Castro resigns

Art
So basically if a communist is elected then he is a socialist if he seizes dictatorial power he is a communist :rolleyes:

By that standard then yes all communist leaders were dictators as it is a prerequisite of this definition of communism.

In the case of Albania they had a communist gov't until 1992, they then elected a right wing gov't who lost in a landslide in the next election to the former governing party, communist now relabelled socialist.
 
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So basically if a communist is elected then he is a socialist if he seizes dictatorial power he is a communist :rolleyes:
He was never leader of a Communist country as I required in my post. And when he was leader of a non-Communist country, he was a non-Communist. :rolleyes:
 
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Ah, Rexhep, Rexhep, Rexhep. Why don't you join the Communist Party, Rexhep?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_Albania_(1991)" [Broken]
 
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vanesch
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He was never leader of a Communist country as I required in my post. And when he was leader of a non-Communist country, he was a non-Communist. :rolleyes:
The basic fallacy in this reasoning is this:
it is based upon the assumption that there exist only two possibilities for a country:
"communist" or "economic freedom".

However, this is of course not true, and most countries are somewhat in between, some lean a bit more to one side, others a bit more to the other, but most allow for some forms of economic freedom, and forbid others. So this is more a continuous scale. And from one election to another, this changes in time.

As Art pointed out, if to qualify to be a communist, you need to be a dictator (in fact, that is even historically true, because if you follow historical Marxist communism by the book, you have to pass through a phase of dictatorship...) it will be pretty damn difficult to find a non-dictator communist under this definition. That said, a gouvernment that has ministers from the *communist party* in it, can be qualified, I would think, as partly communist.

However, if even Hitler qualified as a communist dictator because he was the leader of the National *Socialist* party, then you must admit that you put your selectivity for communism/socialism way higher in the democratic camp than in the dictator camp whhich also biases the selection :tongue:

These words like "socialist" or "communist" don't mean much, however. Let us not forget that former Eastern Germany (a communist country with a dictator) was the "Deutsche Democratische Republik".

But being communist or not was not the issue of the discussion, the discussion was about whether economic freedom is the basis of all freedom (and hence, tacitly, it is a duty to go and bomb the hell out of any country where no or not much economic freedom reigns, in order to liberate them).

However, what is shown by examples of democratically elected "socialist" leaders, who had basically as a program (open and well-known, so no hidden agenda) to *diminish* partly economic freedom, is that it is sometimes a democratic desire to go to a society with LESS economic freedom. Sometimes, later on, people change their minds and want MORE of it too. Then they elect others. But it doesn't seem to be an ultimate desire of all people in the world to have a maximum of economic freedom, which one could assume it would be if it were the "mother of all freedoms".

Under Mitterrand in France, there was clearly a democratic desire for LESS economic freedom, and afterwards, under Chirac, and more so now under Sarkozy, there's a desire for MORE of it (but visibly not so much more, given the difficulties he has in his liberal policies).
 
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The basic fallacy in this reasoning is this:
it is based upon the assumption that there exist only two possibilities for a country:
"communist" or "economic freedom".
There are only two possibilities for a country. Either it is Communist, or it isn't. When Rexhep was leader of Albania, it was not a Communist country.
 
vanesch
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There are only two possibilities for a country. Either it is Communist, or it isn't. When Rexhep was leader of Albania, it was not a Communist country.
What does being a communist country have to do with economic freedom (except that in communist countries, the economic freedom is pretty limited) ? You mean, all countries have full economic freedom, have always had full economic freedom, throughout history, except for that small historical exception during the 20th century in a few countries inspired by Marx' writings ?

This is the fallacy I'm trying to point out already several times: you seem to think that OR there is full economic freedom (100% capitalism), OR the country is bathing in Marxist/Stalinist communism.

But there's a whole continuum of economic freedoms throughout the world, and throughout history! Communism is just ONE single example of an organisation of society where there was pretty low level of economic freedom.
 
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Please forgive my gross spelling errors in the following.

I agree with you here. But it's not just Stalin and Mao, it's Lenin, Krustchov, Brezniev, Deng, Ho, Pol, Kim, Tito, Chauchesku, Honeker, Castro, and the list goes on. Dictators all, no exceptions. This doesn't prove that the next one won't be the first leader of a Communist country that isn't a dictator, but inductive reasoning does have its good points. It can in some cases help you avoid unmitigated disaster. Anyway, Raul doesn't look like a mold breaker to me.
The induction stands until a counterexample is given.
 
Art
The induction stands until a counterexample is given.
I think you will need to provide your definition of communism in your black and white world. The whole point about communism was to increase the freedom of people so any country who didn't live up to this fundamental aspiration cannot by definition be communist no matter what they call themselves no more than the ultra right wing Nazi party were socialist despite their official name.

For example in this thread communism has been criticised for limiting job opportunities whereas Marx wrote on this subject in his book The German Ideology
"In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic."
and so any regime that denies these opportunities cannot be communist.

Ironically during the 80's and early 90's capitalist gov'ts in countries such as the UK went to war with the trade unions with the gov't looking to create the 'flexible' workforce Marx had envisaged and so break the unproductive restrictive practices endemic at that time whereby several skilled men were required to perform even a simple task if it crossed disciplines.
 
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I think you will need to provide your definition of communism in your black and white world.
I think I was falling back on Aristotelian logic. How many different possibilities do you count?

The whole point about communism was to increase the freedom of people so any country who didn't live up to this fundamental aspiration cannot by definition be communist no matter what they call themselves no more than the ultra right wing Nazi party were socialist despite their official name.

For example in this thread communism has been criticised for limiting job opportunities whereas Marx wrote on this subject and so any regime that denies these opportunities cannot be communist.
I had said in a previous post that people think they're getting Marx, but they always end up with Lenin.

It's hard for me to come up with a definition that doesn't imply dictatorship. I'm open, what have you got? It should include the former Soviet Union and Soviet block countries during the period when they were, well, Communist. It should also cover the PRC, Cuba, North Korea, the former Yugoslavia. By the same token it should exclude the United States, Western Europe, and many others. These lists are not exhaustive, but if you don't include/exclude them then I won't be swayed by your definition.

I think Marx's expression for what you and I would call Communist is "Dictatorship of the Proletariat". If so, it makes the induction inevitable.
 
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BobG
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For example in this thread communism has been criticised for limiting job opportunities whereas Marx wrote on this subject in his book The German Ideology
"In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic."
and so any regime that denies these opportunities cannot be communist.
That can't be right! That's the definition of capitalism in a global free-trade economy. I can make cars at GM today. I can work at Walmart tomorrow. With an on-line degree from http://www.belforduniversity.org/?source=Adwords-US&kw=degrees+mail+order [Broken], I can be head coach of Notre Dame next week. And in the US, we're guaranteed the right (and darn near the duty) to criticise 24/7.
 
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Art
That can't be right! That's the definition of capitalism in a global free-trade economy. I can make cars at GM today. I can work at Walmart tomorrow. With an on-line degree from http://www.belforduniversity.org/?source=Adwords-US&kw=degrees+mail+order [Broken], I can be head coach of Notre Dame next week. And in the US, we're guaranteed the right (and darn near the duty) to criticise 24/7.
:confused: Sorry Bob, what can't be right?
If you mean the quote then I assure you it is correct. Marx saw the division of labour as leading to the 'enslavement' of individuals.

http://books.google.ie/books?id=hCh6hSMDrigC&pg=PA165&lpg=PA165&dq=where+nobody+has+one+exclusive+sphere+of+activity+but+each+can+become+accomplished+in+any+branch+he+wishes&source=web&ots=RgMFfAvwmw&sig=-lAiIyBbZ3ujsodB4snggtYNwFM&hl=en
 
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Art
I think I was falling back on Aristotelian logic. How many different possibilities do you count?
As Vanesch has pointed out to you numerous times already there is a sliding scale of socio-economic realities.


I had said in a previous post that people think they're getting Marx, but they always end up with Lenin.
What Russia and China ended up with were ultra-nationalist despotic regimes which bore absolutely no resemblance to the concept of communism just as all the most repressive fascist regimes include democratic or socialist in their names but it doesn't make them either democratic or socialist.
 
BobG
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:confused: Sorry Bob, what can't be right?
If you mean the quote then I assure you it is correct. Marx saw the division of labour as leading to the 'enslavement' of individuals.

http://books.google.ie/books?id=hCh6hSMDrigC&pg=PA165&lpg=PA165&dq=where+nobody+has+one+exclusive+sphere+of+activity+but+each+can+become+accomplished+in+any+branch+he+wishes&source=web&ots=RgMFfAvwmw&sig=-lAiIyBbZ3ujsodB4snggtYNwFM&hl=en
It was a joke. A person can change jobs just as often in capitalism as they do in communism (and probably do more often in reality).

I know the quote is correct, but his comment is totally detached from reality. The only way Marx's vision could literally come true is if the economy was so successful that competence at whatever career you chose was no longer required.

The enslavement of individuals is to the necessity of making a living. That doesn't change whether you're talking about communism or capitalism. The group has to make a living even if the group's division of the rewards doesn't depend on any individual's contribution. One way or the other, someone has to do the things required to make a living, either because they personally benefit or because they see it will help the group - or, since you can rarely depend on the latter to happen in large groups, someone makes the person do whatever's required to help the group.
 
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What Russia and China ended up with were ultra-nationalist despotic regimes which bore absolutely no resemblance to the concept of communism just as all the most repressive fascist regimes include democratic or socialist in their names but it doesn't make them either democratic or socialist.
And Cuba. And North Korea. And VietNam. And Yugoslavia. And Cambodia. And the Soviet Block. They talk Marx, and they all give you Lenin. Where is your Marxian government? I don't think it exists. Do you think that when I say Communist country, I mean this non-existant concept? I don't. Where is your Marxian government?
 
Art
It was a joke. A person can change jobs just as often in capitalism as they do in communism (and probably do more often in reality).

I know the quote is correct, but his comment is totally detached from reality. The only way Marx's vision could literally come true is if the economy was so successful that competence at whatever career you chose was no longer required.

The enslavement of individuals is to the necessity of making a living. That doesn't change whether you're talking about communism or capitalism. The group has to make a living even if the group's division of the rewards doesn't depend on any individual's contribution. One way or the other, someone has to do the things required to make a living, either because they personally benefit or because they see it will help the group - or, since you can rarely depend on the latter to happen in large groups, someone makes the person do whatever's required to help the group.
I agree you can not depend on folk 'to do the right thing' which to my mind is the fundamental flaw with communism; it's based on an unrealistic, naive view of human nature with everybody working for the common good.

The quote I provided wasn't to try and demonstrate communism as a whole was in any way superior to capitalism, which for the reason mentioned above I do not believe it is, it was to show that the premise communism inherently restricts job choice and opportunities is false.
 
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If all of these People's Democratic Republics have nothing to do with Marx, then why even drag him into the discussion? His definition of Communism is quaint, but has nothing to do with what Communism is in reality. You can't blame him just because these despotic regimes have borrowed his vocabulary and not his ideas. With Marx's definition, the statement "there aren't any leaders of Communist countries that aren't dictators" would be true by default.
 
Jimmy, it's pretty obvious by this point that whatever response anyone gives to you you're going to say (or probably not even say, just snidely ignore the response) that the individual presented simply isn't a communist leader or is a communist leader in some way that doesn't “count”. Pardon me if I don't think that you're emulating Einstein with this sort of reasoning and behavior.

And of course you're also going to ignore the point that if the high frequency of capitalist dictators don't say anything about capitalism as an economic system then obviously the high frequency of communist dictators doesn't say anything about communism as an economic system.
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BobG
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Please forgive my gross spelling errors in the following.

I agree with you here. But it's not just Stalin and Mao, it's Lenin, Krustchov, Brezniev, Deng, Ho, Pol, Kim, Tito, Chauchesku, Honeker, Castro, and the list goes on. Dictators all, no exceptions. This doesn't prove that the next one won't be the first leader of a Communist country that isn't a dictator, but inductive reasoning does have its good points. It can in some cases help you avoid unmitigated disaster. Anyway, Raul doesn't look like a mold breaker to me.
Technically, Krushchev and Brezhnev weren't dictators. They were 'elected' by the Communist Party and Krushchev was removed by the Communist Party. You could almost say the USSR was ruled by an unchecked bureaucracy that no Soviet leader could hope to defeat (old age finally did a job on them, though - most of Gorbachev's reforms took place as the older members of the Party died off or had too many health problems to stay involved).

In practice, you might say there's not much difference since the Party was so oppressive and so self-protective. I think there's a world of difference. I think oppression by commitee is a more damning condemnation of Communism than oppression by a dictator or two. Regardless of the vision, I think every implementation would wind up restricting job opportunities and choice.

The decisions are made in an environment insulated from the general public and I don't think individuals figure into the equation much. And where individuals do figure into the equation is in figuring out how to better educate individuals in the proper attitudes to have towards their role in society. The individuals should want to do whatever the Communist Party feels the nation needs, and in that matter, the Party makes Marx's vision come true.

Fortunately, you could never have anything like that happen in the US. Political parties in the US are completely responsive to the general populace. They never stress loyalty to the party over individualism and they never punish party members in Congress that vote against the party line. They never institute nomination rules that give party leaders the power to overrule the will of the masses.
 
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Technically, Krushchev and Brezhnev weren't dictators. They were 'elected' by the Communist Party and Krushchev was removed by the Communist Party.
Hitler got 37% of the vote in a popular election in July 1932.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler" [Broken]
I would cite the 44% that he got in March of 1933, but I'm told (and am too lazy to verify) that it wasn't a free election. Not that Krushchev and Breznev received even a single vote in a free election.

Stalin was elected to the Central Committee with the third highest vote total in the party and was subsequently elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin" [Broken]
From that position he gained power bit by bit surely with the votes of others in the party that he played off against each other.

Were Hitler and Stalin dictators? Krushchev and Brezhnev were dictators but not because of the way they were elected. Before they were finished they got 99% of the popular vote. Rather it was the way they dictated.
 
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Were Hitler and Stalin dictators? Krushchev and Brezhnev were dictators but not because of the way they were elected. Before they were finished they got 99% of the popular vote. Rather it was the way they dictated.
Oh my… are you pointing out that it's a leader's actions that make them an evil dictator rather than the fact they're technically elected… or that they're ruling a communist or capitalist state?
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I'm surprised no one came up with Kalinin, President of the Soviet Union under Stalin. Stalin was not the titular leader of the Soviet Union, just of the Communist Party. A kind of Howard Dean, always on the outside looking in. This brings me to Raul, titular leader of Cuba (remember Cuba?). He currently holds these job titles (among others):
President of the Cuban Council of State.
Acting First Secretary/Second Secretary of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
A regular Stalin and Kalinin rolled into one. But I doubt this Cuban citizen has the freedom to choose between Arroz con Pollo and a Cuban sandwich. I've heard that he and Fidel don't see eye to eye on some key issues. There's democracy for you. It seems that Raul wants to impose some ruthless reforms on the Cubans, but unfortunately for him, big brother is watching. I take it Fidel no longer approves of this kind of top-down decision making. Imagine that, a Communist leader who takes orders from an ordinary citizen.
 
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