Overthrowing Capitalism

The main forum for discussing social justice and the "plus" part of Atheism Plus.

Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Setar » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:56 am

locke wrote:
Setar wrote:That was phrased as a rhetorical question, because you asked it and then immediately answered it yourself. You don't get to whine about how I never answered your question, when your argument was attempting to answer that question in the negative using nothing but baseless assertions, and using scare rhetoric at that.


As much as I enjoy a good ad hominem attack,

Er, how is that "an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or unrelated belief" (source) on your part?

Onorato Damen wrote:Money can only function as money to the extent it is scarce relative to commodities (see: Mugabe's Zimbabwe/1924 Wiemar Germany/etc.), so there are absolute productivity limits on the expansion of the money-supply. It is not an exogenous variable, and the failure of Helicopter Ben's endless drops of credit and Quantiative Easing to right the economy proves the failure of these theories of money.

Uh, that was me you were quoting, and I was contesting the notion that we somehow just can't do things like upgrade the energy infrastructure (and put people to work doing so). I was advocating having the so-called 'injections of capital' be from the government into things that put people to work, rather than from the Fed into the coffers of big banks. The wars bit was meant to specifically say that we could get some of the money for this by cutting back on the pointless wars. Another thing we could do is repeal those fucking Bush tax cuts, and while we're at it raise corporate and capital gains taxes...
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Geoffica » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:16 am

Uhm... So, in my region of the world, there have historically been many examples of anti-capitalist actions.

I'm a huge supporter of the IWW and worker-owned cooperatives.

Whenever I've the money, I try to support indie workers, and unionized companies.

Right now I'm going to school for Accounting and Economics (Holy fuck, an anarcho-syndicalist in economics?!). As part of my anti-capitalist scheming, when I open up my own accounting business, I hope to make it worker-owned. I've not yet researched the legalities of it, but when I am closer to being able to afford such a thing...

In the mean time, I work towards small-scale action: Union protests, explaining to people the history of unions and anarchism in the US, and generally trying to teach people about anti-capitalist movements, both in the past and present.

It's also very important to educate one's self. I've been researching the history of third world nations and their workers/political movements. Very interesting stuff. I kinda hate Gandhi now, which surprised me.

Someone earlier asked about Chavez and Castro: Chavez is kinda badass, and I think Castro was and is very badly maligned by US propaganda. Certainly Cuba has it's problems, but it seems like critics by and large are ready to criticize Cuba but strongly defend reprehensible actions in the US, and try to tear down the structures we've created to protect us from human rights violations. There's also a serious lack of ignorance about South American politics. People I've talked to will readily rant about Castro, but when I try to direct the conversation to say, Evo Morales, or Chavez's work with ALBA, I'm met with a blank stare. Ah, well. :(
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby prude » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:41 am

What's your opinion on Yoani Sanchez?

http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Geoffica » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:11 am

I don't know much about her, but from what I've read she's really great. Not only is her writing style fascinating and unique, but the courage it takes to stand up to a government through multiple acts of continued civil disobedience is badassery in its best form. I've not yet gotten to read her book, but it's certainly on my to do list.

By no means do I think people should turn a blind eye to human rights violations in Cuba or any other country. But, as an american, I think it's important we offer help and assistance in ways that don't further perpetuate US imperialism.

What are your thoughts on her?
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby prude » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:53 am

Geoffica wrote:What are your thoughts on her?

I like that there are opposition blogs like hers. It shows how screwed up Cuba is in some ways despite what Cuban propaganda says. Here's her Twitter blog, by the way:

http://twitter.com/yoanisanchez

I'm not a fan of Castro. Or the whole Sao Paulo forum for that matter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foro_de_S% ... rticipants
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Onorato Damen » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:41 am

locke wrote:
Onorato Damen wrote:There was no practical model in an intellectuals' head of liberal democratic electoralism, liberal legal order, or a modern capitalist economy. The idea that society and history inch forward by incremental experimentation is a Popperian myth.


I don't disagree that they lacked a practical model when liberal democratic electoralism was put in place. They did, however, have a philosophical framework, and ideas about how to construct a popular elected government derived from both philosophy and practical experience with local self-governance.


Absurd. Nothing in the Philosophes or Locke closely resembles the outcome of the French Republics or British parliamentary system. To the extent it does, it is because in the latter case, major features of it had already been achieved and Locke was rationalizing the revolutionary outcome of the 1640s and 1680s. Liberalism was invented after the fact to justify the dethronement of divine right and the existing hegemonic political-juridical-cosmological schemes.

locke wrote:I'm not looking for a perfect answer, but if you want to throw out the existing system, it seems rational to have a discussion of what a new system might look like, in light if the existing historical record of various systems.


Certainly, but I'm putting a kibosh ahead of time on completely ridiculous ahistorical demands that unless you have a total working blueprint, than the default virtue is to continue fellating the capitalist classes and world imperialism.

Quite frankly, the historical Stalinist states openly repudiated the content of Marx and Engels' texts (which is why they were quite literally suppressed and liberally edited within them) in support of nationalist and class-collaborationist goals. The working-class did not rule, so there is no identity to be found between Marx's hypothesized "dictatorship of the proletariat" (for which the concrete example of the Paris Commune of 1781 was offered; needless to say no Stalinist functionary was paid "an average skilled workers' wage," freely "elected at short terms," and subject to "immediate recall") and the Stalinist states. Most of them were not even inaugurated by actually existing working-class parties. The substance of Marx and Engels' program is struggle by the wage-laboring class for its rule, to end class society. Needless to say, this substance was rejected for spurious bureaucratic utopias which bear far closer resemblance to the utopian socialists which Marx originally cut his teeth critiquing, and their political tactics far more closely approximated petty bourgeois Jacobinism and the conspiratorial putschism of Blanqui. Now, it is a legitimate question how the historical Marxist movement ended up birthing such a monster, but that's for another time. In conclusion, I don't see how Stalinism necessarily follows linearly from the political advice offered by Marx and Engels, and unlike a liberal, I don't think the motive force of history is "bad or good guys" having the "right or wrong ideas." And before you all talk down to me, realize I'm not young and recently politicized, and was for years a liberal and standard militant atheist before I was a Marxist. I have heard and considered all of the bog-standard arguments, and promulgated them myself for a long time.

To be clear, I'm not a Trotskyist, either. Had I lived in Russia in 1917-18, I would probably have been shot by the Vcheka in 1918.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Onorato Damen » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:27 pm

Setar wrote:Uh, that was me you were quoting, and I was contesting the notion that we somehow just can't do things like upgrade the energy infrastructure (and put people to work doing so). I was advocating having the so-called 'injections of capital' be from the government into things that put people to work, rather than from the Fed into the coffers of big banks. The wars bit was meant to specifically say that we could get some of the money for this by cutting back on the pointless wars. Another thing we could do is repeal those fucking Bush tax cuts, and while we're at it raise corporate and capital gains taxes...


That's because you implicitly adopt an idealized technocratic view of the state, capital, class relations, and political society. There is a reason they cut taxes since the 1970s; it is because the economy has been in relative decline, and the weight of GATT-style "managed trade" and Bretton Woods I-style capital controls and fixed exchange-rates, which under-rode all the Keynesian social compromise up to that point, could no longer be sustained. The other fact is that we didn't get the New Deal and social democracy because our capitalists and technocratic intellectuals discovered their humanistic decency, and love for the common man, but as a deliberate rampart against the ever-present spectre of social revolution in the early 20th century til after World War II. It is often forgotten, even Joseph Schumpeter, hardly a critic of capitalism, bemoaned in the 1940s as the war wound down that perhaps Nazism was defeated, but no one had any good ideas for how to restore economic life to function.

You see all these policies are freely discretionary options by a governmental agent with arbitrary free agency, provided it is adequately "pressured" by public opinion. I don't see any evidence to support this conjecture.

Nowadays, if you were to do what you want (which you can't, because the elections are financed by and for the capitalist class), the result would just be that investment capital would 'strike' from US securities and corporations, causing the dollar to suffer and an over-night recession. The owning classes can simply veto social policy by means of refusing to invest, or preferring to invest elsewhere, or dodging tax even more fervently. The end of GATT and Bretton Woods I as mentioned above, is precisely to remove all barriers to such action, as well. This is exactly the context of the credit rating downgrade fracas.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Onorato Damen » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:28 pm

TheCascadian wrote:Well, communism - in its "true" state - has never existed. And yet we call countries like China and the former Soviet Union "communist". That is, we can say something is neither "true", "pure", nor "real" and yet still use the word to have an approximate description. In one sense, America is capitalist but only insofar as it resembles capitalism most closely as opposed to systems more purely resembling socialism and communism.


Excuse me, you introduced the No True Scotsman with your silliness about "true capitalism." I don't construct mental visions of different systems. Communism, as a hypothetical in Marx's sense per definitionem is a global and historical mode of production, just like capitalism. Methodologically speaking, no economic system either "exists" or "does not exist" on the basis of single countries and their policy preferences. The capitalist mode of production remained dominant worldwide, even where the Stalinist experiments are concerned--and if anyone needed more proof of this completely comfortable interpenetration, look no further than the "People's Republic" of China. The historical Stalinist states never called themselves "communist"; they were ruled by self-described communist parties, but referring to the "command economies" (their economic identity is still disputed even in bourgeois economic quarters, to say nothing of socialist theory) as "communism" is merely tailing Cold War propaganda, and simply historically and analytically inaccurate and misleading. Not all "command economies" were even ruled by Stalinist parties which called themselves communist: see a period of Baathist rule in Syria which saw near total nationalization, and Burma under Ne Win.

If capitalism only exists in a pristine theory, than we're dealing with theology and metaphysics. I'm talking about historically actually existing capitalism, as a historical phenomena. (Interestingly enough, Marx considered "communism" in the same light, hence no blueprint for its content, and his polemics against the "utopian socialists" who were ready to design the work-barracks for all of us in advance, down to the number of beds; communism according to Marx: "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence." This is why his views evolved over his life--he engaged the working-class struggles historically in his lifetime, and sought to learn and conclude from their real practice--to trace the line of their development perhaps into the future.)

Onorato Damen wrote:Who says this is a real product of "free markets" (which of course are left helpfully undefined--what qualifies as not counting as "unfree"--certainly the monopoly of force, judicial power, and money-issue by the capitalist states are absolute unfreedoms in your meaninglessly abstract sense) should be this? It has never been the case. Say-so over real practice.


TheCascadian wrote:Do clarify. I'm not totally sure what you're saying, actually.


What is a "free market"? The definition is never precise, because all those who use this term arbitrarily decree what doesn't count as "free" or "unfree." The state in capitalism provides a whole host of monopolistic, even coercive, services and goods. This is why "anarcho"-capitalists, insane though they are, attempt to hypothesize lunacy like "private security agencies" and "private legal systems."

TheCascadian wrote:
Onorato Damen wrote:The Nordic model has been in decline for a generation, long since eroded by neoliberal (Reaganism in the US, Thatcherism in the UK) transition. Even so, its existence was dependent on privileged geopolitical position in the imperial-balance-of-power, and on having industrialized in 19th century.


I do agree, its been eroded somewhat by globalization. But the basis still stands in supporting one of the most successful systems in the world. Look at the living standards. Look at the healthcare. Look at education, government transparency, civil rights, equality, and lack of inequity as well as environmental standards, peacefulness, and by-golly just about the least religious area on earth.


I agree, but those are all historically conditioned outcomes. Countries cannot simply act like teenagers and dress like the kid they think is coolest in the lunch room. All of their indicators in living standards and jobs have long went into decline. You cannot just look at things as a 'static state,' but also the vector of change.

TheCascadian wrote:And I'm not quite sure what your point is as far as - what is I assume to be - former powers like the Swedish Empire and the Kalmar Union. Do expand.


I mean the U.S. de facto subsidized some states as being allowed to develop or have social democratic class-compromises, because they were considered geopolitically important in Cold War strategy, and favored in the already-mentioned in the last post GATT and Bretton Woods I system. The Nordic states were to be bulwarks against the East. Latin American countries were not given such a decent standing in the pecking order, and if they so much as dared to elect New Deal-type populist presidents, we would bomb their country, have the CIA overthrow the government in favor of common thugs (Guatemala, 1950s), or we would simply invade your country to correct your elections (Dominican Republic, 1960s).

TheCascadian wrote:In other words, copying a system that already exists and which has proven its effectiveness is "a thousand times" more perfectionist than quite simply striving for a classless, stateless society. Okay. :P


If it had proven its effectiveness, I doubt anyone would have taken this thread seriously at all from the outset. And plenty of things beg to differ, like the millions of corpses from war and deprivation over the last century, and the massive sustainability limits capitalism is running up against now.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby DeeEmarr » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:23 pm

Onorato Damen wrote:
DeeEmarr wrote:Okay, so it's late, and I have only had time to get through the first ~40 minutes of your first link, but so far it is a minefield of economic fallacies. When I say that the market as a system of exchange isn't going away, I am mostly responding to people like this, who talk about the market as if it's some newfangled device that we can just straight up replace.


This is nothing but a series of dogmatic assertions from fiat. The fact is there is no transhistorical "market economy" stretching from antique society to modern capitalism. There are fundamental historical discontinuities. By far the majority of social life, social labor, and social production is NOT subordinated to market compulsion prior to modern capitalism, but functioning according to "natural economy" and the requirements of petty proprietors to reproduce themselves--to guarentee sons their own farming plot, and they will freely consume contrary to imaginary neoclassical assumptions of idealized utility or profit-maximization.

DeeEmarr wrote:This guy talks about the market as if it's inherently malevolent, talks about labor as if it's inherently exploitative (ignoring the fact that the EMPLOYERS ARE ALSO THEMSELVES WORKERS), and talks about cooperative efforts as if there is no such thing as a collective action problem. He talks about how so few people are well-educated with regard to economics, and then proceeds to play this ignorance and fail to actually utilize the most basic elements of economic theory.


The market economy in its modern form--i.e., the capitalist mode of production--, together with the prevailing forms of labor it throws up, ARE inherently exploitative. Where has capitalism existed without the recourse to the stick to suppress working people's struggles and organization? Where does the security apparatus not spy on working people's organizations, or murder their organizers en masse (Colombia, China, Russia, etc.)?


Anyone who is actually worked in an office knows that corporate executives, whatever the legal framework, are not employees in the sense of the janitor. To a substantial extent capitalists today call themselves "employees" as a means of sheltering their capital income from taxation, and precisely in order to encourage ideological mystifications like the one you currently are indulging. G. William Domhoff has long since compiled the research to demonstrate that the social composition of the capitalist class has retained remarkable continuity over the last century.

Cooperatives are no solution, I agree. However, your showmanship about "economic theory" essentially consists of whining he does not tail enthusiastically the neoclassical synthesis, which of course, has totally failed the world economy for now a half-decade running, if you have bothered to look outside. Your glorious economic geniuses were penning idiocies like "The Great Moderation" and signing the praises of boom time in the 11th hour before the crisis of 2007.




DeeEmarr wrote:I would be the first to point out flaws in our economic system, again, particularly in the United States, but this level of condemnation of capitalism is just plain ridiculous. There ARE huge issues with how our system works, particularly on the social justice front due to distributions of wealth being grossly unequal from the get-go. But the idea that capitalism has systemic flaws that are unsolvable, and that there exists anything resembling a viable alternative to the market, is ludicrous.


This is idiotic. What do you think leads to poor "social justice" outcomes? The requirements of the capitalist economy have ruled out endless expansion or defense of the welfare state. It was capitalists who demanded, in the face of declining economic performance since the 1970s, the end to social compromise (which existed only in the privileged core of the US-dominated imperial system, another historically consistent and inevitable feature of capitalist production since the Venetian imperialist enterprise in the late middle ages). It is not a problem of adequate marketing for Keynesian fixer-upper solutions, or utopian redistribution schemes. It is not a problem of abstract political will. It is not a question of "greedy" "wealthy." They are currently having commercial banks warehouses trillions in cash because they can't productively invest it securely. This is not a problem of psychology.



You seem to be under the impression that I am defending everything that has ever been done in the name of capitalism. This is not the case. I understand that people like me tend to come off as extremist in one direction due to not being very extreme in either direction, so let me restate my position, since I think I came across in a way I did not intend:

I do not endorse the variant of capitalism that exists in the United States. It is not nearly regulated enough, and the subprime mortgage meltdown is a perfect example of an area that did not have enough regulation.
I am also not saying that every variant of capitalism is the best thing ever.
The only claim I am making is that capitalism (i.e., the type of economic structure that includes private ownership of the means of production and the use of competitive markets to allocate resources efficiently) is not inherently evil. There are better and worse ways of managing it, and there are certainly problems with the current system (here comes the broken record: particularly in the United States). You need to engineer competitive markets with government, provide for the economically underprivileged to address market failures (like they do with Social Security, and what they SHOULD be doing with healthcare), and above all, keep corporations and special interests OUT of the political process.
I'm not saying that everything is perfect and that capitalism can't ever go wrong, because it can. Horribly.
That said, the idea that the whole system is completely and totally flawed, and that any iteration of capitalism is going to be fundamentally unjust and exploitative...
That is what I'm skeptical of.
I have yet to see evidence that every problem that a capitalist economy faces is derivative of a systemic flaw that heralds the end of capitalism as we know it.

DeeEmarr wrote:Because...money is this mystical magical social convention that we somehow can't create any more of. I mean, it's not like we haven't funded some expensive wars, trips to the moon, and oh hey, free university for veterans, among many other things.


Money can only function as money to the extent it is scarce relative to commodities (see: Mugabe's Zimbabwe/1924 Wiemar Germany/etc.), so there are absolute productivity limits on the expansion of the money-supply. It is not an exogenous variable, and the failure of Helicopter Ben's endless drops of credit and Quantiative Easing to right the economy proves the failure of these theories of money. Furthermore, fiat money can expand only to the extent the capitalist class finances it by buying US securities, and they are quite capable of using their financial leverage to demand restraint and control over policy. That is exactly what debt-downgrade fracas represents, and the fate of the PIIGS since 2007. The fate of the capitalist economy, fantasies of the technocrats aside, is not a question of simply promoting the right smart guys' perfect managerial plans. For example, the real reason that Chinese low-cost export model is drying up is because of social constraints, not some sort of timeless natural-law political economy:

http://jacobinmag.com/2012/08/china-in-revolt/

Besides, half your examples are off-topic since it is obvious over the 20th c. that the economic capacities of the American capitalist economy have been in continuous relative decline. The capitalist society has produced a hot, crowded planet which cannot sustain current trends, and there is no capacity for the US imperial giant to be replaced as it itself replace Britain (which required thirty years of blood-letting to get to).


Okay, um... I didn't say that. Literally. I was quoting someone else. I agree with you on that particular point. The thing you're responding to is what I was responding to, when I said that Locke's point was that we don't have enough resources for that particular technology.
It was a side topic, really. Not that relevant anyway.


TheCascadian wrote:But that's all assuming that our global civilization has a future. I honestly don't think it does. We are using up our resources quicker than we can find ways to replace them. We've run out of time, in my mind. And therefore, in my opinion, the only thing we can do is to soften the blow of this so-called “collapse” and make life for those afterward less immediately horrific and more swiftly pleasant. But hey, I guess that's just me and my doom-saying. Let's get back to social justice.

What can we agree on? The world needs to be improved in a lot of ways, and this stagnant culture that dominates atheism is not helping anyone. Overthrow capitalism? Well really, it's not an issue we should be focusing on or even thinking about. The premise isn't right, and even if it was that would be an enormous distraction due to its grandiose aims.


This. As much as I am interested in economics, I think it has very little to do with what we are here on this forum to talk about. When we run out of social justice goals to pursue, we can start talking about ripping up our entire civilization and rebuilding it from the ground up. For now, let's focus on not making the world a piss-poor place to live for anyone who isn't a white, cisgendered, heterosexual, educated, able-bodied and linguistically adept male.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Exi5tentialist » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:43 pm

DeeEmarr wrote:
TheCascadian wrote:What can we agree on? The world needs to be improved in a lot of ways, and this stagnant culture that dominates atheism is not helping anyone. Overthrow capitalism? Well really, it's not an issue we should be focusing on or even thinking about. The premise isn't right, and even if it was that would be an enormous distraction due to its grandiose aims.


This. As much as I am interested in economics, I think it has very little to do with what we are here on this forum to talk about. When we run out of social justice goals to pursue, we can start talking about ripping up our entire civilization and rebuilding it from the ground up. For now, let's focus on not making the world a piss-poor place to live for anyone who isn't a white, cisgendered, heterosexual, educated, able-bodied and linguistically adept male.


Yes but isn't that the sort of thing capitalists want us to say? i.e. "treat the symptoms, not the cause"
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby TheCascadian » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:06 pm

Let's stop this silliness. Even if capitalism were the root cause of all social injustices we'd spend more time arguing about that notion than actually doing something. I for one am for a mixed economy of some variety, but I want to use my time wisely. So let's move on to other issues.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Setar » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:10 pm

DeeEmarr wrote:This. As much as I am interested in economics, I think it has very little to do with what we are here on this forum to talk about. When we run out of social justice goals to pursue,

Classism isn't a social justice issue? Being able to live and be healthy isn't a social justice issue?
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Setar » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:15 pm

TheCascadian wrote:Let's stop this silliness. Even if capitalism were the root cause of all social injustices

Base denialism.

TheCascadian wrote:we'd spend more time arguing about that notion than actually doing something.

Yeah, because no one ever figured out a solution by trying to have a rational and evidence-based discussion. I mean, it's not like that's what Atheism+ is all about with regards to social justice. It's not like that's what we've been doing for the past year since Elevatorgate to figure out where we're really going wrong with women. No, we just magically came up with the idea of harassment policies out of nowhere and decided to put them in place for the most part.

TheCascadian wrote:I for one am for a mixed economy of some variety, but I want to use my time wisely. So let's move on to other issues.

Why, because you've run out of things that look like arguments?
"...authoritarian followers feel empowered to isolate and segregate, to humiliate, to persecute, to beat, and to kill in the middle of the night, because in their heads they can almost hear the loudspeakers announcing, “Now batting for God’s team, his designated hitter, (their name).”" -Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby TheCascadian » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:59 pm

Setar wrote:Yeah, because no one ever figured out a solution by trying to have a rational and evidence-based discussion. I mean, it's not like that's what Atheism+ is all about with regards to social justice. It's not like that's what we've been doing for the past year since Elevatorgate to figure out where we're really going wrong with women. No, we just magically came up with the idea of harassment policies out of nowhere and decided to put them in place for the most part.


You're distracting from the point. Capitalism is an economic issue, not a social issue. And while they overlap in many ways, they are not the same thing or even a subset of the other. If you're trying to make this some sort of anarchist, marxist, or anti-capitalist group, then please stop. Our aims of social justice should not exclude those who do subscribe to the idea of free markets, myself included. Just because you have one idea of socioeconomics does not mean everyone should have that idea. I think the marxists are wrong on the issue, but I'm not going to refuse to work with them on social justice just because they have different economic ideals.

Also, intellectuals have been debating marxism and capitalism for more than a century, what makes you think we'll come to a consensus here?
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Onorato Damen » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:49 am

TheCascadian wrote:
Setar wrote:Yeah, because no one ever figured out a solution by trying to have a rational and evidence-based discussion. I mean, it's not like that's what Atheism+ is all about with regards to social justice. It's not like that's what we've been doing for the past year since Elevatorgate to figure out where we're really going wrong with women. No, we just magically came up with the idea of harassment policies out of nowhere and decided to put them in place for the most part.


You're distracting from the point. Capitalism is an economic issue, not a social issue. And while they overlap in many ways, they are not the same thing or even a subset of the other. If you're trying to make this some sort of anarchist, marxist, or anti-capitalist group, then please stop. Our aims of social justice should not exclude those who do subscribe to the idea of free markets, myself included. Just because you have one idea of socioeconomics does not mean everyone should have that idea. I think the marxists are wrong on the issue, but I'm not going to refuse to work with them on social justice just because they have different economic ideals.

Also, intellectuals have been debating marxism and capitalism for more than a century, what makes you think we'll come to a consensus here?


I do love the "anti-dogmatic" atheist here trying to police the ideological content of discussion, less it ruffle your "free market" feathers. Deal with it.

I am asserting that the forces in economic life have led directly to the policies you deride in the "social welfare" realm. I am asserting that social policy is not an exogenous variable independent of the economic bedrock we're working with. Why is that hard to understand?

But please, continue looking for ideal marketing gimmicks to rally a "Democratic Party As It Ought To Be, Fourty Years Into Its March To The Right," and convincing the capitalist they really can afford higher levels of taxation than they say so. Let me know how it goes./

As to other, previous remarks:

And economics and class MATTERS. Its not a coincidence that the only planks of the LGBTQ movement to survive are its less offensive, photo-op worthy forms of assimilationism, promising marriage rights when the age and rate of marriage is increasingly out of reach for all youth and working people, esp. the discriminated LGTBQ sections of the working-class. There is a reason why the reforms which survive are "equal opportunity participation in murdering brown people abroad" and "marriage rights financed by wealthy gay donors." The reason is because capitalism is a totalistic social system which obliges a "nuclear family" form of social organization which obviously constrains immediately the normative forms of sexuality, identity, and interpersonal relationships. If any of you were the least bit curious about socialist and radical feminism, that would hardly be earth-shattering.

Ditto, your glorious black President (who cannot speak African American Vernacular English, being raised by white commercial bank middle-management grandparents in Hawai'i, and never interacting with the concrete social community of the descendents of African slaves in the U.S. until he went to university in CONUS) has overseen a greater decline in the household wealth and living standards of the black community of any President in living memory (and that factoid I got from Professor Cornell West). The form of liberal identity politics hegemonic in "left" discourse has totally disabled mobilization on this issue, since, of course he's not a white Democrat. And since I'm not a straight white male, I resent the idea I can't speak for myself.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the economic form of a society has a very strong impact on religious belief, and since Marxists were among the first pioneers of a "political atheism" and had a substantive critique of religion, one would imagine perhaps there would be some curiosity toward it by the "non-dogmatic" quarters. But of course, that might get in the way of political atheists' daily round of begging the liberal state to live up to its rhetoric and toss some scraps, decades into the death spiral of social democracy and the New Deal (which was a racist buy-off designed to get white workers to march to war and obliterate our enemies for the homecoming of American Empire, anyway).
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby TheCascadian » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:55 am

Onorato Damen wrote:I do love the "anti-dogmatic" atheist here trying to police the ideological content of discussion, less it ruffle your "free market" feathers. Deal with it.

I am asserting that the forces in economic life have led directly to the policies you deride in the "social welfare" realm. I am asserting that social policy is not an exogenous variable independent of the economic bedrock we're working with. Why is that hard to understand?

But please, continue looking for ideal marketing gimmicks to rally a "Democratic Party As It Ought To Be, Fourty Years Into Its March To The Right," and convincing the capitalist they really can afford higher levels of taxation than they say so. Let me know how it goes.


Police? I went from debating the issue, to realizing that it's futile, to suggesting that we should focus on more important things. I don't think it's productive to try and turn Atheism Plus into a group that only has one political ideology.

Onorato Damen wrote:And economics and class MATTERS. Its not a coincidence that the only planks of the LGBTQ movement to survive are its less offensive, photo-op worthy forms of assimilationism, promising marriage rights when the age and rate of marriage is increasingly out of reach for all youth and working people, esp. the discriminated LGTBQ sections of the working-class. There is a reason why the reforms which survive are "equal opportunity participation in murdering brown people abroad" and "marriage rights financed by wealthy gay donors." The reason is because capitalism is a totalistic social system which obliges a "nuclear family" form of social organization which obviously constrains immediately the normative forms of sexuality, identity, and interpersonal relationships. If any of you were the least bit curious about socialist and radical feminism, that would hardly be earth-shattering.

Ditto, your glorious black President (who cannot speak African American Vernacular English, being raised by white commercial bank middle-management grandparents in Hawai'i, and never interacting with the concrete social community of the descendents of African slaves in the U.S. until he went to university in CONUS) has overseen a greater decline in the household wealth and living standards of the black community of any President in living memory (and that factoid I got from Professor Cornell West). The form of liberal identity politics hegemonic in "left" discourse has totally disabled mobilization on this issue, since, of course he's not a white Democrat. And since I'm not a straight white male, I resent the idea I can't speak for myself.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the economic form of a society has a very strong impact on religious belief, and since Marxists were among the first pioneers of a "political atheism" and had a substantive critique of religion, one would imagine perhaps there would be some curiosity toward it by the "non-dogmatic" quarters. But of course, that might get in the way of political atheists' daily round of begging the liberal state to live up to its rhetoric and toss some scraps, decades into the death spiral of social democracy and the New Deal (which was a racist buy-off designed to get white workers to march to war and obliterate our enemies for the homecoming of American Empire, anyway).


Capitalism (n.) - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Well, I didn't see anything in there about totalitarianism, family, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, or identity. So explain to me why this system of capitalism as herein defined would be the sole cause of all the problems you've outlined.

I mean, do you think we didn't have all these social problems before Europeans even invented the idea of capitalism?

And I do partly concede to the No True Scotsman claim. But only insofar as I had forgotten the economic definition of capitalism. What I should have said was "free markets" instead of "real capitalism". Free markets are only free if they are not dominated by the powerful few. This is why I do not think capitalism in America has resulted in free markets.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Communard » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:10 am

TheCascadian wrote:Capitalism (n.) - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Well, I didn't see anything in there about totalitarianism, family, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, or identity. So explain to me why this system of capitalism as herein defined would be the sole cause of all the problems you've outlined.

The historical materialist (Marxist) position is that economic systems are not simply defined concepts that exist independently of political or social systems. Rather, the mode of production is the basis of all social relations. Simplifying a little, we believe that the stratification of society based on classes is caused by the mode of production upon which that society is based, and the nature of that stratification determines the type of society, state etc. that emerges. This is why we place such an emphasis on economic matters, because from our perspective economics is the base structure upon which the superstructure of society is built, and attempting to change the society without changing the mode of production is akin to redecorating a house whose foundations are collapsing (indeed, the foundations were never structurally sound in the first place).
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby prude » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:23 am

You seek to dynamite the foundations, but don't know what to replace the whole thing with once it's demolished.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby TheCascadian » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:50 am

Communard wrote:The historical materialist (Marxist) position is that economic systems are not simply defined concepts that exist independently of political or social systems. Rather, the mode of production is the basis of all social relations. Simplifying a little, we believe that the stratification of society based on classes is caused by the mode of production upon which that society is based, and the nature of that stratification determines the type of society, state etc. that emerges. This is why we place such an emphasis on economic matters, because from our perspective economics is the base structure upon which the superstructure of society is built, and attempting to change the society without changing the mode of production is akin to redecorating a house whose foundations are collapsing (indeed, the foundations were never structurally sound in the first place).


And that's fine that you believe that. But I think, even in the case that you are right, treating the "symptoms" is the only thing we can do right now rather than cure the problem at its core. If I were a marxist, I think that's the position I would take. If you're right, time will tell as far as the economic system goes. But we would be less productive to expend our energy on debating the fundamental cause of social relations rather than on actually treating the problem. You can't have a democratic shift of this sort unless there is widespread agreement anyway.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Setar » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:35 am

TheCascadian wrote:If you're trying to make this some sort of anarchist, marxist, or anti-capitalist group, then please stop. Our aims of social justice should not exclude those who do subscribe to the idea of free markets, myself included. Just because you have one idea of socioeconomics does not mean everyone should have that idea. I think the marxists are wrong on the issue, but I'm not going to refuse to work with them on social justice just because they have different economic ideals.

If you're trying to make this some sort of feminist group, then please stop. Our aims of social justice should not exclude those who do subscribe to the idea of men's rights, myself included. Just because you have one idea of equaity does not mean everyone should have that idea. I think the feminists are wrong on the issue, but I'm not going to refuse to work with them on social justice just because they have different egalitarian ideals.

Take your silencing bullshit and shove it. You've got no more right to claim capitalism as an unassailable identity than an MRA does their ideology. If your arguments are faulty, you could at least admit the faults rather than just hide behind your faulty conclusions as an identity.

Our Marxist friend over there has some problems. But, I'd say they're at least looking in the right direction by being skeptical of capitalism, something that you're quite desperate to shut down.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby simpleflower » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:32 am

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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Liberallabrador » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:00 am

I am not really interested in ideology. I am interested in results. Certainly the North European model of mixed Markets and very low corruption has produced the best overall standard of living. Northern European politics has a very narrow specturm. The ruling party of every country of the Western EU would be, if you properly analysed it, one of the factions of the US democrat party. Of the western EU the most right wing country is almost certainly the United Kingdom who is ruled by a coalition of the Conservative party and the Liberal democrats. The Conservative party in the UK has actual policies that put it well to the left of Mainstream USA only when you get to the right 20% of the Conservative party and a small right wing party called UKIP (which has no seats in the UK parliament but a couple in the European parliament) do you get policies which approximate the Republican Party.

South Ameria's left has two distinct parts. A Social democrat Left (such as in Brazil, Chile etc) and 'Bolivarian'left (Venezuala, Ecuador,Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba). The latter ,whilst beloved of college radicals exist on rhetoric, are only able to fund any social programs on the sale of Natural resources, have appalling internal economies, have very very poor freedom of the press (especially Cuba, Venzuala and Ecuador) high crime and high levels of corruption. They are run by leasders who are more interested inc hanting slogans at the USA and shaking the hands of the worlds most evil people (Ahmedinjad, Kim, Mugabe etc).
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Markov » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:26 pm

Communard wrote:
TheCascadian wrote:Capitalism (n.) - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Well, I didn't see anything in there about totalitarianism, family, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, or identity. So explain to me why this system of capitalism as herein defined would be the sole cause of all the problems you've outlined.

The historical materialist (Marxist) position is that economic systems are not simply defined concepts that exist independently of political or social systems. Rather, the mode of production is the basis of all social relations. Simplifying a little, we believe that the stratification of society based on classes is caused by the mode of production upon which that society is based, and the nature of that stratification determines the type of society, state etc. that emerges. This is why we place such an emphasis on economic matters, because from our perspective economics is the base structure upon which the superstructure of society is built, and attempting to change the society without changing the mode of production is akin to redecorating a house whose foundations are collapsing (indeed, the foundations were never structurally sound in the first place).


How do you get from this to a nuclear family? I don't see how that follows.
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby Onorato Damen » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:18 pm

LOL at quoting the dictionary at me. Its like I'm on SD.net at the age of 12 all over again, and how to confuse a fundie is the height of debating rigor. At least I had a reason to be impressed by it at that age. I don't agree with that definition of capitalism, or rather, I think it is insufficient and confusing its surface features or symptomatic products for the essential economic-social-historical essence which distinguishes it from its alternatives.

I suggest you try reading some Robert Brenner:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Brenner
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Re: Overthrowing Capitalism

Postby TheCascadian » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:21 pm

Setar wrote:If you're trying to make this some sort of feminist group, then please stop. Our aims of social justice should not exclude those who do subscribe to the idea of men's rights, myself included. Just because you have one idea of equaity does not mean everyone should have that idea. I think the feminists are wrong on the issue, but I'm not going to refuse to work with them on social justice just because they have different egalitarian ideals.

Take your silencing bullshit and shove it. You've got no more right to claim capitalism as an unassailable identity than an MRA does their ideology. If your arguments are faulty, you could at least admit the faults rather than just hide behind your faulty conclusions as an identity.

Our Marxist friend over there has some problems. But, I'd say they're at least looking in the right direction by being skeptical of capitalism, something that you're quite desperate to shut down.


I might have taken the invitation to curse you out in response, but I do not think that would be civil. So instead I'll say this:

Contrary to what you're suggesting, I am sufficiently skeptical of capitalism. Just because I do think it works under certain conditions doesn't mean that I'm not skeptical about it like I am with everything else. To me, the evidence for the effectiveness of a mixed economy is overwhelming, but that doesn't mean that I don't question it.

And it's not an ideology if you base your assertions on evidence rather than on theory. What evidence do the marxists have that marxism would even work or that its assertions are correct? I would agree with Liberallabrador. I'm not interested in a theoretical belief, but rather in evidence and results.

You think I'm trying to shut down your questioning of anything capitalist, but really I'm just trying to express my apathy as far as this whole thing goes. It's you guys who care so deeply about economic issues, not me. This reminds me of how evangelical Christians feel it is their intrinsic mission to evangelize, that it's part of their faith. I don't know how to approach that other than to say: we don't want to be evangelized. If you're right, then show us the evidence. If you have no evidence and yet continue to push your ideology, then what are we supposed to say?
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