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Topic: Reds in America: a discussion (Read 1193 times) previous topic - next topic - Topic derived from Talkfreethought about...

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Reds in America: a discussion
rednose what do you think of DSA

  • Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 06:19:12 PM by borealis

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #1
DSA isn't as funny anymore now that Danny is no longer with them, RIP Officer Fentonte :'(

  • F X
  • The one and only
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #2
Tankies are the commies who think Stalin did nothing wrong.

The term derives from the fact that the divisions within the communist movement first arose when the Soviet Union sent tanks into communist Hungary in 1956, to crush an attempt to establish an alternative version of communism which was not embraced by the Russians. Most communists outside the eastern bloc opposed this action and criticised the Soviet Union. The "tankies" were those who said "send the tanks in".

The epithet has stuck because tankies also supported "sending the tanks in" in cases such as Czechoslovakia 1968, Afghanistan 1979, Bosnia and Kosovo/a (in the case of the Serbian state), and so on (whereas the rest of the communist movement has gravitated towards anti-militarism).
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man."
― Mark Twain 🔭

  • rednoise
  • Sludgey Southern Kitcheneer
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #3
rednose what do you think of DSA

They're socdems who fundamentally misunderstand capitalism and what it means to need to abolish property. I know that there is a Marxist entryist faction in the DSA, but they sound like newspaper salesmen.
"Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged Socialists than against anyone else"

-Engels

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #4
rednose what do you think of DSA

They're socdems who fundamentally misunderstand capitalism and what it means to need to abolish property. I know that there is a Marxist entryist faction in the DSA, but they sound like newspaper salesmen.
this may be outdated info tbh

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #5
DSA isn't as funny anymore now that Danny is no longer with them, RIP Officer Fentonte :'(
there's always this: https://mobile.twitter.com/officercomrade?lang=en

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #6
Quote
"Ay I'm doin' da frickin' praxis ova 'eah!" Offisah Dandy Fecacte, prowd Mahxist membah udda frickin DSA.

lmao

  • rednoise
  • Sludgey Southern Kitcheneer
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #7
rednose what do you think of DSA

They're socdems who fundamentally misunderstand capitalism and what it means to need to abolish property. I know that there is a Marxist entryist faction in the DSA, but they sound like newspaper salesmen.
this may be outdated info tbh

How's it changed?
"Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged Socialists than against anyone else"

-Engels

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #8
rednose what do you think of DSA

They're socdems who fundamentally misunderstand capitalism and what it means to need to abolish property. I know that there is a Marxist entryist faction in the DSA, but they sound like newspaper salesmen.
this may be outdated info tbh

How's it changed?

in the past year it's more than tripled in membership and the new members are largely not interested in fretting all day about how to move the dem party left. like people still associate us (there's the tell btw lol) with bernie sanders but he's pretty far to the right of the DSA's center of political gravity, so to speak. we're still a big tent organization so there still is a socdem tendency but from what i can tell, the majority of the org takes the "socialism" part quite seriously. so we still want to work for socdem reforms in the short term but ultimately we want all economic power put under the democratic control of working people. much of our efforts are about finding ways to accelerate that end outcome locally.

there are only a few things that i can call to mind right now of what i was told went down at the convention this summer, but i remember that we endorsed BDS, made prison abolition a part of our platform, and quit the second international for being too neoliberal.  i dunno if this can fully rebuke the socdem book club rep (i know from experience it dies hard in other left orgs) but that is not the political character of the organization as i have observed it from working in it. we want to abolish private property for really real.

eta: still not a marxist org overall so that's probably a disappointment to you but i don't know any newspaper entryists. the sparts said we killed rosa also (lol).
  • Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 07:05:28 AM by the idea of Harambe

  • rednoise
  • Sludgey Southern Kitcheneer
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #9
I guess my view on property abolition, democracy and all that has shifted.

First is the idea that a party itself can lead anything on the question of abolishing property. That has to come from the activity of the working class itself. The DSA members I've come into contact with since the wake of Bernie's loss, and the new batch of socdems radicalizing, have been putting emphasis on "educate, organize, agitate." I think I have a fundamental problem with, mostly, the "educate" part, implying that the working class needs to be taught anything. It's a circle back to the whole idea from Lenin that intellectuals need to lead the proletariat to victory. That it's just an old idea with a new marketing strategy.

Here's the quick and dirty of what I believe: parties are untenable (I largely agree with Ruhle here, in "The Revolution Is Not A Party Affair) as revolutionary organizations. Unions, as well. The self-activity of the working class, turning from a class in itself to a class for itself, can only bring about shutting the door on capitalism. I'm not against reforms, but I don't think a transitional program, ala the Trots, is going to do anything. It hasn't before, even when used as a focal point to "organize" revolutionary change. I'm sympathetic to the idea that industrial worker councils are the natural organ of revolutionary activity.

That aside, I've also taken issue with the definition of socialism being democratically organized anything. Democracy can be a means to an end, but it isn't an end itself. And if we mean to abolish property entirely, that necessarily would mean there's no thing to democratically control. Since property itself is kind of the nucleus of politics as it exists, with the abolition of property would also go political order.
  • Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 01:23:50 PM by rednoise
"Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged Socialists than against anyone else"

-Engels

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #10
that all sounds like a more substantial take on the DSA as it operates now. in that sense there are some interesting points of contrast and disagreement.

would you consider as a valid form of "education" the normalization of socialism? it's not so much teaching the working class anything so much as dispelling, uh, i guess a kind of false consciousness. i mean it seems likely that a lot of people would agree with a socialist program if laid out in terms of what it seeks to achieve, but still be wary of actively taking it up because everyone's been really effectively conditioned to think that "there is no alternative." given what you say about parties, what would you consider the role of political organizations like DSA otherwise? (if you think it's pointless that's fair although i'd disagree!)

not sure i follow what you're saying in the last paragraph. like it is familiar to me from a general marxist outline of an ultimate classless and stateless society, but that's not what i consider socialism to be even if it can transition to that.

  • rednoise
  • Sludgey Southern Kitcheneer
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #11
The thing is that socialism, communism as it were, was not, nor should it ever have been about having to educate or normalize socialism or lift false consciousness. If a movement forms whose aim is to negate the foundations of capitalism, then there's no further normalization needed. If that movement actually seeks the abolition of property, then it isn't going to matter what SAlt, the ISO, the DSA or even what the Bordigists have to say about it. There really isn't anything that can be reliably described as false consciousness, because that phrase has been so loaded in the last century -- probably by design -- that it means nothing but "These people don't believe in what I believe in, so we need to teach them our way."

Further to that, I'm not sure that the same movement which muddied what socialism is or what it means should be in charge of anything having to do with addressing so-called false consciousness. We probably have no less than 3 or 4 major factions (off the top of my head) who make it their aim to address that very subject, but use it more or less as a way to inject their own ideologies into the matter. That's not counting all the sub factions related to them. Iow, the worst thing about socialism tend to be the socialists themselves.

To my last paragraph, I'm taking what I guess is considered a classical position on it. Socialism and communism were used interchangably by Marx, on the basis that socialism and communism are inextricably linked. The socialists before Marx and, incidentally, after him have concocted these theories that you can essentially have the trappings of capitalism combined with increased worker power... and some how that's socialism. You still would have wages, commodity production, competition in some market, but that's capitalism and those are all the trappings of property itself. But that's basically what socdems argue, many anarchists (especially mutualists), market "socialists," etc. Tbf, I haven't seen anything so far from the DSA that really addresses this question, either, or modifies their previous position on it.

As for the role of parties like the DSA, I don't think they serve any revolutionary role, and so they don't really serve any role in liberating the working class, and therefore humanity, from capital. I certainly don't oppose any reform campaigns from them, like I don't really oppose Bernie's campaign for socdem reform. I just don't think it will lead to socialism. In fact, I'm certain it won't. I do think though that some arguments from both the socdems and demsocs are flawed and serve to reinforce capitalism rather than confront it; like clinging to underconsumptionist theories of capitalism (thanks, Rosa!)
  • Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 07:47:16 PM by rednoise
"Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged Socialists than against anyone else"

-Engels

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #12
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • osmanthus
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  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #13
Discussion >    General Discussion >    Talkfreethought about to close down.
Truth is out of style

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #14
Lol. I can't keep that place straight
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #15
The socialists before Marx and, incidentally, after him have concocted these theories that you can essentially have the trappings of capitalism combined with increased worker power... and some how that's socialism. You still would have wages, commodity production, competition in some market, but that's capitalism and those are all the trappings of property itself. But that's basically what socdems argue, many anarchists (especially mutualists), market "socialists," etc. Tbf, I haven't seen anything so far from the DSA that really addresses this question, either, or modifies their previous position on it.

well, you're seeing it now. as i said, we are not social democrats, by and large, and we won't be content with a reformed capitalism. to be honest, i'm not sure what you expect in terms of seeing something from the organization. at the national level it's too busy dealing with the fact that it's ballooned in size by 3-4 times, and locally chapters are too busy doing things, to justify themselves as for-really-real-irl socialists to other leftists. this kind of personal conversation is the most effort we spend on it.

spending our time and effort well is important to me. whether you want to call it false consciousness or not, there are a whole lot of people who would benefit from socialism who are afraid of it. so i'm not interested in a question of ancestral guilt, i.e. whether "the same movement which muddied what socialism is or what it means should be in charge of anything having to do with" clarifying its meaning and normalizing it. i don't care about that not just because we aren't really the same social-democratic movement (DSA is not even the same organization it was a year ago in terms of both ideology and practice), it's not actually useful to dwell on that. DSA is the largest socialist organization in the US. whether you think we should be permitted to clarify the question, i think our reach and visibility makes it a positive obligation to do so. and "largest socialist organization in the US" is still really small, so frankly, we could get every other tiny left sect on board with our program and still not amount to much. it seems much more useful to dispel liberalism.

so i asked what you thought of DSA and i have a better idea of that now, but i am more confused about what you see as worth doing. if you think there's a better way to advance the cause of human liberation and end the system that will drown the earth if not stopped, i do want to hear about it. i respect your opinion.

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #16
I will say this, rednose. Fwiw everywhere I go to do an action or to organize, the DC DSA is there right next to us.

I am a Wob so given your hot take on revolutionary unionism that might not count for much but w/e. 

I am thinking about joining the DSA myself but I always forget to actually get around to doing it. Out here there is a decent overlap between the DSA and the IWW. I guess the major difference is the IWW has more blue collar types and the DSA has more white collar types but hey at least they're not Liberal White Collar Upper Class SURJ (which to be fair does do some decent work sometimes)

  • rednoise
  • Sludgey Southern Kitcheneer
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #17
ffuy: not really sure what answer I could give that would be acceptable. Communism isn't going to ride in on a wave of leftist parties trying to cajole legislatures to implement socdem reforms; nor will it come if you turn over all industry to democratic worker councils or what have you.

This all hinges, as I said before, on the activity of the working class itself. And right now, there is no working class movement to speak of that is taking an aim to be a class for itself. A lot of what's happening right now is specialized, but also focused on just making a 'better' version of capitalism. While that is nice, I suppose, none of it gets to the heart of the problem.

I don't know what is to be done, I don't have an answer or magical formula to get the working class together to trudge toward abolishing ourselves as a class. I just know that activism isn't going to do much of anything on that front. The DSA seems to be going through what SAlt was when I was being recruited by them; some event swells their membership rolls but slowly the mainstream adopts some version of their program and people start jumping back on board with the mainstream party.

The one thing I wish a lot of these organizations were, was correct on the matter of what socialism is and what it means. You say above that the DSA isn't content with a reformed capitalism, but what does that mean to y'all? What is the basis of your ideas beyond getting the socdem left on board with some more leftish ideas? Because opposing neoliberalism is a pretty easy position to take up. A lot of parties do on the international left. Same with supporting BDS.

So, I suppose I'd put a slightly modified version of your question to you: with the DSA, how do you think y'all are going to end this system?
"Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged Socialists than against anyone else"

-Engels

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #18
ftr, i wasn't expecting you to have a magic correct answer solution, i just wanted to know what you think is worthwhile. i get the impression that you don't think working in the DSA is (or maybe that's just the way it is right now), so i was curious. nothing i was saying was intended to be some kind of "well what are you doing about it, tough guy??" challenge. i probably got a little defensive and so some of that seeped through, but i don't pretend to have the answer either. i'm just doing what i can with what looks like the most vital socialist org right now.

with that in mind, it's a fair criticism that we don't have a well developed line on how to achieve socialism, or even one set view on what that would look like. it will depend largely on who you talk to because the organization is multi-tendency, but that itself represents a long term lack of a long-term plan everyone can work on. it's something i have been concerned about for a while, but have been too busy organizing/mobilizing (our chapter is v. new) to make time for. (and again, any statements about "too busy doing stuff irl to theory" aren't really meant to be a slight.) up to now all i have been trying to establish is that "social democrats who don't get the need to be rid of capitalism" isn't a correct characterization in my view. also we only in the last year shed that so maybe i'll ask for a bit of a grace period before we can develop something more refined than "actually anti-capitalism is good, and settling for patchwork reforms is not."

so some things i think we're doing that is worthwhile even without a well developed coherent line, by which i mean laying the groundwork:

1) normalizing socialism-as-anticapitalism. we're in a weird spot because bernie's made it easier to introduce yourself as a "democratic socialist" so that gets a foot in the door, but to avoid being some kind of entryist cult, it's necessary to very quickly emphasize that no, we're not berniecrats and do actually want to get rid of capitalism. normalizing that is important imv basically for the sake of recruitment.

2) emphasizing non-electoral politics. the point to us isn't just to run candidates, it's to develop the political power necessary to pressure whatever system exists to behave the way we want it to behave. i recognize a danger here of working for specific reforms and then losing momentum if we get them, but making the exercise of political power a part of a lifestyle is what i am hoping will get around that. i don't want the recent swell of political action by vaguely left-progressive-liberal people to subside just because republicans lose elections and so making politics about something other than elections matters to me.

(this is where i am going to finally come around to questioning the use of the word "party" to describe us because we are emphatically not a political party. i haven't said anything about it until now because you seemed to be using it generically to mean any kind of political organization, but when it comes to an orientation towards electoral politics, the distinction matters. the local SPUSA people are very interested in running candidates for office, and they are explicitly a political party by contrast. some DSA chapters are in some places, others just want to endorse if it seems like there is a promising candidate. our chapter is really far to the non-electoral end of the scale.)

3) related to the above, creating an alternative political culture. a lot of our effort goes into making the org the heart of a community that is worth being a part of in and of itself. i think that if we can get a lot of people to just want to keep doing politics with other like-minded people because it's personally and emotionally rewarding and you come to think of them as more than just protest pals, or iow to build camaraderie, then you've got a good basis for an organization that grows and withstands just winning a few electoral gains.

none of this is anything i think is sufficient to overthrow capitalism or whatever, but i don't know how i'd do it without stuff like this as preliminary steps. there are a whole lot of challenges to doing any of this effectively. for one thing, we all freely recognize that the org skews white and middle class. we don't want this to be a permanent state of affairs and partly as a corrective to getting into any of the kind of bullshit that groups of politically active white people tend to fall into, my chapter is emphasizing both support for organized labor and immigrant rights as critical projects. i recognize that this makes us currently ill-suited to be the beginning of "the working class as a class for itself" but i at least hope to be useful to that process. (semi-related side note, have you read "anatomy of the micro-sect"?)

also fwiw i'm not trying to recruit you to anything, but i do know there are a number of DSA people who've been trying to get a communist caucus going so i mean maybe they'd be fun to hang out with i dunno.

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #19
I am pretty much on board with this person named "the idea of Harambe" who I never met until I came to this board recently and who I do not know and who I have never met IRL.

It's why I threw in with the syndicalists. I think it's going to take baby steps to get anywhere, I don't see a mass workers movement rising up any time soon to change the current system. I also don't see the left getting their shit together long enough to mobilize such a movement anyway. How in the fuck does the left expect to mobilize working class people when they demonize working class people at the same time? Leftist discourse devolves into idpol bullshit about how it's wrong to say, "Donald Trump's haircut is dumb," because it's mean to people who can't speak, so you'd better get into your struggle session now, also the Maoists might murder you anyway even if you self-crit appropriately.

It's goddamn fucking ridiculous. Yeah we should be mindful of our words and we shouldn't be throwing out hate speech but the working class is going to talk like the working class.

anyway in conclusion I don't have the answer either, and I think the best thing to do is make the changes we can while being careful to not lose sight of the big goal.

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #20
disdain for working class people is something i see a lot more from liberals who have incorrectly identified working class whites as trump's base (and even to the extent that they voted for trump, the white part's doing a lot more heavy lifting than the working class part).

this is also why i love redneck revolt.

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #21
well, I don't see much of this in person.

I just get irrationally angry about leftbook

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #22
I get banned a lot too because my response to, "Hey, you need to self-crit or be banned, poly aro cishet men are the queerest of the LGBT," is, "Go fuck yourself."

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #23
What is 'aro'?

Re: Reds in America: a discussion
Reply #24
aromantic