Rapperson wrote:History has shown that Marxist government is, or very soon becomes, a dictatorship. It is an oppressive government that curtails many human rights, notably freedom of speech.
History has also shown that capitalism is, or very soon becomes, a violent dictatorship. It is an oppressive government that curtails many human rights, notably freedom of speech.
Rapperson wrote:Marxism promises freedom and rights for workers, but routinely fails to deliver. The rights of workers under a Marxist government are invariably worse than under contemporary democratic/capitalist system, and often enormously so.
Even if we are to accept this as true, one must define rights in a way that is agreeable. For the Bolsheviks, which is who you are mostly considering, a right was a strictly theoretical notion unless it had the ability to be expressed. If you have there right to vote, but it is on a weekday, and you're in a neighborhood where they legislature determined you only needed one precinct for a hundred thousand people, and it was open for less time than anywhere else, you'd still theoretically have the right to vote—just no way to exercise that right.
You have freedom of expression, in theory, but compared to the expression that someone that owns a TV network has, you have virtually no voice at all.
Lenin wrote:In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favourable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that "they cannot be bothered with democracy", "cannot be bothered with politics"; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life.
...Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich--that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the “petty”--supposedly petty--details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for “paupers”!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc.,--we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been inclose contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.
Marxists realize that history exists and things change. For the most part, the attempts the Chinese (as problematic as they can be in their use of Marxism) to urbanize their population addresses this
. It took centuries to do that in the West, and we have gained legitimate, tangible, expressions of rights. There are a lot of questionable use of power by the Chinese government—but this is a concrete attempt to give concrete things to people that had largely been swept to the side by the imperialism the preceded the communists.
Rapperson wrote:Marxist government frequently, though not always, entails abuses of genocidal proportions.
Please provide an example that equals the genocide of the Native Americans, native Australians, Belgian Congo, and Jewish Holocaust.
Economic development in a Marxist system can present a shortcut to extremely backward nations to achieve industrialization but invariably stagnates in poverty relative to a contemporary democratic/capitalist system.
On the face of it, your assertion collapses upon the slightest scrutiny:
Pew Research wrote:A remarkable 72% of Hungarians say that most people in their country are actually worse off today economically than they were under communism. Only 8% say most people in Hungary are better off, and 16% say things are about the same.
Sunday Express wrote:A stunning 64 per cent of Russians who were aged ten or over in the totalitarian one party state rated the quality of life higher than under the current rule of Vladimir Putin.
A quarter of a century after the fall of the Red flag from the Kremlin in 1991, the same pattern is shown in nine out of 11 ex-Soviet states, according to a new poll.
The findings appear to offer an indictment of post-Communist regimes which have seen a mixture of chaos, rampant crime, revolution, wild capitalism, economic mayhem and dictatorship in the years since Mikhail Gorbachev quit as the last Soviet leader.
Respondents in oil-rich Azerbaijan - run by authoritarian president Ilham Aliyev who succeeded his father Heydar Aliyev - gave a crushing verdict with 69 per cent saying life was better in the USSR.
In Armenia, the figure was even higher, 71 per cent.
In Ukraine, which has seen some of the greatest economic hardship and political turmoil since 1991, around 60 per cent of the over 35s saw life as better back in the USSR.
In Belarus, the most Soviet-like of the European states of the former USSR, where even the secret police retain the KGB acronym, some 53 per cent still preferred life under Moscow's rule.
And in Kazakhstan, where dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev employed Tony Blair as a consultant, three in five of the older 35s preferred life under Soviet rule.
Only older residents of two ex-Soviet republics believed life is better now - those in Tajikistan and rigidly totalitarian Uzbekistan, two of the poorest states, where 39 per cent and four per cent respectively saw their existence under the Kremlin politburo as superior.
But let us go further; Marxism is a form of analysis, and how, why, and who is using it can determine what is occurring. This is not particularly remarkable, this is how most methods of analysis work. However, it seems strange to dump the entire premise for the analysis because conditions in some of the models of one type of application were not perfect.
This is part of the crux of what a lot of anti-marxists don't quite understand. The Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, etc, etc, are workers' states
and their ideology is socialist. However, this does not mean that they were socialist in a Leninist sense.
Lenin wrote:Complete and final victory on a world scale cannot be achieved in Russia alone; it can be achieved only when the proletariat is victorious in at least all the advanced countries, or, at all events, in some of the largest of the advanced countries. Only then shall we be able to say with absolute confidence that the cause of the proletariat has triumphed, that our first objective—the overthrow of capitalism—has been achieved.
We have achieved this objective in one country, and this confronts us with a second task. Since Soviet power has been established, since the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in one country, the second task is to wage the struggle on a world scale, on a different plane, the struggle of the proletarian state surrounded by capitalist states.
[url="[url=http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/10thcong/ch03.htm]Lenin[/url]"]Socialist revolution can triumph only on two conditions. First, if it is given timely support by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries. As you know we have done very much in comparison with the past to bring about this condition, but far from enough to make it a reality.
The second condition is agreement between the proletariat, which is exercising its dictatorship, that is holds state power,and the majority of the peasant population[/url]
Lenin in 1922 wrote:But we have not finished building even the foundations of socialist economy and the hostile power of moribund capitalism can still deprive us of that. We must clearly appreciate this and frankly admit it; for there is nothing more dangerous than illusions (and vertigo, particularly at high altitudes). And there is absolutely nothing terrible, nothing that should give legitimate grounds for the slightest despondency, in admitting this bitter truth; we have always urged and reiterated the elementary truth of Marxism - that the joint efforts of the workers of several advanced countries are needed for the victory of socialism.
This is consistent with Marx, who lampoons a socialist that attempts to say that he is building socialism in one country:
Marx wrote:Lassalle, in opposition to the Communist Manifesto and to all earlier socialism, conceived the workers' movement from the narrowest national standpoint. He is being followed in this -- and that after the work of the International!
It is altogether self-evident that, to be able to fight at all, the working class must organize itself at home as a class and that its own country is the immediate arena of its struggle -- insofar as its class struggle is national, not in substance, but, as the Communist Manifesto says, "in form". But the "framework of the present-day national state", for instance, the German Empire, is itself, in its turn, economically "within the framework" of the world market, politically "within the framework" of the system of states. Every businessman knows that German trade is at the same time foreign trade, and the greatness of Herr Bismarck consists, to be sure, precisely in his pursuing a kind of international policy.
And to what does the German Workers' party reduce its internationalism? To the consciousness that the result of its efforts will be "the international brotherhood of peoples" -- a phrase borrowed from the bourgeois League of Peace and Freedom, which is intended to pass as equivalent to the international brotherhood of working classes in the joint struggle against the ruling classes and their governments. Not a word, therefore, about the international functions of the German working class! And it is thus that it is to challenge its own bourgeoisie -- which is already linked up in brotherhood against it with the bourgeois of all other countries -- and Herr Bismarck's international policy of conspiracy.
In fact, the internationalism of the program stands even infinitely below that of the Free Trade party. The latter also asserts that the result of its efforts will be "the international brotherhood of peoples". But it also does something to make trade international and by no means contents itself with the consciousness that all people are carrying on trade at home.
The international activity of the working classes does not in any way depend on the existence of the International Working Men's Association. This was only the first attempt to create a central organ for the activity; an attempt which was a lasting success on account of the impulse which it gave but which was no longer realizable in its historical form after the fall of the Paris Commune.
Bismarck's Norddeutsche was absolutely right when it announced, to the satisfaction of its master, that the German Workers' party had sworn off internationalism in the new program.
And Engels, who was more blunt:
Engels wrote:Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?
No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others.
Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries – that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany.
It will develop in each of these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace.
You are essentially making up an ideology and attacking it as a strawman. The fact is that these standard-of-living points do not address the validity of Marxism, nor are they clean enough that external variations can be appropriately removed for measurement.
Rapperson wrote:Development of new technologies in a Marxist system is minimal to nonexistant, leading to stagnation.
Wikipedia wrote:1957: First intercontinental ballistic missile and orbital launch vehicle, the R-7 Semyorka
1957: First satellite, Sputnik 1
1957: First animal in Earth orbit, the dog Laika on Sputnik 2
1959: First rocket ignition in Earth orbit, first man-made object to escape Earth's gravity, Luna 1
1959: First data communications, or telemetry, to and from outer space, Luna 1.
1959: First man-made object to pass near the Moon, first man-made object in Heliocentric orbit, Luna 1
1959: First probe to impact the Moon, Luna 2
1959: First images of the moon's far side, Luna 3
1960: First animals to safely return from Earth orbit, the dogs Belka and Strelka on Sputnik 5.
1961: First probe launched to Venus, Venera 1
1961: First person in space (International definition) and in Earth orbit, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, Vostok programme
1961: First person to spend over 24 hours in space Gherman Titov, Vostok 2 (also first person to sleep in space).
1962: First dual manned spaceflight, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4
1962: First probe launched to Mars, Mars 1
1963: First woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, Vostok 6
1964: First multi-person crew (3), Voskhod 1
1965: First extra-vehicular activity (EVA), by Aleksei Leonov, Voskhod 2
1965: First probe to hit another planet of the Solar system (Venus), Venera 3
1966: First probe to make a soft landing on and transmit from the surface of the moon, Luna 9
1966: First probe in lunar orbit, Luna 10
1967: First unmanned rendezvous and docking, Cosmos 186/Cosmos 188.
1968: First living beings to reach the Moon (circumlunar flights) and return unharmed to Earth, Russian tortoises and other lifeforms on Zond 5
1969: First docking between two manned craft in Earth orbit and exchange of crews, Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5
1970: First soil samples automatically extracted and returned to Earth from another celestial body, Luna 16
1970: First robotic space rover, Lunokhod 1 on the Moon.
1970: First data received from the surface of another planet of the Solar system (Venus), Venera 7
1971: First space station, Salyut 1
1971: First probe to impact the surface of Mars, Mars 2
1971: First probe to land on Mars, Mars 3
1975: First probe to orbit Venus, to make soft landing on Venus, first photos from surface of Venus, Venera 9
Rapperson wrote:Marxist industrialized economies historically have been the worst cases of environmental abuse and damage.
Industrialization is always messy. Please provide an example of industrialization under capitalism taking place in a tidy and environmental way.
Ideologically, if we are to separate the Marxist ideology from whatever you're imagining, the first environmental efforts were put forward by Marxists:
Engels wrote:Classical political economy, the social science of the bourgeoisie, in the main examines only social effects of human actions in the fields of production and exchange that are actually intended. This fully corresponds to the social organisation of which it is the theoretical expression. As individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results must first be taken into account. As long as the individual manufacturer or merchant sells a manufactured or purchased commodity with the usual coveted profit, he is satisfied and does not concern himself with what afterwards becomes of the commodity and its purchasers. The same thing applies to the natural effects of the same actions. What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees – what cared they that the heavy tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock! In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate, the most tangible result; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be quite different, are mostly quite the opposite in character; that the harmony of supply and demand is transformed into the very reverse opposite, as shown by the course of each ten years’ industrial cycle
Rapperson wrote:When Marxists take power, those elements of the party/movement that actually believe that democracy/freedom will be delivered as promised are soon purged, often executed. The Kronstadt sailors are a prime example.
Do you think that during the Russian Civil War the Krondstadt sailors, so loyal to the Bolsheviks, just sat there and waited in one place and then revolted in anger years later?
Obviously this is not the case. The loyal Krondstadt soldiers were distributed all over Russia to fight the Whites and the crummy soldiers were sent to Krondstadt because it wasn't a theater of action.
Trotsky, who built the Red Army, wrote:Yes, Kronstadt wrote a heroic page in the history of the revolution. But the civil war began a systematic depopulation of Kronstadt and of the whole Baltic fleet. As early as the days of the October uprising, detachments of Kronstadt sailors were being sent to help Moscow. Other detachments were then sent to the Don, to the Ukraine, to requisition bread and organize the local power. It seemed at first as if Kronstadt were inexhaustible. From different fronts I sent dozens of telegrams about the mobilization of new “reliable” detachments from among the Petersburg workers and the Baltic sailors. But beginning as early as 1918, and in any case not later than 1919, the fronts began to complain that the new contingents of “Kronstadters” were unsatisfactory, exacting, undisciplined, unreliable in battle, and doing more harm than good. After the liquidation of Yudenich (in the winter of 1919), the Baltic fleet and the Kronstadt garrison were denuded of all revolutionary forces. All the elements among them that were of any use at all were thrown against Denikin in the south. If in 1917–18 the Kronstadt sailor stood considerably higher than the average level of the Red Army and formed the framework of its first detachments as well as the framework of the Soviet regime in many districts, those sailors who remained in “peaceful” Kronstadt until the beginning of 1921, not fitting in on any of the fronts of the civil war, stood by this time on a level considerably lower, in general, than the average level of the Red Army, and included a great percentage of completely demoralized elements, wearing showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts.
Demoralization based on hunger and speculation had in general greatly increased by the end of the civil war. The so-called “sack-carriers” (petty speculators) had become a social blight, threatening to stifle the revolution. Precisely in Kronstadt where the garrison did nothing and had everything it needed, the demoralization assumed particularly great dimensions. When conditions became very critical in hungry Petrograd the Political Bureau more than once discussed the possibility of securing an “internal loan” from Kronstadt, where a quantity of old provisions still remained. But delegates of the Petrograd workers answered: “You will get nothing from them by kindness. They speculate in cloth, coal, and bread. At present in Kronstadt every kind of riffraff has raised its head.” That was the real situation. It was not like the sugar-sweet idealizations after the event.
Alis Volat Propriis; Tiocfaidh ár lá; Proletarier Aller Länder, Vereinigt Euch!