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Thread: Maoists And iPhones

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    In an article called Refusal to Resist Crimes Against Humanity is Itself a Crime Avakian (head of the Revolutionary Communist Party) recently wrote:

    "Not all, but still too many, Americans—especially within the middle strata, although not only there—are in a real sense falling into acting like children, easily distracted with toys. 'Here at midnight tonight—the new i-Phone!' People will line up, and fight each other to get in line, to get the new i-Phone, but they can’t bring themselves to mobilize against the torture and the wars and everything else that is being done by their government, in their name and right before their eyes—this is not even really being hidden."
    I need to respond -- speaking as a Maoist and as someone who believes in serving (not blaming) the people. There is a lot wrong with BA's uninformed rant that needs to be unraveled.

    * * * * * *

    First on whether we can say that the masses of people are committing a "crime" of complicity.

    There are huge problems in how to bring people to a fighting front against this system -- at a time when so many are both infuriated and passive. But what claim to leadership can anyone have who so crudely charges the masses themselves with "complicity" or even "crime"!?

    To think this is about people being merely "distracted" or childish is (need I really say?) very shallow.

    True: the masses don't *see* alternatives, so they don't create alternatives. They *believe* that the Dems will end the war -- or more precisely they confuse their hopes and projections with belief. They are buffered, pacified, atomized, bombarded by lies, not monolithic and restless.

    This verdict conflates two things: the willingness of the masses to act, and their willingness to act along specific lines DEMANDED by this small political group. For communists to confuse this is to lose the mass line completely.

    These cheap shots about "complicity" point the spearhead down, at a time when this party is itself falling painfully and crudely short.

    And look: what is going to happen now? The political juice of this country will now flow into the elections. there will not be an impeachment movement (unless some new scandal or war erupts) -- october 5 2006 was the last window for that. Now the huge sucking sound will be the elections. And there are huge contradictions within that -- because the leading democrats will not (and do not now) oppose ending the war. (Hillary's call for continuing both U.S. bases and combat operations until the end of her first term is only the most blatant example.) There will be a "stop hillary" effort by the Daily Koz folks.... and then what? If an attack on Iran emerges (and the Dems fall in line with that), huge eruptions are possible.

    Who can think that this party has positioned itself (and advanced forces in society) wisely or well to deal forcefully and creatively with that coming storm?

    What about the cascading DE-motion of organizing and struggle in the universe of the RCP?

    * * * * * * * *
    Second point:

    The old CP railed in the 1960s against people who played electric guitars. Now Avakian rails against people who try iPhones in the 21st century.

    It is really conservative cluelessness mascarading as scientific truth and radical visions!

    Let's step back and ask what is really involved and what really excites people:

    The change happening in mass media today is far more rapid than the shift to radio that happened in Weimar Germany.

    Forms of technology, streams of data, means of independent creation, undermining of traditional hegemonic ideological centers, method of new dissemination -- all this is mushrooming and morphing in unprecedented ways. And people are creatively learning to use this to "get around" so much of the previous institutionalized crap and constraint in society.

    Yet, the RCP is a party that clearly doesn't have a clue about really using the explosive potential of the internet, youtube, interactive discussion.... except as a stodgey one-way repeat of nineteenth century newspaper paradyms.

    Yes: people line up when a new leap may be happening in the merger and delivery of info-paths -- as phone and internet and multimedia come together in a cool new way.

    Yes some people want to be on the cutting edge of that -- and struggle to participate in the new ways human society is handling information, art and ideas.

    Was there some silliness and corporate hype in the frenzy over the iPhone -- obviously. Is there privilege in the way technology is marketed and distributed -- obviously.

    Is that the essence of the matter? Obviously not.

    Perhaps rather than babbling uninformed nonsense about iPhones, more communists should investigate (gawd, do some real investigation&#33 into how the convergence of devices is potentially IMPACTING and TRANSFORMING the future of modern political discourse!

    * * * * *
    In “Bringing Forward Another Way,” Avakian writes:

    “I want to say, just for the record, that at times I myself have been acutely disappointed by—and, yes, have cursed in graphic terms—the people in this society who are sitting by and doing nothing in the face of atrocities and horrors committed by their government and in their name…’”
    This is bitter, mean-spirited "blame the people, curse the people" nonsense.

    I will close with some quotes from Mao that provide a valuable AND TRULY COMMUNIST orientation:

    "As for people who are politically backward, Communists should not slight or despise them, but should befriend them, unite with them, convince them and encourage them to go forward."
    As for speaking without knowing, Mao said:

    "A Communist must never be opinionated or domineering, thinking that he is good in everything while others are good in nothing; he must never shut himself up in his little room, or brag and boast and lord it over others."

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    here is a related quote:

    “The politics of the ‘possible’ is the politics of monstrosity. To adhere to, or acquiesce in, the politics of the ‘possible’ is to support, and actually to facilitate, monstrosity.”

    Bob Avakian,
    Chairman of the RCP,USA

    It is worth thinking through, and debating, what that means. The politics of the possible refers to those who think that it is possible that the democrats will make a difference, and that nothing else is currently possible.

    Are the people who hold these illusions actually supporting and faciliating "monstrosity." Is it really that simple?

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    i don't like the democrats, but what is the realistic alternative? Revolution? yes. Now? no way, ain't gonna happen. I wouldn't say people are facilitating "monstrosity", but perhaps have the wool over their eyes if they think the Dems can make major changes, or are being realistic and would rather have bourgeois center-right running the country rather than the bourgeois far right.

    The green party is the only other "leftish" party on the national ballots normally, and i'm sure as hell not going to vote for Nader, although i think Cynthia McKinney may run for president as a green, and even then all that's going to happen is more of a majority for the Republicans if lots of people vote green.

    I don't know what is to be done, but i do know that Bob Avakian and his cult are nuts.

    i wonder what would happen to the RCP if Avakian kicked the bucket? Would Dix take over as the new head of the cult? I don't find him very inspiring to listen to.
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    my view has always been that revolution is practical and reasonable. While trusting the democrats seems like a bizarre mix of fantasy, raw deception, and repeated self-deception.

    Reformism is impossible, Revolution IS the "realistic alternative."

    as lenin said "without state power all is illusion."

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    Well, I think this is a very important question. The Party&#39;s conception here, and if you read Bringing Forward Another Way you can get a sense of this, is that people who know about these war crimes and crimes against humanity and the leaps the US is making toward fascism... torturing masses of people, and gearing up for a war with Iran... if people know all of that, and they sit on their asses and watch Dancing With the Stars and do nothing about this, then it makes them complicit with these crimes. It&#39;s as if a person witnesses a rape, and decides not to stop it because they wanted to play the latest video game.

    There is a particularity to the society that we are living in. This is not the same situation as China during the revolution. We live in an imperialist society that is surging forward toward fascism while murdering millions of people and getting ready to unleash possible nuclear war on Iran, one of the most horrifying things ever in human history, and all the while, the people in this society are living off of the profits of it. So there is a particularity to the need for people to act... we have a responsibility to the people of the world to refuse to just sit by while we know that these crimes are being done in our names.

    History will judge what people we do. History held those millions of Germans who knew very well what was going on accountable for sitting by complicitly why the Nazis carried out their nightmare on the world. People asked "WHY DIDN&#39;T YO DO ANYTHING?&#33;" History will judge us the same...

    This is not simply about &#39;blaming the masses&#39;, but pushing forward those who are conscious of the the happenings in society today to really get to do something about it.

    So this has nothing to do with gadgets or shit like that, but action by the conscious people living in an imperialist nation that is committing horrible crimes.
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    We live in an imperialist society that is surging forward toward fascism while murdering millions of people and getting ready to unleash possible nuclear war on Iran, one of the most horrifying things ever in human history, and all the while, the people in this society are living off of the profits of it.
    I&#39;ll be sure to tell everyone that at the food bank next week.

    Really, if everyone were "profiting" from that, then it would be in their interests to keep it going. So, if you believe that, you&#39;re presenting a moralistic argument, i.e. that people should "do the right thing." That has nothing to do with communism.

    In reality, the vast majority of people in the U.S., the workers, are not "profiting" from imperialism at all, and that&#39;s why our wages are falling while bonuses for CEO&#39;s continue to climb to new heights.
    "Getting a job, finding a mate, having a place to live, finding a creative outlet. Life is a war of attrition. You have to stay active on all fronts. It's one thing after another. I've tried to control a chaotic universe. And it's a losing battle. But I can't let go. I've tried, but I can't." - Harvey Pekar



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    In an article called Refusal to Resist Crimes Against Humanity is Itself a Crime Avakian (head of the Revolutionary Communist Party) recently wrote:

    "Not all, but still too many, Americans—especially within the middle strata, although not only there—are in a real sense falling into acting like children, easily distracted with toys. &#39;Here at midnight tonight—the new i-Phone&#33;&#39; People will line up, and fight each other to get in line, to get the new i-Phone, but they can’t bring themselves to mobilize against the torture and the wars and everything else that is being done by their government, in their name and right before their eyes—this is not even really being hidden."
    I think you are misinterpreting Avakian. What he is getting at here is the notion of commodity fetischism, this idea that commodities are often desired out of the very purpose of having that commmodity rather than any use value. He is not literally criticizing th i-phone or the masses of people but rather exposing this harmful fetishism.

    First on whether we can say that the masses of people are committing a "crime" of complicity.

    There are huge problems in how to bring people to a fighting front against this system -- at a time when so many are both infuriated and passive. But what claim to leadership can anyone have who so crudely charges the masses themselves with "complicity" or even "crime"&#33;?

    To think this is about people being merely "distracted" or childish is (need I really say?) very shallow.

    True: the masses don&#39;t *see* alternatives, so they don&#39;t create alternatives. They *believe* that the Dems will end the war -- or more precisely they confuse their hopes and projections with belief. They are buffered, pacified, atomized, bombarded by lies, not monolithic and restless.

    This verdict conflates two things: the willingness of the masses to act, and their willingness to act along specific lines DEMANDED by this small political group. For communists to confuse this is to lose the mass line completely.

    These cheap shots about "complicity" point the spearhead down, at a time when this party is itself falling painfully and crudely short.
    He is saying that passivity is wrong. I don&#39;t think he is saying that passive people are bad so much as saying that there must be a concious effort to "awaken" the passive. I don&#39;t think he is conflating these two things at all. He is simply saying that passivity exists and that IT is complicit ie passivity itself (not the passive people) aid the crimes of the government.


    What about the cascading DE-motion of organizing and struggle in the universe of the RCP?
    Ummm.... What?


    It is really conservative cluelessness mascarading as scientific truth and radical visions&#33;
    Hahaha What a brilliant scientific analysis&#33;

    The change happening in mass media today is far more rapid than the shift to radio that happened in Weimar Germany.

    Forms of technology, streams of data, means of independent creation, undermining of traditional hegemonic ideological centers, method of new dissemination -- all this is mushrooming and morphing in unprecedented ways. And people are creatively learning to use this to "get around" so much of the previous institutionalized crap and constraint in society.
    True. And you are right that the RCP has not yet done enough to exploit this potential. But they are currently in the process of expanding their web presence and enlarging their usage of these new developments.

    I think this is true of every leftist orginization and it is unfair to blaim the party for not being immediately on top of these very rapid developments.
    "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

    Workers of the World Unite!" -Karl Marx

    "The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. " -Vladimir Lenin

    "The People's democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class. For it is only the working class that is most far-sighted, most selfless and most thoroughly revolutionary. The entire history of revolution proves that without the leadership of the working class revolution fails and that with the leadership of the working class revolution triumphs." -Mao Zedong

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    I&#39;ll be sure to tell everyone that at the food bank next week.

    Really, if everyone were "profiting" from that, then it would be in their interests to keep it going. So, if you believe that, you&#39;re presenting a moralistic argument, i.e. that people should "do the right thing." That has nothing to do with communism.

    In reality, the vast majority of people in the U.S., the workers, are not "profiting" from imperialism at all, and that&#39;s why our wages are falling while bonuses for CEO&#39;s continue to climb to new heights.
    I never said anyone, I would be the last one to take on an MIMite perspective.

    The living standards for the vast majority of people in imperialist nations are higher than those of the majority in the 3rd world nations. Imperialism causes this.

    What I am saying, and the RCP, is that there is a need and responsibility to act in the face of all the world is going through.
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    People buying Iphones do not constitute the masses; Americans, for the most part, aren&#39;t representative of the masses.

    Avakian is wrong as well, because these people are not simply deluded or distracted by shiny bobbles. This is their real existence. While liberals and socialists decry a culture of materialism, it&#39;s actually a pretty accurate portrayal of an American&#39;s thought. They are taking the gift offered to them: the loot and plunder of the exploited world. And what reason do they have to give it up?

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    Originally posted by Electronic Light@November 22, 2007 10:47 pm
    People buying Iphones do not constitute the masses; Americans, for the most part, aren&#39;t representative of the masses.
    they are part of the masses, if not "representative of the masses."

    If you get the difference.

    this is a complex planet we live on..... there is huge degrees of stratification, and there are many layers of contradictions. But many DIFFERENT kinds of people are oppressed (or threatened) by the madness of modern capitalism. We should not have a view that thinks that only the most poor, or most ground down are oppressed.

    And many kinds of people make contributions... and they make those contributions in ways that aren&#39;t always the crudely stereotypical views of "struggle."

    It is very valuable to grasp how the world is changing -- how information is changing, how media re morphing, how art is spread, how discussion now take place. To think this is all just a bunch of privilege is very very shortsighted.

    I have in my mind some crancky dogmatist in the 1920s complaining "what is this new fangled radio that all these middle class people are lining up for?"

    but mean while hitler was (rather brilliantly) learning to exploit the new world of mass media that radio represented.

    Why should only fascists be on the cutting edge? why should only corporatoins be eager to grasp the value of all this?

    We need to be bold and creative and free of all the shackles of conservative and puny thinking.

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    Comrade "Live for the people" wrote:

    Well, I think this is a very important question.
    We agree.

    The Party&#39;s conception here, and if you read Bringing Forward Another Way you can get a sense of this, is that people who know about these war crimes and crimes against humanity and the leaps the US is making toward fascism... torturing masses of people, and gearing up for a war with Iran... if people know all of that, and they sit on their asses and watch Dancing With the Stars and do nothing about this, then it makes them complicit with these crimes.
    I don&#39;t agree.

    First on method: when we criticize one piece, don&#39;t tell us to go read another piece.

    And besides I have READ "bringing forward" very closely. And I quoted it.

    Avakian said "I want to say, just for the record, that at times I myself have been acutely disappointed by—and, yes, have cursed in graphic terms—the people in this society who are sitting by and doing nothing in the face of atrocities and horrors committed by their government and in their name…”

    This is a wrong assessment, and a wrong method. it is a wrong way to view the people. it is a wrong way to analyze their paralysis. It underestimates the degree to which the errors of the communists (and Avakian himself) have contributed to this problem. And it is wrong on how to treat even the backwardness of the people.

    It is moralist and guilt-tripping.

    there is corruption in imperialism. There is a phenom of people being "bought off" -- and even wanting to "protect mine" by killing people all over the world.

    But if you aren&#39;t succeeding in organizing the resistance and convincing the people -- then fucking work harder and smarter.

    It&#39;s as if a person witnesses a rape, and decides not to stop it because they wanted to play the latest video game.
    I don&#39;t think that is a fair or accurate analogy.

    If millions of people were actually WITNESSING Abu Ghraib they would act. If they actually understood what this occupation is like (because they ACTUALLY WITNESSED it) many more of them would act.

    Part of the problem is that they are cushioned, and separated from it.

    the bigger problem is that they don&#39;t see a way to act, and the left hasn&#39;t PROVIDED ONE that they can connect with.

    And even the good starts (NION and WCW) have been weakened by things that the leadership has done. And now blames the people.


    There is a particularity to the society that we are living in. This is not the same situation as China during the revolution. We live in an imperialist society that is surging forward toward fascism while murdering millions of people and getting ready to unleash possible nuclear war on Iran, one of the most horrifying things ever in human history, and all the while, the people in this society are living off of the profits of it.
    We know this.

    But let&#39;s put it another way: there was huge debate in the world whether to blame the German people for Hitler, or to recognize that it was the imperialists who imposed hitler, and recognize that the German people too suffered from this.

    The Communists were (then) on the side of saying "We oppose this theory of collective guilt." For important reasons.

    It was wrong then, and wrong now. Wrong in principle, and historically wrong.

    Blame the masses -- misunderstands the problem. And (i repeat) it is a way of disguising the problems that THE COMMUNISTS need to fix, and that play some role in the problems too.

    History will judge what people we do.
    History will also judge communists who curse the masses, while not developing living ways to lead and organize the people.

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    Why do communists want &#036;600 Apple marketing gimmicks?

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    One, I agree with kas that there is a lot of &#39;blame the masses&#39; going on here.

    from the Bob quote: are in a real sense falling into acting like children, easily distracted with toys.

    Who said that adults should not play with toys and act like children? In some ways we need to be able to recall what it is like to be a kid and what it is like to dream and play. Too often adults stop dreaming and start just existing.

    People need play. They need fun and &#39;gadgets&#39; often have provided that fun - especially now in such a fast paced society where its almost necessary to be able to take that fun with you - be it a laptop, an i-pod or a phone.

    Technology advances, play changes and the way people stay connected change. I stay connected mostly through chat and instant messages but at least I am less isolated from other people than if I didnt have this laptop - which was by no means cheap.

    In many ways, some of the new technology places these types of communication MORE in reach of the masses... the people stuck at work 10, 12, 14 hours a day or spending hours on public transportation getting from point a to point b. Ever try to use a laptop on a bus?

    I would also take a guess that most people in this discussion on this board have a gadget - a computer - in order to access it - or they are using one. If they are not then they have a different gadget

    And what is wrong with video games? I think that they are a lot of fun and provide a lot of stress release. I started palying with the magnovox (that was BEFORE attari) and I am really looking forward to getting up enough money to get an x-box 360. These games have provided hours of fun and interaction first between me and my dad and now between me and my son who also played sonic with his grandpa.

    And yes, i will admit to playing Maple Story&#33;

    And all this fun (including the vcr and cable) doesnt make me one bit less of an activist or communist. If anything it brings me closer to people - i know what they are talking about and there is shared experience (and sometimes shared experience points).

    What the masses are goofing off with doesnt have much to do with if they are comming out into the streets or not. Games have always been played by people. It seems to be one of those qualities that makes us human. We like to play and dream.

    This new technology also gives us ways to connect with other people that we might otherwise not be able to connect with or ever even get to know to start with&#33; It raises the possibilities.

    If i can&#39;t dance...

    RosaRL

    ps:
    kas said:
    "If millions of people were actually WITNESSING Abu Ghraib they would act. If they actually understood what this occupation is like (because they ACTUALLY WITNESSED it) many more of them would act.

    Part of the problem is that they are cushioned, and separated from it.

    the bigger problem is that they don&#39;t see a way to act, and the left hasn&#39;t PROVIDED ONE that they can connect with."

    This is interesting since a lot of the people who actually really get what is happening are ON THE INTERNET - you cant get the information really from Fox or CNN - seriously... and this would be a good reason that the masses need to get connected - need to have the &#39;gadgets&#39;... something - anything - with a web browser.

    Also, while the left hasnt provided a way to act that the masses can connect with often the best way to find what is going on - protest, events and so on is actually online right now.
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    Oh quite sure - its the yin and yang of it.
    But what is that?
    Oh, you know - its up side and down side - like that - everything got one. But every up side has a bit down and every down side's got a bit of up...
    ah... every silver linings got a touch of gray...

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    Great post rosa-rl, I agree with every word.

    The only drawback I see with embracing technological advances is that without limits, sooner or later we would become detatched from "real world", never meeting people face to face, and living in some virtual world. (Unless nigh-instant teleporters are invented&#33

    But yes, the left really needs to tap into what people think is fun and channel that towards a model of what we envisage. Hopefully that&#39;s not dull, anti-humour, anti-fun social relations. That would be alienating as much as people are under capitalism.
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    revolt said:

    "The only drawback I see with embracing technological advances is that without limits, sooner or later we would become detatched from "real world", never meeting people face to face, and living in some virtual world. (Unless nigh-instant teleporters are invented&#33"

    First, I see little chance that such an extreem could be reached due to the fact that humans are highly social creatures and need contact with other humans to be able to thrive. A world without hugs seems rather unthinkable to me no matter how high tech communications can get.

    Also, technology is very much a part of the real world and socially an important part of how the world works - not just in relations between people but also in the organization of production itself. Ironically perhaps, losing touch with technology and its significance is part of the detachment that the left already has.

    The left has a long history - especially the &#39;communist&#39; of downgrading the importance of technology and the importance of love, laughter and fun to the human condition while guilt-tripping those who venture to engage in even life&#39;s most simple pleasures.

    I totally agree with the quote in your signature:

    "Who wants a world in which the guarantee that we shall not die of starvation entails the risk of dying of boredom?"

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    Oh quite sure - its the yin and yang of it.
    But what is that?
    Oh, you know - its up side and down side - like that - everything got one. But every up side has a bit down and every down side's got a bit of up...
    ah... every silver linings got a touch of gray...

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    There&#39;s no doubt that technology is important to our advancement as a species.

    What I meant to emphasize was that with all these digital mediums with which to communicate, more and more it seems like people are becoming more and more isolated from those around us, not in communicating but in the sense that the person we&#39;re trying to talk to isn&#39;t physically in front of us.

    YouTube, cell phones, forums, text messages, radios, mp3 players. The convenience and utility these provide is paramount to me, but taking a second look I have a feeling that we&#39;re losing that face-to-face aspect of socializing that has defined humanity for so long. I guess we&#39;re adapting pretty well though.

    But what the hell do I know, I spend too much time on computers. :P
    I totally agree with the quote in your signature:
    One of my favorites, and thank you.
    [FONT=Arial]
    [/FONT]

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    some relevant issues i see:

    1) communists have historically been on the cutting edge of science and technology. Is this still true?

    2) Are the changes in technology (cell phones, internet, mp3s, podcasts, youtube video interctivity, texting and so much more) basically a matter of "toys and privilege" or are these important changes for humanity?

    3) When the people don&#39;t act the way we wish, should we conclude they are complicit with the system, and committing crimes themselves?

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    Originally posted by kasama&#045;rl@November 26, 2007 12:22 am
    3) When the people don&#39;t act the way we wish, should we conclude they are complicit with the system, and committing crimes themselves?
    This is the important issue I find with the essay. And the problem which I see is one which I outlined in another post about the RCP - a substitution of ideology for organization.

    Now, I understand pretty clearly that there is A relationship between one&#39;s ideology and their organizing practice. In fact, it&#39;s a very important relationship. But, the problem I&#39;ve noticed with the RCP is that there seems to be almost no organizing of oppressed communities/ghettos happening - rather, there&#39;s a heavy focus on drawing lines in the sand and "forcing" people to confront the issues of the day and take a side.

    Is it wrong for people to be confronted with the fact that the CIA is torturing people and locking them up in secret detention centers? Of course not - people should be discussing these important issues&#33; But is making them take a stand equal to preparing them organizationally to overthrow the state? Hell no. People can have the right moral position on any number of issues, but in the end that in no way determines how organized they are to challenge the institutions, and the system, which perpetrates the crimes which they have taken a stand against.

    The same goes for ideology - you can have the greatest ideology and theoretical positions on different historical moments, but it in now way determines how organized you are. We absolutely NEED good theory, but we also need good organizing skills. And IMHO, believing that one (organizing) magically flows from and corresponds to the other (ideology, positions) is mistaken.

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    Originally posted by kasama&#045;rl@November 26, 2007 12:22 am
    some relevant issues i see:

    1) communists have historically been on the cutting edge of science and technology. Is this still true?

    2) Are the changes in technology (cell phones, internet, mp3s, podcasts, youtube video interctivity, texting and so much more) basically a matter of "toys and privilege" or are these important changes for humanity?

    3) When the people don&#39;t act the way we wish, should we conclude they are complicit with the system, and committing crimes themselves?
    1.) It should be. More needs to be done to get our prwsence felt through the internet. It is an invaluable resource through which we can gain members for our cause.
    2.) Yes. This is obviously correct. The point is that there are good and bad ways for these to be used/produced. I suggest you look at "Societ of the Spectacle" by Gud Debord. While I don&#39;t agree with everything he says, it is at least an interesting work on consumerism.
    3.) No. They are complicit witht the system when they witness things that are clearly atrocious and don&#39;t act. The Nazi metaphor is totally applicable here.
    "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

    Workers of the World Unite!" -Karl Marx

    "The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. " -Vladimir Lenin

    "The People's democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class. For it is only the working class that is most far-sighted, most selfless and most thoroughly revolutionary. The entire history of revolution proves that without the leadership of the working class revolution fails and that with the leadership of the working class revolution triumphs." -Mao Zedong

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    Originally posted by patient persuasion+November 28, 2007 07:20 am--> (patient persuasion @ November 28, 2007 07:20 am)
    kasama&#045;rl
    @November 26, 2007 12:22 am
    3) When the people don&#39;t act the way we wish, should we conclude they are complicit with the system, and committing crimes themselves?
    This is the important issue I find with the essay. And the problem which I see is one which I outlined in another post about the RCP - a substitution of ideology for organization.

    Now, I understand pretty clearly that there is A relationship between one&#39;s ideology and their organizing practice. In fact, it&#39;s a very important relationship. But, the problem I&#39;ve noticed with the RCP is that there seems to be almost no organizing of oppressed communities/ghettos happening - rather, there&#39;s a heavy focus on drawing lines in the sand and "forcing" people to confront the issues of the day and take a side.

    Is it wrong for people to be confronted with the fact that the CIA is torturing people and locking them up in secret detention centers? Of course not - people should be discussing these important issues&#33; But is making them take a stand equal to preparing them organizationally to overthrow the state? Hell no. People can have the right moral position on any number of issues, but in the end that in no way determines how organized they are to challenge the institutions, and the system, which perpetrates the crimes which they have taken a stand against.

    The same goes for ideology - you can have the greatest ideology and theoretical positions on different historical moments, but it in now way determines how organized you are. We absolutely NEED good theory, but we also need good organizing skills. And IMHO, believing that one (organizing) magically flows from and corresponds to the other (ideology, positions) is mistaken. [/b]
    I don&#39;t think anyone would disagree with you. Of course orginization does not magically flow out of theory. But it is also important to educate people about the atrocities being committed by the government. That is not an orginizational principle but a good political stratedgy.
    "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

    Workers of the World Unite!" -Karl Marx

    "The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. " -Vladimir Lenin

    "The People's democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class. For it is only the working class that is most far-sighted, most selfless and most thoroughly revolutionary. The entire history of revolution proves that without the leadership of the working class revolution fails and that with the leadership of the working class revolution triumphs." -Mao Zedong

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