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Author Topic: "Anti-war Protest" in DC
WarrsawPact
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Planet Moron takes the Peace and Justice Festiaval through the ringer.

I found parts of it just absurdly hilarious, so I had to link/reproduce it here.

quote:
Over 100,000 people came to Washington DC this past Saturday to attend a protest against the Iraq war. Imagine their surprise when there wasn’t one. In its place was a demonstration about worker’s rights and global warming and racism and Palestinian rights and hanging chads and Halliburton and New Orleans and every now and then a brief something about a war, possibly Arab in nature.

Much of this can be traced back to the organizers, one of which was, ANSWER, “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism,” which sounds like they came up with a cool-sounding acronym first and only then found some causes that fit it. How about, “Respecting Aboriginal Natives and Diabetics Organized for Medicine,” or “RANDOM.”

The key to understanding ANSWER is in its origins, the Workers World Party. Now, I’m going to start using the word “socialist” here. I preface these remarks because too often people throw around the word as a kind of reflexive epithet for anyone or anything that is remotely liberal. Ted Kennedy pretty much can’t open his mouth, even if only to toss back a vodka and tonic, without being called a socialist.

But it’s okay to label these people socialists because it’s on their banners [WP's note: check out his pictures here]. And no, it’s not some graffiti perpetrated by members of the Young Republicans. They put it there themselves.

The socialist movement is typically populated by young men who think that if they wear a Che Guevara T-Shirt it might get them in bed with that cute liberal arts chick they met in the student union while waiting for White Stripes tickets, you know, the one with 42 different black tops in her closet. Fewer in number are the bitter old guys with gray hair and pony tails who still hold a serious grudge against Mikhail Gorbachev.

In addition to ANSWER and the Workers World Party (and many others), was the “Party for Socialism and Liberation” which had tables full of glossy magazines for purchase. Presumably they had to put up money to have these made in the hopes that they could then sell them to willing buyers in arms-length transactions so as to recoup their original investment with perhaps a little extra left over that could then be reinvested in additional inventory or fixed assets so as to further their venture. If only there were an economic system of some kind based on this basic principle of property rights and invested capital. But I digress.

I grabbed a free pamphlet which seemed more in the spirit of the day. I was curious to see what new approaches to socialism the movement had come up with having learned from the setbacks of the last couple of decades. “We fight for socialism, a system where the wealth of society belongs to those who produce it – the working class – and is used in a planned and sustainable way for the benefit of all.” Like Joe Paterno going up the middle, these people never learn. I mean, if you’re going to try to sell leisure suits, at least update the colors and fabrics a bit and ditch the burnt orange in crushed velvet (not that I ever owned such a thing, mine was more of a tasteful tangerine). The pamphlet goes on to blame capitalism for such things as “lesbian/gay/bi/trans oppression” as evidenced by North Korea’s thriving transgender community.

The socialist movement’s long-term goals are as ambitious as its short-term goals are modest. I was handed a flyer from an organization called “The World Can’t Wait” the goal of which is to “drive Bush himself from office.” To further this cause, they are organizing a day of protest called “Resist or Die! No School Nov 2.” In other words they are planning on having students across the country demonstrate their deeply held commitment to “repudiating” the Bush administration by skipping class. Presumably it won’t end there. We look forward to “Pick up a Stranger and have Sex with them Day” and “Do as Many Jägermeister Shots as you Can Day” because it is only through profound personal sacrifice that we can we truly “send a message.”

Aside from the socialists, the other theme running strongly throughout the day was, how can I put this? Let’s just say that if you were looking for some good gefilte fish this probably wasn’t the place for you. The speakers seemed incapable of saying “America out of Iraq” without adding “Israel out of Palestine” like it was a nervous tick. The anti-Israeli sentiment was striking because, you know, hating Jews is so old school. But then, if you want to bring back socialism I suppose it kind of fits. Anyone up for a polio epidemic? Just for old times?

The chants left something to be desired as well. “The people, united, will never be defeated.” Okay, this doesn’t even rhyme. It turns out the Spanish version from an old socialist-themed Chilean song does ("El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!") but, come on, put a little more work into this than running a chant through some free online language translator. (Although based on my own experience it could have been worse, “Thai peppers, were cited, the recipe derided.”)

The coverage the event received in the Washington Post was interesting in the way that things that are completely wrong are interesting. I’m sure the reporters sold their editor on the idea of covering an antiwar protest. If it turns out to be something else do their expense reports get denied? (Have you seen the price of Evian lately?) That’s the only explanation for statements that described the demonstration as being, “focused on a succinct theme: ‘End the War in Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now.’" I don’t know, maybe between the neck brace and the ear infection, the author missed a lot.

The Post also reported that, “The masses on the street served up a broad cross section of the United States by age, geography, religion and ethnic group.” That’s true, but only if by “United States” you mean, “Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Meeting.” I found the crowd to be lily white. And so did the Post had they taken the time to glance at their own photos published in Sunday’s paper. You can find a face or two that isn’t white but it’s reminiscent of the old “Finding Waldo” series.

Was the crowd disenchanted with the bait and switch? In the few hours I spent there I noticed a notable lack of enthusiasm for the speakers. This makes sense to me. On the Metro ride in, the conversations I overheard included a Viet Nam vet and a mother whose son was being sent to Iraq the next month. Somehow, the subject of a socialist revolution or Israeli occupation never came up. I’m sure if I had stayed on past the Federal Triangle stop it would have for sure…


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Zyne
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I think the second word describes this one best.

Heard there were like 5 ppl who showed up for the pro war (arugh!) rally. How embarassing!

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Lewkowski
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Pro-Anything rallies rarely succeed excepet maybe during election time.

No one is "pro-peace" they are "anti-war" uassually a specific war.

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WarrsawPact
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Zyne - By the "second word," do you mean "Moron," which is part of the title for the blog?

I mean, come on. These protestors are just too much. I know you don't have to be a rightie to appreciate some of this stuff.

The "if only... economic system" thing is just golden irony.

[ September 26, 2005, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Zyne -

I saw some pictures from the pro-war rally. While not as many people were present at the pro-war rally as at the anti-war rally, there was a significant turnout.

Link to Photoblog of Pro-War Protest

--Firedrake

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Animist
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I was in D.C. on Saturday. It was still an anti-war rally. In my view, bringing together various causes is a good thing. A lot of people who were simply anti-Iraq War learned something about Haiti, Palestine, New Orleans etc. from the endless mass of speakers (including George Galloway and Ramsey Clarke and 30 or 40 unmemorables).

Oh well. The protest was still worthless. The economic angle was clearly a load of garbage, as demonstrated by the fact that if all the people there (and the 10 supporters that probably exist for every one marcher) actually wanted socialism, they would have it right now. Several million people is surely enough to set up a functioning network of wealth redistribution, without 1. crying to mommy state to do it for them or 2. forcing every one else in the country to go along with it. Clearly they don't actually want socialism, anymore than they actually want to stop the war. ANSWER is a joke. The anti-war movement is a joke. The Left is a joke. Blah.

[ September 27, 2005, 12:09 AM: Message edited by: Animist ]

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RickyB
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ANSWER is not a joke. Jokes are supposed to be funny. ANSWER is more along the lines of revolting.
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WarrsawPact
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Are we talking ha-ha funny, or the other kind?
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RoseAuthor
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well.. the iraqi signs convinced me!
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Gaoics79
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Hilarious description Warsaw. It's so consistent with the kind of left-wing protests I've seen around here. People show up thinking they're there to protest one thing, and invariably end up getting sucked into "George W. Butcher", "Free Palestine!" and "Workers of the world unite!".
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swiss
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When I was in London, there was a anti-war rally with more than 300'000 people. In Europe, the majority is against the Iraq war in every country. And there are nearly no pro-war activists.

Sure, there are some countries which also sent there soldiers to Iraq, but most of population there is against war, and the government will be changed like in Spain...

So there is a clearly difference between US and EU....

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by swiss:
When I was in London, there was a anti-war rally with more than 300'000 people. In Europe, the majority is against the Iraq war in every country. And there are nearly no pro-war activists.

Sure, there are some countries which also sent there soldiers to Iraq, but most of population there is against war, and the government will be changed like in Spain...

So there is a clearly difference between US and EU....

It will? How many elections is that going to take?
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Adjudicator
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quote:
So there is a clearly difference between US and EU....
That is a surprising statement. I thought the EU and the US were exactly the same. If Florida had a sort of foot at the end it could almost be another Italy...
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Funean
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First blood, Adj!

(that is to say, first soda spray all over the keyboard of the week)

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David Ricardo
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Let's be honest here. ANSWER is pathetic, and the D.C. anti-war rally really looked ridiculous and pathetic because of the ANSWER organization.

Would have been a lot better if they had just cancelled the anti-war protest in D.C. At least that way, those anti-war protestors wouldn't have looked like such pawns of ANSWER and other far leftie communist groups.

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Cytania
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Much as I'd like to agree with swiss about the spanish election there is a more astute reading of the socialist victory than simply anti-war sentiment.

The sudden electoral change was not due to shock at the Madrid train bombings but outrage at the incumbent president's attempt to blame them on ETA, the Basque seperatist terrorist group. Close on polling day it slowly emerged that islamic groups were to blame and the electorate punished the ruling party for attempting to put their own preferred spin on the bombings.

PS. I don't expect any Americans to truly understand the appeal or complexity of socialism. It would be like eunechs trying to pick out the right sex toy for a lesbian. You have to have been a leftie to understand...

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Adjudicator
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quote:
First blood, Adj!

(that is to say, first soda spray all over the keyboard of the week)

As much as I am flattered by the compliment, my skeptical nature doubts that any soda was actually sprayed. More likely you cracked a grin, or possibly even chortled softly to yourself, but actual soda on the keyboard? To believe such a thing stretches the fabric of credibility.
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Dave at Work
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quote:
PS. I don't expect any Americans to truly understand the appeal or complexity of socialism. It would be like eunechs trying to pick out the right sex toy for a lesbian. You have to have been a leftie to understand...
Actually, I would appreciate it if you would try to explain the appeal of socialism please. I personally do not understand the appeal of the governmental equivalence of living in your parents house from birth through all stages of life until death. What is so appealing about being beholden to a governments whims for everything from basic necessities to whether or not you have permission to work in a field that you enjoy? What is appealing about working hard only to have most of what you earn taken from you to support those unwilling to work hard themselves? You are right, I do not understand the appeal, please explain it to me.
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Funean
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quote:
To believe such a thing stretches the fabric of credibility.
Sadly, I do it all the time. Through my nose, usually. I am in fact well known for my ability to spray liquids and soft solids (yogurt once, famously) through my nose due to snerking while imbibing. There are more than a few ugly memories from college of "friends" trying evoke this skill. It's one of the reasons I wear a lot of black.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

What is appealing about working hard only to have most of what you earn taken from you to support those unwilling to work hard themselves?

You presume that those being supported are only those unwilling to work hard?
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Animist
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quote:
ANSWER is not a joke. Jokes are supposed to be funny. ANSWER is more along the lines of revolting.
Ha!

Honestly, I feel slimey just thinking about having associated with them.

It's not accurate to describe them as "commie." I don't even know if I'd go as far as "far left." Their "demands" seem to be limited to European social democracy.

And again, can anyone explain the point of demanding such a thing?? Does it never occur to them that asking--even waving a sign and demanding--that the capitalist power structure give them what they want only legitimizes that power structure? And if it's clear to them--as it should be--that most Americans are NOT socialists, why do they feel they have a right to demand it for them? "This is what democracy looks like" indeed!

Cytania: It would be interesting if you actually took up David's challenge and DID try to explain the appeal of socialism.

[ September 27, 2005, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Animist ]

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Dave at Work
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quote:
You presume that those being supported are only those unwilling to work hard?
Actually I don't assume that. I singled out those that are unwilling to work hard. I have no problem helping those unable to support themselves, but I resent supporting those who are capeable but unwilling to work hard to support themselves. I wasn't trying to sum up the entriety of socialism, I was simply putting forward a few aspects that I find particularly disagreeable about it.
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Koner
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quote:
I don't expect any Americans to truly understand the appeal or complexity of socialism.
I can't help but to remember Huxley's "A Brave New World" whenever someone brings up the "appeal" of socialism.

quote:
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."
quote:
"And that," put in the Director sententiously, "that is the secret of happiness and virtue— liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.":
I guess maybe, like John, I am a savage. He and I seem to want a lot of the same things out of life.

quote:
"But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.":

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Animist
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1. None of that (the first set of Huxley quotes) has anything to do with socialism. If that's what you think socialism is, I reccomend doing a teensy little bit more research (like, any).

2. Huxley wasn't writing about socialism, as demonstrated by the fact that he felt his vision had come to pass in the United States, which is hardly socialistic.

3.
quote:
But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
These words resonate with me too. I have no idea why you think that it's *only* socialism that keeps us from these things or that oppresses what we might call "the human spirit" in this way. I think we could use these words to indict virtually every mass institution.
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javelin
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Does socialism require an authoritarian type of government? Does capitalism?

[ September 27, 2005, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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WarrsawPact
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Animist - We've got another leftie on this board who wants everyone to be free from fear and free from want. Seriously.

quote:
I don't even know if I'd go as far as "far left." Their "demands" seem to be limited to European social democracy.
What then, exactly, is "far left" in your estimation?
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Animist
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javelin:

If we take "socialism" to mean an economic system in which products are distributed equally among all participants--

not necessarily. One way to achieve this is to force every person (with the authority of the state) to work an equal amount, and then to use another state-apparatus to distribute the products of this work as deemed appropriate. The redistribution could be performed by central dictatorship, or by a central oligarchy, which might or might not be elected. It could be performed locally, through the approval of a council of all citizens (which could operate by majority, 2/3 majority, or consensus). You still have that word, "requirement"--i.e., seemingly the state (even if it consists of only the members of the local polity) must have the ability to force participation. Authoritarianism is still variable in all these cases. And we're just talking about economic life. Even if redistribution is performed by a distant dictator, that dictator does not NECESSARILY have the power to dictate any OTHER aspect of a person's life. But even the element of force isn't necessarily there. One could imagine a socialism where every person is free to opt out--though in that case they do not reep any benefits of participation. The socialism of Lenin and Mao is nothing like the socialism of Bakunin and Kropotkin, and neither are like the socialism of modern Sweden.

As for capitalism--how are we defining capitalism? If it involves universal participation in "the free market" it still involves coercion if there is no option for obtaining the basic necessities of life other than the free market. I.e. if there is no option to opt out.


Warrsaw:

Who are you referring to? T.S. Eliott?

I usually think of "far left" as referring to ideas like Participatory Economics, social ecology, and other forms of communism and red anarchism (i.e. libertarian socialism, rather than the tribal/network anarchism I subscribe to). It all comes down to where you stand, I suppose...

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WarrsawPact
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I'm referring to Pelegius, actually.

I wonder why you consider "far left" to be distinct from communism ("I don't even know if I'd go as far as...") in your first post, but closely tied to it in your last post.

quote:
One could imagine a socialism where every person is free to opt out--though in that case they do not reep any benefits of participation.
No, I can't imagine that, because a socialist state would control the opting-out individual's ability to control capital, because of the state's authority to interfere with businesses that individual might otherwise invest in. Plus, there's the tendency of socialist systems to punish free riders.

quote:
As for capitalism--how are we defining capitalism? If it involves universal participation in "the free market" it still involves coercion if there is no option for obtaining the basic necessities of life other than the free market. I.e. if there is no option to opt out.
You mean, opt out of everyone else's property rights?
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Athelstan
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Ah Socialism. I like to remember the often-quoted remark by Karl Marx to describe what I think Socialism is: - From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
That statement does not require Socialists to be poor or drab. Indeed our first serious Socialist was Henry Hyndman – a cricket-loving millionaire. Over here we have Champagne Socialists as opposed to the National kind.

I believe we tried socialism once in the UK after World War Two. That’s why we got rid of Churchill and got the Welfare State but we had to get him back when we found we couldn’t pay for it. Nowadays we have New Labour and there are definitely no socialists in that Party. In May this year Tony Blair won an election in the UK. This is of course no endorsement for his policy in Iraq but neither is it a condemnation.

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
Ah Socialism. I like to remember the often-quoted remark by Karl Marx to describe what I think Socialism is: - From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
... in which need supposedly defines value, and your "needs" are so nebulous that there's no limit.

Therefore, you'd need infinite ability to meet the infinite "needs" of people who need to be free from want and free from fear. People who need everyone else to pay for an education, and health care, and housing, and whatever he needs to get by while he's unemployed.

Champagne Socialists are those who haven't filled out their tax assessment forms for a socialist state yet.

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Koner
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Animist, I don't think that what Huxley wrote about is what socialism is. But you cannot deny that the society he used to tell his story was a socialist one. It was certainly taken to extremes, but that didn't make it any less a socialist society.

Do I believe that any socialist society would degenerate into the picture that Huxley painted? Absolutely not.

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Athelstan
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[QUOTE in which need supposedly defines value, and your "needs" are so nebulous that there's no limit.
] [/QUOTE]
I don't believe I said I was a socialist. I think Karl Marx I no firm idea of how such a state would be brought about. Here socialism is strongly connected with religious movements ie Methodists and Quakers. It's a principle of how to govern not a doctrine in its own right. I personally believe in the Australian principle of Mateship.

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WarrsawPact
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I never said you were a socialist either.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Ah Socialism. I like to remember the often-quoted remark by Karl Marx to describe what I think Socialism is: - From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
That statement does not require Socialists to be poor or drab. Indeed our first serious Socialist was Henry Hyndman – a cricket-loving millionaire. Over here we have Champagne Socialists as opposed to the National kind.

It's easy to be a socialist when you've got a ton of money and no fear of socialism actually being implemented.
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flydye45
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So when we redistribute the worlds wealth, what are you going to spend YOUR $7,200 on?
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
So when we redistribute the worlds wealth, what are you going to spend YOUR $7,200 on?

I think I'll spend it all in one day (if there is anything fun to spend it on), right before I kill myself.

OH OH! Either that, or on weapons so I can take everyone else's 7200 [Smile]

[ September 27, 2005, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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potemkyn
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WP,

I think that Animist was refering to the fact that the 'free market' allows for no other competing systems. It's an aggressive and a universal system. Capitalism refused to co-exist with a communist bloc and so far, has made serious efforts to stomp out any idea of an Islamic bloc. That's not to say that these other economic blocs aren't aggressive and attempt to be universal, but to think that capitalism isn't, is a mistake.

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Ivan
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WP-
quote:
quote:
One could imagine a socialism where every person is free to opt out--though in that case they do not reep any benefits of participation.
No, I can't imagine that, because a socialist state would control the opting-out individual's ability to control capital, because of the state's authority to interfere with businesses that individual might otherwise invest in.

Would you mind explaining why this is the case? I don't see why an individual who opted out couldn't be allowed to own his own stuff. And beyond that, what claim does that individual have to investment options that would have been available to him his neighbors not decided to stick with the socialist system?

[ September 27, 2005, 06:20 PM: Message edited by: Ivan ]

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Dave at Work
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quote:
I think that Animist was refering to the fact that the 'free market' allows for no other competing systems. It's an aggressive and a universal system. Capitalism refused to co-exist with a communist bloc and so far, has made serious efforts to stomp out any idea of an Islamic bloc. That's not to say that these other economic blocs aren't aggressive and attempt to be universal, but to think that capitalism isn't, is a mistake.
I believe that the Chinese are at this time experimenting with mixing communism and capitalism. I don't expect that they will succeed, but they haven't yet failed either. Islam is a religion, not an economic or governmental model. Free markets do work best when not hemned in by external restraints, but will continue to function with a certain amount of external restraint, just less efficiently. See Hawaii's gasoline market since the wholesale gas price cap for an example of how a market reacts to external restrictions.
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Lisa M.
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quote:
Originally posted by Funean:
quote:
To believe such a thing stretches the fabric of credibility.
Sadly, I do it all the time. Through my nose, usually. I am in fact well known for my ability to spray liquids and soft solids (yogurt once, famously) through my nose due to snerking while imbibing. There are more than a few ugly memories from college of "friends" trying evoke this skill. It's one of the reasons I wear a lot of black.
I once had fruit snacks do that. It hurt my nose for two days, and little pieces were still coming out two days later.

... this has nothing to do with the serious discussion, but I thought you all might want to know.

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