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Any Marxists Here?

Discussion in 'Socialist Only' started by Debater Slayer, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Note: This is the Socialist Only section.

    I'm curious whether any of the socialists on RF identify with Marxism or incorporate elements from it into their worldview.

    Personally, I've encountered some Marxist ideas that I find highly reasonable and useful, but I'm not deeply familiar with Marxism and consequently don't identify as a Marxist. I definitely think Marxism in general has too often been misrepresented in different media as a bogeyman and as synonymous with Stalinism and other oppressive ideologies, though.
     
  2. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I don't really identify as "Marxist" either, although I would concede that many of my political and economic views would put me in the same general vicinity on the political spectrum.

    Historically, Marx may have had an influence on multiple countries, although different political factions seemed to have different reactions to the overall problems which Marx outlined. In the Western democracies, the growth of labor movements led to more reform-minded governments which brought about incremental changes. However, in the less democratic countries characterized by aristocratic rule by the wealthy, they used more draconian measures against liberal reformers, labor leaders, and others who advocated more peaceful changes. Thus, the only remaining voices of dissent came from underground and more revolutionary factions ensued.

    Revolutionary movements may have nudged the effete Western aristocracies to move towards more liberal reforms, and that may have made the bourgeois capitalists appear more benign and benevolent, making many of Marx's ideas somewhat irrelevant in the West (at least in many people's eyes). They may have figured that sharing some of the wealth was a better plan than stubbornly digging in and risk losing all of it (as what happened to the Russian aristocracy after 1917).

    Of course, a lot has happened in the intervening years, with two world wars, cold war, end of European colonialism, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union - all of this puts a different perspective on Marxism and socialism in general. China and Russia seem to be heading in a more nationalistic direction these days, while America's direction seems unclear or in a state of flux. We could go either way at this point. The countries of Europe also seem unsure of which direction to go, although there are a few which also appear to be embracing nationalism more readily.

    However, I think Marxists and other socialists of today might be concerned about the direction global capitalism is taking and might look at it more on a global level. There are also valid concerns about the weakening of the labor movement and the decline of labor unions. Strong resistance from big business prevents any kind of reform in the sectors of healthcare or housing.

    There appears to be strong indication that the capitalists of today are far less cooperative and amenable to economic reforms than they might have been 50-75 years ago. By going against unions, pushing for deregulation, and removal of trade barriers to allow outsourcing, there was a certain tone of bitterness and scorn towards the common people. In the past several decades, we've seen mostly economic stagnation, along with a slow squeeze on the middle class as the ruling class continues to tighten the screws.

    This may be why there could be a resurgence in socialism, along with perhaps an updated version of Marxism looking at the world as it is today, both in the developed and the developing world.

    If the capitalists had merely gone along with the Keynesian system which led to the greatest period of economic boom in history, then none of them would have to worry about all those pesky socialists today. America had a good thing going, but for whatever reason, Reagan and his ilk didn't like Keynes and instead became enamored with the "trickle down theory." It wasn't for any particular practical reason, as we were still a capitalist society with a free market. They were just upset that the rich weren't rich enough and that the poor weren't poor enough. It somehow offended their sensibilities, so that's why they shifted America's economic system to the **** show we have now.
     
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  3. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member
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    For me a Marxist analysis is vital to understanding the world but Marxism is a no go.

    There is genuine class antagonism and it does seem to be a driving force in the evolution of social relations but to reduce all of modern history to a clash between two social classes is, for me, oversimplifying the matter. If you've ever attended a meeting of a socialist party where Marxists are present you'll have heard the absolutely mental contortions people go through trying to tie everything to the power capitalists wield over the working class.

    Also I don't think it's entirely coincidental that everytime people try to implement a Marxist system it ends catastrophically.
     
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  4. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    I've talked to a few Marxists extensively, and when I asked about this specific idea of class struggle, the most common answer they gave me was that "class struggle" included material conditions such as education, upbringing, etc., and not just economic class. In that context, it seems logical that all clashes in modern history were a result of class struggle--struggle related to such material conditions.

    I've also talked to Marxists-Leninists whose beliefs I found extremist and quite harmful, though. I think the zeal of supposedly standing up for the rights of the working class leads some people to take Marxism to a destructive extreme. This happens with a lot of other ideologies, of course, but it's especially pernicious when it happens with powerful people such as Lenin and Mao.

    What do you think causes attempts to implement Marxism to end catastrophically? And can't we say the same thing about implementations of capitalism?
     
    #4 Debater Slayer, Sep 20, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  5. Eddi

    Eddi Eddifying

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    I think I'm something of a Marxist :D
     
  6. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member
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    I would agree.

    Ok. What do we mean by clashes?

    In fairness, most of the Marxists I've encountered haven't been fans of the Soviet Union or China and were really good people but aye you do find the odd nutter. That's not something I would say is unique to Marxists or Marxism.

    I'm not confident I know the answer.

    Being carried to power by a violent revolution and throwing out the rule book regarding how a society is structured and stratified is going to be a messy situation no matter who the people in charge are. So some of the damage is probably an inevitability by the nature of the project.
     
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