Great Leap Forward etc.

I think you are muddling up a number of quite different things here. There was no intention in Iraq or Venezuela to dismantle capitalism. In Iraq what we have is one major capitalist state taking down another capitalist state for the purpose of taking ownership and control of raw materials, for strategic advantage in a commercially and politically sensitive area, and possibly also to make a show of power. This is just one example of the interminable conflicts that go on within capitalism. In Venezuela, a similar conflict of commercial interests occurred between states and between different sections of the Venezuelan capitalist class, but under a different ideological umbrella. That conflict was resolved differently. In Venezuela, a proportion of the national capital was taken into the ownership of the state, in Iraq, it was taken away. But the capitalist relations of production in both those countries remained intact.

In Russia the situation was somewhat different and was a genuine dismantling of a peasant type, land-based economy, and its replacement with a capitalist one. The aristocratic Tsarist regime simply collapsed under its inability to cope with the the pressures of the First World War and its own internal conflicts, and state power passed to the Lvov government which was composed of individual capitalists and their supporters. Lenin and his Bolsheviks eventually wrested power from the existing owners of capitalist industry in what was effectively a coup, and began to develop a centralised form of capitalism instead under brutal conditions of exploitation. (Though the Bolsheviks did make an initial appeal for international capital investment in the country’s poorly developed industry and infrastructure.) The inefficiency of a centralised system eventually caused the regime to collapse and a version of the classical Western model was imposed from above. Mao’s China like Lenin’s Russia was a peasant society, though of a different type. Although It took a different route to capitalism its overall trajectory though was much the same. In the case of both China and Russia, the controlling political/economic faction were a minority exploitative class. And true to the example of all other minority exploitative classes throughout history they exploited their working population in quite brutal and often horrific ways.

The essential point about a socialist ‘revolution’ is that it would, of necessity, be carried out neither by a minority class whose power base would have to rest on the control of others, nor would it be carried out by a class whose economic interests depended upon their ability to exploit a subservient class. Quite the contrary in fact. Capitalism is a totalising system that has reduced the classes effectively to two. By dissolving the capitalist class as a class, the working class would therefore be creating a classless society.

With the removal of class conflict, a new society based on social need could then be consciously produced. And with the removal of the private ownership of the means of production the capacity for hierarchies to develop would be minimal. That’s the start of a more detailed response to your query about whether socialism would work. But now I’m going to bed. I'll deal with the rest another time.
Bob Hughes - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
>
> It doesn’t make sense simply to ask, will a post-capitalist society work, any more than it makes sense to ask, does capitalism work. If you simply mean, can a post-capitalist society sustain itself,
>...
> That’s the start of a more detailed response to your query about whether socialism would work. But now I’m going to bed. I'll deal with the rest another time.

I think you have misunderstood my point. I'm not questioning whether a socialist system would work, precisely because it is impossible for anyone to know. We can theorise about the impact of removing property rights or dissolving the capitalist class but no-one really knows until it is tried. So what I find uncomfortable about the socialist movement is that it must be global. Why not try parts of it, on a small-scale, in a reversible way. If it works, expand; if it doesn't, ditch it and move on. (Which is not far off how we ended up with a capitalist society.)
lenny weber - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

"I think you have misunderstood my point. I'm not questioning whether a socialist system would work, precisely because it is impossible for anyone to know. We can theorise about the impact of removing property rights or dissolving the capitalist class but no-one really knows until it is tried. So what I find uncomfortable about the socialist movement is that it must be global. Why not try parts of it, on a small-scale, in a reversible way. If it works, expand; if it doesn't, ditch it and move on. (Which is not far off how we ended up with a capitalist society.)"


Would that not be like the Negro slaves of the southern states of America saying to the slave owners "Look we think that we can live very well, in fact so much better without slavery, all we need is some territory, adequate resources and we'll show you how better off we will be"?

Socialism can only come about when the majority of humans understand socialism, its duties, responsibilities and decide democratically to bring it into being.
Rob Exile Ward on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber: Could be a long wait then. In the meantime the rest of us will have to make capitalism work as best we can.
Sir Chasm - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: A long wait? What do you mean? The SPGB started in 1904 and already has 500 members, so we're nearly there.
off-duty - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> Socialism can only come about when the majority of humans understand socialism, its duties, responsibilities

Given that socialists themselves appear to disagree with each other about those aspects, a consensus is going to take a while.....

FesteringSore - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: When they do(explode OR implode) and the Tories get a working majority so that they can give Clegg his marching orders it will be a day of great rejoicing for those in th UK who cherish freedom and democracy. It will herald a return to freedom of choice and the right of individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and throw off the shackles of socialism.
teflonpete - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to FesteringSore:
Welcome back Poppers. :)
FesteringSore - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to FesteringSore)
> Welcome back Poppers. :)

Meaning?

Bob Hughes - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> Would that not be like the Negro slaves of the southern states of America saying to the slave owners "Look we think that we can live very well, in fact so much better without slavery, all we need is some territory, adequate resources and we'll show you how better off we will be"?
>

No because (1) however bad you think capitalism is, it is very, very good compared to slavery. (2) even if you do choose to make the comparison, the (global) abolition of slavery was a slow and piecemeal process with some countries abolishing it in limited territories before extending the ban to other territories.
andrewmcleod - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Firstly I would argue that people rarely spontaneously combine for dramatic change. When they do, there is little to no control over the process.

Which makes preparing for a global revolution fairly pointless, since it will either happen spontaneously or it won't, and even if it does you can't really do anything about it. Exceptions being if you are either a 'great leader' (i.e. personality cult = bad) or have reached high political/celebrity rank (not how socialists generally like to operate, for good reason).

What amuses me is that I am simultaneously much more cynical and much more optimistic than the self-declared socialists in this thread :P In the short term I believe nothing dramatic will happen beyond the usual apparently random swings left and right. But the long term trend is clear - in quality of life terms, we are living in the best that times have ever been. In UK political terms, the long-term (~50 year) trend is inexorably, though noisily, towards Labour from the Tories, with small yellow perturbations :P

In fairness, most European countries have much larger socialist/communist/hard left groupings than the UK where it is (almost) non-existent (in comparison only).
andrewmcleod - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

Also slavery is a civil rights/liberties issue, not an economic one. Most modern capitalism is quite* good at giving you freedom, just not necessarily any money/wealth/resources to do anything with it/avoid starving to death.

It is easier to make absolute moral decisions about civil liberties (is it OK to pay women yes - yes/no) than economic ones (how we arrange our labours/resources for the maximum benefit of humanity).

* as in, not perfect but relatively free
Olaf Prot - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

...I thought we were living in an anarcho-syndicalist collective?!
Postmanpat on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> . But the long term trend is clear - in quality of life terms, we are living in the best that times have ever been. In UK political terms, the long-term (~50 year) trend is inexorably, though noisily, towards Labour from the Tories, with small yellow perturbations :P
>
>
How the hell do work that one out???? It's away from both of them and Labour has only stayed in the game by moving towards the Tories.
lenny weber - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:
Bob, I suggest you type "anti slavery" into a search engine if you think that "the(global)abolition of slavery" has been achieved.

Capitalism presents as the last form of human bondage in its wage slavery. Instead of being owned and traded in the slave market by others, we workers are coerced by the threat of poverty to sell ourselves on the labour market to the highest bidder, if we're lucky. And of course in accepting a price for our social creativity we then have agreed to live primarily for those who have bought it.

Here's a thought, wages and salaries are the price we sell ourselves for, as I see it anything with a price attached can't be free, can it?
Giving freely of our social creativity, taking freely from social production = life without price = freedom. Trouble is that the idea of freedom scares the shit out of most people because they think that with freedom comes responsibility and that sort of thing is best dealt with by politicians, whereas the correct way to see it is, with responsibility comes freedom.
Rob Exile Ward on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber: You're completely bonkers, aren't you? Totally disconnected.

FWIW I'm a capitalist, I do it because I like creating stuff - stuff that never existed before. I like employing people who do it even better than I do - I supply things they haven't got - ideas, bottle, cash - they supply the thing that I haven't - skills, expertise. We help each other. Works well. Try it for once and join the human race.
MG - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Opressive exploitative fascist bastard. Or something. ..
andrewmcleod - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/may/05/conservative-victory-long-decline

shows the decline in Conservative votes over the last ~50 years. There are links in the article to the vote share for Labour and the Liberals. I was not entirely correct; the Labour share of the vote has remained fairly constant over that time while it is the Liberals who have gained votes. Thanks to our archaic voting system though, that still means Tory decline will tend to Labour success (in seats, not votes).

(from before the last election, but this is a long term trend so it doesn't make any difference)
Postmanpat on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:

Lies, damned lies and statistics. Look at this breakdown:

http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/uktable.htm

The major parties in the three post war election were each getting about 45-48% of the popular vote.

In 2005 Labour won with 35% and in 2010 the Tories formed a coalition with 36%. (Labour was down to 29%). These were the "end points" in a long term trend. Clearly both have lost their share at roughly similar rates. Labour simply had a spike up in 1997 just as the Tories did in 1989 but the long term trend is down for both.

Things are even worse when one takes the fall in turnout into account. Between 1950 and 2010 Labour's % of the potential vote fell from 41% to 19% and the Tory's from 40% to 19%. 1950 had a very high (83%) turnout but overall turnout has fallen from the high 70s to the mid 60s over the period.

One could actually argue that the recent rise of UKIP, albeit likely short lived, reflects a broader swing to the right.

There is absolutely no long term drift to Labour even in its new guise.
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

But I'm sure a huge proportion of the electorate are now wanting a drift back towards the centre, at least ... We shall see.
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Postmanpat on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
Whst is the "centre"?Labour has drifted right since about 1990 and the toties have drifted left. Post ThatcherIn their quest to capture the "centre" they have lost key supporters. Hence cameron is sweating about ukip and milliband is pronouncing himself a '"socialist"". Arguably the parties are moving away from the centre.
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

If so, continuing bad news for all of us. Let us continue to bow and scrape to these old Etonians who know better than the vast majority of us about such things as spare bedrooms. Etc., etc etc etc (one could make a wallpaper pattern of etcs, I suppose)
FesteringSore - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> Let us continue to bow and scrape to these old Etonians
Well I don't particularly want to bow and scrape to left wing union barons either.
Simon4 - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to lenny weber) You're completely bonkers, aren't you? Totally disconnected.

Oh dear.

It doesn't sound as if the agitation to convert the broad masses of the climbing proletariat to the inevitable triumph of socialism (but not imposed by force or intimidation, no sir, none of that sort of stuff here, forget the gulags and the killing fields and the cultural revolution, no everyone will spontaneously agree about everything and all will be perfect, for the first time in human history) is going too well.

Though it is slightly odd that Chamers, Lenny Weber, Hudd all appear simultaneously and all seem to churn out the same meaningless Marxist cliches at interminable length and have incredibly similar voices and terminology. Almost as though it were an orchestrated attempt to invade a climbing website, as long as they get some response to their diatribes (though in truth, a response is not really needed, they can talk to each other - if they are really different people - forever without the need for third parties).

You need a new strategy for agitation, comrades - the damned capitalists just won't lie down and fade away.
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to FesteringSore:

Nor do I. What's that got to do with the vast moderate centre of UK politics? Nothing.
FesteringSore - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Well it seems to me that Labour are about to be taken over by them again. Miliband is showing sign of leaning even further to the left.
andrewmcleod - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Using some data off the same website, I made my own graphs and concluded that you are indeed (depressingly) correct :(

Over the entire data period from 1945, the Tories are losing vote share at approximately 0.2% per year (or 1% per election cycle), but Labour are losing vote share at approximately 0.25% per year (or 1.25% per election cycle).

If you make the following (potentially dubious) assumptions though:
a) The Labour party is a left-wing party
b) The Conservative party is a right-wing party
c) The Liberal Democrats are a left-wing party

then the old saving grace is that the share of left wing votes is presumably going up (too lazy to check, but difficult to see how it could be otherwise).

(caveats - I averaged the two 1974 values)
Postmanpat on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> If so, continuing bad news for all of us.
>
The bad news is that in their desperation to appeal to marginal voters (and newly engendered fear of losing key support) none of hm are prepared to explore radical ideas.

Postmanpat on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> then the old saving grace is that the share of left wing votes is presumably going up (too lazy to check, but difficult to see how it could be otherwise).
>
> (caveats - I averaged the two 1974 values)

That makes sense. I don't think the lib dems are really "left". They are a hotch porch best summed up as "not Labour or Tory" who have benefited from disillusionment with the big two. Now they are tarred by power their vote will possibly move on or stop voting.

Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Yup - of course the Lib Dems aren't 'left'. They have a very distinctive set of values.
Hud - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

Hiya Bob, Possibly. But as I understand it, in a world of aggressive capitalist states, a small enclave of socialism would not survive for long. How would it defend itself? And it would have to be more or less self-sufficient as well to obtain a clear experimental result, which at today's level of technology would be more or less impossible. I'm also not sure how you think you could just experiment on parts of it. It arises from the elimination of the social relations we have at present not anything that could be partly grafted on to them.

The problem lies in the assumptions that underlie your statement, "why not try parts of it, on a small scale in a reversible way?" Who would do this? Those with an interest in continuing to exploit the resources and the vast majority of the population are not going to be interested in doing it. And they are certainly not going to sit around twiddling their thumbs if a group of plebs tried it, with a view ultimately of disposessing them. Just looking at this empirically and practically, the movement would have to grow, not necessarily uniformly, but certainly globally over time, if it were to be sustainable.

Social forms have never arisen in the way your comment implies, as a social experiment to see what the best way forward would be. That's utopian. And this is certainly not how we ended up with a capitalist society. Capitalism wasn't a collective decision or even a decision. It resulted from groups of people pursuing their own interests under certain developing circumstances, here and there. And when those people acted, they had no plan for capitalism and no concept of what the consequences of their actions might be. But I wouldn't personally be looking to this as a way forward. The result for most people was devastating. So much for small scale 'experiments.'

This is why I think your original concerns about the 'workability' of socialism are unreal. It is part of the human condition that we have to go into the future blindly. Every step we take is an act of faith for all of us. All we can do is 'theorise' as you say and draw upon the slender but growing evidence from anthropology and science. That's the best we have ever been able to do. The idea that we have to 'know' whether socialism or capitalism or anything else will give us what we want and do what we demand of it in 20, 30, 100 years time is just to demand the impossible. But the truth is, we have to act, and we have to decide. There is no choice in the matter. Choosing not to choose is to choose passive acceptance of the world and to go along with the choices of others. But, people have never done that. The world as we find it was created by the active choices of those who have gone before us. and those choices have been made with very partial knowledge of the world, often, in times of social development, of the basis of group interest.

The argument against capitalism is not just its exploitative and destructive nature, but that it is a system over which in all sorts of ways we have no control. That's clear from the 'economists' and politicians talk about the economy. In their language it appears as some sort of beast that had to be appeased instead of being the means by which we satisfy our needs. Only this afternoon I heard someone on the radio trotting out the old idea that we must consume to support the economy. We don't actually need an economy that we constantly have to feed. We want one in the broadest sense, that feeds us.

The argument for socialism is that by freeing people from class conflict and class interest, we would once again have some measure of control over our lives and the power to make rational, conscious decisions about how we organised our social and material environment.

Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to lenny weber) Could be a long wait then. In the meantime the rest of us will have to make capitalism work as best we can.

LOL. That's the ultimate example of hope over experience, Rob. Sweet dreams!
Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:

Where on earth do you get the idea that slavery is not an economic issue Andrew! You think slave owners kept slaves as fashion accessories perhaps? Or to piss off the reformers. The economic activity of whole empires and cultures has been built on slavery. The civil rights issues that arose around American slavery, for instance, were also economic in origin. Nobody much started to worry about the civil rights of slaves until the slave states came into conflict with the expanding power and size of the new capitalist industries to the north. The capitalist mill owners who needed free labour to grow their business suddenly discovered their conscience at just that point in time. Quite a coincidence, really.

The material freedom that capitalism gives is a legal fiction. In reality, if you have insufficient capital to live on, you have very little choice but to sell your labour to someone else. And when you sell your labour to be commanded by someone else, then you are not free, any more than the medieval peasant or American slave was free.
Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]
>
> Oh dear.
>
> It doesn't sound as if the agitation to convert the broad masses of the climbing proletariat... is going too well.
>
> Though it is slightly odd that Chamers, Lenny Weber, Hudd all appear simultaneously and all seem to churn out the same meaningless Marxist cliches
>
> You need a new strategy for agitation, comrades - the damned capitalists just won't lie down and fade away.


LOL. You seem to enjoy preening yourself up with mindless, personal invective Simon. I enjoy discussion and debate. It's a wide world. There's room for all of us.

lenny weber - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
So Rob I'm "completely bonkers" am I? So, what's the rational reason to produce food? Well bonkers as I am I can't help thinking it's for people to eat, but with this market dominated society we have, if you cant pay for it, if there's no profit in supplying you food, you go hungry. Rationalising the irrational is extremely bad for you.
Your an employer you say, well the verb employ means to use, to exploit, to take advantage of. I'm not being moralistic here, it's just the way it is.
off-duty - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> well the verb employ means to use, to exploit, to take advantage of. I'm not being moralistic here, it's just the way it is.

You must have a different dictionary from any that I have seen.
MJ - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

There seems to be more members of the SPGB on this Forum then there is on their own!
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4: "...at interminable length and have incredibly similar voices and terminology"

Exactly what I noticed, Simon. (you like my little p1sstake at their stock response?). Identikit marxists, all trained at the same school. The prose is all so uncannily familiar between them it's almost robotic and a bit creepy. It could easily be one poster logging in on three different accounts.
teflonpete - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Simon4) "...at interminable length and have incredibly similar voices and terminology"
>
> It could easily be one poster logging in on three different accounts.

It's a computer program written to copy and paste lengthy socialist diatribes on to internet forums in the hope of making capitalists who read them late for work. ;0)
Postmanpat on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús)
> [...]
>
> It's a computer program written to copy and paste lengthy socialist diatribes on to internet forums in the hope of making capitalists who read them late for work. ;0)
>
It is programmed never to use a sentence when four paragraphs would do.

Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat et al:

Would you listen to yourselves! You guys are so predictable. The defensive jeers, the stereotyping, the huddling together for mutual confirmation. And still somehow you believe that your set media discussions in media language are somehow original? Wow!

Phase 2. When the capacity to engage ends, the personal attacks begin.
teflonpete - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Postmanpat et al)

> Phase 2. When the capacity to engage ends, the personal attacks begin.

Phase 3. When boredom sets in, the jokes start. ;0)
tony on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Postmanpat et al)
>
> Would you listen to yourselves! You guys are so predictable. The defensive jeers, the stereotyping, the huddling together for mutual confirmation. And still somehow you believe that your set media discussions in media language are somehow original? Wow!

Predictable! Ha! That's a f*cking laugh, coming from someone who is doing nothing other than regurgitating the same old stuff I heard 30 years ago.
Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to tony:

Actually, Tony, this stuff is so familiar to contributors on this site that they have failed utterly to get to grips with much of it, preferring instead to project onto it their own muddled and mistaken assumptions. Hence the long explanations. That's by no means uncommon, though. Generally, if you step outside the box, you have to spend a lot of time explaining what you don't mean before people can even begin to disagree with what you do.

But several of you may have a point. I grew up in a pre-Wikipedia, pre-soundbite world where it was taken for granted that concepts were complex and subtle and had to be backed by argument and demonstration. That idea seems to cause frustration and ennui these days. Oh well!
Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Phase 3. When boredom sets in, the jokes start. ;0)

LOL. Same difference.

Postmanpat on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Postmanpat et al)
>
> Would you listen to yourselves! You guys are so predictable. The defensive jeers, the stereotyping, the huddling together for mutual confirmation.

As opposed to the 500 members of your sect who don't change anything, keep chattering and call others "deluded morons"?

> Phase 2. When the capacity to engage ends, the personal attacks begin.

There's nothing to engage with. Faith is not something that can be argued against.

Hud - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> As opposed to the 500 members of your sect who don't change anything, keep chattering and call others "deluded morons"?
>
> [...]
>
> There's nothing to engage with. Faith is not something that can be argued against.

Given that almost the only attempt to provide argument and explanation here has been on the side of those putting out ideas that you find soooooo boring, I'd say that reliance on unexamined ideas (faith) was entirely on your side. Have you any idea how much the political discussion on this thread sounds like strings of words put together from media sites.

Boredom incidentally, is a shutting off of engagement. Even when unprompted, though, you guys still keep coming back with high degrees of energy, showering insults on the source of the thing you say you are bored with. That's not boredom, that's defensiveness.
Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]


> Though it is slightly odd that Chamers, Lenny Weber, Hudd all appear simultaneously and all seem to churn out the same meaningless Marxist cliches at interminable length and have incredibly similar voices and terminology.

Never let facts get in the way of an ad hominem attack, eh? I've been on this site for years. Perhaps you'd like to explain your use of the term 'meaningless'?
Postmanpat on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Given that almost the only attempt to provide argument and explanation here has been on the side of those putting out ideas that you find soooooo boring,
>
But those attempts are frankly pathetic: feeble evidence, gross generalisations, Herculean leaps of faith, trite cliches. Your faith is so longstanding and deep you are no longer aware of this, just like the creationists. Discussion is pointless but as a psychological phenomenon it's mildly interesting.


KellyKettle - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: I would suggest that meaningless was intended to convey a lack of deeper meaning, or perhaps a lack of any comprihensible meaning whatsoever...
Rob Exile Ward on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Funnily enough I remember arguing with my old tutor Bob Looker about the role of faith in Marxism. His/the Marxist view was that it didn't need faith because it was happening - 'praxis'. I pushed him pretty hard and he finally acknowledged that yes, he had faith that praxs would occur... he practically had tears in his eyes.

Still gave me a decent mark for my finals essay slagging off the Marxists in pre war Germany though, so respect.
Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: So, PP, in the years that we've been having this discussion, not once have you adequately explained any criticism of the case for socialism. It's just statements. Socialism won't work. It's already been tried and failed. Human nature is an obstacle to a better world. Your defence of capitalism is in a similar vein.

Show me just one leap of faith in our case?
Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: So you think that the admission of an academic who claims to be a Marxist that he 'believed' is evidence against our case? You, my friend, still have all of your work ahead of you.
Sir Chasm - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: "Show me just one leap of faith in our case?"

That you actually think it's going to happen.
Postmanpat on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) So, PP, in the years that we've been having this discussion, not once have you adequately explained any criticism of the case for socialism. It's just statements.
>
No, it's mainly questions, which you think you provide answers to but don't. If you can't see the criticism implied in the questions it's no wonder you fail to provide satisfactory answers!


Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: We don't, necessarily, and that's not part of our case. We do think it could happen, however, and we're very clear about what would be necessary for a revolution to occur. Once again, you're attacking something that isn't there.
teflonpete - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm) We don't, necessarily, and that's not part of our case.

Then all you are doing is daydreaming.

Sorry to put it so bluntly and it's not meant as an insult, but all you are doing, if you don't necessarily believe world socialism can be achieved, is the same as a teenage boy who thinks that life will be wonderful if he has the prom queen as his girlfriend and owns a red Ferrari.
Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Then all you are doing is daydreaming.
>
> Sorry to put it so bluntly and it's not meant as an insult, but all you are doing, if you don't necessarily believe world socialism can be achieved, is the same as a teenage boy who thinks that life will be wonderful if he has the prom queen as his girlfriend and owns a red Ferrari.

But you've patently misread me again. We do not argue that socialism will happen, but we argue that it could. There is nothing inevitable about it, in our view.

Bob Hughes - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> And they are certainly not going to sit around twiddling their thumbs if a group of plebs tried it, with a view ultimately of disposessing them. Just looking at this empirically and practically, the movement would have to grow, not necessarily uniformly, but certainly globally over time, if it were to be sustainable.
>
If a social system is so unstable that it can't co-exist alongside another, different social system, then that's a good reason not to do it.
>
> Social forms have never arisen in the way your comment implies, as a social experiment to see what the best way forward would be. That's utopian. And this is certainly not how we ended up with a capitalist society. Capitalism wasn't a collective decision or even a decision. It resulted from groups of people pursuing their own interests under certain developing circumstances, here and there. And when those people acted, they had no plan for capitalism and no concept of what the consequences of their actions might be.

Precisely. Capitalism came about piecemeal. A tweak here, a bit of tinkering there. The difference, as you say, is that it wasn't pre-determined. The idea of capitalism came after the adoption.

But I wouldn't personally be looking to this as a way forward. The result for most people was devastating. So much for small scale 'experiments.'
>
> This is why I think your original concerns about the 'workability' of socialism are unreal.
>

I am not questioning the workability of socialism per se. I am questioning our ability to predict in advance whether socialism will work - or any other ideology that hasn't ever been tried.

> It is part of the human condition that we have to go into the future blindly. Every step we take is an act of faith for all of us.

OK good analogy. Imagine you are blind - or blindfolded if you prefer - and you are stranger's house trying to find your way to the bathroom in the night. At the end of the journey you are promised relief and relaxation but there are dangers along the way. Do you sit down, try to work out where the bathroom should be based on other houses you have visited then run down the corridor to your best estimate of the bathroom? Or do you inch your way, in small, reversible steps using trial and error to get you there? Option 1 is faster if your best guess is correct and no-one has left a step ladder in the corridor. Option 2 will take a lot longer but you are less likely to trip over a step-ladder or pee in your host's wife's wardrobe as she sleeps soundly in her bed.
>
Bob Hughes - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud: incidentally, I notice that you and Lenny have only contributed on this thread - and no others on the site. What should we conclude from that?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Rob Exile Ward on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: 'We do not argue that socialism will happen, but we argue that it could. There is nothing inevitable about it, in our view. '

That may be the understatement of the year.

I can't quote exactly, but a line in North and South sums up the reason that it never will. I'm paraphrasing: 'XXX was realistic enough to know that if one day everyone woke up and was equal, the next day some people would wake up half an earlier, work a little bit harder, and start to gain more reward for their efforts.'
Bob Hughes - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Hud:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> And when those people acted, they had no plan for capitalism and no concept of what the consequences of their actions might be. But I wouldn't personally be looking to this as a way forward. The result for most people was devastating.
>
...

> The economic activity of whole empires and cultures has been built on slavery. The civil rights issues that arose around American slavery, for instance, were also economic in origin. Nobody much started to worry about the civil rights of slaves until the slave states came into conflict with the expanding power and size of the new capitalist industries to the north. The capitalist mill owners who needed free labour to grow their business suddenly discovered their conscience at just that point in time. Quite a coincidence, really.

Are you arguing that the profit motive contributed to the freeing of slaves...? :-)
Chambers - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Chambers) 'We do not argue that socialism will happen, but we argue that it could. There is nothing inevitable about it, in our view. '
>
> That may be the understatement of the year.
>
> I can't quote exactly, but a line in North and South sums up the reason that it never will. I'm paraphrasing: 'XXX was realistic enough to know that if one day everyone woke up and was equal, the next day some people would wake up half an earlier, work a little bit harder, and start to gain more reward for their efforts.'

Which only goes to show that you have understood precisely nothing of our case. It'd be useful if you woke up half an earlier tomorrow and did a bit of background research. Then you might have something valid to say, instead of spending your time attempting to discredit apples by attacking citrus fruits.

Postmanpat on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]
>
> Which only goes to show that you have understood precisely nothing of our case.
>
Given that this would apparently be true of virtually everyone on here apart fom you and your two mates has it occurred to you that the problem may lie with your explanations.

I am hearing "we think the world would be better without States, class or money" and "we could achieve this by everybody agreeing to it".

What am I missing?
teflonpete - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)

> I am hearing "we think the world would be better without States, class or money" and "we could achieve this by everybody agreeing to it".


Like I said, the world would be better if the prom queen was my girlfriend and I had a red Ferrari. No idea of how to get the Ferrari or woo the girl though.
Sir Chasm - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> We don't, necessarily, and that's not part of our case. We do think it could happen, however, and we're very clear about what would be necessary for a revolution to occur. Once again, you're attacking something that isn't there.

I thought the SPGB wanted to achieve world socialism via a democratic mandate? Or is a world revolution part of that?

And I'm not attacking anything, don't be so soft, there isn't anything to attack. You've got an idea about how you think the world should work, but you're not doing anything (so you've said) to convert people to your way of thinking.
Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
> Like I said, the world would be better if the prom queen was my girlfriend and I had a red Ferrari. No idea of how to get the Ferrari or woo the girl though.

The world might be better for you - though I'd feel sorry for the prom queen - and with current fuel prices the Ferrari's maybe not such a good idea. Unless, of course, you want the world to know that the prom queen's boyfriend has a really small penis!

But what does this have to do with the case for socialism? Nothing at all, so far as I can see.



Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Hud)
> [...]
>
> Predictable! Ha! That's a f*cking laugh, coming from someone who is doing nothing other than regurgitating the same old stuff I heard 30 years ago.

It's perfectly possible that you did hear some of our ideas thirty years ago. Although I suspect that you are confusing us with the various sects on the left. Impossible to know, since you've yet to criticise our case.

Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to Simon4) "...at interminable length and have incredibly similar voices and terminology"
>
> Exactly what I noticed, Simon. (you like my little p1sstake at their stock response?). Identikit marxists, all trained at the same school. The prose is all so uncannily familiar between them it's almost robotic and a bit creepy. It could easily be one poster logging in on three different accounts.

This is the utter nonsense that is resorted to by those with no arguments. Funnily enough, kneejerk opponents of challenging ideas all sound the same to me.
stroppygob - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Are you sticking with this s"Chambers" sock puppet still Gudrun/Shona? It must be a record.
teflonpete - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
>
> The world might be better for you -

Socialism would make the world a better place for you, not for me. I'd like a red Ferrari, thankyou.

On the other hand, I suppose, when we have a socialist society, anyone who wants a red Ferrari can have one, as we won't have to pay for it, or the fuel to go in it as there won't be any money any more will there? All I'll have to do is do the work I want to do for society's benefit and drive the Ferrari around, sharing it with anyone else who wants to drive it.

> But what does this have to do with the case for socialism? Nothing at all, so far as I can see.

Daydreaming, just daydreaming about different stuff. I've no idea who the prom queen is or how to earn enough to buy a Ferrari. You've no idea how to implement your democratic socialist society, you just daydream about how wonderful you think it would be.

Good luck to you, I hope you enjoy it and it makes you happy, but by the looks of it, you aren't convincing anyone else.

dek - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
You did of course mean a ' Red Trabi'......a Trabant, comrade!
Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Are you sticking with this s"Chambers" sock puppet still Gudrun/Shona? It must be a record.
You're beginning to sound like a record. One with the needle stuck. Go away.

Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Socialism would make the world a better place for you, not for me. I'd like a red Ferrari, thankyou.

You're wrong about that. For a number of reasons. First of all, the ownership of a red Ferrari will cease to be a manufactured desire in a socialist society. In fact, after just a couple of generations humanity will scarcely remember just how stupid life under capitalism was. Some people might enjoy teaching about how stupid humanity was in centres of learning, but I suspect most people will be too busy leading fulfilled, creative lives to bother attending the lectures! There might be some people who like to collect pointless artefacts from the days when we lived in a commodity-based society and put them in museums, of course. Or maybe not. Who can say?

The important thing to understand here is that your desires do not arise in a vacuum but are, in fact, culturally dependent. Stone-age man didn't fantasise about a red Ferrari, any more than he considered heading down to MacDonald's for a burger. Ask yourself this question: Why do you want a red Ferrari? Why would anyone choose to drive such an irresponsible vehicle that's so damaging to the environment? Of course, you know the answer to this. Ownership of such a vehicle is a signifier of status. Wealth, power, and the ability to pull any prom queen you want. But really, what's the point of having a red Ferrari when you can only drive at 70mph?
>
> On the other hand, I suppose, when we have a socialist society, anyone who wants a red Ferrari can have one, as we won't have to pay for it, or the fuel to go in it as there won't be any money any more will there? All I'll have to do is do the work I want to do for society's benefit and drive the Ferrari around, sharing it with anyone else who wants to drive it.
>
> [...]
>
> Daydreaming, just daydreaming about different stuff. I've no idea who the prom queen is or how to earn enough to buy a Ferrari. You've no idea how to implement your democratic socialist society, you just daydream about how wonderful you think it would be.
>
> Good luck to you, I hope you enjoy it and it makes you happy, but by the looks of it, you aren't convincing anyone else.

You can daydream as much as you like. The empty, unfulfilled lives that people lead under capitalism fuels such idle speculation. Just like dreams of winning the lottery. Dream on. For my part, I have no interest in Ferraris. I have an interest in propagating the ideas that will lead to a society unlike any other established by humanity, in which production will take place directly to satisfy human needs and not to line the pockets of a few. I'm a hard-headed scientific rationalist. Daydreaming is not my strong suit, nor do I have any use for it.

As far as convincing people is concerned, it's a dripping tap kind of thing. We just plant the seeds. And do you know what? Thirty years ago there was only us talking about a moneyless society. Now there are literally hundreds of groups arguing for a resource based economy.

Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to dek:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> You did of course mean a ' Red Trabi'......a Trabant, comrade!

Only if he's as confused as you are about what is state capitalism and what is socialism.

Simon4 - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:

> Identikit marxists, all trained at the same school. The prose is all so uncannily familiar between them it's almost robotic and a bit creepy.

Robotic is a good way of putting it. Normal people don't speak, or for that matter write, like that. Even people on this forum who have a particular, even obsessional view, write in normal language without so much in-group and largely meaningless jargon.

I was wondering why it felt so familiar, yet so alien, the I though of Orwell's essay, "Politics and the English Language" :

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples.

Essay on psychology in Politics (New York)

4. All the "best people" from the gentlemen's clubs, and all the frantic fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis.

As Orwell says :

"Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness."

> It could easily be one poster logging in on three different accounts.

It looks suspiciously like it, an attempt to give the illusion of popular appeal or mutual support. Why anyone would be sufficiently obsessive, or why anyone would think that the trick would be convincing is an interesting question.

Alternatively it is a result of one member of some left-wing groupuscule trawling the internet for forums, finding one where he at least gets some response even if that response is hostile or derisory and getting his mates to setup identities to peddle their line. Religious, cultist and similar fringe groups are known to do such things to try spread their message in the same sort of way.
Orgsm on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Booooooom
teflonpete - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Bollox to all that, I'm not a stone age man, I like the colour red and I like going fast. I also like creating engineering and machinery. Furthermore, we can abolish the 70 mph speed limit democratically when we're a socialist society. Now where do I sign up, I'm really looking forward to driving the Ferrari.
Ridge - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Bollox to all that, I'm not a stone age man, I like the colour red and I like going fast. I also like creating engineering and machinery. Furthermore, we can abolish the 70 mph speed limit democratically when we're a socialist society. Now where do I sign up, I'm really looking forward to driving the Ferrari.

Me too. People will want to drive Ferraris, people will want to design them, and make them, and service them. Making and driving Ferraris, (TBH I'm not bothered about the badge, or the status, or the evil capitalist marketing, they can call it the Chambersmobile for all I care), would tick the needs and fulfilment box for many people. However, you need people to mine the ores and make the paint and make the tyres etc. That's just donkey work, and in our socialist utopia no one needs to work if it doesn't fulfil their higher purposes. So it won't get done. Neither will the cleaning, or road mending, or arse wiping in the nursing homes. That's where it all goes to rat shit.
andrewmcleod - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge:

Robots! :)

I don't want a red ferarri. But I would like a pair of ice axes, crampons, mountaineering boots, down jacket, winter trousers, two sets of wallnuts, some alloy offsets, torque nuts, at least one complete set of cams, racking carabiners, double and twin ropes, static abseil rope, locking belay device, snow deadman, and that's just off the top of my head... None of this is a status symbol or 'manufacturer desire', I just want to go play with things! :)

In an ideal world, there would still be a little warehouse up in Llanberis with the DMM sign up with people both designing gear and going climbing with it. But noone would make the gear; it would be done by robots with raw materials mined by robots. Someone needs to program the robots (once), or later on program computers to program the robots, but this is interesting work. Unlike repetitive factory work, which may or may not be interesting but does not need to be done by people (more than once).
ads.ukclimbing.com
Simon4 - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

> I like the colour red and I like going fast. I also like creating engineering and machinery.

You don't really you know, you just think you do. It is false conciousness implanted in you by capitalism. In a perfect socialist society, you won't have these bad thoughts ever again.


Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to Ridge)
>
> Robots! :)
>
> I don't want a red ferarri. But I would like a pair of ice axes, crampons, mountaineering boots, down jacket, winter trousers, two sets of wallnuts, some alloy offsets, torque nuts, at least one complete set of cams, racking carabiners, double and twin ropes, static abseil rope, locking belay device, snow deadman, and that's just off the top of my head... None of this is a status symbol or 'manufacturer desire', I just want to go play with things! :)
>
> In an ideal world, there would still be a little warehouse up in Llanberis with the DMM sign up with people both designing gear and going climbing with it. But noone would make the gear; it would be done by robots with raw materials mined by robots. Someone needs to program the robots (once), or later on program computers to program the robots, but this is interesting work. Unlike repetitive factory work, which may or may not be interesting but does not need to be done by people (more than once).

You're absolutely correct, Andrew. I spent a while working at the no longer extant HB factory in Wales. I had a cool job running the warehouse. Played with climbing gear all day. Put it in boxes, sent it off around the planet. Met some incredible and inspiring people. (Met Johnny Dawes, as well!) But the poor guys on the factory floor that were making our climbing gear? Hated their jobs. Hated the English. Hated the fact that they worked for poverty wages and had to come back every week for more of the same shit or they couldn't pay their rent.

By definition, all boring, repetitive work can be automated. But not under capitalism. It's cheaper to employ disposable people. Which is why the abolition of capitalism is our only chance of climbing now and maybe working later...

Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Bollox to all that, I'm not a stone age man, I like the colour red and I like going fast. I also like creating engineering and machinery. Furthermore, we can abolish the 70 mph speed limit democratically when we're a socialist society. Now where do I sign up, I'm really looking forward to driving the Ferrari.

Funnily enough, socialism may be your only chance of driving that Ferrari. I like going fast, too, but on motorcycles. But I'm sure that when we organise society along the lines of human needs rather than the pursuit of profit it'll be very easy to set aside places where people can drive as fast and as dangerously as they like without the risk of killing anyone but themselves.

Where do you sign up? That's simple. Except you can't. At least not yet. Unlike other political parties who don't care what you think as long as you think what they want you to, we don't let anyone in unless they're socialists.

Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
>
> [...]
>
> You don't really you know, you just think you do. It is false conciousness implanted in you by capitalism. In a perfect socialist society, you won't have these bad thoughts ever again.

You're funny, Simon. At least I wish you were...

Rob Exile Ward on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: 'no longer extant HB factory in Wales'... er, accepting your description at face value, any idea why the factory is no longer extant? Compared to, say, Black Diamond, which (with a change of ownership) has gone from strength to strength?

Could it be that what you perceived as capitalism was simply poor, antediluvian management?


andrewmcleod - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> By definition, all boring, repetitive work can be automated. But not under capitalism. It's cheaper to employ disposable people. Which is why the abolition of capitalism is our only chance of climbing now and maybe working later...

It's not always cheaper. While Chinese (and even more so, Bangladeshi et al) labour is very cheap, it is still cheaper to make some stuff robotically under capitalism as well (e.g. automated surface mount assembly for circuit boards) - it just depends.

Personally I would quite like a) a living wage in the UK, and b) the requirement that all products imported into the UK pay a (country dependent) living wage to every worker involved in the production... OK so the paperwork would be a pain, but probably still doable for most things (and worth it even if incomplete and partially avoided). Of course there would be issues but most could be overcome if you though about it hard enough, and were prepared to make reasonable alternatives (e.g. taxes on the purchases of raw products in lieu of worker tracking, to a similar estimated value and given as aid to the relevant country if deserving).

Probably a step not far enough for you (and I understand why) but still too far to actually make reality in the immediate future :P
Chambers - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: No, Rob. I'm very clear about what capitalism is. I can define it in a single sentence. You're probably right about the antediluvian management, however. But you're still polishing a turd.
lenny weber - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
OK then, let's try different approach.
A few years back a friend of mine moved to a new house, with it came a new phone No, and for a short while when only family and friends knew of it, the message on his answering machine went "who the f*ck are you and what do you want"? Kind of funny but in thinking about it we could ask who the f*ck are we and what the f*ck do we want? Because how we identify ourselves goes a long way in determining what we want. As all societies, have been, are and will be social relationships so it surely follows that the more we know about what we're relating with and who we are relating to, the more functional the more human that relationship will be. The science of genetics has some surprising things to tell us, like we all share the same ancestral great grandmother, Mitochondrial Eve and grandfather Chromosomal Adam and there's no one more distantly related to anyone else than sixteenth cousin. These scientific facts for me are amazing, because it makes us all members of one human family. Now if a family is to bring the maximum security, happiness and fulfillment to its members it has to recognise and acknowledge the ethic of bringing according to ability, taking according to need, if that's the case we can immediately see why we live in such a dysfunctional world.
Someone said, I've forgotten who, "To thyne own self be true" sound advice, because if we are under illusions about who we are, we can't be true to ourselves and leave ourselves wide open to all manner of psychological illnesses; depression, neurosis, schizophrenia, sociopathy and more, and there's plenty of it about, is there not? None of us gets the choice about the time and place of our birth, our parents, the language we learn, the culture, traditions, religions, politics and nationality we are socially conditioned to accept, as Marx irrefutably pointed out "the ruling ideas in any epoch are always the ideas of those that rule", or if you like there's The Golden Rule; "Those with all the gold make all the rules". So those of you who see yourselves as knowing the score, ahead of the game, sophisticated urban spacemen, think again and you might very well come to the conclusion that you've been and are being taken for a suckers ride.
We humans like everything in this universe of ours are conditioned by situation but unlike all that we know of, we humans can appreciate this fact and by examining our conditioning we can not only go on to recondition ourselves, as active agents in society we can then go on to recondition our situation.
Let's take look at the "I want a Ferrari" syndrome, this is the world view necessary if capitalisms is to continue, and it goes like this; the more you have the more you've been able to take, the more you are. Money is anonymous so you could be a drug dealer, of a child pornographer, an armed robber, people trafficker, whatever, you can approach the market and as long as you have the money in sufficient amounts you can have your most frivolous whims satisfied immediately. But there's the other side to the market world view, if you happen to live in some poverty stricken part of this world of ours and through no fault of your own, you and your family are starving, so approaching the market, the only outlet that can satisfy your need, with no money in your pocket, you'll find as far as the market is concerned there's no profit in satisfying your needs, so not only do your needs do not exist, as far as the market is concerned, because you have no money, effective demand, you don't exist. With capitalism the right to be is gauged by the content of your share portfolios and bank account and if you have nothing you are nobody. With socialism we will be gauged by what we share, what we bring and what we pass on.
Capitalism can only exist while society is afflicted by an acute case of mistaken identity, at the moment there is so little accessible information on what it is to be human, it wouldn't do for us to find out now would it? Society sooner rather than later will, I'm certain, find its common identity, then it will be the end of capitalism because we can't oppress, exploit or abuse in any way those we identify with. Competition over the control of societies wealth will be replaced by co-operation in its democratic administration, from each according to ability, to each according to need
So this is it 1) We humans are one family. 2) the natural and industrial recourses on our planet are the common heritage of all humans. 3)Here's the kicker, if nobody works, nobody lives but if we all work well, everybody lives well.

To wind up.
Who we believe ourselves to be conditions what we want.

Me, I know I'm part of the one human family and I want a family life.

So, who the f*ck are you and what do you want!
lenny weber - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
Was it something I said?
Simon4 - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

> Was it something I said?

It was both everything you said, and they way you said it.

You were proposing a millenarian vision of a mythical perfect society, were everyone is happy, prosperous and all agree - with you! There were no tangible details about how this paradise would operate (especially how it would deal with those troublesome dissidents who stubbornly refused to recognise the inevitability and wonderfulness of your nirvana), it was all high-sounding generalities and pious wishes.

It is no different to a religious zealot with their own vision of perfection, saying that we cannot imagine what heaven will be like, because we cannot know the mind of God, nonetheless because he is God and therefore perfect, so will heaven be. Socialism (Marxism), God or Allah all offer alternative versions of paradise, to heretics they are in equal measure utterly unconvincing and menacing, since true believers tend not to handle dissent and challenge to their shibboleths very well - they normally react with threatened or actual violence. In any case, the followers of Allah seem to be a bit more effective at putting their message across than you at the moment.

As to how you said it, your language was stale, jargonistic and riddled with spurious elitism, as if you were the elect and others were all stupid, wicked or deliberately obtuse in refusing to recognise "the truth". There are plenty of competing ultimate truths, you are not doing a very good selling job at pushing yours. Churches, and some mosques, hymns and religious music are at least colourful and artistic, your "truth" doesn't seem to have much in the way of attractive qualities, just tedious moralising.

Mostly however we are just bored with you now.
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:

> It is no different to a religious zealot with their own vision of perfection, saying that we cannot imagine what heaven will be like, because we cannot know the mind of God, nonetheless because he is God and therefore perfect, so will heaven be. Socialism (Marxism), God or Allah all offer alternative versions of paradise, to heretics they are in equal measure utterly unconvincing and menacing, since true believers tend not to handle dissent and challenge to their shibboleths very well - they normally react with threatened or actual violence. In any case, the followers of Allah seem to be a bit more effective at putting their message across than you at the moment.

Whereas, making a god of the baser instincts of people, that of greed, jealousy and competition, and the concommitent subjugation of social conscience is the religion you worship.

> As to how you said it, your language was stale, jargonistic and riddled with spurious elitism, as if you were the elect and others were all stupid, wicked or deliberately obtuse in refusing to recognise "the truth".

Pot, kettle, black!!
Postmanpat on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
> Was it something I said?

Paragraphs are your friend.

tony on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
> [...]
>
> Paragraphs are your friend.

Paragraphs are a bourgeois construct. Real socialists will have no truck with such capitalist fripperies.
lenny weber - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:

Instead of ad hominem and straw man arguments which are no argument at all, why not point out where I'm factually wrong, where I'm missing out on something important.
Don't worry about upsetting me, because if I find better information that proves that what I previously believed was in error, I don't see it as a defeat, no, I see it as a triumph, you see the more I know the better I can do and the better I know the better I can do.
As for "moralising", Well you see what you want to see, and hear what you what to hear. I read this recently; "the psychology of cancer, is growth at any cost". Sound familiar, it should because that's the psychology of capitalism. I'm not going to catalogue any of the poverty, environmental and social degradation that capitalism leaves in its wake, no, I suggest instead you pull your head from the sand and go take a real good look, and you just might see it as it really is. Us lot (or us few) In the WSM don't argue for socialism on moral grounds, we propose it because we see it as in the best interests of the working people of this world.
Here's a test: What are the rational, sane reasons for producing, let's say food and medicine? For me it's easy, to be eaten and to heal, but with that in mind, try visiting your local supermarket or chemist, take what you need then try and leave the shop without paying.
I suspect you (your not alone in this) find it irksome having your prejudices challenged and you sanity questioned, capitalism is a deeply irrational social relationship, So socialists have to confront this irrationality.

Sir Chasm - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber: So, you're proposing world socialism. The SPGB think socialism should come about via a democratic mandate rather than revolution (or is a democratic mandate what you mean by revolution?), that's going to entail a lot of people being convinced that socialism is going to work. So what are you doing to convince them? Other than saying "it'll be great"?
lenny weber - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to tony:
I thought there was a convention with this kind of web communication that we don't criticize grammar or how a post is laid out, perhaps you've not come across it, otherwise it comes down to appearance over essence, and says more about the critic than the writer. 0)
Oceanrower - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to tony)
> I thought there was a convention with this kind of web communication that we don't criticize grammar or how a post is laid out,

You must be new to this place........
MG - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to tony)
> I thought there was a convention with this kind of web communication that we don't criticize grammar or how a post is laid out, perhaps you've not come across it, otherwise it comes down to appearance over essence,

It rather depends if you want anyone to take the time to read what you write! I got about two sentences in and then glazed over with your post. You aren't addressing robots...although given your views, I suspect you may not believe me.
tony on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to tony)
> I thought there was a convention with this kind of web communication that we don't criticize grammar or how a post is laid out, perhaps you've not come across it, otherwise it comes down to appearance over essence, and says more about the critic than the writer. 0)

It's not impossible you're taking some comments a wee bit more seriously than necessary. But what's this, revolutionary socialists abiding by conventions? Surely some mistake there!

But, if you want to get serious about it, successful communication relies on a number of factors. One of these is the way in which text is presented on the page, or in this case, onscreen. Dense screeds of text, such as those you and your SPGB colleagues post, are very off-putting to many readers.

If you're genuinely interested in communicating with a wide readership, it is in your own interests to give some thought to the way your material is presented.

For example, keeping sentences and paragraphs short helps the reader, by signposting the flow of ideas and by the separation of concepts. A skilful writer can get their message across without bombarding their readers with impenetrable walls of words. Long expositions are not necessarily a sign of intellectual rigour, or of the validity of an argument.
lenny weber - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
Thanks for the questions.
The SPGB along with its companion Parties overseas are insistent on democracy and complying with law of means and ends acknowledges that if a democratic socialist society is to exist, it must be brought into being democratically, likewise if we want an honest, peaceful society those kind of means must be employed.

We use the term revolution to mean a complete change in the basis of society, and our idea is a change from private ownership and control of the worlds productive means, to one of common ownership and control. Production for use not private profit.
So what's going to be so "great" with socialism? I'll start with work, I pointed out in a previous post that if nobody works no one lives, but if we were to all work well, we'll all live well.

All work within socialist society will be voluntary (as William Morris noted "one volunteer is worth ten pressed men") or it won't be socialism.

We all have a decent idea about what work needs to be done but let's have a look at what won't be needed, any work involving the management of money, as it will become obsolete because all social need will be met on the basis of free access, there will no need for banking, debt and tax collecting, marketing, insurance. They claim that property accounts for nine tenths of the law, maybe, but it certainly accounts for nine tenths of lawyers, so that kind of work will have no point. As everything will be freely available, theft, property crime will disappear, so police and prison officers can leave all that behind and become socially creative.

Socialism has to be global if its to supersede global capitalism, so there will no need for armed forces or military industrial complexes, so all this human talent, technological expertise will be applied for the purpose of enhancing human life. not destroying it.

All this unproductive toil demanded by the money system absorbs well over 50% of all social effort it's claimed for the developed parts of the world, I think that's a low estimate. So once we've dealt with global poverty as a war effort, so we humans everywhere can take a full part in the social, economic and cultural life of society, no one would be needed, averaged out, to commit to more than a couple days a week of social creativity.

The atmosphere at work will be totally different because we will be working with fellow volunteers in conditions that we have arranged for ourselves, working at what we see as worthwhile. As there will be no need to produce the shoddy goods that capitalism demands, stuff that's designed to wear out quickly, break down, become obsolete, to be made over and over again so to keep the profit rolling in, with socialism there would be no reason to produce anything other than the very best of everything. The goods that we need will be made to last, to be safe, to be repairable, able to be updated, beautiful and to be passed on, to do other wise would be daft.

I can't help thinking that out comes the garlic, holy water and crucifixes at the mention of Marx, But he did write this "In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association where the condition for the free development of each, is the condition for the free development of all". What better situation can there be for an individual to develop their personality, discover their creativity and to realise their potential than in a society where every one else is encouraged to do the same. Let's face it we're all social products, and it's a fact that the quality of the productive process, determines the quality of the product, so we can be and do better than this.

In the hope I haven't bored you all

Lenny 0)
ads.ukclimbing.com
off-duty - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

I'll start with work, I pointed out in a previous post that if nobody works no one lives, but if we were to all work well, we'll all live well.

All work within socialist society will be voluntary (as William Morris noted "one volunteer is worth ten pressed men") or it won't be socialism.


Can I volunteer to be the one who decides what the other volunteers have to do.

As everything will be freely available, theft, property crime will disappear, so police and prison officers can leave all that behind and become socially creative.


LOL. Good luck with that. I take it socialism will bring out conditions equivalent to the Garden of Eden prior to Eve's (presumably Capitalist) desire for a bit of Cox...
Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> [...]
>
> It was both everything you said, and they way you said it.

Too many long words and complex ideas, Simon? Listen, buddy, if you were arguing with other people you'd long since have been excluded from rational discourse. But we revolutionaries are patient fellows...
>
> You were proposing a millenarian vision of a mythical perfect society, were everyone is happy, prosperous and all agree - with you! >

Where, Simon? Where was anyone talking about a millenarian vision? Where did anyone even begin to suggest that the overthrow of capitalism would make anyone - leave alone everyone - happy, prosperous and all in agreement with each other? Well, I'll tell you what, Simon, I've read every posting in this thread and the only people I've seen talking about a mythical perfect society are the lazy motherf*ckers who think they can defend capitalism and discredit socialism by making fun of something that no-one's advocating.



>There were no tangible details about how this paradise would operate (especially how it would deal with those troublesome dissidents who stubbornly refused to recognise the inevitability and wonderfulness of your nirvana), it was all high-sounding generalities and pious wishes.
>
How tangible do you want it to be? In a socialist society there will be no money and therefore no buying and selling. We'll hold the earth's resources in common and we'll produce for use not the profit of a few. People will have free access to socially-produced wealth. We'll decide how things are going to run amongst ourselves. People who don't agree can go and do their own thing, so long as it's not going to f*ck up other people's things. Socialism isn't inevitable, any more than it's inevitable that you are doomed to parrot the same puerile strawman drivel. You could change. You don't have to be an ignorant f*ckwit forever. I mean, you're a charming and vaguely amusing ignorant f*ckwit, for sure. But the charm's wearing thin.

We've explained already why we can't and won't tell you what everyone's having for dinner on a Tuesday evening, but let's go through it again. The whole point of socialism is that society is controlled democratically. Everyone will have a say in what affects them. Other than that, it won't be much different than life under capitalism. People will live, love, work, play and consume. But with all of the bullshit, pointless jobs gone, none of us will need to work more than a few hours a day. Use your imagination and your intelligence, boy. And come back with some objections to our case, rather than these preposterous fabrications.
- they normally react with threatened or actual violence. In any case, the followers of Allah seem to be a bit more effective at putting their message across than you at the moment.
>
> As to how you said it, your language was stale, jargonistic and riddled with spurious elitism, as if you were the elect and others were all stupid, wicked or deliberately obtuse in refusing to recognise "the truth". There are plenty of competing ultimate truths, you are not doing a very good selling job at pushing yours. Churches, and some mosques, hymns and religious music are at least colourful and artistic, your "truth" doesn't seem to have much in the way of attractive qualities, just tedious moralising.
>
> Mostly however we are just bored with you now.

It's true that Lenny doesn't say 'motherf*cker' enough. The rest of this bit of your post was pure garbage. Founded on nothing at all. Unworthy of any kind of response.

MG - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: What happens if no one wants to be a sewer unblocker (for example). How do you persuade people to do unpleasant jobs?

What happens if someone takes more than their fair share of something?
off-duty - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) What happens if no one wants to be a sewer unblocker (for example). How do you persuade people to do unpleasant jobs?
>
> What happens if someone takes more than their fair share of something?

FFS. It's perfectly simple. We have a meeting. During that meeting we reach a consensus that the next item on the agenda is the fixing of the sewer.
Then we have a debate about who wants to do it - and if no-one volunteers then we appoint someone - or have another meeting to decide if they can be coerced or whether that is un-democratic.
Then someone unblocks the sewer.

We might be knee deep in sh1t by then - but it will be good socialist sh1t.
Sir Chasm - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lenny weber: Nowhere do you mention how you're going to bring about this "revolution", just your reiteration that when we've got it it'll be lovely. Which is nice.
Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to lenny weber)

> Can I volunteer to be the one who decides what the other volunteers have to do.

Yeah, if you like. Do you like being laughed at? 'Cos that's exactly what'd happen.
>

> LOL. Good luck with that. I take it socialism will bring out conditions equivalent to the Garden of Eden prior to Eve's (presumably Capitalist) desire for a bit of Cox...

There goes another one...Get over this ridiculous notion that we can't make society better and use your imagination. Why would anyone who had enough need to steal from anyone else?

Sir Chasm - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Further up the thread you said socialism is inevitable, now you're saying it's not, make your mind up.
off-duty - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Yeah, if you like. Do you like being laughed at? 'Cos that's exactly what'd happen.
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> There goes another one...Get over this ridiculous notion that we can't make society better and use your imagination. Why would anyone who had enough need to steal from anyone else?

Err, because they've been laughed at and feel aggrieved? Because they want to impress the girl next door? Because they disagree with the consensus opinion of what "enough" is?
Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to lenny weber) Nowhere do you mention how you're going to bring about this "revolution", just your reiteration that when we've got it it'll be lovely. Which is nice.

And another one. I'm beginning to think that you guys have some really perverse kinks about you and get the horn from inventing strawmen. Nobody has ever said that socialism will be lovely, whatever that is. All we've said is that it will solve a good many of the problems thrown up by capitalism. And we've been very clear about how the revolution will come about. It will come about when - and only when - a majority of people understand why capitalism cannot function in their interests and understand the need for a global revolution to establish a new form of society. Our part in the revolution, therefore, is - in the first instance - to propagate socialist ideas.

Now, some of you are clearly struggling with understanding our case and therefore fail to attack it. Later in the evening, after I've cooked for my family, I'm going to write a f*ckwit's guide to criticising socialism. Just to make things easier for you.

Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to off-duty: But if you made a point of having more than you actually needed you'd get laughed at even more. Or even ostracised. Or maybe we'd tickle you till you wet yourself and promised not to do it again. You're still missing the point. But I'll come back to it later. See above. My Coq au Vin needs attention!
Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers) Further up the thread you said socialism is inevitable, now you're saying it's not, make your mind up.

I said that the movement towards socialism is inevitable in the sense that capitalism produces socialist ideas. That's not the same as saying that socialism is inevitable.

Rob Exile Ward on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers: Hmm, perhaps socialism produces capitalist ideas.
Sir Chasm - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> I said that the movement towards socialism is inevitable in the sense that capitalism produces socialist ideas. That's not the same as saying that socialism is inevitable.

That's probably just as well, unless the increase of capitalism around the globe is all part of the inexorable move towards world socialism.
Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Chambers) Hmm, perhaps socialism produces capitalist ideas.

Elaborate? At this point you've said nothing.

Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> That's probably just as well, unless the increase of capitalism around the globe is all part of the inexorable move towards world socialism.

I really wish that you'd display some occasional sign of having been following the progression of the discussion so far, rather than just blethering.



Chambers - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Incidentally, Rob, in your probably never forthcoming elaboration you might want to explore how something that doesn't exiswt and never has existed could possibly produce anything? Even a grunt, which is what your thinking sounds like oftentimes.
lenny weber - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: "That's probably just as well, unless the increase of capitalism around the globe is all part of the inexorable move towards world socialism".

It's history working itself out. Capitalism in search for profit has chased all over the globe and in doing so through there products brought the workers of the world face to face, and with that meeting there is an introduction taking place. In time with the benefit of modern communication we workers will discover that we share a common interest in meeting our need for security, food, clothing, shelter, medicine, education, transport art, music drama, sport etc and that capitalism is incapable of fully meeting those needs, we hold that the only social upgrade that will allow to meet our needs is, you've guessed, socialism.
lenny weber - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty: "FFS. It's perfectly simple. We have a meeting. During that meeting we reach a consensus that the next item on the agenda is the fixing of the sewer.
Then we have a debate about who wants to do it - and if no-one volunteers then we appoint someone - or have another meeting to decide if they can be coerced or whether that is un-democratic.
Then someone unblocks the sewer".

"We might be knee deep in sh1t by then - but it will be good socialist sh1t".

A thought experiment: What if all the capitalists went on strike for a week? What would happen? Sod all as far as I can see. So then what if all the cleaners went on strike for a week? We would be up to our necks in all kinds of crap, civilisation would be horribly diminished. I'm a builder, I've worked on live drains and unblocked sewers, all you need is the right kit, clothing and attitude the jobs a doddle.
Cleaning up after ourselves is civilised work and in its carrying out civilising.
I get the impression from what you've written, that you look down you nose at those who keep the place tidy and healthy.
I reckon you're the sort of person that can hardly bear to wipe your own arse.
off-duty - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> I get the impression from what you've written, that you look down you nose at those who keep the place tidy and healthy.
> I reckon you're the sort of person that can hardly bear to wipe your own arse.

I have reread my post and have absolutely no idea what gives you that impression from either it's tone or it's content.

It's clear from your post that someone of even my perceived attitude wouldn't be welcome in your society - so what would you do with me if I didn't want to clean your sewer?
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to lenny weber) Nowhere do you mention how you're going to bring about this "revolution", just your reiteration that when we've got it it'll be lovely. Which is nice.

Is distortion the extent of your argumentative powers? F*ck me, you bore me with this drivel.

tony on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Our part in the revolution, therefore, is - in the first instance - to propagate socialist ideas.

How do you think you're getting on with that part of the process?

And presumably by 'propagate', you really want to propagate those ideas in such a way that people are persuaded of their merits and take on your ideas? After all, there's little point in propagating those ideas if people look and them and think they're not worth bothering with.
Sir Chasm - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony: To be fair he's in a club that's only been going for 100 years and already has 500 members so he has nearly achieved world domination - the only other group big enough to cause him problems is the tiddlywink society.
MJ - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

To be fair he's in a club that's only been going for 100 years and already has 500 members so he has nearly achieved world domination - the only other group big enough to cause him problems is the tiddlywink society.

The 'Flat Earth Society' has as nearly as many members.
teflonpete - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to tony) To be fair he's in a club that's only been going for 100 years and already has 500 members so he has nearly achieved world domination - the only other group big enough to cause him problems is the tiddlywink society.

Not sure how big their membership is but at least they outline the real objective of the game...and how to take part.

http://www.etwa.org/
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> How do you think you're getting on with that part of the process?

Brilliantly.
>
> And presumably by 'propagate', you really want to propagate those ideas in such a way that people are persuaded of their merits and take on your ideas? After all, there's little point in propagating those ideas if people look and them and think they're not worth bothering with.

That wouldn't be propagation at all, would it? Ermmm...



Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to tony) To be fair he's in a club that's only been going for 100 years and already has 500 members so he has nearly achieved world domination - the only other group big enough to cause him problems is the tiddlywink society.

I absolutely love your posts, really. Open your mouth only to change feet. I don't need to point out your idiocy to the audience, because you always beat me to it. How stupid would you have to be to think that the veracity of a set of ideas can be measured by the number of people who subscribe to them? Very stupid indeed.

Now, you have yet to attack our position. I'm not holding my breath.

tony on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Brilliantly.

How do you measure that brilliance?

Sir Chasm - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
> I absolutely love your posts, really. Open your mouth only to change feet. I don't need to point out your idiocy to the audience, because you always beat me to it. How stupid would you have to be to think that the veracity of a set of ideas can be measured by the number of people who subscribe to them? Very stupid indeed.
>
> Now, you have yet to attack our position. I'm not holding my breath.

As the SPGB think they're going to achieve world socialist nirvana via a democratic mandate that would kind of imply that you're going to need quite a few (maybe half the world) people to subscribe to your set of ideas. And currently you're falling short by a couple of dozen. Still, nearly there eh?

Simon4 - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> I absolutely love your posts, really. Open your mouth only to change feet. I don't need to point out your idiocy to the audience

I think you might need to learn a little more about the subtle art of persuading people to change their minds.

Abusing them or calling them stupid doesn't really incline them to agree with you, nor does claiming that you have a monopoly on intelligence, decency or insight. Nor for that matter does suggesting that you know how to create some sort of paradise, but being unwilling or unable to provide any tangible details about how it would work, or how it would address real, difficult problems, let alone how its denizens would react to those who just reject the idea. You also seem ill equipped to handle ridicule, which is quite a disadvantage as you are likely to get quite a lot of it.

As you really don't seem to handle dissent or disagreement well at all, reacting more like a religious fundamentalist denouncing heretics and apostates, how are those gulags in the far North coming on for you to send the enemies of the people who don't much like your Utopia to?

If it weren't so ridiculous and impotent, your intolerance and dogmatism would be terrifying.
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: So your only objection to our case is that not enough people accept it yet, right? Good, rational stuff. Jeez!
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> I think you might need to learn a little more about the subtle art of persuading people to change their minds.
>
> Abusing them or calling them stupid doesn't really incline them to agree with you, nor does claiming that you have a monopoly on intelligence, decency or insight. Nor for that matter does suggesting that you know how to create some sort of paradise, but being unwilling or unable to provide any tangible details about how it would work, or how it would address real, difficult problems, let alone how its denizens would react to those who just reject the idea. You also seem ill equipped to handle ridicule, which is quite a disadvantage as you are likely to get quite a lot of it.
>
> As you really don't seem to handle dissent or disagreement well at all, reacting more like a religious fundamentalist denouncing heretics and apostates, how are those gulags in the far North coming on for you to send the enemies of the people who don't much like your Utopia to?
>
> If it weren't so ridiculous and impotent, your intolerance and dogmatism would be terrifying.

You're really very funny, Simon. Utterly risible. Continually attacking things that aren't there. Throwing accusations with no foundation, inventing stuff, even. Like a child having tantrums over some homework it finds difficult.

All of the slight points that you have raised in this thread have been answered fully, as have everyone else's. Now, the three of you - who all sound the same, by the way, though you don't see us making the sort of stupid comments about that that you fools resort to - have been utterly demolished here. You had no arguments to begin with and you certainly have none now. I don't expect to convince you. Nor do I need to. But what's happened here is that you have all been publicly exposed as intolerant and dogmatic and unable to grasp new ideas. And the more you throw these insults around the more they stick to you. All that concerns me is that you have been seen to have been defeated.
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> How do you measure that brilliance?

By the number of fools who oppose us.

tony on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> By the number of fools who oppose us.

And how does that constitute brilliance? It would seem to me that brilliance would require more people to be one your side than on the other side.

Is the number of fools who oppose you going up or down? And how do you count them? And how do you differentiate between the fools and the others who may have other reasons apart from mere foolishness for opposing you?
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to tony: You're missing the point again. You asked how I thought our movement was doing in its efforts to propagate our ideas, and I answered 'brilliantly'. You then repeated the same redundant question just slightly rephrased.

I might easily have answered 'terribly', and it would have changed precisely nothing about the veracity of our case. The truth of the matter, of course, is that there is no way to measure accurately how we're doing, other than to make some general observations, since we cannot know what the effect of our activity is.

What we can say with certainty is that there are more people than ever before talking about the potential for re-organising society along the lines that we advocate, and I've already alluded to the mushrooming of organisations across the planet who advocate a non-market based world.

In any event, it's beside the point. We might be wrong, of course. But you really can't discredit ideas on the basis that they are currently only held by a minority of people.
wbo - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers - you have got to be trolling. The paragraph starting 'All of the slight points that you have raised ' is an absolute parody of argument. It is utter doublespeak

Conversely you might need to improve your debating style to become more effective.
tony on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> In any event, it's beside the point. We might be wrong, of course. But you really can't discredit ideas on the basis that they are currently only held by a minority of people.

I'm not discrediting ideas. I was asking how you're getting on with the process of propagating your ideas. You have eventually said that you don't know. You could have said that first time.

My point, which you're not attending to, is that you see a journey, from where we are now, to where you want us to be, in a world socialist society, and you have no way of knowing where you are on that journey. Given that the journey started some time ago, it would seem to me that some effort might be put into assessing progress and possibly recalibrating efforts accordingly. As it is, all you seem to be doing is saying that you're right and everyone else is wrong and so it shall be for ever more. That doesn't seem to me to be the best way of reaching your destination.
teflonpete - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

My argument against your cause isn't that I think there's anything wrong with your ideas about society and people's niche in society, they're different from the system we currently live under, of course they are, and I don't think they'd work, but they just might, so great. My argument against your cause is that you offer no practical ideas about how we get there, other than when people become enlightened and wake up, it will happen.

To draw an analogy, we're all off to a festival where everyone is going to chip in, enjoy themselves, help others enjoy themselves and all chip in to tidying up afterwards. Only problem is, some capitalists have nicked the wheels off the bus and flogged them to their mates. What you're doing is standing next to the bus, saying "well, the festival will be great when we get there" instead of finding some new wheels for the bus.
Chambers - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to wbo:
> In reply to Chambers - you have got to be trolling. The paragraph starting 'All of the slight points that you have raised ' is an absolute parody of argument. It is utter doublespeak
>
> Conversely you might need to improve your debating style to become more effective.

Doublespeak? You have got to be kidding. The apologists for capitalism here have done nothing but attack ideas that we don't hold.

Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> My argument against your cause isn't that I think there's anything wrong with your ideas about society and people's niche in society, they're different from the system we currently live under, of course they are, and I don't think they'd work, but they just might, so great. My argument against your cause is that you offer no practical ideas about how we get there, other than when people become enlightened and wake up, it will happen.
>
> To draw an analogy, we're all off to a festival where everyone is going to chip in, enjoy themselves, help others enjoy themselves and all chip in to tidying up afterwards. Only problem is, some capitalists have nicked the wheels off the bus and flogged them to their mates. What you're doing is standing next to the bus, saying "well, the festival will be great when we get there" instead of finding some new wheels for the bus.

An amusing analogy. Just not accurate. In fact it's more applicable to those who vote for governments in the mistaken belief that other people can solve their problems for them.

We're crystal-clear about how socialism will come about. It will come about as the result of a majority of the population democratically deciding that it's the end of the road for capitalism. The way in which that might happen will be different across the planet. In those countries with a democratic tradition there will most likely finally be a majority of socialists elected to parliament with the sole mandate of dispossessing the capitalists. In countries without a democratic tradition things will need to be done differently. The point is - and we've been making this point all along - the methods adopted will the democratic decision of the people that are emancipating themselves and not the decision of any central power or leadership.

But this is mere speculation. We have no idea what the material circumstances that we face will be when the time is ripe for the overthrow of capitalism, and such decisions will have to be made in the light of current conditions. To argue that our movement flounders because of our bus having no wheels is simply wrong. At the moment we don't have a majority of socialists and until we do we won't know if we're going on the bus or the train! Democracy, see? Of the kind that you will never see displayed in right or left-wing parties that support capitalism.

Sir Chasm - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: "Democracy, see? Of the kind that you will never see displayed in right or left-wing parties that support capitalism."

Just like we will never see world socialism.
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Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: Says you and your crystal ball and no shred of evidence.
off-duty - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm) Says you and your crystal ball and no shred of evidence.

I'm guessing that's some form of ironic post modern comment, otherwise it would just lead to calls of - "pot, kettle, black....."
GrahamD - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> The apologists for capitalism here have done nothing but attack ideas that we don't hold.

Most of us don't. Most of us don't think you hold any ideas at all.
lenny weber - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to: "FFS. It's perfectly simple. We have a meeting. During that meeting we reach a consensus that the next item on the agenda is the fixing of the sewer.
Then we have a debate about who wants to do it - and if no-one volunteers then we appoint someone - or have another meeting to decide if they can be coerced or whether that is un-democratic.
We might be knee deep in sh1t by then - but it will be good socialist sh1t.



> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> I get the impression from what you've written, that you look down you nose at those who keep the place tidy and healthy.
> I reckon you're the sort of person that can hardly bear to wipe your own arse.

In reply to lenny weber:
"I have reread my post and have absolutely no idea what gives you that impression from either it's tone or it's content".



Well OD you did pose a scenario that gave us your take on how a socialist society would operate regarding social hygiene. It seems I've mistakenly assumed that the attitude to public health held by those that took part in your brief cameo reflected your own, and for that I humbly apologize.
However I am prompted to ask you to explain your attitude on sanitation and the essential work involved, and is that really how you see your fellow humans behaving over something as vital social health?.

"It's clear from your post that someone of even my perceived attitude wouldn't be welcome in your society - so what would you do with me if I didn't want to clean your sewer"?

No! You couldn't be more wrong on this, with socialism we will asked to work at only what we choose to be worthwhile, fulfilling and enjoyable. I'm fairly certain that a number of us would find some necessary tasks repugnant, but what would be the point in forcing anyone work against their will.
And of course OD it would not be "your sewer" it would our sewer. When the means of life belong to all of us they'll be appreciated in an entirely different way.


off-duty - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> In reply to: "FFS. It's perfectly simple. We have a meeting. During that meeting we reach a consensus that the next item on the agenda is the fixing of the sewer.
> Then we have a debate about who wants to do it - and if no-one volunteers then we appoint someone - or have another meeting to decide if they can be coerced or whether that is un-democratic.
> We might be knee deep in sh1t by then - but it will be good socialist sh1t.

>
>
>
> [...]
> >
> > I get the impression from what you've written, that you look down you nose at those who keep the place tidy and healthy.
> > I reckon you're the sort of person that can hardly bear to wipe your own arse.
>
> In reply to lenny weber:
> "I have reread my post and have absolutely no idea what gives you that impression from either it's tone or it's content".
>
>
>
> Well OD you did pose a scenario that gave us your take on how a socialist society would operate regarding social hygiene. It seems I've mistakenly assumed that the attitude to public health held by those that took part in your brief cameo reflected your own, and for that I humbly apologize.

Nope. Still can't see anything in my brief cameo that suggests in any way that anyone involved is "looking down" on those who clean sewers. It could be replaced as an example by any necessary job that is essential for a functioning society but which people might not be too keen on doing because it's hard and potentially unpleasant work.

> However I am prompted to ask you to explain your attitude on sanitation and the essential work involved, and is that really how you see your fellow humans behaving over something as vital social health?.
>

See above. And yes - fellow humans aren't always driven by an attitude of how can I help my fellow man rather than myself.

> "It's clear from your post that someone of even my perceived attitude wouldn't be welcome in your society - so what would you do with me if I didn't want to clean your sewer"?
>
> No! You couldn't be more wrong on this, with socialism we will asked to work at only what we choose to be worthwhile, fulfilling and enjoyable. I'm fairly certain that a number of us would find some necessary tasks repugnant, but what would be the point in forcing anyone work against their will.

Because it is quite possible that you are faced with situation that no-one wants to do the repugnant task, or that the person who normally does it decides they do not want to do it this time. Look at the "harmony" that can fail to exist in house shares....


> And of course OD it would not be "your sewer" it would our sewer. When the means of life belong to all of us they'll be appreciated in an entirely different way.

It's an optimistic viewpoint. It also suggests a communal mindset which is a little bit scary - like the Stepford Wives.
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> In reply to: "FFS. It's perfectly simple. We have a meeting. During that
> No! You couldn't be more wrong on this, with socialism we will asked to work at only what we choose to be worthwhile, fulfilling and enjoyable.


And why would anyone find sewer-unblocking fulfilling and enjoyable (I'll give you worthwhile)? And even if some people did, why would that number match the required number of sewer-unblockers. Repeat the question for any number of other jobs.



When the means of life belong to all of us they'll be appreciated in an entirely different way.

You really think so? I doubt it very much. As one example, I use a large number-crunching computer from time to time. Access to this is communal - no approved user has greater or lesser right to time on it. Yet there are endless arguments over who has used it more, or is running too many big jobs etc. etc. This is about as simple a communal resource as you get. If this doesn't work smoothly, why would things work globally?

Sir Chasm - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: Obviously things will work globally under world socialism because if they didn't work they wouldn't be world socialism, as we know world socialism is going to work clearly it will work globally.
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: You should have said before. Only 7000000000-500 people to persuade now.
lenny weber - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
"You really think so? I doubt it very much. As one example, I use a large number-crunching computer from time to time. Access to this is communal - no approved user has greater or lesser right to time on it. Yet there are endless arguments over who has used it more, or is running too many big jobs etc. etc. This is about as simple a communal resource as you get. If this doesn't work smoothly, why would things work globally"

Who owns the computer? Why is there a shortage of computer access? If the people working on this computer didn't have to for the pay, would they?
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

> Who owns the computer?
Effectively communally owned by those who use it.

Why is there a shortage of computer access?
There isn't. But some people want more than their fair share, or their fair share sooner than needed.

If the people working on this computer didn't have to for the pay, would they?
Probably in most cases.

lenny weber - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
"To draw an analogy, we're all off to a festival where everyone is going to chip in, enjoy themselves, help others enjoy themselves and all chip in to tidying up afterwards. Only problem is, some capitalists have nicked the wheels off the bus and flogged them to their mates. What you're doing is standing next to the bus, saying "well, the festival will be great when we get there" instead of finding some new wheels for the bus"

A bit simplistic TP. Your analogy of getting to socialism is flawed, because if "we're all off to a festival" the capitalist could do bugger all about it, they wouldn't have a clue how to take wheels off a bus, and even if they did, they're our wheels, we made them, we'll just take them back.
In reality, If and when we decide we're all off to the festival, the only capitalist about will be ex capitalists.
lenny weber - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:In reply to lenny weber:

> Who owns the computer?
"Effectively communally owned by those who use it".

No come on, who bought the computer and was it a commercial decision to buy?

Why is there a shortage of computer access?
"There isn't. But some people want more than their fair share, or their fair share sooner than needed".

Why not solve the problem by increasing computer access? then you wouldn't have to make value judgements about when and how much computer time your colleagues decide they need.

If the people working on this computer didn't have to for the pay, would they?
"Probably in most cases".

Great, an example that working for no monetary reward is not an insurmountable problem for socialism.
MG - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to MG)In reply to lenny weber:
>
> [...]
> "Effectively communally owned by those who use it".
>
> No come on, who bought the computer and was it a commercial decision to buy?

Taxpayers, ultimately. And no.

> Why not solve the problem by increasing computer access?
Because you would have computing power doing nothing for chunks of time, which is a waste.


> Great, an example that working for no monetary reward is not an insurmountable problem for socialism.

In this example yes. They wouldn't be sewer-unblockers for nothing though.
Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> I'm guessing that's some form of ironic post modern comment, otherwise it would just lead to calls of - "pot, kettle, black....."

Nope. Sour Jism can't possibly know that world socialism won't happen.

Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: The mistake you're making - and it's a common and understandable one - is that you are projecting the behaviour of people under capitalism into the new society. The things that motivate - or don't - people now will not necessarily be the same. First of all, without the need for capital investment and the concomitant need for a return on it, it's perfectly possible to automate most unpleasant jobs. Imagine the kudos an engineer would receive for designing a sewer-unblocking robot?

As far as your computer example is concerned, you're still looking at people's behaviour under capitalism. In socialism, if there was clearly a need for two computers there'd be no reason you couldn't have two.

As far as people doing something for nothing, well, why not? People do something for nothing even under capitalism. Take those brave guys who rescue sorry asses of mountains. Are they doing it for the cash?
lenny weber - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: > Great, an example that working for no monetary reward is not an insurmountable problem for socialism.

In this example yes. They wouldn't be sewer-unblockers for nothing though.

What they would have with socialism is free access to all that's produced for a couple of days work a week. If they had children, they would be at the centre of effort, the centre of attention, they would be seen as a end in themselves, not a means of providing profit for the few.
They would never be threatened with poverty if they couldn't find an employer to buy and use them.
They along with everyone else will never be asked to support or go to war.
I've been called, got to go out now so try using the old what if muscle, the imagination and think of the shit that goes down with capitalism that couldn't occur with socialism.


Sir Chasm - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> Nope. Sour Jism can't possibly know that world socialism won't happen.

You're absolutely right, I don't know it won't happen. If it does happen I'm going to look pretty silly for doubting it and you'll be able to say you told me so.
dissonance - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

I see this is still going and we should have the entire party signed up in the next couple of months.

Have any of them explained how we are going to get to this utopia yet?
Postmanpat on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
>
> Have any of them explained how we are going to get to this utopia yet?

Yup, simple. Everyone (or the majority-not sure) agrees to it. Where could there possibly a problem?

Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> You're absolutely right, I don't know it won't happen. If it does happen I'm going to look pretty silly for doubting it and you'll be able to say you told me so.

Not as silly as you look now! :0

The important point is that I don't know, either. But you know what? When the alternative is more of the same crap that capitalism spews up, I'm going to keep arguing for socialism. As for 'I told you so', nah. Not my style at all.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> Yup, simple. Everyone (or the majority-not sure) agrees to it. Where could there possibly a problem?

It's not quite that simple, Manpatpost, though it is pretty simple. I just don't understand why a man of your intelligence hasn't grasped it. You see, if you could grasp what we're saying then you could actually argue against our case and we might finally get somewhere. Let's try again.

When a majority of people come to the conclusion that capitalism cannot work in their interests and understand the need to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism, socialism will become a possibility. I think it's reasonable to assume that if a majority of workers are prepared to get off their arses and overthrow capitalism they'll be pretty determined to do all they can to make sure their new society works.

But there's a bit more to it than that. Try and stay with me...

Socialists already spend a lot of time talking amongst ourselves about how the new society will work, and as the movement grows there'll be more and more voices, more and more points of view and more and more fields of experience added to the debate about the new society and how we're going to bring it about. So it follows from that that when we have a majority of socialists, most of those decisions will already have been made.

Now, you might want to object to the case for socialism on the grounds that you think we'll never convince that majority. Valid argument, but not an argument - ultimately - against the case for socialism. And in the final analysis it's a moot point, anyway.

Chambers - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
>
> I see this is still going and we should have the entire party signed up in the next couple of months.
>
> Have any of them explained how we are going to get to this utopia yet?

Ah! You again. Which utopia? Sounds awful.

Postmanpat on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

What happens if the minority dont want to be dictated to by the majority?
MG - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MG) First of all, without the need for capital investment and the concomitant need for a return on it, it's perfectly possible to automate most unpleasant jobs.

Right. Of course. How convenient.

In socialism, if there was clearly a need for two computers there'd be no reason you couldn't have two.

Right. Of course. How convenient.
dissonance - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> What happens if the minority dont want to be dictated to by the majority?

if you dont want to join in this land of milk and honey where you can have as many super computers as you feel like then clearly there is something wrong with you.
A course of retrophrenology will soon sort you out.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to FesteringSore)
> Welcome back Poppers. :)

Ah great minds think alike, you were way ahead of me, but I only noticed this festering pustule today on another thread!
off-duty - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to MG) >
> try using the old what if muscle, the imagination and think of the shit that goes down with capitalism that couldn't occur with socialism.

Art, music and literature?
lenny weber - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

In reply to Chambers:

"What happens if the minority dont want to be dictated to by the majority"?

Good question, thanks.
The answer's simple, tough! The majority get their way, the minority get their say, and of course this minority would have the freedom and the resources to argue for and present their point of view, if they can persuade enough people and become a majority, great, well done.
Proper democracy is a social arrangement where all socially relevant information is freely available to all. The advantage of this state of affairs is that the more people you have bringing their ability to think critically on any problem or issue, the more chance there is of arriving at the right solution. If we make a mistake we'll go back to the drawing board and democratically decide on a different course. That's why we put rubbers on the ends of pencils, it would be in no ones interest to live with a cock up.
I assume from your inquiry that you foresee conflicts of interest arising with socialism, if so, could you give us some examples of these.
MJ - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

That's why we put rubbers on the ends of pencils, it would be in no ones interest to live with a cock up.

No, we put erasers on the end of pencils.
Rubbers go elsewhere, but you're right in that they're to prevent living with the repercussions of a cock up.
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Right. Of course. How convenient.
>
> In socialism, if there was clearly a need for two computers there'd be no reason you couldn't have two.
>
> Right. Of course. How convenient.

I know it's difficult to get your head round, MG, but think about it. Most of the computing power available under capitalism would be freed up in a socialist society. All of those computers used by banks, insurance companies, the stock exchange...all can be put to socially-useful tasks. I have no idea, of course, what you use this computer for, or even whether your job would exist in a moneyless society, but the point remains. Most computing under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.

Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
> [...]
>
> Art, music and literature?

Are you kidding? Six billion people who don't have to work for more than a few hours a day and have access to all the resources of the planet? I think that's going to work wonders for art, music and literature.

MG - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> I know it's difficult to get your head round, MG, but think about it. Most of the computing power available under capitalism would be freed up in a socialist society. All of those computers used by banks, insurance companies, the stock exchange...all can be put to socially-useful tasks. I have no idea, of course, what you use this computer for, or even whether your job would exist in a moneyless society, but the point remains. Most computing under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.

Right. Of course. How convenient

MG - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> Are you kidding? Six billion people who don't have to work for more than a few hours a day and have access to all the resources of the planet?

Right. Of course. How convenient


I think that's going to work wonders for art, music and literature.

Right. Of course. How convenient
Rob Exile Ward on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:'Most computing under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.' Was most clerical work before computers were invented unnecessary bollocks? Was double entry bookkeeping - invented or at least documented in the 14th C - unnecessary bollocks? Were the inscriptions on the Rosetta stone unnecessary bollocks?

Are you really proposing we go back to the stone age?

The great thing about thinking the way you do must be that you can be absolutely, 100% sure that you will never, ever have to test your - ahem, 'beliefs' - in the real world. Happy cooking.
off-duty - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> Are you kidding? Six billion people who don't have to work for more than a few hours a day and have access to all the resources of the planet? I think that's going to work wonders for art, music and literature.

Interesting that you don't consider producing art, music or literature to be work.
I'm sure there are a few artists, musicians and writers who would disagree with you.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: I'm now looking forward to world socialism, but I'm buggered if I'm going to be working a few hours a day, I'm going to be off enjoying myself on the fruits of other's labours.
MG - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Are you really proposing we go back to the stone age?

No he's not. He can just assert away any problems or shortcomings. Obviously there will be more free time, more robots, more art, more food, more of everything you could wish for. No need for a stone age.
tony on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> In reply to Chambers:
>
> "What happens if the minority dont want to be dictated to by the majority"?
>
> Good question, thanks.
> The answer's simple, tough! The majority get their way, the minority get their say, and of course this minority would have the freedom and the resources to argue for and present their point of view, if they can persuade enough people and become a majority, great, well done.

What if the minority don't like the simple answer? What if they want something different? And then, when they don't get it, they decide to do something about it, and go after what they want? If they don't get what they want through your proposed democratic means, it's not impossible, given the history of the world, that some might resort to non-democratic means.
tony on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> I know it's difficult to get your head round, MG, but think about it. Most of the computing power available under capitalism would be freed up in a socialist society. All of those computers used by banks, insurance companies, the stock exchange...


What if people want to be bankers and use computers?
Postmanpat on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> In reply to Chambers:
>
> I assume from your inquiry that you foresee conflicts of interest arising with socialism, if so, could you give us some examples of these.

Yes, lots. Are tou suggesting that you can't???
wbo - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to The Lemming: Topics like hanging, and 'throwing all the scrounging foreigners out' make me realise that there are limits to a referendal style of democracy. Do you have any alternative mrthods that preserve minority opinions, rights, other than a dictatorship?

Enjoying yourself at the expense of the labour of others is not an option under Marx, though I'm aware I still need to find the exact quote. In many ways the Conservatives plans that people receiving benefits should be required to do community work would hang very well with Marx.
teflonpete - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> In reply to Chambers:
>
> "What happens if the minority dont want to be dictated to by the majority"?
>
> Good question, thanks.
> The answer's simple, tough! The majority get their way, the minority get their say, and of course this minority would have the freedom and the resources to argue for and present their point of view, if they can persuade enough people and become a majority, great, well done.


So, err, exactly the same as you and your merry minority of 500 currently do under capitalism. Cool, so nothing much is going to change then.
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Chambers)'Most computing under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.' Was most clerical work before computers were invented unnecessary bollocks? Was double entry bookkeeping - invented or at least documented in the 14th C - unnecessary bollocks? Were the inscriptions on the Rosetta stone unnecessary bollocks?
>
> Are you really proposing we go back to the stone age?
>
> The great thing about thinking the way you do must be that you can be absolutely, 100% sure that you will never, ever have to test your - ahem, 'beliefs' - in the real world. Happy cooking.

My 'beliefs', as you call them, are actually tested every single day in the real world, but I'll come back to that...

Once again, you miss the point. I said - very specifically - that most computing that is done under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks. Why, then, are you referring to the recording of information that took place prior to capitalism? We are not in the business of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, here, and this hysterical squealing about returning to the stone age is just that - hysterical squealing. We argue, as Marxists, that capitalism has been historically necessary in order to develop the means of production to the point where we can produce an abundance of wealth. But we go further, and argue that - just like all other hitherto existing social systems did - it has outlived its usefulness. Indeed, it has become dangerously obsolete and threatens to destroy both ourselves and the planet. It is also an extremely wasteful economic system in which the vast majority of workers are not actually producing anything. That's the unnecessary bollocks part of it.

As for my 'beliefs' - I call them ideas based on gathered evidence - everyday I could be proven wrong about the case for socialism. But what I find is evidence everywhere that people are unsatisfied by life under capitalism, that people are mostly decent and co-operative, and that people want change. Maybe they don't know how to get it yet, but maybe they're getting there, albeit slowly.

Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to wbo:
> (In reply to The Lemming) Topics like hanging, and 'throwing all the scrounging foreigners out' make me realise that there are limits to a referendal style of democracy. Do you have any alternative mrthods that preserve minority opinions, rights, other than a dictatorship?
>
> Enjoying yourself at the expense of the labour of others is not an option under Marx, though I'm aware I still need to find the exact quote. In many ways the Conservatives plans that people receiving benefits should be required to do community work would hang very well with Marx.

As you say, you need to show us where Marx said that. I'm saying he didn't. Marx advocated the free association of labour. I suspect that I know which bit of Marx that you're referring to, but I won't be sure till I have time to dig it out. But what I think you'll find is that he was referring to what he saw as the brief transitional period between the time when the working class seizes political power and the establishment of a truly free society. But Marx was talking about a time when the means of production under capitalism had not been developed thoroughly enough for an abundance of wealth to be produced. Like I say, when I have time...

The point you raise about decision-making in socialism is a good one. I only have an hour off work now, but I'll come back to it later.

Rob Exile Ward on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
'people are unsatisfied by life under capitalism' - disagree, most people I know seem OK with it and it's strange how a Western lifestyle is what most people world wide seem to aspire to. (Whether that is sustainable or not and how we respond to that is a completely different question.)

'people are mostly decent and co-operative' - Agree - and that's why society/capitalism usually works - not perfectly, but well enough.

'people want change' - Well if they do they're keeping awfully quiet about it wouldn't you say?
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
>
> What if people want to be bankers and use computers?

They can all sit around playing Monopoly, out of harm's way where they can't f*ck up other people's lives with other people's money. Simply solved.

Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Since, according to the gap between posting times, you've spent a minute at most thinking about what I just wrote, I'd suggest you re-read it. And think about it. Otherwise, I'll just be on later to demolish it!
tony on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> They can all sit around playing Monopoly, out of harm's way where they can't f*ck up other people's lives with other people's money. Simply solved.

Missing the point somewhat. Not entirely surprising.
Rob Exile Ward on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: Er ... 7 times longer than that, if you look again. Not that it needed that long.
MG - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: If you have capitalism, ownership, rule of law and democracy together and you get peaceful, healthy, well resourced, happy societies. Why do you want to change this?
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Missing the point somewhat. Not entirely surprising.

Maybe because the point was so blunt, you patronising git! There won't be any banks in socialism. Your question got filed away under the 'stupid questions that show precisely no understanding of the case for socialism' heading.

Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) If you have capitalism, ownership, rule of law and democracy together and you get peaceful, healthy, well resourced, happy societies. Why do you want to change this?

Why would anyone want to change that? Where does it exist? Which planet are you on?


tony on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Maybe because the point was so blunt, you patronising git! There won't be any banks in socialism. Your question got filed away under the 'stupid questions that show precisely no understanding of the case for socialism' heading.

No, you're still missing the point. Still not entirely surprising.
MG - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: Most of western europe, North America, Japan, Austrailia etc.
off-duty - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
>
>
> I said - very specifically - that most computing that is done under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.

Unfortunately "saying it", however repeatedly, doesn't make it true.
teflonpete - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
>
> Maybe because the point was so blunt, you patronising git! There won't be any banks in socialism. Your question got filed away under the 'stupid questions that show precisely no understanding of the case for socialism' heading.

Ah, the good old socialist dictator is shrugging off his camouflage. You can do anything you like under socialism and have an equal stake in society, as long as you like doing what we tell you you like.
Thanks Chambers, glad you cleared that up.
MJ - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I said - very specifically - that most computing that is done under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.

Well, as most posts on UKC are done in work, then you might well have a point...
dissonance - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) If you have capitalism, ownership, rule of law and democracy together and you get peaceful, healthy, well resourced, happy societies. Why do you want to change this?

because we will end up working 2 hours a week and have as much time to play with super computers as we want (admittedly this might be more of a draw to me than others).
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> No, you're still missing the point. Still not entirely surprising.

Well, Tony, it's perfectly possible that I might be missing the point. Do you not think it would help if you clarified your question rather than just repeating yourself?

Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> because we will end up working 2 hours a week and have as much time to play with super computers as we want (admittedly this might be more of a draw to me than others).

I'm a bit slow, I know. Believe me, I do know how slow I am! But I get it now. Deliberate distortion and obfuscation as a debating tactic. You're very good at it. Forgive me for thinking that you were as thick as forty lavatory seats.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> I said - very specifically - that most computing that is done under capitalism is unnecessary bollocks.
>
> Well, as most posts on UKC are done in work, then you might well have a point...

I like that.

However, as you well know, I wasn't referring to UKC at all, except maybe somewhat obliquely. No, I was referring to spying and surveillance, advertising, most of the porn industry, all of financial accounting...you can finish the list. None of that will happen in socialism.
Chambers - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: You've just done yourself a grave injustice, Peter. But don't worry. I'm here to save you from looking like a complete dickwit. Poor Pete can't quite grasp the fact that no-one has ever claimed that anyone can do what they like in a socialist society. Poor Pete can't quite understand that it's just not valid to refer to state-capitalist dictatorships when trying to criticise the idea of a society without government and coercion.

How does being unable to answer questions that have no relevance to my case make me a dictator?
MJ - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

However, as you well know, I wasn't referring to UKC at all, except maybe somewhat obliquely. No, I was referring to spying and surveillance, advertising, most of the porn industry, all of financial accounting...you can finish the list. None of that will happen in socialism.

No porn?
off-duty - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MJ)
> [...]
>
> I like that.
>
> However, as you well know, I wasn't referring to UKC at all, except maybe somewhat obliquely. No, I was referring to spying and surveillance, advertising, most of the porn industry, all of financial accounting...you can finish the list. None of that will happen in socialism.

What will however be required in your vision of a trans global socialist democracy is vast computer systems to co-ordinate your various planet wide referenda, large and complex systems to monitor, command and control the various factories and logistics chains that will be co-operating to produce excess product required for your functioning society, as well as systems to co-ordinate the various jobs that are proposed to be carried out by robots.

Still not convinced by your suggestion that the majority of computing nowadays is only required for capitalist purposes though.

dissonance - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:

> No porn?

well thats the democratic approach to getting power gone.
dissonance - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> I'm a bit slow, I know. Believe me, I do know how slow I am!

I am not so convinced.

> Deliberate distortion and obfuscation as a debating tactic. You're very good at it.

If you have something worth debating let me know. So far thought you havent really put forward an argument as to how everyone will suddenly decide you are right and switch to your socialist model which will somehow solve all resource issues and potential conflicts. As such its amusement time instead.

teflonpete - on 04 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to teflonpete) You've just done yourself a grave injustice, Peter. But don't worry. I'm here to save you from looking like a complete dickwit. Poor Pete can't quite grasp the fact that no-one has ever claimed that anyone can do what they like in a socialist society. Poor Pete can't quite understand that it's just not valid to refer to state-capitalist dictatorships when trying to criticise the idea of a society without government and coercion.

Poor Chambers, you just don't get it do you? How can you have a democracy, socialist or otherwise, when you are already dictating to people what will and won't be available in that democracy? You're dictating that in a socialist democracy there will be no money as a medium of exchange, dictating what computers will be used for, dictating who will be the one to unblock the sewer.

> How does being unable to answer questions that have no relevance to my case make me a dictator?

It doesn't make you a dictator, it makes you an idiot for not being able to see the holes in your own argument when they're pointed out to you. You're nothing but another tinfoil hat banker hater.
Postmanpat on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Any answers on whether you can think of any cases in which the minority's wush might not cooncide with yhe majority
Chambers - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> However, as you well know, I wasn't referring to UKC at all, except maybe somewhat obliquely. No, I was referring to spying and surveillance, advertising, most of the porn industry, all of financial accounting...you can finish the list. None of that will happen in socialism.
>
> No porn?

Contrary to popular opinion, socialists aren't interested in legislating for other people. Also contrary to popular opinion, none of us think the same as other socialists, especially when it comes to personal matters. I think that there'll be lots of porn produced in a socialist society, but it won't be the kind of porn that capitalism produces. It won't, I'd suggest, be predicated upon subjugation and exploitation. Fat, middle-aged, shrunken-dicked men squirting their caffeine-and-viagra-ridden jizz over the faces of teenage girls will become extinct, I'm guessing. Unless there's a group of consenting people who want - just as the educationally-challenged these days want to re-enact medieval battles for fun - to get together and produce tragico-comedic-historical porn. The important thing, in my mind, is the fun and consent.

Porn under capitalism is just another commodity. Something produced to be sold on a market with a view to profit. And the people who work in that industry? Common whores, prostituting themselves like an office worker or a graphic designer. Gangbang me on film! I love capitalism and really enjoy taking it up the ass! (Don't take that literally, any of you.)

Chambers - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> [...]
>
> I am not so convinced.
>
> [...]
>
> If you have something worth debating let me know. So far thought you havent really put forward an argument as to how everyone will suddenly decide you are right and switch to your socialist model which will somehow solve all resource issues and potential conflicts. As such its amusement time instead.

Get the tissues out, then.
Come, come. (Not a porn allusion!) You can do better than this. Why do I need to put forward any such argument having never made such claims?

Chambers - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Poor Chambers, you just don't get it do you? How can you have a democracy, socialist or otherwise, when you are already dictating to people what will and won't be available in that democracy? You're dictating that in a socialist democracy there will be no money as a medium of exchange, dictating what computers will be used for, dictating who will be the one to unblock the sewer.
>

The perils of beer on a Friday evening, eh? Sorry, buddy-boy, but by the time socialism is established a majority of humanity will have rejected commodity production. More than half the population say f*ck off to buying and selling and the minority-ownership of the means of production. It's all over for your pound notes and your dollar bills. Your bahts and your yen become worthless, except as an historical interest. But you can still play with them if you like. And we'll come round and feed you and wipe your bottom.
> [...]
>
> It doesn't make you a dictator, it makes you an idiot for not being able to see the holes in your own argument when they're pointed out to you. You're nothing but another tinfoil hat banker hater.

Chambers - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: In reply to Postmanpat: In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Any answers on whether you can think of any cases in which the minority's wush might not cooncide with yhe majority

I can think of several, Patster. I was waiting for Lenny to answer this question, but I don't mind diving in. Lenny might not agree with me, here, and it's true to say that on the spectrum of being a truly anarchistic motherf*cker within the movement for world socialism I'm pretty cutting-edge, but I happen to think that there'll be a lot more disagreement in a socialist society than some of my comrades seem to think...

In order to understand what I'm trying to say here it's important to understand a bit about the party - and the movement - of which I'm part.

Formed in 1904, the Socialist Party of Great Britain is utterly unique in British politics. For lots of reasons. We have never wavered from our demands, for example. We have never entered into any kind of alliance with any other political party. We have stuck to the same object and declaration of principles for over a century. And - very importantly - unlike the party of the ruling class that is the original subject of this thread, we have never elected a leader. Never. Not once. Don't need 'em, won't have 'em. If any member attempted to become our leader we'd expel them ruthlessly.

Funny thing is, I want to lead the movement. I think I'm the man for the job. I'm better looking than Lenny, for a start. And I think I'm funnier. As a member of a thoroughly democratic orgaqnisation I can try and convince my branch to table a motion for our Annual Conference. Something along the lines of 'Manchester Branch moves that Jonathan Chambers, talented chef, rock-climber, wordsmith and champion of all humanity be elected leader of the World Socialist Movement for all eternity, and that the membership be required to kiss his ass on a regular basis.' Well and good. I'd like a bit more sex in the motion, but it'll do for now. I can exercise my democratic prerogative and demand that the branch discuss this proposition. But in reality, they'll just laugh at me. If I pursue the matter some counter-revolutionary comrade will have me on an action detrimental charge quicker than your mother's legs opening for the milkman.

And that's within capitalism. Checks and balances, see? (What they don't realise, of course, is that I'm their de facto leader in my own head.)

People will disagree in a socialist society. No two ways about it. But we'll decide things democratically. Moreover, in a post-scarcity world there'll be plenty of opportunity for doing things differently. I think, Patster, that you need to come up with an example of the kind of decision that might polarise the population. And then we can talk about how the conflict of opinion might be solved.

But here's an example to get you going...

There's a debate goes on in the movement about whether socialism will need a police force or something similar. Some members think definitely not. Some think definitely yes. I think definitely maybe. All depends. But I argue that if we're going to have peace officers of some kind then there should be no benefit whatsoever to being a peace pig. Peace pigs should be dressed in bright pink lycra bodystockings and wear miniscule strap-on dildoes and funny hats. Just so no-one takes them too seriously. But society will decide whether or not it wants to be policed. Maybe some parts of society will want to be policed and some won't. The two attitudes could happily co-exist, I think.
off-duty - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I notice you say :-
Contrary to popular opinion, socialists aren't interested in legislating for other people.

Then, discussing how a minority opinion would be dealt with : -

But in reality, they'll just laugh at me. If I pursue the matter some counter-revolutionary comrade will have me on an action detrimental charge


I am intrigued as to how an "action detrimental" charge will be defined, decided, argued (and ultimately punished) without legislation, lawyers and a legal system. Unless you are happy to decide these things "democratically" - a method that we currently call the court of public opinion, and not really a preferred method of obtaining justice.

I would agree with you that your socialist society will need a police force - if for no other reason than pursuing you when you decide you don't want to abide by the comrades "action detrimental" charge but I am presuming that : -

But I argue that if we're going to have peace officers of some kind then there should be no benefit whatsoever to being a peace pig. Peace pigs should be dressed in bright pink lycra bodystockings and wear miniscule strap-on dildoes and funny hats. Just so no-one takes them too seriously
- is just an example of provocative nonsense.

If I was asked to wear a pink lycra body stocking then I would do, it wouldn't stop my motivation for doing this job which is to bring evil people to justice and to help victims of crime; motivations that would undoubtedly exist in your socialist future, much as you appear to be trying to suggest that all crime is a capitalist construct.
I suspect it is actually just another example of your bias against a certain "type" of profession which appears to include anything that doesn't involve (in your limited view) "production" : -

Common whores, prostituting themselves like an office worker or a graphic designer.

- as if in your socialist future office workers and graphic designers won't be needed at all.

As an aside : -
But society will decide whether or not it wants to be policed. Maybe some parts of society will want to be policed and some won't. The two attitudes could happily co-exist, I think.

- is highly unlikely to work, it is almost impossible to envision how a "policed" society could intermingle with a "non-policed" society. If a society exists where the consequences for actions are diffeent from person to person - then straight away you have imbalance and a power differential. If you decide a police force is needed - everyone would have to buy in to it.
Postmanpat on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Thats an extremely long reply but only the last para remotely addresses the question.

I guess i'll have to help you. Suppose a large minority wants to own land and assets and refuses to share them with others ?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) In reply to Postmanpat: In reply to Postmanpat:
> [...]
>
> Formed in 1904, the Socialist Party of Great Britain is utterly unique in British politics.

Just wondering how the march of technical progress has affected the party. For example where do you hold your conferences now everyone has a mobile and there aren't any phone boxes?

P.S. If there is no need for police in a socialist state how come historically every country that described itself as 'socialist republic' was a police state.
MJ - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I think that there'll be lots of porn produced in a socialist society, but it won't be the kind of porn that capitalism produces. It won't, I'd suggest, be predicated upon subjugation and exploitation. Fat, middle-aged, shrunken-dicked men squirting their caffeine-and-viagra-ridden jizz over the faces of teenage girls will become extinct

So lesbian porn would still be allowed then?

I'm interested in why you think a capitalist society would like one genre of porn (nasty) and a socialist another (nice). Surely, that is down to individual tastes, which can't be altered by a global society change.
(There are obviously very nasty elements to the porn industry, but let's not confuse the fundamental issue of free choice here).
The above can not only be applied to porn, but virtually everything else in the world that relies on an individuals tastes and predilections.
Why do you think it would be different in a socialist society?


Chambers - on 05 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ: Some very interesting responses here. I have a warm feeling about this whole thing now, so thanks, all, for that. However, I've just got home from a very long day at work that involved so much interesting stuff that I couldn't write it all down without several hours to spare. Suffice it to say - for now - that my team and I cooked some fantastic food that everyone loved, the Leek Blues and Americana Festival is going very strongly, and my son and I took an hour out of the kitchen to fill a slot in the gig. So I'm pretty f*cking tired. And now my wife wants servicing...

Hard life. Why make it easy?

Incidentally, anyone free for climbing on Monday or Tuesday?
lenny weber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: .S.
"If there is no need for police in a socialist state how come historically every country that described itself as 'socialist republic' was a police state"

Like the DDR? Well, everybody saw it as socialist, but democratic? Naa! They lied about democracy but you're are prepared to beleive them when they said it was socialism. Bit gullable that.
MJ - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

Core question. How do you overcome and change human nature?
lenny weber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Thats an extremely long reply but only the last para remotely addresses the question.
>
> I guess i'll have to help you. Suppose a large minority wants to own land and assets and refuses to share them with others ?must

For what reason? Like what would be the point? How would it benifit them?
I can't foresee any conflict of interest that would make socialism unworkable, so it's up to you lot to put us straight. Come on you can do better than this, you're all clever gents, brighter that us, you must think so because you see us only fit for sarcasm.
Here's a challenge, put some flesh on the bones of these inevitable conflicts you contend that makes socialism a fools errand.
So, it's over to you.
ads.ukclimbing.com
lenny weber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
The simple answer is, we don't have to.
Here's an equasion, you take human nature, plus situation, enviroment, equals, human behavior.
Take greed, most think its a an fundamentel facet of human nature, it's not, it's a symtom brought about by the fear of not having enough.
We live in a world domiated by artificial poverty where avoiding it is lifes overiding motivation. If we eradicate poverty we eradicate greed.
What would be the point of being greedy if there was plenty to go round?
This is always where this debate ends up.


lenny weber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> I think that there'll be lots of porn produced in a socialist society, but it won't be the kind of porn that capitalism produces. It won't, I'd suggest, be predicated upon subjugation and exploitation. Fat, middle-aged, shrunken-dicked men squirting their caffeine-and-viagra-ridden jizz over the faces of teenage girls will become extinct
>
> So lesbian porn would still be allowed then?
>
> I'm interested in why you think a capitalist society would like one genre of porn (nasty) and a socialist another (nice). Surely, that is down to individual tastes, which can't be altered by a global society change.
> (There are obviously very nasty elements to the porn industry, but let's not confuse the fundamental issue of free choice here).
> The above can not only be applied to porn, but virtually everything else in the world that relies on an individuals tastes and predilections.
> Why do you think it would be different in a socialist society?

There will be erotica, why not, but pornography (the wiritings of prositutes, look it up) prostituttion (To sell oneself for money likewise).
If you don't need money to live there's no prostitution.
Postmanpat on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> For what reason? Like what would be the point?

Lack of trust, insecurity, greed, misanthropy, possessiveness, lunacy?
It doesnt matter why;Some will. you cannot magically wish it away however irrational you regard such behaviour. so what would the majority then do???

off-duty - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

Pornography is writing about prostitutes.
Prostitution is selling sex for money.
If you are going to tell people to "look it up" then at least do so yourself.

Why do you think prostitution is the oldest trade? Is it possible that it exists to fill a demand - namely that people want to have sex with other people and sometimes that is seen as a transaction rather than a relationship.

You do realise that, in the absence of money, then the only thing that will prevent a barter economy replacing it is producing "excess" rather than "enough".
off-duty - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to MJ)
> [...]
> The simple answer is, we don't have to.
> Here's an equasion, you take human nature, plus situation, enviroment, equals, human behavior.
> Take greed, most think its a an fundamentel facet of human nature, it's not, it's a symtom brought about by the fear of not having enough.
> We live in a world domiated by artificial poverty where avoiding it is lifes overiding motivation. If we eradicate poverty we eradicate greed.
> What would be the point of being greedy if there was plenty to go round?
> This is always where this debate ends up.

If the only driving force behind greed is poverty - then why do we have insider dealing. Why do kids have issues sharing "their" toys. Why do people look to make sure their own families are ok before helping others....
Bob Hughes - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny&chambers:
one of the questions I have about socialism is what is the mechanism for distribution? You mentioned a "post-scarcity" world but the problem in today's world is principally not scarcity but distribution i.e. getting foodstuffs, services and resources to those who need it.

In a market economy the mechanism for that is the price and pluralism of supply. i.e. you make it easy enough for people to set up as suppliers and the price directs where resources should go. A high price attracts suppliers, the supply increases, the price falls. Granted, this is not perfect at all but on balance it has worked better than centrally-directed economies: empty supermarket shelves are a more common feature of centrally-directed economies than market economies.

So, presuming that socialists would want to improve on the capitalist model, how do you decide how much of a given good is produced and where it is distributed to?

lenny weber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> Pornography is writing about prostitutes.
> Prostitution is selling sex for money.
> If you are going to tell people to "look it up" then at least do so >yourself.

Could you comment on what's written, it would be helpful.
It was "the writtings of prostitutes" and "selling oneself for money", I did look it up.

> Why do you think prostitution is the oldest trade? Is it possible that it exists to fill a demand - namely that people want to have sex with other people and sometimes that is seen as a transaction rather than a relationship.>

What could any one possibly need so bad from someone else that would pursuade them to be sexualy intimate with someone when ordinarily they wouldn't dream of it, and especially when all their material needs are met?
That's such a lazy question, must try harder.

> You do realise that, in the absence of money, then the only thing that will prevent a barter economy replacing it is producing "excess" rather than "enough".>

Enough, as the say is as good as a feast. I'll help you out, producing plenty wouldn't be any problem for a socialist society.
MG - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny web>

I'll help you out, producing plenty wouldn't be any problem for a socialist society.

So you keep asserting. No one (well a few hundred) believes you. This is your problem.

MJ - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

There will be erotica, why not, but pornography (the wiritings of prositutes, look it up) prostituttion (To sell oneself for money likewise).

Let's not use the original meaning of pornography and instead use the modern one: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.
My question still stands, why would a socialist society have different tastes than a capitalist one?


If you don't need money to live there's no prostitution.

Even if you removed money, you wouldn't remove the need for the service that prostitutes provide.
How and why would that be different in a socilaist society?
off-duty - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> Could you comment on what's written, it would be helpful.
> It was "the writtings of prostitutes" and "selling oneself for money", I did look it up.
>

Obviously not in any dictionary or etymological text that references the original Latin or Greek.
Pornography has never meant "the writings of prostitutes".
I'll allow you the more modern usage of prostitution as "selling yourself for money" - but that seems a bit of a desperate clutch at blaming capitalism for a trade (and a word) that has been around since at least the Romans.
The only reason I'm labouring the point, is that if you base your arguments on mistakes that are this obvious, how seriously are we supposed to take your theories on the vastly more complex socialist utopia you keep propounding.


>
> What could any one possibly need so bad from someone else that would pursuade them to be sexualy intimate with someone when ordinarily they wouldn't dream of it, and especially when all their material needs are met?
> That's such a lazy question, must try harder.
>

You have heard of swingers clubs and polygamous/polyamorous societies haven't you? (To name two from dozens of examples) Nasty as it may be to realise not everyone has the same attitude to sex as you.
That's not to suggest that modern prostitution is some "Pretty Woman" type fantasy, but undoubtedly there is a subsection within it that consider the trade-off to be either reasonable, or advantageous to them.


>
> Enough, as the say is as good as a feast. I'll help you out, producing plenty wouldn't be any problem for a socialist society.

Enough might be "as good as a feast" but it isn't a feast. If for example my ration of one chocolate bar a week isn't sufficient, what might I be willing to trade for more.
I'm impressed that producing "plenty" wouldn't be a problem for a socialist society, because we have enough problems with excess production in a capitalist one. I imagine this is yet another "magic" solution whose actual mechanism i "not quite" worked out.
lenny weber - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply o lenny weber)
> [...]
>
> Obviously not in any dictionary or etymological text that references the original Latin or Greek.
> Pornography has never meant "the writings of prostitutes".
> I'll allow you the more modern usage of prostitution as "selling yourself for money" - but that seems a bit of a desperate clutch at blaming capitalism for a trade (and a word) that has been around since at least the Romans.

I have a Oxford English Rerference Dictionary right next to me, opened at the page where the noun pornography is defined, the etymologyi is explained thus: [Gk pornographos writing of harlots porne prostitute + grapho write].

The only reason I'm labouring the point, is that if you base your arguments on mistakes that are this obvious, how seriously are we supposed to take your theories on the vastly more complex socialist utopia you keep propounding.

As we're on "mistakes" let's deal with your 2nd. Where did your idea that socialist blame capitalism for "trade" come from? Capitalism is merely the modern way of using it, blaming anything is pointless, we're interested in the cause of this (to put it mildly) less than ideal social relationship we've inherited, which is, our lack of understanding of what it is to be human and the potential that is at our fingertips.

> [...>
> You have heard of swingers clubs and polygamous/polyamorous societies haven't you? (To name two from dozens of examples) Nasty as it may be to realise not everyone has the same attitude to sex as you.

What attitude is that?
With socialism humans will be free to make their own sexual arrangements and will be of concern only if it involves coercion of any kind.
Polygamy and polyandry are in my opinion probably more in tune with human sexuality than monogamy


> That's not to suggest that modern prostitution is some "Pretty Woman" type fantasy, but undoubtedly there is a subsection within it that consider the trade-off to be either reasonable, or advantageous to them.
>

Yes, one party gets a superior wank, the other gets payed.
It's not just the objectification of human life we are against, it's its commododification.
> [...]
>
> Enough might be "as good as a feast" but it isn't a feast. If for example my ration of one chocolate bar a week isn't sufficient, what might I be willing to trade for more.

At the moment the consumption of all you need, including your Mars Bar is rationed by how much money you have to spend.

> I'm impressed that producing "plenty" wouldn't be a problem for a socialist society, because we have enough problems with excess production in a capitalist one. I imagine this is yet another "magic" solution whose actual mechanism i "not quite" worked out.

I suggest you tell the 870,000,000, one in eight of us, that are suffering dire food poverty that there are "are enough problems with excess production". And how does plenty equate to exess?
Rob Exile Ward on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber: 'Polygamy and polyandry are in my opinion probably more in tune with human sexuality than monogamy'

Your opinion is very interesting. A good next step might be to study the subject, as many anthropologists, sociologist and evolutionary psychologists have in fact done.

Have a bit of a read, then report back.
Chambers - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to lenny weber) 'Polygamy and polyandry are in my opinion probably more in tune with human sexuality than monogamy'
>
> Your opinion is very interesting. A good next step might be to study the subject, as many anthropologists, sociologist and evolutionary psychologists have in fact done.
>
> Have a bit of a read, then report back.

We already have. You clearly haven't. I'd suggest that you start with 'Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State' by Friedrich Engels. You should have a look at Morgan's work, too.

Rob Exile Ward on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: Can't help thinking that there may nowadays be better sources for anthropology, sociology, psychology and evolution (which whoops! wasn't even formulated then) than a fun-loving mid 19th C Manchester mill owner.
off-duty - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> I have a Oxford English Rerference Dictionary right next to me, opened at the page where the noun pornography is defined, the etymologyi is explained thus: [Gk pornographos writing of harlots porne prostitute + grapho write].
>

Genuinely a laugh out loud moment. "Writing of prostitutes" as in "I am writing of prostitutes" or "writing about prostitutes" and not by any stretch "writings of prostitutes" as you have been decribing it.

>
> As we're on "mistakes" let's deal with your 2nd. Where did your idea that socialist blame capitalism for "trade" come from? Capitalism is merely the modern way of using it, blaming anything is pointless, we're interested in the cause of this (to put it mildly) less than ideal social relationship we've inherited, which is, our lack of understanding of what it is to be human and the potential that is at our fingertips.
>

I didn't say that socialists blame capitalism for "trade" - I implied that socialists blamed capitalists for "a trade (and a word) that has been around since at least the Romans" that being prostitution.

If you want to know where I get that misguided impression from : -
What could any one possibly need so bad from someone else that would pursuade them to be sexualy intimate with someone when ordinarily they wouldn't dream of it, and especially when all their material needs are met?
If you don't need money to live there's no prostitution.
>
> What attitude is that?
> With socialism humans will be free to make their own sexual arrangements and will be of concern only if it involves coercion of any kind.
> Polygamy and polyandry are in my opinion probably more in tune with human sexuality than monogamy
>
>
The attitude expressed by :-
What could any one possibly need so bad from someone else that would pursuade them to be sexualy intimate with someone when ordinarily they wouldn't dream of it, and especially when all their material needs are met?
which is an attitude that ignores the fact that some some people are always going to have a high demand for sex of some sort, and some people are going to be prepared to service that need.
Prostitution isn't the oldest profession because of supply, but because of demand.

>
> Yes, one party gets a superior wank, the other gets payed.
> It's not just the objectification of human life we are against, it's its commododification.
>
That appears to be an agreement that a subsection of people will be ahappy to trade sex for some form of advantage.

>
> At the moment the consumption of all you need, including your Mars Bar is rationed by how much money you have to spend.
>
As interesting as that might be, it doesn't actually address my point - so I'll repeat it.
" If for example my ration of one chocolate bar a week isn't sufficient, what might I be willing to trade for more."

>
> I suggest you tell the 870,000,000, one in eight of us, that are suffering dire food poverty that there are "are enough problems with excess production". And how does plenty equate to exess?

Exactly. We have food thrown away in foodbanks, we are unable to regulate it's production and distribution within a town, let alone a country. With all the incentives and systems that capitalism has to regulate the supply to maximise profit we are unable to do it.
Yet you propose a "magic" system of global production and distribution driven solely by demand of the end consumer.
A system that has to ensure that an excess is available because if only "enough" is produced then those who want "plenty" will end up bartering, trading and reintroducing capitalism.
And when you are asked how this system will actually work you wave a wand and say the magic word "socialism!". It's not really an explanation.
Rob Exile Ward on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty: 'And when you are asked how this system will actually work you wave a wand and say the magic word "socialism!". It's not really an explanation.'

It's perfectly adequate. As is 'Because Jesus loves you.'
lenny weber - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply o lenny weber)
> [...]
>
> Obviously not in any dictionary or etymological text that references the original Latin or Greek.
> Pornography has never meant "the writings of prostitutes".
> I'll allow you the more modern usage of prostitution as "selling yourself for money" - but that seems a bit of a desperate clutch at blaming capitalism for a trade (and a word) that has been around since at least the Romans.

I have a Oxford English Rerference Dictionary right next to me, opened at the page where the noun pornography is defined, the etymology is revealed thus: [Gk pornographos, writing of harlots, porne prostitute + grapho, write].

>The only reason I'm labouring the point, is that if you base your arguments on mistakes that are this obvious, how seriously are we supposed to take your theories on the vastly more complex socialist utopia you keep >propounding.

As we're on "mistakes" let's deal with your 2nd. Where did your idea that socialist blame capitalism for "trade" come from? Capitalism is merely the modern way of using it, blaming anything is pointless, we're interested in the cause of this (to put it mildly) less than ideal social relationship we've inherited, which is, our lack of understanding of what it is to be human and the potential that is at our fingertips.

> [...>
> You have heard of swingers clubs and polygamous/polyamorous societies haven't you? (To name two from dozens of examples) Nasty as it may be to realise not everyone has the same attitude to sex as you.

What attitude is that?
With socialism humans will be free to make their own sexual arrangements and will be of concern only if there's coercion of any kind.
Polygamy and polyandry are probably more in tune with our sexuality than monogamy. The promotion of monogamy and the nuclear family in capitalism is because it's seen as the most efficient method of producing wage slaves.

> That's not to suggest that modern prostitution is some "Pretty Woman" type fantasy, but undoubtedly there is a subsection within it that consider the trade-off to be either reasonable, or advantageous to them.
>

Yes, one party gets a superior wank, the other gets payed.
> [...]
>
> Enough might be "as good as a feast" but it isn't a feast. If for example my ration of one chocolate bar a week isn't sufficient, what might I be willing to trade for more.


At the moment the consumption of all you need, including your Mars Bar is rationed by how much money you have to spend. As for rationing I think you're confusing the red fascist tyranies presided over by the likes Uncle Joe and Chairman Mao with socialism.

> I'm impressed that producing "plenty" wouldn't be a problem for a socialist society, because we have enough problems with excess production in a capitalist one. I imagine this is yet another "magic" solution whose actual mechanism i "not quite" worked out.

I suggest you tell the 870,000,000, one in eight of us, that are suffering dire food poverty, that there are "are enough problems with excess production". And how does plenty equate to exess?
The amount spent in one day by states on armaments if redirected would eradicate world poverty. How's that for exess production.

I came to this forum to exchange ideas, not to take part in some kind of pissing contest, you disagree, fair enough, and if you change my mind, great. But it would be so much better if the arguments against were put from an informed not prejudiced (prejudged) position. If you were to google Socialist Standard and have a bit of a read, then you'll find some real amunition.
off-duty - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
I came to this forum to exchange ideas, not to take part in some kind of pissing contest, you disagree, fair enough, and if you change my mind, great. But it would be so much better if the arguments against were put from an informed not prejudiced (prejudged) position. If you were to google Socialist Standard and have a bit of a read, then you'll find some real amunition.


Unfortunately an exchange of ideas generally involves trying to convince the unconvinced through the strengths of your argument.
I am struggling to find anything in your post to counter my rebuttal of your points. (It looks like a cut n paste of your previous post)
To suggest that I am "prejudiced" and "ill-informed" because I choose to take issue with your blandishments that socialism is a magic cure, and instead am trying to address your arguments point by point demonstrates an "interesting" lack of irony on your part.

If you are unable to argue your own position then maybe it is you, rather than I, that need to go off and do a bit more reading.

Though it is unclear what you mean by "If you were to google Socialist Standard and have a bit of a read, then you'll find some real amunition. "
I think you could be the one that requires a bit more ammunition.
lenny weber - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> There will be erotica, why not, but pornography (the wiritings of prositutes, look it up) prostituttion (To sell oneself for money likewise).
>
> Let's not use the original meaning of pornography and instead use the modern one: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.
> My question still stands, why would a socialist society have different tastes than a capitalist one?

Because humans will be free, not be commodified, so it follows neither would sex. Capitalism will continue to exists all the while we're confused about what it is to be human, when for a majority the penny drops, it disappears and "tastes" will change.

> If you don't need money to live there's no prostitution.
>
> Even if you removed money, you wouldn't remove the need for the service that prostitutes provide.
> How and why would that be different in a socilaist society?

If you were to decide to help someone satisfy their need for sexual intimacy, fair enough, but as there would be no need for money to change hands, you would not be engaging in prostitution.
Dr.S at work - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

> [...]
>
> If you were to decide to help someone satisfy their need for sexual intimacy, fair enough, but as there would be no need for money to change hands, you would not be engaging in prostitution.

so those internet sites where folk offer themselves up for sex are the type of outcome you would expect, doggers as well?

I mean this seriously, a largely self organising phenomena which satisfies the needs of a few folk I know.
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

Because humans will be free, not be commodified, so it follows neither would sex. Capitalism will continue to exists all the while we're confused about what it is to be human, when for a majority the penny drops, it disappears and "tastes" will change.

Porn only portrays what the customer wants and demands. If a person likes a particular sexual practice, then that is the type of porn that they will seek out and has absolutely nothing to do with Capitalism.
Do you honestly think that Socialism will stop these 'unnatural' urges?
How about homosexuality? That's 'unnatural', will that cease under Socialism as well?
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to off-duty) 'And when you are asked how this system will actually work you wave a wand and say the magic word "socialism!". It's not really an explanation.'
>
> It's perfectly adequate. As is 'Because Jesus loves you.'

If no one works, no one lives but if we all work well, everyone lives well. No wand or magic word needed, just rationality.
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]
>
> If no one works, no one lives but if we all work well, everyone lives well. No wand or magic word needed, just rationality.

The devil as always lies in the detail.

How do you propose deciding how much work the previously mentioned sewer cleaner needs to do to equate with the work carried out by an airline pilot (or indeed vice versa)
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Chambers) Can't help thinking that there may nowadays be better sources for anthropology, sociology, psychology and evolution (which whoops! wasn't even formulated then) than a fun-loving mid 19th C Manchester mill owner.

Have you read 'Origin of the Family...'?

lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> Because humans will be free, not be commodified, so it follows neither would sex. Capitalism will continue to exists all the while we're confused about what it is to be human, when for a majority the penny drops, it disappears and "tastes" will change.
>
> Porn only portrays what the customer wants and demands. If a person likes a particular sexual practice, then that is the type of porn that they will seek out and has absolutely nothing to do with Capitalism.
> Do you honestly think that Socialism will stop these 'unnatural' urges?
> How about homosexuality? That's 'unnatural', will that cease under Socialism as well?

To suggest that our attitudes are not conditioned by the world view of capitalism is daft. Everything including ourselves is conditioned its situation, but we humans are unique in that we can appreciate this fact and with investigating our conditioning, not only recondition ourselves
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty: Interesting point. Made me wonder how tourism would work in a "money as means of exchange" free society. Could we all go on holiday when we liked to wherever we liked?

I haven't read the whole thread so this may be a stupid point already dealt with
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

To suggest that our attitudes are not conditioned by the world view of capitalism is daft. Everything including ourselves is conditioned its situation, but we humans are unique in that we can appreciate this fact and with investigating our conditioning, not only recondition ourselves

So without Capitalism, all 'unnatural' sexual practices will disappear?
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
> [...]
>
> The devil as always lies in the detail.
>
> How do you propose deciding how much work the previously mentioned sewer cleaner needs to do to equate with the work carried out by an airline pilot (or indeed vice versa)

No such calculation is necessary. A socialist society will be based upon the maxim 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'. What you need to realise is that we're talking about a completely different framework for people to organise their lives in. Attitudes to work will have changed enormously before the revolution has even taken place. Under capitalism, the ways in which we value work are skewed. Generally speaking, those who are engaged in jobs that are absolutely essential to the running of society - food production workers, street cleaners, care workers - are less well paid and less valued than say, a solicitor, a banker or anyone else who, by virtue of their position, hold higher status without ever actually making any kind of contribution in terms of producing wealth.

I've said before that non-productive jobs will disappear in a socialist society. That means that there's a lot less work to be done in the first place. So everybody will be working less. And given that the change in consciousness that is a necessary precursor for socialism will already be in place it follows that we shall go into the new form of society already equipped with an understanding of how it's going to work. And we'll have already freed ourselves from the ludicrous notion that ownership of wealth or the skills needed for a particular job are something that confers status automatically.

I suspect that a socialist society will value people solely on the strengths of their contribution to society.

Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:

> So without Capitalism, all 'unnatural' sexual practices will disappear?

You're on very shaky ground there. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by the term 'unnatural'?

dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

> If no one works, no one lives but if we all work well, everyone lives well. No wand or magic word needed, just rationality.

just rationality? So how do you deal with the majority of people who arent completely rational?
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I've said before that non-productive jobs will disappear in a socialist society.

What is defined as 'non-productive' jobs?
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Dr.S at work:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> [...]
>
> so those internet sites where folk offer themselves up for sex are the type of outcome you would expect, doggers as well?
>
> I mean this seriously, a largely self organising phenomena which satisfies the needs of a few folk I know.

It seems highly probable that this sort of thing will continue in socialism, yes. Assuming that people want to do that kind of thing there's no reason they shouldn't.

off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> No such calculation is necessary. A socialist society will be based upon the maxim 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'. What you need to realise is that we're talking about a completely different framework for people to organise their lives in. Attitudes to work will have changed enormously before the revolution has even taken place. Under capitalism, the ways in which we value work are skewed. Generally speaking, those who are engaged in jobs that are absolutely essential to the running of society - food production workers, street cleaners, care workers - are less well paid and less valued than say, a solicitor, a banker or anyone else who, by virtue of their position, hold higher status without ever actually making any kind of contribution in terms of producing wealth.
>
> I've said before that non-productive jobs will disappear in a socialist society. That means that there's a lot less work to be done in the first place. So everybody will be working less. And given that the change in consciousness that is a necessary precursor for socialism will already be in place it follows that we shall go into the new form of society already equipped with an understanding of how it's going to work. And we'll have already freed ourselves from the ludicrous notion that ownership of wealth or the skills needed for a particular job are something that confers status automatically.
>
> I suspect that a socialist society will value people solely on the strengths of their contribution to society.

That's an awful lot of words (crueller people might call it a regurgitation of propaganda) without actually addressing the key issue I asked - who decides the value of someone's "contribution to society"
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> I've said before that non-productive jobs will disappear in a socialist society.
>
> What is defined as 'non-productive' jobs?

I knew you weren't paying attention! :)

Under capitalism production takes place for the primary purpose of realising a profit for the owners of capital. Human needs are secondary. Socialists argue that this leads to an economic system that is wasteful, expensive and inefficient. Much of the work that is done under capitalism is to do with tasks that contribute nothing to the process of producing wealth.

In a socialist society, production will take place directly to satisfy human needs. So we'll need to produce goods and services, distribute them and keep a check on what we're producing and make adjustments according to changing needs. The rest disappears. So, in no particular order, socialism will have no need of banks or bankers, checkout cashiers, traffic wardens, ticket collectors, insurance salesmen or salesmen of any kind. The marketing industry will vanish. So will all of the useless jobs in government. We won't need payroll clerks. The printing industry will shrink. Most management jobs will disappear. The whole of the armaments industry will be dismantled. The lists goes on, but you get the picture?



Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> That's an awful lot of words (crueller people might call it a regurgitation of propaganda) without actually addressing the key issue I asked - who decides the value of someone's "contribution to society"

You really have to get over this nonsense. I appreciate that you might have had some contact with nasty, dangerous left-wing groups which are characterised by unthinking automatons who parrot the party line, but you're dealing with the SPGB here. We are not those people! We are a group of people who share a common aim and pursue that goal without leaders and without any need to be told what to think. That's why Lenny argues the case very differently than I do...

But look. I have addressed your question. You want to know who's going to decide what someone's contribution to society is worth. I've said that no such decision is necessary. You see, you're talking about exchange-value. The price of something. I'm saying that there will be no exchange-value in socialism, only use-value.

AJM - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Without ticket collectors, what happens if too many people turn up for a flight, train or whatever? Ditto traffic wardens, do we just assume people will never want to park blocking gates, or along the sides of main roads, and so on? It seems unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time...
dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> So, in no particular order, socialism will have no need of banks or bankers,

ok

> checkout cashiers

so who will be distributing the goods, be a bad idea to have a free for all since makes it a lot harder to track usage and hence adjust supply (you could by continually counting up stock on shelves but less effective).

> traffic wardens

I suggest you look at Aberystwyth.

> ticket collectors

If a gig how do you make sure it isnt overfull without tickets or similar door management?
For a train how do you keep track of demand and potential demand?

> insurance salesmen or salesmen of any kind. The marketing industry will vanish.

so how will people find out about all the new things available to them?

> The lists goes on, but you get the picture?

yup
Sir Chasm - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús:
> (In reply to off-duty) Interesting point. Made me wonder how tourism would work in a "money as means of exchange" free society. Could we all go on holiday when we liked to wherever we liked?
>
> I haven't read the whole thread so this may be a stupid point already dealt with

It's not a stupid question, but it has been dealt with. Basically we'll be working so little that life will be one long holiday. But should you want to travel somewhere then there will still be an extensive network of trains, planes, ferries etc and when you get to your destination there will be accommodation (hotel, B&B, self-catering, you choose) available and restaurants and anything else you want.
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Bjartur í Sumarhús)
> [...]
>
> It's not a stupid question, but it has been dealt with. Basically we'll be working so little that life will be one long holiday. But should you want to travel somewhere then there will still be an extensive network of trains, planes, ferries etc and when you get to your destination there will be accommodation (hotel, B&B, self-catering, you choose) available and restaurants and anything else you want.

Your continual use of the reductio ad absurdum tactic discredits only yourself. You aren't attacking the case for socialism.

MG - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: And you're not making it. You are simply making a series of assertions that everything will be great. No one believes you and most people here find your posts faintly ammusing. If you really want to be taken seriously you are going to have to provide some evidence of this sort of thing working in the modern world. As others have pointed out, even within a small family group, the wonderful harmony you describe doesn't very often result.
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dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> Your continual use of the reductio ad absurdum tactic discredits only yourself. You aren't attacking the case for socialism.

Of course they are, its just that in your eyes they are failing to do so effectively.
You do seem to be doing a far better job on their behalf though.

Whens the parties next meeting and do you provide beer?
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> You really have to get over this nonsense. I appreciate that you might have had some contact with nasty, dangerous left-wing groups which are characterised by unthinking automatons who parrot the party line, but you're dealing with the SPGB here. We are not those people! We are a group of people who share a common aim and pursue that goal without leaders and without any need to be told what to think. That's why Lenny argues the case very differently than I do...
>

If you want to stereotype socialists or left wingers feel free. I certainly haven't.
Interesting you bring up Lenny - you do have different cases, and seemingly different endpoints, it would be interesting to see how that would ultimately work out...
But to get back on track :

> But I have addressed your question. You want to know who's going to decide what someone's contribution to society is worth. I've said that no such decision is necessary. You see, you're talking about exchange-value. The price of something. I'm saying that there will be no exchange-value in socialism, only use-value.

You still arent addressing the issue. Who decides the "use-value" of a sewer cleaner against the "use-value" of an airline pilot?
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> Because humans will be free, not be commodified, so it follows neither would sex. Capitalism will continue to exists all the while we're confused about what it is to be human, when for a majority the penny drops, it disappears and "tastes" will change.
>
> Porn only portrays what the customer wants and demands. If a person likes a particular sexual practice, then that is the type of porn that they will seek out and has absolutely nothing to do with Capitalism.
> Do you honestly think that Socialism will stop these 'unnatural' urges?
> How about homosexuality? That's 'unnatural', will that cease under Socialism as well?

To suggest that our attitudes are not conditioned by the world view of capitalism is daft. Everything including ourselves is conditioned by the situation it finds itself inhabiting, but we humans are unique in that we can appreciate this fact and with the investigation of this conditioning, not only are we able to recondition ourselves, with this appreciation we can then go on to recondition our situation, indeed living under capitalism with this understanding we are compelled to.
The more we know the more we can do, the better we know the better we can do, with a more informed outlook on life comes more informed attitudes.


We live in a universe understood only by studying cause and effect, in doing that nothing can be seen as uunatural.
The SPGB has had homosexual members throughout its history, never, not once has this been an issue.

Where did this idea that socialism is only for biggots and prudes come from? If in socialism you or anyone else wants to develope a hairy palm and ruin their eyesight, that'll be fine, the rest of us I'm sure will find better things to do.

Strang, millions of children dying every year for the want of clean drinking water, sanitation, decent food and accomodation, conflicts kicking off here there and everywhere and you're, it seems to me, more interested in how and with who we orgasm, strange indeed.
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Chambers)

> so who will be distributing the goods, be a bad idea to have a free for all since makes it a lot harder to track usage and hence adjust supply (you could by continually counting up stock on shelves but less effective).

This is one of the simplest problems that we'll need to overcome. There will be free access to socially-produced wealth, because it's the only sensible way of organising production and distribution. How we effect accurate stock control will depend to a large extent on the technology that's available when socialism is established. But let's assume that we are using the technology we have now. See those checkout machines where you cash up your own goods? We can use those. So we'll always know what's in stock, what's running low and what we need to produce less of.
>
> [...]
>
> I suggest you look at Aberystwyth.

Or any other town or city. Parking is chaos in any built-up area, and it's becoming increasingly unworkable. Why? Because you have a pile of people all turning up for work at the same time and all going home at the same time, for a start.
>
> [...]
>
> If a gig how do you make sure it isnt overfull without tickets or similar door management?
> For a train how do you keep track of demand and potential demand?

Both problems for any society, for sure. But not, I think, insurmountable ones. As far as the demand for trains is concerned, well, market economics clearly doesn't work too well, does it? The point here is that society will be organised by the majority of people, all of whom who have a stake in its smooth-running. And given that the same situation regarding train-use exists as it does with parking, I think that we'll need less trains.

As for the gig question, well, first off, socialism will transform the music industry completely. Tours will no longer be organised along profit-making lines. I don't think it's too difficult to find out how many people want to see a particular performance and then allocate places.
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

You're on very shaky ground there. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by the term 'unnatural'?

The question was more aimed at Lenny, who seems to think (perhaps you as well), that peoples sexual practices will change under Socialism and that Capitalism is somehow responsible for the more deviant of those practices.
('Unnatural' would cover anything that isn't natural i.e. 'normal' sex between a consenting Male/Female couple.)
Please note, as far as I'm concerned and as long as it's legal, people can do what the hell they like sexually, it's Lenny and yourself who have slapped this on the table and opened it up for discussion.

off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

Replacing the magic word "socialism" with the magic word "technology" still doesn't actually address any of the issues.
Sir Chasm - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> Your continual use of the reductio ad absurdum tactic discredits only yourself. You aren't attacking the case for socialism.

My dear chap, I haven't had to reduce anything to the absurd.
dave Sifford - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
Who determines that Gig organisers are a valued role within society and not excess waste, or how Many gig organisers we need before we have an excess?

Will this affect the whole world at once, or is the aim to start in one country and then work your way out?
teflonpete - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
> The perils of beer on a Friday evening, eh? Sorry, buddy-boy, but by the time socialism is established a majority of humanity will have rejected commodity production. More than half the population say f*ck off to buying and selling and the minority-ownership of the means of production. It's all over for your pound notes and your dollar bills. Your bahts and your yen become worthless, except as an historical interest. But you can still play with them if you like. And we'll come round and feed you and wipe your bottom.


Afraid not my friend, teetotal these days. I've got no problem with the idea of a moneyless society, in fact, that is the general direction in which my life is heading as soon I can. My problem isn't your ideas of a moneyless society, but that you are dictating what people can and can't do in what you are predicting will be a worldwide democracy. Some people like being lawyers, accountants, bankers etc, not me personally, I like being an engineer, but if you think that we will have an ordered society with no need for law, lawyers, or analysts and forecasters for society's commodity needs tomorrow (a lot of what banking is based around) then I really think your vision of a future society is misplaced.

Your complete failure to understand the gig ticket issue is just one example of failing to understand what makes people tick. How does society decide who gets to go and see a gig? Why would a musician want to do an extended tour, spending time away from family and loved ones, if there is to be no personal benefit?

dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> We can use those. So we'll always know what's in stock, what's running low and what we need to produce less of.

ah so it isnt that it is a useless job but just one you think you can automate. Which is similar thinking to the various supermarket bosses.
Once you automate all those type of jobs, do the people who would have done them resort to a life of leisure as opposed to the dole which would be the case now?

> Or any other town or city. Parking is chaos in any built-up area, and it's becoming increasingly unworkable. Why? Because you have a pile of people all turning up for work at the same time and all going home at the same time, for a start.

I used Aberystwyth specifically because they did have no traffic wardens for a while and it got rather messy. From what I recall though it wasnt so much the workers parking up all day but those popping into town quickly who made the real problem (probably because if you leave a car blocking the road all day it would be in an interesting state by the evening).

> The point here is that society will be organised by the majority of people, all of whom who have a stake in its smooth-running.

So how do you propose dealing with the tragedy of the commons?


> And given that the same situation regarding train-use exists as it does with parking, I think that we'll need less trains.

handy but doesnt deal with how you measure and monitor if that is the case.

> As for the gig question, well, first off, socialism will transform the music industry completely. Tours will no longer be organised along profit-making lines.

ah, ok that will fix it.

> I don't think it's too difficult to find out how many people want to see a particular performance and then allocate places.

yeah could knock out a new stadium if demand exceeds the current size.
However leaving that aside, so you allocate places. Problem is i suddenly decide to turn up on the day so without ticket collectors how are you going to stop me and others piling in?
You could use turnstiles etc but still need some staff to manage it.
Rob Exile Ward on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance: I feel quite nostalgic about this thread. I was thinking this sort of rubbish back in the early 70s, when the 'counter culture' was sort of its height - IT, Oz, free concerts and all the rest. We occupied our admin bock at Uni for a week (I had my dog with me) because we thought the amalgamation of some social science courses was a capitalist plot to suppress critical theory! It's nice to see the flickering flame of counter culture kept burning, a bit like seeing photos of the Amish really.
MG - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
a bit like seeing photos of the Amish really.

But to be fair the Amish are acutally making things work in parts of US where modern farming has failed...
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> a bit like seeing photos of the Amish really.
>
> But to be fair the Amish are acutally making things work in parts of US where modern farming has failed...

Though I'm not convinced a global logistics supply based on the horse and cart is an entirely workable idea......
MG - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty: They are suprisingly pragmatic in fact and will use trains if needed. Planes are Right Out though.
Rob Exile Ward on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: Obviously in the utopia to come no one will need planes, because they will be 100% happy exactly where they are; a little bit of work in the morning, free culture in the afternoon and non exploitative sex in the evening. Can't help thinking that something's missing though...
Simon4 - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to dissonance) I feel quite nostalgic about this thread.

Don't you think there is something rather cruel about people baiting these 2 (if indeed they are really 2 separate people, rather than the same person for some peculiar motive signed on twice), rather like people who deliberately while away idle afternoons by keeping Jehovah's witnesses talking endlessly? A bit like the Victorians selling trips to Bedlam to mock the lunatics, or, as a modern day equivalent, reality TV? All based on laughing at the village idiot, not exactly edifying.

> I had my dog with me

Did the dog talk more sense than your lecturers? Or than these 2? Was it more realistic about human failings and motives?

> a bit like seeing photos of the Amish really.

I rather suspect the Amish are considerably more polite, laid-back and less hectoringly, patronisingly self-righteous.

At least the Amish have a micro-society that pretty much works in its own terms and within its own limits, which is considerably more than can be said for the SPGB. They also have a more coherent explanation "everyone will behave well because God wants them to" even if its premise is self-evident nonsense, that God exists, at least what follows is not a complete non-sequitur, rather it follows entirely logically from the false premise.

If there were a forced choice between the Amish and "Socialism", I suspect most people would reluctantly wear dark robes, funny hats and grow long beards. And that's just the women.
dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:

> Though I'm not convinced a global logistics supply based on the horse and cart is an entirely workable idea......

More so than the SPGB plans....

I always wonder how the Amish and similar groups decide which year to get stuck in. Why chose the dress code etc of a particular era as the stopping point.
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> [...]
>
> More so than the SPGB plans....
>
> I always wonder how the Amish and similar groups decide which year to get stuck in. Why chose the dress code etc of a particular era as the stopping point.

I guess it could be the same reason that socialists are fixated with pre 1900 ideas... ;-)
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> [...]
>
> just rationality? So how do you deal with the majority of people who arent completely rational?

What we're doing here, pointing out the irrationality of capitalism, so to create a majority that see society as it is and decides to change it.

Let,see if you can dodge this; what in your opinion is the rational purpose for producing, let's say food, medicine or housing?

lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> That's an awful lot of words (crueller people might call it a regurgitation of propaganda) without actually addressing the key issue I asked - who decides the value of someone's "contribution to society"

Of course it's propaganda! We're propagating our ideas.

ads.ukclimbing.com
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> What we're doing here, pointing out the irrationality of capitalism, so to create a majority that see society as it is and decides to change it.
>
> Let,see if you can dodge this; what in your opinion is the rational purpose for producing, let's say food, medicine or housing?

Ignoring the humour in you accusing others of dodging a subject, I'll bite.
I produce food to feed myself, I build a house to shelter myself and I "produce" medicine to cure myself.
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MJ)
> [...]
>
> I knew you weren't paying attention! :)
>
> Under capitalism production takes place for the primary purpose of realising a profit for the owners of capital. Human needs are secondary. Socialists argue that this leads to an economic system that is wasteful, expensive and inefficient. Much of the work that is done under capitalism is to do with tasks that contribute nothing to the process of producing wealth.
>
> In a socialist society, production will take place directly to satisfy human needs. So we'll need to produce goods and services, distribute them and keep a check on what we're producing and make adjustments according to changing needs. The rest disappears. So, in no particular order, socialism will have no need of banks or bankers, checkout cashiers, traffic wardens, ticket collectors, insurance salesmen or salesmen of any kind. The marketing industry will vanish. So will all of the useless jobs in government. We won't need payroll clerks. The printing industry will shrink. Most management jobs will disappear. The whole of the armaments industry will be dismantled. The lists goes on, but you get the picture?

Agreed, but there's more. How could those of a criminal bent operate without money? I think we should be told.
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I knew you weren't paying attention! :)

Maybe I was concentrating on the sex angle of things...



In a socialist society, production will take place directly to satisfy human needs.

Would that be essential items only?
If it includes non-essential items, who would decide what should be made?

MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

Agreed, but there's more. How could those of a criminal bent operate without money? I think we should be told.

It's entirely possible to steal things other than money.
It's also possible for an individual to use violence, blackmail and other means to achieve what they want.
Sir Chasm - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> Agreed, but there's more. How could those of a criminal bent operate without money? I think we should be told.
>
> It's entirely possible to steal things other than money.
> It's also possible for an individual to use violence, blackmail and other means to achieve what they want.

Everyone will have everything they want, so there will be no need to steal anything. Do try and keep up.
Ken Lewis - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
>
> In a socialist society, production will take place directly to satisfy human needs.
>
> Would that be essential items only?
> If it includes non-essential items, who would decide what should be made?


Miniplenty would decide, of course.
teflonpete - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Agreed, but there's more. How could those of a criminal bent operate without money? I think we should be told.

Look at what happened in the post WW1 depression in Germany. Inflation was so ridiculous people needed a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread. What happened? Thieves tipped the worthless money out and stole the wheelbarrow. Criminals will just find a different medium to use as wealth.
dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:


> Let,see if you can dodge this; what in your opinion is the rational purpose for producing, let's say food, medicine or housing?

Well I dont do any of those but under the current system people do so in order to sell to me so they can then buy some shiny climbing gear.
However this doesnt address the problem that people arent rational all the time. You dont seem to be addressing this any better than the capitalist model.
dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:

> Agreed, but there's more. How could those of a criminal bent operate without money? I think we should be told.

beer, drugs, sex, street cred etc etc.

As much as it may pain some to admit it climbing for example isnt a completely essential activity and so even under the most idealistic model supply of gear may be limited. Therefore if I want some shiny new toys I can either wait till next years quota or nick yours.
Or I may exchange them in order to get that bloke who has been eyeing up my missus beaten up.
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
>
> Afraid not my friend, teetotal these days. I've got no problem with the idea of a moneyless society, in fact, that is the general direction in which my life is heading as soon I can. My problem isn't your ideas of a moneyless society, but that you are dictating what people can and can't do in what you are predicting will be a worldwide democracy. Some people like being lawyers, accountants, bankers etc, not me personally, I like being an engineer, but if you think that we will have an ordered society with no need for law, lawyers, or analysts and forecasters for society's commodity needs tomorrow (a lot of what banking is based around) then I really think your vision of a future society is misplaced.
>
> Your complete failure to understand the gig ticket issue is just one example of failing to understand what makes people tick. How does society decide who gets to go and see a gig? Why would a musician want to do an extended tour, spending time away from family and loved ones, if there is to be no personal benefit?

I was a semi pro musician for a while, the cost of my gear and travel was never covered by what I got paid. I played (good word for it) because people danced, enjoyed themselves and applauded. I would say I did it for the love of music and being a part in people having a good time. Seeing it this way was common among all those in my position that I knew and played with.

Why would any musician submit to a grueling extended tour? They like everyone else would be free arrange their lives to suit themselves. I thought that would've been obviouse.

Sir Chasm - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber: What if a lot of people liked one particular musician and he decided to perform concerts charging half a dozen eggs for admittance?
MJ - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

What if a lot of people liked one particular musician and he decided to perform concerts charging half a dozen eggs for admittance?

He'd better not have a duff performance, otherwise he might end up with egg on his face.
lenny weber - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> [...]
>
> beer, drugs, sex, street cred etc etc.
>
> As much as it may pain some to admit it climbing for example isnt a completely essential activity and so even under the most idealistic model supply of gear may be limited. Therefore if I want some shiny new toys I can either wait till next years quota or nick yours.
> Or I may exchange them in order to get that bloke who has been eyeing up my missus beaten up.


Re-creation, is an essential part of life, so the means needed will be produced, you could at times help make climbing gear and perhaps come up with some ideas to improve it. To make anything other than the best would be silly, especially with equipment your life depends on.
As for your wife, I feel sorry for her, it's possible she'd be better off with that bloke.
off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to lenny weber:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
>
> Re-creation, is an essential part of life, so the means needed will be produced, you could at times help make climbing gear and perhaps come up with some ideas to improve it. To make anything other than the best would be silly, especially with equipment your life depends on.

So now we have excess production of essentially toys.
As well as asking unskilled and untrained people to manufacture them....

As for your wife, I feel sorry for her, it's possible she'd be better off with that bloke.

Thanks for such a clear demonstration that roots of crime can exist even in socialists.
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to AJM: > (In reply to Chambers)
>
> Without ticket collectors, what happens if too many people turn up for a flight, train or whatever? Ditto traffic wardens, do we just assume people will never want to park blocking gates, or along the sides of main roads, and so on? It seems unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time...

Just picking up on a few points I'd missed here. Although I've been brutally chewed-up and spat out by the monstrous crag that is Ramshaw Rocks, so I might not be at my best...

You're right. It's highly unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time. People aren't that reliable or predictable even most of the time, let alone the entire time. But is this an obstacle to socialism? Well, I don't think it is. And here's why...

First of all - and this is something that my more vociferous and howling critics seem unable to grasp - socialism is not a possibility until there are a majority of socialists. You can't lead people to it, and you can't impose it on them. Socialism is the self-emancipation of the working class, and it will - if it ever comes about - be the conscious enactment of the will of a majority of the world's population who have rejected capitalism and understand fully the need for a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. That's a majority of people who are prepared to stand up and do the necessary work to consign capitalism to the dustbin of history.

Now, I think it's pretty obvious that given that kind of history-changing determination, people - freed from the constraints of an oppressive and exploitative society are going to be pretty clear about what needs doing and how it should be done. That's the first thing.

The second thing is this: Socialism will transform the way live and work and interact. With no bosses and no compulsion to do a particular thing for wages for the whole of your working life nobody is going to choose to live the way workers do under capitalism.

Here's a third thing. We, the working class, produce everything. We administrate everything and we distribute everything. At the moment, we don't do it in our own interests. We do it in the interests of a small minority who own and control almost everything. When we run society in the interests of everyone most of the journeys that people make now will be unnecessary. Business flights? Forget them. And if a species as f*cking brilliant as ours can't organise all the fabulous stuff so that everyone can benefit from it then, frankly, we deserve to die out.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

What happens when all the over-producers notice they'd be better off somewhere else and f*** off? Do you build a wall and put in a minefield like East Germany?


off-duty - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

So, having waded through your post which largely consists of you repeating your beliefs about how capitalism will be thrown off and a "grand vision" of the freedom that will ensue, your answer to the question:-

Without ticket collectors, what happens if too many people turn up for a flight, train or whatever? Ditto traffic wardens, do we just assume people will never want to park blocking gates, or along the sides of main roads, and so on? It seems unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time...

is

You're right. It's highly unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time. People aren't that reliable or predictable even most of the time, let alone the entire time. But is this an obstacle to socialism? Well, I don't think it is. And here's why...

..if a species as f*cking brilliant as ours can't organise all the fabulous stuff so that everyone can benefit from it then, frankly, we deserve to die out.


Quite frankly, I'm not convinced.
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> What happens when all the over-producers notice they'd be better off somewhere else and f*** off? Do you build a wall and put in a minefield like East Germany?

Hi Tom. I'm in the middle of making dinner so I can't get into any kind of in-depth answer to your question. All I can do is suggest that you read the rest of the thread and grasp the fact that socialism will be a global society.
Chambers - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> So, having waded through your post which largely consists of you repeating your beliefs about how capitalism will be thrown off and a "grand vision" of the freedom that will ensue, your answer to the question:-
>
> Without ticket collectors, what happens if too many people turn up for a flight, train or whatever? Ditto traffic wardens, do we just assume people will never want to park blocking gates, or along the sides of main roads, and so on? It seems unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time...

That's simply because you are just not thinking about this and prefer to cherry-pick quotes from my writing in order to attack some weird distorted version of what I've said. When dinner's cooked and eaten I'm coming back to take you on!
>
> is
>
> You're right. It's highly unlikely that everyone will behave in the optimal way for society the entire time. People aren't that reliable or predictable even most of the time, let alone the entire time. But is this an obstacle to socialism? Well, I don't think it is. And here's why...
>
> ..if a species as f*cking brilliant as ours can't organise all the fabulous stuff so that everyone can benefit from it then, frankly, we deserve to die out.
>
> Quite frankly, I'm not convinced.

AJM - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

I didn't say it was an insurmountable obstacle to socialism. You just chose to argue as though I did because you th. K you can counter argue.

It's just an example of two jobs that you've been declaring are amongst the pointless ones. I'm still not sure anywhere in your answer you've said whether you think they are still pointless, given you've agreed that it's likely that from time to time people will act selfishly and try and get onto flights or trains or whatever that they shouldn't, or park where they shouldn't, or whatever.
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Ken Lewis - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Chambers)
>
> What happens when all the over-producers notice they'd be better off somewhere else and f*** off? Do you build a wall and put in a minefield like East Germany?

Indeed. Case closed.

Im guessing the advocates believe everyone would get a free flat on Karl Marx Allee and life would be great.
dissonance - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> First of all - and this is something that my more vociferous and howling critics seem unable to grasp - socialism is not a possibility until there are a majority of socialists.

So exactly how is that going to happen? It seems somewhat optimistic to have this massive change in how people interact.


> Now, I think it's pretty obvious that given that kind of history-changing determination, people - freed from the constraints of an oppressive and exploitative society are going to be pretty clear about what needs doing and how it should be done.

I guess if you are going to work on the theory there will be this massive change in human behaviour then you can attach any other behaviours to it as you wish. Doesnt deal with the problem of how to get there.

> The second thing is this: Socialism will transform the way live and work and interact. With no bosses and no compulsion to do a particular thing for wages for the whole of your working life nobody is going to choose to live the way workers do under capitalism.

At which point we get back to those previous questions about who will do the less pleasant or dangerous jobs if there is no pressure for someone to do so.

> When we run society in the interests of everyone most of the journeys that people make now will be unnecessary. Business flights? Forget them.

ok but what about pleasure flights?
Rob Exile Ward on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance: I have already addressed this above. No one will ever want to leave the social paradise that is where they are living, so that's another problem solved.
Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Ken Lewis:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> [...]
>
> Indeed. Case closed.
>
> Im guessing the advocates believe everyone would get a free flat on Karl Marx Allee and life would be great.

Had you read what's been written about socialism on here you might not make such ill-informed guesses!

Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance: > (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> So exactly how is that going to happen? It seems somewhat optimistic to have this massive change in how people interact.

We can't say exactly how it's going to happen, or even if it will. There may never be a majority of socialists, in which case there will never be socialism. Now, you might think that it's optimistic to expect a majority of people to agree on the framework for a new society and to develop the political will to bring it about. But faced with the alternative - the continuation of capitalism with all its strife and depredations and insoluble social problems - well, I won't be giving up the struggle.

> I guess if you are going to work on the theory there will be this massive change in human behaviour then you can attach any other behaviours to it as you wish. Doesnt deal with the problem of how to get there.

Except we don't work on that theory at all. Socialism does not require people to become 'good' or 'virtuous' or 'altruistic'. All it requires is for people to recognise their mutual self-interest and act co-operatively to transform society in the interests of everyone. I don't think that the problem is how to get there. That much is clear. No, the problem lies in convincing a majority of people that the journey is worthwhile.
>
> [...]
>
> At which point we get back to those previous questions about who will do the less pleasant or dangerous jobs if there is no pressure for someone to do so.

Well, if no-one wants to do them they won't get done. That said, most of the 'unpleasant' jobs under capitalism would not be so unpleasant when the oppressive conditions that tend to surround them are removed. As for dangerous jobs, well, you ought to know that some people like doing dangerous things.
>
> [...]
>
> ok but what about pleasure flights?

What about them? Assuming that there's still enough oil to be able to keep planes in the air when socialism is established, and assuming that the majority decide that we want to keep them in the air, I don't see the problem. We'll decide democratically how to allocate seats. Although personally, I think that in a socialist society there'll be a lot less demand for flights, anyway.

Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to lenny weber)
>
> [...]
>
> just rationality? So how do you deal with the majority of people who arent completely rational?
That'll be all of us. But it doesn't preclude us from organising society on a rational basis.

Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to lenny weber) What if a lot of people liked one particular musician and he decided to perform concerts charging half a dozen eggs for admittance?

He'd end up with more eggs than he could possibly use, would die of cholesterol-poisoning and everyone would laugh at him in the same way that everyone laughs at talented but stupid people like Sting and Bono. But I imagine that before that happened most people would just say 'Nah. Nobody needs that many eggs.'

Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Chambers) And you're not making it. You are simply making a series of assertions that everything will be great. No one believes you and most people here find your posts faintly ammusing. If you really want to be taken seriously you are going to have to provide some evidence of this sort of thing working in the modern world. As others have pointed out, even within a small family group, the wonderful harmony you describe doesn't very often result.

And so it goes on. I have never asserted any such thing. The only people using such words as 'great' 'harmony' and 'utopia' are the opponents of the case for socialism. All I've asserted is that a classless, stateless, moneyless society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living will provide a framework in which we can solve most of the problems thrown up by the contradictions of capitalism.
MG - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
All I've asserted is that a classless, stateless, moneyless society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living will provide a framework in which we can solve most of the problems thrown up by the contradictions of capitalism.

No you have gone much further. For example, claiming there would be no need for huge chunks of the current workforce, no war, that there would be no shortage of anything, that people would see unpleasant jobs were necessary and just get on with them etc. etc.

What are these "contradictions" of capitilism?

MG - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> And so it goes on. I have never asserted any such thing. The only people using such words as 'great' 'harmony' and 'utopia' are the opponents of the case for socialism.

What about, for example "Basically we'll be working so little that life will be one long holiday". Sounds pretty utopian and great to me.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> He'd end up with more eggs than he could possibly use, would die of cholesterol-poisoning and everyone would laugh at him in the same way that everyone laughs at talented but stupid people like Sting and Bono. But I imagine that before that happened most people would just say 'Nah. Nobody needs that many eggs.'

Don't be silly, he's not going to eat all the eggs he's going to trade them for amplifiers and guitar strings.
Ken Lewis - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> (In reply to Ken Lewis)
> [...]
>
> Had you read what's been written about socialism on here you might not make such ill-informed guesses!


Had you not thought the human race can collectively act like an ant colony on an isolated island, you might have a less ill informed idea of what is possible.

Anyway, dont bother trying to theorise how to get down the difficult path to your utopia, because the end point of your vision is the same as the end point of capitalism, the only difference being in one scenario Crimson Permanent Assurance owns and controls everything, in the other, the farm yard Pigs control everything.

Both end point situations are shit for the serf, but the captilist models allows for a lot more fun en route, and a lot less being lied to too.
Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> If you want to stereotype socialists or left wingers feel free. I certainly haven't.
It's not a matter of stereotyping. It's a question of political principle. All left-wing parties that call themselves socialist adhere to the notion that workers can't understand the case for socialism and need to be led to it. An authoritarian is an authoritarian.
> Interesting you bring up Lenny - you do have different cases, and seemingly different endpoints, it would be interesting to see how that would ultimately work out...

It is interesting. It's also thoroughly democratic. We're both members of the same movement, and we both subscribe to the object and declaration of principles that the party is founded on. Same goes for everyone else in the movement. Unlike parties like the SWP and any other leftwing sect you care to mention, no-one can join our party unless they can show a clear understanding of the case for socialism.
What that means in practice is that everyone - whilst adhering to the same object and principles - is free to do their own thinking about how socialism might be organised. But at the moment, of course, we're speculating. As the movement grows more voices enter the discussion. Ultimately, when the movement has grown to the point where we can establish socialism the decisions about how it will be organised will have been thrashed out in detail. You see, we don't think you can divorce means from ends.

> You still arent addressing the issue. Who decides the "use-value" of a sewer cleaner against the "use-value" of an airline pilot?

How could such a decision be made? And how could it even be necessary? We can have both. There might be choices that we have to make that do need an analysis of how useful something is. More aeroplanes or a space rocket, for example. And decisions like that will be made democratically by the whole population.

Sir Chasm - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers: You're going to ask 6billion people to choose whether to produce rockets or planes? That's a lot of voting.
Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Ken Lewis:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
>
> Had you not thought the human race can collectively act like an ant colony on an isolated island, you might have a less ill informed idea of what is possible.
>
> Anyway, dont bother trying to theorise how to get down the difficult path to your utopia, because the end point of your vision is the same as the end point of capitalism, the only difference being in one scenario Crimson Permanent Assurance owns and controls everything, in the other, the farm yard Pigs control everything.
>
> Both end point situations are shit for the serf, but the captilist models allows for a lot more fun en route, and a lot less being lied to too.

Your very amusing diatribe clearly displays your complete lack of understanding of almost everything. Where shall I start? I don't expect humanity to behave anything like an ant colony, although I do observe a lot of them acting like sheep under capitalism. It might not be part of your mental furniture, but it's easy to discover that were it not the case that humans beings have a drive to co-operate and act collectively our species would never have made it across the savannah and gone on the colonise the whole planet.

You have but a slender knowledge of what capitalism is. There are no serfs in capitalism. And do you really suppose that the 30 million people who die through lack of food each year are having fun along the way?

What's more, you have no knowledge whatsoever of what socialism is. You really ought to read some more of what's gone before even attempting to contribute.

Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> Don't be silly, he's not going to eat all the eggs he's going to trade them for amplifiers and guitar strings.

Yawn. In a society that doesn't do trade?

Sir Chasm - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:
> Yawn. In a society that doesn't do trade?

How are you going to prevent trading? If my neighbour has cows and I have sheep, how are you going to stop us swapping (trading, bartering call it what you will) if we fancy a different Sunday roast?
MG - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: You won't need to. If want sheep they will be a democratic decision to increase sheep production so you can have as many as you want. By lunchtime.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to MG: Apparently the largest occupation will be "vote counter".
dissonance - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to MG) Apparently the largest occupation will be "vote counter".

technology will save the day.
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dissonance - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Chambers:

> That'll be all of us. But it doesn't preclude us from organising society on a rational basis.

Thats useful. Do you care to elaborate on how you feel this will occur and why it never has in the past?
Sir Chasm - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance: Excellent. I shall be first in line to work in the vote counting machine factory, you won't find me laiking out enjoying myself.
off-duty - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm, MG, dissonance (and chambers.

I guess this is what's happening now (taken from yet another sub-thread where an answer was promised but not delivered)

But in reality, they'll just laugh at me. If I pursue the matter some counter-revolutionary comrade will have me on an action detrimental charge quicker than your mother's legs opening for the milkman.


Though at least in this terrible capitalist world he doesn't have to worry about an "action detrimental" charge
tony on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Chambers)
> [...]
>
> How are you going to prevent trading? If my neighbour has cows and I have sheep, how are you going to stop us swapping (trading, bartering call it what you will) if we fancy a different Sunday roast?

Doh! You're still not getting it. The cows and sheep will be shared by everyone, and there will be notion of ownership, and since there's no ownership of anything, there will be no trading.

However, it's not clear how to deal with the flying pigs, since they will need specialist skills in order to catch them, and it's not impossible that the people with those specialist skills might think they have a prior claim to said flying pigs.
GrahamD - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to tony:

You don't get it either. Specialist skills like flying pig man are free for anyone to get.
tony on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> You don't get it either. Specialist skills like flying pig man are free for anyone to get.

Damn. Back to the drawing board ...
dissonance - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:

> Though at least in this terrible capitalist world he doesn't have to worry about an "action detrimental" charge

It does sound a bit painful.
Doesnt bode well for our happy new world when they already need those sort of charges available with just 500 people.
Simon4 - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> Doesnt bode well for our happy new world when they already need those sort of charges available with just 500 people.

I believe there was a case fairly recently of one left-wing groupuscule or other (not sure if it was this one, i.e. Chambers buddies), of a girl comrade claiming she had been raped (possibly repeatedly), by a leading male comrade (seemingly yes, they do have "leading" comrades). Rather than going to the "bourgeois" police, she decided to submit to some sort of "comradely court".

Unfortunately the comrades went in for all the sort of dubious tactics now normally frowned on by the bourgeois, saying she had a drink problem, invasive queries about her personal life, "evidence" being given against her, the supposed victim, in secret when she was not present.

Even paradise seems to have its apple and its snake.
off-duty - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Simon4:

I remember that :
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/09/socialist-workers-party-rape-kangaroo-court

I particularly appreciated "If I had gone to the police I would have been expelled from the party".
MJ - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to off-duty:

That's the Socialist Workers Party.

The other lot are the Socialist Party of Great Britain...
Chambers - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to dissonance)
>
> [...]
>
> I believe there was a case fairly recently of one left-wing groupuscule or other (not sure if it was this one, i.e. Chambers buddies), of a girl comrade claiming she had been raped (possibly repeatedly), by a leading male comrade (seemingly yes, they do have "leading" comrades). Rather than going to the "bourgeois" police, she decided to submit to some sort of "comradely court".
>
> Unfortunately the comrades went in for all the sort of dubious tactics now normally frowned on by the bourgeois, saying she had a drink problem, invasive queries about her personal life, "evidence" being given against her, the supposed victim, in secret when she was not present.
>
> Even paradise seems to have its apple and its snake.

That was the SWP, Simon. And if you'd been paying even a modicum of attention...oh, forget it. You aren't.

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