Was Che Guevara a Stalinist sympathizer after the Secret Speech?

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Noa Rodman
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Sep 10 2011 09:45

Regarding Alex's position in general here are two quotes to reflect upon

Marx wrote:
Ricardo, rightly for his time, regards the capitalist mode of production as the most advantageous for production in general, as the most advantageous for the creation of wealth. He wants production for the sake of production and this with good reason. To assert, as sentimental opponents of Ricardo’s did, that production as such is not the object, is to forget that production for its own sake means nothing but the development of human productive forces, in other words the development of the richness of human nature as an end in itself. To oppose the welfare of the individual to this end, as Sismondi does, is to assert that the development of the species must be arrested in order to safeguard the welfare of the individual, so that, for instance, no war may be waged in which at all events some individuals perish. Sismondi is only right as against the economists who conceal or deny this contradiction.) Apart from the barrenness of such edifying reflections, they reveal a failure to understand the fact that, although at first the development of the capacities of the human species takes place at the cost of the majority of human individuals and even classes, in the end it breaks through this contradiction and coincides with the development of the individual; the higher development of individuality is thus only achieved by a historical process during which individuals are sacrificed for the interests of the species in the human kingdom, as in the animal and plant kingdoms, always assert themselves at the cost of the interests of individuals, because these interests of the species coincide only with the interests of certain individuals, and it is this coincidence which constitutes the strength of these privileged individuals.

.

Stalin wrote:
And so, what is to be done if not all, but only part of the means of production have been socialized, yet the conditions are favourable for the assumption of power by the proletariat - should the proletariat assume power and should commodity production be abolished immediately thereafter?

We cannot, of course, regard as an answer the opinion of certain half-baked Marxists who believe that under such conditions the thing to do is to refrain from taking power and to wait until capitalism has succeeded in ruining the millions of small and medium producers and converting them into farm labourers and in concentrating the means of production in agriculture, and that only after this would it be possible to consider the assumption of power by the proletariat and the socialization of all the means of production. Naturally, this is a "solution" which Marxists cannot accept if they do not want to disgrace themselves completely.

Nor can we regard as an answer the opinion of other half-baked Marxists, who think that the thing to do would be to assume power and to expropriate the small and medium rural producers and to socialize their means of production. Marxists cannot adopt this senseless and criminal course either, because it would destroy all chances of victory for the proletarian revolution, and would throw the peasantry into the camp of the enemies of the proletariat for a long time.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 11 2011 05:53
Noa Rodman wrote:
Regarding Alex's position in general here are two quotes to reflect upon

As you "reflect upon" these quotes in response to my "position" perhaps you could do me the favor of telling me just exactly what they have to do with it.

I am particularly perplexed by the quote from Joe Stalin.

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Sep 11 2011 13:28

You didn't expect Ioseb to be that squeamish maybe. He does answer your perennial question about what we should do when conditions aren't ready yet; state controlled industry with commodity relations and private property for the peasantry. Bordiga is quick to use Stalin's own words to prove that therefor Russia is capitalist and the state hasn't escaped the law of value. This will probably induce a yawn, so here's picture gallery to look at.

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Sep 11 2011 16:14

Many were sympathetic to the U. S. S. R. since it was indoctrinated with an ideology in Bolshevism. The idea that it adhered to the evident class struggle was an object socialism incorporated. Worldwide organisations oppose authority of instinct and this demonstrates in history how such were systems were followed. The life of Voline is an example of how these regimes dominate humanity and the existence of states are abhorrent, in fact, it is contingent, since anarchism basically recognises that the I.W.A. spilt in 1872 over such an ideology

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Sep 12 2011 19:55

IWA split in 1872?

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 13 2011 04:04

Noa Rodman: Do you talk sideways only to me or is that a "style" that you employ generally. I still don't "get it" whatever it is you are trying to say. is it some kind of "inside joke"?

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Sep 13 2011 09:39

I can say that I by now know your general stance Alex, so let's have a dialogue, or if not, permit me to continue thinking aloud.

If you look back to the national independence wars of the 20th century and the in many cases resulting Stalinist regimes, without what Marx called Sismondi's sentimentality, about the obvious oppressive and murderous character of these developments, to learn the lesson, which, if we could travel back in time could have given a different outcome, - what is that lesson?

To refrain from socializing the small peasants' property, says Stalin, because that would be criminal and senseless. Of course! But who are these half-baked Marxists he (and you also Alex) are arguing against?

Class struggle and tomorrow more class struggle.

The future does not look bright though for places like Bolivia, Nepal or Papua New Guinea, with the example of Bougainville island - 20000 lives lost (on a 175000 population) in a civil war and during a blockade, hoping to become independent in 2015 by referendum, faced with drought; now the new government is making a deal with Chinese and Australian investors to exploit the resources, while the therewith ensuing ecological damage was one of the very reasons for the uprising at the start.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 14 2011 03:33

I am assuming that this is a sincere offer but I am having a tough time understanding what you are saying here. What does the following mean?

Noa Rodman wrote:
If you look back to the national independence wars of the 20th century and the in many cases resulting Stalinist regimes, without what Marx called Sismondi's sentimentality, about the obvious oppressive and murderous character of these developments, to learn the lesson, which, if we could travel back in time could have given a different outcome, - what is that lesson?

I have read and re-read this statement a number of times and I do not know what you are driving at. "We" (how many "we's"?) could go "back in time" and if we did could we have created a different outcome? Is that what you are asking? So if we could "we" would get "one lesson" and if "we" could not we get another lesson?

Noa Rodman wrote:
To refrain from socializing the small peasants' property, says Stalin, because that would be criminal and senseless. Of course!

Is this one of the "lessons" we might derrive?

Noa Rodman wrote:
But who are these half-baked Marxists he (and you also Alex) are arguing against?

Where did this come from? What does it pertain to?

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Sep 14 2011 16:56

Well I thought you said once that this was the Bolsheviks' policy with war communism. Do you know anyone else who Stalin could be talking about. As far as I know, there was nobody who advocated that, so not much of lesson to be learned either.

National wars and Stalinist regimes have a long history, so can we learn something from it? Could things have been different? Nowadays there still are backward places where such politics are attempted, so must they go through the same development as China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.? If that's the case we've learned nothing it would seem.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 15 2011 02:38

Please speak plainly and not in obscurantist riddles.

Noa Rodman wrote:
Well I thought you said once that this was the Bolsheviks' policy with war communism. Do you know anyone else who Stalin could be talking about. As far as I know, there was nobody who advocated that, so not much of lesson to be learned either.

What is the this referring to?

What is the that referring to?

Noa Rodman wrote:
National wars and Stalinist regimes have a long history, so can we learn something from it? Could things have been different? Nowadays there still are backward places where such politics are attempted, so must they go through the same development as China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.? If that's the case we've learned nothing it would seem.

"Could things have been different?" Under what circumstances?

I am not so sure that third world nations would be so lucky as to be able to go thru the same development as China, Vietnam, Cuba - but again where is your reference point?

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Sep 15 2011 12:23

It refers to assuming power and to expropriate the small and medium rural producers and to socialize their means of production. I don't think anyone advocated that, not even your beloved Trotsky with his permanent revolution/dictatorship of the proletariat, so why does Stalin feel it necessary to argue against it?
--

In the same circumstances (backward country, without a world revolution). Obviously you don't think there was another (better) possibility for China, Cuba etc. so I'm not sure why I even asked.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 15 2011 18:47

I am still having trouble following your train-of-thought but I "think" I grasp it now.

I do not know whether Vietnam, China, or Cuba could have found a better outcome than a truncated capitalist state with a totalitarian bureaucracy in the place of the capitalist class in organizing primitive accumulation. What I do know is that what they did find was better than continued subordination to the looting Empires.

That is the question you keep dodging.

If I had the time and the resources (and inclination) I would take a closer look at the Spanish Civil Way and some of the ways in which the various anarchist and quasi-Trotskyist factions organized workers and peasants.

I wish there were people doing this kind of research rather than just reconnecting the dots of dead sectarians.

EGADS
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Sep 27 2011 17:13
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I do not know whether Vietnam, China, or Cuba could have found a better outcome than a truncated capitalist state with a totalitarian bureaucracy in the place of the capitalist class in organizing primitive accumulation. What I do know is that what they did find was better than continued subordination to the looting Empires.

Was it "better"? Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power?

Because that's honestly not much of a choice.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 28 2011 03:48
EGADS wrote:
Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power?

China under the warlords was a starving nation of opium addicts. Under Mao Tse Tung they did have a couple of Great Leaps Backwards but they ultimately did get on track and the people got enough food to eat and are even now a nation in their own right.

Vietnam under French, Japanese, and U.S. occupation was a nation of drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps, and gangsters feeding their imperial masters. Under Ho Chi Minh they are and were a nation that rid itself of the ugliest forms of lumpen life and were ad are on the road forward.

Is exploitation preferable to extermination? Yes. Yes. and again - YES !

but . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

EGADS wrote:
Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power? emphasis mine

Methinks you are comparing East Germany (an extended part of the cordon sanitaire) to Imperial Germany (a “looting empire” itself not one subordinate to one) here rather than any actual example of a nation “subordinate to an imperial power.”

In logic this is what is called comparing apples to elephants.

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Sep 28 2011 06:14

Stalin was Che's blah who gives a shit? This will be my second troll of this thread.

EGADS
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Sep 28 2011 11:05
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
EGADS wrote:
Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power? emphasis mine

Methinks you are comparing East Germany (an extended part of the cordon sanitaire) to Imperial Germany (a “looting empire” itself not one subordinate to one) here rather than any actual example of a nation “subordinate to an imperial power.”

In logic this is what is called comparing apples to elephants.

What the hell are you babbling on about "comparing apples to elephants"? I wasn't talking about Germany for fuck's sake, I was talking about the frigging countries that were mentioned aka China, Vietnam and Cuba, which all became brutal dictatorships after they "liberated" themselves from imperialism.

And no, exploitation is NOT bloody well preferable to "extermination". All that happened was a change in exploiters. As for your claptrap about "improvements" and "ridding themselves of the ugliest forms of lumpen life" well that sort of flimsy defence can be used to justify anything from capitalism to Nazism.

Say, you aren't a Maoist by any chance?

CRUD wrote:
Stalin was Che's blah who gives a shit?

Che Guevara was a cunt, no questions about it.

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Sep 28 2011 17:31

Roxwell's retort to my question about there being another (better) possibility is problematic, but tbh so was my question... Obviously it is easy to acknowledge that there was such a possibility (and so Alex did in fact point to Makhno in the Ukraine or to the Spanish anarchists, and I personally could add, Menshevik Georgia as another road). It's nice to play this sectarian game of what would've been the best socialist policy in backward countries (in the absence of world revolution), but cold objective scientific insight it does not provide. The question is, did the 20th century attempts by various third world regimes at national independence, etc. provide any such scientific insight at all that wasn't previously known. I have my doubts about that, but I'd like to hear Alex's thoughts.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 29 2011 16:22

Initially I stated:

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I do not know whether Vietnam, China, or Cuba could have found a better outcome than a truncated capitalist state with a totalitarian bureaucracy in the place of the capitalist class in organizing primitive accumulation. What I do know is that what they did find was better than continued subordination to the looting Empires.

To which you responded:

EGADS wrote:
Was it "better"? Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power?

Because that's honestly not much of a choice.

I generously assumed that you extrapolated the Imperialist Cold War propaganda concerning conditions in Eastern Europe to the Third World countries of Vietnam, China, and Cuba.

You rejected that generosity by reiterating:

EGADS wrote:
What the hell are you babbling on about "comparing apples to elephants"? I wasn't talking about Germany for fuck's sake, I was talking about the frigging countries that were mentioned aka China, Vietnam and Cuba, which all became brutal dictatorships after they "liberated" themselves from imperialism.

I apologize for my generosity.

You evidently lack either the knowledge of conditions in pre-revolutionary China, Vietnam, and Cuba or the sensitivity to really understand the difference between starvation, lumpenization and exploitation.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 29 2011 17:19
Noa Rodman wrote:
Roxwell's retort to my question about there being another (better) possibility is problematic, but tbh so was my question... Obviously it is easy to acknowledge that there was such a possibility (and so Alex did in fact point to Makhno in the Ukraine or to the Spanish anarchists, and I personally could add, Menshevik Georgia as another road). It's nice to play this sectarian game of what would've been the best socialist policy in backward countries (in the absence of world revolution), but cold objective scientific insight it does not provide. The question is, did the 20th century attempts by various third world regimes at national independence, etc. provide any such scientific insight at all that wasn't previously known. I have my doubts about that, but I'd like to hear Alex's thoughts.

The Viet Minh and Maoist organization of the peasantry in the countryside for a "people's war" against the cities would have been dismissed as impossible - and was more or less by Engels. Engels was wrong - or, more likely, the dynamics changed in the 20th century.

You are right. One can only speculate on what "could have happened if" and yet, on the other hand, it is possible to downplay all possibilities except those that did indeed happen. One could make an argument, I suppose, that if the Whites had won the war in Russia their would have been no "Stalinists" to betray the German Revolution and the later Spanish Revolution and that we would have had a completely different history than what we had - and much better. I used to sort of embrace the notion that if the Bolsheviks had not signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty the German Revolution would have had an increased likelihood of success and the world would have been a better place. I do not know where to go with that but this seems to be on very insecure ground. As I said before I would really like to study the various German currents from 1917 - 1933 but find that very few are translated into English and I cannot read German.

In my next incarnation I will study more languages. But I am still not sure that would create a good payday. I would really like to see someone be able to take that up rather than some of the silly "academic studies" I more often do see.

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Sep 29 2011 22:34
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As I said before I would really like to study the various German currents from 1917 - 1933 but find that very few are translated into English and I cannot read German.

In my next incarnation I will study more languages. But I am still not sure that would create a good payday. I would really like to see someone be able to take that up rather than some of the silly "academic studies" I more often do see.

Exactly. Lenin even advised to buy works from mensheviks and distribute them so that the workers would see for themselves the false arguments made. The SPD left had a journal called Der Klassenkampf (there's a few other German journal indexes there), but you won't find these articles (and the therein contained ideas) in your local library. I'll see if I can scan a couple of articles (in German unfortunately).

working class
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Oct 1 2011 01:55
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
China under the warlords was a starving nation of opium addicts.

The orientalist national liberationist begins to show his colours!

Quote:
Under Mao Tse Tung they did have a couple of Great Leaps Backwards but they ultimately did get on track and the people got enough food to eat and are even now a nation in their own right.

What are "they"? "the Chinese"? What does this phrase suggest to you? Is there any such real group, not divided by class? What makes you think the Chinese under the warlords were a bunch of opium addicts? The fact is that the working class in China were at their most militant in 1927 (cf. the Shangai Commune), at a time when the warlords were in de facto control of major portions of the country. Of course, orientalist idiots like yourself have no interest in the working class of the "third world".

Quote:
Vietnam under French, Japanese, and U.S. occupation was a nation of drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps, and gangsters feeding their imperial masters.

Another blatantly racist generalisation. The working class in Vietnam showed several signs of breaking free and many of its leaders were murdered by Stalinist gangs led by none other than the Stalinist Ho Chi Minh as part of maintaining the status quo because of the Russian imperialist treaty with French imperialism, the same Uncle Ho who warmly welcomed the French occupation under general Leclerc.

Quote:
Under Ho Chi Minh they are and were a nation that rid itself of the ugliest forms of lumpen life and were ad are on the road forward.


Cheers!

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 1 2011 02:24

Calling me a "Maoist" isn't enough. Now I am a "racist." When will the namecalling stop and the discussion begin eh? You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians. Crack a book !

working class
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Oct 1 2011 03:19
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Calling me a "Maoist" isn't enough. Now I am a "racist." When will the namecalling stop and the discussion begin eh? You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians. Crack a book !

I already did. What do you have to say about the Shanghai commune or the Vietnamese workers movement which was destroyed by Stalinists led by Ho Chi Minh?

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 1 2011 19:48
working class wrote:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Calling me a "Maoist" isn't enough. Now I am a "racist." When will the namecalling stop and the discussion begin eh? You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians. Crack a book !

I already did.

Yeah? Where was that? Certainly not under this topic.

working class wrote:
What do you have to say about the Shanghai commune or the Vietnamese workers movement which was destroyed by Stalinists led by Ho Chi Minh?

Where is it that I ever said (or even implied !?!) that the Maoists never committed any atrocities?

Where is it that I ever said (or even implied !?!) that the Viet Minh never committed any atrocities?

working class
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Oct 1 2011 20:55
Quote:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
working class wrote:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Calling me a "Maoist" isn't enough. Now I am a "racist." When will the namecalling stop and the discussion begin eh? You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians. Crack a book !

I already did.

Yeah? Where was that? Certainly not under this topic.

I don't quite know what you mean. You asked me to crack a book. I replied that I already did, several of them. Most standard histories of the Vietnam war and the Chinese revolution go into more details about what I mentioned.

Quote:
working class wrote:
What do you have to say about the Shanghai commune or the Vietnamese workers movement which was destroyed by Stalinists led by Ho Chi Minh?

Where is it that I ever said (or even implied !?!) that the Maoists never committed any atrocities?

Where is it that I ever said (or even implied !?!) that the Viet Minh never committed any atrocities?

My point is that it is a racist generalisation that the Chinese and Vietnamese people were ignorant servants under colonial rule, like you said. There was a militant working class movement developing, which was directly curbed by Ho Chi Minh and the Chinese Nationalists, as well as by the colonialists themselves. In all national liberation movements, national liberationists consistently display a brutal anti-worker nature, not too different from colonialists.

To be more clear, Maoists (Maoism did not even exist then) did not destroy the Shanghai Commune of 1927, the national liberationists under Chiang Kai Shek did. However, after this incident, the Chinese communist party took measures to abandon the working class and go into hiding into the countrysides and carry out a peasant-based war. Of course, once Maoism came to power, Mao ensured that the working class were effectively exploited and curbed into submission.In Vietnam, the victorious national liberationists carried out a purge of 65,000 people immediately after the national liberation actually happened.

EGADS
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Oct 3 2011 09:30
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Initially I stated:
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I do not know whether Vietnam, China, or Cuba could have found a better outcome than a truncated capitalist state with a totalitarian bureaucracy in the place of the capitalist class in organizing primitive accumulation. What I do know is that what they did find was better than continued subordination to the looting Empires.

To which you responded:

EGADS wrote:
Was it "better"? Are you honestly saying that creating totalitarian regimes, which employed tactics to suppress the working class that most leaders of those "looting Empires"(as you called them) get wet dreams over, is better than being subordinate to an imperial power?

Because that's honestly not much of a choice.

I generously assumed that you extrapolated the Imperialist Cold War propaganda concerning conditions in Eastern Europe to the Third World countries of Vietnam, China, and Cuba.

Why would I "extrapolate the Imperialist Cold War propaganda concerning conditions in Eastern Europe"(Propaganda? Wait, so you actually think the West was telling porkies about the conditions of the Stalinist states of Eastern Europe? Goddamn Hungarians must have been pretty duped in '56, then. roll eyes ) to the situations in Cuba, China and Vietnam? It's pretty well established that Castro and Guevara in Cuba, Chiang Kai-Shek and later Mao in China and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam all viciously repressed working-class movements while "liberating" the nation(what happened to the anarcho-syndicalists in Cuba is one example).

As for what you said about pimps and drugs and "lumpenization", I think Workingclass is correct in that it is a racist generalization with little basis in fact, and even then, you using it as a justification for the authoritarianism and repression being more favourable to being dominated and exploited by another imperial power is little than a redressing of that classic false bit of propaganda, "Mussolini made the trains run on time!".

And yeah, I asked if you were a Maoist because this is the sort of stuff they spew(though nearly every Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist/Third-Worldist/etc uses it to some degree.)

P.S. I'd rather be a doped-out pimp than a prisoner rotting in some laogai. groucho

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 3 2011 03:49
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians. Crack a book !
working class wrote:
I already did.

When you said "I already did" you were not responding to the meat of my statement -

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
You could start by giving your description of the conditions of the workers and peasants in China and/or Vietnam under the French/Japanese/United Statesians.

but rather to the smirk -

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Crack a book !

I apologize, again, for assuming you had more upstairs than you evidently do. I would really really like to have an intelligent debate about substance and not dance in the sewer with someone who prefers trivial pursuit.

Alexander Roxwell
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Oct 3 2011 04:03

But speaking of “trivial pursuit” first prize cannot be bestowed on working class when we have a contender like EGADS in the ring.
I said to him or her last time -

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
You evidently lack either the knowledge of conditions in pre-revolutionary China, Vietnam, and Cuba or the sensitivity to really understand the difference between starvation, lumpenization and exploitation.

To which it responds by comparing fully grown sperm whales and hummingbird eggs with his pseudo-Patrick Henry cry:

EGADS wrote:
P.S. I'd rather be a doped-out pimp than a prisoner rotting in some laogai. groucho
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Oct 3 2011 05:28

AR, you seem to have an analysis of how 'Stalinist' national development governments were progressive. I am, at present, neither hostile nor friendly to this stance, and I would like to learn more. Perhaps you could provide links to texts which lay out the basis of your position or, if I have misunderstood, provide links to developed expositions of the argument you are actually making.

P.S. I think that the rhetorical devices you used to characterise certain populations, up to and including the lumpen label may divert people from your actual meaning since it tends to read like a slur even when it is intended to be employed as impartial analysis.

LBird
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Oct 3 2011 08:20
RedEd wrote:
AR, you seem to have an analysis of how 'Stalinist' national development governments were progressive. I am, at present, neither hostile nor friendly to this stance, and I would like to learn more.

I took your position in the past, RedEd, of being 'neither hostile nor friendly to this stance' of Alexander's, but after much discussion and probing of Alexander, I became very 'hostile' to his stance, which I think is in line wih most posters here who have tried to engage with Alexander in the past.

This 'hostility' is, I think, a justified political hostility, but Alexander doesn't help his case with his evasions and insults, so that it becomes very easy to slip into a less easily justifiable personal hostility to him.

Nevertheless, like you, still 'I would like to learn more', but I don't think we'll have much success with learning this from Alexander, who seems to be too tightly embedded in his own ideological past to try to examine his presuppositions (which, indeed, we all have). This is a shame, because, as far as I can tell, Alex seems to be the only proponent of this line on these boards.

I'd like to be able to compare the assumptions of the mainstream view here with the assumptions of Alexanders' minority stance and, again as you say, 'learn more', whether we end up agreeing with Alexander or not.

Anyway, good luck with the quest!