• 16 Posts
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: Mar 23, 2022


It depends how close they are to a Marxist understanding of the world… I can talk with my twin sister pretty easily about even the spicy stuff, but propaganda has made it difficult to express my views with the average person. People will flip their shit if you even mention Stalin, Mao, or the others, much less suggest that they weren’t literally Hitler.

There’s also the reality that being a communist is a bit like being an atheist or a vegan. These beliefs aren’t compatible with current liberal society, and consequently even encountering a communist as a liberal can feel like an attack. That obviously doesn’t hold true for everyone, but it does happen. I hold my tongue most of the time.

Marx’s Theory of “Metabolic Rift”?
I learned about this in my class today, where we read Marx's 1844 manuscripts. My understanding is that in pre/post-capitalist society, humans have a reciprocal relationship with nature mediated by labor, whereas under capitalism, humans are alienated from nature due to both human labor and nature falling under the domain of "private property," and so that bond between people and nature is broken. Worsening the problem is that capitalists don't participate in the delicate dance between our economies and our natural environments, but seek only to extract as much as possible as quickly as possible. It's a sustainability argument, clearly, and I understand abstractly how and why capitalism is unsustainable from an environmental perspective. It's a prescient theory, but when Marx goes on about the perils of urbanization, he loses me. Is he arguing that we should/will be living in relatively small, closed-system communities? Or that we shouldn't import and export food? That definitely doesn't resemble AES states, or any other industrial society, for that matter. Can someone clarify this theory for me?

The “withering away of the state”?
Lenin cites this concept from Marx early in "State and Revolution." To me, it implies that socialist states can be reformed from within to achieve communism, whereas under capitalism revolution is necessary to build socialism. I do not understand this at all. What makes post-capitalist society special in this respect? Am I misinterpreting something?

Tali Perch, writing in Guernica Magazina, chronicles the horrors of Stalin's repression, banditry, and genocide. She readily conflates him with Hitler. Notably, Stalin's goons break into poor shtetl homes looking for gold and cash. It was an interesting read about generational trauma. Even so, I have a hard time believing some of the claims put forward. Does someone more knowledgeable than me want to clarify its contents?

Certified reddit moment

I’ve seen this map before…

On “Whataboutism”
If I had a dollar for every liberal who has accused me or some other ML of “whataboutism” concerning the Uighur “genocide” or Russia’s “aggression” in Ukraine, I’d be a rich woman. I suspect many of you have had similar experiences. Libs love this quick jab of a response because it’s technically a sound argument. Saying something to the effect of “America is worse” doesn’t automatically imply the opposition, be they the CPC or whoever else, is completely innocent of whatever crime they’re accused of committing. But liberals completely miss the point of this argument, deliberately or not. Put simply, “America bad” arguments are about casting doubt on the legitimacy of the organizations peddling these lies. Knowing that the Western media conditionally reports and condemns war and genocide proves they have ulterior motives in doing so. This is how we can be certain consent is being manufactured for a new cold war. It forces people to wonder if they've swallowed malicious propaganda. Liberals get angry when you take their sources from them, and crying “whataboutism” is a weak parry we can just charge through. Don’t get psyched out by it. When every “credible” source spews malignant falsehoods about AES states, we need to challenge those sources. It’s faster and easier than debunking these lies piecemeal, and has the advantage of operating beyond the scope of liberal thought. You’re not arguing fallaciously when you draw attention to the blinding hypocrisy of the American empire. Create distrust of the Western propaganda machine at all costs. This is important work, and we’re the only ones doing it.

Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward
What actually happened as a result of these movements? People usually use them as evidence that Mao killed however many millions of people. I'm aware that they aren't fondly remembered periods in Chinese history, but I'm not sure how accurate the wikipedia entry on the subjects are. Does anyone have further reading?

While that’s true, it doesn’t really answer the question.

I’m gonna vote guys I’m gonna vote so hard
I'm seriously considering voting for Tim Fucking Ryan. This won't be the first time I've cast a ballot for monstrous bourgeois pigs. Do I have to turn in my card if I admit to voting for Joe Biden? If I had known the horrific treatment of immigrants would only intensify under him, I might have not voted in 2020, but he dangled hope over all our heads, and I was one of the idiots who reached to grab it. I find myself cyclically struggling with the urge to vote. Obviously, the midterms are tomorrow, and I'm getting fearful that the fascists will win. I worry about the queer community, I worry about reproductive rights, and I worry about all the other shit. If I vote, I'm going to vote Democrat down the line. Nothing will change, but maybe things won't change for the worse. It's frustrating that the only thing we can do within the parameters of the capitalist system is swallow these bad-faith choices. I would like to do literally anything else, but I can't. Liberal politics is an addictive drug.

I can help, but know I’ve had no experience being a mod.

This first happened to me when I read “Elementary Principles of Philosophy” by Georges Politzer. Was sold on Marxism ever since. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

Is communism the end of history?
So as Marxists, as I understand it, we're supposed to consider systems like feudalism, capitalism and socialism as fundamentally transitory. I also understand that communism is different, being classless and therefore containing no contradictions that would drive any "autodynamic" or organic social change. Maybe I have a skewed understanding of our ideology, but this feels like a bold assertion. If history can be summarized as class struggle, and communism has no class struggle, is communism the end of history? Hopefully this makes sense.

My understanding is that after Lenin “recovered” from his second stroke, after he started investigating personally, the scrutiny aimed at Stalin lessened. Lenin had his third stroke before the party met to discuss Stalin’s actions in Georgia, but Trotsky was there, and he gave a lot of ground to Stalin’s side. Strong talks about that in the book I linked. That to me indicates that Lenin’s investigations clarified things in a light that favored Stalin, but that’s just my speculation I suppose.

I am fairly certain that Lenin’s request to remove Stalin from office was dictated after his second stroke.

But I think I’ve lost the thread of the argument. If you’re critiquing the Great Purges, my understanding was there was a real threat of Nazi collaboration within the Soviet Union. That comes to me word of mouth, though I do recall reading something by Grover Furr explaining that Trotsky was guilty of this.

Fair enough. Read the first chapter of that source and tell me if there’s some good reason I shouldn’t take it at its word. From what Strong claims, it sounds like Lenin had more serious conflicts with these other characters than he ever had with Stalin, even if he may have known them personally for longer. If Lenin was able to forgive these guys, I don’t think it’s fair to suppose that he wouldn’t have forgiven Stalin (assuming that’s what you’re saying).

Lenin recovered from his second stroke enough to investigate the Georgia matter himself before suffering his third stroke and dying. You make it sound like Lenin was warning the world of the evils of Stalin on his deathbed, and that’s just not what happened.

And Stalin and Lenin had been colleagues and friends for twenty years by this time. They knew each other since 1905. And was he not in prison for working on the revolutionary socialist project?

And I apologize for being rude, but this is just contrary to everything I’ve learned about Stalin. Frankly, it feels indistinguishable from liberal histories of Stalin, which have been extremely falsified. So when I say you’ve been mislead in a serious way, I’m being quite serious.

You’ve been mislead in a very serious way. That “warning,” which is more critical of Trotsky than of Stalin, comes from Stalin’s only conflict with Lenin, which happened to take place during Lenin’s last days, over Stalin’s supposed “brutality” in Georgia. Since Lenin only got this information second-hand (he was bedridden), he never published that “testament.” Once he recovered, he began to investigate personally. After he did, Stalin was acquitted.

On another note, those “left-wing Bolsheviks” like Zinoviev and Kamenev betrayed Lenin at the very hour of the revolution. Trotsky had been against it until that hour. Stalin and Lenin had been working together to bring about the revolution for decades, longer than any of these “left-wing Bolsheviks,” and on top of that he never backstabbed Lenin. The idea that Lenin and Trotsky of all people were close friends and Stalin was a distant, shifty politician lurking in the background waiting to take power is absurd. Stalin was the only legitimate successor to Lenin, especially since he built the party into power even before Lenin’s death.

Stalin saved the world from the Nazis too, so you might want to show a little bit of respect for this great leader. I think part of that respect involves doing your research before you unknowingly reiterate these lies in an explicitly pro-AES community.

Aristotle thought women had fewer teeth than men. Plato thought that abstractions were real. Everyone but Heraclitus was convinced all change was illusory and history moved in a flat circle. It’s amazing how people ignore that all of these philosophers have more or less been proven wrong by modern science.

This is super interesting and exactly what I was looking for, no offense to the other valid points made. I’ve also recently learned about Lao Tzu, who was a contemporary of Heraclitus, the “Father of Dialectics.”

Is Marxism Eurocentric?
I'm reading through some of our literature (namely *_Socialism, Utopian and Scientific_*) and I really get the sense that many of our intellectual forebears think that everything important in philosophy happened in Europe. Granted, European philosophy is necessarily of primary relevance in a critique of early capitalism, but when Engels traces the history of these strains of thought (materialism, dialectics, etc.), they all go back to ancient Greece. I find this suspicious. Is this a consequence of lopsided education, either of the target audience or of Engels himself? Have non-western Marxists grafted dialectical materialism onto Asian or African philosophy? Are there analogous movements within these cultures that dovetail nicely with Dialectical Materialism? Or do they more or less take Engels at his word here? Maybe I'm misinterpreting something.

Any criticisms of Stalin?
Given that this community has generally positive view of Stalin, I'm curious what he did that my comrades find irredeemable or out of line. Since it's easy to criticize the Soviet Union from a western perspective, bonus points if you explain how this was detrimental to the development of socialism and/or communism.

If you have the money, support, and desire to do so, go to college. If not, trade school is a pretty good option. It’s a better return on your investment, anyway. Those jobs will always be needed. Tech can get you pretty far too, if that’s your thing.

You could always spend a couple years in community college and finish out your undergrad at a public university if you’re broke, and you’ll probably be able to go on to grad school without too much financial difficult due to stipends and what not, but you’ll be poor all the while. Don’t get any ideas about starting a family until you’re a bit older. That’s just the reality of living under capitalism right now, unfortunately.

I think you should follow your heart on this one. If you’re gonna be working forty hours every week for decades, you should try to enjoy your work. That’s probably a little bourgeois, but it’s just my two cents.

While being conscientious about your diet and eating habits is definitely wise, I would advise you to just eat whenever you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full. Eat slowly, don’t do anything else when you eat, and make sure the food is wholesome. If you want to have one big meal a day, that’s fine too, but just bear in mind that like you said, the way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn. There’s really no gimmick to it.

I tried intermittent fasting when I was still running cross country, and while I did lose a little weight, I was also running at least five miles a day. Now that I’m taking Adderall, I intermittently fast whether I like it or not, yet I’ve been gaining weight.

I’d be suspicious of these dieting strategies and the culture they are a part of. Not everything is down to being skinny, and we come in all shapes and sizes. Just my two cents.

Question about the role of morality in Marxism
I found myself in a discussion about historical materialism where I ended up saying something along the lines of "scientific progress helps us to build more ethical societies because it enables us to see through the injustices of race, religion, and capitalism." I was kind of firing from the hip, but I couldn't think of anything better to say. My conversation partner asked me if I thought you could do a scientific experiment or analysis on a moral problem, and I was frankly stumped. I know we aren't supposed to think in moral categories, but I sense every one of us thinks, and correct me if I'm wrong, that capitalism is wrong and communism is right morally speaking. With that in mind, as contradictions are resolved per historical materialism and as different peoples have socialist revolutions within their societies, do these societies become more moral in any sense?

Yeah, redditors are racist and delusional, which is why I asked here. I was wondering if you thought the video was faked or if this doesn’t happen as often as propaganda implies. Or is it really a problem China faces? If so, how did they get here?

Sure lol, but it sounds like a massive fuck up if they really are destroying whole cities they’ve built with no one ever living inside of them. What’s going on here? What’s the story behind all of this?

Absolutely, but I think you’re missing the point of my question. Is there any kind of large-scale demolition happening in China? Are these ghost cities real? If so, what happened that got us to this point?

Demolition of “ghost cities” in China
I saw a video on Reddit showing the demolition of dozens of vacant high rise buildings in China. In addition to what you might expect, the comments alleged a "Ponzi scheme" in the housing market, and that some were still paying mortgages on the destroyed buildings. Any idea what's happening on that front?

Yeah that was my post lol, maybe I should take another look at that

That’s very helpful, but I was hoping you’d address my question about “falsifiable hypotheses.” For context, I was reading an article debunking Karl Popper’s claim that Marxism peddles in unfalsifiable, unscientific claims.

I don’t think anything better captures the dissonance between how the pigs see themselves and how they actually behave than this image.

Yeah, it’s kind of amazing how goofy the anti-communist propaganda gets. I like to imagine Castro has a floor that opens up into a shark tank, like in a Bond film. He shouts “gusano!” before he pulls the lever, dropping the unwitting mothers into the waiting jaws of the sharks. Their children are made to watch.

This sounds a lot like what I’ve heard about American prisons. Western projection?

I bothered to find his source. It’s the Cuba Archive, also called the Free Society Project. It is based in Washington DC and was created in 2001. This is their website. Learned about them from the Washington Times.

This is their description of their Executive Director:

“Maria C. Werlau. Analyst, consultant, and author of wide-ranging publications on Cuban affairs. She is a former Second Vice President of the Chase Manhattan Bank and has a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Masters in International Relations from Universidad de Chile.”

Their research director is a “former international executive” who created this website.

Art imitates life.

How is Marxism-Leninism scientific?
I've always heard my comrades insist that Marxism-Leninism is scientific. I understand how dialectical materialism is scientific, and I understand that Marxism-Leninism is rooted in dialectical materialism. For a while, that satisfied me, but lately I've been reading material about how Marxists might present falsifiable hypotheses which made me realize I don't understand how this works at all. How do I, a Marxist, go about studying society scientifically in a way that dovetails nicely with dialectical materialism? Do I have to do experiments? What does that look like? How will I know if I'm wrong? Examples would help.

I like how they’re trying to show China’s supposed territorial ambitions, but they didn’t color in Taiwan. You’d think they’d make a point of coloring it yellow.

What do you all think of Settlers
The book by J. Sakai, not the type of person, hence the capitalization. There are people who say it's too divisive.

Sure, but Marxism is supposed to be scientific, right? Don’t our theories need to be falsifiable as a rule?

Is Dialectical Materialism “Unfalsifiable”?
Had an argument where someone tried to tell me historical materialism is "necessarily true" and therefore not scientific or useful. Only response I can think of is that dialectical materialism is a philosophical framework, and isn't subject to the same rules of falsification as a hypothesis. It feels somehow unsatisfying. Have any of you encountered this argument before? What do you say to it?

I know this happened a while ago, but I heard a story that the Mariupol Theater was rigged to explode by the Azov Battalion. Is this anywhere near true? If not, isn’t this pretty damning of the Russian military?

There were people insisting that the Russians had been brainwashed into thinking that Chernobyl never happened lol

Saw an article on r/worldnews saying that Russian soldiers “had no idea what (Chernobyl) was” and exbited “suicidal” behavior concerning radiation. Is this just propaganda?