Would a Communist USA succeed?

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The Marxist
Would a Communist USA succeed?
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I know I've posted a ton on this forum, but I'm very  interested in politics and what not, so here it goes.

 

People always talk about how communism automatically fails(everyone I know does at least) each and every time and that in communist nations, everyone is poor(which is true thus far). Karl Marx on the other hand would point out how the only way for communism to truly succeed is for an advanced nation to become communist, in his day Germany or Britain, to name a few.

 

If America were to go communist, wouldn't we all be better off? I don't think the emmense resources at our disposial and the American people in general would allow us to become poor(I don't know how we could even under communism) Woulnd't the fall of capitalism in America pressure everyone else to join the band wagon?

In my opinion several things could/would happen. a Cuba with a pro-communist US government to the north, one which lifted its 40 year embargo, would greatly improve the everyday Cuban's lot in life. China would continue to trade with us and possiably we could work out some sort of mutual benificial alliance.

North Korea, for all of the "greatness" that it has "achieved", may as well fall apart or, if America wills it, be allowed to annex south Korea after we withdraw troops from the capitalist nation.

America's belief in democracy would help lead to true democratic Communism, while this would pressure the current autocratic communist regimes to become free also

West Europe would be hurt financially, and possiably people would began to hail capitalism as dead completely, with maybe a few European/world nations holding on to capitalism by a bare thread. the EU might go red, so to speak.

 

What do you think the world/America would be like if the USA became communist?

 

Alf
I don't think the question os

I don't think the question is posed properly. A country as such cannot become 'communist'; communism can only be the product of an international revolution which breaks down national borders. Even if a proletarian revolution began in the USA - which is not at all the most likely scenarion given the particular history of American capitalism and the American working class - it could only survive by spreading to other regions of the world. Of course, wherever a world revolution began, if the US working class didn't then overthrow the US bourgeoisie, the latter would be the main force in crushing revolutions anywhere, so revolution in the US would be absolutely decisive.

Regarding Cuba, North Korea, etc, these have nothing to do with communism.   

mikail firtinaci
why USA

"Even if a proletarian revolution began in the USA - which is not at all the most likely scenarion given the particular history of American capitalism and the American working class -

 

This is a bit off topic in this discussion sorry. justasking out of curiousity: Alf, why did you made that comment on US? Why it is not at all most likely that revolution start in us?

The Marxist
Well, I guess N. Korea,

Well, I guess N. Korea, Vietnam, China, etc. technically declared themselves <i>socialist states<i>, as did the Soviet Union(as the goal was to achieve a truly classless society, which never came to fruitation, esp. in the former USSR) so I agree with you, Alf.

 

If you see it highly unlikly that communism/inbetween period-socialism could arise in the US, then where do you see it more likly occuring? I guess for Communism to gain any momentum here, The Great Depression would have to have a second run(ie when Leon Trotsky wrote his 1934 article on this exact subject)

Trotsky, I think makes a good point: Unlike the backwards Russia of his time, the US had/still has advanced industry, high levels of education, and a high level of working class/intelligent population levels(helps that we don't have illiterate peasants, eh?). If we had a revolution(I hope it will be peaceful like in Egypt), we could gear the immense resources of this nation towards the eventual goal of spreading socialism, and ultimately Our belief in democratic freedom, so to speak, would be enshrined in our new socialist government.

Democracy will not die in this nation and the American proletarit could redefine communism. Communism would cease to be thought of as "totalitarian", "autocratic", and "that ideology/economic system where everyone is either a poor farmer or a poor urban citizen"

the American people would usher in a golden age and capitalism would be erased forever. A new slate for the human race.

Ya, I'm an idealist. Woulnd't that be grand if the first true democratic socialist state sprang to live from a "dead" ideology?

 

jk1921
Who was it that said, "The

Who was it that said, "The American working-class is in China"?

Well, not exactly, but the American working-class faces many historical, sociological and political challenges in terms of developing its struggle that do not impact the European working-class to the same extent: the strong history of racism and ethnic tensions, the federal nature of the U.S. state, until recently a relatively high standard of living (which is in the process of being turned on its head, constituting a terrible shock that the working-class is finding it difficult to come to terms with), an historical tradition based on acquisitve individualism, an alternate historical tradition based on right-wing populism, the nature of military-Keynesianism in what remains the world's only super-power, etc. This list is of course not exhaustive.

While the revolution may not start in the U.S.. its clear that a world revolution won't be sucsessful unless it spreads there--probably realtively quickly. The American working-class may face particular difficulties developing its struggle, but this doesn't mean that the situation is hopeless. The self-initiative shown by many workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere recently--particularly among the younger generation--have been promising even if they have ultimately ended--for now--in a defense of unionism.

 

 

Alf
 Mikail - I don't think your

 Mikail - I don't think your question is off topic. We produced this a long time ago:https://en.internationalism.org/node/2962 - the critique of the theory of the weakest link, mainly to argue that the most likely starting point of a world revolution is western Europe, beause of the (relative) strength of the revolutionary traditions there and the concentration of the proletariat. It was mainly directed against ideas that the workers of the 'third world', being the most downtrodden, are automatically the most revolutionary; but it also points to the fact that the workers of the US, as JK points out, face especially huge ideological obstacles to developing a communist perspective.  Of course I agree completely that revolution would have little chance of spreading if the American working class didn't join it quickly. or at least act to prevent their own ruling class from crushing it.

Schalken, I agree that states like China, Cuba and the rest used a very distorted form of marxism as an ideology of 'modernisation'. Where we differ from some in the revolutionary movement (eg councilists and Bordigists) is that we don't see this modernisation as having any progressive content (in capitalist terms). In short, Stalinist state capitalism is a clear expression of capitalism in historical decline.

 

Not sure who you are referring to as 'teenage revolutionaries'. In my case, I'd have to say 'if only'!   

The Marxist
As a matter of fact, I am a

As a matter of fact, I am a "teenage revolutionary" and proud of it! I don't think that makes me any more less commited to the cause. My folks don't take me seriously though, insisting that communism has failed, saying stuff like "but isn't communism that ideology that is oppressive", "I;'ve never read the communist manifesto but...didn't Marx advocate a dicatorship of the proletariat?" "Go move to a poor nation like Cuba, and you'll how communism has failed, etc" in a joking way, but when I have had serious discussions its more or less full of cold war era propaganda/fearmongering/denial that I believe in communism in their counter arguments, saying things like how I can you agree with an oppressive system, it seems everyone whos been under communist rule is poor/oppressed, etc. It pisses me off so much, surely many of you can understand from where I coming from, right?

 

Not to hijack this discussion, but anyone had similar expeirences in there youth, being told that their beliefs are rediculous, etc?

jk1921
Was that like the shellacking

Was that like the shellacking Obama took in November? :)

All who honestly wish to discuss are welcome to post here, but yes it would be a good idea to spend some time reading some basic texts to get an idea where the ICC is coming from, the difference between left communism and Stalinism, etc.

If you don't like being told your ideas are ridiculous, you don't have to talk about them with people who think they are ridiculous. Its probably not a great idea to try to be a "practising Marxist" in your college courses either, unless you have a very strong backbone and are ready to accept the consequences. You are unlikely to "convert" your folks, friends, classmates, professors, etc. to Marxism by debating them. Ideas often need material, social, impetus to gain cuurency. For now, only a small minority are amenable to revolutionary politics and Marxist ideas. That's why it is vitally important for those searching for political answers to discuss with one another in order to develop their ideas, confront reality and strengthen their analysis of capitalism and the class struggle.

Red Hughs
To "the Marxist"  I was

To "the Marxist" 

I was anarchist in my youth rather than a communist but I certainly had the experience of being told my beliefs were ridiculous.

Even more, I grew up in the 1970's and there were "survivors" of the 1960's who would tell me, with a straight face, that they had "seen revolution" and that it had failed! (I believe the average experience of those speaking consisted of going to several out-door rock concerts).

So, the main advice I would give you is to take a close look at the way people around you live.

Despite being considerably older than you, the chances are a lot of them have never seriously considered the conditions of their own daily life. They are merely given you arguments people gave them. They probably have no real idea what life is like in Cuba or what the history of any of these countries is or, well, anything beyond their immediate concerns (well, that's what I notice, your mileage may vary...).

So I'd suggest you do better than that. Don't except "received ideas" but question all the categories that supposedly make up the world. What is communism? Obviously, I am somewhat sympathetic to the ICC's conception. But you should research the matter and come to your own conclusions.

Good Luck!

 

 

 

The Marxist
I consider myself a

I consider myself a Marxist-Leninist and have been studying Lenin's many books/life extensively. Very interesting history for the man behind the USSR(right now I'm reading Left Communism: An Infantile Disorder, and next I'll read Karl Marx, also by Lenin)

 

I strongly believe that for any revolution to be successful and have organization a vanguard party must be present. I also strongly agree with worker's democracy, soviet-style councils, and freedom(Does that make me a hypocrite, believing in a vangaurd party and all? no/yes?)

Lenin was a brilient revolutionary who if it wernt for him Russia would be very backwards and much worse of even today. I can only imagine a Russia still under a Tsarist system(maybe by 2011 it would've converted to a constitional monarchy?)

To be honest, I've never been drawn to anarchism(maybe it just carries to much negative connonatations). I mean how could it even work(it only seems popular to youth I think because of its anti-state and idealistic nature), truth is a revolution nees organization and a strong political party and people's military to succeed.

 

 

A.Simpleton
I consider myself...reply to 'The Marxist '

I think the friendly advice from Red Hughs and the stricter but important corrections from Schandler DN are helpful .

You write :

'I consider myself a Marxist -Leninist'  :

....fine...these terms do mean something and are most necessary to distill many positions and theories in a simple word but they can be sloppily used , emptily used , over-used to the point of meaninglessness or - obviously - as DN points out obscenely mis-used .

I consider myself to have a Marxist view of history , political economy , the world and adhere to his assertion that this dog-eat-dog world does not have to be the final form of human society : in fact it cannot be .

So quicker to say : I'm a Marxist ......but 'The Marxist ' next to me might not mean the same things at all

I would add that in 40 years I have not found an organisation which is more clear , resolved and yet capable of movement than the ICC but I am just a 'sympathiser' and sometime subscriber

******

RE : your other points ...(....'is it hypocritical to ....a revolution needs' ....)

There seems to be confusion and conflation here :

Never mind about :' a revolution needs a strong party and people's military '...that may well be part of the post revolutionary process ......but

You are pre-supposing the revolution ! Cart before the horse  {That's what comes from reading Lenin before Marx and Engels @.}

Get some Marx under your belt : understanding where from and why the world has arrived where it is and the way it is : the history of the Class Struggle and how we can help with theoretical advancement and generalisation and intervention in the workers' struggles towards the revolutionary event . Once international workers' councils are in place then they will decide how best to 'defend' their revolution .

If I remember my precepts correctly The ICC's stance is not to 'organise ' the workers or take power 'on behalf ' of the workers.  

****** 

Excuse if I am misunderstanding you , but it sounds rather like you are thinking :

Get a Vanguard Party together : get a People's Army and 'make the revolution' :

Not just the wrong way round but dangerously counter-revolutionary : any one who calls for an 'anti-fascist' front or 'national liberation' even 'anti-capitalism' is derailing the workers movement .

******

Sorry to sound like a 'lecture' and drone on but it helps to clarify things in my mind as well .

 

 

The Marxist
thanks for the helpful

thanks for the helpful advice. I guess I'm way to eager right now in my youth. I have read the manifesto but not much of Engels(Mostly Marx and Lenin)

A.Simpleton
P.S.:to 'The Marxist'

I realise that this is not a 'social network' so this will probably be the end .

Re-reading many of the comments on your 'string' about your obvious interest in the communist movement I offer a couple of points about my first encounter .

*I stumbled around in vaious texts where Marx took issue with unknown opponents and references to historical events utterly unknown to me  : names that meant nothing to me : Hegel : Feuerbach : Bauer : Moleschott ....'The February Revolution : The March this that or the other and I thought : oh dear do I have to know all this before I even start ?    

* Also a lot of terminology that was obscure : objectification : 'species-being' ( Gattungswesen ) is still difficult to translate into a form I truly can understand.

Now I realise that although of course history and detail inform : there's plenty of rather turgid academic bickering in Marx which - quite frankly - is unimportant especially at the start .

*****

*Then I happened to find in 'Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844' : first manuscript Chapter  XXII 'Estranged Labour '

I actually walked into a lampost reading it : and just 3 or 4 pages read , re-read : began to change my whole perception : it 'fitted' indisputably with what I saw around me and what was ahead of me in life : and it explained it so simply .

So a little goes a long way : as another contributor said ' measure it up to events , de cide for yourself .You may have had this moment already or may find it elsewhere : or have a completely different experience : 

Was it not Lenin himself who said :

'A book is just a man speaking in public'