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My brief exchange with Matt, a young pro-communist-progressive. The telling highlights are as follows:
AJ: As far as the greatest threats to free speech go, Christians are way behind commie-progressives and Islam. Also, we are much more honest when we do engage……
Matt: That is a rather silly and meaningless generalization.
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Your article seemed to suggest something which was rather antithetical to free speech, namely, the notion that criticism of religion or religious beliefs should be treated as religious persecution.
I hope for everyone’s sake that this is never the case, but especially yours, because it seems rather unlikely to me that your particular brand of religion will ever be in a place of political power.
If that was your thesis, then it is simply rampant speculation and fearmongering which, oddly enough, turned into an argument in favor of exactly what it set out to oppose.
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There’s absolutely no grounds for your argument from a legal standpoint.
You deem the president a communist. What effect does that have on his free speech? The answer: 0.
AJ: Since when do the people running our country care about the law? They are above it…. That is communism!
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Matt: Clearly you’re also completely ignorant on the history of communism and what it means.
AJ: Do you know Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals? How Commies stifle, manipulate, and control info (and public opinion)….
Matt: As a self-identified communist, I have never read “Alinsky” nor do I know anyone who has. So far as I can tell he’s something of an overblown and made up boogie-man.
AJ: What do you believe communism is? And why do you find it appealing?
Matt: Communism is a socio-economic system whose foundation rests in the abolition of private property. I find it appealing because I believe it produces the most moral and free society possible. But my finding it appealing rather pales in comparison to my belief that it is necessarily and functionally inevitable for human society.
AJ: OK, well, if the people agree on such a system that’s fine, but there’s only one way that happens here….. Regardless, what countries do you feel are a good prototype for what you are recommending?
Matt: There are no countries which are a good prototype for communism. As Marx made abundantly clear, such an economic system is incompatible with the conditions which give rise to nation states.
AJ: So nations must fall before communism takes root?
Also, how old are you ? I reckon there’s lots of young people who believe similar as you…..
Matt: I’m 30, I’ve identified as a communist for about a decade.
With respect to that article, there is absolutely nothing new or unique that I’ve seen about the Ferguson protests with respect to communist activity. Communists have played a prominent role in many large protests and demonstrations. Along with anarchists, I think we tend to make up the most visible of anti-war, anti-corporate, and anti-state force protest participants.
Although I don’t get to too many protests/demonstrations these days, I’ve carried the red and black with “No war but class war” in a number of them between 2005 and 2010.
The article seems like rather hyped fearmongering. The media mentions the word “communist,” and a certain section of our country gets very paranoid. It’s rather strange since, historically, the U.S. government has kept such a tight lid on communist movements.
AJ: I think this is the closest America has come to not only having a pro-communism admin, but also the youth embracing Marxist ideology, whether consciously or no…….
Matt: Obama is not even remotely a communist. I wouldn’t even consider him left on liberal issues. Like any politician, he plays to his base when he needs to, but overall he’s been extremely moderate.
Most communist programs focus on worker’s democracy and localized administration, not highly centralized state organs. Most nations which have been called “communist” follow some form of that (democratic centralism), in my opinion, to the detriment of workers.
The key is to understand the difference and distinction of the political state vs. economic administration. If you’re interested in getting an idea of how that can play out, I’d definitely suggest looking into the Paris Commune, and Catalonia/Spain during the Spanish Civil War, which you can also get a first hand account of from George Orwell in his book Homage to Catalonia since he joined the fight with the Party of Marxist Unification (which itself was staunchly opposed to the United Front and Soviet state intervention).
No one’s ideology or belief system must reign supreme in a communist society. People, as with any modern and progressive society, would have rights to free speech, religion, etc. Communism is predicated on particular economic and material (not ideological) conditions.
The Marxist contribution to political philosophy is in recognizing the connection between the two throughout various stages of history and creating a theoretical framework in which to view the developments of both into the future.
AJ: I would like your opinion on this. I’m curious cause I’m having a hard time following you (this is obviously an area you put much thought and consideration into….. But what think ye of this analysis.
And I’m very interested in how you would counter this one.
Don’t forget, there will have to be a large element of ‘force’, ‘legislation’, ‘authorization’, and ongoing ‘regulation’ for your (or Marx’s) economic proposals to work….. And that is where the element of fascism comes in.
These ideas sound good in theory (and in the university classroom), but trying to bring them into practice often brings a great deal of pain, suffering, and dictatorship along with it, no?
Matt: The one on the Pilgrims is a mix match of historical analysis and, so far as I can tell, speculative opinion, which is not inherently bad.
The essential problem with most of these types of articles is they don’t particularly address what I’m talking about, or what, in fact, most communists are talking about.
They are all idealized concepts.
I don’t mean “idealized” in the sense that they are “dreamers” or being speculatively optimistic, but in the sense that the analysis or “philosophy” of the piece doesn’t tie the history to its material conditions.
It is no surprise that Pilgrims, or almost any other historic societies, have resulted in tyranny and failure from trying to push highly socialist economic policies. This was, too, an idealist approach.
Marx was first and foremost a materialist of the highest order. He saw history working as a cycle of human development expressed predominately through class war, but constrained by real world circumstances, which include man’s essential antagonist–nature–as well as their own productive capacity, technology, etc.
Frankly, I don’t think anyone says it more bluntly than he does:
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.
Marx, Engels, and people working within the tradition now known as communism identified what you are talking about as “Utopian Socialism.”
There are lots of studied and cited reasons for the failures of various “communist experiments,” and especially done by Marxists. There are hardly few so critical of these attempts than Marxists themselves, and that is well-founded within the literary history of Marxism as well as within the practical movements. It is precisely why there are so many divisions.
There you have it! That’s the blind faith (and unmerited optimism) we are up against.
Matt sounds a bit like Jon Lennon or Russell Brand in his espoused philosophy.
History repeats as man fails to learn from his mistakes and continues to recycle the same highly flawed and repeatedly failed concepts……
And the cycle continues……
* I’m trying to wrap my head around Matt’s idea of economic equality and that this will be the inevitable and favorable end. What is the good he sees that we do not?
* I see the powers that be causing the conditions to establish Matt’s or Marx’s social and economic dream. Although Matt would never acknowledge that.
Photo Credit: Chris (Flickr)
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