police state?

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police state?

Post by carreon on Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:46 pm

I just had a question on how communism/socialism would work. Of course, nobody really knows exactly how and it will be different everywhere but what can we expect it to be like if a single person living in a communist society decides one day that they don't want to participate? Does the community democratically decide to lock that person up thereby reinforcing a police state until one day everyone agrees? What if they still don't agree? Do they democratically decide to kill them? I've been stuck with this question and any help would be appreciated.
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Re: police state?

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:51 pm

The answer depends entirely on what you mean by 'not participating.' If someone voluntarily chooses to be unemployed, the appropriate response would be to deny them access to the means by which to lead a fulfilling life. Basic health care, and provisions for food and shelter may be provided to them from the community, but that should be the extent of it. Simply put, if someone chooses to abstain from contributing to the social product they should not be entitled to take from it at will. Imprisoning people for making such a decision, however, is unjustifiable, in my opinion.

If they are actively sabotaging the system in a meaningful capacity, on the other hand, legal action should be taken. Every mode of production depends on its specific property arrangement being enforced in order to function. For example, I would be arrested for attempting to steal merchandise from my employer because that would qualify as 'theft,' according to the bourgeois property regime we currently live under. If a reactionary were to attempt to privatize collective property under socialism, they would be treated in a similar manner.

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Re: police state?

Post by carreon on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:03 am

So if someone decides not to work and maybe gets basic health care, food, and shelter; what would be their motive to work? If I had that today, for example, I would simply use all my leisure time that I should have been working and instead read, visit friends, learn to play the piano, etc... Would the dramatic social environment change my consciousness so much that I would voluntarily go to work even though I felt I had all I needed with those basic living needs?
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Re: police state?

Post by Red Aegis on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:09 am

You would not get something like a piano, since that would be beyond means of subsistence in that scenario. There is also the risk that purposefully being a leech would lead to ostracization. While violent retaliation for laziness is not something that I support, passive refusal of services and social contact would likely prove a worthy motivator.

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Re: police state?

Post by carreon on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:20 am

That makes sense. My professor asked me this question today and I couldn't explain myself adequately enough. I answered that people would change in the course of the revolution and new motivations would arise in society which would change consciousness, but as to how these new motivations would be enforced (he claimed it always lead to police states) I answered that it would be different in different places. Your answers make it obvious though, (no taking from social product if one doesn't contribute). Thank you.
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Re: police state?

Post by Red Aegis on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:31 am

Well, I wouldn't say "no taking from the social product if one does not contribute." I would refine that by having the requirement be that anyone of the socially acceptable age and ability should be expected to contribute to the social product. This would mean that the infirm, elderly, and children would not be expected to contribute. I think that is what you meant but if you said to your professor what you did, he or she would likely throw the question of the sick, children or elderly at you.

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Re: police state?

Post by carreon on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:55 am

Right, that is true. "Each according to their abilities, to each according to their need." I must read more Russian history in order to understand why he claimed that it always and must lead to a police state because of what happened in Russia. In my humble understanding, Russia was never communist. When Lenin died and Stalin had power, he had enforced a police state and created a bureaucracy which is contrary to Marxism itself. Not to mention the killing of many communists of the time.Please correct me if I'm wrong. I will not get offended, only trying to learn more here.
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Re: police state?

Post by Sasquatch on Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:09 am

I myself prefer the idea of a "opt-out" for my system. Basically, citizenship is determined by a literal social contract: It details both the responsibilities and benefits of citizenship. An example would be the provision of necessities. In the idea of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", citizens would fulfill the responsibility of being productive for the State (by being employed, or otherwise filling the need for public workers), and in return would be benefited by the State (in the form of the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, medical care, etc). Refusing to be productive while demanding necessities would be a violation of your citizenship contract, and in essence stealing from your fellow citizens.

Now, for those who don't want to be a part, they can reject this contract, freeing themselves of responsibility to the citizens of the State, and cutting themselves off from the benefits of it.

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Re: police state?

Post by Celtiberian on Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:13 pm

Sasquatch wrote:Now, for those who don't want to be a part, they can reject this contract, freeing themselves of responsibility to the citizens of the State, and cutting themselves off from the benefits of it.

This presupposes a coexisting economy which one could opt into, presumably a private sector free of taxation. The only alternative to that would be a territory designated for the sole purpose of banishing non-conformists.

The former option entails maintaining private enterprise, which is unacceptable for reasons of justice and sustainability. One of the chief theoretical foundations of socialism is the rejection of Locke's theory of property acquisition, and espousal of collective possession. If land is viewed as collectively possessed, it follows that any democratically mandated allocation of resources is ethically permissible, including social welfare provisions financed through taxation. If the majority of the population fails to accept that basic tenet, socialism cannot be achieved.

Every system of property relations entails coercion to some extent anyway, so the notion of a legitimately voluntary option is fallacious.

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"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
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Re: police state?

Post by Selay47 on Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:50 am

I genuinely believe that there is a certain basic level of provision that should be maintained for any and all citizens of a future Socialist state but, in regards to non-conformists, I thing there should be a three or four tier system of provision. Everyone receives food, health care and a bed but;..

. Criminals are forced into hard labour for a court-specified time.
. Non-Conformists risk breaking the law if they do not accept work assignments (menial but not necessarily hard), but receive a basic subsistence retirement.
. Citizens have access to leisure, entertainment and physical exercise and a comprehensive retirement package.
. State Officials enjoy the perks of citizenry but retire early.*

*I'm still out on that last one.

All in all, though; I see no problem with a Police State as long as their ideology is pure and corruption/nepotism can be weeded out effectively.

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Re: police state?

Post by TheocWulf on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:19 pm

If we look at the current group of opt outers in UK or as we and the media call them the Underclass who essentialy dont work becuse they feel like it and the benefits system we currently have and would need to have in a Socialist society unless we went for Stalinist style labour camps ect we would have the same problems we have now.For the non UK members ill give some examples of where the opter outers can actually have a nice lifestyle.

-The cost of living in the UK is fairly high so the benefits needed to give the opted outers the basics of food and shelter is about the same as a worker on minimum wage would bring in and since the opted outers would be doing the same minimum wage jobs they don't bother.

-Opter outers increase there benefits by having more children.

-Opter outers also engage in things such as the black market (cheap imported tobacco from France,knock of clothes and booze ect) low level drug dealing,stealing and dealing in stolen goods.

Now I believe post revolution we will just have a new set of Opter outers with the same above problems with the benefit system.Since I'm no fan of Gulags ect we will probably have the same level of non productive people in the state.I believe the only thing that will change that is if we got to a level of collective folk spirit that not working towards the collective would be so Taboo that the Opter outers would be treated like lepers and social outcasts even by members of there own family.

It pains me to think we would have to put up with it but the alternative isn't what I'd want to have a healthy society.


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Re: police state?

Post by carreon on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:45 pm

These are all interesting answers, though I also think that maybe work and labor will be so transformed through common ownership that it might not be so monotonous, dis-empowering, and dull as it is now under capitalism. I had a conversation recently with a friend and he brought up a situation of some workers in Cuba who would roll cigars. They would have one person to sing songs, recite poems, and tell stories to liven up their mood. Also they can take cigarette and bathroom breaks whenever they'd like, so work isn't seen as something that pains you to go do because you're simply working together as a community rather than competing and pressured by the powers above us.
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