Is there any good reason for anyone on the left to denounce "Communism" anymore?

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Erik Redburn

Jacob Richter wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:
Jacob Richter wrote:
Erik Redburn wrote:
The difference between communism and democratic socialism is just that, the belief in democracy, however flawed or limited it too may be in practice, and regardless of whether it always works to the left's advantage.  Until democratic socialists insist on clarifying the difference, whenever it comes up, they too will always fall victim to this ideological club, and the vast majority in more economically comfortable and open societies will always reject them as well.

"Democratic socialists" need to clarify the "democratic" part before they start re-attacking those further left.  As far as I'm concerned, today's "democratic socialism" is better called [i]parliamentary socialism[/i].  [i]Parliamentary socialism[/i] is a rotten corpse.

The repeated declarations that "parliamentray democracy is dead" here is exactly why I challenged some of these posts.  I don't consider communists to be to the left of most social democrats though. Not unless we include neo-liberals like Tony Blair.

"Most social democrats" are still against worker-based collective appropriation and possession of society's means of production, the transformation of capitalist private ownership into societal property, the more petit-bourgeois "re-appropriation of the commons," etc. - and also the replacement of production for profit by production for societal use.


Not quite Jacob.  Every SD I know strongly supports the idea of worker owned cooperatives and union backed credit unions.  What Social Democrats are generally against is centralized planning of everything by a single state authority.  Something that could only come about by violent revolution, which "the left" would almost certainly lose, and almost as likley be coopted by the militarists and apparatchiks, even if by some miracle we didn't.  

Social demorats are unusual in that they believe in reform over revolution, and do not predicate all their arguments on the rarely exposed assuption that either government or private interests must control the entire economy, as both far left and far right insist.  The biggest weakness of Social Democracy is that it still assumes some sort of reproaqchment or lasting compromise can be reached among major economic actors, and the really really mediocre leadership they've recieved in the last generation or two, some of whom I consider as nothing but two faced sellouts. 

I don't consider myself a social democrat anymore either --never really did- but back to my original point, I do object to the rejection of democracy, whatever imperfect form it may take.  I do not believe any sort of egalitarian socity is possible without the consent and participation of the mass of people who foot all the bills and fight most the battles. Butthen I don't assume that everyone i society has to agree for said society to function.   Even the occasional right leaning government would be possible in my imagined utopia.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Erik Redburn wrote:

Northern Shoveler wrote:

Social democrats want larger crumbs dropping off the table.  Syndicalists want to build the table and invite the neighbourhood to eat together.


Please stop generalizing about "social democrats".   Who was it that turned on the anarchists during the Spanish civil war, helping to hand the country over to Franco, the communists or social democrats?

Try to get with this century will you.  If you want to talk about Spain then lets talk about how the youth are in the streets as they are in Greece protesting against the austerity measures imposed on them by their social democratic governments.  Events from 75 years ago have no real relevance except as history.

I will talk about social democrats or conservatives or socialists or communists or anarchists all I want.  Who exactly do you think gave you the bully stick to tell me what I can and can't talk about?  

I have spent most of my adult life trying to elect social democrats so I actually think I have earned the right to criticize them as they move to the centre and leave me on the left.  I haven't changed my views on the role of a left wing government, they have.  

If Greece and Spain are any indication they will dance to the tune of international finance before standing with the people.  As for democracy listen to the voices of the youth in Europe that is what I am doing.  



Since the second government of Prime Minister Zapatero came to power in 2008, it has imposed a €15 billion austerity programme, cutting civil servants’ wages by 5 to 15 percent, and raised the retirement age from 65 to 67. It has also imposed a labour reform that has destroyed workers’ protection with the assistance of the two main unions, Union General de los Trabajadores (UGT) and Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.), and has pressured the regional governments to impose cuts as they control over one third of the total budget.

The resistance to these measures, along with soaring unemployment of 23 percent and a 43.5 percent rate among youth under 25, had been stifled by the trade unions and the ex-left parties, until the eruption of the May 15 Movement just one week before the elections. Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across Spain, expressing the opposition of workers, youth and unemployed. They have demonstrated in more than 162 cities, defied orders to disperse ahead of local and regional elections, and occupied the centre squares of the main cities.

The protests continued during the election, and the fear in ruling circles of igniting something larger kept the state security forces from intervening. After the elections the movement has continued, and currently protests are taking place in around 57 Spanish cities.



Erik Redburn

Who's trying to bully you into shutting up?  I just said 'please stop generalizing'.  And offered one historical counterpoint, one that's also been actively denied right here.

So no, I'm sorry, I spnt several years already on trying to get some "socialist" admission that, gawsh darn it, maybe something a little more than "a few mistakes" were made.  And I'm still waiting.  I'm also still waiting for some admission that democracy isn't one of the culprits -the lack of it is.   Communist ideology and anarchism, syndicalist or not, remain as far apart as ever.  

Re the "Social democrats" in the New Europe, theyre just more neo-liberals in pro-labour terry-cloth.  MOst social demorats, to go back all the way to last century (about 15-20 years ago in BC) insisted on tax increases befoe mass layoffs and even some deficit spending if needed...."balanced over the whole businss cycle" to quote the BC NDP moderate Mike Harcourt.   Adrian Dix of the post-James NDP has to his credit gone aways back to admiting that necessity, despite the certainty of it being used against him.  

You can OC disagree and support whatever you choose, I never meant to suggest otherwise.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I see those social democrats who do nasty things are not really social democrats.  Where have I heard that argument before?

Erik Redburn

I'm glad I looked in again.   I know where youre going, but there is a difference.  I and other more typical "social democrats" here have been openly critical of the NDP's rightward drift here, but can you point out where our residents Marxists have EVER expressed any displeasue or uncertainty about their Own leaderships drifts away from their own supposedly high ideals?  Or even shown a willingness to discuss or debate the theoretical differences, here, there, or anywhwere, in what we are suggesting for an alternative to neo-liberal dictatorship?  Or even admit that they represent anything but the most objective reading of Marx, as if HE somehow holds all the answers.  That is the difference.   

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Frankly Eric I don't care about them. i am an independent poster not part of some group.  I worked on my first NDP campaign in 1972 and many after. The party has moved to the centre on too many issues.  I have not changed my views and become a Marxist.  I have always been philosophically a syndicalist but in terms of our electoral system a democratic socialist.  Stop attacking me because others don't do something.

Stockholm for instance has defended the Greek governments austerity program.  It is social democrats like him that I see as in control of the NDP.  I was a major part of the campaign team that got Janice elected because I had met her at the U of S and she talked the talk before she got elected.  Then as Finance Minister under Roy she slashed and burned.

What I don't get is that the NDP under Clark and Romanow both concentrated on fiscal responsibility and were far better managers than the right wing assholes both before and after them.  The MSM still claims they were disasters as financial managers. Their policies always hurt real people and they get vilified no matter what they do.  So to me they should be bold and daring instead of allowing themselves to be put into the box created for them by the MSM and its overlords. At the end of their terms they had pissed off their base and not even gotten the credit they deserved for trying a "balanced" approach. The absolute worst political outcome of all seems to get replayed over and over in our system. 


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