This Week’s (Tomorrow’s) Mtg: Was Communism Right About Anything?

This is late as I’ve been out-of-town w/o internet access.  But, this is a great topic to get into history, philosophy, and politics!  Carl will handle the meeting while I mainly kibbitz.  The topic is hard to find the usual short blog posts on, so no links this week.  But, here are some discussion questions.  As you can tell, I’m no fan of Marxism — with one, small bit of (historical) sympathy, as I’ll explain during discussion.

Links –

  • Last April we discussed why socialism never developed in the United States.  Obviously (to all but 21st century conservatives) socialism and Communism are very, very different things.  Still, these two posts (Part One, Part Two) explain why socialism never attracted a critical mass in this country.

Discussion Questions –

  1. Communism claimed to have developed the “science” of history, and claimed that the future could be broadly predicted based on only an understanding of economic principles and an economic dialectic.  Nothing else mattered but people’s’ basic relationship to the means of production.
    Was Communism ever right about this.  Is it right now?
  2. Communism said the workers would just get poorer and poorer and the rich capitalists richer and more cruel until it all exploded in revolution.
    Why did this not happen in the West and other rich countries?
  3. Communism said that a middle class democracy that responds to the needs of most citizens could NEVER develop because the oligarchs would never yield power peacefully.  Again:   Why did this prove to be untrue in the developed world?  In places where rich oligarchs still refuse to yield to democracy and there is no real middle class, could Communism yet prove to be right?
  4. How important is economic class today?  How much of what we see in society and politics does class conflict explain?
  5. Why did the working class never unite in America?  The racial divide?  Enough opportunity and prosperity to make unity unnecessary?

Carl may take the diswcussion in a whole different directuion.

See you there!  This should be wide-ranging, but good.


2 responses

  1. James H. Zimmerman | Reply

    I’ve thought of something I think we skipped over in last week’s discussion:

    Maoism, apparently, is still a viable political philosophy. It has been the basis of revolutionary movements in Peru and Nepal, this despite Mao’s self-evident (to me) incredible costs and failures.
    How to explain?

  2. My guess: These are still peasant societies and the peasants don’t read much history.

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