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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of us veggies that are politically/economically far left I made this thread.

Share what tendency you are and what thoughts you have. Like how you were introduced to leftist thought, some reasons why you are what tendency you are and some friendly discussion.

(By tendency I mean like if you're a socialist, communist, anarchist, Marxist, etc.)

Personally I agree most with Anarcho-Syndicalist/Libertarian Socialist thought.

My little history: I grew up as a democrat gradually leaning Social democrat when I learned about state banks and the NHS in Europe. I started to question why everything wasn't a public service, why our economy didn't produce goods and services for the good of our society but only for those that could afford them and were sold for profit. I started questioning why there was poverty, homelessness, why foreclosures happened and why people went bank-rupt from medical bills, and sweatshops. I started to notice that the system was a competitive survival of the fittest and not a cooperative mutually assisting community. When back in elementary school my teachers would have us work on projects together, have us each do our part and help each other, so I wondered, why doesn't that happen in the real world? I've always given to charity, but I wondered, is it really helping? If we keep giving hand outs, won't they just become dependent and stay poor? What if there was a way to have it where charity and welfare weren't needed? They seemed like band-aids on the big problem. I began to question why is it that the boss makes the most money while a lot of workers make around minimum wage. How does that seem fair? And why in some countries there was no minimum wage at all? It seemed like the rich were selfish, and why did we have rich people in the first place? Earlier I thought that the harder you worked, the more money you would make. But it seemed like the opposite was true. The ones that make cabinets by hand make way less than the person who sat in the office all day. So I heard about Marx's Manifesto, gave that a read and loved it so I looked into more Marx. But then I read about the failures of Leninist revolutions like Cuba and China and abbandoned them quickly. I also didn't like how authoritarian they were. Then I read about anarchist Catalonia, the Ukranian Free territory, the Zapatistas, the early Kibbutz movement, the Hungarian revolution, etc. and became fascinated. I then read tons of books on anarchist thought and labor and that ends up where I am today. I now pay attention to the riots happening in greece and spain.

So, do you think this thread is a good idea?
 

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I've always questioned why we are expected to give to charities when companies like oil/banks ect continue to "earn" billions of dollars each year in profit. I have also questioned why the international bank continues to earn so much interest and raise the debt of all countries.
Most vegans tend to be left winged because we have questioned why there is profit when there is suffering and we don't accept the norm as being the morally right way to live.
 

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My politics are ethics based and I believe that the most good could/would be achieved through collective actions. Sadly, I find myself less and less hopeful that the world will see things as I do in everything from advocacy of non-violence, the equitable distribution of goods and services, and veganism.

I bought a Political Science degree from a Texas University some 30 years ago where I took classes in Marxist economics (the professor would advocate stealing from those who steal from you) all sorts of political and Constitutional law theories, and some various classes about the mechanics of American politics. It was interesting but fairly worthless is tangible terms.

I hope this thread works out but I wouldn't count on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Originally Posted by Lucky View Post

I bought a Political Science degree from a Texas University some 30 years ago where I took classes in Marxist economics (the professor would advocate stealing from those who steal from you) all sorts of political and Constitutional law theories, and some various classes about the mechanics of American politics. It was interesting but fairly worthless is tangible terms.
Stealing is highly over-simplifying. The idea is that in capitalism the proletariat produces value in goods being made, and how much value he/she adds is how valuable the labor is. Marxists want the proletariat to keep the full value of their labor, but in capitalism the bourgeoisie deprive them of receiving the full value as they extract surplus value(profit) and leave the worker with a wage. Because the bourgeoisie privately own the business they can legally do that. That can be called stealing.

However, what Marxists advocate is that a revolution is needed where the workers forcibly seize and reclaim the means of production taking over the economy. That way when communism is reached, the proletariat can receive their full labor value. I would hardly call that stealing. They're taking direct action to better their economic condition which is doing whats right. Workers want to escape wage slavery and should do whatever it takes to get out of it. Wage slavery is when the wage the capitalist gives is so low that the worker can bearly live off of it, but they are forced to out of necessity to work that job because they have no better options.
 

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Originally Posted by Veg-Athei-Socialis View Post

Stealing is highly over-simplifying. The idea is that in capitalism the proletariat produces value in goods being made, and how much value he/she adds is how valuable the labor is. Marxists want the proletariat to keep the full value of their labor, but in capitalism the bourgeoisie deprive them of receiving the full value as they extract surplus value(profit) and leave the worker with a wage. Because the bourgeoisie privately own the business they can legally do that. That can be called stealing. When capitalism reaches a point where the gap between the rich and poor is so great is the breaking point for revolution because if they didn't revolt, they would starve to death and the economy would collapse. There currently wouldn't be enough welfare to support everyone.

However, what Marxists advocate is that a revolution is needed where the workers forcibly seize and reclaim the means of production taking over the economy. That way when communism is reached, the proletariat can receive their full labor value. I would hardly call that stealing. They're taking direct action to better their economic condition which is doing whats right. Workers want to escape wage slavery and should do whatever it takes to get out of it. Wage slavery is when the wage the capitalist gives is so low that the worker can bearly live off of it, but they are forced to out of necessity to work that job because they have no better options.
He was speaking in practical terms of day to day sustenance for the poor and yea, he meant physically stealing. Just recalling his thoughts. That's all.
 

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What exactly qualifies as "far left"? I always thought the right believes in small government and less military. The true conservative, at least. Not the "neo-cons" like you have today. Do the left believe in the opposite basically? I've never understood what exactly makes a person left and right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by rainforests1 View Post

What exactly qualifies as "far left"? I always thought the right believes in small government and less military. The true conservative, at least. Not the "neo-cons" like you have today. Do the left believe in the opposite basically? I've never understood what exactly makes a person left and right.
Leftists want an egalitarian society with social justice. Leftists think that the needs of society are more important than the needs of the few. Here are some terms that will help:

Communism - A stateless, classless, society where there is no private property, where goods and services are distributed according to need, where the means of production are commonly owned.

Socialism - Socialism is where the means of production are commonly or publicly owned. A goal of a socialist society is to bring social equality and wealth is distributed based on one's contributions to society. Its focus is to better society as a whole. It's a form of social organization based on nearly equal power relations, self-management meaning the elimination of hierarchal management. Goods and services are produced to meet demand and for use.

State socialists want everything nationalized and in government control being centrally planned, while libertarian socialists want worker's direct control of the work place with worker's democracy in worker's cooperatives and independent syndicates, while others want a state transition to a stateless society.

Some socialists want to reform the system while others want a revolution.

Leftists are against capitalism as they see it as a means of exploitation where poverty is created.

Generally as a leftist I think that everyone should have a job, food, place to live, medical care, education, child-care assistance where everyone's needs should be met.

However on the right is capitalism which is individualism. Where there is competition of business, with private property and profit, where the invisible hand of the market is in control.

Hope that clears thing up.
 

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For me, it took growing up in a Republican and wealthy family (which I have nothing to show for now as I fell out with them btw), and seeing their attitude of entitlement and thoughtlessness towards those less fortunate. And seeing how when I was in private school, my classmates were all snobs in training, where when I went to public school, everyone was more down to Earth.

Also, if you study economics, it doesn't take much to see that having a large underclass is bad for business owners and bad for the economy. If you want to generate demand for your goods and services, you need a society where most people have disposable income as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck.
 

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Hmm, okay. I identify as a libertarian socialist and anarchist. I've started looking into anarcho-syndicalism a little bit, and I think that fits me well, too - I'm not entirely sure what, if any, is the difference between it and L. S.. There are a LOT of different names, and I've gotten the impression that there's a LOT of overlap. Veganarchism is another school of thought I like, which is basically just what it sounds: the combining of veganism and vegan ideals with anarchist philosophy. And of course, green anarchism.
I've read a bit about Marxist thought and agree with a lot of what I've read, but I'm unsure about how much I would support state socialism/communism (though I'm inclined to think it would be better than capitalism). I'm more for bottom up organization than top down.

As for why I'm inclined to be very far left, I think that comes from the fact that I belong to a few of social (as opposed to ethnic) minority groups (vegan, atheist, queer, etc.), and am used to facing opposition for who and what I am, and what I believe. I don't think the majority's morality equals what's right, that the majority's social values are necessarily the most conducive to human wellbeing. I'm not comfortable with the idea of anyone forcing their morality on anyone else, including 99.999% of society forcing their morality on the one person who disagrees. That said, I'm no moral relativist: some moral codes are better than others, objectively speaking. I just don't believe that the majority is in the best position to know and enforce that morality. I think more often the majority is lagging behind in these matters; historically speaking, there always seems to be a small section of the population that is ahead of the curve. In the past, this would often have been the more intelligent, but nowadays I think technology is making it easier and easier for people from all walks of life, different ranges of ability, to get a hold of information, to be changed by such things.

Reading your own history, V-A-S, I see a lot of my own transformation in that; we've followed a similar pattern. I've always been a leftist, for the most part, and I got interested in state socialism / Marxism first, and then started to see a bit of the flaws in that, which led me to where I'm at now. I definitely need to study the dry, economic side of it more, though, as for me my studies took me more into the social theory behind these ideologies. I wouldn't survive in a debate against an expert capitalist/economist.
And to answer your question, I think this thread is a great idea. Mia and I started getting a bit into this in her introduction thread, actually, so the time seems right to have a thread specifically for this purpose.


Lucky, it's interesting that you mention your prof encouraging people to "steal" from people who steal from you. I'm surprised he/she could even get away with that.


I like the definitions you're provided, V-A-S, that will be helpful for anyone who's not looked into the stuff much.
I think a lot of people end up getting turned off from socialist/communist thought because they think it's about marginalizing minorities and state control over individuals' lives. This confusion isn't helped by the classifying of socialists/communists as believing in the wellbeing of the community/society, first and foremost, whereas capitalism is about individualism. Of course, the way we see it, the capitalist system is only good for the individual wellbeing of those at the top, if it even is that (I'm inclined to question how a person can be well-off, in the true sense, not just in terms of wealth, when it's at the expense of so many below them). We believe that in constructing a society that is built with the wellbeing of the whole in mind, that ends up being what's best for individual liberty and wellbeing. So in that sense, we're the real individualists, I would say.
We want everyone to be able to accomplish their personal best, to have the basic necessities of life and more, not just the privileged few at the top.

Left of center but right of Veggie Boards, Digger? Hmm, I think that leaves quite a bit of room to play around with, haha.
 

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It's amazing to me how many people don't know the difference between the words "communism" and "socialism". According to dictionary.com,

Communism =
1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2. ( often initial capital letter ) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
3. ( initial capital letter ) the principles and practices of the Communist party.

Socialism =
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

To me, it seems like common sense that everyone who does the hard work should share in the rewards. If you look at most corporations, the executives making 6 or 7 figures probably aren't working as hard as those in the factory, and those working in the factory often struggle. Socially, it seems like common sense that if what you are doing doesn't affect others, then we should focus our energy on tackling issues that do hurt others. And of course it is common sense that we should judge people by their actions, not by their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc, and if a person comes from one of these groups and is smart enough to have the cure for cancer, then depriving them the opportunity to get the education to fulfill this potential is hurting society as a whole.
 

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I think particularly in America, socialism (and communism) is anything you don't like.
And democracy is almost anything you do like, or anything that America has or used to have. And those two things, socialism and democracy, are antithetical.
 

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I don't know, socialism still seems very democratic to me although communism in it's classical form isn't so much, although democracy and unregulated capitalism are definitely incompatible!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by Kimberlily1983 View Post

Hmm, okay. I identify as a libertarian socialist and anarchist. I've started looking into anarcho-syndicalism a little bit, and I think that fits me well, too - I'm not entirely sure what, if any, is the difference between it and L. S.. There are a LOT of different names, and I've gotten the impression that there's a LOT of overlap. Veganarchism is another school of thought I like, which is basically just what it sounds: the combining of veganism and vegan ideals with anarchist philosophy. And of course, green anarchism.
Veganarchism sounds great, I just wonder how would that be accomplished unless there was some kind of animal liberation revolution. I don't know, what do you think? I like the idea of green anarchism and focusing on protecting the earth, I just wouldn't take it to the extreme of anarcho-primitivism. I like what Earth First! did in the 80's and such, but the concept of trying to destroy civilization sounds a little extreme for me. How far do you take your green anarchist thoughts?
Quote:
I've read a bit about Marxist thought and agree with a lot of what I've read, but I'm unsure about how much I would support state socialism/communism (though I'm inclined to think it would be better than capitalism). I'm more for bottom up organization than top down.
The only difference is that private business owners are switched for state officials and social services are provided. Not that much better honestly. I too prefer bottom up organization or "revolution from below".
Quote:
As for why I'm inclined to be very far left, I think that comes from the fact that I belong to a few of social (as opposed to ethnic) minority groups (vegan, atheist, queer, etc.), and am used to facing opposition for who and what I am, and what I believe. I don't think the majority's morality equals what's right, that the majority's social values are necessarily the most conducive to human wellbeing. I'm not comfortable with the idea of anyone forcing their morality on anyone else, including 99.999% of society forcing their morality on the one person who disagrees. That said, I'm no moral relativist: some moral codes are better than others, objectively speaking. I just don't believe that the majority is in the best position to know and enforce that morality. I think more often the majority is lagging behind in these matters; historically speaking, there always seems to be a small section of the population that is ahead of the curve. In the past, this would often have been the more intelligent, but nowadays I think technology is making it easier and easier for people from all walks of life, different ranges of ability, to get a hold of information, to be changed by such things.
If you haven't already you might like this essay by Emma Goldman:

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist...ajorities.html
Quote:
Reading your own history, V-A-S, I see a lot of my own transformation in that; we've followed a similar pattern. I've always been a leftist, for the most part, and I got interested in state socialism / Marxism first, and then started to see a bit of the flaws in that, which led me to where I'm at now. I definitely need to study the dry, economic side of it more, though, as for me my studies took me more into the social theory behind these ideologies. I wouldn't survive in a debate against an expert capitalist/economist.
And to answer your question, I think this thread is a great idea. Mia and I started getting a bit into this in her introduction thread, actually, so the time seems right to have a thread specifically for this purpose.
Quote:
Lucky, it's interesting that you mention your prof encouraging people to "steal" from people who steal from you. I'm surprised he/she could even get away with that.
Did I miss something here? At first I thought she was talking about profit and revolution, but now it looks like something else. I'm confused.
Quote:
I like the definitions you're provided, V-A-S, that will be helpful for anyone who's not looked into the stuff much.
I think a lot of people end up getting turned off from socialist/communist thought because they think it's about marginalizing minorities and state control over individuals' lives.
If only more people knew the real meaning of the words then I'd imagine there would be more of us.
Quote:
This confusion isn't helped by the classifying of socialists/communists as believing in the wellbeing of the community/society, first and foremost, whereas capitalism is about individualism. Of course, the way we see it, the capitalist system is only good for the individual wellbeing of those at the top, if it even is that (I'm inclined to question how a person can be well-off, in the true sense, not just in terms of wealth, when it's at the expense of so many below them).
Quote:
We believe that in constructing a society that is built with the wellbeing of the whole in mind, that ends up being what's best for individual liberty and wellbeing. So in that sense, we're the real individualists, I would say.
We want everyone to be able to accomplish their personal best, to have the basic necessities of life and more, not just the privileged few at the top.
Alexander Berkman covers this pretty well in the last few chapters of his book "The ABC of Anarchism" if you'd like to give that a read.

Quote:
Left of center but right of Veggie Boards, Digger? Hmm, I think that leaves quite a bit of room to play around with, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by Mia82 View Post

I don't know, socialism still seems very democratic to me although communism in it's classical form isn't so much, although democracy and unregulated capitalism are definitely incompatible!
The state transition isn't supposed to be democratic. There's a reason why Marx called it the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veg-Athei-Socialis View Post

The state transition isn't supposed to be democratic. There's a reason why Marx called it the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Hmmmm, but how do we decide who is going to be in charge of setting things up then if it isn't democratic? It seems like it has the danger of taking us from one problem into a completely different kind of problem, Stalin definitely wasn't a nice person. But then if you do look at countries with socialist principles and democratic governments, they work very well, in comparison to the US anyway.
 

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At the risk of sounding condescending - it's great that you have fostered an open-minded interest at an ostensible young age.
You sound exactly like I did in high school.

I actually should make more of an effort to reassess my views.

Give me a range of issues and I'll give views.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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Originally Posted by Mia82 View Post

Hmmmm, but how do we decide who is going to be in charge of setting things up then if it isn't democratic?
This is where Leninists came up with the idea of a vanguard party.
Quote:
It seems like it has the danger of taking us from one problem into a completely different kind of problem, Stalin definitely wasn't a nice person.
I don't like the idea of the state transition, thats why I'm not a Marxist. But according to Leninist theory he did things pretty much correct. He censored free speech silencing the opposition to the revolution, he arrested and killed counter-revolutionaries to make sure they weren't a problem, the dictatorship made it so that no enemy could become elected and screw anything up, he nationalized and collectivized the businesses. Supposedly after enough time the state is supposed to "wither away" but after the many years the soviet union existed there was no evidence that such a thing would ever happen. So supposedly he was a nice guy to the workers, but not to the capitalists. But that wasn't the case either. Stalin out-lawed gay marriage, famine broke out, the great purge affecting peasants and minorities against the party, theres lots of reasons why stalin was bad.
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But then if you do look at countries with socialist principles and democratic governments, they work very well, in comparison to the US anyway.
I wouldn't call those countries like switzerland and france socialist, sure they have free healthcare, education and banks, along with heavy market regulations, but they are still mostly capitalist. There is still a market, still private enterprise, corporations, etc. Sure the UK has a "labor party", but they're not even pretending to give farms to the farm workers or anything. In fact, in places like greece, working people are rioting in the streets because of austerity measures. Really the economy isn't completely state run, and its not heading in that direction no matter how many reforms they tried. And there are no reforms taking land, wealth or power away from the capitalists and giving it to the workers. I think europe is just pretending to be socialist. I'll admit its better than nothing over there but still.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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Originally Posted by theLaika View Post

At the risk of sounding condescending - it's great that you have fostered an open-minded interest at an ostensible young age.
You sound exactly like I did in high school.

I actually should make more of an effort to reassess my views.

Give me a range of issues and I'll give views.
Okay the first one I have to ask you is what is your stance on immigration?
 

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Ahhh, this thread has my heart


I pretty much agree with everything Kim has said.
 
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