The Evolution of Socialist Ideas and Principals

The Evolution of Socialist Ideas and Principals

From the writings of Marx, Engels, Bakunin and many others of the 19th century, to the writings of Kropotkin, Lenin, Castro, 'Che', Bookchin, and many more, the basic principals of socialism have not changed. Much of our language and terms, that we use in expressing our ideology have also not progressed. The labels "bourgeois", "proletariat", and the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", for instance, have not changed since the mid 1800's. But the world, and humanity has changed. As all living organisms, with IQ's greater than my boot size, will have noted, life is dynamic - It changes. While the change may not be in a progressive manor, it still changes. And yet, most of our leftist ideals have not changed a whole fuck of a lot over the last 150 some odd years. Why is that? Are we not the "progressives"? Have we learned nothing in our comrades long struggle? Where are we going with our struggle in this 21st century?

The main part of our historical struggle has been focused on rights of the working class people. It took a long hard fight to achieve the right for working class men to be allowed a vote in elections in "western" countries, and more years for wymen, then immigrants and people of colour. Many suffered great hardship and violence during the struggle, and many still struggle in the world for such rights. While there has been many loses, there has also been many gains. Human ape's civilization moves on in it's dynamic progress of change. Scientific knowledge and an ever greater understanding of our evolutionary history has gained us a greater understanding of where we, the human ape, came from. This is knowledge that Marx, Engels, Bakunin, etc., could not have known. Hell, how could they even be able to comprehend the Jazz music I'm listening to right now (John Coltrain), on a 4 hour long play list of Jazz music on my computer wired to 3 amps and 8 speakers? Think about it. Think about what you have around you in a 5 metre radius. Think about how mind blowing that would be to anyone from the 19th century. We have riches surrounding us, and yet are still unhappy with our lot. Why? Because of our perceptions of the wealth of others around us.

The propaganda memes that assail our every senses, here in the rich part of the world, urge us to not only consume, but to consume every greater "quality" of goods. Even the simplest organism, living in a petri dish moves toward the sweetest nutrient, or, as I use to spray paint on walls, "The Urge to Buy, Terrorize's You". As technology has spread through out the world, even the poorest of people want to have our rich lifestyle, in spite of the reality that our little blue ball can not sustain unrestricted growth in the demand for consumer goods. But, by what right do we, of the rich countries, to try to prevent others from seeking, and obtaining, that which we take for granted?

So, what is to be done? How are we to archive equality for all with out lowering the standard of living for all in rich countries, which would be totally unacceptable to people in rich countries, and yet not totally devastate earth's natural environment? I ask you all to ponder the following questions, and seek discussions with others, and not just with other socialist/communist/anarchist/etc. types, but with anyone that is interested.

Discussion Points

(1) How do we neutralize the ever growing threat of literal belief in what has proven to be very dangerous memes and memeplexes (religion, Fascism, etc.)?

(2) How can the poor of the world be helped out of poverty, and given the same opportunities that people in rich countries have, with out (a) lowering of most people in rich countries standard of living, and (b) destroying the environment?

(3) How do we insure the protection of all differently abled people, be they autistic, bi-polar, para or quadra pelagic, or otherwise off the range of "average" humans, to pursue their own version of a satisfying life?

(4) How do we insure the continued survival of all human cultures, while removing the bad components of those cultures?

I do not intend this to be a complete list. These are just a few point to start a discussion, it is up to all any interested person to add other points, or to expand my points. This isn't a discussion about me, or about leftist philosophy. It is about we, the critical, sceptical and scientifically thinking people coming together to find new solutions. Of particular importance is the participation of people of less developed nations, and of differently abled people. Capitalism is not going to solve the problems of earth, and it inhabitants, but neither are the old methods of socialist/communist states. Nor will petty sectarian disputes. All people who have been able to remove the yoke of the theist meme are or potential allies, and for that we must treat them with honest critical respect. Division in the face of the enemy has never been an intelligent or successfully tactic.

One last note, I've put this discussion in several groups - Socialist Atheists, Atheist News, Anarchist Atheists, FreeThinking Anarchists and Left Wing Atheists. Check the replies in all.

Tags: Anarchism, Communism, Marxism, Socialism

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(4) How do we insure the continued survival of all human cultures, while removing the bad components of those cultures?

Define "bad". More importantly, explain how this is different to "purging" ? And even more importantly, explain how this is any different from all of socialist rhetoric we've heard in the past ?

The point of history is to learn from it, not regurgitate it.
And that is my fucking point! In many cultures in the world, there are some very horrible things done to children, particularly girls. Whether it's mutilating a child's genitals, working them half to death or forcing them to marry. All of this is done in the name of culture, because it had been done in the past, but that does not make it acceptable to any decent human ape. Don't be a stupid reactionary, I'm asking people for new ideas, not rehashing old ones, and the definition is not for me to give, but for us, as a collective of free thinking people to find some new solutions.
Yes, people usually throw in Scandinavia as an example when these sermons get recycled. But "social contract" and "socialism" are not the same thing. When you see words like "struggle, neutralize, threat, dangerous memes, survival, bad components, differently abled, yoke" etc. clustered together in a sincere idealogical outpouring, you might see a brighter future, but I see "re-education" camps.

Willy Brandt and Olof Palme might've been nice guys, but just like some junkies that support their habits by dealing, they propped up their economies with arms sales. Their countries still do. And don't forget, Shell is Dutch.

You see socialist idealists. I see naked people.
And how is this contributing to finding new solutions? Criticize, yes, but criticism with out offering possible solutions is just being divisive. And pointlessly so.
Quite right, but as you pointed out, the general perceptions has not changed. I'm hoping that we can find solutions to this by using our collective of free thinking brains. In Vancouver, in the early 80's, I became involved with the Communist Party of Canada (Moscow brand), and was invited to observe their provincial convention. As I observed a rather loud, and stupid dogmatic argument down on the floor (I was in the balcony seating), I turned to the comrade next to me, who I knew as an environmental activist in the party from Vancouver Island, and commented to him that that was why I was an anarchist. He replied to me that he agreed, as he was really an anarchist too, "but you can't change the Party from the outside", which is why he had joined it. As I found more progressive people in the party who were seeking solutions, I joined them and became a Party member. At the end of the 80's, I had found out much about the Soviet Union, and our Party being partly financed by the CPSU, in the form of shoe boxes filled with gold bars, silver bars, platinum bars or American dollars (millions of dollars worth). Most of that money was wasted on pointless and stupid things, where I felt it should have been used to help our comrades in poor oppressed countries in Central America. My opposition, and the other progressives opposition, caused us progressives to be expelled. I was called "a right wing revisionist, with ultra leftist tendencies", by the Stalinistic conservatives who physically took over the Party (they locked us out).
I can't imagine getting involved with either Communist Parties or anarchists. What an utter waste. Perhaps the thing to do now is to work on the scenario of the collapsing economic system. Obama's attempts to fix it are fundamentally misguided, and the people who mobilized for him will now have to mobilize for something else.
As the current economic crisis shows, capitalism does not work. Neither does sectarianism. Solutions can not be imposed, they have to be found with communal co-operation of all of us. As we have all rejected the religion memeplex, we have a common ground between us. I hope that is enough for us to at least find a starting point, because if we can't, how can human culture ever evolve?
But the common rejection of religion is almost meaningless politically, as the irreligious agree on nothing else. I see no indication whatever that atheists are more intelligent, informed, rational or progressive about any other subject. The common ground does not exist.

But yes, in whatever area one chooses to work, finding a common project is important.
I see no indication whatever that atheists are more intelligent, informed, rational or progressive about any other subject.

Ralph, whom would you rather follow: Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, and Bertrund Russel, or Jerry Folwell, Pat Robertson and Rich Warren?
Apparently, you didn't read my comment. Let's take another example. How does Michael Shermer's conception of political economy differ from Dinesh D'Souza's?
Well said, Miles. I believe the socialist democracies of the Low Countries and Scandanavia are leading the way out of the Dark Ages. In Sweden college students are paid to go to school. They don't have to worry about medical bills. Taxes are high but look at all the average citizen gets out of it.

This country has to get out of its Puritanical, biblical "thou shall work in the mud" mentality. As I keep saying in my posts, we have to start living for this life, instead of the next. That's why I'm a Dawkinsian militant atheist. Religious people think pleasure is a vice and sacrifice is the path to heaven.
I do not understand the meaning of (3): autistic and bipolar individuals pursuing their own version of a satisfying life? Are you kidding?

I have no solutions to the questions you pose. As for nothing changing in socialist thought for a century and a half, that is not quite the case, however, the ultimate goal ("principles"?) and its feasibility in light of the changing structures of societies was always left vague while more immediate problems were tackled. All of the impasses we have since become familiar with were already problems for the German social democratic movement a century ago, save one: then there was an organized labor force with unequivocal objective common interests, and even that degree of limited coherence is lost today.

Certain questions that should have always been addressed seem to be new to people who found the destruction of the USSR upset their view of things, but doesn't it serve them right for being so disoriented?

I note also that you lump anarchists and Marxists together, neither of which has ever been able to stomach the other.

Note two groups on this site: "Socialist Atheists" and "Karl Marx". Both so far have concentrated on the problem of religion rather than the full range of concerns. There is also a group "Left Wing Atheists", and one or more anarchist groups.

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