Work in a post-revolutionary society

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Mike Harman
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Jun 12 2007 21:15
oisleep wrote:
yes i agree, all i'm saying is that these things happened at times of high class struggle and consciousness (obviously that's a bit of a tautology as that's what caused them) and in the middle of actual wars, so if a highly militant and motivated class based movement couldn't develop anything lasting from these situations, you can't be that surprised when people like me wonder how on earth we could possibly get to such a similar stage again, as i've said before i don't doubt some impending crises coming up, but i'd just can't see how any kind of revolutionary movement could be built up and its ideas infused throughout the populace in time to take advantage of such crises, i hope and pray that they do, but the realist in me just can't see it

Well in Japan 1918, the organised revolutionary groups, and there were large anarchist/syndicalist groups around then alongside Marxist groups, had just about zero input into any of what happened whatsoever. It was almost entirely self-organised outside both the 'left' and the unions didn't even really exist there, although short lived (2-4 months) and limited in its demands for the same reasons I guess. Some other events also happened without massive agitation or big organised groups beforehand (Hungary '56? might be wrong), but still managed to pose class questions - then you've got the role of the Bolsheviks in Russia, and the (leadership of depending on who you talk to) CNT/FAI in Spain. As such I think you can have these crises, and a class response to these crises, without a revolutionary movement as such beforehand - ideally revolutionaries and revolutionary ideas would merely take it to a tipping point and hopefully fight off reactionary factions vying for control - people tend to change their ideas during times of mass struggle, not enter into mass struggle because of their ideas, and I think it's impossible to build up a specifically revolutionary movement in times of low struggle now, whereas that was an option a hundred years ago (see the IWW/solfed thread going on at the moment for more on that).

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to be honest mate, i'm not sure what i'm meant to respond to, i've got to admit i don't know much in that area, but i was genuinely unware that internal resistance & desertion etc.. had played such a big role in recent decades,

Well the basic point was the US military is pretty fragile and unable to sustain long campaigns effectively, despite all the hardware etc., so they'd be overextended trying to occupy the UK.

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true i agree they wouldn't accept it in the current situation that we're in at the moment, however one thing i think we are agreed upon is that any opportunity for any rupture to occur will be on the coattails of a crisis of probably monumental proportions, i don't think its logical for you to hold out for an opportunity to come for a revolution on the back of a big crisis but base your expectations of people's reactions, opinions and responses to that revolution (coming of the back of a crises) on conditions routed in a relatively stable climate, you and i have no way of telling how a state and it's public opinion would be in the midst of a massive energy or climate crisis surely?

I think I get this - you reckon there could be a return to a Blitz mentality, general patriotism if there was another major war in the offing and things got very tight. hmm, I doubt it to be honest - 9/11 was a major, major attack on America but six years later there's very little appetite for more military adventures. I think this is a mixture of people being comfortable, and also all the post gulf war smart missile stuff etc. which was supposed to eliminate all the messy stuff.

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you keep on asking me to address your points and i try to do so, but there's plenty of points i've made that youse have just left as well, it's a big topic with a lot of things discussed but don't make out its just a one way thing that's happening here

If I've missed stuff out let me know, I made a point of going back to pick up the food questions.

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oisleep
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Jun 14 2007 06:31

cheers for the responses catch, just one quickie just now

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I think I get this - you reckon there could be a return to a Blitz mentality, general patriotism if there was another major war in the offing and things got very tight. hmm, I doubt it to be honest - 9/11 was a major, major attack on America but six years later there's very little appetite for more military adventures. I think this is a mixture of people being comfortable....

i wasn't so much getting at what you say in your first sentence, although it's obviously a factor you can't discount, more actually towards what you are getting at in the second sentence about peopple's appetite being determined by their level of comfort. So what i meant was that you were basing your opinions on the appetite of the public of any country for some kind of military adventure in the climate of the current conditions, i.e. as you say reasonable, relative comfort. However as i think we both agree on, any opportunity that creates an opportunity for an attempt at some kind of libertarian revolution will arise out of some major crises, much much bigger than something like 9/11, an aggravated global energy crises or some clilmate /environment thing, surely after something like this which would have a much longer and permanent impact on peoples lives as a result of their consequences willl mean public appetite/opinion on things will be drastically different to what it is now, so if we are holding out for an opportunity to arise from crises, we can't base people's responses to that crises on what they are at the moment, sans crises

also i think we're getting a little too hung up on the actual real pyhsical troops on the ground type intervention (which is fair enough as i kept on bringing it up!), but intervention in an actual post-revolution territory wouldn't necessary be hundreds of thousands of troops actually on the ground, i still think simple but much more effective methods like shutting down communications networks, targetted destruction of transport networks, blockades on energy importation and food etc.. (yes, i know lots of people like gardneing, but that would be some push mate!)

interesting to have a discussion about this though so thanks for all the points made on it, it's something that i've alwasy thought was noticeable by its absence on boards like this, hence my somewhat aggressive role of devils advocaate on the topic

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 14 2007 09:01

If the barricades are more than mere symbols, you’ll not have the currency to import Playstations. Without the “incentives” provided by a market economy, you’ll not find anyone willing to design and mass manufacture them. Besides, the 100 person-years required for a clean-room, domestically manufactured console would be better spent figuring out how to allocate the stock of land and buildings.

Mike Harman
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Jun 14 2007 09:44
revol68 wrote:
one question.

Who was that question to?

fruitloop
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Jun 14 2007 10:04
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Nearly 600,000 individuals in the top 1% of the UK wealth league owned assets worth £355bn in 1996, the last full year of Conservative rule. By 2002 that had increased to £797bn, the ONS said.

Part of the gain was due to rising national prosperity, but the top 1% also increased their share of national wealth from 20% to 23% in the first six years of the Labour government.

Meanwhile the wealth of the poorest 50% of the population shrank from 10% in 1986 towards the end of the Thatcher government's second term to 7% in 1996 and 5% in 2002.

The poorest 50% living on 5% of the national wealth? It seems to me that it's not that implausible to imagine a better standard of living for the majority of people fairly early on in a post-revolutionary situation. It's amazing in a way that capitalism manages to preserve a febrile air of constant near-crisis, whilst producing ever-more-gargantuan quantites of waste and unnecessary shite.

fruitloop
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Jun 14 2007 10:26

I think I'll still be nicking my gf's razors even after the revolution. Still, I will miss the advertising - woosh! zooom!

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Jun 14 2007 11:00
fruitloop wrote:
It's amazing in a way that capitalism manages to preserve a febrile air of constant near-crisis, whilst producing ever-more-gargantuan quantites of waste and unnecessary shite.

Do you mind if I quote this one elsewhere?

fruitloop
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Jun 14 2007 11:16

Be my guest!

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daniel
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Jun 14 2007 18:14
fruitloop wrote:
I think I'll still be nicking my gf's razors even after the revolution. Still, I will miss the advertising - woosh! zooom!

Don't worry. After the revolution there will be a huge fad in DVD collections of "classic" adverts. It'll be an art form, a hobby, a conesoir's repast. Learned comrades will be arguing about the cultural/sociological importance of the Great Green Giant for millenia. those Adbusters berks will be reviled for the degenerate scum they are.

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Jun 14 2007 23:11
revol68 wrote:
one question don't you think the only way people will put the effort and energy into a revolutionary transformation is if they think they are fighting for a better world in the first place, not being funny but I'm not going to rush to the barricades to help build a society that's not even capable of providing fucking playstations.

well based on the answers i've had so far it doesn't really look like it would be that much better place for the first 100 years or so, so on that basis i'm not so sure how many people would be on the barricades in the first place

on the stuff that catch has responded on for example, it looks like society's work would be cut out for generations just trying to provide the basics, never mind devleloping playstation 4's

Mike Harman
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Jun 14 2007 23:14
oisleep wrote:
well based on the answers i've had so far it doesn't really look like it would be that much better place for the first 100 years or so, so on that basis i'm not so sure how many people would be on the barricades in the first place

on the stuff that catch has responded on for example, it looks like society's work would be cut out for generations just trying to provide the basics, never mind devleloping playstation 4's

and how did you come to this conclusion?

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Jun 14 2007 23:23

well because since the dawn of time society has either organised and 'provided' for itself through a system of tradtion (tribal stuff), command economy or by market capitalism

if you think you can just move overnight to a completely new basis, cover all the basics to an equal or higher standard than we currently have and in addition have the motivations in place for people to develop a playstation 4 then fair enough, i don't think it's impossible, but i certainly don't see it happening within at least a few generations

and bear in mind i think you were in agreement that any revolution would come in off the back of a major crisis, the effects of which would have to be dealt with first off (for example in an energy crisis, if we end up with having next to fuck all means of long distance transportation, we'd have to go back to making a lot more things ourselves in one territory instead of importing them, and the infrastructure to do that isn't just going to spring up overnight), which would suck up a horrendous amount of effort to do so, in such a case i'd rather have the clever people doing stuff like that instead of developing the next generation of playstation

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 15 2007 08:16

but if it's on the back of a major crisis, you can't just compare it to capitalism today and say 'communism is worse.'

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Jun 15 2007 10:47

There were the "revolutions" in Eastern block countries. Which were just as much crises of subjectivity, desire and alienation too. Also, and I'm not having a go, France 68 was good for the Gaullists in the end, in much the same way as Putin straddled the crisis in the former USSR.

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but if it's on the back of a major crisis, you can't just compare it to capitalism today and say 'communism is worse.'

JK, this looks like another theory of decadence.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 15 2007 10:56

of course it does, by entertaining oisleep's scenario i have clearly declared that the capitalist system is in irreversible decline roll eyes

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Jun 15 2007 11:08

Bless you JK. A theory of decadence doesn't have to see capitalism as inevitably degenerate, it just has to assert that the prevailing order will have to cause more suffering in order to make communism attractive. It's like Catch's earlier point that it arises through "struggle" not logic. The difference is, the degree to which it is a struggle to survive (as in there being insufficient housing) versus a struggle of affluent workers to break free of bourgeois social conditioning.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 15 2007 11:10
Lazy Riser wrote:
Bless you JK. A theory of decadence doesn't have to see capitalism as inevitably degenerate, it just has to assert that the prevailing order will have to cause more suffering in order to make communism attractive.

not according to it's advocates, the clue is in the meaning of the word 'decadence.' you're thinking of immiseration.

anyhow, it's oisleep's scenario based on the appetite of the working class for commie revolution today

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Jun 15 2007 11:49
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not according to it's advocates

Official advocate or not, “immiseration” is your only hope. But as revol says, it's a futile aspiration.

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jef costello
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Jun 15 2007 12:43
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the only straight answer i've had so far was that such a society wouldn't be able to defend itself,

oisleep, you're clutching at straws if you're basing your defence on my posts smile

Few Countries could defend themselves against a full-scale US military assault. But the answer is how willing and able would the US be to mount this assault, they are currently unable to pacify Iran and Iraq.

Pinpoint bombing would work if they cut strategic intersections, communications hubs etc. but even then it would require a massive sustained effort. Assuming England had a revolution it would be possible to bomb the fuck out of the country, but an occupation would be much more dificult. Especially in a white english-speaking country. Soldiers do not like killing people. Research in Vietnam showed huge numbers of soldiers deliberately or semi-consciously fired high. Even if we take the example of the einsatzgruppen, these were groups set up to kill and even they got sick of the killing and their role had to be changed. The US would not be able to institute concentration camps etc in Britain.

It is not that the US would need a revolution, they would simply need to be mistrustful enough of their own troop, for example in the portuguese revoltion the army collapsed because it could no longer rely on its troops and that was not in a war situation or even faced with barricades and rioting. One of the reasons the USSR survived is because the armies sent against it in many cases would not fight. I think there's an account of it on here. Most countries could keep themselves going for a while. The biggest problem for Britain would be fuel, so in the short term we might have to limit electricity use and re-open some coal mines. I think catch gave a fairly comprehensive answer though, and as has also been said workers inspire other workers. IF there was anything aproaching a revolution in Britain it is hard to imagine that the french state would be in anything other than massive danger.

And for all it's flaws the CPE protests forced the government to cancel a repressive law. Workers were involved and one of the things that the cops tried to ensure was that students did not meet with workers. There were quite a few instances of workers (with more muscle or more experience) protecting students or stepping in at demos.

Lurch
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Jun 16 2007 00:15

Revol 68 Wrote:

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I really loath the idea that communism will only come out of some terrible crisis, it's a bullshit idea, the revolution will come about from a confident working class pushing the effects of any crisis back onto capitalism, furthermore the crisis of capitalism is not one of mere crude economics but a crisis of subjectivity, desire and alienation, afterall the closest we have seen to a revolution in an advanced capitalist country in the past 40 years was France 68, which was on the back of a period of relative prosperity for the french working class.

I agree with Revol’s point that “the crisis of capitalism is not one of mere crude economics”. There is absolutely no mechanical, automatic link between a given level of exploitation, or crisis, and the proletariat’s response.

I agree too when he says: “the revolution will come about from a confident working class” which has struggled to resist the encroachments of exploitation, atomisation and alienation. The subjective element – the question of the proletariat’s consciousness of itself, its situation and what it has to do to change these – is central today.

But I don’t see why this confidence, this solidarity and class awareness, shouldn't be forged during overt episodes of economic upheavals as well as at times when the encroachments of capital aren’t so obvious. If Revol is railing against the idea of “one big crisis, a ‘final crisis of capitalism’ some apocalyptic event which will spark off ‘the revolution’, then I agree with him there too.

But there is some relation – an important if not immediate or mechanical relation – between the economic upheavals of capital and the development of struggles. I think that was the case for May 68 as well. The Situationists, among others, were wrong to say “no tendency towards economic crisis was in sight ... what was attacked frontally in May was the capitalist economy functioning well.” The “period of relative prosperity for the french working class” that Revol mentions was under threat, was indeed under attack, by 1968. This was an important factor in what was the biggest strike in history involving almost 10 million workers, even if it wasn't the only one.

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jef costello
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Jun 16 2007 00:21

"Is it because this land of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell on it? No, comrade, a thousand times no!

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Jun 16 2007 14:52

Well precisely. Economic instability is bound to cause conflict. The Left’s channelling of said conflict into a matter of “struggle” accounts for its social impact. There’s a certain perspective on historic class conflict, that turns it from something winnable into an futile struggle against the spectre of moral exploitation.

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Jun 16 2007 23:12
revol68 wrote:
i really loath the idea that communism will only come out of some terrible crisis, it's a bullshit idea, the revolution will come about from a confident working class pushing the effects of any crisis back onto capitalism.

so out of a crises then

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Jun 16 2007 23:39

it's a nice thought, i'm struggling to see where such a thing would come from though

any thoughts?

(aren't the two things the same anyway, fair enough, i know i contradicted by first question....)

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Jun 16 2007 23:56

fair enough

any thoughts on how this will come about?

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Jun 17 2007 00:02

(edit - sorry oisleep, I editted your post instead of replying)

Mike Harman
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Jun 17 2007 08:14

Jack, did you edit oisleep's post instead of replying in a new one?