Thursday, January 31, 2013

Marxism and Communism

What does one think of when one thinks of communism? Even putting aside the stigma I just discussed related to it. Generally, there are thoughts of a rise of the proletariat. An overthrow of capitalism. Socializing the means of production. And a transitional state. The dictatorship of the proletariat. communist parties and party politics. Central planning. When most people think of communism, they think of marxism. Of course, that's just a part of communism. Thinking of marxism when one thinks of communism is like thinking of Baroque music when one thinks of music. Quite frankly, it's inaccurate.

What is communism? Stripped down to its barebones, that is. No baggage. No carxism. No anarcho-communism. Communism is a form of socialism, which is set of economic systems where the holders of the means of production and the producers are one in the same, in which the workers rise up in revolution in order to create a society without class, money, or a state.

What does marxism add? Marxism adds a couple of things. First, it adds party politics. According to marxism, communists should form political parties and participate in the political system until they can successfully revolt. In addition, that party continues after the revolution. Second, it adds the transitional period. The transitional period is a period of statism where people "learn" to be communists. Which leads to the third thing it adds, the dictatorship of the proletariat. According to marxist theory, the narxist party would form a dictatorship of the proletariat in the transitional period to help the people adjust. This is supposed to fade away as it becomes unnecessary.

Now, this is different from anarcho-communism. How so? Anarcho-communism adds very little to communism. There is no parties. There is no transitional period. There is no dictatorship of the proletariat. Anarcho-communism is immediate after the revolution. We abolish the state right off the bat and socialize everything right off the bat. All that's really added is self-governance through direct democracy.

Ok, but why not marxism? The theory seems sound, so why reject it? Quite simply, the transitional period does not work. More accurately, it never ends. The dictatorship of the proletariat becomes a totalitarian regime that refuses to give up power. This is what led to stalinism and maoism and every other mommunist regime around the world.

McCarthy's Legacy

"I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department."

- Joseph McCarthy

That was a part of a speech given to the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. McCarthy was drumming up fear about communism and communists. This wasn't something particularly new (the first Red Scare in the US was in the 1910s, but now America had put itself in opposition of the Stalinist regime in the USSR and the maoist regime in China. This Red Scare was different in intensity and scope. A House Committee was set up in response calling itself the committee un-american activity. Victims of the Red Scare included Charlie Chaplin, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Pete Seeger, and many others. Eventually, the scare began dying down. Slowly but surely, we stopped fearing that those around us were communists.

But we still feared communism. We might not have been accusing everyone of being Communists, but the fear of McCarthy still remained. Communists continued to be othered. We feared the marxists of the Soviet Union. The leninists. The stalinists. The Maoists. Communists and communism. With the fear came ignorance, and from the ignorance came more fear. Over time, we fought against communists around the world before the fall of the Soviet Union. In the public consciousness, we had won. As the city on the hill. As the beacon of freedom. We had destroyed totalitarian regimes and communism.

But the fear never left us. Socialism is still a dirty word in American politics. Many don't understand or know what communism is. I know people who, before they met me, thought communism and Authoritarianism were one in the same. Obama is called a communist by many of his enemies despite him not even being a socialist and his corporatist policies. When people say "communist" or even just "socialist" people's brains just turn off. People's minds go straight to thinking of an enemy to freedom. Joseph McCarthy died in 1957 and the movement which his name was applied to died soon after, but his legacy lives on. communists are othered. communism is not understood and purely associated with totalitarian regimes which were only a small part of communism.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Victimhood and the Catholic Church

What do you do when you're a church with a sex scandal with children on your record and some unpopular opinions on a minority? Claim you're the victim, and blame it all on the minority, of course! At least it isn't hypocrisy, this time! Instead, we get victimhood allegation. This is a major problem with those with power. They're so often the bad guy. They need something to make themselves more popular, though. If they get too unpopular, they will face a revolution on their hands. (In the case of the church, that takes the form in deconversion.)

However, they have a card they can always play, the victimhood card. Everyone sympathizes with a victim. As long as they paint themselves as victims, they aren't the bad guys. Not to those who believe them. Now, instead of homosexuals, who face prosecution all around the world, from being refused the right to marriage rights given freely to heterosexuals to a prevalence of hate crimes against them, being the victims, the catholic church, which has over a billion members, is now seen as the victim.

What makes this even worse is that they're doing this to defend their priests raping children, who they had previously kept safe from prosecution. What the catholic church is doing is absolutely disgusting and reprehensible.

Whatever Happened to the Working Class

So often  talk about the middle class. From both Romney and Obama talking about how they will defend the middle class to Wall Street Journal writers seeking to prove that inequality isn't growing by attempting (and failing) to prove the middle class is stagnating. That's all nice and good, but the middle class isn't the group that needs the most defending. So many seem to forget about the working class. It seems like, in modern America, there's no defender of the proletariat. In fact, everyone seems to have forgotten about us. What options do we have? Do we look to the republican party who pretends to defend the middle class while really defending the upper class? Do we look to the democratic party who do defend the middle class when they aren't caving to their corporate sponsors? Do we look to a third party that has no chance of gaining any traction, and who would end up moderating and becoming heroes of the middle or upper class, like Britain's labour party, if they do? We have no defenders. No options.

This frames the class war in a way that favors the rich. If the class war is no longer between the rich and the poor, but between the rich and the middle class, they have less to worry about. Anything they loose in a class war against the middle class would never compare to what they would loose in a class war against the proletariat. Of course, whoever wins in this new class war the rich have set up against the middle class, the lower class looses.

Still, even though we might loose no matter what in this class war, we loose slightly less if the middle class gains traction. If the middle class gains traction, the rich loose power, so we gain power. BUT, if the middle class actually ever wins, we loose just as much. If the middle class wins, they become a part of the rich. We don't need more masters. New bosses. We need no masters. No bosses. The only way we can win is to stand up for ourselves. We need to return the class war to its roots! The class war needs to become what it was, the rich versus the poor! We need to fight for ourselves, rather than let the politicians fight for the middle or upper class.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Musing from the Court of Miracles

Now that you know the meaning of the name of this blog and who I am, all that remains before this blog can start in full swing is for me to inform you of the purpose of this blog and what it would deal with. This blog will be my chance to give my view on varying issues in the modern world. The main topics this blog will cover will be:

Politics. I shall discuss politics and give an anarchist's perspective on the current going ons in it. I will discuss what Congress is doing or foreign relations between different countries. I will primarily focus on American politics since I know the most about them, since I'm an American, but I will not restrict myself to American politics. I will give my opinion on all of them. That opinion will be that of an unabashed radical and anarchist. I will not censor my opinion. I will not filter my opinion.

Social justice. I will focus on worthy causes that people are fighting and show plights of people that aren't being defended. I will show injustices in the world, and talk about what is wrong with them and why.

Economics. I find economics to be a sorry affair and most economists to be capitalist apologists. I will seek to counter false claims by them and present an anarchist perspective on things.

Anything else that catches my fancy. While the others will be the primary thing I focus on, I will look at any number of things beyond that.

The Beggar in the Court of Miracles

So the poor live in a Court of Miracles, but who am I? Who is this beggar in the modern day Court of Miracles? What gives me the right to say that I'm writing from this court?

Well, for starters, I wasn't always a member of the Court of Miracles. My parents are moderately wealthy. Middle Class. They allowed me to grow up in a relatively stable environment. There was rarely much worry about money. I was unsatisfied, though. They may have been rich enough to make sure I lived a comfortable life, but they were strict. Controlling. I have been rebelling against their authority for as long as I can remember. They taught me the value of freedom by taking it away. I was faced with a choice of being free(r) or being rich(er). I choose to break the chains that bind me. I moved out of my parents place. Soon after, they stopped paying for my education. Within the next few months, I proceeded to chop off any remaining financial connection I had to them. In exchange, I got poverty. I'm unemployed and poor. I live in a rented apartment with two roommates. Here I feel like I belong. Here I feel more free than I have ever felt. I'm not free, yet, but relative freedom is better than none.

Now, that explains why I'm in the Court of Miracles, but not who I am. So who am I?

I am an anarchist. I am an atheist. I am a communist. I am a nihilist. I am pansexual. I am a pacifist. I am polyamorus.

Now what does this all mean? Thank you for asking!

First, anarchism. This is a commonly misunderstood term and movement. The most common misconception is that anarchists are bomb throwing terrorists. This myth came from the Haymarket Square affair. Some peaceful protests in support of a strike happened on May 4, 1886. However, when the police came to disperse the crowd, an unknown person threw a bomb into them. The police turned violent. The perpetrator was never found, but eight anarchists were tried. The court made no pretense of them being the perpetrators. Four were hanged. One killed himself to avoid execution. Two served life in prison. One served fifteen years in jail. None of them threw the bomb. Of course, the myth has a grain of truth to it. Some anarchists subscribed to the Propaganda of the Deed. According to the Propaganda of the Deed, to ignite revolution against our rulers, we must show that they can bleed. To achieve that, proponents would commit high profile assassination. However, the Propaganda of the Deed was always done by a minority, and even the majority of those who once followed it do so no longer. The objections are both on moral grounds, it kills people, and on tactical grounds, it allows the state to portray us as the bad guys and assumes that the people are just waiting for revolution and will rise up the moment they believe they can.

But that's all about myths about anarchism. What is it actually about? A destruction of hierarchy. Ruler over ruled. Capitalist over worker. Man over woman. White over black. We support a system of decentralized direct democracy and voluntary association. In general, we tend to be opposed to capitalism, sexism, homophobia, and racism.

Second, atheism. Atheism is, in short, a lack of belief in any god. This does not, however, mean a belief in no gods. Atheism is a null hypothesis. A lack of belief, not a belief in the negative. I do view organized religion as bad as it tends to create a hierarchical system, so, as an anarchist, I oppose it.

Third, communism. As a communist, I wish to create a society where the means of production are owned communally. In addition, I seek to, as a communist, eliminate class and money. Instead of a market economy, I envision a gift economy. In a gift economy, things aren't traded for directly, like with a market or barter system. In a gift economy, people "gift" others stuff they make. This is done with the understanding that others will do the same for you. This is because, on average, what you gift to others will be equal to or greater than what you are gifted by others. Such a system would, in my opinion, most closely follow the principle of "From each according to his or her ability. To each according to his or her need."

Fourth, nihilism. Nihilism is the belief that there is no inherent meaning, purpose, or value to life and the universe. Any and all value is applied, often arbitrarily, by people. However, I contend that, rather than this being something bleak and horrible like many portray it to be, it is something beautiful. We rely on ourselves for meaning. We rely on ourselves for value. We rely on ourselves for purpose. There isn't no meaning, or purpose or value, just none of it is inherent. We find meaning. We create purpose. We see value. We do not need the universe or life to give it for us.

Fifth, pansexuality. Pansexuality is the sexual orientation that does not care about sex and gender. I do not take sex or gender into account for attraction. I do not care about sex and gender, when it comes to who I wish to have sex with or have a relationship with.

Sixth, pacifism. I am in opposition to war and violence. Both create seeds of hatred and revenge becoming self-perpetuating. That's not to say all war and/or violence is necessarily wrong, but the cases where they aren't wrong are few and far between. Generally, they are only really right when done in self defense. Violence I give more leeway for the defense of others than I do war. Just war is a faulty concept, in my opinion. War of self-defense is justifiable, but not if it turns into an aggressive war. Aiding others in war is iffy, and is almost always not justifiable. Revolution is justifiable if the people are behind it.

Seventh, polyamory. I love and date multiple people. I am currently in eight serious relationships. All of them are completely aware of the others. I give them each veto power for new partners. My partners are each in two to eight relationships themselves.

Introduction to the Court of Miracles

There is a significance to names. Liberal. Conservative. Radical. Reactionary. Socialist. Capitalist. Anarchist. Atheist. Christian. Muslim. Hindu. Rich. Poor. Feminist. Intellectual. Proletariat. You. Me. They all describe something. Someone. It's important to not be too exclusive, lest one falls in the pit of the No True Scotsman Fallacy. However, at the same time, you cannot be too inclusive, lest someone takes a name that isn't fitting. Names hold significance beyond the people they represent. Socialism is socialism, even if there is nothing left that fits that name. The significance of the names are important. Equally important is the reasons behind choosing the names.

So why have I chosen Court of Miracles? What significance does that name hold? Well, I must admit, the reason for choosing it isn't the same reason I first thought of it. I first thought of it as a descriptor of the modern world, thinking, primarily, of the song from the Hunchback of Notre Dame where the inhabitants of the court hold a mock trial, with one man serving as judge, jury, and executioner. However, being who I am, I was not satisfied with using it in that way without learning more about it. So I went to google and searched. The Court of Miracles is originally a French term, Cour des Miracles. It refers to French Slums inhabited mainly by beggars. It gained its name because the beggars from it would fake grievous handicaps to gain more from their begging, from blindness to sickness, but they'd drop their charade when they returned to the slums. "Blind" men could see. "Cripples" could walk. Miracles happened every day. But they weren't miracles. They were honesty. The beggars only needed to lie to the rich. Among their own, they could be themselves. And, so, I saw a new way to use the name Court of Miracles and apply it to the modern world. The Court of Miracles isn't the state. The Court of Miracles isn't the rich. The Court of Miracles is the poor and downtrodden. We may not live in slums comparable to that of the French beggars, but we still jump through hoops for the rich. Like the beggars in the old French Cour des Miracles, we should be honest with each other, and we should join together and unite.

That is the significance of this name. I write from the modern day Court of Miracles. The working class. The proletariat. We are the Court of Miracles.