I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused


Im doing more studies on a university in Canada, and decided to attend a meeting regarding socialism.

I don't support socialism, but I wanted to know the LOGIC behind this group's ideology. I also had some questions for them.

Sadly I left more disappointed and confused. Logic was not present tonight. I still support capitalism.

Some oddities:

1. After the speaker, we were encouraged to ask questions. I asked the question, "Socialism has had many failings before. Many socialist countries became corrupt and oppressed its people later on. How would you ensure that socialism would be implemented properly in Canada and that we will MAINTAIN it? (basically, I wanted to know what checks and balances they would put in to ensure that corrupt leaders could be ousted and that the working class would maintain power.)" I had to rephrase this question many, many and many times, since people wanted to either skim over it. I never received a clear cut answer and was told to purchase a pamphlet that answered my question.

2. When i walked in, a greeter asked me if I wanted to sign a petition regarding recent government cuts. I asked for more information and she directed me to a pamphlet (no price tags visible). I took the pamphlet and tried to walk away, but I was told that I have to pay for this pamphlet since they don't collect money from anyone (the irony right? They also collect donations from their members every week, which was not advertised in their poster. In fact, no mention of any payment required on the poster.). I decided not to take any pamphlets since I was unsure of this organization and I could just Google this issue.

3. Their stance on capitalism (does it work or not?): The speaker first started by bashing capitalism for about 30 minutes. He talked about how capitalism never worked and that there is significant poverty. But at the end, he said that capitalism worked and created wealth (and that now, since there are more working class people, socialism should take over to redistribute the wealth).

4. They also said that it is wrong for the "bosses" of using their workers to profit which is wrong but then encouraged the working class to revolt and basically steal the means of production that the owner created?!

5. No clear answers were given on how socialism will be implemented with proper checks and balances or how it will solve all of the world's problems (that capitalism caused, see below).

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused

I do not agree with these points, but I will leave them up for people who are curious about why university kids may support this ideology.

The speaker's main points

1. Introduction: They quoted Malcolm X.

Malcolm X quote
Malcolm X quote

2. Capitalism bashing: THIS WAS A MAJOR PART, consisting of many many many over-generalizations.

- Socialism can be successful. Successful socialist country: Sudan. Apparently, this group thinks that Sudan is an example of a good country, where means of production is truly owned by the people.

The argument against capitalism was basically as follows:

Premise 1: We live in a capitalistic society, but

Premise 2: a lot of bad things are happening (rising poverty, food scarcity, refugee crisis, ).

Conclusion: Therefore, capitalism must be causing these problems. (To which I wanted to ask, couldn't socialism still be worse? Perhaps if we lived in a socialist world, we would be worse? But i did not ask)

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused

2.1 Unhappy people. Apparently, in 2016, majority of Americans didn't agree with where the country was going. I think they were trying to imply that Americans wanted to be socialist, since they followed up with the sentence, "Likewise, 58% of Canadians support socialism."

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused

2.2 Poverty and food scarcity is rising. Yet big corporations like supermarkets are throwing away food.

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused

2.3 Capitalism ensures unemployment, racism and sexism. Capitalism is a "profit driven mode of production" that can't survive without profit. It also does not use max labour and needs certain amount of people to be unemployed to profit.

We were told that capitalism encouraged racism after World War (I or II, dont remember). Apparently, whites were given nice jobs with pensions and benefits where as coloured/other races were not given these things.

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused

2.4 Inequality: The top 1% of the world own 50% of the wealth in the world. In addition, governments will do favours for these privileged people but not for the everyday worker. They quoted how to government bailed out banks in 2008 but would never bailout people who can't pay rent (which is weird because we have welfare.......)

2.5 Supply side economics (trickle down economics) does not work. They said wealthy people do NOT reinvest the money. Apparently, US companies have a combined 1.9 trillion USD just sitting in their bank accounts. The group claimed that these funds will never be reinvested, especially since the economy isn't good right now. (I'm not sure where they got this figure or the confirmation that the funds will not be reinvested).

2.6 Capitalism damages the environment because it is profitable to do so. They didn't really expand on this point a lot.

3. Why previous socialist countries failed.

3.1 USSR wasn't a complete failure: There were some successes. For example, women's rights were better much sooner that Western countries. Russia legalized abortion and decriminalized homosexuality.

3.2 Venezuela was not a socialist country. It was going towards being a socialist country but failed due to the oil prices and because government couldn't bail them out.

3.3 China, North Korea and USSR failed as a socialist country because the conditions were not good for socialism to develop. In order to be a successful socialist country, it needs a revolution as well as a strong working class (majority). Both of these factors need to be present. However, China and many other countries didn't have this. This is why it is not a truly socialist country.

4. Revolution will happen whether you like it or not. You can either have it done to you or you can be a part of the revolution. Yeah, i don't agree with this.

I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused
I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused
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  • nightdrot
    Where to begin?

    Socialism was a romantic reaction to the Enlightenment. To wit, the idea of the Enlightenment was that man was a spontaneously rational and social being. That he had rights, rooted in nature.
    However, man has been corrupted by institutions that evolved over history but that were not inherently rational and therefore not consistent with his natural rights.

    The idea behind the Enlightenment then was that man must be stripped of the illogical and irrational/pre-rational sources of his identity - i. e. religion, ethnicity, tribe, etc. - and law made in conformity with his natural rights. When law and natural rights are consistent, man will live in harmonious relationship with his fellows.

    The problem. of course, was that man gets his sense of identity from religion, family, tribe, nationality, etc. When stripped of these - as the British statesman and political philosopher put it - man is "reduced to his naked shivering nature."

    Into this stepped Marx. In brief summation, he combined man's need for a sense of identity with a "scientific theory." He discerned a dialectic in History - with a capital "H" - in which economics and class was the source of man's true identity and that the clash of owning and working classes would result over time in a stateless utopia where man lived in fulfillment of his nature.

    This, of course, was not scientific at all. It greatly oversimplified man's nature and, in practice - and this is skipping over a LOT of important detail - conduced to the concentration of power in an elite whose job, in Marxist theory, was to guide the workers toward that classless utopia that - allegedly - History was moving toward anyhow.

    Pursuant to this, as a matter of economic policy, the government would own the means of production, private property would be abolished, and the economy - all levels of production, consumption, etc, - would be centrally planned. Suffice to say, such concentrations of power and planning with no intermediary institutions between the government and society conduced to brital tyranny.

    That, in brief compass - and again skipping for reasons of space a LOT of detail - is where Marxism comes from. Suffice to say, most Marxists are not aware of the pedigree of their own ideas any more than most Americans or Canadians understand the origins of their own ideals. Hence your frustration with the meeting. (Also, there are many variants of essential Marxism and you need to take this into account as well.)

    Beyond that, just a few notes. Women did better in the USSR? You are kidding, right? Do some more research. (Hint, how many women led the USSR over the course of its history? Consult Lady Margaret Thatcher or Teresea May for further details.)

    Marxism failed because the conditions for Marxism were not right in the countries you point to? That is a tautology. In any case, it is interesting that Marxism arose where Marx scientific theory said it could not. See a problem with the theory?

    Venezuela was not a socialist country? It wasn't, but it is now. Sort of the point.

    As to revolution, its origins are far more complicated than the simple class and economic motivations that Marx said inspired it. Again, an oversimplification and another failure of the theory.

    Hope that helps.

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    • nightdrot


      This sentence - "When stripped of these - as the British statesman and political philosopher put it - man is 'reduced to his naked shivering nature.'"

      The reference was to Edmund Burke - considered the father of classical conservatism, though he has precursors in Aristotle and Aquinas, among others.

  • MrOracle
    I really love the idea that you need "just the right conditions" to create a "successful Marxist country" - yes, you need a successful Capitalist country that you can plunder. That's because Marxism isn't sustainable, and eventually there's nothing left that you can steal.

    The Chinese were literally starving to death - and even the high party members were unable to sustain their comforts, so they had to open up "special economic zones" (read: capitalist cities) to generate money and resources to prevent a total collapse. Nixon negotiated the opening of originally 5 coastal cities, which eventually became 17, and China is now a real power. Communism didn't do that - capitalism did.

    The reason no one answered your questions is because there are no answers. The leaders would of course be corrupt, and have no interest in any mechanisms that might remove them. All the others are just "useful idiots" that imagine that they will have some special status because they were "in the fight" early - but socialism tends to reward early supporters with a bullet to the back of the head. It happened in Russia, China, Vietnam, and North Korea. Such people "know too much" and are seen as a threat.
    LikeDisagree 10 People
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    • June871

      Marxists above argued that that is because Chinese did not have a strong working class, which is required.

    • MrOracle

      I get it, but that's my point: you don't get a strong working class unless you have capitalism, because what motivates people to work hard and work smart is the possibility of improving their lives. Marxism takes away that possibility, which then removes the motivation, and results in a weak working class (and massively less value in the economy overall).

Most Helpful Girl

  • nerms123
    People just can’t accept any system since under every system some people suffer. Many people actually change parties and political beliefs throughout their lives but always remain disillusioned since no political ideology can change human nature.
    Is this still revelant?

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  • hellionthesagereborn
    Well the reason they have no answers is because they are entirely wrong. America is the most wealthy nation in the world. Why? China has 30% of all rare metals, produces more gold then any other country etc. yet despite this their own people are in abject poverty for the most part (not to mention completely unfree (this can be shown with the Hong Kong Protests where they where protesting mainland china and even waving American flags in hopes of getting our attention to address the corruption of mainland communist china). Its not because we simply have the largest nation, Russia has that. We know that homogenized societies fair better (like the ones in Scandinavia), yet we despite this fact are the least homogenized society in the world. We also produce more innovations then any other nation. Why? Capitalism. Now they will point to things falling apart now and its true, things are getting worse, but again why? Socialism. These people inject their ideology into our society and when it causes damage they blame capitalism. Why is the price for medical care so high? Well when did it start? The sixties, prior to which costs where overwhelmingly lower and consistent seeing only slight rises with new technology and then with time those prices would be reduced as that technology improved. Now we have a 600% increase in costs, reduced efficiency and less competition. The reason is the government got involved, it started with medicare and Medicaid, this in turn led to lobbying by the medical industry as they realize the government was getting involved and in order to beat out competitors they pushed for laws and rules that benefited them. That's why you require so many licenses, businesses realized that since the government got involved if they didn't bend the laws in their favor they would be knocked out of businesses (that's why you need a special expensive (I believe its 3,000$) to cut hair (and to braid hair)). They claim we have poor and of course we have poor because that's a relative term. If I have a million dollars and some one else has a billion then I am poorer then them. That doesn't alter the reality that our poor today in the US live better then kings did just a few hundred years ago. By using a relative term they can provide an impression that is factually incorrect without ever lying directly. The reason why they cannot come up with a sustainable solution to socialism is because their isn't one as it ignores every single thing we know about human nature and is why its failed in literally every incarnation its ever been in (hell, even the welfare state is a failure (Sweden for instance saw no economic growth for 50 years until they started removing those welfare programs). So that's why you have this issue, they don't actually know how economics work nor how people work, its nothing more then a religious doctrine that tells them that if they hate capitalism and tear it down some how through this process we will achieve a perfect society despite the fact that humans are by nature horribly flawed and thus could never produce said society. So they hate the system that creates good enough in favor or one that provides an empty and unattainable promise of perfection.
    LikeDisagree 6 People
  • akiflyer
    It's very simple. Karl Marx lived in a time of hyper capitalism.

    Where only the rich could go to school and the poor were told from a young age to go work at the minds and learning to read is a waste of time.

    Where you had to rent your tools and effectively be in debt while working (basically a slave).

    If you got injured you'd get fired and if you couldn't afford the hospital you'd just die.

    These are just some simple examples. His criticism of society led to the creation of social democracies which while they are still capitalist in nature they addressed most of his complains. (for example, most of Europe.)

    Free healthcare
    Free education
    Government owned transportation
    Taxing the rich
    Homeless shelters
    Single parent benefits
    Low taxes on the purchase of the first house.
    Worker rights protection
    Equal wage
    Health and safety regulations
    Anti-monopoly law
    Partially owned gas, electricity and water services.
    Minimum wage laws
    Etc etc etc

    (a lot of things that Americans don't have because of their fear of "commies")

    Some countries have attempted to go full socialist where the government owns everything. Which ended up turning into a dictatorship with widespread corruption.

    But don't forget there have been capitalist dictatorships which were just as bad such as pinochet.

    If you feel any if Marx criticisms are bullshit, go read what it was like living as the working class in 1880s in London or life in Paris during the french revolution. (short note: the rich lived a luxurious life with golden bathtubs while the poor couldn't afford bread and slept on the church floor... If there was room).
    LikeDisagree 2 People
  • WalterRadio
    As you can see, the arguments they made in favor of socialism and against capitalism are all false.

    For example, there is no "rising poverty" in capitalist countries. The fallacy is that poverty is measured relative to the mean, not absolutely. As the mean increases, so does the poverty threshold. The correct way to measure poverty is to a fixed reference standard of living in time, such as anyone that does not have access to 1,700 calories per day, no indoor toilet, no means of transportation, no electricity, and no telephone is poor.

    There is no food scarcity. Food production today is higher than at any time in history. There has not been a famine in decades not associated with war, a political issue, not an economic one. Food is left in the fields to rot. Food is converted to fuel to burn in cars.

    Refugees are not fleeing capitalist countries, but to them.

    Marxism was conceptualized in an era when there still existed feudal society in Russia, a form of slavery, and in a place, Europe, where land was scarce and nearly impossible for ordinary citizens to own.

    It assumes people are equally capable, uniformly motivated, and have equal decision making. These assumptions are invalid. Marxism does not take into account human behavior or the diversity in capabilities, interests, or ambition. This flaw is fatal to the concept.

    We had almost 75 years of the USSR's socialism. What was ever developed in the USSR that the people of the world use today?

    Socialism sucks because it undermines motivation to do well by taking away the rewards of success and it undermines the motivation to do anything because there is no point if you get paid the same. That is why every socialist nation requires a police state. They cannot motivate people to work by reward, but they can threaten to send them to prisons if they don't.
    Disagree 3 People
  • lightbulb27
    good info, interesting...

    I attribute to the distortions in our society, top 1% owning to the Crony Capitalism (maybe that's not the right term) that USA has in it's system. capitalism itself isn't the problem, it's the govt bailing out failures that is the problem. When we do that, print money and pass it out to strengthen corporations, we enrich those who own the assets. If let it fail, then the top would come down, the bottom would stay the bottom and the middle class would be closer to the top... because the popped bubble deflates and rich lose their stuff when they make bad bets, a few come out better off.

    Socialism is seen as the solution to redistribute the wealth that accumulates. ok fine, but the problem then becomes... why be motivated to work, create, innovate.. and thus productivity boost or change where it is needed? The motivation diminishes. that's worse in communist countries as the top takes everything and the people below lose so much rights. People want to feel free to live, it's a conflict between govt and people.

    So... I don't know how to fix the USA... we are terribly warped now... what govt is going to allow this mess to collapse... Obama had that shot, didn't want it on his watch...

    thats my opinion as I see it.

  • SomeGuyCalledTom
    Was you really expecting any more from them in terms of logical consistency or critical thinking? lol, most "socialists" have a cognitive dissonance fuelling their rhetoric: they bash capitalism, and yet their existence in a capitalist society is what affords them the requisite freedoms to bash capitalism in a public forum.

    The problem with socialism is that it's all just pseudo-intellectual theory, and has never been successfully applied for any appreciable length of time. The ideal socialist society is clean, perfect, incorruptible-- and yet no socialist society has ever emerged in accordance with these ideals.

    Capitalism, by contrast, is messy and imperfect and easily corrupted... precisely BECAUSE it developed in "real time" usage, and not in some academic's study room or debate club. Capitalism needs no academic theorists to "perfect". If you simply open up a marketplace to free enterprise (which, unless you're a power-hungry dictator, seems like the only rational course of action), and let enough time pass... then the resulting economy will be one that is functionally capitalist at its core.

    Capitalism is no utopia, that much is clear from the injustice and greed it leaves in its wake. But capitalism never AIMED for "utopia" to begin with. It simply emerged as an inevitable result of a society built on a free market in which anyone of sufficient competence can participate.

    Of course, the problem today we face is that of "late-stage capitalism", where a handful of billionaires control over 50% of the world's wealth, just because they've gobbled up so much of the marketplace through carefully planned mergers, acquisitions, hereditary wealth, etc.

    So the question now is "how do we re-democratise the free market in such a way that normal folk can actually have a chance to participate in it without being squashed like bugs by the uber-powerful from day one?" If early stage capitalism saw many business owners and workers getting many small slices of a big pie... then late stage capitalism sees a handful of business owners getting big slices of that pie each, and everyone else is left with just a sliver. That's a problem that needs solving, but the last people I'd trust to solve it are the armchair utopians holding university "group meetings" funded by making bypassers buy their crappy pamphlets, all while dodging the "real questions" as you put forth.
  • GuidoThePizzaMaker
    I don't know what you were expecting both Capitalism and Communism create an oligarchic system where labor is extracted from the people and power is placed in the hands of a few.

    Best system in moden times is the Nazi economy, but no one truly studies it without bias. If you read what economic historians have written you would be surprised. Their economy was very reactionary and adaptive, from sector to sector.
    Their workers program was the most successful in history, and their philosophy ensured unity among all classes of people despite differences in wages. It also provided a system for social mobility that communism doesn't have. Reading suggestions: Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze

    Capitalism main short-coming in my opinion, is the disregard for human life, and I am not talking about murderous wars, or military industrial complex or anything like that. I am talking about ensuring a good quality of life for those who exist within the system.
    Its why the West has decline birth rates and huge wealth disparities. Yes we have our technology and commodities, but what we lack is family, morality, principle and nationhood. All these things are in serious decline. Even the arts, have been in decline for close to
    Capitalism seeks profit before all else, its the pursuit of capital above the interests of people.
    Also the West has benefited from being at the epicenter of the capitalist empire. Thats beginning to fade and we are already seeing its repercussions

    The economy is a tool for us to use, its not something which controls us, as many people falsely believe.

    Dont fall into the false dichotomies presented to you. Both capitalism and communism will fail a nation, its about taking desirable elements of both and adapting them to the current situation.
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  • Passinggas
    Leftists, socialists, communists, Marxists… have always been about screaming and tearing everything down but never has one put a proposal of something better in place. The socialists want to destroy capitalism, the left, Democrats want the US to be a third world country and exterminate the white male. Anything that produces must be destroyed because they are disenfranchised and everything else is to blame. They are the victims.
    LikeDisagree 6 People
    • Van_Mars

      Why is this actually true. Been saying stuff like this for years yet very few people are smart enough to agree

  • Monster_Recluse
    These people are losers and they channel their hate and frustration towards bashing 'capitalism', trying to convince themself that it's 'the system's fault'. All they can see is that some people have lots of money and they are flat broke and that jealousy is why they want redistribution. It's not really about socialism, there's socialism going in North Korea and Latin American countries, but they would rather not even think about these countries.
    Disagree 2 People
  • grega239
    Here's all you need to know about the topic.

    Marxist theory resulted in more deaths than the 2nd ww.
    Disagree 2 People
    • June871

      well, these people will disagree.

    • grega239

      Yes , stupidity is not illegal.

  • BCRanger10
    "I attended a Marxist group meeting on a university... and left disappointed and confused"

    Of course you did.
    Disagree 2 People
  • Browneye57
    TLDR. But yeah, socialism is just another word for communism, and the dipshits that are supporting it are just plain ignorant. Capitalism is what makes the USA the number-one country in the world.
    Disagree 2 People
  • N192K001
    I admire your courage, open-mindedness, and critical-thinking in this endeavor. Many don't listen to the opposing side, much less actually visit and investigate a faction's side to personally explore the side.

    But yes, Socialism has major failings. From my study of Economics, I would agree that Capitalism has its flaws, but it's still the best/least bad system mankind has yet devised. Socialism's performance-level & lack of effective counter-measures for corruption can do serious damage to the economy & livelihood of the common citizenry.

    I applaud the sentiment & wish of Socialists to eradicate poverty, but their means & the premises thereof… probably needs more research, verification, and revisions!
    LikeDisagree 5 People
    • MrOracle

      Their desire isn't really to eradicate poverty - it's to assure equal outcomes regardless of the quality or the quantity of the effort put in - and, with the exception of the rulings class, they achieve that - by making EVERYONE dirt poor with no chance of improving. They destroy the middle class and move them all down.

      No thanks.

    • N192K001

      @MrOracle Seconding that1

  • TheFlak38
    I stopped reading after 1. How you didn't get brain cancer after attending this meeting. You're brave.
    These biological ruins make my brain cry.
    Disagree 2 People
  • Max_auckie
    Socialism in the americas is stupid if you want to learn how it woumd work you would have to go to somewhere in the European union, Austria works with it pretty well nowadays
  • JMuhammad
    Lol. You actually believe socialists run the socialist group? Sure, and Ralph Traitor Nader is a Green. Lol 😂.
  • sheepdip
    3.1 - I'm surprised they can make that claim as the modern Russian attitude towards gay people does not seem to be one of acceptance.
    Disagree 1 Person
  • SwordShield
    Socialism is nothing but the foundation of communism. Canada is doing good under other ideologies.
  • Shamalien
    Yeah this is no news to anyone looool these people never understand the basics of how a market works
  • Denniszen
    To cut to the nucleus, this is A. E. cut and dry. Insanity°
    Disagree 2 People
  • Anonymous
    You make some keen observations. No wonder they couldn't do much to support their cause. And what I always disagree with, with these people, is that capitalism is the cause of the world's problems. The examples they use don't support their philosophy.
    Disagree 2 People
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