Is marxism a language game and is this why the argument so often boils down to "but that's not real socialism"?

Is marxism a language game and is this why the argument so often boils down to "but that's not real socialism"?

Because the argument usually starts with "but the Soviet Union…"

Yes, basically.

We define value this way.
We define properties this way.
We define capitalism this way.

And the ultimate argument: "read Marx".

when something doesnt fit the definition of socialism, its not socialism so we dont want it

Yeah but if real socialism only exists in theory it's not real. Real is what exists in real life.

To the people who start arguments like that, communism is it's implication, it's the thing it describes, not it's definition.

This is the actuality of language, since a word can never be it's definition.

To be fair the alternative is admitting that when actually given control of a state Marxists are either cynical self-promoters or just hilariously incompetent

No, it's just that left-wing ideologies are incredibly diverse, so there's heavy debate. Marxist-Leninists would say that a government owning the means of production on behalf of the workers counts as socialism, but a shitload of other types of people, including most Marxists, say it is not. Some people say that worker co-ops (while still being in a capitalist country) are socialist, but others say they're not. Then there's people who say "Socialism is worker ownership over the means of production", which leftcoms would to some extent disagree with.

And then ON TOP OF THAT, there are "socialist" parties running for office, but these fundamentally cannot be socialist because they're elected in a bourgeois democracy, so at best they can only be social-democracy parties, but they still call what they're doing socialism, and then you have fucking liberals calling themselves socialists because hey fuck it, why not?.

And the average person is heavily uneducated on the subject of Socialism that they think it's when the government does stuff.

Anything can be used as a language game, and "Marxism" sometimes is. The "not real socialism" argument is more accurately the "not socialism" argument, which is the same argument liberals make when they rightly point out that the DPRK is not a democratic republic. They sperg out for some reason when leftists say the same thing with regards to socialism even though the same people recognize it as a monarchy.

When the way you imagine yourself interacting with the world is through language, then everything is a language game.

because leftcoms differ as much from m-ls as libertarians differ from fascists

as much as*

It's not not real socialism. It's NOT socialism. The USSR was state capitalist, with the state assuming the role of a capitalist.

To be fair a good amount of them never actually achieved the definition of socialism

Wittgenstein is the science behind Stirner's theory.

In this language game socialism means something like "holy goal" or "Big Other" (I'm using the term loosely in case any lacanian wants to correct me), it's meaning is not any specific model, but that what has to be reached, so different tendencies fight over the ownership of it.

This is something I notice with all emotionally laden, accusatory and self-describing words: fascism, racism, democracy, freedom, liberalism, capitalism… their meaning is either a negative or a positive that is to be owned or rejected in a game of acquiring meaning.

Wittgenstein is linguistic wankery.

It's only a language game if you don't actually read him. He's at a level well above that of internet arguments. You moron.

t. hasn't read W

Wittgenstein saw his theory of language as proving the exact opposite of the solipistic tendencies of stirner; we need others for our meaning of language, so our mind will never be our own uniqueness.

Of course not, because as identifies most of the time two random socialists can't even agree on what a state in the process of transitioning to socialism would look like, so if it does fuck up in the real world there's a million justifications for why it wasn't anything approaching a TRUE transitional state (let alone TRUE socialism)

If the world turned into your vision of how a socialist world would look, I wouldn't be surprised if 50% of this board started angrily shitposting about how it was just another variant of capitalism because [reasons]

OP that's not close that what language game means for wittgenstein

Wittgenstein didn't apply his concept of the language game to politics. I did because I see the similarities and find this concept useful to describe what I notice.

Fuck off, you humongous retard and go strawman something else.

Crude reductionism. The state did not extract surplus value for its own enrichment. You are also lacking an understanding of what Marx and Engels mean by value form. There is actually so much you are lacking that there is no point to even engage with a brainlet like you.

This is true. If your political philosophy can't work within the framework of the real world and only uses a priori statements to back itself up it is utterly useless. Dialectical Materialism of Marx isn't a religion, it's grounded in economic and anthropological analysis.

all philosophy, political or economic is ultimately a language game. Including the philosophy of science and all the hilarious shit that people say about the universe. Marxism and Fascism break down really quickly once put under the a close philosophical inspection. They can't survive. They thrive on economics, poli-sci, military and day laborer types who are not equipped to deal with intricate philosophical argumentation and the process of defining terms painstakingly, stating axioms, making proofs etc etc. They aren't capable of that because it would make their system look absolutely bat shit. Just like Fascism and Liberalism and most ideologies, they'd look hilarious if put under philosophical scrutiny. Wittgenstein was right, everyone should have shut the fuck up after the Tractatus was published. Philosophy is over, economics and politics are over.

So not at all in practice?

What is wrong with this board?

You seem to be under a delusion that the Ego is some mind stuff, a thought-form build from language. Get real, The self is the want, desire, the indulgence that spites in the face of epicurean hedonism and common sense.


Does anyone else get the whole "The military is socialism, welfare is socialism, free lunch is socialism" from people?

I tried explaining to my friend socialism means the workers have power and control over the means of production and they don't believe me.

Man, anthropology as a field didn't exist during Marx's lifetime, and he surely didn't use anthropological methods for his studies

Quite to the contrary. It's the right-wingers (including MLs) who change the definition of socialism and move goalposts to 'prove' that Venezuela or the USSR were/are socialist.

Yeah and anarchy is about making stupid noises

Oppression isn't different to the oppressed if you're oppressed by Stalin's 5 year plan or Shekelstein's pension plan

No, it boils down to "but that's not real socialism" because it has an immense informational background behind it, and trying to shorten it creates shitty fallacies like that no-true-Scotsman. Virtually all rightwing thought, by contrast, requires little to no intellectual effort. Rightwing "philosophy" is the realm of soundbytes and aesthetics, not information and dialectics, so they have an innate advantage at spreading, especially with modern day culture being so geared towards soundbytes and aesthetics as well.

Also retarded rightwingers that use the "let me guess, you'll say "but that's not real socialism" " strawman even more.

If anything, Marx accidentally invented anthropology.

Wew, now thats a hot take if I ever heard one.

There are plenty of different kinds of socialism, but socialism itself has a fairly basic definition. It is certainly no more complicated than capitalism. Honestly, the people who cannot grasp the idea are just not trying.

For Wittgenstein, language games aren't just meaningless groups of signs being haphazardly thrown back and forth, so I'm not sure what your question is even asking (if it's actually a question and not a really weird shit post).

You can define a term in any way you want (recall the section in the Investigations where W says that one can define 'game' as being an activity where one moves pieces around on a board - this, of course, doesn't exhaust our varied uses of the word game, but as W admits, if one specifies that one's definition fits only board games but doesn't exhaust everything we call a game, then it works; this presumably works with most or, possibly, all words), but in doing so it doesn't mean that what you've now defined as, say, socialism or Marxism etc., exhausts everything meant by every single use of socialism or Marxism. For example, how someone like Steven Crowder uses the word socialism is so far apart from Marx's use of the word socialism that finding a cogent, consistent definition that accounts for both uses of the word is seemingly impossible (but maybe not).

One of the biggest problems in public discourse is settling on a definition - it's not hard to explain to someone what I mean by word 'x' if I want to clarify what I intend to get across by using word 'x', or if my use of word 'x' is idiosyncratic; the difficulty, however, resides in the fact that other people very often become confused, enraged, annoyed etc. with my specified use of the word 'x' if it doesn't match up with what word 'x' means in the language games they play which involve that word. To make it clear if it wasn't clear before: the person who says "but 'a' isn't real socialism" and the person who responds to that by saying "of course, it's never real socialism to you people" are misunderstanding each other because they both are taking a word out of its original language game and putting it into another one and assuming that its role in this other language game is the same.

Arguing about what is real or not real socialism (in the way this debate is normally conducted) is, for W, a conflation of a word's role in one language game with its role in another. Such a problem as this requires W's conception of the philosopher: one who describes the playing of language games and the role of certain words in certain language games, and also one who disentangles concepts which are distinct but have become entangled.

I said "original language game" but this is horribly sloppy and misleading: I meant something more like "the language game with which the people arguing about the 'real socialism' are familiar".


If you are talking about a political concept, it must be grounded in reality. That doesn't mean you have to defend the attempts which had nothing to do with Marx (Nazis) but you can't just ignore the attempts where people generally based their efforts on Marx with a had gesture of "not real socialism".

Otherwise you are no better than an AnCap redefining capitalism.

Dude, people attempting to achieve something doesnt mean they achieved it.
Me trying to perform open hearth surgery with a rusty spoon and without training, killing the person, doesn't mean open hearth surgeries are killing people with rusty spoons, or in fact that open hearth surgeries are supposed to be that.
An inadequate idiot attempting to do a hard task, failing and saying "look guys i did it!" doesn't mean shit and I am not going to defend it. It isnt an open hearth surgery if all i did was jam a rusty spoon in the aorta, no matter how hard I shout that it is an open hearth surgery.

Well I'm not sure that holds true anymore. Half a century ago, "socialism" was equal to "centrally-planned economy" in most people's minds, and it was considered a viable alternative to free markets. Now, that equality works against us; Joe Blow thinks we "want to try that failed system again", nevermind the million possibilities that were never tried, or tried and crushed. And that requires a lot of education and information. To say nothing of Marx's deeper philosophy.

There's probably some technical term for this, but I think we should put an effort into "information concentration"; delivering as much information with as little text as possible. Porky relies on noise, we need to rely on ultra-compacted signals.

Basically symbols and slogans with a lot of meaning spread everywhere, ie. good propaganda.

The ideology of government officials is not what determines the nature of a state. Socialism is a system to be achieved, not a policy that can be enacted.

The all-powerful centralized socialized transition state of Marx give way too much power to politicians and bureaucrats, power which is inevitably abused.

Are some left-com Marxists federalists doe?

I have to disagree there, because symbols and slogans don't really carry information, but rather they're pointers to information. All the socialist symbols and slogans in the world will do nothing to dissuade a spooked prole, if all the information he has about socialism is Porky propaganda. For the symbols and slogans to work, you have to change the information they point to, you have to educate people. Symbols and slogans are too small/short to carry information, so we should work on leaflet-long texts, for example, or newspaper articles. Put a lot of effort into summarizing as many concepts in as few words as possible, deliver a potent payload.


That's the worst analogy I've ever heard. We actually know that heart surgeries work, while we have no indication whatsoever that Leftcommunism is even remotely feasible. The entire thing is based on a priori statements.

The strawmen against MLs are getting dumber and dumber on this board. Nobody says that. There policies and successes are what's defining the nature of a state.

wait but that's not a strawman. that's exactly what you said we should do earlier
our point is that judging ML states by their so-called "policies and successes," we find that they make no attempt to move beyond capitalism as we understand it toward socialism as we understand it. Their actions stem from a conception of socialism and capitalism which differs from our own and from Marx's. This is why we label these states "state-capitalist" and we do not accept their leaders as "communist" in the sense that we use the term. It does not follow from this that we wholly reject every self-proclaimed socialist who we disagree with in the slightest or who we believe did things wrong. For example, I generally believe Lenin was a good communist. He was wrong about some things, but on the whole, he had the right idea about what needed to be done.