Forum:The Insanity of Marxists?

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I think it's time to shed more of a spotlight on a Marxist website called World Socialist Website. Its founder is Bill Van Auken, who once ran for President. He recently wrote an article that best describes his views. I will give a quote:

"Terrorism, from the standpoint of these elements within the vast US military and intelligence apparatus, is a useful tactic when directed against Washington’s enemies. It is merely part of the cost of doing business when it hits the US and its allies. And it can be exploited as a pretext for increased militarism and the suppression of political opposition.

In the end, Obama’s “advisers” have bigger things in mind. Little more than a week ago, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered a speech affirming that Russia and China, not ISIS or terrorism, constitute the main threat to Washington’s interests. Driven by its insoluble crisis and contradictions, US imperialism is preparing for the greatest act of mass terror in human history: World War Three." Serocco 10:04, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

The Marxists are the people who authorized the deaths of what, 90, 100 million people total during the Red Years? Their insanity is without question. CaptainCaptain (talk) 10:53, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Poor economic planning by way of holding your core ideology over pragmatism causing mass starvation isn't exactly "authorizing" deaths. Causing? Sure. But the authorized deaths are only in the low millions even between Stalin and Mao. Not that millions of deaths is some minor thing. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 19:52, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
It's also a rather poor association fallacy. Group user doesn't like + atrocities done by someone holding views = all people of that view are guilty. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 20:04, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, boys, I reckon this is it. Nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. --Ymir (talk) 13:48, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think this article has much to do with the "insanity of Marxists", and this is coming from someone who doesn't particularly like Marxism and lives in a country where Marxism is far more "mainstream" than the US. (I think Marxism can be an interesting filter to analyse history, but Marxists in themselves tend to piss me off, especially with their false consciousness BS.) It's natural that these people dislike the US: it's got the gall of being the capitalist hellhole they think everything will become without state intervention in the economy, without actually being a complete hellhole ! Nothing will set off a true believer(tm) like being proven wrong. NewFrenchHotness (talk) 18:55, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
I actually find false consciousness an interesting, if extremely iffy, concept. What else to call it when, to take one glaring example, Americans who clearly fail the usual (socio-)economic definitions of the term describe themselves as belonging to the vaunted "middle class"? Or, for that matter, the viral video about the difference between how Americans think the wealth in the U.S. is distributed, how they wish it to be distributed and how it's actually distributed? To simply declare false consciousness BS appears to me to be a little too happy-clappy optimistic a view of human perception and behaviour...
That said, false consciousness also has the troubling aspect of "I know what you (should) think better than you do"/"I know your real motives/interests" and so on and so forth that also happens to be a golden oldie among (other) irksome apologists of the "I've got you figured out; you just deny God so you can sin!"-variety (the latter category includes sophisticated theologian William Lane Craig, btw). ScepticWombat (talk) 19:15, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
[EC] This doesn't sounds like the insanity of a Marxist, it just sounds like a conspiracy theorist. These unknown "advisors", claims of unverifiable knowledge, and predictions of future war because...reasons. It's pretty standard for a number of decades in many people who are paranoid. Might be good to have an article if he continues...but he just sounds angry and afraid. Over-generalization is also not good. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 19:27, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not seeing any argument against false consciousness as a legitimate concept. By the way, I believe it's only mentioned once in one of Friedrich Engels's works. Withoutaname (talk) 12:17, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
It's legitimate in principle, as long as you accept that other people can have different priorities and that economically rational pursuit of material prosperity isn't the only goal in life. These days you're as likely to hear about false consciousnesss in black, anti-colonialist, or radical Islamist rhetoric via Frantz FanonWikipedia's W.svg and Sayyid Qutb (who used the term JahiliyyahWikipedia's W.svg, "ignorance"). Some Islamists have rather more extreme solutions than patronising the ignorant. Annquin (talk) 14:36, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
Having different priorities than "purely rational economic pursuit of material prosperity" isn't false consciousness either. But believe it not, the extent to which you can pursue your "other priorities" is limited by how much money you have, and by extension largely dependent on your relationship to the means of production. Withoutaname (talk) 14:55, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
Oh no no, WSWS is a different brand of Marxist. They hold Lenin and Trotsky to be perfect representaives of the working class, and refuse to call Lenin a dictator. They pit most of the blame on Stalin. They have been right on a lot of issues, like Iraq and Syriza, or even Syria (saying in 2013 that it will only be delayed action), but there's something off about them. For example, this site says Obama's Affordable Care Act is meant to make health insurance more expensive in order to kill more Americans so the insurance companies don't pay for their healthcare. I quote: "According to the big business parties and their corporate sponsors, Americans are living too long and health care costs are sucking up too much of the national wealth. There is a calculated drive to lower life expectancy for working people. That is why the introduction of Obamacare has been accompanied by a concerted drive to restrict access to basic medical tests—that is, to ration health care for workers. In recent months, official bodies have called for reducing or delaying mammograms, pap smears, prostate tests and other standard screening procedures." This not from Van Auken, but from editorial writer Kate Randall, who sounds almost exactly the same as Van Auken in writing style. This is normal from this site. Serocco 03:19, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
ListenerX is that you |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Star of David.png Stars don't twinkle, the moon doesn't shine 03:25, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Hoooh boy. On the Turkish bombing of a Russian warplane: "It is unthinkable that Turkey would have taken a decision against a powerful neighbor, fraught with incalculable consequences, without direct prior approval from the US government." Serocco 14:44, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

I recently added a discussion on Stalin apologetics talk page which didn't get any attention, it was about a Marxist intellectual and his (somewhat popular in Asia) writing absolving the Soviets and Chinese of any and all crimes. This type of thinking is very common, just look at the reddit board r/Communism's (~16,600 subscibers) FAQ, "DEBUNKING ANTI-COMMUNISM." The FAQ is prominently stickied on the front page of the subreddit, and contains everything from denying that Stalin and Mao killed anyone to saying the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is a actually a nice place to live. But craziness and denialism aside, I'd like to point out there is a difference between "Marxists" and Marxist-Leninists, Maoists, Stalinists, etc. You don't have to be a tankie to be a Marxist - Libertarian Marxism is a good example of a non-authoritarian, non-Cold War century school of thought. Lord Aeonian (talk) 06:21, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

I've only visited the /r/Communism subreddit a few times, so I don't know the general atmosphere of the place but last I heard it was mainly dominated by M-L and M-L-M. In the FAQ, I don't think they would outright deny Stalin and Mao ever killed anyone but they would certainly try to round down the numbers because 1) whether intentionally or not they tend to be inflated in the Western narrative and Stalin didn't just kill people for shits and giggles and 2) it would be more convenient to say that whatever killings that really were done would be entirely justified (since the rest must have been oppressive bourgeois scum). I thought the FAQ had also included non-communist historians like Arch Getty in order to give somewhat of a better picture of the overall consensus on statistical and historical data regarding the Soviet Union and China, but if there aren't any in the FAQ I suggest using Google to find other sources on the topic. Anecdotally speaking, communists who defend the DPRK usually justify it by saying that the government's "crazy" acts in front of Western media insulate the North Korean people from the penetration of American markets and therefore capitalism, which I find to be a silly reason to support a dictatorial regime but I can at least understand their point.
The veneration of ancient historical figures aside, can you give criticisms of these ideologies and reasons why you reject them? It's not just people attempting to put the theory into practice, you have to critique the theory itself and show why it doesn't work, for example, the vanguard theory in Marxist-Leninism as well as democratic centralism.
Also, do you want me to comment on the Marxist intellectual you mentioned on the Stalin apologetics talk page? Withoutaname (talk) 07:11, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm not critiquing the theory, only those who defend the Marxist-Leninist states by saying they "weren't that bad," "it's all capitalist lies!," or, in true tankie fashion, "the counter-revolutionaries/kaluks/bourgeois deserved it!" This thread is about "The Insanity of Marxists," after all. And my comment was addressed to everyone, not only you. Feel free to comment on whatever. Lord Aeonian (talk) 07:48, 25 May 2016 (UTC)