r/Socialism_101 Aug 16 '18

PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING ON THE SUB! Frequently asked questions / misconceptions - answers inside!

190 Upvotes

In our efforts to improve the quality and learning experience of this sub we are slowly rolling out some changes and clarifying a few positions. This thread is meant as an extremely basic introduction to a couple of questions and misconceptions we have seen a lot of lately. We are therefore asking that you read this at least once before you start posting on this sub. We hope that it will help you understand a few things and of course help avoid the repetitive, and often very liberal, misconceptions.

  1. Money, taxes, interest and stocks do not exist under socialism. These are all part of a capitalist economic system and do not belong in a socialist society that seeks to abolish private property and the bourgeois class.

  2. Market socialism is NOT socialist, as it still operates within a capitalist framework. It does not seek to abolish most of the essential features of capitalism, such as capital, private property and the oppression that is caused by the dynamics of capital accumulation.

  3. A social democracy is NOT socialist. Scandinavia is NOT socialist. The fact that a country provides free healthcare and education does not make a country socialist. Providing social services is in itself not socialist. A social democracy is still an active player in the global capitalist system.

  4. Coops are NOT considered socialist, especially if they exist within a capitalist society. They are not a going to challenge the capitalist system by themselves.

  5. Reforming society will not work. Revolution is the only way to break a system that is designed to favor the few. The capitalist system is designed to not make effective resistance through reformation possible, simply because this would mean its own death. Centuries of struggle, oppression and resistance prove this. Capitalism will inevitably work FOR the capitalist and not for those who wish to oppose the very structure of it. In order for capitalism to work, capitalists need workers to exploit. Without this class hierarchy the system breaks down.

  6. Socialism without feminism is not socialism. Socialism means fighting oppression in various shapes and forms. This means addressing ALL forms of oppressions including those that exist to maintain certain gender roles, in this case patriarchy. Patriarchy affects persons of all genders and it is socialism's goal to abolish patriarchal structures altogether.

  7. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Opposing the State of Israel does not make one an anti-Semite. Opposing the genocide of Palestinians is not anti-Semitic. It is human decency and basic anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism.

  8. Free speech - When socialists reject the notion of free speech it does not mean that we want to control or censor every word that is spoken. It means that we reject the notion that hate speech should be allowed to happen in society. In a liberal society hate speech is allowed to happen under the pretense that no one should be censored. What they forget is that this hate speech is actively hurting and oppressing people. Those who use hate speech use the platforms they have to gain followers. This should not be allowed to happen.

  9. Anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism are among the core features of socialism. If you do not support these you are not actually supporting socialism. Socialism is an internationalist movement that seeks to ABOLISH OPPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD.

ADDITIONALLY PLEASE NOTICE

  • When posting and commenting on the sub, or anywhere online really, please do not assume a person's gender by calling everyone he/him. Use they/their instead or ask for a person's pronouns to be more inclusive.

  • If you get auto-moderated for ableism/slurs please make sure to edit the comment and/or message the mods and have your post approved, especially if you are not sure which word you have been modded for. Every once in a while we see people who do not edit their quality posts and it's always a shame when users miss out on good content. If you don't know what ableism is have a look a these links: http://isthisableism.tumblr.com/sluralternatives / http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

  • As a last point we would like to mention that the mods of this sub depend on your help. PLEASE REPORT posts and comments that are not in line with the rules. We appreciate all your reports and try to address every single one of them.

We hope this post brought some clarification. Please feel free to message the mods via mod mail or comment here if you have any questions regarding the points mentioned above. The mods are here to help.

Have a great day!

The Moderators


r/Socialism_101 3h ago

Question Can one be a Marxist-Leninist, but still oppose Stalinism?

37 Upvotes

Title says it all. I got into reading a lot of Lenin's work, I agree with what he says, what I don't agree with is Stalin's way of making the state (the administration), who ought to function as a "teacher" of the communist theory, that much more empowered over the common proletariat. I agree with the communist administration being the opressor of the bourgeoisie, rather than the bourgeois democracy with its institutions be the oppressor of the proletariat. But, is there, from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint, any alternative to that? Like to make this restrictive policy less paranoid? With less executions and a more progressive, humane justice system of the socialist "state", that is dying off as it progresses into communism?

Edit: By "Stalinism" I mean Stalin's policies / actions, or how he implemented them


r/Socialism_101 7h ago

Question Am I talking to a fascist?

29 Upvotes

Long story short, I met this girl on Reddit when I made a post on r/chat asking if anybody wanted to talk because I was bored. She’s Lebanese, very kind and fun to talk to. Overall seems like a very open person. I’ve told her I’m queer and she didn’t judge me at all, among other things. Anyways she told me about Hezb Allah and that it is bad. Just be straight up with me, is it possible she’d have good reason to feel this way or am I talking to a fascist?


r/Socialism_101 1h ago

Question is there a difference between being a democratic socialist and a social democrat?

Upvotes

for reference, i’m a 17 year old from a small, rural part of canada. i support the ndp but don’t have a lot of information on them as i only really started to pay attention to politics semi-recently. i’ve heard both terms used to describe them, but i don’t know if they mean the same thing. an explanation would be appreciated! if any canadians see this and could give a good explanation of the ndp and their policies i’d appreciate it, but if not that’s ok.


r/Socialism_101 2h ago

Question Should I read The Wealth of Nations and some Ricardo before Capital?

4 Upvotes

My local library has both (support your libraries!), and also the first two volumes of capital (and Capital in the 21st Century, is it good?). Should I read smith and Ricardo in full or are summaries good enough?


r/Socialism_101 5h ago

Question What even is Capitalism, from a Socialist perspective?

8 Upvotes

I would consider myself a capitalist, in the sense that I do not want the government to interfere with the market, or really any part of my daily life. However, from what I can see here, most people here talk about capitalism in quite the opposite way, where the government interferes heavily in the market but favours the rich. This is quite a big difference, and I am strongly against the latter. So, what exactly do you consider to be capitalism?


r/Socialism_101 2h ago

To Marxists What are dialectics in marxism?

3 Upvotes

I am going along the Basic marxism leninism studying plan in r/communism101 and the first two things i had to read were "The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism" and "Karl Marx: A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism" by V.I.Lenin. To my knowledge, these texts describe the foundations of marxism(i am not quite done with Karl Marx: A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism). I understand some of the concepts and ideas but i have literally no clue as for what dialectics are and dialectical materialism. Sure, these two are explained somewhat but i really really don't understand it. So what are dialectics and dialectical materialism?


r/Socialism_101 4h ago

High Effort Only At what point is a country "developed enough" to become socialist?

3 Upvotes

In China, state capitalism was implemented because China needed to develop, with the goal of returning to socialism after development. Compared to Marx's time, China is probably developed beyond imagination. So that begs the question, when does a country become developed enough?


r/Socialism_101 14h ago

Best book on Che Guevara?

22 Upvotes

My book store owns a copy of "Che: A Revolutionary Life" by Jon Lee Anderson and "The Motorcycle Diaries" be Che himself (obviously translated since it's in English). Which book should one read fist to learn about Che? Does it matter?


r/Socialism_101 11h ago

Is a planned economy the optimal economical model that we should strive for?

11 Upvotes

Hey. I'm curious if there's a consensus regarding this among socialists.


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

High Effort Only How is China socialist when they are exploiting low paid workers and buying mineral resources mines in the global south

282 Upvotes

r/Socialism_101 18m ago

Why did Jeremy Corbyn lose so badly in the 2019 election?

Upvotes

From what I understand, it was very much his support for a second referendum and lack of support for Brexit, but also partially due to anti-Semitism allegations and the ruthless slander of him perpetrated by the Tory-funded media. Even then, I still cannot comprehend how someone who is not say, a wealthy business owner, voting for Boris Johnson over Corbyn, who I think had very admirable policies. Was there anything else to his loss, aside from these reasons? And how come he lost in 2017 too? Thank you.


r/Socialism_101 47m ago

Question Thoughts on the PLP?

Upvotes

I'm Canadian, and was looking into the notion of transnational political parties. I've only done some cursory looking into the Progressive Labor Party in the US, and I don't know what it's accomplished or how transnational it really is, but I like what I see so far. Anyone have any input on it, or better, any experience with the party either as a US citizen or outside the US?


r/Socialism_101 11h ago

Question Are programming languages capital or labor inputs?

3 Upvotes

I was doing some thinking about the LTV and automation (a classic thought trap) and was considering all of the instruments and subjects of labor that would be put into- let’s say a robot (a very complicated question given the narrower nature of commodity analysis in the labor theory of value).

Obviously you have the psychical subjects of labor. That being the machinery, wiring, PCB’s and stuff; but then you have the AI itself. That AI was created by a person(s) who expended mental labor power on their computer workspace using a programming language. Obviously there is a lot more to it I.E programming libraries, the computer itself, the operating system, the language itself being built on top of other languages, all of these things were created by laborers.

But nonetheless I still can’t decide if a programming language a form of capital, or a subject of labor / labor input into a commodity. Of course in the robot example the robot itself would probably be used as capital, automating menial jobs and tasks, but let’s just say for general software development, that the programmer is creating a digital commodity. Is a programming language capital, or an input / subject of labor- comparable to the raw materials in a chair.

I’d personally lean more towards capital, but since programming languages are all free aside from the prerequisite of a computer I’m a bit back and forth. Nonetheless I’d like to here some thoughts from other marxists who have some general knowledge in technology / the intersectional nature of the two.


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

New leftist here. i dont understand what socialists mean when they say"Labour isnt the source of all wealth "

25 Upvotes

r/Socialism_101 23h ago

To Marxists Is it possible to fight trampling of political rights and labor rights at the same time?

5 Upvotes

The Marxists in my community have said our best chance is using the rising organized labor movement, and through that organization, we can defend reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and so forth. How are these interrelated and how can we fight capital and fight for our rights at the same time?


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Does anyone else here study economics at university?

5 Upvotes

So I just finished my second year of economics but the thing is, i’m having increasingly negative feelings towards the subject especially because my lecturers always fail to take exploitation of workers into account and it’s viewed through the lens of maximising profits or tricking customers into buying more of a particular good.

In the first year of this course I barely cared about leftism but now I’m having slight regrets because I find myself arguing a ton with people on my course about how capitalism is literally designed to f*ck people over etc - basically there is a very clear distinction between me and the rest of my class mates

I do music on the side so I do that to maintain my sanity but yea this subject sucks lmao especially if you can see through all the bullshit your professors are saying


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Why should i be a leftist?

18 Upvotes

I believe iam unfit to fight for a leftist cause,i'm currently unemployed,27,i have a bachelor in history,but i struggled to get it.I struggle with chronique fatigue and autism,i discovered marxism on the internet.I'm unable to get a master's qualification.That's why i'm completely unqualified to be a leftist,as being one requires you to be qualified,have good analytical skills and worker,i would just be a burden so i dont believe i should openly advocate for any leftist politics,i would just be a laughting stock


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

High Effort Only Great Leap Forward

48 Upvotes

I don’t really subscribe to any specific leftist ideology, I just have a disdain for capitalism and the power structures it upholds. I don’t have any super solid opinions about specific leaders, I just know that the US school system is very anti-communist so I am always doubtful of any information about socialist leaders/history. Anyways, in my Chinese History class we recently learned about Mao and the Great Leap Forward. To give me teacher credit, he acknowledged the admirable leadership qualities of Mao and the success of the 5 year plan. But from what he taught us, it seems like the great leap forward was a total disaster. Workers were encouraged to leave the fields and work in factories/smelt steel, and because of that, local leaders exaggerated the amount of food being produced because they were scared of being punished for having low output. This meant that there was overconsumption so eventually they ran out of food and 30 million people died. He also said that the steel was pretty much useless because it was smelted with random scrap metal which made it weak. In general it seemed like the GLP was a complete failure and that Mao wasn’t very pragmatic.

I am pretty suspicious of these claims due to the amount of anti communist propaganda in the USA, and I don’t know too much about Mao, so I want to how much of this info is true and how much is questionable.


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

If "the West" (US, UK etc) had embraced socialism, how different would the experience of young people (teenagers + under 30s) be?

3 Upvotes

Young people in the western world face an increasingly uncertain future. Obviously, these hardships can't really be compared to the hardships of other parts of the world, but it has posed some questions in my head.

Here in the UK, due to ever-increasing house prices and rent, a large number of young people are living with their parents at an older age, or if not they are living with others in shared accommodation or paying rent that is so extortionate that getting a place of their own is impossible. Many are going into an uncertain job market, even graduates are ending up doing insecure, low paid, zero-hour contract work.

There's also an unprecedented mental health crisis for young people, which I think capitalism plays a major role in. We have young women feeling insecure because they feel they need to compete with the false images of influencers, who in reality are paid to push clothes and products and don't even look how they appear on social media. We have young men feeling increasingly uncertain of their place in the world and how they're supposed to meet expectations of "masculinity" (IE, a man being strong, successful, etc in a society where opportunities are ever decreasing), which in extreme cases can result in them becoming involved in gang crime/violence or even terrorism. I think there's even a case to be made that the "incel" problem can be traced back to capitalism and its ideas of what a successful man should be.

That's got me wondering. If the west had gone socialist several decades back, but technological development had continued in roughly the same way, so we still had smartphones, social media etc, would young people have the sort of issues they face in today's western world? Would the housing crisis still be happening? Would young men and women face a mental health crisis because of the impossible ideals that capitalism feeds?

Thoughts?


r/Socialism_101 21h ago

High Effort Only Should race be abolished?

0 Upvotes

We are all human and for some reason people associate themselves with certain stereotypes of their race, both positive and negative. Race applications within every other race (besides whites for the most part to my knowledge) has faced discrimination. Whites have typically throughout culture and history created the idea that other races are inferior to whites to my knowledge and in fact are the origin for the most part of why race is even a thing. If my statement is wrong or ignorant please correct me but I've been curious on this topic for awhile. Again sorry if any bit of this question isn't as elaborate or well rounded as it should be, and also ignorant. I'll be making edits if necessary as the comments come.


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

To Marxists Historical works about the Spanish Revolution (1936-1939) that focus on Marxist/Socialist wings of the Republican Camp

3 Upvotes

I'm currently reading The Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-management in the Spanish Revolution (1936-1939), edited by Sam Dolgoff, and I would like to read similar works that focus on the Socialist and Marxist efforts before, during, and after the revolution.

Thanks!


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Why do socialists want to abolish the police?

54 Upvotes

I need to write something here to post this.


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

What will happen once robots take our jobs?

2 Upvotes

Would we still have the need to start revolution? Since the workers aren't being exploited anymore as everything is automated. Would there still be a need for the outlawing of private property?


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question Books/essays on neocolonialism?

22 Upvotes

Title


r/Socialism_101 1d ago

How does socialism handle hard work roles?

21 Upvotes

Hi, community!

I'm a newbie in socialism, so help me understand questions that I can't answer myself.

There are a lot of unpleasant jobs that don't need education, but there are also a lot of jobs that require literally years of education. E. g. I'm right now working as a programmer, and in past worked as a network-related hardware engineer. I literally hate my job, but capitalism paid me well, so I continue to do this. Why does someone in socialism wanna learn tons of complicated things that implement technical progress when you can, e. g. be a truck driver after a few months of education?

Yeah, it's always will be enthusiasts that enjoyed that kind of stuff, but it's the minority, and for every step in technical progress, we'll need tons of human resources. And what motivation must be in socialism for doing an unpleasant job that must be done? I understand how it can be in manual labor. But can't understand how it works for intellectual labor in long commitments (months/years).