Facism and Communism

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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby Strategus » 28 Jul 2018, 23:33

mat.gopack wrote:Was the economy controlled by the workers? No - it was made up of mostly private property owners (eg - investors). So no, it wouldn't be socialist.

It was controlled by the workers. Haha! Unions. Supposedly.
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby mat.gopack » 29 Jul 2018, 00:14

GPD wrote:
mat.gopack wrote:Was the economy controlled by the workers? No - it was made up of mostly private property owners (eg - investors). So no, it wouldn't be socialist.

It was controlled by the workers. Haha! Unions. Supposedly.

Under Blair, the entire economy was supposed to be run by unions? Lol.

Today I learned neoliberals like Blair, Thatcher, and Reagan are socialists!
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby Zosimus » 29 Jul 2018, 15:56

mat.gopack wrote:
GPD wrote:A closed centrally based economy. I didn't say it was successful. But that is true of most socialism.

Well, that's the problem then. That is not the normal definition of it, which is supposed to be "worker control of the means of production."

The form that takes depends - most of those that claimed to be socialist (eg - the Soviet Union) ended up more authoritarian - because they saw the state as the way that the workers could collectively control the means of production. There's also elements of other thought (vanguard party, etc) and just plain old authoritarianism thrown in.

But there are other types of socialist thought that's very different. Catalonia during the spanish civil war was socialist, but was much more anarchist. Same with the Ukrainian free territory during the russian civil war (aka Makhnovia). Neither of those would have had a centrally based economy.

Anyways, the Nazis didn't care about worker control, or even for central basis of the economy. They had many of the wealthy industrial elite/business owners supporting them, and gave them big kickbacks - they even privatized many industries! However, as I understand it, they did direct a lot of the economy with their military and wartime spending/control. But they were not trying to control the entire economy in the way your definition seems to imply.

V wrote:Lol. The Autobahns were not primarily intended for the use of workers driving their yet to be built VW’s. They were for Hitler’s tanks & military vehicles! Germany always feared a two front war & the need for troop mobility was learnt by some very hard WW1 lessons. The primary reason Hitler wanted Autobahns was in preparation for war. However many jobs were accidentally created.


Well yes, massive work projects would create jobs, but that was being done in many western countries, even in the Weimar Republic. I wouldn't use that as an example of the nazis being pro-worker...

I think you need to pop out a copy of Miriam Webster and look up the socialism.

It is: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

The workers have nothing to do with it. It's all about state ownership/control of production, distribution, and goods.

Fascist societies engaged in this on a large scale. Price controls, rationing, licensing, government inspection, and government mandates were all features of the German economy.
Letters from businessmen at the time say things such as:

"You have no idea how far state control goes and how much power the Nazi representatives have over our work. The worst of it is that they are so ignorant. These Nazi radicals think of nothing except 'distributing the wealth.' Some businessmen have even started studying Marxist theories, so that they will have a better understanding of the present economic system...."
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby mat.gopack » 29 Jul 2018, 17:27

Is the merriam-webster dictionary the only one you know? Let's look at that, and other dictionaries:

MW:

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

You can see there's a variation between the definitions of it there in the leftist sense (collective ownership/administration, no private property, and the marxist leninist style 3rd definition) and the ones in the vein of your definition - the government/state controlling everything.

Let's take a look at some different dictionaries.

Oxford dictionary: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/socialism
A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Example sentencesSynonyms
1.1 Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
Example sentencesSynonyms
1.2 (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

Hmm, interesting. See how there's nothing there about government controlling everything? Weird. Maybe it's just the british who are weird about it. Let's look at the French.

Larousse: http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/socialisme/73143?q=socialisme#72313

Théorie visant à transformer l'organisation sociale dans un but de justice entre les hommes au plan du travail, de la rétribution, de l'éducation, du logement, etc.

Formation économique et sociale telle qu'elle existe dans les États dirigés par des gouvernements qui se réfèrent au marxisme-léninisme et caractérisée par la suppression de l'essentiel de la propriété privée des moyens de production et d'échange.

Ensemble des courants politiques socialistes ou sociaux-démocrates.

Rough translation:
"Theory aiming to transform the social organization towards a goal of justice between humanity in terms of workplace, education, lodging, etc.

Economic and social formation as it exists in states led by governments that refer to Marxism-Leninism and characterized by the suppression of most of the private property of the means of production and exchange.

Entirety of socialist or social democratic political currents."

What about the Germans?

Der Duden - https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Sozialismus
1.(nach Karl Marx die dem Kommunismus vorausgehende) Entwicklungsstufe, die auf gesellschaftlichen oder staatlichen Besitz der Produktionsmittel und eine gerechte Verteilung der Güter an alle Mitglieder der Gemeinschaft hinzielt
2. politische Richtung, Bewegung, die den gesellschaftlichen Besitz der Produktionsmittel und die Kontrolle der Warenproduktion und -verteilung verficht


Rough translation:
"1. (according to Karl Marx, the stage of development preceding communism) which aims at social or state ownership of means of production and a fair distribution of goods to all members of the community.
2. political direction, movement advocating social ownership of means of production and control of production and distribution of goods."

So, from that survey, you should be able to see that your looking at the very first definition on an american dictionary is not the definitive definition of socialism even in English alone, let alone the world as a whole.

In the US, socialism has come to be used as the government doing anything - that's how you get nonsense like the military being a socialist entity, or the nordic countries being socialist. In the same way, liberal has come to mean left-wing.

One of the problems with socialism = the government doing something or planned economy, is that it leaves out plenty of socialist thinkers and organizations. Proudhon, the Free territory of Ukraine, the spanish republicans during their civil war, etc - all of those are socialists, but under your definition of it they wouldn't be.
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby Zosimus » 30 Jul 2018, 02:17

I've heard some ridiculous arguments in my time, but this one takes the cake.

All right -- let's dissect your nonsense bit by bit. Let's imagine a small community. To make things simple, we postulate a small island on which 5 people are stranded. We suppose that every day one person collects bananas, another coconuts, the third fishes, the fourth looks for tubers, and the fifth gathers firewood. We will assume that there is a stream or other source of potable water. We also assume that around 3 pm they all get together and swap what they have collected and gathered, cook their fish and tubers, eat their bananas, and get some sleep.

We will also assume that one night Loki, God of Mischief, swings by and the next morning they all magically believe that all means of production and distribution are commonly owned. They are all die-hard socialists. But now the problem arises: How are they to decide who will produce what, in what quantities, how will it be distributed, etc.?

Well, one possibility is that they could simply draw straws and whoever gets which straw will collect whatever resource and then the amounts gathered will also be decided randomly as well as who gets to consume what. We also assume that all 5 of them are completely against the idea of utter randomness in everything. In short, they all want some sort of a plan.

So how can they develop a plan? Well, they could vote on it. Or they could appoint a leader, perhaps through voting or arm wrestling or whatever.
However, whatever method they choose, they are creating a government.

You see, it is not possible for a community as a whole to make decisions. A community is an abstract concept made up of separate individuals.

This is the basic problem in your thinking: collectivism. You think in collectives. You think of the workers, the owners, the capitalists, the government, the community, the means of production, etc. but all of these things are figments of your imagination.

There is no "workers" group there are only individual workers — each of whom could disagree completely with the others about the best way to do things and how much of what to produce. There is no "production" group — there are only individual factories and businesses. There is no "capitalists" group. Bezos, Jobs, Gates, Trump, and the Koch brothers are not one giant mass of people united in purpose, rather they are individuals whose disagreements are deep and abiding.
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby V » 30 Jul 2018, 04:40

Seeing as this thread has swung happily in all directions, I’m going to risk it heading in another by asking for opinions on something that I found unbearably irritating as a teenager (but now 60+ I don’t care much). If willing, do confess to age group when responding, it might prove an interesting factor.

Zosimus used the word “Collectivism” & a shiver ran up my spine!

My family was full of teachers when I was a teenager (1970’s) both my elder siblings & both their spouses. Can you imagine Family Christmas with 4 teachers in the same room (not always pretty).
They often discussed pay & I used to ask questions (I now see to be unbelievably naive) such as why it didn’t depend how good they were at teaching? Made sense to a 15 year old, but no. I learned about, Trade Unions, collective bargaining & pay rates based on seniority.
Not how good, not how dedicated or diligent, not on great pupil results, nope, on how long you’d been around!

At 19 I joined an NHS laboratory as a technician. Same story. Technicians were graded on seniority. At first hand, I encountered great technicians, unbelievable instructors, hopeless twits, dedicated saints, lazy bastards, forward thinking creative individuals, stuck in the stone age fools, every flavour & type you can imagine. Collective bargaining meant no excellence was rewarded & few sins punished (unless unforgivable incompetence). Only way to earn more, was stick around or get promoted (better get in line for that too).

I went to University, graduated & many of the management jobs I applied for involved training in industrial relations negotiation techniques, with Trade Unions collective bargaining! I ran a mile. In fact I ran 6,000 miles to anywhere in the World I might escape this madness. Why would I as a young man, tolerate some ageing fool of a shop steward negotiate & agree my pay/rewards/conditions? Alternatively spend my time debating it as management, with self same shop steward?

That was my job in life, to demonstrate excellence, talk to my employer, get paid what I deserved, or quit! There was always going to be someone else offering fair reward (as long as there wasn’t a bloody trade union involved).

I’ve mellowed, but I remember the anger at 19 & determination not to let the bastards win. They didn’t.

So Collectivism. You know my views, how about yours? Repelled? Relieved? Ambivalent? Disciple? As I said as a young man it was intolerable, but now (40+ years later) I see it as irrelevant.

Have at it...
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby Strategus » 30 Jul 2018, 10:58

V wrote:Seeing as this thread has swung happily in all directions, I’m going to risk it heading in another by asking for opinions on something that I found unbearably irritating as a teenager (but now 60+ I don’t care much). If willing, do confess to age group when responding, it might prove an interesting factor.

Zosimus used the word “Collectivism” & a shiver ran up my spine!

My family was full of teachers when I was a teenager (1970’s) both my elder siblings & both their spouses. Can you imagine Family Christmas with 4 teachers in the same room (not always pretty).
They often discussed pay & I used to ask questions (I now see to be unbelievably naive) such as why it didn’t depend how good they were at teaching? Made sense to a 15 year old, but no. I learned about, Trade Unions, collective bargaining & pay rates based on seniority.
Not how good, not how dedicated or diligent, not on great pupil results, nope, on how long you’d been around!

At 19 I joined an NHS laboratory as a technician. Same story. Technicians were graded on seniority. At first hand, I encountered great technicians, unbelievable instructors, hopeless twits, dedicated saints, lazy bastards, forward thinking creative individuals, stuck in the stone age fools, every flavour & type you can imagine. Collective bargaining meant no excellence was rewarded & few sins punished (unless unforgivable incompetence). Only way to earn more, was stick around or get promoted (better get in line for that too).

I went to University, graduated & many of the management jobs I applied for involved training in industrial relations negotiation techniques, with Trade Unions collective bargaining! I ran a mile. In fact I ran 6,000 miles to anywhere in the World I might escape this madness. Why would I as a young man, tolerate some ageing fool of a shop steward negotiate & agree my pay/rewards/conditions? Alternatively spend my time debating it as management, with self same shop steward?

That was my job in life, to demonstrate excellence, talk to my employer, get paid what I deserved, or quit! There was always going to be someone else offering fair reward (as long as there wasn’t a bloody trade union involved).

I’ve mellowed, but I remember the anger at 19 & determination not to let the bastards win. They didn’t.

So Collectivism. You know my views, how about yours? Repelled? Relieved? Ambivalent? Disciple? As I said as a young man it was intolerable, but now (40+ years later) I see it as irrelevant.

Have at it...

As with everything, there are good ways and bad ways to do everything. I was a union negotiator for a while. I tried to do it the right way, whatever that is. I found that without union negotiators, everybody would get nothing if the management side could get away with it. Our group tried to be progressive on rewarding for performance. The real sticking point on that was that there wasn't a fair way of doing it. Basically, everything came down to "Blue Eyed Boys", as we used to call it. Favourites, or whatever you know it as. Actually measuring a person's performance is difficult. Almost impossible in some environments. I was in an office environment. And even if you could set fair targets etc, then everybody would have different ones, and the argument then came down to equal opportunity to shine. In the end it just came down to trying to get something for everyone. I also disliked that the "lazy bastards" got the same as everybody else, but our view was that this was the lesser of two weevles.
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby V » 30 Jul 2018, 18:29

GPD wrote:
V wrote:Seeing as this thread has swung happily in all directions, I’m going to risk it heading in another by asking for opinions on something that I found unbearably irritating as a teenager (but now 60+ I don’t care much). If willing, do confess to age group when responding, it might prove an interesting factor.

Zosimus used the word “Collectivism” & a shiver ran up my spine!

My family was full of teachers when I was a teenager (1970’s) both my elder siblings & both their spouses. Can you imagine Family Christmas with 4 teachers in the same room (not always pretty).
They often discussed pay & I used to ask questions (I now see to be unbelievably naive) such as why it didn’t depend how good they were at teaching? Made sense to a 15 year old, but no. I learned about, Trade Unions, collective bargaining & pay rates based on seniority.
Not how good, not how dedicated or diligent, not on great pupil results, nope, on how long you’d been around!

At 19 I joined an NHS laboratory as a technician. Same story. Technicians were graded on seniority. At first hand, I encountered great technicians, unbelievable instructors, hopeless twits, dedicated saints, lazy bastards, forward thinking creative individuals, stuck in the stone age fools, every flavour & type you can imagine. Collective bargaining meant no excellence was rewarded & few sins punished (unless unforgivable incompetence). Only way to earn more, was stick around or get promoted (better get in line for that too).

I went to University, graduated & many of the management jobs I applied for involved training in industrial relations negotiation techniques, with Trade Unions collective bargaining! I ran a mile. In fact I ran 6,000 miles to anywhere in the World I might escape this madness. Why would I as a young man, tolerate some ageing fool of a shop steward negotiate & agree my pay/rewards/conditions? Alternatively spend my time debating it as management, with self same shop steward?

That was my job in life, to demonstrate excellence, talk to my employer, get paid what I deserved, or quit! There was always going to be someone else offering fair reward (as long as there wasn’t a bloody trade union involved).

I’ve mellowed, but I remember the anger at 19 & determination not to let the bastards win. They didn’t.

So Collectivism. You know my views, how about yours? Repelled? Relieved? Ambivalent? Disciple? As I said as a young man it was intolerable, but now (40+ years later) I see it as irrelevant.

Have at it...

As with everything, there are good ways and bad ways to do everything. I was a union negotiator for a while. I tried to do it the right way, whatever that is. I found that without union negotiators, everybody would get nothing if the management side could get away with it. Our group tried to be progressive on rewarding for performance. The real sticking point on that was that there wasn't a fair way of doing it. Basically, everything came down to "Blue Eyed Boys", as we used to call it. Favourites, or whatever you know it as. Actually measuring a person's performance is difficult. Almost impossible in some environments. I was in an office environment. And even if you could set fair targets etc, then everybody would have different ones, and the argument then came down to equal opportunity to shine. In the end it just came down to trying to get something for everyone. I also disliked that the "lazy bastards" got the same as everybody else, but our view was that this was the lesser of two weevles.


Hi GPD,
Your post demonstrates the hopelessness of the attempt in so many cases. No offence intended to your honest efforts to do the job as well as possible.
Performance appraisal is always challenging & often can only be done with individual objective setting, that takes a lot of work. “Favourites” are inevitable in the workplace as soon as an individual demonstrates reliability. Management will rightly tend to lean a bit more on that person, giving yet more opportunities “to shine” & outperform others.
None of that has a place in a “Collective” pay negotiation, because it’s all completely individual based.

You also point out the adversarial nature of the situation, with management trying to gain advantage in the pay negotiation, unless the Union representative does their job well. Again, an unacceptable position for the individual staff members to be so reliant on a deal brokered by people they often don’t even know.
The only beneficiaries are usually the ones along for the ride, e.g. the “lazy bastards” or “management consultants” expert at taking advantage in collective pay negotiations, that shouldn’t even be in existence.

All pay/reward for work should be an individual negotiation/appraisal between management (line manager is senior enough) & staff member. If the employee is dissatisfied with the outcome & feels cheated they are free to leave (maybe have an easily implemented appeal facility to next level of management). If management lose to many capable staff over pay issues, they will soon be required to leave! Such methods restore some normality to the negotiation, such as would occur between any vendor of services expecting fair reward in return.

We so often make the simple things in life so complicated that we achieve failure, when success was there to be had...
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby Strategus » 30 Jul 2018, 19:00

Sounds a lot like a game of Diplomacy :o
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby mat.gopack » 30 Jul 2018, 19:07

Collectivism is a... loaded term. For example, the collectivizing of farms under the Soviets or the Great Leap Forward are markedly different than what the two of you are mostly discussing - collective bargaining.

But I'll also focus on it. For reference, I live in the southern US, in a right to work state, and have multiple family members who work in schools. In case you don't know, 'right to work' usually ends up as a death sentence to union representation - because it allows people to not participate in aiding the union (paying dues), while forcing the union to still represent them (negotiations, defending them if fired, etc). Basically, they get the benefits of the union while not contributing to it. In addition, my state does not allow public employees to collectively bargain. I am also part French - a very different work right environment.

Why is that important? It's very tempting to look at employment with rosy eyes. If I work harder, the boss will recognize it and I'll get promoted/rewarded - and conversely, if person X slacks off, he won't. But a meritocracy like that isn't what we see - because the power balance is always going to be tilted towards the side of the employer, if it's with a single worker. When you've got the choice to work or starve, you don't have much choice. If you're one person, kicking you away and finding someone new to fill the job is easy. That's why collective bargaining, unions, and strikes are important - because that is what allows the workers to be on an equal footing.

Historically, union militantism and strikes were vital in pushing for labor reforms. They're the reason we have the 40 hour work week, workplace safety laws, anti-child labor laws. They force employers to start giving healthcare coverage (during WWII), vacations, raises, and job safety (vs at will employment in the states).

It is naive to think that most companies & workplaces would be generous. Many employers already are happy to hide the pay of various workers - I've had friends who were shocked at realizing that they were getting paid substantially less than a colleague, despite being more qualified (more advanced degrees, more experience, more seniority, and better performance). Private, single employee negotiations will always favor the employer, and it is only through collective action that that power imbalance can be redressed.

There are certainly unions that have problems. Where the union leadership is a business in itself, that is disconnected from the workers, or chummy with management. Over the past few decades, that's become increasingly true - as they've become less militant and more focused on labor contracts. But that's a case where you want reform, where you want the local membership to put their stamp back on it. A union represents the workers, and should be made up of them. And in a country like the US, without much of a safety net or worker protection laws, they are sorely needed. (example: in France, there is universal healthcare, essentially free higher education, paid vacation (I believe 5 weeks minimum by law), due process to be fired, etc. In the US, we get none of that from the government - that tends to fall back on employers, or ignored.)
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