These is a communist poster from China. They also lend themselves suprisingly well to sexual innuendo. Let’s pretend that the one on the left is a State solution, and the right is Capital (free market, democracy). I don’t think they meant it that way.
I am bored with the Private Universities thing, especially since I’ve seen exactly zero evidence from the other side. I suspect that people are more interested in the fighting and name-calling than the issues, but I’d like to explore what I see as the fundamental difference between the two sides:
I don’t believe in the government and I don’t believe in the tooth fairy. I believe in people, hard work, and choice. (indi.ca)
I do believe in the Government. I don’t believe in the parties who come and go, but I believe that it is vital for this country that the Government hold onto the most basic of public services. (Morquendi)
I’m going to go ahead and decidedly say that Higher Education isn’t a basic service (hence higher). Primary and Secondary fine, but higher education is literally that. There are no countries that provide universal Higher Education, and few that attempt it. I think the more central issue was brought up by ivap: “On the grey matter, does Indi see education as a means out of poverty for the poor?” The question isn’t about providing running water, this is about creating a more equal society. And yes, I do think education is a way out. I just believe in a fundamentally different way out. I believe in a Capitalist solution, and Morquendi et al believe in the State.
This is one of a 3 or 4 part series on the State vs Capitalism. I’m going to use Marx to structure this. That means that theoretical Communism is the goal state. I don’t agree with that completely, but if you’ll read below, pure communism is basically the equality we all want in the educational system. There are two ways to this equality, one is the Marxist stages of development – progressing through Capitalism. The other way is the Cold War experiment of making equality using the power of the State. I’m going to argue that the State solution has failed and will fail, and that Capitalism is the only way to equality. In short, this is a Marxist argument for Capitalism.
This Private Universities thing, boring as it may have become, is just one battle in a greater war. The Cold War. The Commie King is down, but its Third World Pawns are still running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Including here, in Sri Lanka. Still, from China to India they are gradually caving to Capitalism, and that’s good. Just to fuck with you I’ll argue this from a Marxist point of view.
My opponents in the Private Universities debate seem to operate from a core belief that the State can (and should) pull equality out of its ass. I (and Marx) argue that you can’t have equality without first going through the birthing pains of Capitalism. Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Sung tried to pull equality out of their fat asses, but all they got was shit. No offense, but that’s all the free lunchers have to offer as well.
The Third World Experiment
In Sri Lanka and all over the Third World, you see the vestiges of State Communism. The particularly invasive strain that affected the Third World was the idea that the State can pull feudal countries, kicking and screaming, into a utopia of equality. People from China to India to Sri Lanka believed that the State could provide them with equality and that they could completely avoid the Capitalist stage of development. The State solution has been tried, and it has failed in the most bloody and destructive way possible.
The metaphor that I find useful for understanding the Cold War is the whole ‘worlds’ thing. Wikipedia has a good article on what they actually mean, and they do mean something. The terms First, Second, and Third World refer directly to the Cold War and divide the world along those lines. The First World is America, the Second World was the USSR and the Third World is the global south. The larger idealogical war was between the USSR and America, but the blood was spilled in the Third World. The Cold War was kinda of a misnomer cause the napalm in Vietnam and Korea was fucking hot.
To start, it helps to look at the goal state. In its purely theoretical form communism is,
As a theoretical social and economic system, communism would be a type of egalitarian society with no state, no privately owned means of production and no social class. In communism, all property is owned by the community as a whole, and all people have equal social and economic status. Theoretically, human need or advancement is not left unsatisfied because of poverty, and is rather solved through distribution of property as needed. This is thus often the system proposed to solve the problem of the poverty cycle. (Wikipedia)
That’s a good idea, I have no particular beef with that. Unfortunately, ‘distributing property as needed’ requires significant industrial and information infrastructure. When I say significant, I mean insane. When I say insane, I mean wait for Jesus. Modern computing paradigms can’t even process the equitable production and distribution within a small company, let alone a country. We need quantum or DNA computing and AI to even begin to think of managing such a task, not to mention the industrial capacity required. Marx wasn’t a dumbass and he anticipated that. Hence the stages. Das Kapital reads like source code, so here’s Wikipedia again:
Among other things, Marxism proposes the materialist conception of history; there are stages of economic development: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and communism. These stages are advanced through a dialectical process, progressing society as history progresses. This progress is driven by class struggle. Communism is the final form of class society as it results in one class, or conversely, no classes, as those divisions cannot exist if only one exists (Wikipedia, Marxism)
Note that nowhere in there does Marx say “Go out and kill people and make things equal NOW!” He simply describes an orderly progression of history, where one stage emerges out of the other. This allows time for a succession of douchebags to build the infrastructure that can support a free and ‘equal’ society. Unfortunately, what most people heard was “Go out and kill people and make things equal NOW!”
I’ll reference Mao and not Lenin or Stalin cause I’d like to focus on Asia here. This is a paraphrase of Mao Tse-Tung’s speech On New Democracy, the blueprint for Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam and Khmer Rouge Cambodia (though they didn’t read much). It is basically a blueprint for revolution in a colonial state. The source is the book ‘Pol Pot’ by Philip Short, author of ‘Mao: A Life’.
Mao argued that revolution in colonies, or semi-colonial semi-feudal states, had to take place in two stages: first, a ‘democratic revolution’, carried out by an alliance of different classes – the peasants, who provided the main force, the workers and elements of the bourgeoisie; and only afterwards a ‘socialist revolution’. The two were fundamentally different and could not be collapsed into one.
The 1st stage would create ‘a state under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes’; the 2nd, a socialist state under ‘the dicatorship of the proleteriat’. In a world where socialism had become the dominant trend, it was no longer necessary, Mao said, to pass through the phase of bourgeois capitalism, as Marx had assumed. Instead the transition could be accomplished through the establishment of ‘a new democratic republic’, which would nationalise banks and major industrial and commercial enterprises… For students from colonised nations, this was an exhilarating prospect. It meant that there was a path to socialism which could elide [real word] western-style capitalism.
That’s an interesting idea, that you can completely skip a stage. Mao was proposing that a dictatorship could kick a country straight out of feudalism into communism. Now, if you refer back to the definition of communism there is no state. Communism is a stateless, classless society. What Mao (among others) proposed was a Proleteriat State. You have a state, and it’s ruled (in name) by one class. That is actually about as far from Communism as you can get. I think a better term would be ‘Delusional Feudalism’, but most people call this a Communist State. If you even skim Das Kapital it makes no fucking sense, but let’s see how that went… [to be continued]