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Why is socialism such a scary word?

Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better.Registered User regular
edited September 24 in Debate and/or Discourse


So that's the typical response whenever you bring to the word 'socialism'. It's always Venezuela, high taxes, and communism.

But, they always forget about why Venezuela is the way it is. How the USA interfered in that country ploitics, and how there's many examples of socialism that is highly successful.

So how do get this Boogeyman imagery off of socialism? Why should socilists hide behind less scary terms like 'solicist-democrats'? Why should socilists rally behind the Democratic party when the Democratic party has shown time and time again that they have to real interest in pulling the nation left?


mod edit:

Let's keep discussion to talking about the broader ideas of socialism and how it's received in America, and skip the 10 page back and forth about the Democratic Party.

So It Goes on
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Posts

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Because it isn't Capitalism™, is the short answer. Traditionalists in the USA fear anything different, no matter the degree. Cynical "enlightened" people fear it because they think change is impossible to enact, or the process of change is somehow highly damaging. In both instances they forget we already have a lot of socialist things in place in our handling of tax spending.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
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  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    The Cold War fucked us up pretty bad.

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  • ShortyShorty JUDGE BROSEF Registered User regular
    the ruling class in America has always been (justifiably) scared of it because there is no room for a wealthy aristocracy in a socialist society, and so they use their considerable resources to build a false public narrative about socialism

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  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard Registered User regular
    1. Nazis are shorthand for National Socialists, and Nazis are bad*
    2. During the Cold War, socialism was equated to communism, and communism is bad, therefore socialism is bad
    3. Venezuela is doing terribly, and using "socialism", therefore socialism is bad

    It's bad because people who have no interest in debating it have declared it bad, and either won't look closer at anything, or know better and are not arguing from a position of good faith.

    *for some definition, depending on who you talk with, of course

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  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 24
    Let's keep discussion to talking about the broader ideas of socialism and how it's received in America, and skip the 10 page back and forth about the Democratic Party.

    So It Goes on
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  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    People are afraid of socialism because they believe that, even if a socialist system is better at distributing wealth, it's far worse at generating wealth to be distributed. They see capitalism as better because it generates so much more wealth that even imprecise or unfair distribution ends up with people living better than they would in a low-wealth socialist system. There is a perception of distributive efforts as a kind of hubris--who are we to think we can fully understand and control an economy, etc. There's also a cynicism about the possibility of genuinely ensuring fairness and shrinking the wealth gap, a view that sees eliminating poverty as a naive pipe dream, a dangerously idealistic and unrealistic goal.

    This is generally because we have many examples of failed socialist systems and it's easy to point at the core ideology but very difficult to examine each case and its particulars, especially if you don't have a strong grasp of economics (I don't!). If you saw the bread lines and economic disaster that was Soviet communism, that's hard to forget. If you were around when millions were starving to death, or if your parents were around, it's hard to ignore. It doesn't matter that there are enormous differences between centralized Soviet-style communism and other forms of socialism, because those differences are technical and challenging to understand; the vast majority of people won't understand those distinctions. I don't feel comfortable trying to define them, personally.

    On top of that, the line between the welfare state (the idea that a government is responsible for taking care of its citizens with social programs) and socialism has been very blurred. Welfare state policies are now considered "socialist," but there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    Evil Multifarious on
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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

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  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    Because people don't understand that socialism isn't one distinct type of government. Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK, they're all [base government structure] + social welfare/socialism. Socialism is just government+. It isn't China or the USSR, there's no requirement for authoritarianism, it's the application of government money towards social welfare.

    Hell, we've got social welfare right now in the US. Even past the Medicare/Medicaid, unemployment, Pell Grants, and minimum wage. We've got exactly the kind of socialism that people are calling for, it's just gated behind military service. I get government healthcare, and government provided college. It isn't perfect, obviously, but it's a hell of a lot better than the nothing I would have without it and if you tried to take it away you'd have a few thousand vets on your doorstep to have words with you. Everyone who says it doesn't work is just being ignorant, willfully or otherwise.

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    I think a lot of people thinking of places like Germany and the UK as socialist as evidence of the weakness of socialism in the USA.

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  • SpaffySpaffy Fuck the Zero Registered User regular
    Mainly because people keep saying that Democratic Socialism, Socialism, and Social Democracy are the same thing. SocDem is capitalist + social welfare, socialism and DemSoc are not.

    The above is a problem because the vast majority of the left do not want Socialism, but they do support some Social Democratic policies. This is because America already has many such policies in place, such as welfare and the military.

    However Republicans are currently trying very hard to tie Social Democrats (Capitalist) to Actual Socialism (not so much). So definitions and education become important.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    European social democracy shares some familial resemblance with socialism, but socialism itself comes in a few different species.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    So how do get this Boogeyman imagery off of socialism? Why should socilists hide behind less scary terms like 'solicist-democrats'?

    Define "socialism," please.

    Because under the textbook definition (collective ownership of the means of production), countries that have attempted this on a wide scale for all (or most) industries have been colossal failures.

    But in the US, we've perverted the definition of socialism to "literally any wealth redistribution or government involvement in markets at all" which obviously means that some socialism is a good thing.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    Why don't we start by defining socialism? I can already tell that people in this thread mean different things when they use the word. I'm down for what Wiki gives me:
    Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and workers' self-management of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.

    Edit - notably, by this definition the European social democracies are not socialist systems, but capitalist systems with some socialist elements (which I think is an accurate descriptor)

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    European social democracy shares some familial resemblance with socialism, but socialism itself comes in a few different species.

    Socialism Lite. You get the perks of keeping the robber barons away without the drawbacks of food shortages and expropriation because a free market setup with an overly generous welfare system like the Europeans have is still free market.

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  • MazzyxMazzyx I can dig it. Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

    US history in South America is not pretty though Chavez/Maduro had a habit of using Post-Colonial politics to explain why they were fucking up and not developing the country turning it into a massive resource curse tragedy. Which is what is wrong with Venezuela not socialism.
    Pérez Jimenez Regime (1953-1958)
    Under the rule of the Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, the Venezuelan economy experienced a boom, born from Venezuela's great oil wealth. During this prosperity, foreign investment, particularly from American oil companies, grew along with the support from the Jimenez Regime. The staunchly anti-communist regime allowed and supported the exploitation of the country's natural resources by the American oil industry, as a portion of the profits made its way from companies like Mobil and Exxon[7] to the personal coffers of Perez Jimenez. For his support of these American companies, he received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Government in 1954.[8]

    At the same time, United States intelligence agencies collaborated with Perez's Seguridad Nacional to silence communists and social-democrat voices in Venezuela. The Seguridad Nacional, headed by Pedro Estrada, disappeared and tortured thousands of Venezuelans, both in its headquarters in Caracas and in a confinement camp on Guasina Island in the jungles of the Orinoco. When Jimenez abandoned the government and the country on January 23, 1958, more than 400 prisoners were found in the basement of the headquarters of the Seguridad Nacional.[9]

    Quick example of shit we did in the Venezuela and it isn't good. But it is a standard story in the US across pretty much the developing world.

    Venezuela shouldn't be brought up in a conversation about socialism or mix market economies with oil money because it was really neither of those outside political rhetoric. A better example in the Western world is Norway.

    Now breaking down the historical reasons why socialism is a bad word, just look above. I saw them mentioned, mostly the Cold War but also the fact socialism tends to be an antithesis to laissez faire economics that the use rhetorically supports.

    In reality all modern democracies and much of the developed world are socialist mixed market economies. It is more just to what degree they lean. The use rhetorically just likes to not admit it because the difference between socialism, communism, and other planned economies are not really taught in the US very well and instead lumped together.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    A less common line of thinking is that socialism is purely descriptively defined by the will of the proletariat, regardless of what "the will of the proletariat" currently entails. To read certain methods or goals into what socialism means can be seen as pushing the proletariat around, when they will organically let you know what it means by what they collectively are doing.

    Raw capitalism, communism, social democracy, socialism and anarchy all share some traits with eachother, along different axes.
    And most of them feature some venue for influence to coalesce unchecked into few hands.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    I would like to know more about this. When and where?

  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    Welfare state policies are now considered "socialist," but there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    Isn't this is pretty much just how social progress occurs in a capitalist society.

    spool32
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    emnmnme wrote: »
    there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    I would like to know more about this. When and where?

    The modern welfare state is credited to Otto von Bismark. He used the police to administer payments, and it was used as a tool of social control to isolate and literally starve radical socialists out of their communities.

    Since I'm not an ideological socialist, I am comfortable with what works, but I do understand the argument that government-administered income is the 100 percent opposite of worker control of the means of production. One is a handout from politicians tied to regulations and requirements said politicians desire, while the other is recognized legal ownership of a part of the economy with all the power, rights, and responsibilities that entails. As Bismark showed, it is quite possible to create a welfare scheme in a right-wing framework.

    Phillishere on
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    emnmnme wrote: »
    there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    I would like to know more about this. When and where?

    I see this sentiment today in some socialist communities.

    If you want a historic example, try Karl Marx's 1850 Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League. (Emphasis mine.)
    The rule of capital and its rapid accumulation is to be further counteracted, partly by a curtailment of the right of inheritance, and partly by the transference of as much employment as possible to the state. As far as the workers are concerned one thing, above all, is definite: they are to remain wage labourers as before. However, the democratic petty bourgeois want better wages and security for the workers, and hope to achieve this by an extension of state employment and by welfare measures; in short, they hope to bribe the workers with a more or less disguised form of alms and to break their revolutionary strength by temporarily rendering their situation tolerable.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    I always figured it was because during the Cold War they successfully made the default mental image of Socialism look a lot like Stalinism, and that's gonna take a long time to dispel.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    I always figured it was because during the Cold War they successfully made the default mental image of Socialism look a lot like Stalinism, and that's gonna take a long time to dispel.

    The Cold War in the U.S. is actually kind of tame compared to the history of brutality, murder, imprisonment, and public execution on bogus charges that made up the American political response to socialism in the late 19th century to the Great Depression. If anything, the Cold War saw a more balanced approach where attacks on communists were matched with socialist policies like the expansion of the New Deal and the War on Poverty, themselves formulated as a response to communist propaganda pointing out the racism and poverty endemic in the West.

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

    US history in South America is not pretty though Chavez/Maduro had a habit of using Post-Colonial politics to explain why they were fucking up and not developing the country turning it into a massive resource curse tragedy. Which is what is wrong with Venezuela not socialism.
    Pérez Jimenez Regime (1953-1958)
    Under the rule of the Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, the Venezuelan economy experienced a boom, born from Venezuela's great oil wealth. During this prosperity, foreign investment, particularly from American oil companies, grew along with the support from the Jimenez Regime. The staunchly anti-communist regime allowed and supported the exploitation of the country's natural resources by the American oil industry, as a portion of the profits made its way from companies like Mobil and Exxon[7] to the personal coffers of Perez Jimenez. For his support of these American companies, he received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Government in 1954.[8]

    At the same time, United States intelligence agencies collaborated with Perez's Seguridad Nacional to silence communists and social-democrat voices in Venezuela. The Seguridad Nacional, headed by Pedro Estrada, disappeared and tortured thousands of Venezuelans, both in its headquarters in Caracas and in a confinement camp on Guasina Island in the jungles of the Orinoco. When Jimenez abandoned the government and the country on January 23, 1958, more than 400 prisoners were found in the basement of the headquarters of the Seguridad Nacional.[9]

    Quick example of shit we did in the Venezuela and it isn't good. But it is a standard story in the US across pretty much the developing world.

    Venezuela shouldn't be brought up in a conversation about socialism or mix market economies with oil money because it was really neither of those outside political rhetoric. A better example in the Western world is Norway.

    Now breaking down the historical reasons why socialism is a bad word, just look above. I saw them mentioned, mostly the Cold War but also the fact socialism tends to be an antithesis to laissez faire economics that the use rhetorically supports.

    In reality all modern democracies and much of the developed world are socialist mixed market economies. It is more just to what degree they lean. The use rhetorically just likes to not admit it because the difference between socialism, communism, and other planned economies are not really taught in the US very well and instead lumped together.

    I don't think Venezuela is any sort of proof that socialism can't work, but it does say something about socialist communities that a lot of socialists pointed to Venezuela as a model even when the many problems that would come to a head were becoming more and more obvious. It isn't just heavy reliance on oil. A lot of the government actions that various socialist groups admired were failures that made things worse.

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  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    I actually want to talk about the times when the US seems widely amenable to Socialist policies. American culture is, on a relatively core-level, driven by self-centered realization of prosperity. This extends from historical precedents like manifest destiny through contemporary popular culture that worships success and opulence. In even handed terms, immigrants also came here choosing, rather aggressively, to embrace the mythos of building a better life for themselves and their families and rejecting other cultural paradigms enforced on them by birth and geography.

    The populace is still practical, though. An American is happy to embrace socialist tendencies in the wake of any sort of free-market driven economic recession or cataclysm. When did FDR gain power, for instance? Why was there a blue wave in 2008? Etc. Americans themselves aren't resistant to socialism when the benefits to them are immediately tangible. They DO resist it, however, when they feel things are fine. If you take the mentality of my first paragraph into consideration, these two positions aren't as contradictory as they appear.

    When the excesses of capitalism get out of control, even the everyday American celebrates government expansion.

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  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Couscous wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

    US history in South America is not pretty though Chavez/Maduro had a habit of using Post-Colonial politics to explain why they were fucking up and not developing the country turning it into a massive resource curse tragedy. Which is what is wrong with Venezuela not socialism.
    Pérez Jimenez Regime (1953-1958)
    Under the rule of the Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, the Venezuelan economy experienced a boom, born from Venezuela's great oil wealth. During this prosperity, foreign investment, particularly from American oil companies, grew along with the support from the Jimenez Regime. The staunchly anti-communist regime allowed and supported the exploitation of the country's natural resources by the American oil industry, as a portion of the profits made its way from companies like Mobil and Exxon[7] to the personal coffers of Perez Jimenez. For his support of these American companies, he received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Government in 1954.[8]

    At the same time, United States intelligence agencies collaborated with Perez's Seguridad Nacional to silence communists and social-democrat voices in Venezuela. The Seguridad Nacional, headed by Pedro Estrada, disappeared and tortured thousands of Venezuelans, both in its headquarters in Caracas and in a confinement camp on Guasina Island in the jungles of the Orinoco. When Jimenez abandoned the government and the country on January 23, 1958, more than 400 prisoners were found in the basement of the headquarters of the Seguridad Nacional.[9]

    Quick example of shit we did in the Venezuela and it isn't good. But it is a standard story in the US across pretty much the developing world.

    Venezuela shouldn't be brought up in a conversation about socialism or mix market economies with oil money because it was really neither of those outside political rhetoric. A better example in the Western world is Norway.

    Now breaking down the historical reasons why socialism is a bad word, just look above. I saw them mentioned, mostly the Cold War but also the fact socialism tends to be an antithesis to laissez faire economics that the use rhetorically supports.

    In reality all modern democracies and much of the developed world are socialist mixed market economies. It is more just to what degree they lean. The use rhetorically just likes to not admit it because the difference between socialism, communism, and other planned economies are not really taught in the US very well and instead lumped together.

    I don't think Venezuela is any sort of proof that socialism can't work, but it does say something about socialist communities that a lot of socialists pointed to Venezuela as a model even when the many problems that would come to a head were becoming more and more obvious. It isn't just heavy reliance on oil. A lot of the government actions that various socialist groups admired were failures that made things worse.

    If Venezuela is proof socialism doesn't work, then Russia is proof that capitalism is a failure...

    Or, individual nations have individual circumstances that aren't covered when you debate at the level of a six-year-old.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    I personally have never seen anybody, socialist or otherwise, point to Chavez Venezuela as a paragon of anything (except, of course, for the propaganda produced directly by the Venezuelan government).

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    MazzyxPhillishereJuliusspool32DedwrekkashrykeFallout2manMrVyngaardUnluckyLord_AsmodeusHacksawMan in the MistsGnome-Interruptus
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Couscous wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

    US history in South America is not pretty though Chavez/Maduro had a habit of using Post-Colonial politics to explain why they were fucking up and not developing the country turning it into a massive resource curse tragedy. Which is what is wrong with Venezuela not socialism.
    Pérez Jimenez Regime (1953-1958)
    Under the rule of the Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, the Venezuelan economy experienced a boom, born from Venezuela's great oil wealth. During this prosperity, foreign investment, particularly from American oil companies, grew along with the support from the Jimenez Regime. The staunchly anti-communist regime allowed and supported the exploitation of the country's natural resources by the American oil industry, as a portion of the profits made its way from companies like Mobil and Exxon[7] to the personal coffers of Perez Jimenez. For his support of these American companies, he received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Government in 1954.[8]

    At the same time, United States intelligence agencies collaborated with Perez's Seguridad Nacional to silence communists and social-democrat voices in Venezuela. The Seguridad Nacional, headed by Pedro Estrada, disappeared and tortured thousands of Venezuelans, both in its headquarters in Caracas and in a confinement camp on Guasina Island in the jungles of the Orinoco. When Jimenez abandoned the government and the country on January 23, 1958, more than 400 prisoners were found in the basement of the headquarters of the Seguridad Nacional.[9]

    Quick example of shit we did in the Venezuela and it isn't good. But it is a standard story in the US across pretty much the developing world.

    Venezuela shouldn't be brought up in a conversation about socialism or mix market economies with oil money because it was really neither of those outside political rhetoric. A better example in the Western world is Norway.

    Now breaking down the historical reasons why socialism is a bad word, just look above. I saw them mentioned, mostly the Cold War but also the fact socialism tends to be an antithesis to laissez faire economics that the use rhetorically supports.

    In reality all modern democracies and much of the developed world are socialist mixed market economies. It is more just to what degree they lean. The use rhetorically just likes to not admit it because the difference between socialism, communism, and other planned economies are not really taught in the US very well and instead lumped together.

    I don't think Venezuela is any sort of proof that socialism can't work, but it does say something about socialist communities that a lot of socialists pointed to Venezuela as a model even when the many problems that would come to a head were becoming more and more obvious. It isn't just heavy reliance on oil. A lot of the government actions that various socialist groups admired were failures that made things worse.

    If Venezuela is proof socialism doesn't work, then Russia is proof that capitalism is a failure...

    Or, individual nations have individual circumstances that aren't covered when you debate at the level of a six-year-old.

    Except, I don't think anyone, at any point, has held Russia up as an example of "Capitalism Done Right"?

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  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    emnmnme wrote: »
    there was a time when socialists genuinely thought the welfare state was a dangerous opiate offered to undermine socialist efforts with half-measures, because the people in power saw that there was an alternative to capitalism and became afraid.

    I would like to know more about this. When and where?

    The modern welfare state is credited to Otto von Bismark. He used the police to administer payments, and it was used as a tool of social control to isolate and literally starve radical socialists out of their communities.

    Since I'm not an ideological socialist, I am comfortable with what works, but I do understand the argument that government-administered income is the 100 percent opposite of worker control of the means of production. One is a handout from politicians tied to regulations and requirements said politicians desire, while the other is recognized legal ownership of a part of the economy with all the power, rights, and responsibilities that entails. As Bismark showed, it is quite possible to create a welfare scheme in a right-wing framework.
    This reminds me of another important (IMO) aspect of this subject that is often overlooked. People today - both socialists and non-socialists - tend to conceive of socialism through the lens of the state. Whether we're talking about socialist or social democratic policies in Western states (welfare programs etc.) or Soviet-style socialism (fully state-run and owned economy), the concept is almost exclusively discussed in statist terms.

    However, this was not always the case. Early socialism was often libertarian (the old meaning of the word, not the Ron Paul meaning) or anarchist, with the state being regarded more as an inherently oppressive part of the political-economic system that should be abolished rather than as a semi-neutral tool that should be taken over for the purpose of changing that system. The split between the "red" and "black" strains of socialism - or between Marxists and anarchists - is very important to how socialism developed and how it is perceived today. The climax of the split between the more libertarian/anarchist and more authoritarian/statist branches of the socialist movement was at the Hague Congress in 1872. By the Second International, Marxists were becoming dominant, anarchists were being excluded from meetings, and the older, libertarian idea of socialism started losing influence. Your post reminded me of this because Bismarck is said to have quipped:
    "Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!"

    In other words, Bismarck regarded the socialist movement as more dangerous to the ruling classes when it combined opposition to capitalism with opposition to the state; the red/black split was, by that logic, a boon to the capitalists. I pretty much share Bismarck's perspective here - "Marx ruined socialism" isn't something you hear very often but it's kind of how I see it.

    Kaputa on
    SolarFeralNSDFRand
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    I agree. Socialism is quite broad.

    We should probably separate out the sub-sections of it. It is always against the ruling class almost by default mind.

    Solar on
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    whoa whoa whoa.

    isn't "the US meddled in politics, that's why the country failed" the standard conspiracy theory line that Chavez / Maduro supporters use to justify the disaster they made of the country?

    US history in South America is not pretty though Chavez/Maduro had a habit of using Post-Colonial politics to explain why they were fucking up and not developing the country turning it into a massive resource curse tragedy. Which is what is wrong with Venezuela not socialism.
    Pérez Jimenez Regime (1953-1958)
    Under the rule of the Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, the Venezuelan economy experienced a boom, born from Venezuela's great oil wealth. During this prosperity, foreign investment, particularly from American oil companies, grew along with the support from the Jimenez Regime. The staunchly anti-communist regime allowed and supported the exploitation of the country's natural resources by the American oil industry, as a portion of the profits made its way from companies like Mobil and Exxon[7] to the personal coffers of Perez Jimenez. For his support of these American companies, he received the Legion of Merit from the U.S. Government in 1954.[8]

    At the same time, United States intelligence agencies collaborated with Perez's Seguridad Nacional to silence communists and social-democrat voices in Venezuela. The Seguridad Nacional, headed by Pedro Estrada, disappeared and tortured thousands of Venezuelans, both in its headquarters in Caracas and in a confinement camp on Guasina Island in the jungles of the Orinoco. When Jimenez abandoned the government and the country on January 23, 1958, more than 400 prisoners were found in the basement of the headquarters of the Seguridad Nacional.[9]

    Quick example of shit we did in the Venezuela and it isn't good. But it is a standard story in the US across pretty much the developing world.

    Venezuela shouldn't be brought up in a conversation about socialism or mix market economies with oil money because it was really neither of those outside political rhetoric. A better example in the Western world is Norway.

    Now breaking down the historical reasons why socialism is a bad word, just look above. I saw them mentioned, mostly the Cold War but also the fact socialism tends to be an antithesis to laissez faire economics that the use rhetorically supports.

    In reality all modern democracies and much of the developed world are socialist mixed market economies. It is more just to what degree they lean. The use rhetorically just likes to not admit it because the difference between socialism, communism, and other planned economies are not really taught in the US very well and instead lumped together.

    I don't think Venezuela is any sort of proof that socialism can't work, but it does say something about socialist communities that a lot of socialists pointed to Venezuela as a model even when the many problems that would come to a head were becoming more and more obvious. It isn't just heavy reliance on oil. A lot of the government actions that various socialist groups admired were failures that made things worse.

    If Venezuela is proof socialism doesn't work, then Russia is proof that capitalism is a failure...

    Or, individual nations have individual circumstances that aren't covered when you debate at the level of a six-year-old.

    Except, I don't think anyone, at any point, has held Russia up as an example of "Capitalism Done Right"?

    Oh, there was a LONG period when you could find a lot of pundits, economists, and politicians saying just that. The oligarchs and Yeltsin/Putin were our allies who were embracing capitalism while getting stupid rich for a lot longer than they have been the Big Bads of a new Cold War, and right wingers the world over would really love for things to go back to the days when they could just praise Russia while collecting the checks.

    Phillishere on
    JuliusMegaMek
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    Feral wrote: »
    I personally have never seen anybody, socialist or otherwise, point to Chavez Venezuela as a paragon of anything (except, of course, for the propaganda produced directly by the Venezuelan government).

    He had a lot of fans from what I could tell and you could find pieces talking about how much he had improved Venezuela in pretty mainstream magazines like the "Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle" article in Slate.

    Couscous on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    I think we are still fussing over definitions in a No Real Scotsman sort of way.

    Can we agree that socialism is collective ownership and regulation of the means of production? That a fully socialist state would regulate or own all the means of production while a fully capitalist system would equate to a fully private ownership of a the means of production. And depending on our individual leanings means how far we are on the spectrum of Capitalist vs Socialist.

    JebusUD
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    I personally have never seen anybody, socialist or otherwise, point to Chavez Venezuela as a paragon of anything (except, of course, for the propaganda produced directly by the Venezuelan government).

    Mostly, it is right wingers claiming that Democrats or some such love socialism, so they must love Venezuela. It's one of those things that looms large in the right wing imagination, while most left-oriented Americans just don't spend any time thinking about the place.

    Gnome-Interruptus
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited September 24
    Its a scarily cool word.

    Anyway, its terrifying to a lot of people, particularly people like Megan McCain, because they're talentless bores who's station is life is premised on their inheritance. We have a lot of those kinds of people in power.

    Styrofoam Sammich on
    JuliusBigJoeMCptKemzikLord_AsmodeusMan in the MistsGnome-Interruptus
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Couscous wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I personally have never seen anybody, socialist or otherwise, point to Chavez Venezuela as a paragon of anything (except, of course, for the propaganda produced directly by the Venezuelan government).

    He had a lot of fans from what I could tell and you could find pieces talking about how much he had improved Venezuela in pretty mainstream magazines like the "Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle" article in Slate.

    Or praise from Bernie Sanders.

    Harry Dresden
  • MazzyxMazzyx I can dig it. Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    I think we are still fussing over definitions in a No Real Scotsman sort of way.

    Can we agree that socialism is collective ownership and regulation of the means of production? That a fully socialist state would regulate or own all the means of production while a fully capitalist system would equate to a fully private ownership of a the means of production. And depending on our individual leanings means how far we are on the spectrum of Capitalist vs Socialist.

    Problem is the modern usage of socialism, outside some circles in the US, does not mean this and instead means mixed economies.

    There are no real fully capitalistic societies and really no purely socialistic economies and no countries moving towards either.

    03x29di.png
    zepherinQuidcB557
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I personally have never seen anybody, socialist or otherwise, point to Chavez Venezuela as a paragon of anything (except, of course, for the propaganda produced directly by the Venezuelan government).

    He had a lot of fans from what I could tell and you could find pieces talking about how much he had improved Venezuela in pretty mainstream magazines like the "Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle" article in Slate.

    Or praise from Bernie Sanders.

    Slate's editorial mandate is "Be controversial." It's both why you shouldn't take any article in it as a sign that even the writer supports the thesis, and why Slate went from a pretty mainstream web publication to a peripheral clickbait factory. Nobody trusts a professional contrarian.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    I think we are still fussing over definitions in a No Real Scotsman sort of way.

    Can we agree that socialism is collective ownership and regulation of the means of production? That a fully socialist state would regulate or own all the means of production while a fully capitalist system would equate to a fully private ownership of a the means of production. And depending on our individual leanings means how far we are on the spectrum of Capitalist vs Socialist.

    Problem is the modern usage of socialism, outside some circles in the US, does not mean this and instead means mixed economies.

    There are no real fully capitalistic societies and really no purely socialistic economies and no countries moving towards either.
    Socialism is a spectrum *rainbow* but we need a basis of definition or we run the risk of talking past each other.

    Canada is a very successful socialist nation
    Canada is a very successful capitalist nation
    Both are true statements based on context. We should agree on a definition before going forward.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    The Venezuela argument is a bit infuriating for a lot of reasons but the big one for me is that even if we assume "yes, this is a socialist country having problems because of socialism" we'd have to be huge hypocrites to base our condemnations on it.

    Capitalism, even when its working as intended, grinds along on top of a million human ball bearings of misery and it crashes to routinely that its cyclical failure is just regarded as a natural force. And even after all that capitalist countries can and have collapsed and descended into near barbarism. So even assuming all the worst of what is said about socialism and Venezuela, so what?

    JuliusHacksawGnome-Interruptus
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    I think one of the problems we have in talking about socialism, is that it's not a one single thing.
    Economies, like gender, exist in a spectrum, at one end we have completely communal society where nobody owns anything and everything is held in common, and at the other end we have robber barons and laissez-faire capitalism.
    When capitalist talks about socialism, they probably does directly to soviet Russia, when socialist talks of capitalism, they probably think of laissez-faire.

    Socialism is a scary word (for some) because most people (who fear it) don't understand what is meant when those who are socialist say it, partly because of generations of propaganda, partly because language is fussy and people expect the worst.
    And some people do understant, but find it profitable to pretend that word means something it is not.

    zepherinMan in the Mists
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