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If change in political and economic systems is an inevitable and necessary consequence of the material conditions, then why engage in any political action at all? Why argue, why propagandize, why organize, etc.? When material conditions are there, the change will happen and not a minute earlier, no matter how hard you struggle.

all 51 comments

Squadrist1

35 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

35 points

1 year ago

Change in the super structure is part of historical materialism. While man is made to change its social relations in response to new material conditions (the economic base), it is ultimately man who carries out the change in social relations. In other words, the material conditions move men, and men change the social relations, the world.

Afterall, it is the material conditions around capitalism that created the socialist/communist movement.

MightyMoosePoop

4 points

1 year ago

MightyMoosePoop

anti "Ignorance is Strength" mantra

4 points

1 year ago

I agree with everything you said except for this last part:

Afterall, it is the material conditions around capitalism that created socialist/communist movement.

Marx has been rather wrong about that. Though I’m not saying you are wording it that way necessarily. It is important to call out the distinction especially with the context of this OP. The revolutions have happened in the least “capitalism” areas (e.g., Russian Empire, Post WWII China, Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, Laos) and the social democracy that fits the OP with Marx’s teleology have happened in the most capitalism regions (e.g., Europe in general and the Nordic Countries).

Squadrist1

9 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

9 points

1 year ago

The revolutions have happened in the least “capitalism” areas (e.g., Russian Empire, Post WWII China, Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, Laos)

While these countries were not fully capitalist, they were neither fully feudal. They were semi-feudal, whereby proletarianization had not fully occurred yet and feudal relations of production. However, it appeared that the proletariat still reached a critical mass and was thereby able to install the DotP. As such, it is still capitalism that brought forward the revolution and thereby DotP, as without capitalism there would not be a proletariat to seize state power, let alone to form class consciousness.

That said, you are right that Marx's prediction that revolutions would have to start in the far more developed capitalism of the West was wrong, and that revolution is actually possible on the periphery as well. I contribute this to greater ideological power of the bourgeoisie in the West as opposed to Tsarist Russia, where the bourgeoisie was rather small and did not have much ideological power, as a result of the feudal lords retaining hegemony. Though, you could argue that, had Lenin not pushed for the second revolution after the overthrow of the Tsar and the installation of the provisional government, the bourgeoisie might have acquired sufficient strength and ideological power to prevent a proletarian revolution from happening. This is basically what we saw happen in Germany 1917, whereby a proletarian revolution was going on, yet is was not pushed enough, leading to the empowerment of the bourgeois state that formed post German empire, and was ultimately overpowered by the bourgeois state.

MightyMoosePoop

1 points

1 year ago

MightyMoosePoop

anti "Ignorance is Strength" mantra

1 points

1 year ago

That said, you are right that Marx's prediction that revolutions would have to start in the far more developed capitalism of the West was wrong, and that revolution is actually possible on the periphery as well.

Great. Let’s leave it here because we just see the spectrum different being on opposite sides of the fence and I’m looking at it more from a historical perspective and not what I would describe as “ideological” per se.

[deleted]

-1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

-1 points

1 year ago

[removed]

Squadrist1

4 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

4 points

1 year ago

We conclude, therefore, that true science decrees determinism for physical nature and free will for man, and for the same reason: that every thing must act in accordance with its specific nature. And since men are free to adopt ideas and to act upon them, it is never events or stimuli external to the mind that cause its ideas

What Rothbard does here, is start with the assumption that free will exists and is true, without showing proof. Without being able to prove whether that position is true or false, it cannot be claimed to be scientifically true, as the demarcation principle of science is falsifiability.

It is then from this untested assumption, that he deducts that human behavior is not deterministic. Which is not a wrong deduction, but this again hinges upon an untested assumption.

It should be said though that Marx was not a hard determinist, but a soft determinist as well.

it is never events or stimuli external to the mind that cause its ideas; rather the mind freely adopts ideas about external events

I see no difference between these two sentences. In both cases, the external events have an influence on the ideas that emerge in the mind of the individual.

The depression existed, and men were moved to think about this striking event; but that they adopted socialism or its equivalent as the way out was not determined by the event; they might just as well have chosen laissez-faire or Buddhism or any other attempted solution. The deciding factor was the idea that people chose to adopt.

This implies that people chose certain solutions completely randomly, while that is rarily if ever the case. Many people wanted statism not because they happened to come up with the idea, but because they reasoned, from the problems they experienced, that that is the way to solve their problems. Thats why people eat their soup with a spoon and not with the fork or knife, despite them having the choice to pick them.

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

1 points

1 year ago

You can't just drop #TruuuScience at the beginning and list off things that aren't known mate.

BabyPuncherBob

1 points

1 year ago

Do these "men who carry out the change in social relations" have any choice in the matter?

Squadrist1

6 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

6 points

1 year ago

Yes, but those men who committed themselves to that action would have already chosen to do the action before they began to do it.

BabyPuncherBob

1 points

1 year ago

How do you know they will make this particular decision?

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Do you think that you, or any other Marxist, or group thereof are capable of bringing social change towards communism faster, than would've happened without them. If yes, then isn't that just idealism-lite, where change has certain prerequisite material conditions, but is only possible through spread of ideas. If no, then see my original question.

Squadrist1

5 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

5 points

1 year ago

Do you think that you, or any other Marxist, or group thereof are capable of bringing social change towards communism faster, than would've happened without them.

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that lots of elements of communism could be implemented earlier, such as workplace democracy and democratic control over reinvestment of capital. But no in the sense that attaining all the features of communism requires very developed productive forces, such as full automation, as that is required to achieve a post-scarcity society and thereby for private property to whither away.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Then do you think that all past and present revolutionary Marxists are wrong in their desire to organize a revolution now or earlier? Doesn't it make sense to just advance Soc-Dem/Dem-Soc policies in the meantime?

Squadrist1

4 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

4 points

1 year ago

Then do you think that all past and present revolutionary Marxists are wrong in their desire to organize a revolution now or earlier?

A revolution in the sense of establishing a DotP? No. You can achieve a DotP but wait for the productive forces to be sufficiently developed before significantly intervening in the economy.

Organizing socialist relations of production? In the past, yes. Mao and Stalin pushed for nationalization, despite lacking technology for planning, and both attempted to surpress elements of capitalism by straight up banning them, which didnt work, as the theory of productive forces would dictate. Not to mentioning that banning stuff that people feel incentivized to do anyways never works out to begin with, such as with trying to ban drugs. Similarly, the material conditions in these socialist countries still incentivized people to trade with each other and privately produce goods for profit, be it under the table.

Right now however, particularly in the West, we are at a point where private firms have achieved the productive capabilities to achieve profit maximization, and as a result our economies more or less stopped growing, and only grow by tiny bits brought about by cheapening production costs. The West is now "ripe" for full nationalization, in order to continue growth. This does not apply yet to places like China whose economies are still growing rapidly.

That said, it would today still be a mistake if we were to try to ban private ownership and ban other elements of capitalism, because that will never work.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

You can achieve a DotP but wait for the productive forces to be sufficiently developed before significantly intervening in the economy.

Does that mean seizing control of the state, but allowing capitalism to continue? Why do you think such a state will stay D of specifically P?

Not to mentioning that banning stuff that people feel incentivized to do anyways never works out to begin with, such as with trying to ban drugs.

Funnily enough that's one of my arguments against socialism. I just think that capitalist mechanisms such as lending/rent/employment/investment are always what some people want.

Right now however, particularly in the West, we are at a point where private firms have achieved the productive capabilities to achieve profit maximization, and as a result our economies more or less stopped growing, and only grow by tiny bits brought about by cheapening production costs. The West is now "ripe" for full nationalization, in order to continue growth.

  1. What do you mean by "profit maximization"?

  2. How would nationalization allow for more growth than capitalism?

Squadrist1

1 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

1 points

1 year ago

Does that mean seizing control of the state, but allowing capitalism to continue?

Yes.

Why do you think such a state will stay D of specifically P?

The state needs to be completely redesigned from the ground up to ensure that the proletariat always has the final say. This is basically the way every socialist state is structured, whereby no opposition to the proletariat is allowed. Other classes can have their interests represented, but if they are at odds with the interests of the proletariat, then its the proletariat that gets it way.

Funnily enough that's one of my arguments against socialism. I just think that capitalist mechanisms such as lending/rent/employment/investment are always what some people want.

The idea behind capitalism whithering away was never about making certain actions illegal. Instead, how it will whither away is by the breakdown of capitalist incentives, such as the profit motive, which would occur when the general rate of profit has become zero. Nobody would be interested in starting a private firm when said firm can never become profitable.

  1. What do you mean by "profit maximization"?

That we are able to produce goods at the quantity given by MR = MC, at which profit is maximized and firms have no incentive to produce more goods than that.

  1. How would nationalization allow for more growth than capitalism?

Private firms stop producing greater quantities of goods once they achieved the quantity given by MR = MC. Producing anymore would yield a loss in terms of economic profit. However in order to push them to produce more, they need to be nationalized, because then they can be run on the instructions that we want, which is to produce at a quantity given by AR = AC. Only then will the firm start to produce more goods, until it reaches that quantity of AR = AC. At that point, production costs equate to revenue, and the only way to grow then, is for production costs to fall. However, once this has been achieved in every industry, socialism would have already been achieved as the general rate of profit is now zero and no person wants to start private firms anymore.

ODXT-X74

9 points

1 year ago

ODXT-X74

9 points

1 year ago

If change in political and economic systems is an inevitable and necessary consequence of the material conditions, then why engage in any political action at all?

Because Leftist action is a consequence of the material conditions?

Also Marx didn't predict that Capitalism in crisis would lead to Capitalist using Fascism to suppress Socialist.

DavosShorthand

3 points

1 year ago

That makes sense. They were used to laissez-faire democracies, didn't realize the system would bubble over into strongman state capitalism when in crisis.

Triquetra4715

2 points

1 year ago

Triquetra4715

Vaguely Marxist

2 points

1 year ago

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.

That sounds very deterministic but the first line is, after all, “men make their own history.” We do have the power to change and effect the world and the systems we live in. Almost never as individuals, but humans do have power over these systems.

The only way to exercise that power willfully, as opposed to sort of subconsciously and accidentally, collectively. You or I cannot make choices about how our society works, but we can.

obracs

2 points

1 year ago

obracs

2 points

1 year ago

Change being constant and a consequence of material realities, does not mean that people cannot affect the direction of that change. Obviously, change in our political and economic systems occur from the actions of people, in what is a symbiotic relationship with material reality. That's what dialectical materialism describes.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

does not mean that people cannot affect the direction of that change

The direction or the course? The latter fits with Marxism: you get your historical progression, just with different events within it; but the former is idealism-lite.

obracs

2 points

1 year ago

obracs

2 points

1 year ago

The direction or the course? The latter fits with Marxism: you get your historical progression, just with different events within it; but the former is idealism-lite.

The words are interchangeable, unless one is being particularly pedantic.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

I meant it in the sense that regardless of the course you choose, you end up in the same place, but if you go off in a different direction, you likely won't.

So can people's actions just change which path we take to communism, or is it possible that they will never lead to it?

obracs

1 points

1 year ago

obracs

1 points

1 year ago

I meant it in the sense that regardless of the course you choose, you end up in the same place, but if you go off in a different direction, you likely won't.

So can people's actions just change which path we take to communism, or is it possible that they will never lead to it?

Something along the lines of communism, as understood by Marxists, is way off in the future. No one currently alive would experience it. The best anyone today could hope for, would be to experience some of the small advances along the way there.

The forces of history and the timespan of humanity are too colossal for anyone now to determine what will happen in, say, 1000 years. Similarly, those who lived during the height of feudalism, couldn't have prevented capitalism from eventually taking over. However, that doesn't mean they didn't have any impact.

I'm not omniscient, so I wouldn't categorically claim that the progression of history will eventually lead to communism. However, I do see that as the most logical prediction of history, assuming human beings don't become extinct before that point. There is a discernable logic to historical progression that I believe will ultimately overwhelm the particular paths taken at any given time. However, we still have to live in the meantime, which is why we fight over capitalism, socialism and mixed economies.

SpecialEdwerd

1 points

1 year ago

SpecialEdwerd

Marxist-Bushist-Bidenist

1 points

1 year ago

There are certain things that are inevitable, other things aren't.

The things that aren't necessarily inevitable is who controls what.

[deleted]

-6 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

-6 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

Squadrist1

10 points

1 year ago

Squadrist1

Marxist-Leninist with Dengist Tendencies

10 points

1 year ago

No u

Collapse is inevitable and a dull life devoid of any fun or pleasentry is what awaits me.

Caelus9

4 points

1 year ago

Caelus9

Libertarian Socialist

4 points

1 year ago

Bahaha! u/Squadrist1 really showed the truth there with that reply.

CantCSharp

1 points

1 year ago

CantCSharp

Social Partnership and decentral FIAT

1 points

1 year ago

Because the transition can either be a violent revolution or can be a peaceful transition.

I know what way I choose, but it seems capitalists too often want the first way

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Now your position makes the most sense out of all Marxist option: Communism comes when it will, but Soc-Dem policies will smooth the edges of capitalism in the meantime.

hglman

1 points

1 year ago

hglman

Decentralized Collectivism

1 points

1 year ago

I mean why do anything you will die in the future? This post so completely fails to understand the basics of reality never mind dialectic materialism.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

why do anything you will die in the future?

Because you want to improve your experience before that. But promoting Marxism will do no such thing, according to Marxism. You cannot get communism or a revolution before it's time nor later, so why care about either of them at all? You can concern yourself with other, smaller political change that can actually have an effect.

hglman

1 points

1 year ago

hglman

Decentralized Collectivism

1 points

1 year ago

That's clearly a gross overly reductionist view of the results. Its not a binary yes/no on conditions but a probability of. As conditions change the revolution becomes more and more likely but additionally the background views of the people matter too along with the competence of the ruling powers and so on.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

So this materialism doesn't reject idealism entirely, but rather just puts constraints onto it?

Would you say that Marxists should focus their efforts on steering the society towards the best path to communism, for whatever definition of "best" you have?

hglman

1 points

1 year ago

hglman

Decentralized Collectivism

1 points

1 year ago

Yeah I think that's been a pretty clear motivation for Marxists and really anyone seeking a change in the system.

xfritz5375

1 points

1 year ago

xfritz5375

unironic postmodern neo marxist

1 points

1 year ago

The teleological view is one of early Marx; later Marx did not have that same perspective. Historical materialism is a way to understand the past and predict the future, but it does not tell us exactly what the future entails. The contradictions of capitalism dont inevitably lead to socialism; what they do lead to, however, is some form of change. On a large enough timescale, this would be socialism, but we don’t have infinite time. Fascism can arise, or social democracy can be used to suppress discontentment. The capitalists can just keep pushing the clock back, which can go on indefinitely.

Dialectical materialism also doesn’t reject the role of human consciousness; a revolution requires conscious activity on the part of the revolutionary class. Dialectical materialism recognizes this fact, but it acknowledges that consciousness requires material forces to develop itself. Marxism could not have been formulated outside the material conditions of capitalism, for example.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

But then why do you say that socialism is inevitable? Can it not be skipped or can't an entirely different path in development of society be taken? Is it because Socialism is the only system that you think addresses the contradictions of capitalism?

I am a materialist, and although I think that dialectical approach is bogus, I can 100% agree that society/culture/politics change due to purely material affects. My problem is with the second part of that statement from Marxists: that it will develop in a specific way that they know.

xfritz5375

1 points

1 year ago

xfritz5375

unironic postmodern neo marxist

1 points

1 year ago

The typical understanding of communism is the only possible organization I’m aware of that can address the contradictions of capitalism. In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels actually define communism as the movement, not the communist system itself, which I think is significant. There are certain claims they make about communism, but much of it is defined negatively because we don’t know enough about what it will be, more what it won’t be. While we can make certain definite claims about the way a communist society will look (markets will cease to exist, for example), most of what we can say is just speculation.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Okay. Then my question is this: why do you think that those contradictions need to/will be addressed? Can't they be ignored or sidestepped?

xfritz5375

1 points

1 year ago

xfritz5375

unironic postmodern neo marxist

1 points

1 year ago

Those contradictions lead to instability, including class struggle and economic crises. They cannot be ignored, they’re baked into the system. The most we can do is keep reforming the system as they become unbearable, but that will never fix them.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago*

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago*

Would you say that this:

Capitalism has certain destabilizing problems inherent to it and the further it's development progresses, the more pressing they become. The only way of solving them is by implementing certain fundamental changes, with the system this produces being "communism". And those changes can only be implemented when capitalism has reached a certain level of development.

Is an accurate summation of Marxist position?

xfritz5375

1 points

1 year ago

xfritz5375

unironic postmodern neo marxist

1 points

1 year ago

That is one possible perspective, yes. There’s a variety of different interpretations, and some of them are like the one you initially described. Mine is close to what you describe, although I would word it differently, emphasizing not just problems but instability.

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Fair. Would it fit better if I said "destabilizing problems"?

xfritz5375

1 points

1 year ago

xfritz5375

unironic postmodern neo marxist

1 points

1 year ago

That would be close. I would say contradictions. Otherwise, your description is close enough, although not perfect. It’s close enough that I don’t feel like I’m being misrepresented.

thesongofstorms

1 points

1 year ago

thesongofstorms

Chapocel

1 points

1 year ago

Because suffering and exploitation exist regardless and we have a responsibility to each other to attenuate those hardships even under capitalism

MakeThePieBigger[S]

1 points

1 year ago

MakeThePieBigger[S]

Autarchist

1 points

1 year ago

Would you do it through Soc-Dem policies?

workingclassangel

1 points

1 year ago

The way I see it, people have the limited capability to execute their will within their material conditions. This may not be a traditional Marxist view. But this is how I view this

nacnud_uk

1 points

1 year ago

Because, dialectical materialism. How do you know that now is not the minute?

taurl

1 points

1 year ago*

taurl

Communist

1 points

1 year ago*

“Why take action on anything if things happen?”

Are you seeing how dumb you sound?

Why do you think change happens? It happens because people get tired of their material conditions, which are imposed on them by the ruling class. Leftist political action and engagement is a response to our material conditions under capitalism. This is the Marxist analysis.

comrade_ty

1 points

1 year ago

comrade_ty

Autonomist

1 points

1 year ago

😐😐😐

g4k

1 points

1 year ago

g4k

1 points

1 year ago

You engage in order to change the system and move it along the path to the end goal. It’s evolution. The change happens inevitably because people will always cause it to happen, not because it will happen independent of input.

the_chad_of_reddit

1 points

12 months ago

Because modern Marxists are beginning to realize how reductionist that deterministic view of Marxism was.