An Outsider’s View—9,Marxist notion of socialism unlikely to replace capitalism: Culture determines ‘third way’
Posted on November 22nd, 2011

By Shelton A. Gunaratne Professor of mass communications emeritus@ Minnesota State University Moorhead

The capitalists poo-pooh Marx and Engels’ dialectical materialism theory, which asserts that every economic order grows to a state of maximum efficiency, while at the same time developing internal contradictions or weaknesses that contribute to its decay.

Although rarely acknowledged by Western scholars, the dialectical method attributed to Hegel, Marx and Engels owes much to Buddhist and Chinese philosophy, which assert: 

  • that the universe is an integrated whole wherein everything is interdependent, interrelated and interactive (in effect, the law of dependent co-origination in Buddhism)
  • that everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux (in effect, the law of anicca “”…” change or impermanence””‚in Buddhism)
  • that everything in the universe has an opposite; and that everything is composed of successive layers of synthesis resulting  from the interaction of the two opposites  (in effect, the yinyang principle in Daoism).

Karl Marx (1818-1883) used the dialectical method, a version of the yin-yang principle traceable to the Yin Dynasty (about 1400-1100 BCE) and the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100-771 BCE), to develop a revolutionary sociological theory of change. 

Marxism

Marx’ theory of history saw five successive stages of development in Western Europe: primitive communism, slave society, feudalism, capitalism, and socialism/communism. Each stage, except the last, created a new class or invention that would lead to its own demise. Marx surmised that the final oppressive class would cease to exist after the stage of socialism/communism. Socialism would advance itself into communism under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Thus communism, as implied by Marxist theory, is classless perfection””‚analogous to Buddhist nirvana, which marks the end of the cycle of becoming and rebirth (samsara)””‚the final transition from socialism signifying “a classless, moneyless, revolutionary, and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production” (Wikipedia). Marx’ dialectical materialism ends with communism.

An array of other “ƒ”¹…”isms””‚Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, and so on””‚emerged to reflect the ideological differences related to the process of transition from capitalism to socialism/communism. While Marxism theorized a spontaneous transition from capitalism to socialism, which turned into communism””‚the perfect classless state, alternative views emerged to revise the Marxist theory to conform to the events surrounding the October 1917 Revolution in Russia.

Now, instead of arguing in abstractions, let us precisely define the two ends of the capitalism-socialism nexus:

 

Capitalism is an economic system wherein the means of production are privately owned, operated for profit (endless capital accumulation) from investment, and in competitive markets (laissez faire) free of state interference. Because perfect competition is a myth hatched in Adam Smith’s imagination, pure capitalism is only a theoretical construct that has never existed or will exist anywhere.

Socialism is an economic system wherein the working class (the proletariat) that produces the profits, the wealth, and the material goods own the means of production and run things collectively and democratically for the benefit of the majority.

Communism, on the other hand, is both an economic and political system situated in a classless society bereft of exploiters and exploited, oppressors and oppressed, and so on. Communism seeks to manage both the economy and the society by ensuring that property is owned collectively, and that control over the distribution of property is centralized in order to achieve both classlessness and statelessness.

Both socialism and communism are based on the principle that the goods and services produced in an economy should be owned publicly, and controlled and planned by a centralized organization. Socialism says that the distribution should take place according to the amount of an individual’s production efforts, whilst communism asserts that goods and services should be distributed among the populace according to individuals’ needs.

Pure socialism (or communism) is also nothing but a mere theoretical construct hatched in Karl Marx’ imagination because a pure classless society has never existed or will exist anywhere. For an array of “ƒ”¹…”isms revised the Marxist theory of the transition to socialism.

Other “ƒ”¹…”isms

  • Leninism is the revisionist doctrine of Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), the leader of the Bolsheviks who led the 1917 October Revolution inRussia, that socialism will not arise spontaneously through the natural decay of capitalism without the guidance of a vanguard party that can create a socialist state to direct social development and defend against counterrevolutionary insurrection.
  • Stalinism, the style of government that Joseph Stalin (1878-1953), who succeeded Lenin as the general secretary of the Communist Party, adopted in the Soviet Union and its satellites that reflected Stalin’s own interpretation of Marxism-Leninism.
  • Trotskyism, the permanent revolution and world revolution doctrine of Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), whom Stalin exiled in 1929 for leading the Left Opposition against Stalin’s bureaucratic rule. Communism split into two branches, Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism, and Trotsky founded the Fourth International as a rival to the mainstream Comintern in 1938.
  • Maoism, Marxism-Leninism as revised by Mao Zedong to suit Chinese characteristics. Maoists denounced the Communist Party of USSR and its supporters as revisionist “capitalist roaders.”

Marx used the terms socialism and communism interchangeably although for other political pundits communism as a social, political and economic ideology did not mean the same. Titoism (Yugoslavia), Hoxhaism (Albania), Castroism (Cuba), Prachanda Path (Nepal) and other “ƒ”¹…”isms, as well as the ideological clashes between China and the former Soviet Union clearly indicate that the so-called communist bloc never attained the Marxist nirvana of communism””‚the purest form of socialism.

In reality, what exists is a capitalism-socialism continuum spanned with varying syntheses of the two theoretical opposites””‚some heavy on capitalist traits (e.g., the United States, Switzerland), and some on socialist traits (e.g., Cuba, North Korea).

The Cold War (1946-1991) marked the intense competition between the capitalist-leaning bloc (led by the U.S.) and the communist-leaning bloc (led by the former USSR) for world domination. Capitalism won a pyrrhic victory with the fall of the Soviet empire.  But, two decades later, the failures of capitalism have resurfaced with the hallmarks of a New Depression forcing the world to look for the ideal synthesis (Middle Path) between the extremes of capitalism and socialism/communism.

Gunadasa Amarasekera, a Sri Lankan author and thinker par excellence, provides an impressive point of view on the causal process heading toward the death of global capitalism. The American mass media fail to provide the insight necessary to understand the magnitude of the crisis, which is most likely to dismantle American and European supremacy over the world-system. Amarasekera in several of his works has shown that the cultural consciousness of a people””‚a factor ignored by both Adam Smith and Karl Marx””‚will determine the multi-dimensional “third way” or “middle path” that will replace the capitalist world economy.

(Next: What is the “Just Third Way”?)

6 Responses to “An Outsider’s View—9,Marxist notion of socialism unlikely to replace capitalism: Culture determines ‘third way’”

  1. Ben_silva Says:

    Capitalism that is not regulated or controlled can yield to unhealthy wealth gaps, that could lead to instability. The third way needs to be taken seriously.

  2. Dham Says:

    Capitalism is driven by greed and delusion. To contorl it Governments need to step in with compassion and generocity. Somewhat balanced approach is taken by Australia after they got rid of most of aborigines. Such is life.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    The purpose of Marx’s work was to sabotage the nascent socialist movement; he reframed all of the socialists who came before him as exponents of “utopian socialism” and his ideas as so-called “scientific socialism”, the theory of which the people must follow dogmatically as a secular religion, no matter how much it fails in practice. It should be noted that before Marx ever wrote a word the socialist movement already existed in Germany, France, Britain and elsewhere, each with their own national expressions and ideas of how to improve the situation of the working-class following the Industrial Revolution. In later times, after Marx and especially after Lenin used his work to create Bolshevism, his followers have tried to monopolise the phrase and insist unless you follow Marx’s theories, you cannot be a socialist. This is a clear fraud and usurpation.

    Marx lived in Dean Street, London and squalor. Marx used to visit the Red Lion pub at Great Windmill Street, Soho where he and Friedrich Engels were asked to write what became the Communist Manifesto. His best known work is the book Das Kapital, which fails to mention that money is printed out of thin air and keeps the name of his cousins, the Rothschilds, out of it, despite the fact that they were the richest and most powerful capitalist family in the whole world. As an internationalist, Marx saw free trade as positive because it undermines established nations and cultures.

    The most pronounced and consistent aspect of Marx’s ideology was his extreme and radical hatred of Russia and everything to do with the culture of that nation. Marx and Engles regarded Russians and Slavs in general as subhuman (völkerabfall) barbarians. Had he lived to see his ideological heirs Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev butcher them by the millions, he would no doubt have cackled in orgasmic joy at the horrors visited upon them; men, women and children. Marx used the newspaper Neue Rheinische Zeitung to try and incite a war against Russia. This Russophobia was also behind the strange alliance with Tory, David Urquhart, when he moved to London and Marx thus has the blood of the people who died in the Crimean War on his Jewish hands. Henry Hyndman, who spent many hours in Marx’s company in his Record of an Adventurous Life attributed this anti-Russian obsession to Marx’s Jewish ethnocentrism.

  4. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    “Long ago, there was a Medieval Kingdom of Khazaria, 652-1016 AD that included part of modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and a sliver of what is current Kazakhstan. When considering the choice of Islam, Christianity or Judaism the leaders of this ’empire’ decided to declare themselves Jewish. That was a very odd choice in an area of the world which was predominately Islam and Christian.

    The Khazaria Empire could not extend any further south because the Tatars and Turkmen proved to be about as obstinate as the Afghans have been throughout history.

    The Khazarian ‘Jews’ are NOT descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel and their world view, and of pious spiritual Judaism have created conflict within that religion ever since.

    To a great extent, these are our current day Zionist Ashkenazi Jews (including Neocons, of course) who have formed a world power banking, extortion cult of war and death that has little or nothing to do with being devout adherents of Judaism. These are the folks who think nothing of breaking the law, lying (Kol Nidre), stealing, graft, corruption, assassination, blackmail, extortion or destroying tens of millions of people to get their way.

    Throughout the past century, these Zionist obeyed only the Talmud, not the laws of the lands they live in. This very behavior and ‘ethics’ appear, in fact, in the Talmud as Rabbinical teaching. Most pious Jews of good heart and conscience who follow the Torah know that such is not the way to achieve civilized, enlightened society.

    This is one of the reasons “Jew haters” have often been unable to differentiate between the truly religious descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel (the ones the Old Testament of the Bible is about) and these squatters who came from Central Asia and have taken over their religion and turned it into an evil club of power manipulation, greed, money, war, death and destruction.

    Many true Torah Jews are highly offended at the atrocities these Zionist Khazar Talmudic Jews have inflicted on mankind. From the huge massacre of Russian Christians, to the mass starvation holocaust of 30 million Ukrainians, to the creation of Nazism/fascism of World War II, to the mass slaughter of Christian Armenians, and to the current day blood-lust genocide of Iraq.

    The Zionist Khazars have made it abundantly clear that they have nothing but murderous contempt of Christians and Muslims.

    The problem is not ‘the Jews’…the problem is the KHAZAR Jews who are THE power behind Zionist Israel, in the UK and US.

    Just as the Himalaya Mountains are the geologic division between the continent of Asia and the continent of India, the Caucasus Mountains separate Central Asia and Europe. Geologically and geographically speaking, Georgia is NOT part of Europe.

    Georgia was apparently never part of the Khazar empire and was predominately Christian until recent times. Most of current Ukraine used to be part of the Khazaria Empire. Georgia, a predominately Muslim, non-European nation, is developing steadily more under the control of Khazar Zionist US Jews and their Muslim confederates.

    The Georgian people have been experiencing constant provocations aimed at Russia from the Zionist West.

    For example, Georgia is a good place to set up bases to wage covert war and black ops against Russia, which is now geographically sitting on what used to be the Khazaria Empire. That is why there are thousands Israeli and Blackwater mercenaries in Georgia now.

    The deep-seated hatred of Russia by these Khazars goes back over 1,000 years ago, when Russia crushed their empire and many of them fled to Europe into the areas now called Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Ukraine. Those who remained were under Russian rule for a while but even that changed in about 100 years time.

    During the 10th century, the East Slavs were united under Scandinavian overlordship. A new nation, Kievan Rus, was formed by Prince Oleg. Just as the Khazars had left their mark on other people, so too did they influence the Rus. The Rus and the Hungarians both adopted the dual-kingship system of the Khazars. The Rus princes even borrowed the title kagan.

    Archaeologists recovered a variety of Khazar or Khazar-style objects (including clothing and pottery) from Viking gravesites in Chernigov, Gnezdovo, Kiev, and even Birka (Sweden). The residents of Kievan Rus patterned their legal procedures after the Khazars. In addition, some Khazar words became part of the old East Slavic language: for example, bogatyr (“brave knight”) apparently derives from the Khazar word baghatur.

    The Rus inherited most of the former Khazar lands in the late 10th century and early 11th century. One of the most devastating defeats came in 965, when Rus Prince Svyatoslav conquered the Khazar fortress of Sarkel. It is believed that he conquered Itil two years later, after which he campaigned in the Balkans. Despite the loss of their nation, the Khazar people did not disappear. Some of them migrated westward into Hungary, Romania, and Poland, mixing with other Jewish communities.

    Both the Russians and remaining Khazars had to flee for their lives when the Mongol hordes took over most of Asia under the leadership of Genghis Khan, 1161-1227. Many of these Khazar Jews had no choice but to flee to the Russian north-east regions.

    These were the “Jews” that came into power in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution. Lenin needed their help to topple Tsar Nicholas, the last remnant of the Romanov dynasty. They helped overthrow Tsar Nicholas because he was not friendly to the Khazar Jews. These were the Zionist Jews who murdered 40 million Russians who refused to give up their land or bow down to Bolshevik-Khazarian-Zionism.

    In January of 1916, Leon Trotsky was expelled from France and came to USA. His expenses were paid by Jacob Schiff who was head of the New York investment firm Kuhn, Loeb and Company, and had raised the capital for large war loans to Japan. It was due to this funding that the Japanese were able to launch a stunning attack against the Russians at Port Arthur and the following year to virtually decimate the Russian fleet.

    Mind you that Jacob Schiff was a Khazar Jew and that Khazarian Jews had been persecuted under the Tsarist regime.

    According to Leon Trotsky who visited the USA on many occasions, he enjoyed a chauffeured limousine placed at his service. In his book “My Life”, Leon Trotsky wrote:

    ” ..the chauffeur was a magician, a titan, a superman! With the wave of his hand he made the machine obey his slightest command. To sit beside him was the supreme delight. When they went into a tea room, the boys would anxiously demand of their mother, “Why doesn’t the chauffeur come in?” (Leon Trotsky: My Life, 1930, p. 277)

    When Trotsky returned to Petrograd in May of 1917 to organize the Bolshevik phase of the Russian Revolution, he carried $10,000 for travel expenses, a generously fund considering the value of the dollar at that time. Trotsky was arrested by Canadian and British naval personnel, when the ship, on which he was traveling, the S.S. Kristianiafjord, put in at Halifax.

    The money in Trotsky possession is now a matter of official record. The source of that money has been the focus of much speculation, but the evidence strongly suggests that its origin was the German government.

    Trotsky was not arrested on a whim. He was recognized as a threat to the best interests of England: Canada was still within the British Commonwealth. Tsarist regime was an ally of England in the First World War. What would weaken Russia – internal revolution – would strengthen Germany and weaken England.

    In New York on the night before his departure, Trotsky had given a speech, in which he said:

    “I am going back to Russia to overthrow the provisional government and stop the war with Germany.” Trotsky therefore represented a real threat to England’s war effort. He was arrested as a German agent and taken as a prisoner of war.

    Telegrams immediately telegrams began to come into Halifax from such divergent sources, as an obscure attorney in New York City, from the Canadian Deputy Postmaster-General and even from a high-ranking British military officer, all inquiring into Trotsky’s situation and urging his immediate release.

    The head of the British Secret Service in USA was Sir William Wiseman. He occupied the apartment directly above the apartment of Edward Mandell House and who had become fast friends with Mandell. Edward Mandell House advised Sir William Wiseman that US President Woodrow Wilson wished to have Trotsky released. Wiseman advised his British government. And the British Admiralty issued orders on April 21st to release Trotsky.

    Trotsky could not have gone even as far as Halifax without having been granted an American passport and this was accomplished by the personal intervention of US President Woodrow Wilson.

    Although Jews have never made up more than 5% of the population of Russia, they played a highly disproportionate and decisive role in the Bolshevik regime, effectively dominating the Soviet government during its early years.

    With the exception of Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), most of the leading Communists who took control of Russia in (1917-20) were Jews. Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) headed the Red Army and was chief of Soviet foreign affairs. Yakov Sverdlov (Solomon) was both the Bolshevik party’s executive secretary and – as chairman of the Central Executive Committee- head of the Soviet government. Grigori Zinoviev (Radomyslsky) headed the Communist International (Comintern), the central agency for spreading revolution in foreign countries. Other prominent Jews included press commissar Karl Radek (Sobelsohn), foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov (Wallach), Lev Kamenev (Rosenfeld) and Moisei Uritsky

    Lenin himself was of mostly Russian and Kalmuck ancestry, but he was also one-quarter Jewish. His maternal grandfather, Israel (Alexander) Blank, was a Ukrainian Jew.

    In the Communist seizure of power in Russia, the Jewish role was very critical.

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Marx’s effort to derive the market price of goods from their value, the labor that went into them, was a vestige of the 19th-century economic theories of David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. By the time Marx died, economists had already given up trying to relate price to value and were beginning to understand that value was a chimera. With the growing dominance of technology, it had become impossible to locate value in the time required to produce goods, as Marx, following Ricardo and Mill, had tried to do. Machines can make products incredibly fast; but these products aren’t worth any less than if workers had spent days toiling at them, as Marx’s theory suggests. Marx’s essential idea, influenced by Ricardo, was that capitalism would become less and less profitable and that its downward spiral toward the abyss of deflation—lower prices, lower profits—would be followed by worldwide revolution. Instead, capitalism has become vastly more profitable.

    Marx’s writing style was a calamity: full of sometimes puerile vehemence, Marx heaped scorn on his opponents, inaugurating the long Marxist tradition of mercilessly deriding anyone with incorrect opinions. Marx displayed particular contempt for the high-living, dandyish Ferdinand Lassalle, a fellow socialist also of Jewish origin. In a letter to Engels, Marx mocked Lassalle, who supposedly had African ancestry, as a repulsive “combination of Jewry and Germanism with the negroid basic substance”; “the pushiness of this lad is also nigger-like,” he added. In Marx’s pamphlets, mudslinging abounds: His opponents are generally idiots, traitors, and scoundrels, but these heavy-handed insults tend to make us doubt Marx himself, since he relies so much on vituperation instead of reasoned argument.

  6. Dham Says:

    “This is one of the reasons “Jew haters” have often been unable to differentiate between the truly religious descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel (the ones the Old Testament of the Bible is about) and these squatters who came from Central Asia and have taken over their religion and turned it into an evil club of power manipulation, greed, money, war, death and destruction.”

    Sounds like how LTTE operate.
    Lorenzo should read this.

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