Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

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Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:32 am

1)Can someone fill me in the difference between communism and socialism? If possible, please provide examples.

2)Did Karl Marx merely describe the stages of change from capitalism to communism?

Thank you for your help.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby edearl » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:20 pm

You can, of course, read Wikipedia, or a government text book, but I think practical examples do not much resemble the original theories. The US is supposed to be democratic and capitalist, but to me it is not. It is a mixture of many things. My current assessment of the US is it is trending towards theocracy and fascism, while the current political grid-lock seems like anarchy. Things will change. Thus, it is hard to pin down the the nature of democratic, socialistic, and communistic governments.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:34 pm

I have read but I still have not a clear picture.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby edearl » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:43 pm

LastLegend wrote:I have read but I still have not a clear picture.

Neither do I.

The only reasonable example I know of are small communes, for example those in Israel. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commune#Is ... ki/Commune#Israel
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:10 pm

Thank you for trying.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby edearl » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:22 pm

LastLegend wrote:Thank you for trying.

There may be no simple answer. You might try the following:

http://worldsocialistforum.com/forum/
http://www.communism.org/
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:59 pm

Once upon a time, according to some of the modern-day tax-livestock who tell the tale, we were all fem-elves who lived upon the surface of our mother Biosphere. There was no war, no famine, no disease and we all lived happily forever equal in a state of Rousseau, eating fruit and nuts. Kind of like, you know, Avatar.

Unfortunately we all suddenly turned into a bunch of rampaging manimals who began creating his-tory and creating things like toothbrushes and deodorant. We could only achieve this by raping mother Biosphere and enslaving other manimals with new penetrating rape-tools such as spears, drills, rocket ships and such. The new king-manimals had all the guns and the new slave manimals didn't have any guns. The king-manimals turned all the slave manimals into tax-livestock. The king-manimals basically started to feed off of the wealth produced by their new human farms.

Now, one day uncle Karl said that the tax-livestock needed to be set free. He said that this would happen one day all by itself since the tax-cows would finally wake up and realize there were more of them than the king-manimals. Even if the king-manimals had all the guns, they surely couldn't keep all the livestock contained in their human-farms forever.

Uncle Karl also said something very strange. He said that the livestock in the meantime had invented something called "religion" in order to make life worth living. "Religion" was a way for the livestock to call out to a big sky-daddy or earth-mommy to help them and to "let my people go". Once or twice in history this "let my people go" thing had actually gathered up some steam and in fact, had occurred. But then the tax-farmers always seemed to gather up the sheep-livestock who had strayed again. Once there was this guy who had gotten himself murdered by the latest bunch of tax-farmers by saying something along the lines that "let my people go" was in fact really, actually going to happen this time in some final, spiritual sense, and that he was here to inaugurate this final phase. But then the message of that guy almost immediately got hijacked by the very same empire who had killed him in the first place. In other words, it got tuned into "religion" again and in fact images of him getting tortured to death can still be found in the temples of that very same empire, ironically enough.

Now after uncle Karl died there was a bit of disagreement as to how exactly all this freedom was going to happen.

The Fabians said, well, it's all just going to happen automatically, kind of like a natural process, and we just need to educate people about it. People started talking about a "first phase" and a "second phase" of this process and things got all muddled as everyone started waiting around for this all to happen.

Then uncle Vladimir came along and said, look peeps this is ridiculous. What we need is a "vanguard party" to kind of kick this thing into gear. The tax-livestock, in other words, need to revolt. And so they did. Unfortunately things didn't turn out so well in that particular tax-farm, since almost immediately after the livestock revolted along came uncle Joseph, who seemed to want to speed things up rather more than was healthy. What ended up happening is that the livestock had cut off the head of the hydra of the local tax-farmer only to have another head appear immediately in its place. Rather a lot of livestock had to be slaughtered for the sake of the farm's upkeep.

This unfortunate pattern seemed to recur, and pretty soon a whole bunch of livestock had been killed in all kinds of different farms. Well, figured some of the livestock, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

And that, kiddies, is where we all are today. There now appear to be, roughly speaking, two schools of uncle Karl's thought on how to proceed with all this messiness.

1) "Wave the signs, change the world". Yes folks, what we need to do is, like modern day Fabians, use the power of our weed and our iPads and our celtic drumming classes and our yoga journal to march around underneath the palaces of the tax-farmers and moo loudly. Then the tax-farmers will get scared of all the loud moo-ing and will set all the tax-livestock free. We're just like Gandhi, see?

2) "Keep breaking the goddam eggs, because one day this frakkin omellete will be complete". Yes folks, what we need to do is keep trying to cut that head off that hydra through good hard revolution and have faith that one day, one day soon, the heavenly angels will break through the storm clouds and descend to earth and lo and behold a miracle will occur and the head of the hydra shall be cut off and shall grow no more. In the meantime the ocean of blood is a small price to pay for utopia. Future generations of fem-elves will thank us, because when this all occurs, finally we will be able to cast down our manimal rape-tools and return to a state of Rousseau and eat our fruit and berries from the yoni of plenty once more. Earth mommy will protect us and give us all we need and bad sky daddy will rape her no more and trouble us no more. What's that you say? No, no. This is not the same as "religion". See, it's totally different because ... because ... well it just is. When the livestock calls out to sky daddy it is "religion". When it calls out to earth mommy it isn't. Why? Because in the original state of Rousseau mother Biosphere really did give us everything we needed, there was no war or famine or disease, those things were all created by horrible sky daddy's rape-tools and if we could only call to her loudly enough and make enough bloody sacrifices to her, the head of the hydra will be cut off forever. It will be. You'll see.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Thanks for the fairy tale.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Sönam » Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:18 pm

At the beginning there were only a great socialist movement with tendencies, then came the scission. Very roughly, the communists wanted to install a collectivist society without participating to a government, the socialists wanted it to be progressive while participating to governments.
But the history of socialism/communism/anarchism is much more complex and really needs to be studied more deeply ... then you can discovere all the nuances. And it's also very interesting ...

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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby KeithBC » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:31 pm

I am not a scholar of communism. In fact, it comes in far too many flavours for any rational person to make sense of: Marxism, Leninism, Marxist-Leninism, Maoism, Stalinism, Troskyism, etc., etc., etc., and apparently, they all hate each others' guts. So I don't necessarily know what I am talking about, and I am sure to get all the various *-ists mad at me. However, the distinction between socialism and communism seems fairly clear to me.

Communism is a system where private enterprise is not allowed, where private ownership is not approved of, and where all business decisions are made by government. Socialism is a system where private enterprise and private ownership are allowed, but where the government provides services in the public interest.

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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:51 pm

To my limited understanding, in the scheme of communism, socialism is a adjacent step to the ideom of communism. Socialism being adjacent, Communism being about actual ownership by the peoples of the resources of production, ie communes, cooperatives collectives. Socialism being products of the government that assist the common folk through utilization of private or publically owned resources usually through taxation . Communist governments enable socialistic programs. But other governments may do as well.

The government being actually the commoners in communism.....is owning all aspects of production and consumption., In socialistic democratic governments.... social programs and socialistic governments may not involve actual ownership by the people of the means of production(collectives communes).

Communism without socialism as in china..may be just totalitarian rule of government.
Socialistic government but without collective ownership of means of production such as in perhaps Sweden,,is a socialistic democracy
Communism with socialism as in the demised USSR, was probably very close to the model of communism.

Owning the means of production by government through communes collectives or cooperatives define communism as communism. Hence the derivitive of the word from commune. Workers owning the means and the government.
It becomes confuse because government has total control thusly.
In propoganda.... any government of total control is then called communistic
Total control of government is totalitarianism but not necessarily communism....as in China today to my opinion.

Socialism may be present in any form of government.
Social security in the us is a socialistic program within a democracy that is not at all socialistic.
Just having the programs even in a large large degree does not make the government communistic.

Facism is usually a totalitarian form of government but sans worker control of the means of production.
So propogandistics state facism is communism, which is untrue.
Facism is totalitarian as is communism but that is all.
IN facism the corporation owns the government not the people or workers.


So there is a difference.... but propogandistics use these things to their various sundry aims and it is not by accident that you know not these most basic of things...it is by design so they may use your ignorance to their aims.
That is why you know not this. Study this subject.... you may confound their aims.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Thug4lyfe » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:33 pm

It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Sönam » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:45 pm

Food_Eatah wrote:It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.


but capitalism IS THE system that attaches human wellbeing with materialism ... maybe the most !

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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Paul » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:48 pm

Sönam wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.


but capitalism IS THE system that attaches human wellbeing with materialism ... maybe the most !

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Consumerism does, not capitalism.
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That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby KeithBC » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:59 pm

Food_Eatah wrote:It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.
Indeed. When it comes down to looking for a system that would allow human society to function sustainably and compassionately, communism , socialism and capitalism are more similar than different.

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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby edearl » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:40 pm

Paul wrote:
Sönam wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.


but capitalism IS THE system that attaches human wellbeing with materialism ... maybe the most !

Sönam


Consumerism does, not capitalism.


The US and many democratic countries focus on individual rights; I think China frequently ignores individual rights and focuses on doing what is best for the country as a whole--that is after the fat cats get their cut.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:50 pm

Sönam wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:It seems to me that all of those systems attach human wellbeing with materialism. Whether it's forcing everyone to have less or taking from the rich to give it to the poor.


but capitalism IS THE system that attaches human wellbeing with materialism ... maybe the most !

Sönam


So if the warehouse full of iPads is owned by one of Chomsky's democracy-always-forever-eternally-guaranteed-here-no-matter-what-no-really-it-is-don't doubt-it-for-a-second ashrams that's hunky dory.

But if it's owned by the shareholders - well... that's evil "surplus value" that robs the proles, rapes the earth, creates war, enslaves mankind, creates little iPad gulags all over the world, etc.

It's so funny to me that evil Mr. Capitalist Pig Bill Gates (whose foundation is trying to eliminate malaria in Africa) is excoriated but Mr. Steve I Wore Jeans Jobs (whose company caused the cops to kick down the door of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house) is now on the cover of Rolling Stone.

It's like the Dennis Leary skit. Oh the dolphins, those spiritual beautiful dolphins ... tuna, WTF who cares about the tuna, get the f*ck out of here tuna, tuna tastes good.

At what point does trade become "materialism"?

If I trade you my basket for your spear am I "materialistic"?

If I begin to make a surplus of baskets in order to trade for things other than spears, like animals for my farm, and my idiot sons in law begin to help grow my surplus, am I "materialistic"? Well I have to be, look at all those evil horrible baskets in my living room. Gee, one would think that I was, you know, trying to improve the quality of my life or something, through this horrible thing called free trade, instead of trying to improve it by doing what every proper socialist should do, which is to forget all about that evil, horrible stuff about making baskets and just vote myself the treasury, or better yet vote myself the profits of the spear-maker.

Are all those cops who have Starbucks and Macys logos on their uniforms who are arresting all those OWS protesters "materialistic"? Oh wait a minute. There aren't any. Because, silly me, there aren't any Starbucks or Macys cops. The only cops there are, are those who wear the badge of the city, state or federal government. You know, the statists who actually own the guns.

Socialism: Let's vote ourselves the treasury and then buy all the guns.
Communism: Socialists who can now afford to kill people.
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:59 pm

As one of my favorite political commentators has said there are only four words that are ever, ever, ever going to save the world. Only four. And they really can save the world. But the key is to realize who it is that you're speaking these four words to. Are you ready?

"Put down the guns".
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby Thug4lyfe » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:44 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:"Put down the guns".

I like it, a modern version of "Drop the Butcher's knife, and instantly become a Buddha".
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Re: Karl Max, Communism, and Socialism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:50 pm

Wow, there sure was a lot of feedback on this (interesting for a dharma forum!) Way before I began practicing dharma I devoted a great deal of time to studying Marx, Marxism, and all of its many derivatives.

What gives one group of people the right to establish a rule of law, to govern over others?

Socialists believe that the existence of the state is inseparable from the production of wealth, and that the right to rule is derived from being the one who produces the wealth (a worker). "National Socialism" is not a form of socialism at all, but is a type of fascism.

Communists believe that the state has no function once the division of owner/worker ceases to exist.

Fascism is the belief, based on the theories of Giovanni Gentile, that sheer, brutal force is what gives one the right to rule over others and to force others to obey one's laws. Genghis Khan also believed in the right to rule by force, but he was much more lenient. He didn't really care what you believed in or did, as long as you accepted him as ruler and paid tribute.

Until the founding of the United States of America in the late 1700's, most rulers derived their power from Heaven, from God. England, Japan, China, all share this history. What the American Colonies did, in declaring their independence from England, was to establish that the right to govern came directly up from the people who are governed.

In The Communist manifesto, Marx begins by explaining that Society has always been divided between those who own land or some other means of livelihood, and those who do not own the means of livelihood, yet contribute the labor required to make those means productive. He postulates that as long as this division exists, those who labor will always be at a disadvantage. In Das Kapital he explains in greater detail how being able to accumulate wealth (capital) gives one the advantage of being able to invest, and to live purely off the investment of one's wealth. But those who create that wealth through their labor do not share in this opportunity. The role of the government, Marx said, is always to serve the interests of those who own the means of production. It is a function of the economic structure. If an economic structure is established whereby those who do the work also share equally in the profit and the investment of that profit, then the division between owner and worker becomes obsolete. When that division no longer exists, the function of the government as a function of that 'class' division also becomes obsolete (the 'withering away of the state'). When a society is no longer divided by class economically, and the function of the state no longer exists, that is Communism.

Socialism is a bit more complicated. It describes a transitional period purposefully aimed at eliminating the division of economic class. Whether this is done gradually or quickly, peacefully or violently, democratically or through coercion, in an agricultural country or an industrial one, these are all things that various factions and movements have agreed and disagreed about. It is a bit misleading to suggest that any action taken by the state for the benefit of the population in general (under a capitalist economic system) which does not reflect the interests of private business is 'socialist'. Every capitalist country has traffic lights, but this does not make them a socialist invention.

An individual who runs his or her own business using his or her own labor may acquire enough money to invest, without having ever exploited another person (directly). A company which pays its workers not only an hourly wage, but also in shares of the company stock also crosses the line of class division. There are a lot more fuzzy areas today than there were when Marx described the problems of the mid 1880's! Global technology has changed everything except for the fact of the division between haves and have-nots that he addressed.

Regarding some other comments,

Concerning democracy, I once heard a talk by the former President of France, François Mitterrand, a Socialist. He said that when discussing democracy, one needs to look at economic democracy, social democracy, and political democracy. In the United States, technically we have political democracy. With some exceptions, every citizen of legal age has a right to vote. Technically we have economic democracy. Anyone is allowed to own shares of a "publicly held" company (such as Coca Cola). Technically we have social democracy, or at least fairness. According to the Constitution, the individual is protected from the will of the majority in many things. So, for instance, your neighbors can't stop you from living amongst them because you are a Buddhist and they are against Buddhism. However, there are many areas where there is still social inequality. Women still earn less than their male counterparts. In spite of all this, and inspite of the statistical suggestion (espoused by the Occupy movement) that 1 out of every 100 Americans is super wealthy, there is still some sense of class division. So there isn't really much economic democracy, and all sorts of dirty tricks are played to keep people from voting.

Aside from that, The United States is really not such a bad place.
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