The Evolution of Socialist Ideas and Principals

The Evolution of Socialist Ideas and Principals

From the writings of Marx, Engels, Bakunin and many others of the 19th century, to the writings of Kropotkin, Lenin, Castro, 'Che', Bookchin, and many more, the basic principals of socialism have not changed. Much of our language and terms, that we use in expressing our ideology have also not progressed. The labels "bourgeois", "proletariat", and the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", for instance, have not changed since the mid 1800's. But the world, and humanity has changed. As all living organisms, with IQ's greater than my boot size, will have noted, life is dynamic - It changes. While the change may not be in a progressive manor, it still changes. And yet, most of our leftist ideals have not changed a whole fuck of a lot over the last 150 some odd years. Why is that? Are we not the "progressives"? Have we learned nothing in our comrades long struggle? Where are we going with our struggle in this 21st century?

The main part of our historical struggle has been focused on rights of the working class people. It took a long hard fight to achieve the right for working class men to be allowed a vote in elections in "western" countries, and more years for wymen, then immigrants and people of colour. Many suffered great hardship and violence during the struggle, and many still struggle in the world for such rights. While there has been many loses, there has also been many gains. Human ape's civilization moves on in it's dynamic progress of change. Scientific knowledge and an ever greater understanding of our evolutionary history has gained us a greater understanding of where we, the human ape, came from. This is knowledge that Marx, Engels, Bakunin, etc., could not have known. Hell, how could they even be able to comprehend the Jazz music I'm listening to right now (John Coltrain), on a 4 hour long play list of Jazz music on my computer wired to 3 amps and 8 speakers? Think about it. Think about what you have around you in a 5 metre radius. Think about how mind blowing that would be to anyone from the 19th century. We have riches surrounding us, and yet are still unhappy with our lot. Why? Because of our perceptions of the wealth of others around us.

The propaganda memes that assail our every senses, here in the rich part of the world, urge us to not only consume, but to consume every greater "quality" of goods. Even the simplest organism, living in a petri dish moves toward the sweetest nutrient, or, as I use to spray paint on walls, "The Urge to Buy, Terrorize's You". As technology has spread through out the world, even the poorest of people want to have our rich lifestyle, in spite of the reality that our little blue ball can not sustain unrestricted growth in the demand for consumer goods. But, by what right do we, of the rich countries, to try to prevent others from seeking, and obtaining, that which we take for granted?

So, what is to be done? How are we to archive equality for all with out lowering the standard of living for all in rich countries, which would be totally unacceptable to people in rich countries, and yet not totally devastate earth's natural environment? I ask you all to ponder the following questions, and seek discussions with others, and not just with other socialist/communist/anarchist/etc. types, but with anyone that is interested.

Discussion Points

(1) How do we neutralize the ever growing threat of literal belief in what has proven to be very dangerous memes and memeplexes (religion, Fascism, etc.)?

(2) How can the poor of the world be helped out of poverty, and given the same opportunities that people in rich countries have, with out (a) lowering of most people in rich countries standard of living, and (b) destroying the environment?

(3) How do we insure the protection of all differently abled people, be they autistic, bi-polar, para or quadra pelagic, or otherwise off the range of "average" humans, to pursue their own version of a satisfying life?

(4) How do we insure the continued survival of all human cultures, while removing the bad components of those cultures?

I do not intend this to be a complete list. These are just a few point to start a discussion, it is up to all any interested person to add other points, or to expand my points. This isn't a discussion about me, or about leftist philosophy. It is about we, the critical, sceptical and scientifically thinking people coming together to find new solutions. Of particular importance is the participation of people of less developed nations, and of differently abled people. Capitalism is not going to solve the problems of earth, and it inhabitants, but neither are the old methods of socialist/communist states. Nor will petty sectarian disputes. All people who have been able to remove the yoke of the theist meme are or potential allies, and for that we must treat them with honest critical respect. Division in the face of the enemy has never been an intelligent or successfully tactic.

One last note, I've put this discussion in several groups - Socialist Atheists, Atheist News, Anarchist Atheists, FreeThinking Anarchists and Left Wing Atheists. Check the replies in all.

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To start with, I would suggest you read some blogs by autistic people, like the Gonzolog ( It can be very enlightening.
This is an attempt to get all free thinking people to help find some solutions, not just Anarchists and Marxists. I spent many years in the Communist Party of Canada, but I'm a Bakunin/Kropotkin anarchist, and as such, the Marxist idea of a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is abdominal to me, as any form of dictatorship is. I am seeking solutions, and sectarianism is not a solution.
Capitalism may have defeated Socialism but after that failing consistantly to provide answers to problems of humanity. People in richer countries have lesser sense of this reality than we living in the third world. For example people of Afganistan may have been saved from ''cruel jaws of Soviat Socialism'' but did it improved their social conditions? No, instead it increased their sufferings manifolds.
In Pakistan we feel that it is the air of poor social conditions filling up the balloon of religious extremism.
So it is basically the class struggle adopting shape of religious monster.
Both capitalism and socialism has to be quick in providing the answers. No one can remain isolated in todays global village. Cultuers, extremist attitudes, poverty, terrorism etc. are transfered alongwith immigration very rapidly in todays world.
For me Socialism/marxism was a human effort towards solution of social problems. It has to go through evolution process to be compatiable.
Yes, well put. Evolving human culture world wide is the key. And no, very few people in rich countries can fathom the problems of poorer countries. The eye opener for me was when I went to Nicaragua in 1988, to do my internationalist duty in support of the Sandinista government there. I had spent several years working for anti-poverty groups in Vancouver, and thought I had a fairly good understanding of the problem. I flew to Mexico City, from Vancouver, and ended up spending over a week there because of bomb threats to the Nicaraguan airline. In Mexico City, I started to see real poverty and realized I knew nothing. But then I got to war torn Nicaragua, and realized that Mexico was rich compared to the Nicaraguans! Even today, with the Americans not waging a war against them, Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is the second poorest country in the Americas.
Excellent discussion, Mac. I'm enjoying it intensely. I'd say education is the answer to several of your questions. Take Muhammad here. Look how enlightened he is compared to the membots and memboids of his country. The Internet has something to do with it, methinks.
I agree. Education is the main key to solving the problems of the world, but many either do not have access to decent education, whether through poverty (local, provincial or state) or bad cultural memes (religious perversion preventing girls from getting equal educational opportunities, for example). Solutions to this would be, perhaps, rich countries direct sponsorship to ensure all children are educated to at least 12th grade level. In situations where a family is relying on their children to help the family survive, that family would have to be assisted as a compensation for the loss of the child's income to the family.
I also think that the idea of assuring all children have access to computers with Internet connections would be essential to their education. Being able to interact with children from other places, and accessing the wealth of information that is available through the net has become very important for a complete understanding of our world.
But, I don't really think it matters much with out finding some way to assure that all children get good nutritious food. Learning on an empty stomach does not work.
After demise of USSR my young mind was intrested in capitalist reactions to prevent another socialism. But a few years later I found it has nothing in store for that. Infact it has tendency to nurish it. Increase in poverty expressed itself in two ways in recent years. Immigration and religious extermism. Both of them are becoming out of control. Immigration is now threatening cultures of many countries espacially in Europe. Impacts of extremism aren't felt alarmingly in richer countries. Its we who are on fire line having a real taste of it.
Evolution of human culture too is almost impossible in poor conditions. When every comming day is becoming more and more difficult, people take mental refuge in their old cultures (as past looks less problematic) and cling to cultures of past. It also reduces people acess to media which is a key in developing global culture.
Much of what was socially accomplished in the U.S. was because the USSR for better or for worst had pressure to make sure the conditions were well enough to prevent uprisings both here and abroad. The minimum wage has not kept up and people have to work harder just to maintain a certain standard of living. The US economy is much bigger than it was in the mid 1970's but the standard of living has gone down. Labor conditions have also gone down in most counties since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and there are now over 1 billion people who go to bed hungry each day.
Mac Rex: As the current economic crisis shows, capitalism does not work.

It would, if we actually had capitalism. We don't. We have a bastardised hotchpotch of the worst from both extremes of the spectrum. Because of the number of threads around rehashing the same thing, I'll restate what I said elsewhere -

I wouldn't really call the current system "capitalism". Its a welfare state for corporations - in good times they give nothing back, in bad times they squeal for money. It's an oligarchy - think oil, diamonds and medical/pharmaceutical. Its a corporate police state, monitoring your every action for copyright violation or slightest wiff of "defamation". That's a start. The "free" market is anything but. Speculation and extortion, maybe, but definately not pure capitalism.

Additionally, Parallax throws in some good observations, the bleeding obvious kind, ones that socialist evangelists would rather drown kittens than digest.

I will concede that our system sucks and is wholly responsible for this disaster. I will not concede that this system has anything much to do with real capitalism. Capitalism creates capital. The assholes responsible were speculators, a fancy way of saying they bet on horse races - they did not create capital. They gambled to create imaginary wealth, they created nothing of substance to support it, and the bubble burst. It is not really that different to the imaginary wealth the Soviet bloc created to support its own illusion. The whole planet saw that burst. And you seem to think that they were on the right track.

The socialist "solution" tape-loop to me is like head butting a brickwall a 1000 times in a row, it hurting like hell each time, but then going back and headbutting it for a 1001st time, because this time you hope maybe it will be better.

I don't trust you. I don't believe you.
Pithy and never more appropriate than now -

“A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head.” -- David Lloyd George
You don't seem to have read what I wrote. The first thing I ever read about the Soviet Union was "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The second, which I read just after that book, was Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago". As I was about 10 years old, it left a lasting impression on me. My purpose in joining the Canadian branch of the CPSU was to change it, and while I was a Party member I found even more horror stories. An example of this came from a close progressive comrade who told me the Truth of his visit to an asbestos factory, where the workers were guarantied a job for life, and a full pension when they turned 45. The problem was that not many of them lived to 45, as there were no safety gear of any sort and most died of lung cancer.
The USSR was communist in name only, as China, Vietnam and Cuba are. As stated by the Bolsheviks, and the international party's that were aliened with them, in 1922, they were to call themselves "Communist" as their goal was to create a communist society, by evolving the society to the point that the state would wither away as the people would have no need for it. Stalin eliminated any chance of that ever happening.
And if you have any understanding of human nature, as exposed by "Game Theory", you will see that capitalism can't work. With out a highly regulated system of checks and balances to insure openness and fairness, greed will take over and become the norm. Free market capitalism is just as much of a Utopian pipe dream as a stateless society through revolution is. Neither will work in the long run, as human society must evolve first.
It would, if we actually had capitalism. We don't. We have a bastardised hotchpotch of the worst from both extremes of the spectrum.

I agree with this, Fetch, How the heck to all the gas stations just happen to have the same prices per gallon within a few cents. Doctors and dentists just happen to charge the same amount.

How about the "too big to fail" policy? Citigroup can lend big bucks to the Third World in high interest because it knows the government will bail them out. How is this capitolism?
Damn with capitalism or socialism. Lets talk about atheist are more like cats or dogs.




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