Can someone explain communism to me

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Fluminator
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Can someone explain communism to me

#1 Post by Fluminator » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:44 am

Why is it making such a big comeback? What's the appeal of it after seeing what it's resulted in before? Why would it be different this time?

Genuinely so confused.

I'm paying a bunch of taxes and then remembered communists like paying taxes which got me on this rabbit trail of wondering about communism some more.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#2 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:35 am

What "comeback" are you seeing exactly?

I am a Marxist and will happily talk about communism with you, but I have no idea what you mean by a big comeback, as I am aware of no such thing. What we've been witnessing in recent years is a huge rise in ultra-conservatism and neo-fascism.

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#3 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:13 am

Communism is a method fighting climate change, typically utilising elements of starvation alongside executions as a form of population control, and combining that with the decimation of industry to create an impressive reduction in carbon emissions. Mainstream media will typically try to tarnish its environmental reputation, highlighting the initial increase in emissions resulting from the burning of bodies, cities etc, but don't allow yourself to be taken in by this fake news.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#4 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:23 am

Obvious troll is octvious.

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#5 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:28 am

Ok, Jamie, I give up. What exactly is it that you think trolling is?

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#6 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:59 pm

Looks like we have hit a textbook example of Poe's Law:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#7 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:52 pm

@Fluminator, I am not sure what you think communism is. At least to my understanding it has a very specific meaning. From Britannica:

"Communism, political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of at least the major means of production (e.g., mines, mills, and factories) and the natural resources of a society."

This comes from here:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/communism

I see exactly zero evidence that we are moving towards public ownership and communal control, if anything we have been going in the completely opposite direction for decades (at least since the 80s). Some examples:
- the decline in unionism
- the removal of defined pensions and the switch to retirement income purely based on stock market returns
- mass privatization
- the hollowing out of the public sector and replacement with consultants (which charge many multiples of the original cost)
- the rise of the gig economy

Society has of course become much less socially conservative...but that has exactly zero to do with communism. I know social conservatives try and conflate the two and the few remaining socialist organizations DO try and jump on the social issues bandwagons to get new members, but there is no connection here. It is complete and utter nonsense.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#8 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:21 pm

Looks like the union vote has been lost in Alabama:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/09/amazon- ... abama.html
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/9/22374 ... rwdsu-bhm1

If communism was even remotely in the realm of possibility, I would have expected the union drive to succeed here.

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Re: Can someone explain how to operate this toaster?

#9 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:34 pm

I would also like Fluminator to explain to us why he felt the need to suggest that Communism is making a "big comeback".

I, for one, would be happy if it did. But I see no such trend.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#10 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:11 pm

Socialism and Communism are often used interchangeably... But my understanding is that Socialism is an ideal of a society where there are no class differences.

The US made many steps breaking old European aristocratic strict rules ('land of the free', 'anyone can make it if the try' - which of course has never been true), allowing greater social mobility at the time; with current increases in wealth and income I equality, this social mobility has become less and less, But I digress.

The Soviet Union, to take one example, was not a Socialist society. It had one ruling class 'the party' very much on top, and the attempted to drag illiterate Russian peasants straight through an industrial revolution and to use their Communist system as a stepping stone to establish Socialism.

Unfortunately, as these things go, entrenched power within the system acted to protect itself instead of to abolish the class system, so Socialism was never fully realised.

Much like the US, where entrenched power structures protect themselves over the interests of those without power. Human nature or not, those power structures which exist for any length of time tend to bend their function towards preserving their own power above all else (cf: the Catholic Church).

Communism as defined to be a stepping stone towards Socialism may be flawed notion. But I haven't seen any kind of growth of either it or Socialism.

European Socialist projects have been largely successful, I want to suggest they happened because the change was slower (unlike the US's independence and Russian's comnunist Revolution). Contrasting the end of the power of Monarchies in the UK vs France... The slower one (UK) lead to a very different outcome whereas the faster one (revolutionafy France, with the clear goals of Liberty, Fraternity and Egality) utterly failed in the short term (decade or two). Without time to develop robust institutions, France fell to chaos, violence, and starvation, and people were desperate to have anyone take control - hence voting for Napoleon as Emperor (though he HD already claimed the title for himself irrc).

So if Socialism is going to develop, it needs to come from slow changes to existing institutions. The Affordable Care Act, or a Medicare for All programme might be examples in the US, where equality of access to health care means less class differences... The NHS in the UK being sold off/under funded is the trend I can see happening, undermining the institutions which do function.

At a local level, the US (among other places) has also had many comnunes, living arrangements where people pool resources, time, and property. The history here is another approach to socialism, instead of presuming a top down state based solution, you instead attempt a bottom up (anarchist) grass roots approach. Comnunes can share child minding responsibilities (saving on child care) share rent and food prep expenses (communal cooking, avoiding the waste of buying multiples of the same utensils and other equipment) and pool resource to purchase property.

However even this kind of communal project leads to class differences between those members of the commune and others (what if you start bring a date back to the commune, but they haven't contributed the same as everyone else...) and while some comnunes may function for decades at a time, they become their own entrenched power and influence structures which are very difficult for new-comers to feel an equal part within - so they can undo some of the worst inequalities of class systems on a local scale, they do not achieve a Socialism on their own.

I wish I actually knew more, anarchists in Bristol, New York Jewish friends, comnune in Copenhagen, and Kurdish autonomous communities in Northern Syria have a inspired me to see the many alternatives. But I don't see any cohesion or growth.

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#11 Post by Jamiet99uk » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:45 pm

Bump for Fluminator to comment.

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#12 Post by Fluminator » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:34 am

I have a business and the taxes behind it are so confusing and I'm drowning in bureaucracy right now. I'll be able to respond soon.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#13 Post by flash2015 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:49 am

You know you have until May 17th now. Plenty of time!!!

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#14 Post by yavuzovic » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:12 pm

Systematic theft

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#15 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:41 am

Fluminator wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:44 am
I'm paying a bunch of taxes and then remembered communists like paying taxes which got me on this rabbit trail of wondering about communism some more.
Thinking about this some more, Flumbo, it seems to me that your frustration / confusion / question may actually arise out of the incredible weird and outdated system the USA has for declaring and paying your tax liability.

It's my understanding that in the USA, each individual taxpayer has to complete their own tax return, and it's their responsibility to make arrangements to pay the IRS either in a lump sum or via some kind of staged payment plan.

That's utterly bonkers (and nothing to do with communism). In most civilised countries you simply don't have to do that. Here in the UK, in common with many other countries, your employer communicates your salary level to the tax authorities, who provide a "tax code" indicating what rate of income tax, etc, you should be paying, and your employer then automatically deducts this from your salary every month / week and forwards it to the revenue.

I am nearly 40 years old and have been paying tax on my earnings in one form or another since I was 18 years old. I have never had to submit a Tax Return or personally calculate what taxes I should owe. I have never had to personally arrange for my taxes to be paid. It all just happens, via my employer(s), with very little fuss.

The US system for collecting taxes is crazy.

That has nothing at all to do with communism.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#16 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:41 am

Just to reassure Fluminator, people in the UK with a business also have a delightfully fun tax bureaucracy with which to occupy their time in the wee hours of the night ;)
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#17 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:51 am

Octavious wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:41 am
Just to reassure Fluminator, people in the UK with a business also have a delightfully fun tax bureaucracy with which to occupy their time in the wee hours of the night ;)
They do - but that makes more sense because if you're self employed or running your own business, you obviously have to do your own accounting and that includes your tax accounting. But it's just really odd that in the USA every single working adult has to go through the tax declaration process. Absurd. No wonder Americans dislike the idea of taxation.

Ironically it was an American who said, "I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization." Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. I've always been fond of that quotation.
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#18 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:26 pm

Wait, so taxation isn't theft?

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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#19 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:58 pm

Yeah, I was going to say that only the self-employed in Ireland have to do their own taxes.

If you run a successful business usually one of the costs of doing business is paying an accountant to handle your account and taxation. Obviously this can be pretty onerous on small and micro businesses. But having every single Individual do it seems crazy. And with a gig economy, how do you even keep track of your income? The IRS must spend a huge amount of effort trying to track down errors instead of just taxing at source (do individual US states with income tax all do the same?)
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Re: Can someone explain communism to me

#20 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:21 pm

There are multiple problems with taxation in the US:

(a) Taxes at many different levels - When Australia decided to create the GST it created it at the federal level. Whilst it really funds the states, the federal government is responsible for tax collection and setting tax levels.

The US is a bit different. In the worst case in the US (the country against "big government"), you may be under up to 5 levels of government (federal, state, county, town and village)...and each can effectively have their own tax policies. I pay income tax to the federal government, the state government and the local town/city. I have have separate sales taxes for the state, the city and the county. It is so needlessly complex, its nuts. No wonder business taxes especially are complex.

(b) Crony capitalism ("Leave no tax software company or accountant behind") - Big purveyors of tax software have paid big money to stop the federal government from making taxes easier to do:

https://www.propublica.org/article/insi ... s-for-free

(c) In general an ideological outlook which makes sure that the taxes you are paying are always front and center - e.g. the way prices are always quoted "pre-tax" or signs on petrol pumps showing that the price you pay is made up of X cents of tax to the federal government, X cents to the states etc.
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