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Where is communism won?

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proletarian.
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Aug 21 2016 11:22
Where is communism won?

If we think Marx is right that under capitalism the ruling ideas are those of the ruling class the pro revolutionary forces will always be a small minority. When you factor in propaganda, repression etc I think it is clear. How small is debatable.

There will only ever be so much that can be achieved before any insurrection anywhere. For me that means communism can only be won during a transitional period between going from capitalism to communism. So we should ask ourselves how will non-communists become communists?

I think a good example is in the soviets- if these exist. But surely it will be just one area and probably not the most important, who knows. When German socialists criticised the Russians for allowing backward, anti-semitic people into soviets they claimed they were right to do so as they were universities of communism. There is an obvious danger of course that soviets turn into their opposite and the old ideas win.

Gulai Polye
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Aug 21 2016 19:58

If capitalism was working not many would be bothered think of new ideologies and revolt against it. So capitalism is a university for socialism/communism too

slothjabber
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Aug 21 2016 20:53

I think the case of the German workers' councils is very instructive. Though there were some very aggressive workers' councils (and concentrations of workers pushing for revolution), on the whole the German workers' councils (and it must be said the working class in Germany) were content to hand power back to the 'socialist deputies' in the Reichstag. The 'old ideas' of parliamentary representation by the experts of the 'socialist' party did win in Germany, which is the main reason that the revolution was defeated there.

drakeberkman
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Aug 22 2016 05:23
proletarian. wrote:
If we think Marx is right that under capitalism the ruling ideas are those of the ruling class the pro revolutionary forces will always be a small minority. When you factor in propaganda, repression etc I think it is clear. How small is debatable.

I don't think "the ruling ideas are those of the ruling class" should be interpreted to mean that the ruling class's ideology is necessary prevalent among other classes - though it may well be. Instead I think what he's referring to here is in relation to the idea of class dictatorships. The management and direction of society is dictated by the ruling class. It's the ruling class's ideas that define the way society is ruled.

"pro revolutionary forces" don't necessarily need to be in the minority. That being said, I think you're working with an insufficient matrix when you focus on "pro revolutionaries".

proletarian. wrote:
There will only ever be so much that can be achieved before any insurrection anywhere. For me that means communism can only be won during a transitional period between going from capitalism to communism. So we should ask ourselves how will non-communists become communists?

If we're working off Marx, he said:

Karl Marx wrote:
Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established , an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

Communism is the process by which we abolish capitalism. It's not a set point that we reorganize society into.

Leaving the topic of a transition period aside here, do we need to ask ourselves how non-communists will become communist?

"The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence."

Presently, the conditions are essentially this (from a basic Marxist perspective): the bourgeoisie, as a class, exploits and oppresses the proletariat, as a class; to end their exploitation, the proletariat must overthrow and oppress the bourgeoisie as a class.

If we boil class struggle down to this simple Marxist premise, where exactly are the communists necessitated? Does a worker need to call herself a communist to overthrow her boss? We can (and probably should) call this process communism, but communism isn't the work of ideological communists, it's the work of the working class.

proletarian. wrote:
I think a good example is in the soviets- if these exist. But surely it will be just one area and probably not the most important, who knows. When German socialists criticised the Russians for allowing backward, anti-semitic people into soviets they claimed they were right to do so as they were universities of communism. There is an obvious danger of course that soviets turn into their opposite and the old ideas win.

This is a complex and deep problem to address, and personally I think Martin Glaberman explains how I feel about the topic better and more extensively that I can here in this paper:

Workers have to deal with their own reality and that transforms them

To directly respond to the question, "where is communism won?", I think anyone who approaches deeply enough will realize it's the wrong question. You can't find the communist battleground on a map. Communism is the dialectical result of the class struggle. The working class may storm Capitol Hill one day and burn down every Walmart in the world, but you'll rather quickly see communism evaporate into air if you hold it to this standard.

slothjabber
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Aug 22 2016 19:34

I think the question means not 'which territory do we need to take on the Risk board?' but 'how does the working class achieve consciousness of itself as a revolutionary class?'

proletarian.
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Aug 22 2016 21:09

Thank you drakeberkman for the considered response. I will reply shortly.

drakeberkman
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Aug 23 2016 00:03
slothjabber wrote:
I think the question means not 'which territory do we need to take on the Risk board?'

I mean regardless, the answer to that question is the Pearl River Delta

Quote:
but 'how does the working class achieve consciousness of itself as a revolutionary class?'

The link in my last post goes into that question more than I can with a post on a forum thread.

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jondwhite
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Aug 23 2016 06:34

Communism will be won in the brainbox then to a lesser extent consolidated in the ballot box. See William Morris' writings on 'Making socialists'.