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What are the keys to happiness? + Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] WORLD SOCIALIST REVOLUTION ; A UTOPIAN IDEAL?

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  • Simon Wood
    Denis, ... First of all, CUBA does not have a wall around it, and the current Cuban policy and agreement with the U.S.A. allows for a minimum of 20,000 people
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 17, 2003
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      Denis,
      on something you wrote below:

      > there will always be people who
      > want to move from the poorer society to the wealthier one and therefore in
      > those circumstances something like the Berlin Wall becomes necessary to
      > preserve the Socialist system.

      First of all, CUBA does not have a wall around it, and the current Cuban policy
      and agreement with the U.S.A. allows for a minimum of 20,000 people to migrate
      to the U.S.A. every year (e.g. see CUBA: "Castro defends crackdown against US
      provocations", BY DOUG LORIMER, Green Left Weekly, May 14, 2003). And the
      socialist system in Cuba seems alive and well.

      I would say that many economic indicators do not matter when it comes to whether
      a socialist system will survive or not. Certain economic standards are more
      important than others, and some are necessary. What is necessary is that the
      people get enough food. Also, health-care and education, housing and clothing
      are pretty important - and to stave off foreign imperialist incursions, global
      influence (e.g. good P.R., giving of aid to people in other countries - like
      Cuban doctors, educators and military assistance) and military defensive power
      is important. In the case of military defensive power, immigration out of Cuba
      allows for Cuban secret agents to work for Cuba in other countries. Also,
      military defensive power can be cheap, if the whole population (or at least a
      great majority) is trained and ready to defend the nation and defend socialism
      against foreign invaders. I have read that this is the case with Cuba, and this
      seems to be a major deterrent to U.S. invasion.

      The other point I would like to make is about the power of revolutionary
      consciousness, socialist consciousness, culture. Now, I used to want to be rich,
      yet my consciousness has changed. And many other people have seen that being
      rich does not give one true, lasting happiness (many Buddhists, some Christians,
      some taoists, and others). As long as one has one's basic needs met, happiness
      can be achieved without being rich. After all, surely you don't claim that
      people were not happy living in pre-capitalist societies, societies before
      factories and motor-cars and coca-cola came along (the coca-leaf and guarana and
      fruit juice and mother's milk - for the little children who get given coca-cola
      in the third world now - are far better than coke, anyway). In fact, most third
      world societies before the colonial invasions were far more egalitarian when it
      came to wealth than they are now under capitalism. And they can be egalitarian
      again.

      With a powerful culture, with a certain kind of consciousness, people will see
      that leaving a "poor" socialist country to go to a "wealthier" capitalist
      country in order to become happy or happier through wealth is deluded thinking.
      This is the deluded thinking that people like the Buddha spoke of. The Buddha
      and the greek philosopher Epicurus, amongst others, gave us wisdom about how to
      achieve happiness. And many modern psychologists agree with these ancient sages,
      that one's relationships and one's psychological health (be that below average,
      average or excepionally high) are some of the few factors which really matter
      when it comes to being happy. My own experience confirms this.

      I propose that "poor socialist" countries like Cuba would benefit greatly by
      propagating such ancient wisdom on the reality of how to be happy, along with
      the recent relevant recommendations of many modern-day psychologists and
      self-development/self-help books and courses.



      And now, a couple of paragraphs that do not fit in the paradigm "development to
      a 'wealthier' society is better" (from "Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
      <http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html>) -

      "Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home.
      Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over
      the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere,
      establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image."
      The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly
      transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk
      cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies.
      Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by
      desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

      Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times
      carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By
      their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted,
      fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire
      way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the
      rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were
      turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into
      disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages--when
      fortunate enough to find employment."

      And on the Myths of Underdevelopment:

      "The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as
      the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized
      Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist
      states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most
      Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe
      that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have
      always been infertile or their people unproductive.
      In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great
      treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the
      Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not
      go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people
      are poor--and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

      The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began
      centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold,
      silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum,
      rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin,
      iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum,
      cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most
      hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into
      slave labor."

      That chapter (from "Against Empire") by Michael Parenti is one of my favourite
      pieces of writing - I wholeheartedly recommend that you read the whole thing.
      Again, the address is: <http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html>


      Denis Berrell <dennyben@...> said:

      > Simon,
      >
      > I guess the short answer is I'm not sure and that's why I'd love to see
      > this topic thrown open to discussion. Peter Boyle has just suggested some
      > very good links to me and I now wish I'd read them before I wrote my last
      > piece. Believe it or not I've arrived at this position of my own accord and
      > now discover, of course, that this topic has all been debated before and by
      > eminently more qualified persons than myself.
      >
      > Allow me to state at the outset that if the Socialist Revolution were to
      > occur anywhere in the advanced, industrialised Capitalist part of the world,
      > that is to say in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand
      > or Japan this debate would become superfluous, in that event a rapid advance
      > to Socialism would be immediately possible. However we are discussing the
      > existing reality where Socialists are charged with attempting to construct
      > Socialist and eventually Communist societies not in one of the most advanced
      > Capitalist countries but rather in some of the most backward.
      >
      > The point of my last post was that not only is this the situation now but
      > is likely to be the situation in the future too. It should also be pointed
      > out that this debate should be held in light of actual events, unlike Lenin,
      > Trotsky, Kautsky et al we have the advantage of how things worked out. We
      > know that the experience of trying to build Socialism in backward and
      > impoverished circumstances ultimately failed. We may differ as to the
      > reasons why it failed but I think we can all agree that in fact it did fail.
      > It could be argued that the one who came closest to the truth was Kautsky,
      > and as you may have worked out my argument is perhaps closest to Kautsky's.
      > That is to say the attempt to build Socialism in Russia and elsewhere
      > ultimately failed because it attempted to by-pass the necessary stage of
      > Capitalist Development which Marx argued was so crucial to the success of
      > the Socialist Project.
      >
      > I want to take this opportunity, if I may to clarify something I said in a
      > previous post. It may appear that I condoned the building of the Berlin Wall
      > in 1961. In a sense I did. Many on this forum, I suspect, would attribute
      > the building of the Berlin Wall to another of the many sins of Stalinism. I
      > don't quite see it that way. Wherever Capitalism and Socialism meet head to
      > head as they did in Berlin and where Socialism cannot compete with
      > Capitalism in terms of economic growth, then something like the Berlin Wall
      > will probably always be necessary for the survival of Socialism. As I wrote
      > previously Marx contended in fact that Socialism would outstrip Capitalism
      > in the creation of material wealth and that in fact Socialism was a
      > necessary precondition to realise the full potential of the Productive
      > Forces developed under Capitalism. It must be said that this proposition
      > remains unproved. However there is some evidence that in striving for Social
      > Equality one necessarily impedes the Economy's capacity for growth.
      > Therefore, while in many respects East Berlin may have been a fairer society
      > than West Berlin it could not compete in terms of Economic growth. As with
      > refugees trying to get to Europe from Africa there will always be people who
      > want to move from the poorer society to the wealthier one and therefore in
      > those circumstances something like the Berlin Wall becomes necessary to
      > preserve the Socialist system. In a sense, and I know this won't make me
      > popular the treacherous Florida Strait serves the same purpose in relation
      > to Cuba and the U.S.
      >
      > Of course there's more to it than that and I'd like to write a post on the
      > specific difficulties which confronted the construction of Socialism in the
      > former G.D.R. and also something about the workers uprising in East Berlin
      > on June 15, 1953 but I'll leave it to another time.
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Simon Wood" <s121908@...>
      > To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 11:06 PM
      > Subject: Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] WORLD SOCIALIST REVOLUTION ; A UTOPIAN
      > IDEAL?
      >
      >
      > >
      > > You have neglected mentioning the potential for revolutionary coordination
      > by
      > > global networking, building links, building alliances, etc..
      > >
      > > You talk about potential in terms of probabilities - but you have left out
      > an
      > > important factor in the equation:
      > >
      > > what are YOU going to do? (And what do you propose WE do?)
      > >
      > >
      > > michael berrell <dennyben@...> said:
      > >
      > > > Some weeks ago I posted the address of a website concerning
      > > > Trotskyism www.flashnet/~comvoice/30cTrotsky.html
      > > >
      > > > It's a pity this post didn't engender a response because the site
      > > > raised some of the concerns I have with Trotskyism. My main concern
      > > > is with Trotsky's concept of 'Permanent Revolution'. According to
      > > > Trotsky, on a world scale the material conditions for Socialism have
      > > > matured, therefore, accordingly, any revolution no matter in what
      > > > part of the World it might occur must necessarily pass beyond the
      > > > first stage of the democratic/bourgeois revolution and culminate in
      > > > a proletarian socialist revolution, this is regardless of the
      > > > OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS and material circumstances it occurs in.
      > > >
      > > > For Communism to succeed as Marx envisioned, the Revolution must
      > > > either emanate or at least, in it's course spread to the most
      > > > advanced, industrialised, Capitalist Economies. Anything short of
      > > > this will necessarily result in a 'bastardised' version thereof.
      > > > This has tragically been the experience of the Twentieth Century.
      > > >
      > > > As I see it there is no guarantee that the Socialist Revolution
      > > > will be of a world wide character. Certainly there are circumstances
      > > > in which this might occur such as an economic catastrophe afflicting
      > > > the global Capitalist system such as occurred during the Great
      > > > Depression or the breakdown of the old order following the end of
      > > > WW1. However the more likely scenario is that as with the Twentieth
      > > > Century the Revolution will emanate in one of the more backward
      > > > regions of Global Capitalism and be isolated there. In those parts
      > > > of the World where the conditions for Socialism have matured, there
      > > > is no Revolutionary Class which can lead the revolution, a
      > > > Revolutionary Class first emerges in those parts of the World where
      > > > the material conditions for Socialism are absent. This is the
      > > > conundrum and tragedy facing Communism.
      > > >
      > > > By way of illustration it has been my contention that nearly the
      > > > whole of Latin America is on the verge of Social Revolution. The
      > > > situation is unprecedented. Nearly every country in Latin America
      > > > has been under some form of emergency rule over the past two years.
      > > > Popular revolt has come to the brink of toppling the governments of
      > > > Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, a protracted civil war has raged within
      > > > Colombia since the late 1940's, a social revolution is currently
      > > > being played out in Venezuela, a 'leftist' president was elected
      > > > with a record vote(61%)amid high expectations and of course the
      > > > Capitalist system all but collapsed in Argentina. I think events in
      > > > Argentina must be of considerablr concern to the Left. A protracted
      > > > crisis which has seen over 50% of the population driven into
      > > > conditions of abject misery failed to culminate in a serious
      > > > challenge to the system in fact in the presidential election in May
      > > > the Marxist Left running as some kind of United Front polled just
      > > > 1.4% of the vote which is nearly negligible and astonishing given
      > > > the circumstances. In light of this one would almost despair of ever
      > > > seeing a Socialist Revolution again. Nevertheless the prospects for
      > > > Social Revolution across Latin America are immediate and real. The
      > > > success of a Socialist Revolution in Latin America hinge directly on
      > > > events in Brazil and Argentina, the two largest economies with a
      > > > significant Working Class,and the most advanced Productive Forces.
      > > >
      > > > The emergence of Globalisation of course enhances the prospects of
      > > > a World Wide Revolution with the increasing interconnectedness of
      > > > economies. A revolution in Brazil, for example, would plunge other
      > > > developing market economies into crisis such as Indonesia, Thailand,
      > > > The Phillipines etc and we could see a repeat of what happened in
      > > > 1997/98. The crisis could even spread to Japan with it's advanced
      > > > Productive Forces, in fact the success of any Revolution would
      > > > depend upon it however this is probably a wildly fanciful scenario.
      > > > The more likely scenario would see the revolution isolated in Latin
      > > > America somewhere, and isolated and surrounded by hostile
      > > > Imperialist Countries, the cprospects for a rapid degeneration of
      > > > any such revolution would be almost inevitable.
      > > >
      > > > Even if any of this were to eventuate there is no guarantee that
      > > > the revolution would spread to any part of the advanced,
      > > > industrialised, Capitalist World and we would once again have the
      > > > prospect of a Socialism isolated in a backward, impoverished part of
      > > > the world facing a Capitalism in the more affluent parts of the
      > > > global. Even a most optimistic scenario would see a Socialist
      > > > Revolution emanating in either Brazil or Argentina spreading across
      > > > Latin America and then to the developing market economies of South
      > > > East Asia, Indonesia, The Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia, and
      > > > possibly South Korea and Japan.
      > > >
      > > > So what is the point of all this? To my mind Trotsky's position
      > > > that the Socialist Revolution must necessarily be of a global
      > > > character is probably a Utopian one, that revolutionary prospects
      > > > will emerge in some countries before others and that consequently
      > > > some time in the future we will once again see not a global
      > > > Socialist System but rather Capitalism and Socialism competing with
      > > > one another on a global scale. The question and point of this post
      > > > is will the outcome be any different to the last time.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au
      > > >
      > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > > > GreenLeft_discussion-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --
      > >
      > > FOOD IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!! FOOD FOR EVERYONE!!!
      > >
      > > http://si4abetterworld.tripod.com/home/id8.html
      > >
      > >
      > > Join the FOOD FOR EVERYONE campaign to ensure everyone on the planet has
      > enough
      > > food to eat by the year 2020!
      > >
      > > http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/Food_For_Everyone/
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au
      > >
      > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > > GreenLeft_discussion-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > GreenLeft_discussion-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >




      --

      FOOD IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!! FOOD FOR EVERYONE!!!

      http://si4abetterworld.tripod.com/home/id8.html


      Join the FOOD FOR EVERYONE campaign to ensure everyone on the planet has enough
      food to eat by the year 2020!

      http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/Food_For_Everyone/
    • Denis Berrell
      Simon, I haven t had time to read that piece by Michael Parenti yet, but I will certainly take the time to do so. I am aware of his work. However I can t allow
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 17, 2003
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        Simon,

        I haven't had time to read that piece by Michael Parenti yet, but I will
        certainly take the time to do so. I am aware of his work. However I can't
        allow your reply to pass without making a few points of my own.

        First on Cuba, As I noted in my post, to a certain extent the treacherous
        Florida Strait performs the same function as the Berlin Wall. Not only does
        it make it difficult for people to leave it also serves to keep out unwanted
        outside influences. The fact that Cuba has had to negotiate an agreement
        with the U.S. Government allowing for a MINIMUM of 20 000 people to leave is
        acknowledgement of the very problem I am referring to. Let me be clear on
        this I am a great defender of Cuba and I think many of it's social
        achievements, particularly in the fields of Health and Education have been
        terrrific, my main point is this, these people are not fleeing Socialism as
        such but rather are looking to migrate to a society at a higher stage of
        economic development. And of course this is not a phenomenon unique to Cuba,
        we see it in the proliferation of 'illegal' migrants from Mexico to the U.S.
        or from Africa into Europe or from Albania to Italy and in literally dozens
        of other instances.

        By way of illustration, some years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and
        the destruction of the former G.D.R. a survey was conducted amongst
        citizens of the former G.D.R. which found that something up to 95% of
        respondants volunteered that there were 'positive' aspects of living in the
        former G.D.R. Of course there were, full employment, job security, free
        health and education, guaranteed security for the elderly a wide range of
        Welfare benefits and compared to most of the world a fairly reasonable
        standard of living. When people went into the streets in October/November
        1989 they weren't against free health and education or full employment but
        rather they wanted the freedom to say what they felt and most importantly
        they wanted a higher standard of living which they felt the Capitalist West
        could offer them. Of course many were to be bitterly disappointed by the
        reality.

        You say " What is necessary is that the people get enough food,
        healthcare,education, housing and clothing" however I would reply to you
        that all this in fact was provided for in the former U.S.S.R. and the
        'Socialist' nations of Eastern Europe.

        Your point about 'Socialist Consciousness' is well taken. However you make
        the mistake of extrapolating from your own experience to what is therefore
        right for everyone else. In short you fail to acknowledge that not everyone
        is like you or me for that matter. Your argument is a bit like saying well
        I'm a Priest or an Accountant or a Teacher or a Policeman or living on a
        commune in Nimbin, I like it so why shouldn't everyone else be a Priest, an
        Accountant, a Policeman etc.

        Your central premise that Socialism can in fact be built on a lower
        material basis than Capitalism worries me as does your romanticisation of
        pre-Capitalist formations. Your claim that people living in pre-Capitalist
        societies were 'happier' would seem to me extremely difficult to quantify.

        As we have seen the idea that Socialism can be constructed on a lower
        material base than that provided for by Capitalism is a refutation of
        Classical Marxism. Marx envisioned a society of unprecedented material
        abundance and that Socialism would in fact see a veritable explosion of the
        Forces of Production. The Forces of Production necessarily developed under
        Capitalism. My argument has been that if we attempt to build Socialism on a
        lower material base than that provided for by Capitalism and that in the
        quest to construct a more egalitarian society and in doing so necessarily
        sacrifice some degree of Economic growth, then where that society meets
        actually existing Capitalism head on some form of 'Berlin Wall' will be
        necessary to preserve the Socialist system. Of course all this becomes
        superfluous if the Socialist Revolution is of a World Wide character, and
        there is no Capitalism to compete with, or where Socialism actually succeeds
        in outstripping Capitalism in terms of Economic growth. In that instance a
        wall may need to be constructed to keep people out!
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Simon Wood" <s121908@...>
        To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 4:34 AM
        Subject: What are the keys to happiness? + Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] WORLD
        SOCIALIST REVOLUTION ; A UTOPIAN IDEAL?


        >
        > Denis,
        > on something you wrote below:
        >
        > > there will always be people who
        > > want to move from the poorer society to the wealthier one and therefore
        in
        > > those circumstances something like the Berlin Wall becomes necessary to
        > > preserve the Socialist system.
        >
        > First of all, CUBA does not have a wall around it, and the current Cuban
        policy
        > and agreement with the U.S.A. allows for a minimum of 20,000 people to
        migrate
        > to the U.S.A. every year (e.g. see CUBA: "Castro defends crackdown against
        US
        > provocations", BY DOUG LORIMER, Green Left Weekly, May 14, 2003). And the
        > socialist system in Cuba seems alive and well.
        >
        > I would say that many economic indicators do not matter when it comes to
        whether
        > a socialist system will survive or not. Certain economic standards are
        more
        > important than others, and some are necessary. What is necessary is that
        the
        > people get enough food. Also, health-care and education, housing and
        clothing
        > are pretty important - and to stave off foreign imperialist incursions,
        global
        > influence (e.g. good P.R., giving of aid to people in other countries -
        like
        > Cuban doctors, educators and military assistance) and military defensive
        power
        > is important. In the case of military defensive power, immigration out of
        Cuba
        > allows for Cuban secret agents to work for Cuba in other countries. Also,
        > military defensive power can be cheap, if the whole population (or at
        least a
        > great majority) is trained and ready to defend the nation and defend
        socialism
        > against foreign invaders. I have read that this is the case with Cuba, and
        this
        > seems to be a major deterrent to U.S. invasion.
        >
        > The other point I would like to make is about the power of revolutionary
        > consciousness, socialist consciousness, culture. Now, I used to want to be
        rich,
        > yet my consciousness has changed. And many other people have seen that
        being
        > rich does not give one true, lasting happiness (many Buddhists, some
        Christians,
        > some taoists, and others). As long as one has one's basic needs met,
        happiness
        > can be achieved without being rich. After all, surely you don't claim that
        > people were not happy living in pre-capitalist societies, societies before
        > factories and motor-cars and coca-cola came along (the coca-leaf and
        guarana and
        > fruit juice and mother's milk - for the little children who get given
        coca-cola
        > in the third world now - are far better than coke, anyway). In fact, most
        third
        > world societies before the colonial invasions were far more egalitarian
        when it
        > came to wealth than they are now under capitalism. And they can be
        egalitarian
        > again.
        >
        > With a powerful culture, with a certain kind of consciousness, people will
        see
        > that leaving a "poor" socialist country to go to a "wealthier" capitalist
        > country in order to become happy or happier through wealth is deluded
        thinking.
        > This is the deluded thinking that people like the Buddha spoke of. The
        Buddha
        > and the greek philosopher Epicurus, amongst others, gave us wisdom about
        how to
        > achieve happiness. And many modern psychologists agree with these ancient
        sages,
        > that one's relationships and one's psychological health (be that below
        average,
        > average or excepionally high) are some of the few factors which really
        matter
        > when it comes to being happy. My own experience confirms this.
        >
        > I propose that "poor socialist" countries like Cuba would benefit greatly
        by
        > propagating such ancient wisdom on the reality of how to be happy, along
        with
        > the recent relevant recommendations of many modern-day psychologists and
        > self-development/self-help books and courses.
        >
        >
        >
        > And now, a couple of paragraphs that do not fit in the paradigm
        "development to
        > a 'wealthier' society is better" (from "Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
        > <http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html>) -
        >
        > "Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay
        home.
        > Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases
        over
        > the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle
        everywhere,
        > establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own
        image."
        > The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are
        forcibly
        > transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and
        folk
        > cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies.
        > Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages
        by
        > desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.
        >
        > Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles
        Times
        > carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South
        Pacific. By
        > their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted,
        > fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their
        entire
        > way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that
        destroyed the
        > rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands
        were
        > turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed
        into
        > disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence
        wages--when
        > fortunate enough to find employment."
        >
        > And on the Myths of Underdevelopment:
        >
        > "The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us
        as
        > the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of
        industrialized
        > Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of
        communist
        > states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most
        > Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to
        believe
        > that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands
        have
        > always been infertile or their people unproductive.
        > In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced
        great
        > treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the
        > Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does
        not
        > go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its
        people
        > are poor--and it is because of the pillage they have endured.
        >
        > The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World
        began
        > centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted
        gold,
        > silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar,
        rum,
        > rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil,
        tin,
        > iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum,
        > cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most
        > hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings
        into
        > slave labor."
        >
        > That chapter (from "Against Empire") by Michael Parenti is one of my
        favourite
        > pieces of writing - I wholeheartedly recommend that you read the whole
        thing.
        > Again, the address is: <http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html>
        >
        >
        > Denis Berrell <dennyben@...> said:
        >
        > > Simon,
        > >
        > > I guess the short answer is I'm not sure and that's why I'd love to
        see
        > > this topic thrown open to discussion. Peter Boyle has just suggested
        some
        > > very good links to me and I now wish I'd read them before I wrote my
        last
        > > piece. Believe it or not I've arrived at this position of my own accord
        and
        > > now discover, of course, that this topic has all been debated before and
        by
        > > eminently more qualified persons than myself.
        > >
        > > Allow me to state at the outset that if the Socialist Revolution were
        to
        > > occur anywhere in the advanced, industrialised Capitalist part of the
        world,
        > > that is to say in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New
        Zealand
        > > or Japan this debate would become superfluous, in that event a rapid
        advance
        > > to Socialism would be immediately possible. However we are discussing
        the
        > > existing reality where Socialists are charged with attempting to
        construct
        > > Socialist and eventually Communist societies not in one of the most
        advanced
        > > Capitalist countries but rather in some of the most backward.
        > >
        > > The point of my last post was that not only is this the situation now
        but
        > > is likely to be the situation in the future too. It should also be
        pointed
        > > out that this debate should be held in light of actual events, unlike
        Lenin,
        > > Trotsky, Kautsky et al we have the advantage of how things worked out.
        We
        > > know that the experience of trying to build Socialism in backward and
        > > impoverished circumstances ultimately failed. We may differ as to the
        > > reasons why it failed but I think we can all agree that in fact it did
        fail.
        > > It could be argued that the one who came closest to the truth was
        Kautsky,
        > > and as you may have worked out my argument is perhaps closest to
        Kautsky's.
        > > That is to say the attempt to build Socialism in Russia and elsewhere
        > > ultimately failed because it attempted to by-pass the necessary stage of
        > > Capitalist Development which Marx argued was so crucial to the success
        of
        > > the Socialist Project.
        > >
        > > I want to take this opportunity, if I may to clarify something I said
        in a
        > > previous post. It may appear that I condoned the building of the Berlin
        Wall
        > > in 1961. In a sense I did. Many on this forum, I suspect, would
        attribute
        > > the building of the Berlin Wall to another of the many sins of
        Stalinism. I
        > > don't quite see it that way. Wherever Capitalism and Socialism meet head
        to
        > > head as they did in Berlin and where Socialism cannot compete with
        > > Capitalism in terms of economic growth, then something like the Berlin
        Wall
        > > will probably always be necessary for the survival of Socialism. As I
        wrote
        > > previously Marx contended in fact that Socialism would outstrip
        Capitalism
        > > in the creation of material wealth and that in fact Socialism was a
        > > necessary precondition to realise the full potential of the Productive
        > > Forces developed under Capitalism. It must be said that this
        proposition
        > > remains unproved. However there is some evidence that in striving for
        Social
        > > Equality one necessarily impedes the Economy's capacity for growth.
        > > Therefore, while in many respects East Berlin may have been a fairer
        society
        > > than West Berlin it could not compete in terms of Economic growth. As
        with
        > > refugees trying to get to Europe from Africa there will always be people
        who
        > > want to move from the poorer society to the wealthier one and therefore
        in
        > > those circumstances something like the Berlin Wall becomes necessary to
        > > preserve the Socialist system. In a sense, and I know this won't make me
        > > popular the treacherous Florida Strait serves the same purpose in
        relation
        > > to Cuba and the U.S.
        > >
        > > Of course there's more to it than that and I'd like to write a post on
        the
        > > specific difficulties which confronted the construction of Socialism in
        the
        > > former G.D.R. and also something about the workers uprising in East
        Berlin
        > > on June 15, 1953 but I'll leave it to another time.
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > From: "Simon Wood" <s121908@...>
        > > To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
        > > Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 11:06 PM
        > > Subject: Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] WORLD SOCIALIST REVOLUTION ; A
        UTOPIAN
        > > IDEAL?
        > >
        > >
        > > >
        > > > You have neglected mentioning the potential for revolutionary
        coordination
        > > by
        > > > global networking, building links, building alliances, etc..
        > > >
        > > > You talk about potential in terms of probabilities - but you have left
        out
        > > an
        > > > important factor in the equation:
        > > >
        > > > what are YOU going to do? (And what do you propose WE do?)
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > michael berrell <dennyben@...> said:
        > > >
        > > > > Some weeks ago I posted the address of a website concerning
        > > > > Trotskyism www.flashnet/~comvoice/30cTrotsky.html
        > > > >
        > > > > It's a pity this post didn't engender a response because the site
        > > > > raised some of the concerns I have with Trotskyism. My main concern
        > > > > is with Trotsky's concept of 'Permanent Revolution'. According to
        > > > > Trotsky, on a world scale the material conditions for Socialism have
        > > > > matured, therefore, accordingly, any revolution no matter in what
        > > > > part of the World it might occur must necessarily pass beyond the
        > > > > first stage of the democratic/bourgeois revolution and culminate in
        > > > > a proletarian socialist revolution, this is regardless of the
        > > > > OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS and material circumstances it occurs in.
        > > > >
        > > > > For Communism to succeed as Marx envisioned, the Revolution must
        > > > > either emanate or at least, in it's course spread to the most
        > > > > advanced, industrialised, Capitalist Economies. Anything short of
        > > > > this will necessarily result in a 'bastardised' version thereof.
        > > > > This has tragically been the experience of the Twentieth Century.
        > > > >
        > > > > As I see it there is no guarantee that the Socialist Revolution
        > > > > will be of a world wide character. Certainly there are circumstances
        > > > > in which this might occur such as an economic catastrophe afflicting
        > > > > the global Capitalist system such as occurred during the Great
        > > > > Depression or the breakdown of the old order following the end of
        > > > > WW1. However the more likely scenario is that as with the Twentieth
        > > > > Century the Revolution will emanate in one of the more backward
        > > > > regions of Global Capitalism and be isolated there. In those parts
        > > > > of the World where the conditions for Socialism have matured, there
        > > > > is no Revolutionary Class which can lead the revolution, a
        > > > > Revolutionary Class first emerges in those parts of the World where
        > > > > the material conditions for Socialism are absent. This is the
        > > > > conundrum and tragedy facing Communism.
        > > > >
        > > > > By way of illustration it has been my contention that nearly the
        > > > > whole of Latin America is on the verge of Social Revolution. The
        > > > > situation is unprecedented. Nearly every country in Latin America
        > > > > has been under some form of emergency rule over the past two years.
        > > > > Popular revolt has come to the brink of toppling the governments of
        > > > > Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, a protracted civil war has raged within
        > > > > Colombia since the late 1940's, a social revolution is currently
        > > > > being played out in Venezuela, a 'leftist' president was elected
        > > > > with a record vote(61%)amid high expectations and of course the
        > > > > Capitalist system all but collapsed in Argentina. I think events in
        > > > > Argentina must be of considerablr concern to the Left. A protracted
        > > > > crisis which has seen over 50% of the population driven into
        > > > > conditions of abject misery failed to culminate in a serious
        > > > > challenge to the system in fact in the presidential election in May
        > > > > the Marxist Left running as some kind of United Front polled just
        > > > > 1.4% of the vote which is nearly negligible and astonishing given
        > > > > the circumstances. In light of this one would almost despair of ever
        > > > > seeing a Socialist Revolution again. Nevertheless the prospects for
        > > > > Social Revolution across Latin America are immediate and real. The
        > > > > success of a Socialist Revolution in Latin America hinge directly on
        > > > > events in Brazil and Argentina, the two largest economies with a
        > > > > significant Working Class,and the most advanced Productive Forces.
        > > > >
        > > > > The emergence of Globalisation of course enhances the prospects of
        > > > > a World Wide Revolution with the increasing interconnectedness of
        > > > > economies. A revolution in Brazil, for example, would plunge other
        > > > > developing market economies into crisis such as Indonesia, Thailand,
        > > > > The Phillipines etc and we could see a repeat of what happened in
        > > > > 1997/98. The crisis could even spread to Japan with it's advanced
        > > > > Productive Forces, in fact the success of any Revolution would
        > > > > depend upon it however this is probably a wildly fanciful scenario.
        > > > > The more likely scenario would see the revolution isolated in Latin
        > > > > America somewhere, and isolated and surrounded by hostile
        > > > > Imperialist Countries, the cprospects for a rapid degeneration of
        > > > > any such revolution would be almost inevitable.
        > > > >
        > > > > Even if any of this were to eventuate there is no guarantee that
        > > > > the revolution would spread to any part of the advanced,
        > > > > industrialised, Capitalist World and we would once again have the
        > > > > prospect of a Socialism isolated in a backward, impoverished part of
        > > > > the world facing a Capitalism in the more affluent parts of the
        > > > > global. Even a most optimistic scenario would see a Socialist
        > > > > Revolution emanating in either Brazil or Argentina spreading across
        > > > > Latin America and then to the developing market economies of South
        > > > > East Asia, Indonesia, The Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia, and
        > > > > possibly South Korea and Japan.
        > > > >
        > > > > So what is the point of all this? To my mind Trotsky's position
        > > > > that the Socialist Revolution must necessarily be of a global
        > > > > character is probably a Utopian one, that revolutionary prospects
        > > > > will emerge in some countries before others and that consequently
        > > > > some time in the future we will once again see not a global
        > > > > Socialist System but rather Capitalism and Socialism competing with
        > > > > one another on a global scale. The question and point of this post
        > > > > is will the outcome be any different to the last time.
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au
        > > > >
        > > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > > > > GreenLeft_discussion-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --
        > > >
        > > > FOOD IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!! FOOD FOR EVERYONE!!!
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        > > >
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        > > >
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        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > --
        >
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        >
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        >
        >
        > Join the FOOD FOR EVERYONE campaign to ensure everyone on the planet has
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        > food to eat by the year 2020!
        >
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        >
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        >
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