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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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for the article. I am eagerly waiting for more.

Do you think we as a "culture" are able to find our way outside of the control/submit mentality, having been indoctrinated in the capitalist model?

I saw a documentary about a 60's commune, where its inhabitants seemed to find a great balance, only to jump ship when they have children. The reason is always that they want to raise their children in the way they've always known, a seemingly comfortable way. A way that wont, perhaps, get them in trouble with prevailing society.

It reminds me of the trend of "atheists until parents." They get scared and thrust themselves into a church community to give them the same things that alternative groupings of individuals can actually give, but the christian community supports a control/coerce model of family.

I'm not saying everyone should go live in a hippy commune. But I wonder: if we cannot see our way clear of the kind of relationship with parents-children that has become the default for us, how can we live in a different way politically? It seems the world is against you unless you not only use the top-down structure of absolute obedience in order to train up a child in the prevailing societal norms, but you must have children in the first place in order to be of value. This society seems, sometimes, to revolve fully around fretful parents and their fears. This "market-group" is the basis for our giving up basic freedoms--or at least it's the scapegoat. We all supposedly had parents, and we all had to live under their absolute authority at one time--or we were supposed to have. And any child who "misbehaves" must have been in an "abnormal" environment.

As I see it, they are from what we assume to be a default environment. An environment that is fed and justified by our current economic and political system.
When children are indoctrinated into a religion, by the adults that they know, love and trust, their developing brains are exposed to, and infected by the meme of religion. As they get older, and come to see that their religion is filled with contradictions, they may reject active participation in their parents church, but the theism virus is still festering in the back of their mind. Because of this, and perhaps because of their parents, when they have children of their own, the theism virus "breaks out", and they have their children indoctrinated into the meme out of the very mistaken belief that it will teach them to be good and moral citizens.
For example, 2 friends of mine are getting married. Both have kids from other marriages. 'C', as I'll call her, has custody of her 3 kids, but 'K's' ex has custody of his 4 kids. C has recently decided to take them to church every Sunday, and make them go to the church's youth group, so they will "learn to be good". K, on the other hand, see it all as bullshit. C is 1/2 native, and was raised with her 2 siblings by their native mother, who is very religious due to it being beaten into her at the residential school she was forced to attend as a child. C, and her sibling, grew up very wild, if fact, her younger sister is very well known car/truck thief, with some very serious psychological problems. Her brother isn't much better. Because of all this, she thinks that a religious up bringing will prevent her kids from becoming like her, yet does not see that it never stopped her, or her siblings, from being morally questionable. K, on the other hand, grew up on a farm, and sees most 'holy rollers' as hypocrites.
I think Dawkins is right that all children should be taught about all religions on an equal basis. This would allow them to see (hopefully) that they are all myths, and all equally valid, or rather invalid. The school I went to for grades 2-4, was next to a Catholic school and the Catholic kids were the nastiest little pricks going, and would attack use because we were sinful because we weren't Catholic. This is probably one of the reasons I always rejected religion.




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