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POL 1000 – Lecture 5: Democratic Socialism & Communism Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Winter Session, 2012 Sean Clark Lecturer,

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Presentation on theme: "POL 1000 – Lecture 5: Democratic Socialism & Communism Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Winter Session, 2012 Sean Clark Lecturer,"— Presentation transcript:

1 POL 1000 – Lecture 5: Democratic Socialism & Communism Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Winter Session, 2012 Sean Clark Lecturer, Memorial University Doctoral Fellow, CFPS Winter Session, 2012

2 Lecture Arc  1. Socialism & the problem of inequality.  2. Marx & Communism.  3. Social Democracy.  4. Socialism in contemporary life.  1. Socialism & the problem of inequality.  2. Marx & Communism.  3. Social Democracy.  4. Socialism in contemporary life.

3 The Need for Social Justice  For socialists, liberal & conservative debates over order & freedom overlook the matter of social justice.  Neither individuality nor stability are vital ends. What matters is material equality.  Hardship of working class (long, dangerous hours, low wages) during Indust Rev accelerated concerns.  Disparity btn proletariat (workers) & those who owned the means of production (capitalists) grew exponentially.  Gave cause to idea material inequity is morally unacceptable.  Argmt (i.e. Gracchus Babeuf & Robert Owen): liberals wrong. Freedom & political rights do nothing to alleviate poverty & oppression.  Allowing pursuit of self-interest only results in the privilege gaining more privilege. Inequality will still remain.  Reform liberals, after all, still concerned at heart w maximization of individual freedom (thus okay w inequality, so long as this has been achieved).  Capitalism stresses individual freedom. Socialism stresses collective solidarity.  Thus, instead of self-interested, competitive society, need to create a new, self- sufficient, & cooperative one.  Forget freedom. Freedom to choose is freedom to exploit.  Forget markets. We can create our own systems that ensure equality & justice.  This new Utopia will offer more fulfillment & happiness than the free market. This is what we need to achieve true equality.  For socialists, liberal & conservative debates over order & freedom overlook the matter of social justice.  Neither individuality nor stability are vital ends. What matters is material equality.  Hardship of working class (long, dangerous hours, low wages) during Indust Rev accelerated concerns.  Disparity btn proletariat (workers) & those who owned the means of production (capitalists) grew exponentially.  Gave cause to idea material inequity is morally unacceptable.  Argmt (i.e. Gracchus Babeuf & Robert Owen): liberals wrong. Freedom & political rights do nothing to alleviate poverty & oppression.  Allowing pursuit of self-interest only results in the privilege gaining more privilege. Inequality will still remain.  Reform liberals, after all, still concerned at heart w maximization of individual freedom (thus okay w inequality, so long as this has been achieved).  Capitalism stresses individual freedom. Socialism stresses collective solidarity.  Thus, instead of self-interested, competitive society, need to create a new, self- sufficient, & cooperative one.  Forget freedom. Freedom to choose is freedom to exploit.  Forget markets. We can create our own systems that ensure equality & justice.  This new Utopia will offer more fulfillment & happiness than the free market. This is what we need to achieve true equality.

4 The Great Works of Marx  1. Marx (1848), w Engels, offered a theory of why there was such inequality, just as revolution was exploding across Europe.  1. Nature of economic production drives social structure.  Economic activity is our most basic activity: w/o it we could not survive.  In agrarian age feudal landowners dominated.  In factory age, capitalists (those who owned the factories) dominate.  2. History (since end of primeval communal ownership) has been driven by the struggles btn “ classes.  The ruling class (who doesn’t work) has always lived by exploiting the labor of others (or else they’d starve).  Greeks of the slaves. Medieval barons of the serfs. Now capitalists of the proletariat (pay wages less than the true value of their production—maintained by threat of unemployment).  3. In industrial era, emancipation can only be achieved by abolishing the entire system of exploitation.  Argmt: Property (ownership of ‘means of production’) is source of inequality.  History shows owners use their power to exploit workers.  Property breeds privilege, & thru that, abuse.  Property = exploitation (if there is surplus, someone will use their own as leverage & commandeer yours). It is a lever to more power and wealth.  No property = a classless world, thus no exploitation of the minority over the many.  May keep personal goods (p484-5, Reader) but do away w ownership of all land & means of production (p326-27, 438 Reader).  I.e. factory workers would manage the factory themselves.  1. Marx (1848), w Engels, offered a theory of why there was such inequality, just as revolution was exploding across Europe.  1. Nature of economic production drives social structure.  Economic activity is our most basic activity: w/o it we could not survive.  In agrarian age feudal landowners dominated.  In factory age, capitalists (those who owned the factories) dominate.  2. History (since end of primeval communal ownership) has been driven by the struggles btn “ classes.  The ruling class (who doesn’t work) has always lived by exploiting the labor of others (or else they’d starve).  Greeks of the slaves. Medieval barons of the serfs. Now capitalists of the proletariat (pay wages less than the true value of their production—maintained by threat of unemployment).  3. In industrial era, emancipation can only be achieved by abolishing the entire system of exploitation.  Argmt: Property (ownership of ‘means of production’) is source of inequality.  History shows owners use their power to exploit workers.  Property breeds privilege, & thru that, abuse.  Property = exploitation (if there is surplus, someone will use their own as leverage & commandeer yours). It is a lever to more power and wealth.  No property = a classless world, thus no exploitation of the minority over the many.  May keep personal goods (p484-5, Reader) but do away w ownership of all land & means of production (p326-27, 438 Reader).  I.e. factory workers would manage the factory themselves.

5 Communism  Revolution needed to overthrow elite (democ is a devious sham). Permits the final stage: communism.  Divide wealth amongst everyone (public ownership of means of production; private property prohibited).  Marx: doing away w “class & class antagonisms” would leader to “the condition for the free development of all.” (p491, Reader).  Welcoming of force to ensure no economic distinction in society.  Marx: in Manifesto: spoke of need for “despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production.” (p490 Reader).  Lenin: “Liberty, for what?”  Produce ‘according to ability,’ consume ‘according to need.’  Marx: will be that “society regulates the general production.” (but who? how?)  W/o property, no need (or even prospect) of excessive accumulation.  Ultimately, conflict itself (& thus politics) will come to an end, since no longer any classes to fight, no longer any exploitation (the root of conflict going on.  Marx: “Communism is the riddle of history solved.” (p84 Reader).  Trotsky: under communism: “Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above the ridge new peaks will rise.”  Revolution needed to overthrow elite (democ is a devious sham). Permits the final stage: communism.  Divide wealth amongst everyone (public ownership of means of production; private property prohibited).  Marx: doing away w “class & class antagonisms” would leader to “the condition for the free development of all.” (p491, Reader).  Welcoming of force to ensure no economic distinction in society.  Marx: in Manifesto: spoke of need for “despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production.” (p490 Reader).  Lenin: “Liberty, for what?”  Produce ‘according to ability,’ consume ‘according to need.’  Marx: will be that “society regulates the general production.” (but who? how?)  W/o property, no need (or even prospect) of excessive accumulation.  Ultimately, conflict itself (& thus politics) will come to an end, since no longer any classes to fight, no longer any exploitation (the root of conflict going on.  Marx: “Communism is the riddle of history solved.” (p84 Reader).  Trotsky: under communism: “Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above the ridge new peaks will rise.”

6 Social Democracy  2. Social democrats deeply influenced by Marx--see need to emancipate the impoverished from chains of oppression.  1. Unlike libs & conservs, hold human nature as malleable. Believe we can change from self-interested beings to pursuing of the common good.  2. 19thC Reform liberals (i.e. Thomas Macaulay) also still wary of the poor.  Generally feared handing suffrage to those w/o property, for these (electoral) masses would seek to dispossess the rich minority.  3. Search for equality of result, not of opportunity, as do libs.  Pearson: “[Reform] Liberalism..while insisting on equality of opportunity, rejects any imposed equality which would discourage and destroy a man’s initiative and enterprise.” (pix)  CCF ’33 manifesto : excesses of capitalism is “the cancer which is eating at the heart of our society.” a) is erroneous to assume people are competitors, not co-operators; b) inexorably drives for ownership of econ means by tiny elite. Though not want “change by violence.”  Is role for activist state (even more aggressive than Reform libs, as distrust free markets).  Govt to redistribute & regulate to ensure equality.  Use central planning as method to increase economic efficiency.  Unlike Marx, however, search for reform thru democratic means.  Experience w E Europe = fear of tyranny when is too much ‘public’ control.  Irving Howe: Stalinism “forced thoughtful socialists to reconsider the terms of their conviction.”  I.e. many did not trust that Woodsworth accepted peaceful change, but never advocated for it.  See power in #s: “if the farmers, workers and middle class were allowed to recognize their common interests and to unite in an effective political party with a program and a philosophy deriving from their own experience and needs, no power in the land could stem them from building together a free society based on the common welfare of all.”  Tommy Douglas’ ‘44 Sask win 1 st in N Amer.  Tend to stick to concerns of labour (i.e. unions, pay equity, safe working conditions) & key industries, rather than communism’s total ambitions (i.e. for the state to ‘whither away’, and the ‘sharing of all things’).  Communism: public ownership is total. Social democracy: only that which is needed to smooth out (though not eliminate completely) inequality. Thus rely on eg. taxes, tariffs, subsidies.  Conceede at least some of Hayek’s Road to Serfodom: that central planning necessarily entails diminishment of free choices oft hemarket.  Are happy to accept businesses operating freely, so long as they pay taxes that can be spent on public services.  Though no socialist presidential win since ‘88, France still has 56% of GDP spending by state.  2. Social democrats deeply influenced by Marx--see need to emancipate the impoverished from chains of oppression.  1. Unlike libs & conservs, hold human nature as malleable. Believe we can change from self-interested beings to pursuing of the common good.  2. 19thC Reform liberals (i.e. Thomas Macaulay) also still wary of the poor.  Generally feared handing suffrage to those w/o property, for these (electoral) masses would seek to dispossess the rich minority.  3. Search for equality of result, not of opportunity, as do libs.  Pearson: “[Reform] Liberalism..while insisting on equality of opportunity, rejects any imposed equality which would discourage and destroy a man’s initiative and enterprise.” (pix)  CCF ’33 manifesto : excesses of capitalism is “the cancer which is eating at the heart of our society.” a) is erroneous to assume people are competitors, not co-operators; b) inexorably drives for ownership of econ means by tiny elite. Though not want “change by violence.”  Is role for activist state (even more aggressive than Reform libs, as distrust free markets).  Govt to redistribute & regulate to ensure equality.  Use central planning as method to increase economic efficiency.  Unlike Marx, however, search for reform thru democratic means.  Experience w E Europe = fear of tyranny when is too much ‘public’ control.  Irving Howe: Stalinism “forced thoughtful socialists to reconsider the terms of their conviction.”  I.e. many did not trust that Woodsworth accepted peaceful change, but never advocated for it.  See power in #s: “if the farmers, workers and middle class were allowed to recognize their common interests and to unite in an effective political party with a program and a philosophy deriving from their own experience and needs, no power in the land could stem them from building together a free society based on the common welfare of all.”  Tommy Douglas’ ‘44 Sask win 1 st in N Amer.  Tend to stick to concerns of labour (i.e. unions, pay equity, safe working conditions) & key industries, rather than communism’s total ambitions (i.e. for the state to ‘whither away’, and the ‘sharing of all things’).  Communism: public ownership is total. Social democracy: only that which is needed to smooth out (though not eliminate completely) inequality. Thus rely on eg. taxes, tariffs, subsidies.  Conceede at least some of Hayek’s Road to Serfodom: that central planning necessarily entails diminishment of free choices oft hemarket.  Are happy to accept businesses operating freely, so long as they pay taxes that can be spent on public services.  Though no socialist presidential win since ‘88, France still has 56% of GDP spending by state.

7  Social democracy from around turn of the century.  Eduard Bernstein, of German Social Democratic Party: rejected idea of violent revolution.  Instead called for ‘evolutionary socialism.’  Recommended continual expansion of the political & economic rights of workers through peaceful, democratic reforms.  Social democracy from around turn of the century.  Eduard Bernstein, of German Social Democratic Party: rejected idea of violent revolution.  Instead called for ‘evolutionary socialism.’  Recommended continual expansion of the political & economic rights of workers through peaceful, democratic reforms.

8 Communism in Practice  Marx was highly optimistic (at least at start): capitalism is unsustainable: desire to boost profits means constantly reducing wages.  Eventually, wages will become so low & workers’ plight so dire they will revolt en masse.  Lesson of 1800s, however: capitalists are strong, thus need vanguards of the proletariat (forget mass movements, we need lean, hungry, well-trained cadres).  Lenin took Marx’s teachings & spearheaded revolt vs broken (& still largely agrarian) Russian state in  Stalin takes power after Lenin’s death in ‘24 & becomes even more authoritarian.  Trotsky (organized Red Army) sees this a betrayal of the revolution, but is exiled, then assassinated w an axe in Mexico.  Mao followed this ‘revolution from above’ in China in  Central planning gives USSR the strength to win WWII (& satellites in E Europe), but not the Cold War.  By end of 20thC, glaring inefficiency leaves communist economies stagnant vs West.  When individual effort is not rewarded, people tend to not work as hard. Productivity thus lags (& this inefficiency = less material wealth).  Public tired of repression of religion & identity (part of effort to create ‘new’, selfless men & women).  Classless, division-less society found stifling.  Prob: Marx’s ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ proved not to be transitory.  1989: communism collapses in E Europe.  USSR gone by Turbulence follows.  Some do well (i.e. Poland), others not (i.e. Belarus).  Chinese communists crack down after Gorbachev’s visit at Tiananmen = stay in power.  Communist parties still wield considerable power.  Yet Marxist economic thinking all but erased.  Despite continued platitudes to Marx, China & Vietnam have embraced (liberal) capitalism.  Cuba wavering. Only North Korea left.  Marx was highly optimistic (at least at start): capitalism is unsustainable: desire to boost profits means constantly reducing wages.  Eventually, wages will become so low & workers’ plight so dire they will revolt en masse.  Lesson of 1800s, however: capitalists are strong, thus need vanguards of the proletariat (forget mass movements, we need lean, hungry, well-trained cadres).  Lenin took Marx’s teachings & spearheaded revolt vs broken (& still largely agrarian) Russian state in  Stalin takes power after Lenin’s death in ‘24 & becomes even more authoritarian.  Trotsky (organized Red Army) sees this a betrayal of the revolution, but is exiled, then assassinated w an axe in Mexico.  Mao followed this ‘revolution from above’ in China in  Central planning gives USSR the strength to win WWII (& satellites in E Europe), but not the Cold War.  By end of 20thC, glaring inefficiency leaves communist economies stagnant vs West.  When individual effort is not rewarded, people tend to not work as hard. Productivity thus lags (& this inefficiency = less material wealth).  Public tired of repression of religion & identity (part of effort to create ‘new’, selfless men & women).  Classless, division-less society found stifling.  Prob: Marx’s ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ proved not to be transitory.  1989: communism collapses in E Europe.  USSR gone by Turbulence follows.  Some do well (i.e. Poland), others not (i.e. Belarus).  Chinese communists crack down after Gorbachev’s visit at Tiananmen = stay in power.  Communist parties still wield considerable power.  Yet Marxist economic thinking all but erased.  Despite continued platitudes to Marx, China & Vietnam have embraced (liberal) capitalism.  Cuba wavering. Only North Korea left.

9 Social Democracy in Practice  Vital in development of trade unions, work legislation, & welfare state thru-out the West.  Even today, popularity of social democratic ideals corresponds to generosity of welfare spending.  Scandinavia: emphasis on universal benefits & access.  US: welfare to those most in need (i.e. Medicaid pre-Obama).  Social democratic parties have tempered market intervention prescriptions.  (i.e. balanced budget, market-friendly ‘Third Way’, led by Giddens & PM Blair).  Has been incredible blurring of democ soc & reform libism.  Argmt: promotes efficiency & allows individual choice.  Yet still mistrust trade, tax cuts, deregulation, & corporate (particularly foreign) control of economic resources.  Arg that some pts of the (free) mkt econ is productive, while others are predatory. The latter should be taxed & regulated differently—temper markets w morality.  Plus, bank & auto bailouts keep intervention on the radar.  Is currently a fight at the heart of what direction democratic socialism should take.  To what extent is battle btn those who want to redistribute riches of capitalism & those who want to redesign capitalism.  Some suggest ‘Third Wave’ has gone too far. Excessive market freedom has =‘d catastrophes of Kism (i.e. ‘08 Crash). Must now return to more socialist roots.  Is presently a fierce battle w/in modern democ soc parties (i.e. Miliband vs Miliband in UK’s Labour).  Remains highly popular in regions where capitalism has struggled (i.e. Bolivia, Venezuela.)  Vital in development of trade unions, work legislation, & welfare state thru-out the West.  Even today, popularity of social democratic ideals corresponds to generosity of welfare spending.  Scandinavia: emphasis on universal benefits & access.  US: welfare to those most in need (i.e. Medicaid pre-Obama).  Social democratic parties have tempered market intervention prescriptions.  (i.e. balanced budget, market-friendly ‘Third Way’, led by Giddens & PM Blair).  Has been incredible blurring of democ soc & reform libism.  Argmt: promotes efficiency & allows individual choice.  Yet still mistrust trade, tax cuts, deregulation, & corporate (particularly foreign) control of economic resources.  Arg that some pts of the (free) mkt econ is productive, while others are predatory. The latter should be taxed & regulated differently—temper markets w morality.  Plus, bank & auto bailouts keep intervention on the radar.  Is currently a fight at the heart of what direction democratic socialism should take.  To what extent is battle btn those who want to redistribute riches of capitalism & those who want to redesign capitalism.  Some suggest ‘Third Wave’ has gone too far. Excessive market freedom has =‘d catastrophes of Kism (i.e. ‘08 Crash). Must now return to more socialist roots.  Is presently a fierce battle w/in modern democ soc parties (i.e. Miliband vs Miliband in UK’s Labour).  Remains highly popular in regions where capitalism has struggled (i.e. Bolivia, Venezuela.)

10  Useful breakdown:  Classical liberals: complete freedoms.  Keep tyrants at bay & release individ rationality & creativity.  Reform liberals: equality of opportunity.  Even w freedom, some lack the capacity to act.  Social democrats: (some) equality of result.  Will accept private markets, but still want to achieve some modicum of equality btn rich & poor..  Far from perpetual exploitation, a capitalist can earn more profit from treating workers better.  Boost their productivity = cheaper & innovative products, which add to bottom line.  I.e. Suncor’s Friday’s off; Google’s chefs.  Useful breakdown:  Classical liberals: complete freedoms.  Keep tyrants at bay & release individ rationality & creativity.  Reform liberals: equality of opportunity.  Even w freedom, some lack the capacity to act.  Social democrats: (some) equality of result.  Will accept private markets, but still want to achieve some modicum of equality btn rich & poor..  Far from perpetual exploitation, a capitalist can earn more profit from treating workers better.  Boost their productivity = cheaper & innovative products, which add to bottom line.  I.e. Suncor’s Friday’s off; Google’s chefs.

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