How do I explain it wasn't real communism without using the phrase "it wasn't real communism"?
How do I explain it wasn't real communism without using the phrase "it wasn't real communism"?
Grow some balls and be more assertive so it doesn't devolve to the point you've surrendered all control of the debate to a brainlet.
In.a state? With money?
Maybe instead of using it as a one-liner, actually explain what capitalism is, and that whilst the socialist countries in 20th Century were generally expressions of the communist movement, they failed for so and so reasons, and that present and future communist movements should analyze their failures and learn from them, but from a materialist perspective, not an idealist one.
People who use the "lol let me guess it wasn't real communism??" meme seriously aren't worth engaging. If it's a normal discussion, seems about right
yeah refuse to be tied down into little one liners and meme shit, give an educated rebuttal.
This, just call people out on their shit. If someone is imposing a view on you and then reacts violently when you try to break from the framing it is a good sign that you are taking the right step towards winning the discourse.
Most of these "debates" usually devolve into arguing over semantics. Don't let them. Ditch the word and argue on principle: "What I want to see is democratic control of the means of production. Point me to an instance of this and we can argue over its successes and failures."
Accept that it was real communism, as in the ideology that believes communism the economic system would be pretty sweet, because it was in fact real communism the ideology, and any semantic jiu-jitsu to switch out one meaning of the word for another meaning of the word will get rightfully recognized for the bullshit it is.
At THAT point recognize it as a lesson to be learned from, but it no more refutes the ultimately goal any more than the reign of terror means we should have stuck with another thousand years of inbred royals having dick measuring contests with each other.
By using the phrase "it wasn't communism".
Capitalism is the generalization of commodity production and wage labour. This is the marxist view of the foundation of capitalism most clearly expressed in Capital vol. 2. Examples of "really existing socialism" in Marxist-Leninist states still relied on generalized commodity production and wage labour and is therefore quite literally still just capitalism. I'll let Engels do the rest of the talking:
"But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with."
-Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
'Communism is stateless and moneyless'
"Since apparently you are the arbiter between what is and is not communism, what is your definition of communism and/or how do you decide what is and is not communism?"
Communism is also the belief that being stateless and moneyless would be hella sweet, and most of these 'not real communisms' were in fact started with the intention that being stateless and moneyless would be halla sweet, and even the ones that abandoned that are a failure we need to recognize and learn from.
Nobody is fooled when you use the fact that it wasn't communism the economic system to absolve communism the belief system of its failures
But it's not all one belief system. I'm not trying to absolve the belief system that state capitalist monopoly can be used as a tool to implement stateless communism because I myself disagree with this as a possibility and course of action.
Do you see the fucking problem here or do I need to spell out?
What you think about is Marxism (a scientific theory of history, not a "belief system").
People may need absolution; ideas don't. Ideas don't make history; history makes ideas.
Your moralising vision of history is child-tier, really.
Why do people use this "it wasn't real communism" meme either way, it wasn't communism, period.
Even the USSR did not see itself as communist, communism is the end game for christ sake, what you're arguing about it socialism.
But it wasn't socialism either, since socialism is a phase of communism.
Was Venezuela socialist?
Explain what Communism is what a commune is.
And Socialism. Just that.
Also those who use this "argument" don't care about modes of production. The way they see it, what matters in a society is the name of the governing party.
No. No country can be socialist, ever. The world will be after the revolution.
When you already got to the point where you unironically want to dissociate yourself from any communist attempt in history while still calling yourself a communist, you are destined to be ridiculed. Your opponent doesn't care for the distinction between socialism as a mode of production and socialism as an attempt to attain this mode of production. And frankly, he does have a point - learn communist history and debunk the lies and slander that surround socialist states. The whole "not real socialism" shtick is a piss-poor attempt of a cop-out.
1. Wage labor didn't exist in the USSR
2. Commodity production took on a different form in the USSR as production was for use, not for profit. Law of value didn't determine production
Its not about the name, but the goal. Its easy to show those parties did believe in those goals and even completely different groups from completely different cultures following that goal ended up in the same situations. One has to assume that goal will lead to those consequences unless there is a strong change in the pattern, and modern communists show absolutely NO change in the pattern.
A commodity is something produced for exchange rather than for use. That's literally the definition of it.
It's actually easy to show there was nothing common between the Bolsheviks (before 1927) and all those other groups you are thinking about.
Precisely, no. The "goal" of the dominant party is part of the consequences, it doesn't provoque thème. Quit your childish vision of history already.
I still don't see why people should sacrifice their short life-spans trying that shit again, even the lowest classes of capitalist societies are better off without it.
No. The reason the Soviets said they had commodity production was that products were distributed through shops, they were sold to people. Commodities ("Ware" as German, that has a more generalized meaning) are things that are sold. Feudalism had commodity production as well, but not under capitalist conditions (e.g. market exchange). The USSR had two types of property: Cooperative property and collectivized property. Cooperative property were things like agricultural cooperatives, or consumer collectives - when you go with the strict capitalist definition of commodity production, you could argue only the latter actually had commodity production has production there was literally for exchange. Restricted of course, as they were guaranteed to contract with the state to a fixed price. According to the strict capitalist definition of commodity production, the rest of the entire economy of the USSR wouldn't have had commodity production.
The reason the Soviets economists didn't say that, was because they thought it would be dishonest and a misunderstanding of Marx: Marx describes capitalism, he doesn't describe socialism. Commodities, as they are as old as human civilization, take on very different forms depending on the mode of production. They said that since things are still "sold" to people, it is fair to describe them as commodities, but it's not really production of capitalist commodities (as that would entail production for profit, individualized firms that distribute their surplus through market exchange).
Yeah because you don't know shit about communism, and you haven't made the slightest effort to change that.
No kidding? That's in our fucking program!
I didn't say anything about systems. There are indeed many systems that share the idea that being stateless and moneyless would be hella sweet. They are all still communist belief systems. The person you are arguing with thinks that the belief itself is linked to bad things. If you want to convince them the belief is not linked to bad things, step one is NOT spouting off the clear bullshit that they didn't actually believe what they quite clearly believed. If you DON'T want to convince them… I'm not really sure what you're doing in this thread.
Fuck even if you're going "well stalin didn't really believe" lenin (or the bolshevik party as a whole did if you feel the same about lenin) did, and that means you still need to be able explain how THIS time everything won't get handed off to someone who will fuck everything up.
So, you are saying the reason USSR and Venezuela are not real communists and socialists is not because they turned into dictatorships, but because the population did not uprise (again) and took over?
I've seen this point of view before, and it is even more retarded than the other one. If you know people are not going to make a revolution under a communist dictatorship, then why try again the same fucking way?
You should stop reading Stalinist nonsense and start reading Marx. I mean it. There are so many misconceptions in your posts I can't even try to make a proper reply. So I'll just say this:
No. Commodities are commodities. Period. As you said yourself:
"Sold". Not "distributed in a place that we'll call a store". Sold. And there were indeed commodities in the USSR, that were indeed sold.
The proletariat of Russia did try to achieve the global communist revolution. They started it and managed to put down the russian bourgeois state and replace it with their own but they eventually failed (in the 1920's).
So what? They failed once so you think they won't try again? They're bound to try again until they succeed, thanks to your beautiful mode of production that leaves them no other choice.
As for Venezuela, there never was such an attempt by the proletariat in the first place, and even less communists in power, so I don't even know wtf you're talking about.
The trick is to use this meme on capitalists before they call it on you in the debate by citing "It wasn't true capitalism!"
then they won't use it against you because it looks like they're just copying your memes. Basically you should be preemptively memeing on them strategically before they meme on you.
The user is trying semantic jiujitsu because he is too lazy to actually defend his position.
The USSR was communist. They were dumb idiot communists who thought that they could have the state take control of everything and then the state would abolish itself, but they were communists.
This is pretty clearly dumb. Most communists today do not thing that the state will abolish itself after taking control of everything. Even those who would, if they had grown up in the late 19th early 20th century, agree with this, can now look at the soviet union and go "damn that REALLY does not work out."
Venuzeula… is honestly a little more particular. They basically got themselves into a trap where their country only had one, nonrenewable source of income, which they needed to spend most of the proceeds of on social welfare to win reelection. Which meant that inevitable the oil would dry up, and the entire thing would collapse unless they printed insane amounts of money, which in the long term just make things worse, unless they print even MORE money, which in the long term makes thing EVEN WORSE, and ultimately the whole house of cards is bound to collapse regardless of any original good intentions.
Now in all honesty… I don't think I can say most of us wouldn't make the same mistake in the same circumstances BUT, they are very specific circumstances. If you have a diversified economy already, OR you don't have to worry about reelection, it's not a concern. Most countries have an economy more diversified than venezuelas, and most communist states have not had to worry about reelection, which means even if undiversified they can spend some of the proceeds of their one industry on diversifying.
So there you go. The USSR was communist venuzeula was communist, and they made mistakes, but they aren't mistakes that are likely to be made again.
You said that commodities only have exchange value. This is not what Marx said. Where did you heard this? I find it quite interesting that you'd say I should read Marx because that's literally in chapter one of Das Kapital.
Oh fuck off. If you were using labor vouchers, you'd still be "buying things". The crucial question is production, not fetishization of distribution: Goods are produced for use, not for exchange
I'm all for defending any attempt at founding new communist societies, and iterating to learn how to make them grow for real on their own, but I can't support ruining more functioning countries with those 'mistakes'.
Just say that there are no perfect revolutions and there will never be
In theory i agree with you, but i suspect the two of us have different standards for what countries are "functioning"
That's what Commies do when they are faced with an opposing viewpoint. You idiots always use violence as the first resort. You also cry and whine when people stand up against your oppression of free speech.
No genius. I said only commodities have exchange value, and they are commodities only insofar as they have exchange value. You have read Capital, chapter 1? Good. Now read it again until you actually understand.
Precisely not: I wouldn't give something of equal value in exchange for the products I would get.
you are still buying things if you drop off a 20 and say to keep the change on an 18 buck purchase
Then I would be doing two things at the same time: buy something worth 18, and give away 2.
Your point being?
the same word can have multiple definitions. When you respond to "russia was [of the belief that we should achieve statelessness and classlessness]" with "no, they weren't [stateless and classlessness]" people know exactly what you're doing and it just makes them think you're arguing in bad faith.
You can use all the definitions you want but if you engage discussion with someone you may wanna use the same as he does. And "a belief system" has never been a Marxist definition of communism.
It had commodity production and wage.
Replace "communism" with "Scotsman" – problem solved.
And what's your point? The question is whether of not production was regulated by the law of value. Value is a social construct that will continue to exist as long as things can be measured in value (read: as long as capitalist countries exist). The USSR didn't produce according to value. Those who claim that they need to prove it.
Are you talking about use-value now? In socialism you get paid according to labor time and can spend your pay on consumer products. The price of these products isn't their exchange value, they are set by the economic plan.
Yes they did.
We have, countless times. You admitted yourself there was commodity production. Stalin himself admitted that "the law of value does exist and does operate".
No, I would have said "use-value" then.
No. In socialism you get products according to you labour. The end. You don't get paid, there are no prices. You take part in production, and then you get a share of the products.
Edit: Read Marx. Then kill yourself.
Talk about Marx's five distinct historical modes of production: (primitive) communism, ancient (self-sustaining), slavery, feudalism and capitalism.
Someone should make an infographic about it, it's really useful.
If you so much as insinuated "it wasn't real communism/socialism", ur a faget. We have to own up to both the conquests and losses of the first large-scale leftist wave, and communism had plenty of both. Just say "yeah communism was supposed to be a Stateless society following a socialist State installed by revolution, but the meaning changed with time so this is mostly nitpicking" or words to that effect.
If the other person said or implied le "lemme guess it wanstrael comunism??" meme, be aware you're arguing with a moron.
How do you defend communism if you don't know what communism is?
You have to go read.
Then give me an example. During the entire industrialization nobody gave a shit about profitability.
Liar. I keep asking the same question here all the time and nobody is able to answer it.
Are you actually going to make a point or are you just going to repeat what you said before? It's not interesting to debate someone dull like that who thinks in absolutisms.
How dishonest to put that quote out of context. He talks about agricultural cooperatives here. Actually read his book. He says the law of value doesn't determine production, and he gives examples as to why it doesn't.
I'm glad you figured it all out dude. That's exactly how things worked in the USSR. Are you saying they should have used labor vouchers or a gift economy? That's just silly, labor vouchers would be a mere substitute for money in such a situation.
I've already said prices weren't determined by the exchange value. See above. Man, Leftcom debate is always a fucking semantics game. Really not what Marx was about. Even if you had labor vouchers, you'd still be having a restricted amount of means of consumption you could use, that's nothing but a price in layman terms
I have met many people who genuinely think that the USA is full "communist" & that people like Fearless Leader Trump are fighting to reverse communism.
Can you fucking read? The post you linked to clearly says that if your opponent starts reacting violently to our (as in communists) arguments them that's a sign we're winning the debate
I feel like losing flags has let out a large group of fucking retards to look legit when they post
I mean theres faggots ITT defending state capitalism as socialism, pls niggas we've been over this you've lost this argument millions of times in history
Pathetic. And posting a Libcom.org article isn't make you "win" an argument. Hohxaposter archived a thread where ultras get blown the fuck out, there was also a thread about commodity production where Leftcoms displayed horrible contradictions within their ideology, including pretty basic misunderstandings of Marx. The whole state capitalism meme is a horrible vulgarization of materialist analysis, and the reasons it is made is lazyness: You can just brush off something you don't like, without engaging with it.
"The situation these states found themselves in doesn't fit the definitions of Communism given to them by Marx or other writers. Furthermore, the Soviet Union, China, etc., don't consider themselves to be in 'communism', which is a state of development, not something that's imposed."
or something along those lines
Um, yes, which is why responding to criticism of the soviet union by using a different definition of communism as the criticizer is seen as bullshit, i'm glad you completely agree with me
So you make up your own definition of communism that no actual communist uses, and then you criticize it.
Talk about circle-jerking.
Just one? Ok. Ever heard of the kolkhozes?
Yes they did.
I have personally answered it several times. And we (when I say "we" I mean Marxists) have written a lot about it along the years. You can read Bordiga's "Dialogue with Stalin" for example.
You mean someone you takes facts for what they are, and not for what he wishes them to be?
So??? They're not part of production? Half the country's population is not important?! What everyone eats, the fact that this most fundamental need's satisfaction obeys to the law of value is not important?!
And by the way, most industrial units of production were for-profit cooperatives as well.
I did. It's nonsense.
Yeah he says nonsense. "Newton's laws do apply and do operate, but they don't determine gravity lmao."
And I'm glad you did.
Absolutely not. People worked for a wage, got money, and exchanged their money for commodities. That's capitalism.
Well… yeah! You know, like in socialism.
Marx will be glad to hear that.
Labour are in no way a substitute for money. But I'm glad you admit the USSR hasn't got rid of money.
Prices are the expression of exchange value in money. That's what they are.
You have no idea what Marx was about. Actually read him.
Of course, that's the reason why we'll need labour vouchers.
No. See above.
Just explain to them slowly that you are a deluded communist and don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
You are right, Kolkhozes produced for exchange. However, even there the law of value was palliated as they were guaranteed to contract with the state to a fixed price. At what point does an economy become socialist? Althusser points out in reference to Lenin that a socialist mode of production and a capitalist mode of production probably coexist, why do you think there would only be 100% capitalism or 100% socialism? That's vulgar and anti-historical. The Kolkhozes alone weren't making up enough of the USSR's economy for it to be a capitalist state. There is also the physical reason of agriculture being different from industry, first off there is the dependence on weather conditions and also the fact that the farmers fed themselves with it - this means there will always be a tendency for farms to overproduce, in the 30s anyway. Now we have artifical fertilizers and phosphate so the situation would be quite different, as we are able to micromanage it better.
Assuming it did, they would have focused on light industry instead of heavy industry as the former was more profitable. If it did, workers would have been moved to a different plant whenever it was profitable. None of that happen. Looks to me that the law of value pretty much doesn't determine production.
"Facts" is that Marx was talking about capitalism. Commodity production existed before capitalism as well. We can not project hard capitalist definitions onto a socialist economy which has its own economic laws. It's just lacking any nuance to say "commodity, therefore not real socialism". Marx would never say it like that. What's important is to analyze the underlying economic laws which govern an economy. I've already explained how most products in the USSR couldn't be considered commodities when we apply the hard capitalist definition on it.
I phrased that badly. I think Stalin argued that commodities are being produced only in the agricultural sector, but nowhere in the economic plan does the law of value determine production. Ultras will claim the fact that value even existed makes it not socialist, which is nonsense. How can one abolish an abstract concept? If I'm going to burn a 100$ bill in front of you I clearly wasn't governed by it, despite it was worth 100$ for everybody else. You need global communism for value to cease to exist completely.
Then why do you feel the need to misrepresent him? Stalin writes almost militaristic without frills, yet people still twist his words.
What an awful analogy. Economic laws are a human construction and not the physical laws of the universe.
Wage labor didn't exist. People got rewarded for their work, but that's not wage labor. Wage labor requires you to sell your labor power on a labor market, where you then create a surplus value appropriated by the capitalist, by working with machines he owns. None of that did happen in the USSR. We can deduct that from the fact that unemployment didn't exist. No social democracy has yet managed to abolish unemployment, in fact, they tend to increase it due to restrictions on labor market entry.
First off the money in the USSR barely circulated and was traded with internationally, so it was barely money in the Marxist sense. It was still currency but not really in the money-form. I can explain to you why I think labor vouchers wouldn't have worked: 1.) They don't account for unpaid domestic labor of women, making them dependent completely on men in the already patriarchal society of Russia, 2.) they don't account for old people, students and the disabled, there would have to be a massive bureaucracy to account for welfare, 3.) they expire so people can't save up for scarce luxury products, something Marx didn't imagine as he was concerned with basic necessities, luxury products available to the public didn't really exist back then, again, this would have required massive bureaucracy to compensate for that. I really fail to see the big difference between the ruble under Stalin and labor vouchers. And looking at your reply, you are also seem to be unable to explain it.
Not completely. Have you heard the tale of the "labor theory of value"? Anyway, they aren't prices then. Products in the USSR weren't expensive when they had a higher exchange value. Price control where everywhere. The "price" was determined by utility. When you go buy a smartphone in the DPRK, you get it issued according to scarcity distribution, not because you have more money. That is despite the fact that they are produced by a joint-venture firm from Egypt, and I'm pretty Egyptians produce according to value. Weird how that works, huh?
Meant to say: "wasn't traded with internationally".
USSR had two different rubles, one for domestic use and one for international trade.
They certainly could if you set them up to.
Fair point, though there could be things to work on with that to reduce the reliance on welfare.
They don't need to.
"You are showing me USSR propaganda, I'm just talking about being your own boss dude"
problem solved. if furthered, "you ever think about like uh working together? what's up with that stuff, common goals within a community of Human People tm"