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7

sudo wrote

It's because every socialist country has been in a constant state of siege by capitalist countries ever since its inception. If a socialist country wants to survive, they must counter the efforts of capitalist countries to undermine them. This requires a state.

Sometimes, there will be cases where there is a real danger of the government being infiltrated by capitalist spies, or counter-revolutionaries. If the communist party attempts to purge itself of these people, it can sometimes go too far, like in Stalin's case. Remember that it's easy to look back and say things like, "X government should have done more of Y to prevent Z from happening," but that's because we already know how things happened. Communist leaders don't know exactly how their decisions will play out, so they make the choices they think are best.

A transitional socialist state is far from perfect, but it's far better than the alternatives. If one of them gets bogged down in bureaucracy, or becomes too authoritarian, it's usually not the fault of the communist party, but rather the fault of the capitalist countries who have tried to impede the progress of socialism at every step.

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LucyParsonsRocks wrote (edited )

Did it ever occur to you that, by not giving a few men all that power, you wouldn't have to worry about them being corrupted by it and killing everyone? And it's not just Stalin, what about Mao's struggle sessions? Pol pot? Mugabe? Ceaușescu? Lenin killing the people who actually fought the revolution? Has there ever been an ML strongman that didn't make a mockery of communism?

it's far better than the alternative

But capitalism isn't the only alternative to state socialism.

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red_pepper wrote

The state is merely an instrument of oppression of one class by another. Under capitalism it is bourgeoisie oppression of the proletariat, and under a transitional socialist state it is the opposite. So, the first question I have is how does the proletariat expropriate and oppress the bourgeoisie without an apparatus to expropriate and oppress them?

And, just as the contradictions of capitalism bring about the conditions of revolution, the contradictions of socialist transition bring about the conditions of counterrevolution. As class struggle continues and intensifies under a transitional socialist state, the threat of capitalist restoration continually increases because counterrevolutionary forces will grow in reaction to oppression. The second question I have is how are you to stop counterrevolution If you don't have a government and a communist party to lead it?

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DissidentRage wrote

The state is merely an instrument of oppression of one class by another. Under capitalism it is bourgeoisie oppression of the proletariat, and under a transitional socialist state it is the opposite.

I think it's a mistake to refer to a government as a state in this situation because it's not tasked with protecting capital. Also "oppression of the bourgeoisie" doesn't make sense because oppression is a defining trait of being bourgeois.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about this kind of thing as I'd like, but I'd say Marx and especially Lenin had a focus on the 'dictatorship of the proletariat', an authoritarian intermediate step before true communism. History definitely has demonstrated that step doesn't work out so well - everything goes off the rails and it becomes a despotic authoritarian state.

I have more respect and interest for the ideas of non-authoritarian socialists, though there is still the problem - as you wrote - of having to deal with attacks of all kinds by capitalist groups.

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sudo wrote

A lot of people get hung up on the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", and it's understandable why. When Marx says "dictatorship", he's not referring to a literal dictatorship, the way we think of one today. "Dictatorship" is one of those words whose meaning has changed over time. Back in Marx's day, "dictatorship" simply meant "rule". So, if you replace "dictatorship of the proletariat" with "rule of the proletariat", and "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" with "rule of the bourgeoisie", his meaning becomes more clear. The "dictatorship" of the proletariat is just a country where the proletariat (the working class) holds political power. The phrase is just a victim of evolving language.

Now, as far as anarchism, it would be nice if a lot of these decentralized models of government worked, because that would reduce the risk of jackasses going on a power trip. Unfortunately, though, these models tend to fall apart when scaled up from the government of a small community to the government of an entire country. This makes sense, since one of the principles of dialectics is the transformation of quantity into quality. Quantitative changes lead to qualitative changes - or, when put in layman's terms, changes in the number of something tend to lead to changes in the nature of that thing.

Take the government of a small town, for example. Every Sunday afternoon, the town holds a town meeting, where all the politically conscious citizens gather in the town hall, and discuss issues. This is done by a system of direct democracy - each issue will be brought to the floor, discussed for a while, and eventually voted on by everyone who cares about it. Now, as the years go by, the small town starts to grow. People start having lots of kids, and trade is booming, which attracts more people to move into the town. Eventually, the small town grows to the size of a small city. At this point, the system of direct democracy doesn't work as well as it used to. There are far more people attending the town meetings than before, so not everyone's issues can be addressed. Furthermore, not everyone has a chance to speak at the meetings, so some concerns that would have changed a lot of people's minds go unheard. Perhaps the town hall isn't physically large enough to hold everyone who wants to attend. So, in response to these problems, the town decides to switch to a system of representative democracy. It's not a perfect system, but it's more effective than direct democracy in these circumstances. As you can see, a change in the number of a thing (the number of citizens in the town) led to a change in the nature of a thing (the form of government of the town). This is true for a lot of things, including a lot of the proposed anarchist forms of government. What works for a small community simply won't work for an entire country. So, while socialist governments are faced with problems of corruption, anarchist ones would never exist long enough to reach that point.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Interesting. Are you hinting that some kind of anarchist solution might work, just not many? Or am I misunderstanding you?

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sudo wrote

I think certain anarchist models would work well for small communities, like a commune of 50 people or less. But when large numbers of people are involved, those same decentralized models would be so horribly inefficient that they'd be practically nonfunctional. Centralization is necessary for large systems to function.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Okay. That's more or less my impression too. I misunderstood your prior post to hint that you thought anarchy would scale where other systems would not. My error.

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zod wrote (edited )

Because they haven't realized yet that hierarchy is the problem, not just capitalism. Hierarchy leads back to capitalism like an endless loop of oppression. All hierarchies need to be dismantled if we're ever to achieve communism. And not by creating more hierarchies to 'some day' render the other hierarchies obsolete. That's ridiculous logic.

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mofongo wrote

I would argue that hierarchy leads to monarchy easier than it does capitalism, after all capitalism is a very unique phenomenon in the history of the world.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

2

BlackFlagged wrote (edited )

You'd have to ask an ML, but they very rarely come here because most of them don't see anything wrong with reddit, facebook, etc.