…and yeah, that’s from the point of me speaking as a rabid Marxist.
And speaking as a Marxist, this has always been a peeve of mine. With the way politics often gets portrayed, plenty of folks (both liberal and conservative alike) get the misconception that Socialism is just a ‘roided up version of Liberalism and Communism is just a ‘roided of up version of that, with the state getting more and more powerful, larger in size, and more invasive in scope as you progress along that line.
That’s absolutely not how it works, and while that picture’s wrong, I’m not really here today to correct that.
(Though just for the record, this’d be a more accurate picture of the political spectrum…)
I’ve been playing around with this post for a while now, and it’s coming from more than just a desire to clear up my own stance. I truly do think that of the two major forces in American politics and culture, Liberalism is actually the more insidious (I’m not saying that Conservatism is better, but it does seem a lot easier to confront). I’m writing not to just talk about why I’m not a liberal, but why I don’t think you should be one either.
That said, let’s bring up the obvious:
I’m not going to try to address all Liberalism- that’d be a tough task for a book, let alone some blog post. I’m not going to try to attack hypocrisy either, those accusations can always be dismissed with the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Instead, I’m going to try to hit what I think are the core flaws and paradoxes that the ideology rests on. Continue reading →
I promised that every one of my posts this month would have something to do with the radical left, and that includes skewering ’em on Shame Day for their many, many sins of commission and omission alike. Let it never be said that I’m an impartial judge, so let’s get right to the charges- there are a lot of ’em.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question- it seems that any discussion or (as it mostly is) debate on the subject of Marxism turns inevitably to that issue. How will _____ work under Marxism?
For the most part, Socialists won’t answer this question, claiming that predictions about the future are overwhelmingly wrong. I think there’s some points to be awarded for being cautious in the regard, but let’s face it- the absence of a clear picture of the world we’re trying to build does the movement more harm than it does good. Conservatives, after all, can point to a heavily mythologized Rockwell-esque picture of 50s America as the “good ol’ days” they’re looking to restore…
Elements like these tend to be left out of such descriptions…
…while Liberals, on the other hand, can point to a hybridization of Scandinavian and Western European welfare states.
Minus the rampant racism, corruption, and unemployment…
Ok, so that’s a bit of a potshot, but the truth of the matter is that both of the mainstream tendencies in this country have decently clear visions of the social system they’re trying to create, and there’s really no way the radical left can expect to compete for the hearts and minds of the public at large if all we have to offer is some vague, pie-in-the-sky promise that things will be infinitely better. We need a picture of a Socialist America, and while we’re gradually coming around to this concept, we could stand to do a lot more (and reciting this scene from Monty Python doesn’t count).
Gangs of schoolchildren sporting red scarves chant slogans as they march through the streets. A shop owner tears down an old sign for containing counter-revolutionary terminology. A man is publicly shamed for wearing pants too tight for manual labor- a young woman with scissors cut from the hem to above the knee. The son of a landlord is dragged through the streets as insults are hurled at him.
These are scenes from the so-called “Cultural Revolution”. Begun by Mao and his followers in 1966, these rallies and mass actions were meant to purge China of the last vestiges of antiquated, foreign, and Capitalist thought, replacing it with a proletarian culture that would forever cement the victory of the Maoists in 1950.
The Cultural Revolution quickly degenerated into something that could only be likened to the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution, with anyone accused of counter-revolutionary sentiment facing political and physical attacks. The “revolution” became a hotbed for corruption and suppression of dissent of any kind, and one might even argue that this major attempt to push socialism upon its inhabitants is actually what eventually led to the unraveling of Chinese Communism and its replacement with the sweatshops and slave-labor we more commonly associate with that nation today.
Mao, you see, had it backwards- trying to seize power and then change the hearts and minds of the public. That’s not a revolution, comrades, that’s just a coup. Rosa Luxemburg, an early but seminal Marxist thinker, once asserted that even if each and every civil servant and elected official were to suddenly become Communists, the world would not be one iota closer to being a Socialist one. Luxemburg understood the true nature of revolution- not some bleak military conquest but a fundamental change in the thinking and values of the majority of society. My ability to make you memorize Lenin, work on communal farms, and wave red-and-black flags will not make you Communists, no matter how long you do it (and even if it did, you’d be some pretty lousy Communists at that). The entire disastrous venture of the cultural revolution may have been avoided had Mao heeded the words of American Socialist and presidential candidate Eugene Debs when he proclaimed:
In the simplest possible terms, leaders come and go, the great will of the masses does not. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The fight to change the basic values and principals of the people must come first– but how is this done?Continue reading →
GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, last week, I kinda volunteered a discussion topic which Kat has graciously decided to roll with. Today, we’re going to be talking about feminism- where we stand now, and with an increasing number of people claiming that feminism’s work is done- what we’d like to see next on the agenda.
KAT: So perhaps we should start be establishing what the first three waves of feminism have accomplished.
You are probably all familiar with the fact that the first wave fought for (and won) the right for the vote.
EVAN: Ladies, gentlemen, those who fall into neither category [I’ve been taking a course on gender], tonight Gordon and I will be talking about what most everyone in the world has to do to get by, and that is work.
As a topic it spun out organically from our conversation on naps and time, and it’s hard to discuss the hours in the day when such a large chunk of it is spent at one’s job.
GORDON: More specifically, it was through a general observation that too often, our work simply isn’t fulfilling.
This is certainly something we can all relate to; Evan and I in particular, having scrubbed down dorm toilets for minimum wage.
EVAN: Oh yes, the very high New York state minimum wage of $7.25.
GORDON: And yes, we were paid by the hour, meaning the better we were at our job, the less we made.