damn, this message board is intense.
way too many things to reply to in way too little
time. but I will try my best.
First off, I think what I consider to be successful
communist states was of particular interest.
Well, it is hard, because everytime something
‘communist’ comes up, the US or other 1st world
colonialists blow the shit out of them or train troops
to kill peasants on their shores.
The communism of the early Mekong Delta. Late 50’s
to early 60’s. Absolutely beautiful. In “The Vietnam Wars”
by Marilyn Young (great book, must read for those interested in
Vietnam) I read a quote from an American journalist who was
dumbfounded in his praise for the cooperation, industriousness,
and genuine care for eachother and the community that was evident in South Vietnam at that time. Unfortunately, I can’t find
the exact quote or page number (just looked for 5 minutes). I give up on that. But if coerced I will take the time to find the stats in the book marking the tremendous improvement in the livelihood of the people that occured while the NLF/DRV had control over the Mekong as opposed to the 8 or 9 dictators set up by America.
The communism of the Early Christian Church. Although details are sketchy, and I’m an athiest, from what I’ve read these people had genuine concern for every member, and they were well taken care of (for the most part- not including Roman persecution).
-The Sandanistas. All of a sudden all these oppressed peasants were offered universal healthcare, education, guaranteed food and shelter…Of course that didn’t last long, as military force came in and set up a dictatorship.
You know what they say, all the good ones are persecuted…
#2. There seems to be a lot of people thinking I want to go back to agrarian life. Maybe I was too vague, maybe you’re not reading closely enough… At any rate, no. I’m not in favor of ripping up roads for farmland. It wouldn’t even be feasible, as farmland in organic farming (the preferred choice of course) has to be nutrient-rich and untainted. It is hardly feasible at any rate.
There is enough farmland as it is. Especially if we stopped using obscene amounts of land for dairy and meat farming (but that is a different story). The problem that I was referring to is the fact that there are huge amounts of farmland in some places, and little farmland in others. And to be self-sufficient, you really need farmland. But hell no, I don’t want to live isolated from the city life.
#3. Duck Duck Goose (hi again!) contested my hypothetical question concerning districts in Chicago. A) I have lived most of my life in Chicago. In one of the counties you mentioned (Kane). 10,000 was a completely arbitrary number, as it was completely hypothetical (Chicago being my example since I love that city). In that example, I was illustrating the unfeasibility of dividing a city into small, self-sustaining communities. So I guess we agree.
#4. Sam Stone…you mentioned the value of labor, using the example of painting your room. You are right, hiring a painter would be more efficient for us, as Americans in the 22nd century. But, I think it is better to be self-sufficient. Shit, I don’t know how to paint a room, you don’t know how to paint a room. But we should. Why rely on someone else? That is like relying on a frequent heroin injection just to be able to keep on living. I’m not preaching or anything, as I am quite helpless in many maintenance scenarios. But I think being more self-sufficient would be better. In painting a room, for example, I’m sure if someone took you under their tutelage for a couple days, you’d know all the ins and outs of the procedure.
Second, you mention how competition (under Capitalism) improves efficiency. Yes, you are completely right. Capitalism is more efficient. But I for one would willingly give up that efficiency if it meant human life. You must understand that in Capitalism it is efficient to have a poor working class and a rich class. It ensures that jobs like sewer maintenance are done quickly and correctly by someone who does only that. But that disgusts me.
A couple stats:
In 1984 Forbes magazine noted that the top 400 wealthiest people in the US had assets totaling $60 billion. At the same time, there were 60 million people who had no assets. (Howard Zinn, "Declarations of Independence. Pg. 4)
Also in 1984 , a Physicians Task Force “reported that 15 million American families had an income of under 10,000 dollars a year”…“A report by the Harvard School of Public Health in 194 said that its researchers found that over 30,000 people had to beg for food to avoid starvation” (ibid, pg 149)
This is your efficiency. And there are mountains of horrendous facts like these (my cites were easy, as I know this particular book backwards and forward). The point is, I don’t think there should be a few people with money they can’t even begin to spend and millions of people living in poverty. It is disgusting…and it is all perpetuated b/c the people with money can afford the good education and supply the good job references and pass on the big money/capital. In capitalism one needs capital in order to prosper. And unfortunately, this country did not begin on level ground. Yes, some are able to use their intellectual capital (in art of all sorts or ingenuity like early .comers) to become successful. Most don’t.
And finally (as I need to get off this damn computer)
First off, from Santa Cruz! My favorite juice and two of my favorite bands hail from there. Greetings my pinko friend!
I agree completely on the fact that very few would be deadbeats under communism. People naturally want to do something. I’d like everyone to have a substantial amount of time to do what they want to do. I heard Sweden is experimenting on a 6-hour work day. Now that is up my alley. Do what needs to be done (but still ideally within a capacity that you enjoy) and then do what you want to do. And yes, security. It is like Maslow’s pyramid of self-actualization. First you need survival- a home, food, etc. That is the first step, and until that is complete you cannot go any further in your actualization as a person. Under capitalism, too many people are harnessed to their miserable jobs, because they need them to survive. Not only are they not doing what they want to do, they aren’t even able to truly discover what they want to do, because they can’t focus on the development of themselves.
That said, we definitely don’t see eye to eye on the implementation of communism. While I’m not for reverting to agrarianism, I definitely feel that communism works best in small communities. If I had my choice, I’d start a small commune. Industrial? Yes, we need that to some extent, but to a larger extent industry is part of what has been keeping the common man down for the last 150 years. Polluting our farmland, our lakes… giving workers health problems… making them an expendible part in a machine at their own expense and for the profit of a few fortunate ones at the top… Maybe my definition of industrial is too narrow. I’m thinking of factories and foundries and processing plants, etc. But industry in its broadest sense encapulates much more than that, a lot of it good.
thanks to everybody for the conversation.