go back to most recent posts

Most Popular

The 50 Most Popular Questions

good question

question • Irving da Naile • Saturday • 12-Oct-2002 • 8:24 pm • # 103-3002
Ben, if your so-called "proletarian state" controls the media (ie, printing presses, paper supply, airwaves, etc.) isn't it logical to assume that, given the nature of every state to make self-preservation its primary concern, you state will either deny or put roadblocks in the way of those it deems "enemies of the state" (ie, anarchists and/or other socialist parties) to freely utilize the media? This is the experience of the Boshevik (counter) Revolution, is it not? • (question is for Ben)
reply • Sunday • 13-Oct-2002 • 1:03 am
  by benHi Irving. This is an excellent question--and it is encouraging to me because it represents solid evidence that visitors to this site are reading (and thinking about) the debate material--are able to navigate around--and feel confident to ask the hard questions. You are actually asking two different questions. One of your questions concerns the future (ie: the future proletarian state) and your other question concerns the past (ie: the experience of Lenin and the October 1917 revolution). I will make a strong effort to give a thoughtful reply to _both_ questions within the next few days.

reply • Monday • 14-Oct-2002 • 6:29 am • by ben • (part 1 of my reply to Irving)
The future proletarian state and the media

reply • Wednesday • 16-Oct-2002 • 8:25 am • by ben • (part 2 of my reply to Irving)
Why did Lenin suppress all competing trends
after the civil war ended in 1920?


--- 16 votes ---

good question

question • Cuka • Monday • 12-Jan-2004 • 3:58 pm • # 103-3017
I was raised in Serbia, under totalitarian regime. My friends and I have strong anarchic view of the world. Since anarchism and communism have great similarities, except that part about centralized government, I would like to ask this: what will happen to the religion? No one can deny the person's freedom of choice to beleive or not to beleive in some apstract concept. As much as I know, Marx was against religion, but by my opinion, such thinking leads to totalitarism. Your comments? • (question is for anyone)
--- 8 votes ---
good question

question • Narlun • Tuesday • 27-Apr-2004 • 8:19 am • # 103-3022
I myself am a Marxist and belive in the works of the party, but when someone says that Communism is the future for all people and does that mean people will be less greedy? Cause now Communism will not work because of man's greedy intintions towards material wealth. The "If you give a mouse a cookie 'law'" is present here but with people. If you give a person power... you know what comes next, so will people be less greedy or are "they" saying that workers who have been oppresed for so long will not juimp at the chance for some power? • (question is for Ben)
--- 5 votes ---
good question

question • Yhcrana • Friday • 18-Oct-2002 • 10:13 am • # 103-3003
Vanguardist communists often argue that because the vanguard party is comprised of "working class" people, placing production under state control and under working class control is the same thing. However, this isn’t true. Once a working class person occupies a position of power within the state, their working class status has automatically been negated. Instead, vanguardist communism places production under the control of officials who formerly belonged to the working class. Essentially, it replaces one ruling class with another. How would Ben respond to this? • (question is for Ben)
reply • Tuesday • 22-Oct-2002 • 8:29 pm • by ben
Hi Yhcrana, my reply is too lengthy for this page, so I made it a separate essay
How will workers control production?

--- 4 votes ---
good question

question • linus • Thursday • 7-Nov-2002 • 12:49 pm • # 103-3005
what will people work for if they dont get money? • (question is for anyone)
reply • Thursday • 7-Nov-2002 • 7:57 pm
  by benHi linus. Thanks for your question. My view is that, in the future, humanity will create a self-organizing moneyless gift economy, without money, capital, wages, the market, trade (or all-powerful bureaucrats who tell everyone else what to do). I describe this at greater length in my essay: the self-organizing moneyless economy. Now, about your question:

People will work for:
(1) the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from creating something of value to others,
(2) social recognition and status and, finally,
(3) because the work itself is fun and interesting.

One example of this today is the computer operating system named after the person who shares your first name: Linux. Programmers work on Linux for free because they want to create something worthwhile for humanity--and to earn recognition from their peers. I think that people will want to work for some of the same reasons that some people today might want to be in a rock and roll band, or even to have sex: because it can be intensely pleasurable. At this point in human development the boundary between work and play will begin to dissolve and work will become, in the words of Marx and Engels, life's greatest desire.
reply • Saturday • 9-Nov-2002 • 4:13 am
  by benPostscript:
Here are two more motivations for working in the moneyless economy:
(4) as an opportunity to work with and be part of an authentic community of talented, dedicated people and
(5) finally (during the period in the which the moneyless economy co-exists with the private capitalist or state capitalist economies) working in the moneyless economy for a period of time might offer someone an opportunity to gain valuable skills and work experience that could afterward be helpful in finding a decent job in either the private or state capitalist economies.

I should add a comment about the 4th reason above. Under capitalism the "relations of production" (ie: the relationships between people who work together to create goods and services) are famous for being unpleasant and insincere and not drawing the best out of most people. These kinds of relationships are not voluntary relationships (because people need to work in order to survive). When the entire economy consists of a self-organizing moneyless economy, however, no one will have to work in order to survive because everyone will receive all the necessities of life simply as their birthright. And, in these circumstances, both work and work relationships will be voluntary in a way that can only be an extreme rarity in a capitalist economy.
--- 4 votes ---

good question

question • Nestor Mahkno • Wednesday • 25-Dec-2002 • 2:39 am • # 103-3009
I hope this question strikes to the heart of the debate: will Leninism real lead to a classless society? The Communist Manifesto speaks of centralizing everything in the hands of the state and then it talks about "political power" not being more "political"... what's this? How, pratically, should the state dismantle itself? Leninism in action created heavily centralized state owned industry, incompatible with a stateless society. Could you really answer this, quoting Lenin, Marx or Engels? If the answer is no, then who would like to be under a dictatorship? Then there's da quest. StateCap l8r • (question is for Ben)
reply • Wednesday • 25-Dec-2002 • 11:45 pm
  by benHi there Nestor.

Thanks for your question, which is a good one.

Before attempting to answer, however, I should clarify a principle which I believe will help to create a debate which is based on facts drawn from the material world--rather than theology. I recommend that we communicate using words that have more-or-less agreed-upon meanings. Words like "Marxism", "Leninism" and "communism" mean hundreds of different things to different people. In fact many activists attach what are essentially religious (either satanic or angelic) meanings to these words. So it would be useless for you and I to use words like this in a short interchange--because we wouldn't be able to understand one another. Instead, let's be concrete and specific in our language.

In a similar way I oppose relying heavily on quotes (usually torn out of context) from this or that person. I have read a lot by Marx, Engels and Lenin. They are my inspiration and I consider them thinkers of incredible depth. But I believe it would be more useful for us here and now to use our own minds to consider facts and arguments drawn from existing material reality.

How, in a practical way, will the state dismantle itself?

I believe the impetus for this dismantling will come from outside the state. Over time many of the functions of the state will be taken over by informal voluntary associations with no power of coercion. The material basis for this will be the development of the self-organizing moneyless gift economy. "Self-organizing" means that such an economy will have no need for a single all-powerful directing center. In such an economy the decision-making power and authority has been distributed thruout all of society. Such an economy will consist of myriad self-organizing assemblies of economic units in competition with one another to most efficiently transform skilled labor and other resources into goods, services and culture serving the needs of the masses.

I believe that it will likely take at least half a century or more (starting from the time that bourgeois rule is broken) before humanity learns how to create goods and services on this basis--where everything is free--and the role of money, prices, wages, markets, capital or all-powerful central planners is obsolete. Only when this happens can the danger be eliminated of a new ruling class coming into existence. This is because the other methods of running a modern economy (ie: private capitalism and state capitalism, as exists in the U.S. and existed in the former Soviet Union) provide the soil for (ie: a material basis for the formation of) a new ruling class. And as long as such soil exists, then it will be necessary for the workers to organize themselves to prevent such a new ruling class from forming and taking everything over. This organization by the working class--has a scientific name. The scientific name for this organization is "the state".

I have written elsewhere about the self-organizing moneyless economy. And in an essay titled politics, economics and the mass media when the working class runs the show, I discuss the different economic sectors and the transition to a moneyless gift economy. During the transition period there will probably be both (a) greater centralization and (b) greater decentralization than exists at present in a country such as the U.S.

Some industries will lend themselves to greater centralization than others. The most obvious such industries would be large-scale manufacturing (ie: making millions of cars or hundreds of airplanes). But even in these industries there will be a need to organize various kinds of competition in order to stimulate innovation and expose outmoded or bureaucratic practices--so I doubt that this would be anything like the feudal-style centralization of the former Soviet revisionist regime.

Other industries will lend themselves to greater decentralization. The most obvious such industries will be the media and software industries. These industries will also likely be the first industries to make the transition to the self-organizing moneyless gift economy as is suggested by the immense popularity of the web, the various alternative news sites like Indymedia.org and the spectacular and growing success of the Linux computer operating system.

I had intended, Nestor, to answer you in one or two hundred words. But my reply has greatly exceeded that. Therefore I will stop at this point. Please take a look at politics, economics and the mass media when the working class runs the show and see if that, together with my words here, helps to answer your question. If not, please let me know.

Sincerely and with revolutionary regards,
Ben Seattle

--- 4 votes ---

good question

question • redstar2000 • Wednesday • 30-Oct-2002 • 6:31 pm • # 103-3004
Two questions regarding the scenario for the seizure of power: What evidence is there that capitalist "democracies" would ever allow a genuine workers' party to even threaten to win an election? How does our use if the net hope to compete with the entertainment/distraction provided on the net by the capitalist class? • (question is for Ben)
reply • Sunday • 3-Nov-2002 • 4:30 pm
  by benThanks redstar for two excellent questions. I never fully understand how good a question is until I make the attempt to answer it. Please see my reply, essay # 157 Liberating ourselves from darkness
--- 3 votes ---
good question

question • L • Friday • 10-Dec-2004 • 5:53 pm • # 103-3026
Who originally said "do you have ideas or do ideas have you? • (question is for anyone)
--- 3 votes ---
good question

question • NestorMakhno • Sunday • 12-Jan-2003 • 11:56 am • # 103-3010
You answered me that the action to dismantle the "proletarian state" will come from outside of this state, namely "by informal voluntary associations with no power of coercion. The material basis for this will be the development of the self-organizing moneyless gift economy[...] [that] will have no need for a single all-powerful directing center." So we have "outside" (i.e. working class) voluntary organizations to smash the "proletarian state" and set up the gift economy. This is the actual anarchist plan, so why build a "proletarian" state if in the end it will be anarchists to smash it? • (question is for Ben)
reply • Sunday • 12-Jan-2003 • 2:56 pm
  by benHi there Nestor, You appear to be asking why the working class will build a state machine if it will later be dismantled? For the same reason that you might get into car (or bus) only to get out again at some later time (ie: in order to get where you need to go). I have answered this question in considerable detail in part 5 where I describe my third "law": you can't get from here to there without going in-between.

A state will be needed until the self-organizing moneyless gift economy is created. But the self-organizing moneyless economy will likely take several decades, at minimum, to create and can only be created with the assistance and protection of a state machine. And the bourgeois state machine will not be usable for this purpose (because the bourgeoisie, who control it, are quite hostile to the development of a self-organizing moneyless gift economy). Hence the need for a state machine that is controlled by the working class and the majority of society (unlike the state machine today--which is controlled by a minority--the bourgeoisie).
--- 2 votes ---

good question

question • Amanda • Tuesday • 9-Nov-2004 • 4:42 pm • # 103-3025
Why did the U.S. appose so many of the peasant wars? and What did other countries think of these wars/rebellions? • (question is for anyone)
--- 2 votes ---
good question

question • Alex • Thursday • 22-Jul-2004 • 1:15 pm • # 103-3024
Why would the American people, who believe they live in the best of the best, the most secure, and the most profitable country want to change anything? expecially something that has been downplayed (such as communism) as an evil tradition of government (Most americans do not know what communism mean but only what the government tells them it means, which is that it is EVIL)? Also tell me the comparison of the working class to the middle class? And finally tell me what it would be like if the working class did rule? I have read The communist Manifesto and much of lennins work. Continue • (question is for anyone)
--- 2 votes ---
good question

question • Joseph • Wednesday • 10-Mar-2004 • 1:17 am • # 103-3019
I have for many years, put my faith intirely in the Communist ideals. And yet to my dismay, capitalism seems to be getting better and fairer thanks to people like stalin and LENIN!! Why did he become corrupted!! Fool! He gave a terrible name to Communism! Now the workers of the world think there is no other secure path but Capitalism. Stupid totalitarianists. We are doomed under a new form of Capitalism that seems fair but isn't. No-one will complain. I hope to see a fair and communist society but I dont think i ever will. • (question is for anyone)
--- 2 votes ---
good question

question • compagna • Monday • 24-Feb-2003 • 8:18 am • # 103-3011
Through the process of globalization the capitalism is an increasingly global phenomenon that creates a "international proletariat" and an "international bougeroisie". In this context would a revolution happen within an advanced capitalist state (also if the wealth of that state is not all produced within it), in a third world country (also if it hasn't reached an advanced stage of capitalism), or will it involve more than one country? Plus how will a revolution practically come about? • (question is for anyone)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • tere • Wednesday • 26-Feb-2003 • 6:46 am • # 103-3012
In answering one of Nestor's questions you said that once a self-organizing moneyless gift economy has developed the danger of a new ruling class coming into existence is eliminated, why? couldn't it happen that a ruling class rises out of the self-organizing assemblies of economic units? • (question is for Ben)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • Ivanovich • Monday • 17-Mar-2003 • 11:23 am • # 103-3013
If an anarchist group gained power (through a coup or something), wouldn't they have to rescind their own government? And if they tried to defend their "government," wouldn't they no longer be anarchists, as they are controlling a state? • (question is for anyone)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • bec • Tuesday • 18-Mar-2003 • 6:57 pm • # 103-3014
what does the government of china and the people of china think about communism? • (question is for anyone)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • Nick • Monday • 31-Mar-2003 • 7:08 pm • # 103-3015
Hello. I was wondering, In a communist classless society state, how would things like music, movies, entertainment work? I have come to understand that in communism everyone gets paid the same (or something to that extent) and there is no social classes...So how would things like that work? Would they just have to do it based off of their passion for music (or any other form of entertainment) because certainly if they got rich off of it it would no longer be a classles society. • (question is for anyone)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • RRR • Tuesday • 26-Nov-2002 • 8:16 pm • # 103-3006
The comes about when there is a devide between classes. It is a tool used by one class to oppress another. These states arise natural through contact between 2 differant classes. So unless there is a simultaneous world revolution where all classes are abolished simultaneously, isn't it inevitable that a state of one type or another would re-emerge? • (question is for Daniel)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • Michael • Monday • 1-Mar-2004 • 8:08 pm • # 103-3018
How can you make sure that people will give "according to their ability" and stop "human nature" from distinguishing classes • (question is for anyone)
--- 1 votes ---
good question

question • marxistfront • Friday • 25-Jul-2003 • 2:32 am • # 103-3016
How can one link Anarchism to Leninism and even think of equating it with one another, when history has prooved that Leninist conception of state is far more scientific. Also when the proletariats have overthrown the bourgeoise state and smashed its machineary then its organisation that will be the communist party would automaticallly assume the role of state. Also there is no question of any other org. taking the role of the state as then the eternal law of Marxism will become valid and the process of withering away of state would start. • (question is for anyone)
reply • Friday • 25-Jul-2003 • 7:33 pm
  by benYour first question is "how can one link Anarchism to Leninism?"
Answer: there are many militant activists who consider themselves to be anarchists and there are likewise many militant activists who consider themselves to be Leninists. Both kinds of activists want to see a society that is not ruled by the bourgeoisie. Both kinds of activists must talk to one another--and begin the process of understanding the principles that will guide the revolutionary movement to the overthrow of bourgeois rule.

Your 2nd question concerns the relationship between the workers' authentic communist party (or parties) and the state: you assert that the workers' party will automatically become the state.
Answer: From the point of view of theory this is bullshit. It _is_ true that the Bolshevik party in Russia became the state. But this only happened as a result of extreme emergency--and did not turn out well--because a parasitic class eventually seized control of the state. The role of party and state are very much different: obedience to the party is voluntary while the state, on the other hand, has the ability to make use of force (ie: coercion).

--- 1 votes ---

good question

question • lucy • Sunday • 10-Sep-2006 • 1:52 pm • # 103-3030
how successful was lenin in changing russia by 1034 •
--- 1 votes ---