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 Post subject: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-20 07:02am
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BATTLE!

The topic of this thread: An offshoot of the debate "Is the RCC a force for good?" evolved into an argument on Marxism, especially how it applies to Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. Knobbyboy88 takes on Simplicius in this battle of wits!

RULES:
  • Each Gladiator will first make an opening statement posting what they intend to argue.
  • Whoever posts first will get to make the first argument. If he so chooses, he may cede the floor to his opponent.
  • No editing allowed. Make sure you post what you want to post.
  • One post per rebuttal. If you can't fit it all into one post (unlikely), only then may you extend it into two.
  • There will be a 48 hour time limit per reply. Extensions will be granted only if real-world obligations are interfering.
  • The winner will get bragging rights and possibly a small digital prize. The loser receives only SCORN!

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FIGHT!

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-22 12:11am
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First off, I would like to thank the members of this board for granting me the opportunity to elaborate upon my viewpoints in greater detail. I believe the coliseum to generally be a much better format in which to develop concise and coherent arguments without the constant interruption represented by the various odd ball arguments, “out of right field” inquiries, and irrelevant tangents which usually go along with debate on the open forum. I will do my best to utilize this newfound advantage to the utmost of my ability.

To begin my arguments, I would like to bring the attention of the board to one key issue pertaining to this case. Namely, that the matter of classification and nomenclature where it pertains to the issue of ideological conviction is not now, nor will it ever be an exact science. Such questions as we are dealing with now tend to be highly subjective in nature and are often open to the personal interpretations of those individuals studying them. There usually is no clear-cut “right” or “wrong” answer.

That being said, however; I do feel that the stance taken by my opponents on the issue of Robert Mugabe’s status as a “Marxist” or lack thereof is fundamentally hypocritical, dogmatic in nature, and overly specific in its qualifications. It is my opinion that the view that “Marxism” be defined not on the basis of those (admittedly rather vague) ideals which Marx preached and a leader or political party’s stated allegiance to them, but on the basis of how close these aforementioned leaders or parties stick with this philosophy as it was followed at its most extreme in such nations as the USSR, China, the former Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea, is far too narrow in scope, and fundamentally out of touch with modern political reality.

As such, I will attempt to make the persuasive case that a far less “hard-line” stance be taken on this issue. Specifically, I would argue that the point must be understood that Marx’ philosophies, while very clear in their overall theoretical intent, were almost uselessly vague when it came to any kind of proposed execution of these same ideas in practice. This fact has ultimately granted Marx’s followers an almost unprecedentedly wide latitude in which to pursue these ideological goals in any way they see fit. In turn, this has resulted in the virulent spread of innumerable off-shoot ideologies and political groups across the globe which claim and very likely legitimately believe themselves to be representing the true interests of “Marxist” philosophy, while at the same time diverging wildly from Marx’s original theories as explicitly stated in such works as the Manifesto and Das Kapital. In short, the ideology has ultimately grown far beyond the scope its author originally intended, and this fact must be accounted for lest we allow our conception of Marx’s ideas and ideologies to be overly laden with the dogmatic preconceptions and biases perpetuated by the propaganda and misinformation put out by the both the political “East” and “West” over the course of the last century.

In order to make this case, I will primarily address the issues of “Marxist” ideology, its evolution and development over the course of the last century, and how it can be seen to both form the basis of and conflict with the principles of such systems as Marxist-Leninism and other such 20th century “Marxist” offshoots, the historical connection of Robert Mugabe’s regime to the “Marxist” Left and his personal endorsements of this system, and the precedent which has been set by other broadly defined political and even religious philosophies where the matter of ideological classification and nomenclature is concerned.


I.Marxism


As defined by Emperor Wong, the fundamental tenants of "Marxism" can be broadly defined as including...

http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Marxism.html

Quote:
"Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes." In other words, seizure of all real estate. No more worrying about saving money to buy that house ... the government will take it away!
"A heavy progressive or graduated income tax." After taking away your real estate, the government will take away most of your income too. Wonderful.
"Abolition of all rights of inheritance." Taking away the right to bequeath the fruits of your life's work to your beloved children. How charming. It's one thing to tax inheritance, particularly for the wealthy, but to confiscate it entirely? That's simply unconscionable.
"Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels." Ah, yes. The never-ending communist persecution of "emigrants and rebels." Although neo-Marxists often claim that "true" Marxism does not restrict the right to live where you wish, we can see here that this is simply untrue:Marx targeted emigrants (presumably with something stronger than the general confiscation of land; he probably meant that they should lose everything but their underwear), because the free movement of people, goods and services is anathema to Marxism. This is a reminder of a serious problem with communism- it can only exist in isolation. A communist society will be "contaminated" by contact with a capitalist society, due to the capitalist habit of broadcasting images of its wealth and materialism. Those images act as a magnet for the "best and brightest," who will be rewarded like princes under capitalism but treated no better than the ignorant and useless under communism. However, a society will not fare well if the "cream of the crop" leaves. So what can they do? They can restrict access to capitalist broadcasts and they can criminalize emigration. And of course, this is precisely what real communist states have done. I think we all recall the infamous Berlin wall.
Marx wished to persecute rebels, but how does one specifically target rebels? In free societies, a rebel is only arrested if he commits an act which violates one of the general laws, such as shooting a police officer or bombing a government building. The fact that he is a rebel is not, in itself, considered illegal. There are no special laws designed to target rebels, and in fact, numerous forms of public protest, demonstration and civil disobedience are actually protected by law. So we return to the question of: "how do we specifically target rebels"? Well, one can hardly single them out by waiting for them to break a general law- this is what we do for all citizens. The only way to single out rebels is to target their political beliefs. This is exactly what real communist states have always done, and although neo-Marxists claim that this isn't what Marx intended, they can't explain how he planned to persecute "rebels" without resorting to such measures.
"Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly." Monopoly and state control are the mantra of communism, but monopolies are always destructive. Without competitive forces to ensure quality and efficiency, monopolistic entities, whether they be corporations or government agencies, invariably descend into wastefulness and sloth. This is why Microsoft was brought up on charges by the United States Department of Justice: competition is nature's way of ensuring the strength of the species, and it has proven to be a good way to ensure the strength of an economy as well. Furthermore, competition means choice, and choice means that the buying public has power.
"Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state." First rule of all dictatorships: seize control of the radio stations, the telephone system, and the newspapers. Neo-marxists claim that Marxism does not necessarily lead to dictatorship, but it's hard to agree with that claim when one of Karl Marx's ten commandments is the state seizure of all "means of communication"! Such far-reaching government power over communications can be abused to muzzle miscreants or suppress public knowledge of state misdeeds at any time, so it effectively removes freedom of expression. Without freedom of expression, there can be no freedom at all. Of course, it goes without saying that the seizure of transport has a similar chilling effect on freedom of movement (not to mention the power of the masses to punish or reward competing suppliers of transportation services).
"Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan." Broadening of state industry- this is actually redundant, given his previous statements. If the government has already seized all real estate, it already controls all the factories. I'm not sure why this directive was included at all.
"Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture." What sounds better to you? Being paid to work, or being forced to work? Choosing an employer based on pay and benefits, or being forcibly conscripted into an "industrial army?" The phrase "obligation to work" sounds better than "being forced to work by threat of punishment", but without the possibility of positive incentive, it means the same thing. Marx would take away your freedom to choose not to work. Suppose you decide that you would rather move to a small cabin up north, live largely off the land, and do just a little bit of occasional work for spending money? In a capitalist society, you would be forced to adopt an austere lifestyle, but no one would stop you. But Karl Marx would accuse you of not pulling your weight, and you would be forced to go work the same way as everyone else.
"Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country." Like all advocates of social re-engineering, he thinks that it should be possible to "turn back the clock" on the process of industrialization. Sorry, but there is no practical way to decentralize heavy manufacturing operations so that they're spread out over the countryside like primitive feudal farming operations. This is wishful thinking at best, and sheer stupidity at worst.
"Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc."
This sounds pretty good, and indeed, all civilized nations have instituted public schools made child labour illegal. But if you read his full text, you will see that he is not merely advocating the creation of public schools. He wants children to be taken away from their parents and educated in state boarding schools! And he is not trying to abolish child labour entirely, he just wants to abolish child labour in its present form. In its place, he suggests that schools and industrial factories be into one, so that children work and go to school at the same time. How charming.



In this essay, Emperor Wong points out that several of the explicitly stated goals of “Marxism” are either poorly defined, completely unattainable, or unrealistic in any real-world context. I have pointed this out to my opponents numerous times when the argument that Mugabe “does not act like a ‘Marxist’” has been brought to my attention.

The solution my opponents have devised to this problem has lain in seeking to overly simplify the issue by defining “true Marxism” as only belonging to those policies of the “centrally planned economy” which were endorsed by the “Leninist” and “Stalinist” regimes of the mid 20th century. However, given further inquiry into the issue, this claim can be seen to clearly represent a fundamentally fallacious false dilemma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrally_planned_economy

Quote:
“Planned economy or directed economy is an economic system in which the state or workers' councils manage the economy. [1] It is an economic system in which the central government makes all decisions on the production and consumption of goods and services.[2] Its most extensive form is referred to as a command economy,[3] centrally planned economy, or command and control economy[4]. In such economies, central economic planning by the state or government controls all major sectors of the economy and formulates all decisions about the use of resources and the distribution of output.[5] Planners decide what should be produced and direct lower-level enterprises to produce those goods in accordance with national and social objectives.[6] Planned economies are in contrast to unplanned economies, such as a market economy, where production, distribution, pricing, and investment decisions are made by the private owners of the factors of production based upon their own interests rather than upon furthering some overarching macroeconomic plan. Less extensive forms of planned economies include those that use indicative planning, in which the state employs "influence, subsidies, grants, and taxes, but does not compel."[7] This latter is sometimes referred to as a "planned market economy".[8]
A planned economy may consist of state-owned enterprises, private enterprises directed by the state, or a combination of both. Though "planned economy" and "command economy" are often used as synonyms, some make the distinction that under a command economy, the means of production are publicly owned. That is, a planned economy is "an economic system in which the government controls and regulates production, distribution, prices, etc."[9] but a command economy, while also having this type of regulation, necessarily has substantial public ownership of industry.[10] Therefore, command economies are planned economies, but not necessarily the reverse.
Important planned economies that existed in the past include the economy of the Soviet Union, which, according to CIA Factbook estimates, was for a time the world's second-largest economy [11], China before 1978, and India before 1991, Afghanistan under the Soviet occupation and under the Taliban, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein from 1979 to 2003.[12][13] Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, many governments presiding over planned economies began deregulating (or as in the Soviet Union, the system collapsed) and moving toward market-based economies by allowing the private sector to make the pricing, production, and distribution decisions. Although most economies today are market economies or mixed economies (which are partially planned), planned economies exist in some countries such as Cuba, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Burma.[14]”


As should be apparent, the Soviet “centrally planned economy” is not inherent to “Marxism,” but is an individual development pioneered by Marxist-Leninism. Furthermore, even these “centrally planned economies” can possess some form of private industry so long as this industry is heavily state regulated and controlled.

In addition to even this fact, it can be seen that "Leninism" and "Stalinism" have not even been satisfactorily shown to have upheld Marx’s stated goals to the utmost of their ability.

Quote:
“He describes communists by saying that "they have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole." In other words, they're selfless and they have no ambitions for power whatsoever. And if you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you. The reality of communism is that every communist revolution in history has been precipitated by a small group of people who gave themselves enormous power while trampling upon the rights and freedoms of the people. Neo-marxists defend this ugly history by saying that a "true" communist would not commit the sins of Leninism, Maoism, Stalinism, etc., but they fail to realize that communism seeks to take power from the masses by its very nature, by replacing free markets (which are controlled by the masses) and competing corporations (which the masses can punish, reward, or even destroy) with government monopolies, which the public has no power to directly control (to say nothing of punishing or destroying them if they are displeased with their performance).
"The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: Formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat." Ludicrous fantasy. An entire social class cannot seize power. Instead, it can only appoint representatives to take that power. No matter what flowery language Karl Marx chooses to use, the simple reality is that government power will always be in the hands of the few, regardless of whether that government is communist or capitalist. The only question is how much power we want that government to have, and Marx made the mistake of assuming that the more power the government had, the more power the masses would have. This is a very serious "have your cake and eat it too" fallacy; you cannot simultaneously give more power to the masses and to the government! Marx felt that free markets are undemocratic and unfair, but in reality, free markets are actually more democratic than governments, communist or otherwise. They actually respond to the whims of the masses, while governments only make promises. Look at Wal-Mart; its profits dwarf that of every rich person's boutique and specialty store in America. Now look at your federal capital: is there any venue there where your average Wal-Mart customer would be taken seriously?

"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists." As well they should. It is a disgusting concept! Karl Marx believed that the family structure was inherently exploitative, with capitalists treating their wives and children as property and bequeathing their accumulated assets to their children (he saw the concept of inheritance as a horrible evil). His solution? Children should be raised by the state, marriage and inheritance should be eliminated, and noncommital sex should be the only form of relationship. The man was a lunatic, and most people don't even have any idea how extreme and unrealistic some of his views were, because they've never bothered to read his Manifesto.


Given the manner in which both "Leninism" and "Stalinism" have been shown to have clearly violated some of Marx's most essential principles in their failure to dissolve the "family unit" or maintain the egalitarian unity of the "proletarian class," it should be obvious that they do not represent the "end all" and "be all" of "Marxism." While this does not change the fact that these systems can be certainly viewed as representing developmental offshoots of Marx’s ideals, they are hardly the only evolutionary developments upon these ideas possible. They were simply one more (admittedly rather popular) alternative available to the discerning “Marxist.”

Likewise, Robert Mugabe's regime can be seen to represent a form of "African Socialism" which finds its basis in (often "Leninist" and "Stalinist" influenced) "Marxist" ideals.

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/african%20socialism/id/1904492African%20socialism

Quote:
African socialism is the belief in the doctrine of sharing economic resources in a "traditional" African way, as compared to classical socialism. Many African politicians of the 1950s and 1960s professed a belief in African socialism, although interpretations varied considerably.

After the independence of most African countries during the 1960s, newly formed African regimes could not easily claim a great victory over the Europeans if they continued to use the same system that those oppressors had designed, namely capitalism, since all imperial regimes had been mainly capitalist, even if their adherence to free markets was not absolute. Socialism was popular among African leaders because it represented a break from the imperial ruling tradition. Socialism seemed, to many, to be all that capitalism was not.

African followers of socialism claimed it was not the opposite of capitalism nor a response to it, but something completely different. Nationalists claimed it was fully African, appealing to an African identity that was even stronger than anti-capitalism. Their socialism, they claimed, was merely a recapturing of the spirit of what it was to be African.

A multitude of reasons were presented in support of African socialism. Many believed that Africa was too far “behind” capitalist states in terms of economic development to compete fairly with them. Others appealed to a sense of unity that would not be provided by the competitive capitalist systems. Still others believed that the development of Africa should be planned in order to avoid wasting scarce resources, and avoid future class conflicts.

African identity and socialism were often intertwined. Some leaders claimed that Africa had always been “socialist,” and appealed to socialism as a unifying cultural element for Africans. This was not by any means the only form of African identity that they appealed to, but the combination of socialism and African identity was doubly effective in ending the era of old imperial regimes. Social revolution usually went hand-in-hand with socialism.

However, most regimes following African socialist programmes did not deliver on the promises of self-sufficiency, prosperity, and equality, and as a result many have grown disillusioned with African socialism.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_socialism

Quote:
Soviet and Chinese leaders helped African socialism to develop.[1] After the Sino-Soviet split, both pro-Moscow and pro-Beijing socialists emerged in Africa, while others were non-aligned.[1]


While some may argue that these facts make Mugabe an "African Socialist" before they make him a "Marxist," the fact of the matter remains that the "African Socialist" philosophy is primarily "Marxist" in historical and ideological basis. Clearly by the merit of belonging to the "African Socialist" movement alone, Mugabe can be broadly grouped within the "Marxist" movement.

Furthermore, if one were to argue that Mugabe could not possibly be "Marxist" given the fact that he has not followed all of Marx's philosophies, this would also beg the question of why any regime can truly be considered to be "Marxist" when not even the most extreme candidates available for this distinction (i.e. "Leninism" and "Stalinism") are fully in line with Marx's principles themselves.


II. Mugabe's Economic Policies and Personal Views on Marxism


This point is only further supported by Mugabe's long history with "Marxist" groups and the the "Red" Sphere of influence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mugabe

Quote:
Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). For many years in the 1960s and 1970s Mugabe was a political prisoner in Rhodesia. His goal was to replace white minority-rule with a one-party Marxist regime.[3] Having been a political prisoner for 10 years, immediately on release with Edgar Tekere, Mugabe left Rhodesia in 1974 to join the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle (Rhodesian Bush War) from bases in Mozambique. At the end of the war in 1979, Mugabe emerged as a hero in the minds of many Africans.[4][5] He won the general elections of 1980, the second in which the majority of Black Africans participated in large numbers (though the electoral system in Rhodesia had allowed Black participation based on qualified franchise), amid reports of violent intimidation by the militants he now controlled. Mugabe then became the first Prime Minister after calling for reconciliation between formerly warring parties, including the white people as well as rival parties.


This goal came to fruition following a civil war that started in 1980-1982 between...

Quote:
Mugabe's Maoist-oriented Government and dissident followers of Joshua Nkomo's pro-Marxist ZAPU erupted
.

Where...

Quote:
Following the deaths of thousands, neither warring faction able to defeat the other, the heads of the opposing movements reached a landmark agreement, whence was created a new ruling party, ZANU PF, as a merger between the two former rivals [in 1987][6]


...which...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZANU-PF

Quote:
effectively establish[ed] a [Marxist/ Maoist] one-party state dominated by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. [while] Joshua Nkomo became one of two vice-presidents of Zimbabwe.


That is...

Quote:
Officially... socialist in ideology, and is modeled on communist parties in other countries. The party maintains a politburo.[4]



While it would appear to be rather obvious that Robert Mugabe most certainly was a "Marxist" at this point in his career, many continue to make the case that Mugabe cannot be considered to be truly "Marxist" as he did not follow up on his victory with sufficiently "Marxist" (i.e. "Leninist" and "Stalinist") legislation.

To the contrary, I would argue that it can be shown that Mugabe did not have the means to institute such measures given his international situation. As a condition of the Lancaster House Agreement which ended Zimbabwe's war for independence in 1979 and granted Mugabe and Nkomo's parties control of Zimbabwe to begin with, Mugabe was...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancaster_House_Agreement

Quote:
pressured to sign and land was the key stumbling block. Both the British and American governments offered to buy land from willing white settlers who could not accept reconciliation (the "Willing buyer, Willing seller" principle) and a fund was established, to operate from 1980 to 1990.


In other words, Mugabe was forced to compromise on the issue of Land Reform and "Marxist" economic policy in Zimbabwe in order to stop the blood shed of Zimbabwe's decades long war of Independence and assert his control over the nation. These stipulations of the Lancaster Agreement lasted from 1980 to 1990, and from 1980-82 through 1987, Mugabe was actually involved in a devastating civil war with Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front movement.

As should be apparent, for the first decade of Mugabe's rule, his hands were effectively tied.

However, it should also be noted that this fact did not prevent Mugabe from seeking to maintain limited but still significant ties with the "Red" Sphere of influence, not did it prevent him from maintaining predominantly "Socialist" economic policies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Zimbabwe

Quote:
The People's Republic of China supported Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union while the Soviet Union supported Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union, competing militant Marxist organizations that sought an end to Rhodesia and the establishment of a one-party Communist state in its place.[1] The PRC's initial investment in Mugabe has continued. China has invested more in Zimbabwe than any other nation with 35 companies spending over $600 million USD.[2


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_North_Korea#Zimbabwe

Quote:
In October 1980, Kim Il-sung and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe signed an agreement for an exchange of soldiers. Following this agreement, 106 North Korean soldiers arrived in Zimbabwe to train a brigade of soldiers that became known as the Fifth Brigade.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia-Zimbabwe_relations

Quote:
Russia-Zimbabwe relations date back to January 1979, during the Rhodesian Bush War. The Soviet Union supported Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union, and supplied them with arms; Robert Mugabe's attempts to gain Soviet support for his Zimbabwe African National Union were rebuffed, leading him to enter into relations with Soviet rival Beijing. After the end of the white regime in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe had strengthened his relations with both Beijing and Moscow as a result of intense western pressure on him. The USSR soon established diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe on February 18, 1981 and Russia still maintains an embassy in Harare.



While some of my opponents have pointed out that Mugabe had also established ties with and accepted military aid from Western nations such as the US and UK during this period as well, and even sought to pursue "a course of active nonalignment... avoid[ing] entanglement with the United States and Soviet Union," none of this contradicts the well established fact that he lead an openly "Marxist" regime from 1979 up until the mid 1990s and that his rise to power in Zimbabwe's brutal war for Independence was directly funded by the efforts of the Maoist government of the People's Republic of China, and indirectly funded by the support offered to Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union by the USSR.

In fact, I would go so far as to argue that Mugabe's willingness to "play both sides of the field" during this period was simply indicative of his tendency to favor "African Socialist" priorities over abstract international agendas and his insistence upon being considered a "practicing [Marxist], but also a practical one (Time Magazine, 1980)."

Additionally, it should be noted that being a belligerent ideologue simply is not necessary to be considered to be in line with "Marxist" ideology. Like their insistence on only considering "Marxist-Leninist" regimes to constitute "true Marxism," this argument from my opponents represents little more than a "red herring" and false dilemma.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,949036,00.html


Where the issue of Robert Mugabe's adherence to "Marxist" principles on matters of the economy are concerned, I would once again argue that Mugabe fit well within this paradigm during the first decade of his rule.

As has already been established in the first section of this post,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrally_planned_economy

Quote:
A planned economy may consist of state-owned enterprises, private enterprises directed by the state, or a combination of both. Though "planned economy" and "command economy" are often used as synonyms, some make the distinction that under a command economy, the means of production are publicly owned. That is, a planned economy is "an economic system in which the government controls and regulates production, distribution, prices, etc."[9] but a command economy, while also having this type of regulation, necessarily has substantial public ownership of industry.[10] Therefore, command economies are planned economies, but not necessarily the reverse.


The state of Zimbabwe's economy under Mugabe for the first decade of his rule clearly fits within this definition. This fact is supported by the evidence put forward by my opponents.

Link shortened.

Quote:
THE PARASTATAL SECTOR IN ZIMBABWE

Emergence and expansion
Zimbabwe inherited at independence a large number of parastatals. More than 60% of the parastatals were established before independence. In particular, almost all the marketing boards date back to the pre-independence period. The expansion of the parastatal sector after independence was not accomplished through expropriation or nationalisation of private assets but through new investments and creation of new parastatal bodies. This is in contrast to what happened in most African countries where massive nationalisation and expropriation was the rule rather than the exception. This distinct nature of the expansion of the sector makes disposal of state assets easier as there are no private claimants to the assets owned by the state. Both the emergence and expansion of the public enterprise sector in Zimbabwe is quite different from the experiences in many other African countries. The role of the state in the economy has grown gradually over a very long period without any sudden change. It seems ideology has played a very minor role in this gradual process. Zimbabwe, in the early eighties was one of a few countries in Africa where private ownership was
a highly dominant feature in industry.

The parastatal sector in Zimbabwe today encompasses a wide variety of economic activities. It is represented in almost all sectors. Most notably in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transport, energy, communication and finance. All in all there are about 90 public enterprises and about 15 statutory bodies. In about 85 of them government is the sole owner, in another 10 government is a majority shareholder and in about 10 government holds substantial minority ownership. The Industrial Development Corporation GDC) alone has ownership interest in 45 enterprises more than half of which are fully owned by the corporation. In terms of legal status, some parastatals are public corporations established under special Acts of Parliament like most of the agricultural marketing boards before their commercialisation in the past couple of years. Others are incorporated under the Private Companies Act with 100% government ownership like Affretair, ZISCO and IDC. There are also a few which are joint ventures with foreign companies like some of the subsidiaries of ZMDC in the mining sector.

The parastatal sector is also very diverse in terms of objectives. Some are purely developmental and promotional like ARDA, AFC; some are strategic like GMB, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, ZIANA and some are predominantly commercial like ZISCO, MMCZ and most of the subsidiaries to ZMDC and IDC.

The legal and institutional framework for public enterprises (PEs) as it is now, imposes constraints on their effectiveness, autonomy and
accountability. For example, from the point of view of alleviating the budget deficit, parastatals are urged to compete effectively and turn out profit, pay income and capital gains tax and dividends to the government. However, from an administrative point of view, parent ministries continue to regard their PEs as coming under the relevant Acts of Parliament in such areas as labour law, investment, borrowing, reporting, supervisory mechanism as well as rules and regulations governing public procurement.


While this article posted by my opponents would seem to paint Mugabe as some sort of champion of "private industry," the opposite is actually the case. This may seem to be a rather strange argument to make and it will undoubtedly cause a great deal of confusion among those following this debate. In fact, this may have even been my opponents' intention to begin with.

However, once one understands the meaning of the word "Parastatal," the issue becomes much clearer. As defined by wikipedia, a "Parastatal" is essentially...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parastatal

Quote:
A government-owned corporation, state-owned enterprise, or government business enterprise is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government, and are usually considered to be an element or part of the state. There is no standard definition of a government-owned corporation (GOC) or state-owned enterprise (SOE), although the two terms can be used interchangeably. The defining characteristics are that they have a distinct legal form and they are established to operate in commercial affairs. While they may also have public policy objectives, GOCs should be differentiated from other forms of government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely non-financial objectives that have no need or goal of satisfying the shareholders with return on their investment through price increase or dividends.
GOCs can be fully owned or partially owned by Government. As a definitional issue, it is difficult to determine categorically what level of state ownership would qualify an entity to be considered as "state-owned", since governments can also own regular stock, without implying any special interference. As an example, the Chinese Investment Corporation agreed in 2007 to acquire a 9.9% interest in the global investment bank Morgan Stanley, but it is unlikely that this would qualify the latter as a government-owned corporation. Government-owned or state-run enterprises are often the result of corporatization, a process in which government agencies and departments are re-organized as semi-autonomous corporate entities, sometimes with partial shares listed on stock exchanges.


As should be apparent, the presence of a large number of "Parastatals" under Mugabe's regime actually only goes to further reinforce his "Socialist" credentials during the period from 1980 through to the mid 1990s. This viewpoint is further supported by the information provided on Zimbabwe's economy from wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_zimbabwe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_Zimbabwe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_Bank_of_Zimbabwe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Zimbabwe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe#Human_rights
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe_Broadcasting_Corporation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_Zimbabwe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_Zimbabwe
http://www.doingbusiness.org/ExploreTopics/PayingTaxes/Details.aspx?economyid=208

Quote:
Government spending is 56.4% of GDP. It has partly been financed by printing money, which has led to hyperinflation. State enterprises are strongly subsidized, taxes and tariffs are high. State regulation is costly to companies, starting or closing a business is slow and costly.[5]

Quote:
On 16 February 2006, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr. Gideon Gono, announced that the government had printed ZWD 21 trillion in order to buy foreign currency to pay off IMF arrears.
Quote:
The Ministry of Education of Zimbabwe, Sport and Culture maintains and operates the government schools but the fees charged by independent schools are regulated by the Cabinet of Zimbabwe.
Quote:
Paved roads link the major urban and industrial centres, and rail lines managed by the National Railways of Zimbabwe tie it into an extensive central African railroad network with all its neighbours

Quote:
Radio broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 4 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1. Acts as the primary communiction for largely rural population. All stations are stringently controlled by the government run ZBC (20020

Quote:
Television broadcast stations: only one state-controlled propaganda station ZBC, as government has shut down and refuses to issue licenses to domestic independent broadcasters such as JoyTV in 2002

Quote:
The Zimbabwean government suppresses freedom of the press and freedom of speech.[60] It has also been repeatedly accused of using the public broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, as a propaganda tool.[65] Newspapers critical of the government, such as the Daily News, closed after bombs exploded at their offices and the government refused to renew their license.[66][67]

Quote:
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is the state-controlled broadcaster in Zimbabwe. It succeeded the Zimbabwe Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (ZRBC) in 1980, which in turn had succeeded the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) in 1979. Like the RBC under the white minority rule government of Ian Smith, it has been accused of being a mouthpiece of the Mugabe regime, with no editorial independence.


As should be apparent, not only can Mugabe's economy be considered as broadly fitting within the category of a "planned economy"(which was one of my opponents' original criteria for accepting a nation as being "Marxist" to begin with), but it can also be seen as fitting in with a few of Marx's criteria as defined by Emperor Wong as well.

Quote:
"Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly."

Quote:
"Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

Quote:
"Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc."

Quote:
"A heavy progressive or graduated income tax."


Finally, we have the issue of proposed land reform under Mugabe's regime.

While my opponents may insist that there is nothing intrinsically "Marxist" about such policies, I would tend to disagree. As wikipedia characterizes the issue, land reform under Mugabe has largely been...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform_in_zimbabwe

Quote:
an effort to more equitably distribute land between the historically disenfranchised blacks and the minority-whites who ruled Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1979.


It is my view that this principle can be broadly viewed as representing an example of the following "Marxist" principles as outlined by Emperor Wong...

Quote:
"Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes."


and...

Quote:
"Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels."



While some may argue that I am simply blowing this issue out of proportion through the use of "buzzwords," a more thorough investigation of the matter will reveal that this simply isn't the case.

Mugabe has historically made a point of stating his blatant hatred of the "white man," and, in turn, they have formed the basis for most of "bourgeoisie" resistance that his policies have faced throughout his career. Following the UK's declaration in 1997 that it would no longer back the "willing buyer, willing seller" program that it championed in staying Mugabe's hand in the Lancaster Agreement of 1979, he attempted to force a new constitution through Zimbabwe's parliment which would have...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform_in_zimbabwe

Quote:
Had it been approved... empowered the government to [color=#BFFF40]acquire land compulsorily without compensation.[/color]


Furthermore, when foiled in this attempt, Mugabe did not hesitate to seize property by force from those seeking to oppose his reforms.

Quote:
the pro-Mugabe War Veterans Association organised like-minded people (not necessarily other war veterans, as many of them were too young to have fought in the Liberation War) to march on white-owned farmlands, initially with drums, song and dance. As the march continued, seizing began. When the violence ended, a total of 110,000 square kilometers of land had been seized.


Which was followed up upon the next year by...

Quote:
The Minister for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement John Nkomo had declared five days earlier, that all land, from crop fields to wildlife conservancies, would soon become state property. Farmland deeds would be replaced with 99-year leases, while leases for wildlife conservancies would be limited to 25 years.


As should be apparent, Mugabe's regime has little to no respect for private property whatsoever, and is perfectly willing to seize the property of political opponents who oppose its policies. This is clearly keeping in line with Marxist tradition, and the stated goals of Marx himself, even if the measures utilized in this case are not so extreme, nor so well organized as what was experienced in more dedicated Marxist-Leninist regimes.

My opponent's only response to this claim has been to argue that it cannot be shown that Mugabe's reforms have been in the interests of "Nationalizing" industry in Zimbabwe. Once again, however; I would beg to differ. Even a cursory glance over Zimbabwe's economy history in the period between 1980 and 1990 reveals the central importance of the nation's agricultural sector to its continuing economic growth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_zimbabwe

Quote:
Following the Lancaster House Agreement in December 1979, the transition to majority rule in early 1980, and the lifting of sanctions, Zimbabwe enjoyed a brisk economic recovery. Real growth for 1980-1981 exceeded 20%. However, depressed foreign demand for the country's mineral exports and the onset of a drought cut sharply into the growth rate in 1982, 1983, and 1984. In 1985, the economy rebounded strongly due to a 30% jump in agricultural production. However it slumped in 1986 to a zero growth rate and registered negative of about minus 3% in 1987 primarily because of drought and foreign exchange crisis faced by the country.[citation needed] Zimbabwe's GDP grew on average by about 4.5% between 1980 and 1990.[6]


As should be apparent, agriculture is now and always has been one of Zimbabwe's most vital occupations. Within this context, Mugabe's attempts to "redistribute" property and turn arable land over to "state control" can be clearly seen to represent an (admittedly) imperfect and limited, but ultimately quite substantial effort on the part of Zimbabwe's primarily "Leftist" influenced government to perpetuate the...

Quote:
"Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan."


While I freely admit that Mugabe's pursuit of the typical "Marxist" agenda has been rather "laxidaisical" by comparative international standards, that does not change the fact that the majority of Mugabe's actions over the course of his Presidency can be interpreted as having largely been in keeping with the overall intent of Marx's ideals, even if not explicitly following their usual form in the post-Soviet era.

In fact, as my opponents have duly pointed out, the only time during which Mugabe's actions were not in keeping with Marx's ideals was in the brief period surrounding the partial collapse of Zimbabwe's national economy following the end of the Cold War in the early to mid 1990s. During this period, at the request of the IMF and various other international organizations, Zimbabwe's government briefly sought to lessen the influence of the state and public sector upon the national economy and even reform the nation's Leftist constitution.

However, given the manner in which Mugabe has seemed to have totally turned his back on such reforms since 2000, I cannot help but consider such points to be effectively moot.

III. Precedent

As I know that I am nearly over the established character limit for individual posts and that my audience's patience in undoubtedly wearing thin, I will try to keep this, my final point; rather brief.

To be perfectly blunt, the argument which I am going to make here concerns the following question: What makes "Marxism" so special?

As far as I can ascertain, there is no such controversy where "Fascism" is concerned. Francisco Franco is still firmly labeled as a "Fascist" without so much as a second though in spite of the facts that his personal ideology had very little in common with the "National Socialist" ideological systems of either "Fascist" Germany or Italy and that he actually held nothing short of open contempt for them. Why should "Marxism" be afforded such singular discretion where such obviously "Left Wing" dictators as Mugabe, Chavez, and Kim Jong Il are concerned?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Falangism_.28Spain.29

In short, this whole issue strikes me as being rife with flagrantly hypocritical "Left Wing" selection bias.

Frankly, who are we to decide who is "Marxist" and who is not? Would you tell Mugabe to his face that you consider him to not be a "true Marxist?" Would it even really matter if you did? After all, it is not we "arm chair" political scientists, but those on the ground and on the front lines of the international political scene, who ultimately frame and shape the issues which we later (and often futilely) attempt to classify.

It seems to be quite obvious that Mugabe considers himself to be a "Marxist," and frankly, that is enough for me.

I thank the board for its time, and for its patience.



"Because its in the script!"

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-23 02:00am
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Opening Statement

I represent the contrary point in this debate: that Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF do not presently fall under the umbrella of Marxist political-economic ideology, in any of its evolved branches.

I dispute this claim on the grounds that the economic policies put forth by Mugabe and ZANU-PF are not uniquely Marxist in any way, but are merely socialist. Although my opponent asserts otherwise, he has yet to provide evidence of distinctly Marxist policies or distinctly Marxist rhetoric used by Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

I dispute this claim on the grounds that my opponent's conception of what constitutes Marxism is inaccurate. He has neglected to contemplate Marxism as a political philosophy, which it unarguably is, preferring to identify a list of Marx's policy goals as Marxism's "core tenets." He has neglected to try and build a general model of Marxism by finding a combination of policies held in common by indisputably Marxist governments, and by finding rhetoric used in similar fashion. Although his argument states in part that a vague definition of Marxism is appropriate because times have changed, he ignores the real historical evolution of Marxism through the decades, preferring to use an originalist "pure" or "ideal" Marxism as a strawman for the ideology as a whole when it suits him. He has not provided any coherent definition of Marxism that distinguishes it from non-Marxist ideologies,and repeatedly conflates it with ideologies of which Marxism is a mere subset—socialism and leftism.

I dispute this claim on the grounds that my opponent is employing shoddy and dishonest debating tactics, and therefore is failing to make a solid argument for his case. In his first post he employs dishonest selective quoting and slides his own unsupported editorial assertions into those selective quotes. He uses unsourced Wikipedia quotes as authoritative statements. He repeatedly states his premise as fact, prefacing it with asides such as "We have established" to try and disguise this. He employs terminology sloppily, without providing definitions, and relies on incorrect use of terminology to support his assertions (e.g. conflating socialism and Marxism). He uses straw men and red herrings, wither out of ignorance or to deliberately muddy the debate. He means to let his own personal opinions pass as authoritative analysis, though he has made no claims to expertise, nor provided evidence thereof.

With that said, I will now substantiate these arguments I have just made.

Rebuttal

My argument rests in part on providing clear definitions. First off, “tenet,” as my opponent has decided to begin his post by laying out his understanding of Marxism's fundamental tenets.

: a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true; especially : one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession


The common set of policies enacted by Marxist governments may be considered an implementation of doctrine, but as the definition shows, tenets are ideological things, not nuts-and-bolts policies. "Do no harm" is a tenet of the medical profession; "set a broken arm in plaster" is not.

Defining Marxism

It is appropriate to define an ideological movement by its tenets, and then to characterize an entity as belonging to that movement by measuring its adherence to those tenets.

The first tenets considered should be those that represent the fundamental philosophy of the movement. Marxism has basic philosophical elements that originate from a number of different revolutionary moments across history, and this should be taken into account when evaluating entities. It is not enough to say "Marxist;" one must place the entity within one of the many schools of Marxism, or define a new school for it.

I will not endeavor to comprehensively define all of Marxist thought at length. Such would be far beyond the scope of this debate, and the vast majority of my effort would be wasted as my opponent has opted not to specify to which school of Marxist thought he thinks Robert Mugabe belongs. Therefore, I will restrict myself to the defining features of the major schools of Marxist thought.

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter Into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production.


This fundamental tenet of Marxism, historical materialism, states that the human society is inevitably divided into social classes as a result of property ownership and the division of labor, and that human history is the process of continual revolution.

But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.


The above quote illustrates the second fundamental tenet of Marxism which came from Marx himself: that the capitalist system is one in which a minority, who control capital and the means of production, derive their position of power by exploiting the labor of the majority working class, and taking the surplus value of their labor to enrich themselves.

The third main tenet supplied by Marx was the necessity of the proletarian revolution, organized and led by a communist party, to claim political power in a socialist "dictatorship of the proletariat," overturning the existing bourgeois-capitalist order and leading to a a stateless, classless society.

The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: Formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.


Marx, ditto wrote:
We have seen above that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.


Marx, ditto wrote:
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.


These three things define the mode of Marxist communism in its initial appearance. They would constitute ideological underpinnings of other Marxist groups, and represent the tenets of so-called 'pure,' or originalist, Marxism.

Note that the list of policies my opponent supplied, which can be found in The Communist Manifesto unadorned by any commentary by Marx, was preceded with the following remark:

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.


Marx himself described the very policies my opponent cited as "tenets" of Marxism as only generally applicable, and not necessarily uniform in every country in which a revolution of the proletariat takes place. Therefore, they do not meet the standard set as "tenets" - that of being principles or beliefs commonly held among a movement.

To Marx's ideas, Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevists added the notion that for the revolution of the proletariat to take place, the proletariat would need to be organized, educated, and guided by dedicated revolutionaries—the vanguard:

We have said that there could not have been Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It would have to be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[2] The theory of socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals. By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement; it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of thought among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia.


Marxism-Leninism, defined largely in Stalin's writings, altered the internationalist character of the revolution in favor of the necessity to advance and consolidate the gains of the revolution in one country, and spoke of the importance of retaining the state and its institutions to accomplish this:

The dictatorship of the proletariat has its periods, its special forms, diverse methods of work. During the period of civil war, it is the forcible aspect of the dictatorship that is most conspicuous. But it by no means follows from this that no constructive work is carried on during the period of civil war. Without constructive work it is impossible to wage civil war. During the period of socialist construction, on the other hand, it is the peaceful, organisational and cultural work of the dictatorship, revolutionary law, etc., that are most conspicuous. But, again, it by no means follows from this that the forcible aspect of the dictatorship has ceased to exist or can cease to exist in the period of construction. The organs of suppression, the army and other organisations, are as necessary now, at the time of construction, as they were during the period of civil war. Without these organs, constructive work by the dictatorship with any degree of security would be impossible. It should not be forgotten that for the time being the revolution has been victorious in only one country. It should not be forgotten that as long as capitalist encirclement exists the danger of intervention, with all the consequences resulting from this danger, will also exist.


Stalin, ditto wrote:
But the pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism contains a second formulation, which says:

Quote:
But the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and establishment of the power of the proletariat in one country does not yet mean that the complete victory of socialism has been ensured. The principal task of socialism—the organisation of socialist production—has still to be fulfilled. Can this task be fulfilled, can the final victory of socialism be achieved in one country, without the joint efforts of the proletarians in several advanced countries? No, it cannot. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final victory of socialism, for the organisation of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of a peasant country like Russia, are insufficient; for that, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are required
(see The Foundations of Leninism, first edition18).
.
.
.
What is the defect in this formulation?

Its defect is that it joins two different questions into one: it joins the question of the possibility of building socialism by the efforts of one country—which must be answered in the affirmative—with the question whether a country in which the dictatorship of the proletariat exists can consider itself fully guaranteed against intervention, and consequently against the restoration of the old order, without a victorious revolution in a number of other countries—which must be answered in the negative. This is apart from the fact that this formulation may give occasion for thinking that the organisation of a socialist society by the efforts of one country is impossible—which, of course, is incorrect.


Stalin also provided that the vanguard party would not only organize and lead the revolution, but would remain in place afterward as the acting agent of the dictatorship of the proletariat:

Stalin, ditto wrote:
The Party exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. However, it exercises it not directly, but with the help of the trade unions, and through the Soviets and their ramifications.

Without these "transmission belts," it would be impossible for the dictatorship to be at all firm.


It should be noted that as Marxism-Leninism was the most widely-adopted branch of Marxist thought, the practices of the Soviet Union and its political model are colloquially synonymous with communism and Marxism. That does not excuse my opponent's lack of specificity.

Lastly, we have Mao Zedong as the final in this cavalcade of Marxist thinkers. He stated the importance of the peasant class in China's revolution, as opposed to the industrial proletariat:

All talk directed against the peasant movement must be speedily set right. All the wrong measures taken by the revolutionary authorities concerning the peasant movement must be speedily changed. Only thus can the future of the revolution be benefited. For the present upsurge of the peasant movement is a colossal event. In a very short time, in China's central, southern and northern provinces, several hundred million peasants will rise like a mighty storm, like a hurricane, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back. They will smash all the trammels that bind them and rush forward along the road to liberation. They will sweep all the imperialists, warlords, corrupt officials, local tyrants and evil gentry into their graves. Every revolutionary party and every revolutionary comrade will be put to the test, to be accepted or rejected as they decide. There are three alternatives. To march at their head and lead them? To trail behind them, gesticulating and criticizing? Or to stand in their way and oppose them? Every Chinese is free to choose, but events will force you to make the choice quickly.


He stated the importance of the practices of warfare, particularly guerrilla warfare, in China's revolution:

These guerrilla operations must not be considered as an independent form of warfare. They are but one step in the total war, one aspect of the revolutionary struggle. There are the inevitable result of the clash between oppressor and oppressed when the latter reach the limits of their endurance. In our case, these hostilities began at a time when the people were unable to endure any more from the Japanese imperialists. Lenin, in People and Revolution,[A] said: 'A people's insurrection and a people's revolution are not only natural but inevitable.' We consider guerrilla operations as but one aspect of our total or mass war because they, lacking the quality of independence, are of themselves incapable of providing a solution to the struggle.


In the face of such enemies, the Chinese revolution cannot be other than protracted and ruthless. With such powerful enemies, the revolutionary forces cannot be built up and tempered into a power capable of crushing them except over a long period of time. With enemies who so ruthlessly suppress the Chinese revolution, the revolutionary forces cannot hold their own positions, let alone capture those of the enemy, unless they steel themselves and display their tenacity to the full. It is therefore wrong to think that the forces of the Chinese revolution can be built up in the twinkling of an eye, or that China's revolutionary struggle can triumph overnight.

In the face of such enemies, the principal means or form of the Chinese revolution must be armed struggle, not peaceful struggle. For our enemies have made peaceful activity impossible for the Chinese people and have deprived them of all political freedom and democratic rights. Stalin says, "In China the armed revolution is fighting the armed counter-revolutionary. That is one of the specific features and one of the advantages of the Chinese revolution."[22] This formulation is perfectly correct. Therefore, it is wrong to belittle armed struggle, revolutionary war, guerrilla war and army work.


He defined the military-political strategy of the People's War:

Mao, in The Chinese Revolution etc. wrote:
However, stressing armed struggle does not mean abandoning other forms of struggle; on the contrary, armed struggle cannot succeed unless co-ordinated with other forms of struggle. And stressing the work in the rural base areas does not mean abandoning our work in the cities and in the other vast rural areas which are still under the enemy's rule; on the contrary, without the work in the cities and in these other rural areas, our own rural base areas would be isolated and the revolution would suffer defeat. Moreover, the final objective of the revolution is the capture of the cities, the enemy's main bases, and this objective cannot be achieved without adequate work in the cities.

It is thus clear that the revolution cannot triumph either in the rural areas or in the cities without the destruction of the enemy's army, its chief weapon against the people. Therefore, besides annihilating the enemy's troops in battle, there is the important task of disintegrating them.

It is also clear that the Communist Party must not be impetuous and adventurist in its propaganda and organizational work in the urban and rural areas which have been occupied by the enemy and dominated by the forces of reaction and darkness for a long time but that it must have well-selected cadres working underground, must accumulate strength and bide its time there. In leading the people in struggle against the enemy, the Party must adopt the tactics of advancing step by step slowly and surely, keeping to the principle of waging struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint, and making use of such open forms of activity as are permitted by law, decree and social custom; empty clamour and reckless action can never lead to success.


These are the core concepts of the primary wings of Marxist thought. There are other wings, each with their own concepts. However, I leave it to my opponent to find and select a body of tenets to which Mugabe adheres, or to rigorously define a set that is nevertheless derived from Marx's original core ideas.

It would be possible, if time-consuming, to list a body of common policies practiced by states adhering to one form of Marxism or another. Collective ownership of the means of production (or, in the case of Marxism-Leninism, collective owenership via state ownerwhip) and the employment of a planned, sometimes command economy. However, I will claim here that policies are ideologically neutral, and that no policy is a Marxist policy unless it is carried out in a Marxist context, to achieve Marxist goals. Once again, conclusively establishing a Marxist context around Mugabe and ZANU-PF is something I will leave to my opponent.

Having briefly defined the tenets of some of the main shcools of Marxism, thereby refuting my opponent's vague and incorrect definition thereof, I turn directly to my opponent's arguments to substantiate the remainder of my claims. I pick up his argument here, having already dealt with the rest:

Knobbyboy wrote:
While some may argue that these facts make Mugabe an "African Socialist" before they make him a "Marxist," the fact of the matter remains that the "African Socialist" philosophy is primarily "Marxist" in historical and ideological basis. Clearly by the merit of belonging to the "African Socialist" movement alone, Mugabe can be broadly grouped within the "Marxist" movement.


Here my opponent asserts that African Socialism is a Marxist ideology without providing any supporting evidence, and then proceeds to use that unsupported claim to 'support' his claim that Mugabe is a Marxist. He is also wavering on definitions: Mugabe can be "broadly" grouped etc., and he is not identifying any particular school of Marxism to which Mugabe or African Socialism allegedly belong.

Knobbyboy wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
effectively establish[ed] a [Marxist/ Maoist] one-party state dominated by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. [while] Joshua Nkomo became one of two vice-presidents of Zimbabwe.


Here my opponent abuses a quote to 'support' his claims. The quote refers only to the period 1987-1999 after which political opposition to Mugabe coalesced into a party. The quote has therefore not reflected the past decade of reality in Zimbabwe; a fact my opponent quietly removed from the quote.

I have bolded and struck an editorial passage blatantly inserted into this quote by my opponent. Nowhere in the entire paragraph from which this passage came are the words 'Marxist' or 'Maoist' used. He extrapolates this editorial material from another Wikipedia article, which described in one paragraph Mugabe's government and pro-marxist and the Patriotic Front as pro-Maoist. However, that paragraph contained only one citation, to a document entitled "Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace," by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe. The words "Marxist" and "Maoist" are not present in that document.

This claim that ZANU-PF is "Marxist/Maoist" is hereby thrown onto the pile of my opponent's unsupported claims.

Quote:
While it would appear to be rather obvious that Robert Mugabe most certainly was a "Marxist" at this point in his career, many continue to make the case that Mugabe cannot be considered to be truly "Marxist" as he did not follow up on his victory with sufficiently "Marxist" (i.e. "Leninist" and "Stalinist") legislation.


Here my opponent is content to take Mugabe's own self-labeling at face value. Note the absence of any supporting statements that show an actual adoption of any Marxist ideology on his part. Note also that his own Wikipedia quote refers to Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, as "socialist." This does not automatically mean that it is a Marxist party. Note also that the ZANU-PF website happens to be down, leaving this claim unverifiable.

Quote:
However, it should also be noted that this fact did not prevent Mugabe from seeking to maintain limited but still significant ties with the "Red" Sphere of influence, not did it prevent him from maintaining predominantly "Socialist" economic policies.


My opponent conflates Marxism with all socialism. He also adheres to a policy-centric definition of Marxism, which I will handily defeat further on.

My opponent also assumes that one's foreign policy contacts somehow define one's own political ideology. The United States kept contact with communist China during the 1970s, which I suppose pushes the US dangerously close to the "Red" team. My opponent does not consider that perhaps Mugabe chose to seek aid from communist countries because he was not an ally of the West, as his country was so recently a Western colony, and would therefore be more likely to receive aid from countries who were also not allies of the West.

Quote:
While some of my opponents have pointed out that Mugabe had also established ties with and accepted military aid from Western nations such as the US and UK during this period as well, and even sought to pursue "a course of active nonalignment... avoid[ing] entanglement with the United States and Soviet Union," none of this contradicts the well established fact that he lead an openly "Marxist" regime from 1979 up until the mid 1990s


My opponent concedes that Mugabe's foreign policy could not have been ideologically-driven, thereby nullifying his previous claim. He also repeats his assertion as fact once again.

Quote:
Where the issue of Robert Mugabe's adherence to "Marxist" principles on matters of the economy are concerned, I would once again argue that Mugabe fit well within this paradigm during the first decade of his rule.

[snip Wiki on centrally-planned economy]

The state of Zimbabwe's economy under Mugabe for the first decade of his rule clearly fits within this definition. This fact is supported by the evidence put forward by my opponents.


Once again, my opponent relies heavily on policy to define Marxism, although non-Marxist states may undertake policies that he calls "Marxist" without acutally being so (witness the US economic planning during the Second World War.)

He also employs the familiar tactic of connecting Mugabe to some policy or phrase found in a quote without providing evidence that any such connection exists.

Lastly, he coyly tries to limit the conversation to the "first decade" ofd Mugabe's rule, glossing over the past ten years completely.

Quote:
As should be apparent, the presence of a large number of "Parastatals" under Mugabe's regime actually only goes to further reinforce his "Socialist" credentials during the period from 1980 through to the mid 1990s. This viewpoint is further supported by the information provided on Zimbabwe's economy from wikipedia.


My opponent conflates Marxism and socialism once again. He goes on to cite a list of Wikipedia quotes listing Zimbabwe's allegedly Marxist government institutions. Here I may conclusively refute the notion that such policies do not exist independenttly on political ideology, thus:

Eurostat wrote:
Code:
France 54.1 52.7 52.6 51.6 51.6 52.6 53.3 53.2 53.4 52.7 52.3 52.7


In 2008 France's total general government spending was 52.7 percent of GDP.

Wikipedia wrote:
The Banque de France is the central bank of France; it is linked to the European Central Bank (ECB).


Wikipedia wrote:
The Ministry of National Education, Advanced Instruction, and Research (French: Ministre de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, or simply "Minister of National Education," as the title has changed no small number of times in the course of the Fifth Republic) is the French government cabinet member charged with running France's public educational system and with the supervision of agreements and authorizations for private teaching organizations.
The Ministry's headquarters is located in the 18th century Hôtel de Rochechouart on the rue de Grenelle in Paris.
Given that National Education is France's largest employer, and employs more than half of the French state civil servants, the position is traditionally a fairly strategic one. The current minister is Luc Chatel.


Wikipedia wrote:
SNCF [Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français, French National Railways] was formed in 1938 on the nationalisation of France's five main railways (Chemin de Fer in English means railway, literally, 'path of iron').


Wikipedia wrote:
France Télévisions (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃s televizjɔ̃]) is the French public national television broadcaster. It is funded mostly by television licence fees and advertising.


In other words, my opponent has shown that Zimbabwe is only as Marxist as France, that is to say, not Marxist at all. He has yet to meet the standards imposed by his own argument.

Quote:
Finally, we have the issue of proposed land reform under Mugabe's regime.

While my opponents may insist that there is nothing intrinsically "Marxist" about such policies, I would tend to disagree. As wikipedia characterizes the issue, land reform under Mugabe has largely been...

It is my view that this principle can be broadly viewed as representing an example of the following "Marxist" principles as outlined by Emperor Wong...


"It would tend..." "In my view..." My opponent once more presents his opinions as facts without any supporting evidence or the rudest trace of analysis. His Wikipedia quote does not even mention any sort of collectivization in the land redistribution scheme, which, if present, would at least hint at a Marxist agenda. Collectivization can be found in the Manifesto:

Karl Marx wrote:
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.


...as well as in practice in e.g. the Soviet collective farms. But not, apparently, in Zimbabwe.

Knobbyboy wrote:
Furthermore, when foiled in this attempt, Mugabe did not hesitate to seize property by force from those seeking to oppose his reforms.


My opponent, reaching for things he can deem "Marxist," settles on 'seizure of property by force.' He falsely attributes this to Mugabe, when the violence the quote refers to was carried out by a pro-Mugabe organization, not by the Zimbabwean government.

Sadly, seizure of land by force is not intrinsically Marxist. Between 1823 and 1890, the United States Government used violence to force Native Americans off their land so it could be used by white settlers. If it's Marxist for a mob of non-governmental Zimbabweans to use violence to take someone's land, then it must be Marxist when the U.S. Government does the same thing, no?

Knobbyboy wrote:
Quote:
The Minister for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement John Nkomo had declared five days earlier, that all land, from crop fields to wildlife conservancies, would soon become state property. Farmland deeds would be replaced with 99-year leases, while leases for wildlife conservancies would be limited to 25 years. There have since been denials of this policy, however.


My opponent dishonestly removes a sentence which would cast doubt on his claim. I have re-added it, in bold.

He also claims that public ownership of lands - assuming this policy did in fact exist, which he cannot prove - is somehow Marxist. In the nation of Israel, 93 percent of all land is publically owned. It may not be sold to private interests, according to Basic Law; real estate"ownership" constitutes a 49- or 98-year lease.(Sources: Israel Land Administration; Basic Law: Israel Lands). Israel's land ownership policy is very similar to the alleged Zimbabwean policy, but Israel is not Marxist.

Quote:
While I freely admit that Mugabe's pursuit of the typical "Marxist" agenda has been rather "laxidaisical" by comparative international standards, that does not change the fact that the majority of Mugabe's actions over the course of his Presidency can be interpreted as having largely been in keeping with the overall intent of Marx's ideals


My opponent claims that Mugabe is an ideological Marxist without providing any evidence, or bothering to define which of Marx's "intents" Mugabe hews to, all while backing away from his initial claim that Mugabe is plain-and-simple a Marxist. He must be aware of the weakness of his own argument.

Quote:
As far as I can ascertain, there is no such controversy where "Fascism" is concerned. Francisco Franco is still firmly labeled as a "Fascist" without so much as a second though in spite of the facts that his personal ideology had very little in common with the "National Socialist" ideological systems of either "Fascist" Germany or Italy and that he actually held nothing short of open contempt for them. Why should "Marxism" be afforded such singular discretion where such obviously "Left Wing" dictators as Mugabe, Chavez, and Kim Jong Il are concerned?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Fa ... 28Spain.29


My opponent throws a red herring: if Franco is called a fascist (by ignorant laymen, he doesn't say) without being one, then it is acceptable to call Mugabe a Marxist even if he is not one. My response:

I am not calling Franco a fascist, therefore your insistence that I am somehow applying a double standard is a lie and a red herring.

You are grossly abusing terminology again; “left-wing" and “Marxist"are not synonymous.

Your link clearly states:

Quote:
Falangism was a form of fascism founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1934, emerging during the Second Spanish Republic.

Primo de Rivera, inspired by Mussolini, founded the Falange Española party, which merged a year later with the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista party of Ramiro Ledesma and Onésimo Redondo.[241] The party and Primo de Rivera presented the Falange Manifesto in November 1934; it promoted nationalism, unity, glorification of the Spanish Empire and dedication to the national syndicalism economic policy, inspired by integralism in which there is class collaboration. The manifesto supported agrarianism, to improve the standard of living for the peasants of the rural areas, anti-capitalism and anti-Marxism.


The Falangists were real honest-to-god fascists right up until Franco took charge.

Conclusion

We have seen that my opponent employs a flawed characterization of Marxist ideology derived from a foolishly policy-centric outlook; that he has not established with reasoning or evidence that Robert Mugabe is a Marxist, and indeed has gone so far as to back away from that claim on more than one occasion; and that he is already employing dishonest debate tactics, including a strawman definition of Marxism, red herrings directed at his opponent, altering quotes, and selective quoting. His first volley in this debate suffers from wet power and bad aim, and I am not impressed.



"Six rolls? We could have covered World War II in two fucking frames - one for the battle scene, and one for the generals shaking hands!" -'Zeke'[/size]

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-23 01:03pm
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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-25 04:06am
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In beginning my counter-rebuttal, I will start with the following comment by my opponent.

Quote:
In his first post he employs dishonest selective quoting and slides his own unsupported editorial assertions into those selective quotes. He uses unsourced Wikipedia quotes as authoritative statements.


This line of reasoning represents little more than a half-hearted attempt by my opponent to "poison the well" and take a "cheap shot" against the sources which form the foundations of my arguments.

While I will not argue that wikipedia is a "authoritative" source on any issue, it is more than adequate as a source of general information on a wide variety of topics, and its use is perfectly acceptable within the parameters established for this debate. The viability of wikipedia as an academic source has been verified by a variety of studies on the matter. Below, I have provided two.

Cnet
Ars

As evidenced by these articles, Wikipedia is a reasonably reliable source on most matters, even if it does occasionally fall victim to bias and minor factual inaccuracies. If my opponent wishes to prove otherwise, the burden of proof will lie with him.

However, this is ultimately besides the point. The major argument made by my opponent with which I must take issue is detailed below.

Quote:
It is not enough to say "Marxist;" one must place the entity within one of the many schools of Marxism, or define a new school for it.


As I have asserted many times, ideology is not now, nor will it ever be an exact science. It is entirely possible that a leader could meet many of the basic tenets of "Marxist" ideology while escaping easy classification under any particular variation of this ideological system. Like Chavez, it is my view that Mugabe represents such a leader.

In fact, in Stephen Chan's book, Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence, it is actually deliberately implied that this is, in fact, the case. Chan blatantly states that Mugabe's Marxism "had niether any exceptionalisms (to explain his patient moderteness at Lancaster House), nor any descriptors (Maoist, Stalinist, it didn't matter, red was red and Santa Claus was to be the first victim of politcial redness)" (Chan: 15).

In spite of this fact, however; I have already taken steps to classify Mugabe's ideology. As stated in my first post, Mugabe can be broadly considered to be a somewhat lax follower of "African Socialism" and broadly defined Marxist/Maoist influenced Marxist Socialism. This is evidenced by the emphasis he has placed on "pan-Africanism," anti-colonial rhetoric, and tribal concerns over the course of his career and the well established influence both Soviet inspired Marxist-Leninism and Chinese supported Maoist ideals played in shaping his early career and subsequent (in fact, all African Socialist) political ideology.

Pan-Africanism
African Socialism
African Socialism Wiki

As my opponent has already admitted, Mugabe is rather clearly a "Socialist," even if his policies do often run the gambit from the dishonest to the blatantly schizophrenic. The major issue of contention here seems to lie in the fact that he does not feel that "Socialism" and "Marxism" can be used as interchangable terms. He has made this clear in repeated accusations to the following effect.

Quote:
conflating socialism and Marxism


To the contrary of what my opponent seems to believe, however; I would argue that it is actually he who is conflating "Communism" with all "Marxism." The many quotations from Marx's own works my opponent has provided only go to prove this point.

Quote:
This fundamental tenet of Marxism, historical materialism, states that the human society is inevitably divided into social classes as a result of property ownership and the division of labor, and that human history is the process of continual revolution.


This tenent of Marxist philosophy, for instance; is inherent to most forms of modern "Marxist" inspired "Socialism," not just "Communism" in particular. Even the rhetoric of the "Democratic" Party of the United States contains such "class warfare" oriented themes to a certain extent.


Quote:
Quote:
Karl Marx, in The Communist Manifesto wrote:
But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.



The above quote illustrates the second fundamental tenet of Marxism which came from Marx himself: that the capitalist system is one in which a minority, who control capital and the means of production, derive their position of power by exploiting the labor of the majority working class, and taking the surplus value of their labor to enrich themselves.


Likewise, this idea too is simply endemic of most forms of "Socialism" the world over. It is hardly unique to Communist forms of "Marxism."

Quote:
The third main tenet supplied by Marx was the necessity of the proletarian revolution, organized and led by a communist party, to claim political power in a socialist "dictatorship of the proletariat," overturning the existing bourgeois-capitalist order and leading to a a stateless, classless society.


Quote:
Marx, in The Communist Manifesto wrote:
The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: Formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.



Quote:
Marx, ditto wrote:
We have seen above that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production
.

Quote:
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.


As should be apparent from the sections highlighted, this tenet, however; is far more vague and can be taken far more broadly than my opponent would lead us to believe.

In fact, all that is really made explicitly clear from this passage is that A) the Proletariat should rise up against the Bourgeoisie, B) they should do so using either violent, "Revolutionary," or more gradual "Political" means, but that all such means will require violations of the rights of personal property, and C) that this system will eventually lead to the "centralization" of all means of production in a genuinely "Socialist" state, so that the way may be paved for a truly classless "Communist" society to follow.

In fact, Marx claims not only this, but that...

Quote:
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.


Quote:
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property


All things considered, my opponent has actually done a rather handy job of proving my case for me. According to the quotes which he has provided, there is quite frankly nothing in Marx's own works which explicitly states that only those regimes which fully collectivize and nationalize the means of production can be considered to be truly "Marxist." In fact, Marx actually makes it rather clear that such measures are to be considered to be only the primary longterm goal which all "Socialist" states should seek to achieve, and that the means which different states ultimately utilize to achieve these goals may vary wildly. Marxist-Leninism and Maoism and their derivative movements simply are not the end all and be all of "Marxist" theory.

In short, I argue that the reason why it is so easy to treat "Socialism" and "Marxism" as synonymous terms is because they largely are synonymous terms. As this claim will likely prove to be controversial, I will elaborate upon it in further detail.

History of Socialism

The history of modern "Socialism" more or less begins with the French Revolution. The "Revolutionary" ideals spread by this turbulent event in Early Modern European history provided the kindling of change and anti-authoritarian philosophical sentiments necessary to provide the basis for such a movement, and the industrial revolution which followed created more than enough social difficulties and unrest to spark a lasting flame within this tinder box that was eager to explode. While it must be admitted that many of the ideas which formed the basis for this modern "Socialist" movement were hardly new to their respective eras, and had, if fact, already been explored in such works as Plato's Republic, Thomas Moore's Utopia, and among various Religious Communities for centuries, the largely secular and anti-authoritarian aspects which they developed during this this period most certainly were.

However, even among this group (which consisted of such "Revolutionaries," thinkers, and English "cooperatists" as Saint Simon, Proudhon, Bakunin, Leroux, and Robert Owen), very little existed which could be considered to actually constitute a unified "theory" of economic, social, and politcial behavior. These various intellectuals were simply united in their general opposition to Laissez-faire Capitalism and support for vaguely utopian Enlightenment notions of "cooperation" and ideal human society.

Scientific Socialism
Marxism

This changed with the arrival of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848. Their notion of a "scientific socialism," which was empirically testable, historically founded, and built upon the works put forward by such thinkers as Immanuel Kant and economists like Adam Smith, was revolutionary for its time. These ideas spread rapidly among both Leftists and the common people alike during the chaotic period which followed the release of the manifesto and the Revolutions of 1848. This Marxist inlfuence was formalized during the first meetings of the International Workingmen's Association, or the First International in 1866.

While a great multitude of different Leftists and "Socialists" attended the meetings of this organization, Karl Marx quickly rose to prominence and was soon elevated to a position of leadership. By the time Mikhail Bakunin joined the International in 1868, Marx held influence over virtually every member of the organization whom was not already influenced by Bakunin's Anarchist ideas. This eventually lead to a dispute between Bakunin and his followers, who viewed any participation in the democratic process as being opposed to its core beliefs and the followers of Marx, who viewed democracy and the political process as being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state. This lead to the fundamental schism which we see in the modern Left today between Marxist derived "Socialism" and "Anarchism." Marx even went on to help form the Social Democratic Worker's Party of Germany.

The distinction between extremist "Marxist-Leninism" and Marxist Socialism (or as my opponent refers to it, just "Socialism") did not even come into being until after the Russian Revolution and founding of the Soviet Comintern in 1919.


As this history demonstrates, "Marxism" essentially forms the basis for nearly all (with the exception of Anarchist, religious, and Right Wing- a.k.a. National Socialist - movements) modern forms of "Socialism" both authoritarian and democratic in basis including "Social Democracy" and "African Socialism." When this fact is considered, it is , in fact, hardly surprising that a technically "non-Socialist" nation with a long history of "Social Democratic" influence like France would share many traits in common with a nation like Zimbabwe which endorses (or claims to endorse anyway) a more hardline "Marxist-Leninist" stance. Both systems are related and can be classified as falling under "Marxist" ideology to a certain extent. They simply differ in their approaches to government (multi-party system where Democratic Socialists hold some power in France, "one-party" Socialist/ Marxist system under Mugabe) and the degree to which they correspond to Marx's conception of the "Communist" ideal.


This brings me to my next point. It would appear that my opponent sought to discredit me with the following comment.

Quote:
Quote:
Knobbyboy wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
effectively establish[ed] a [Marxist/ Maoist] one-party state dominated by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. [while] Joshua Nkomo became one of two vice-presidents of Zimbabwe.



Here my opponent abuses a quote to 'support' his claims. The quote refers only to the period 1987-1999 after which political opposition to Mugabe coalesced into a party. The quote has therefore not reflected the past decade of reality in Zimbabwe; a fact my opponent quietly removed from the quote.

I have bolded and struck an editorial passage blatantly inserted into this quote by my opponent. Nowhere in the entire paragraph from which this passage came are the words 'Marxist' or 'Maoist' used.


While I freely admit that did take editorial liberties with the quotation above, they were hardly unwarranted. In fact, one need only click on the link for Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU/ Patriotic Front movement in order to find a page where the following is stated.

ZAPU

Quote:
ZAPU was aligned with the Soviet Union whose ideology was to mobilise the urban workers (EMPASIS MINE i.e. Marxism), whereas ZANU had a pro-People's Republic of China orientation which was to mobilise the rural peasantry (EMPHASIS MINE i.e. Maoism).


and...

Quote:
Unification into ZANU-PF
In 1980 it contested elections in Zimbabwe as the Patriotic Front, but lost to its rival the ZANU. They merged into ZANU-PF in 1987 following the Gukurahundi massacres.

[edit] Unity Accord
The Unity Accord signed at that meeting stated:

1.That ZANU PF and PF ZAPU have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party.
2.That the unity of the two political parties; shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) in short ZANU PF.
3.That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of ZANU PF.
4.That ZANU PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice Presidents who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the Party.
5.That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxist-Leninist principles.
6.That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a One Party State in Zimbabwe.
7.That the leadership of ZANU PF shall abide by the Leadership Code.
8.That the existing structures of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this Agreement.
9.That both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland.
10.That ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall convene their respective Congress to give effect to this Agreement within the shortest possible time.
11.That, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this Agreement and to act in the name and authority of ZANU PF.


In fact, nearly every other page on wikipedia concerning the ZANU and ZAPU have referred to these organizations as being both "Maoist" and "Marxist" inspired and funded. As such, it cannot really be posited that I was overstepping my boundaries as a researcher by editing the quotations above in order to suppliment their overall clarity.

However, as I am sure that my opponent will question the validity of the quotations I have provided above, I have located additional sources with which to verify my claim. The following articles to help to clarify some of these points, and provide clearer references.


Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
While it would appear to be rather obvious that Robert Mugabe most certainly was a "Marxist" at this point in his career, many continue to make the case that Mugabe cannot be considered to be truly "Marxist" as he did not follow up on his victory with sufficiently "Marxist" (i.e. "Leninist" and "Stalinist") legislation.



Here my opponent is content to take Mugabe's own self-labeling at face value. Note the absence of any supporting statements that show an actual adoption of any Marxist ideology on his part.



The objection raised by my opponent on this point is blatantly misleading. As a matter of fact, I provided this link, where Mugabe explicitly claimed to be a "practical Marxist, but a practicing one" not a paragraph before I made this claim. Additionally, further evidence can be provided to back the claim that Mugabe at least considers himself to be a "Marxist" on a nominal basis.

The Economist
Frontpage Mag

Quote:
He also repeats his assertion as fact once again.


Once again, my opponent is mistaken. There is no "assertion" being made here. In name at least, Mugabe rather clearly WAS a "Marxist" during the period from 1979 through to the early to mid 1990s and he seems to have swung back towards this direction as of the year 2000. In fact, I would go so far as to assert that this point has been so well established at this point that it isn't even really up for debate. Every source provided so far has either directly or indirectly corroborated this fact.

As stated above, the true matter of dispute here concerns whether or not Mugabe's actions can be seen to fit within the "Marxst" ideological framework he claims to subscribe to.

Quote:
He falsely attributes this to Mugabe, when the violence the quote refers to was carried out by a pro-Mugabe organization, not by the Zimbabwean government.


Here my opponent seems to miss the point that whether Mugabe directly sanctioned these violent acts or not is irrelevant. He tacitly consented to this violence by failing to intervene.

Even if Mugabe was not directly responsible, he beneifited from this action regardless. Additionally, it has been posited by many that Mugabe's ties with the Veterans' Association of Zimbabwe is far too convenient to his personal political agendas to be mere coincidence.

CNN
Zimbabwe Journalists

Quote:
Sadly, seizure of land by force is not intrinsically Marxist. Between 1823 and 1890, the United States Government used violence to force Native Americans off their land so it could be used by white settlers. If it's Marxist for a mob of non-governmental Zimbabweans to use violence to take someone's land, then it must be Marxist when the U.S. Government does the same thing, no?


On this point, my opponent simply falls so far off the mark as to be utterly laughable. There is a quanititative difference between conquest and thinly veiled political rabble rousing aimed at up-rooting a socio-economic group against which you hold both ideological and historical animosity.

Quote:
Quote:
Knobbyboy wrote:
Quote:
The Minister for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement John Nkomo had declared five days earlier, that all land, from crop fields to wildlife conservancies, would soon become state property. Farmland deeds would be replaced with 99-year leases, while leases for wildlife conservancies would be limited to 25 years. There have since been denials of this policy, however.



My opponent dishonestly removes a sentence which would cast doubt on his claim. I have re-added it, in bold
.

Once again, my opponent chooses to entangle the conversation in largely irrelevant minutiae. The fact that Mugabe's regime may have relented from a certain policy as soon as it proved to be infeasible, controversial, or unpopular with the international community does not change the fact that such a policy was proposed to begin with. Political cowardice is a trait which is endemic to both "Marxists" and non-"Marxists" alike. Taken alone, this fact means nothing. This is why I omitted it to begin with.

Quote:
My opponent does not consider that perhaps Mugabe chose to seek aid from communist countries because he was not an ally of the West,


Once again, I must take my opponent to task over his stance on this issue. At what point does one cease to suspend disbief and begin to accept things at face value? As has already been firmly established from the following sources JSTOR, The Economist,Frontpage Mag,wiki,Time, Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe as the head of a "Marxist" movement and was quite outspoken in his endorsements for "Marxist" ideology. While affiliation with "Red" powers alone is not enough to barnd one as a "Marxist, evidence does have a way of stacking up.


Quote:
Lastly, he coyly tries to limit the conversation to the "first decade" ofd Mugabe's rule, glossing over the past ten years completely.


Here my opponent completely ignores the fact that I actually mentioned Mugabe's policies during the 1990s in the following paragraph.

Quote:
In fact, as my opponents have duly pointed out, the only time during which Mugabe's actions were not in keeping with Marx's ideals was in the brief period surrounding the partial collapse of Zimbabwe's national economy following the end of the Cold War in the early to mid 1990s. During this period, at the request of the IMF and various other international organizations, Zimbabwe's government briefly sought to lessen the influence of the state and public sector upon the national economy and even reform the nation's Leftist constitution.

However, given the manner in which Mugabe has seemed to have totally turned his back on such reforms since 2000, I cannot help but consider such points to be effectively moot.



Quote:
Quote:
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.



...as well as in practice in e.g. the Soviet collective farms. But not, apparently, in Zimbabwe.


Once again, my oppenents makes the mistake of conflating "Communism" with all forms of "Marxism." Besides, if he will recall, Marx also stated that such intrusions on the matter of private property could be undertaken as a matter "of degree" which would eventually lead up to total collectivization. There is no reason why Mugabe's moves towards land reform cannot be viewed as a very moderate example of this.

In short, I don't know why my opponent insists on holding the most extreme example possible up as the "ideal" standard in this circumsatnce, but it is clearly time to reasses that view.

Quote:
I am not calling Franco a fascist, therefore your insistence that I am somehow applying a double standard is a lie and a red herring.


I was not referring to you specifically, but common practice in general. Hence my allusion to "precedent." Franco is generally considered to be a "Fascist."

Quote:
The Falangists were real honest-to-god fascists right up until Franco took charge.


At which point he moderated the movement by merging it with the more traditionally "Right Wing" pro-monarchical interests of the Carlists, took a blatantly neutral stance in WW2 (while still accepting substantial aid from more radical Fascist states no less), and then became gradually more and more moderate as a leader after the war ended. Are you seriously going to tell me that you don't see a parallel here?



"Because its in the script!"

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-26 06:16am
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Knobbyboy wrote:
This line of reasoning represents little more than a half-hearted attempt by my opponent to "poison the well" and take a "cheap shot" against the sources which form the foundations of my arguments.


This is poppycock. It is not a cheap shot nor poisoning the well to point out that that an uncited statement written by an anonymous author is always of suspect accuracy because there is no way to verify it. This is true whether the statement appears in Wikipedia, Britannica, or the Bible. The statements taken from Wikipedia that you present as fact even though they have no supporting or corroborating evidence are no more valid than your own unsupported statements. Only a fool would accept any of them at face value.

Knobbyboy wrote:
While I will not argue that wikipedia is a "authoritative" source on any issue, it is more than adequate as a source of general information on a wide variety of topics, and its use is perfectly acceptable within the parameters established for this debate


No; see above. You are abusing Wikipedia quotes by appealing to them as authoritative statements even though there is no confirmation that they are authoritative or even correct, as I have repeatedly pointed out.

If you want to make appeals to anonymous unverified "authorities," then I will just call up my neighbor who happened to be Mugabe's college roommate and he will school your ass, and you will have to accept everything "he" says at face value.

Quote:
It is entirely possible that a leader could meet many of the basic tenets of "Marxist" ideology while escaping easy classification under any particular variation of this ideological system. Like Chavez, it is my view that Mugabe represents such a leader.


If it is entirely possible, then you should be able to easily show how instead of merely listing rulers. While you are doing that, perhaps you could also show which Marxist tenets Mugabe adheres to, since your entire argument depends on you doing so.

Quote:
In fact, in Stephen Chan's book, Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence, it is actually deliberately implied that this is, in fact, the case. Chan blatantly states that Mugabe's Marxism "had niether any exceptionalisms (to explain his patient moderteness at Lancaster House), nor any descriptors (Maoist, Stalinist, it didn't matter, red was red and Santa Claus was to be the first victim of politcial redness)" (Chan: 15).


Here again you distort a quote. This is the context from which you snipped:

Chan, Robert Mugabe: A life of etc., p. 15 wrote:
Despite such safeguard,representing the significant compromises accepted by Mugabe and Nkomo, Rhodesian opinion was willfully full of trepidation. On the eve of Mugabe's return to Southern Rhodesia, in order to launch ZANU's election campaign, the largest newspaper, the Herald, ran a front-page banner headline that, if elected, Mugabe would ban Christmas. His Marxist reputation ran before him although, astoundingly, this Marxism had neither any exceptionalisms (to explain his patient moderateness at Lancaster House) nor any descriptors (Maoist, Stalinist, it didn't matter, red was red and Santa Claus was to be the first victim of political redness).


Chan is describing a paranoid political smear published by a white-run newspaper, not describing Mugabe's ideology or classifying the man himself in any way. The quote does not support your argument. In fact, Chan's book appears to imply to opposite - that Mugabe at best used Marxist rhetoric intermittently as advertising, but displayed no clear commitment to Marxist tenets or typical Marxist practice.

Chan, p. 4 wrote:
Somehow this was reminiscent of the powerbase provided for his ZANLA liberation army guerrillas from 1976 to 1980 and, back then, the idea of a peasant base was very much in accord with the Maoism that, again rhetorically, Mugabe occasionally espoused.


Chan, p. 6 wrote:
Mugabe, whether or not a pure socialist was a purist.


Chan, p. 21 wrote:
...from 1981, South Africa inaugurated a regional 'Total Strategy' to destabilise its northern neighbours, particularly those deemed Marxist, such as Angola and Mozambique. Zimbabwe was not a primary target, but the region became a deeply uneasy one.


(All emphasis added.)

Again, if Chan implies anything it is that Mugabe's Marxism was questionable [i]at best. This does not support your claim that casual use of Marxist rhetoric is enough to make one a Marxist.

Knobbyboy wrote:
As stated in my first post, Mugabe can be broadly considered to be a somewhat lax follower of "African Socialism" and broadly defined Marxist/Maoist influenced Marxist Socialism. This is evidenced by the emphasis he has placed on "pan-Africanism," anti-colonial rhetoric, and tribal concerns over the course of his career and the well established influence both Soviet inspired Marxist-Leninism and Chinese supported Maoist ideals played in shaping his early career and subsequent (in fact, all African Socialist) political ideology.


You have not yet shown the role that Marxism-Leninism and Maoism played in shaping his early career and subsequent political ideology. Do more than merely assert its presence.

In reference to the part I put in bold, if you are going to claim that Marxism-Leninism and Maoism shaped Mugabe's career, you now have to refer specifically to the tenets of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism. It is no longer enough to claim some vague "Marxism,;" you must tie Mugabe to those schools specifically.

Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Africanism


This article is flawed. It contains no citations. It also does not contain any reference to Marxism.

Quote:
http://science.jrank.org/pages/8089/Socialisms-African.html


This article does not support your point. Read:

Quote:
Marxist influence would find homes within African socialism. Soviet and Chinese communism were benchmarks of socialism throughout colonialism, nationalism, and the formative years of national development. With few exceptions, like self-management in Algeria (1960–1965), alternative or academic socialisms had little foothold in Africa. If communist party formation was prohibited during colonialism, many independence parties (especially in Francophone Africa) were modelled on communist parties. Many African leaders, even when seeing communism as threatening, were impressed by the rapidity of its modernizing achievements through centralization, planning, and the one-party state. The Cold War also
demanded positions on communism; most African states preferred charting unaligned vistas between it and Western capitalism.


In other words, African Socialism sometimes cribbed influences from Marxist ideas, but was not an extension of them. Most African Socialist states preferred to be neither communist nor capitalist, and therefore not Marxist.

Quote:
All African socialisms shared overlapping features that provided bases for nationalism and approaches to postcolonial development and nation building. First, was a combination of state ownership, an equitable distribution of wealth, and increasing citizen well-being; second, was the urgency of conquering underdevelopment, of "catching up"; third, was creating relevant noncapitalist institutions that would shape economic development; and fourth was creating well-balanced social relationships of citizenship that could establish cohesion between people and the state.


There is nothing in this description that could not be equally applied to democratic socialism a la western European nations.

Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_socialism


This article is flawed. It is riddled with [Who?] and [Citation needed] tags, indicating that even that staff of Wikipedia consider this to be a sloppy piece of work. Additionally, it does not provide an indication that African Socialism is Marxist, merely that the movement received material assistance from the USSR and China.

Knobbyboy wrote:
To the contrary of what my opponent seems to believe, however; I would argue that it is actually he who is conflating "Communism" with all "Marxism." The many quotations from Marx's own works my opponent has provided only go to prove this point.


But you don't actually deny that for your intents and purposes all socialism is Marxism.

Knobbyboy wrote:
This tenent of Marxist philosophy, for instance; is inherent to most forms of modern "Marxist" inspired "Socialism," not just "Communism" in particular. Even the rhetoric of the "Democratic" Party of the United States contains such "class warfare" oriented themes to a certain extent.


Prove that democratic socialism is Marxist-inspired. Prove that democratic socialism takes the view that all human history is a history of class struggle. Prove that the US Democratic party is even remotely socialist. Prove that the US Democratic party takes the view that all human history is a history of class struggle. Provide examples of class warfare rhetoric used by the US Democratic party.

Quote:
Likewise, this idea too is simply endemic of most forms of "Socialism" the world over. It is hardly unique to Communist forms of "Marxism."


Prove that European democratic socialist countries take the view that all capitalism is the exploitation of the majority working class by a minority of capital-owners. Provide evidence that there is a form of Marxism other than "'Communist' forms."

Quote:
In fact, all that is really made explicitly clear from this passage is that A) the Proletariat should rise up against the Bourgeoisie, B) they should do so using either violent, "Revolutionary," or more gradual "Political" means, but that all such means will require violations of the rights of personal property, and C) that this system will eventually lead to the "centralization" of all means of production in a genuinely "Socialist" state, so that the way may be paved for a truly classless "Communist" society to follow.


Prove that European democratic socialist states are in any way promoting a revolution of the proletariat, the centralizing of the means of production under the state, and the eventual rise of a classless communist society.

Quote:
All things considered, my opponent has actually done a rather handy job of proving my case for me. According to the quotes which he has provided, there is quite frankly nothing in Marx's own works which explicitly states that only those regimes which fully collectivize and nationalize the means of production can be considered to be truly "Marxist."


Marx writes exactly this; my opponent is a dishonest reader:

Marx wrote:
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.


Marx writes: ALL capital and ALL instruments of production in the hands of THE STATE i.e. THE PROLETARIAT. This centralisation is the very precursor to THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION. The fact that this is accomplished "by degree," i.e. not all at once has no bearing on the eventual outcome.

Quote:
In fact, Marx actually makes it rather clear that such measures are to be considered to be only the primary longterm goal which all "Socialist" states should seek to achieve, and that the means which different states ultimately utilize to achieve these goals may vary wildly. Marxist-Leninism and Maoism and their derivative movements simply are not the end all and be all of "Marxist" theory.


I would like to point out that Marx titled his work "The Communist Manifesto," not "The Socialist Manifesto.". He was not writing about how great it would be for all nations to be socialist. He was writing about a revolution to bring about the destruction of the state and all social classes; i.e. a communist society. The rise of communism was not optional, it was the entire point. In case you had any doubt:

Marx wrote:
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.


The culmination of the revolution of the proletariat is a stateless, classless society in which the means of production are owned in common. This is not a 'to-do' list, this is the end-all and be-all.

Now my opponent finally attempts to justify his conflation of all socialism with Marxism.

Knobbyboy wrote:
As this history demonstrates, "Marxism" essentially forms the basis for nearly all (with the exception of Anarchist, religious, and Right Wing- a.k.a. National Socialist - movements) modern forms of "Socialism" both authoritarian and democratic in basis including "Social Democracy" and "African Socialism." When this fact is considered, it is , in fact, hardly surprising that a technically "non-Socialist" nation with a long history of "Social Democratic" influence like France would share many traits in common with a nation like Zimbabwe which endorses (or claims to endorse anyway) a more hardline "Marxist-Leninist" stance. Both systems are related and can be classified as falling under "Marxist" ideology to a certain extent. They simply differ in their approaches to government (multi-party system where Democratic Socialists hold some power in France, "one-party" Socialist/ Marxist system under
Mugabe) and the degree to which they correspond to Marx's conception of the "Communist" ideal.


This history demonstrates nothing of the sort. if you want to show that all socialism is Marxism you must show that all forms of socialism incorporate specifically Marxist ideology. You have not done this; I see no examination of the platforms of any socialist party anywhere in the world.

Specifically, prove the existence of Marxist influence in present-day western European democratic socialism. Refer back to the tenets of Marxism I posted previously if you think it will help.

Quote:
Marx even went on to help form the Social Democratic Worker's Party of Germany.


Your link does not state this. Your link also does not identify that party as Marxist in any way. Your are making claims without showing they have any basis in reality.

Quote:
While I freely admit that did take editorial liberties with the quotation above, they were hardly unwarranted. In fact, one need only click on the link for Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU/ Patriotic Front movement in order to find a page where the following is stated.
An anonymous Wikipedia author with no cited source wrote:
ZAPU was aligned with the Soviet Union whose ideology was to mobilise the urban workers, whereas ZANU had a pro-People's Republic of China orientation which was to mobilise the rural peasantry.


1.) No identified author, no cited source.
2.) The quote, which is a terribly-constructed sentence, identifies the ideologies of the Soviet Union and Maoist China, not ZAPU and ZANU. The only thing the quote confirms, if it is even accurate at all, is that ZANU and ZAPU received support from those two countries, respectively. No mention is made of the parties' own ideology. None at all.

Quote:
In fact, nearly every other page on wikipedia concerning the ZANU and ZAPU have referred to these organizations as being both "Maoist" and "Marxist" inspired and funded. As such, it cannot really be posited that I was overstepping my boundaries as a researcher by editing the quotations above in order to suppliment their overall clarity.


All of these Wikipedia pages to which you refer do not bother to cite any source when they label Mugabe, ZANU-PF, ZANU, and ZAPU. You are failing in your duties as a "researcher" to find reliable, verifiable sources, relying mostly on hearsay and appeals to a nameless authority. Since your edit referred back to one of those uncited labels, you damn well were overstepping your bounds, not that it helped your argument any.

Quote:
However, as I am sure that my opponent will question the validity of the quotations I have provided above, I have located additional sources with which to verify my claim. The following articles to help to clarify some of these points, and provide clearer references.


How kind of you to deign to provide sources that aren't Wikipedia. However, the JSTOR article dates from 1985 and the Unity Accord dates to 1987. You have provided some evidence that Mugabe was Marxist as of 1987, but I point out that 22 years have elapsed since then, and a great deal has happened in Zimbabwe since. You must still show that he has maintained that ideology.

Quote:
The objection raised by my opponent on this point is blatantly misleading. As a matter of fact, I provided this link, where Mugabe explicitly claimed to be a "practical Marxist, but a practicing one" not a paragraph before I made this claim.


Exactly as I said. Mugabe said "I am a Marxist" and you took it at face value. He said "I do all these things that are not Marxist at all, like

Mugabe, in Time wrote:
[But] we recognize that there has been a capitalist system in this country that has established a viable infrastructure. We recognize that to overthrow that system would be to create no base at all but to create chaos. Therefore, we cannot go around nationalizing the multinationals.


...and you ignored that. When the man's own words are contradictory, you cannot simply take the ones you like and leave the ones you don't.

Knobbyboy wrote:
evidence can be provided to back the claim that Mugabe at least considers himself to be a "Marxist" on a nominal basis.

The Economist


This article is no different than the Time piece, except Mugabe does not speak directly in it. He is an "avowed Marxist" - in other words, he calls himself a Marxist - but, "Recognising that the country's present, very successful, economy is run along capitalist lines, Mr Mugabe says that any changes will be 'built on that structure'," says non-Marxist things at the same time. This is not conclusive, unless you are foolish enough to deny the existence of hypocrisy.

These articles also date from 1980, so you are not doing anything to fill the absence of evidence for 1987-present.

Knobbyboy wrote:
Frontpage Mag


Do you really want to cite this article? It says:

Michael Radu, in FrontPage wrote:
By the time Mugabe returned to Rhodesia in 1960, he was a committed Leninist.

The term "Leninist" is used purposefully. There is no indication that Mugabe (or his colleagues, supporters, or mentors among the African liberation movements leaders, such as Amilcar Cabral in Guine Bissao, Samora Machel of Mozambique, and Sam Nujoma of Namibia) ever read Marx. If anything, they perhaps read Lenin and Stalin's brief treatises on how to take and keep power.


An unsourced editorial assertion, but one that does not help your argument any.

Quote:
Once again, my opponent is mistaken. There is no "assertion" being made here. In name at least, Mugabe rather clearly WAS a "Marxist" during the period from 1979 through to the early to mid 1990s and he seems to have swung back towards this direction as of the year 2000.


"In name at least," when names are meaningless next to actions. Your argument, except for one scholarly article and one primary document, both of which date back to the mid-1980s, is "These people all say Mugabe is a Marxist, therefore he is one." Your sources for anything later than 1987 are apparently all uncited Wikipedia quotes with the exception of the Chan book, which gives no indication that Mugabe used Marxism as anything other than a rhetorical trapping (and politicians never mis-represent themselves for personal gain, oh no :roll:).

There is ample room for doubt.

Quote:
As stated above, the true matter of dispute here concerns whether or not Mugabe's actions can be seen to fit within the "Marxst" ideological framework he claims to subscribe to.


For a definition of Marxism that has some bearing on reality, which you have not offered. I provided the most important bits in my first post, if you would care to refer to them.

Quote:
Here my opponent seems to miss the point that whether Mugabe directly sanctioned these violent acts or not is irrelevant. He tacitly consented to this violence by failing to intervene.

Even if Mugabe was not directly responsible, he beneifited from this action regardless. Additionally, it has been posited by many that Mugabe's ties with the Veterans' Association of Zimbabwe is far too convenient to his personal political agendas to be mere coincidence.


You attributed it to Mugabe. Your words: "Mugabe did not hesitate to seize." This means he did it himself, or he ordered it directly. Pick one, and prove it.

"He just happened to benefit," and "Guys who like him a lot did it" are not at all the same as "Mugabe is responsible." That was your claim, and that is what you must prove.

Quote:
On this point, my opponent simply falls so far off the mark as to be utterly laughable. There is a quanititative difference between conquest and thinly veiled political rabble rousing aimed at up-rooting a socio-economic group against which you hold both ideological and historical animosity.


I withdraw the analogy. However, it still falls on you to show that theft by force is intrinsically Marxist, especially when the property taken is not then collectivized. In case you have forgotten, collectivization is a core Marxist tenet, while seizure by force is, in Marx's own words, merely "pretty generally applicable."

Quote:
Once again, my opponent chooses to entangle the conversation in largely irrelevant minutiae. The fact that Mugabe's regime may have relented from a certain policy as soon as it proved to be infeasible, controversial, or unpopular with the international community does not change the fact that such a policy was proposed to begin with. Political cowardice is a trait which is endemic to both "Marxists" and non-"Marxists" alike. Taken alone, this fact means nothing. This is why I omitted it to begin with.


I pointed that out because it shows your tendency to meddle with quotes. At any rate, your claim that such a policy is Marxist is already refuted by the example of Israel, which I noticed you did not address.

Quote:
Once again, I must take my opponent to task over his stance on this issue. At what point does one cease to suspend disbief and begin to accept things at face value?


At the point where actual evidence is provided. You have much yet to prove. I will make a list.

Quote:
Here my opponent completely ignores the fact that I actually mentioned Mugabe's policies during the 1990s in the following paragraph.


I would like to remind my opponent that "the past ten years" refers to the period 1999-2009. That is not "the 1990s."

Quote:
Once again, my oppenents makes the mistake of conflating "Communism" with all forms of "Marxism." Besides, if he will recall, Marx also stated that such intrusions on the matter of private property could be undertaken as a matter "of degree" which would eventually lead up to total collectivization. There is no reason why Mugabe's moves towards land reform cannot be viewed as a very moderate example of this.

In short, I don't know why my opponent insists on holding the most extreme example possible up as the "ideal" standard in this circumsatnce, but it is clearly time to reasses that view.


Find me a non-communist form of Marxism, if you intend to maintain that claim. While you are at it, demonstrate convincingly that "There is a reason why Mugabe's move toward land reform can be viewed as a moderate example of this." Don't try to shed your burden of proof with tricky wording.

Quote:
I was not referring to you specifically, but common practice in general. Hence my allusion to "precedent." Franco is generally considered to be a "Fascist."


He is "generally considered a fascist" by ignorant laymen. If they call him a fascist then they are wrong, and he is still not a fascist.

From your earlier posted link:

Wikipedia: Fascism wrote:
Franco's traditionalist, conservative stance means the Francoist regime is not generally considered to be fascist, as it lacked any revolutionary, transformative
aspect.[246][247][248][249][250] Stanley Payne, the preeminent scholar on fascism and Spain notes: "scarcely any of the serious historians and analysts of Franco consider the generalissimo to be a core fascist."[251]


Note that this passage is rigorously footnoted, and that all of these footnotes refer to scholarly books. It would seem the consensus favors my position, and thus the precedent you claim does not exist.

Quote:
At which point he moderated the movement by merging it with the more traditionally "Right Wing" pro-monarchical interests of the Carlists, took a blatantly neutral stance in WW2 (while still accepting substantial aid from more radical Fascist states no less), and then became gradually more and more moderate as a leader after the war ended. Are you seriously going to tell me that you don't see a parallel here?


"A man who is not a fascist joins a fascist party, merges it with a non-fascist party, and makes the whole works more moderate and less fascist."

If you really want to make that parallel, you are basically conceding your entire argument.


Postscript

For the benefit of myself, my opponent, and those of us playing the home game, I would like to lay out as best I can the burden of proof my opponent now holds, since in his latest post he added to it considerably. I list only the central points of his argument.

Premise: Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF are Marxist. Status: Two acceptable sources in favor, current to 1987. 1987-onward unproven. Note: Sources given cite Marxism-Leninism specifically.

----Secondary: The governance of Zimbabwe by Mugabe and ZANU-PF to date has been conducted in accordance with Marxist ideals. Status: Unproven.

--------Tertiary: Land reform is intrinsically Marxist. Status: Unproven.

------------Quaternary: State ownership of land is intrinsically Marxist. Status: Refuted, refutation unaddressed.

------------Quaternary: Land reform by force is characteristic of Marxism. Status: Currently undisputed.

--------Tertiary: The presence of the Zimbabwean government in the country's economy is typical of confirmed Marxist countries. Status: Refuted, refutation unaddressed.

----Secondary: One can be a Marxist without hewing to Marxist tenets. Status: Unproven.

--------Tertiary: Mugabe need not be classified into any school of Marxist thought. Status: Unproven. Note: this contradicts scholarly and primary sources given which identify Mugabe as a Marxist-Leninist.

--------Tertiary: All socialism that is not anarchist, religious, or right-wing is derived from Marxism. Status: unproven.

------------Quaternary: All socialists can be reasonably described as Marxists except for the
aforementioned three. Status: Unproven.

------------Quaternary: The US Democratic party is influenced by Marxism. Status: unproven.



"Six rolls? We could have covered World War II in two fucking frames - one for the battle scene, and one for the generals shaking hands!" -'Zeke'[/size]

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-28 02:03am
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Joined: 2008-04-28 03:56pm
Posts: 311
Quote:
This is poppycock. It is not a cheap shot nor poisoning the well to point out that that an uncited statement written by an anonymous author is always of suspect accuracy because there is no way to verify it. This is true whether the statement appears in Wikipedia, Britannica, or the Bible. The statements taken from Wikipedia that you present as fact even though they have no supporting or corroborating evidence are no more valid than your own unsupported statements.


As my opponent insists on not letting this fundamentally dshonest point go, I am forced to continue responding to it. In any case, it would appear to be rather clear that my opponent either has no understanding whatsoever of how Wikipedia actually functions in reality, or simply does not care to understand how Wikipedia functions and is perfectly happy to continue operating off of his own biased prejudices and preconceptions where this matter is concerned in order to suit the purposes of his argument.

As I have already demonstrated in my previous post, Wikipedia, while not always flawless, is generally held to be a reliable source of information. This claim has been supported by a wide variety of studies conducted into the subject by literally dozens of experts in several different fields of research.

CNET
ARS
Nature

Quote:
For its study, Nature chose articles from both sites in a wide range of topics and sent them to what it called "relevant" field experts for peer review. The experts then compared the competing articles--one from each site on a given topic--side by side, but were not told which article came from which site. Nature got back 42 usable reviews from its field of experts.

In the end, the journal found just eight serious errors, such as general misunderstandings of vital concepts, in the articles. Of those, four came from each site. They did, however, discover a series of factual errors, omissions or misleading statements. All told, Wikipedia had 162 such problems, while Britannica had 123.

That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia.

"An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature--the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science," the journal wrote, "suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule."


Given this information, it would seem to be apparent that my opponent's argument (paraphrased) that, "nothing quoted from Wikipedia can be held as reliable because it is unsourced and comes from anonymous authors" is little more than a libelous attempt at a "red herring" meant to distract attention away from the inherent weakness of his own arguments.

This is most apparent in the following claim made by my opponent regarding a Wikipedia article on Pan-Africanism.

Quote:
This article is flawed. It contains no citations.


In fact, this article actually possesses several citations and a whole section devoted to references. My opponent's claim is blatantly false.

Quote:
1.^ a b "[http://www.jpanafrican.com/ "Sculpting a Pan-African Culture in the Art of Negritude: A Model for African Artist"]". http://www.jpanafrican.com/.
2.^ ""The History of Pan-Africanism"". http://panafrican.homestead.com/history.html.
3.^ ""Let the Circle be Unbroken"". "Marimba Ani". http://www.africawithin.com/ani/marimba_ani.htm.
4.^ ""What Holocaust"". "Glenn Reitz". http://www.temple-news.com/media/storag ... mple-news..
5.^ ""The Maafa, African Holocaust"". Swagga. http://www.swagga.com/maafa.htm.
6.^ ""Removal of Agency from Africa"". "Owen 'Alik Shahadah". http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah ... africa.htm. Retrieved 2005.
7.^ ""Principles of Us"". http://www.us-organization.org/30th/ppp.html. [unreliable source?]
8.^ ""African Resource" " Francis Ohanyido Bio"". http://www.africaresource.com/index.php?option=com "African Resource".
9.^ ""Antumi Toasijé Bio in Spanish"". http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antumi_Toasij%C3%A9.
10.^ a b Tate, Greg. “Hip-hop Turns 30: Whatcha Celebratin’ For?” Village Voice. 4 January 2005.
11.^ Clay, Andreana. “Keepin’ it Real: Black Youth, Hip-Hop Culture, and Black Identity.” In American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 46.10 (2003): 1346-1358.


While one could possibly dispute the quality of these sources and the appropriateness of the author[s] use of them, to claim that the article in question actually possesses no citations whatsoever is clearly libelous.

This brings me to my next point.

Quote:
Chan is describing a paranoid political smear published by a white-run newspaper, not describing Mugabe's ideology or classifying the man himself in any way.


This argument by my opponent simply demonstrates his willingness to quibble around (and even misconstrue) irrelevant minutiae as some sort of "magic bullet" technique to defeat my arguments. I'm afraid that this tactic will not work to the effect he undoubtedly hopes.

The argument which he claims I misquote is from Stephen Chan's book Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence, which I mentioned in my previous post.

Quote:
Despite such safeguard,representing the significant compromises accepted by Mugabe and Nkomo, Rhodesian opinion was willfully full of trepidation. On the eve of Mugabe's return to Southern Rhodesia, in order to launch ZANU's election campaign, the largest newspaper, the Herald, ran a front-page banner headline that, if elected, Mugabe would ban Christmas. His Marxist reputation ran before him although, astoundingly, this Marxism had neither any exceptionalisms (to explain his patient moderateness at Lancaster House) nor any descriptors (Maoist, Stalinist, it didn't matter, red was red and Santa Claus was to be the first victim of political redness).


However, as both the excerpts provided by myself and my opponent demonstrate, this simply isn't the case. Only the first two sentences in this passage even refer to Muagbe's coverage in White newpapers. The rest refers to Mugabe himself.

Besides, how does my opponent believe that Mugabe garnered his "Marxist reputation" to begin with? Surely, it had nothing to do with his vengeful and vaguely Maoist "Socialist" rhetoric, ties with the Red Chinese and USSR, or his openly "Socialist" agenda!

Furthermore, even if it can be construed that this passage only refers to Mugabe's coverage in white newpapers (which I do not believe to be the case), this point is rendered effectively irrelevant by the other various excerpts from Stephen Chan's work which my opponent himself provides.

Quote:
Chan, p. 4 wrote:
Somehow this was reminiscent of the powerbase provided for his ZANLA liberation army guerrillas from 1976 to 1980 and, back then, the idea of a peasant base was very much in accord with the Maoism that, again rhetorically, Mugabe occasionally espoused.



Quote:
Chan, p. 6 wrote:
Mugabe, whether or not a pure socialist was a purist.



Quote:
Chan, p. 21 wrote:
...from 1981, South Africa inaugurated a regional 'Total Strategy' to destabilise its northern neighbours, particularly those deemed Marxist, such as Angola and Mozambique. Zimbabwe was not a primary target, but the region became a deeply uneasy one.


As evidenced by the first quotation, Mugabe's ideological views can be viewed as being generally, if not necessarily specifically, influenced by Maoism, which is itself a form of "Marxism," in their peasant uprising centric values.

As evidenced by the second quotation, Mugabe was devoted to Socialism (once again Maoist in flavor as noted by the previous quotation), if not strictly devoted to a textbook definition of these principles.

Finally, as evidenced by the third quotation, Mugabe's regime was left highly uneasy by South Africa's decision to "destabilize" its more overtly "Marxist" neighbors in Mozambique and Angola as it itself could be seen as generally fitting within this same politcial category.

Quite frankly, there is literally nothing in any of my opponent's incessant quibbling over this issue which contradicts my original argument that Robert Mugabe can be considered to be a "lax African Socialist, who was broadly influenced by Maoist and Marxist-Leninist style 'Marxism.'" In fact, the very excerpts from Stephen Chan's book which my opponent has drawn attention to in order to try and disprove this claim have actually only served to further reinforce it!

As if this weren't enough, there is also the fact that Mugabe himself has declared his adherence to "Socialist" principles, which can be construed as being "Marxist" inspired. YouTube: Robert Mugabe 1976 Interview (Exclusive)

In this vintage interview from 1976, Mugabe explicitly states at 0:50 that he intends for Zimbabwe to become a "fully 'socialist'...or, 'socialized,' society" and is "dedicated to 'socialism.'" While he does state that he only intends to institute a "measure" of "Socialist" reform and does not intend to seize property that is non-productive in nature, he justifies this by stating that it would simply be infeasible for the state to "start off taking control of everything" and some "allowance...for a start, must be made for enterprise."

This viewpoint is further elaborated upon in this documentary from 1979. ZWTube- Mugabe 1979

While most of this video is made up of little more than deliberately watered-down excuses and justifications by an embattled Robert Mugabe who is still very much a Revolutionary Guerilla leader at this point in history and the whole documentary seems to be meant to drum up support abroad among largely uniformed Western audiences, a particularly pointed assessment of Mugabe's plans for the future of Zimbabwe can be found at 34:10. In this segment, one of Mugabe's aides states that Mugabe's regime definitely intends to "collectivize" all industries of a "national" importance to a certain extent (mining, manufacting, agriculture, etca), but that it does not intend to nationalize or collectivize industries which serve no productive purpose to society as a whole (i.e. coca-cola distribution, dry-cleaning, service industries, etca).

While it must be admitted that such views as have been noted in the above two interviews certainly make Mugabe no "Communist" in the Cold War-era sense of the word, they do not necessarily preclude him from being considered to be a "Marxist."

As has been already noted, Marx never called for the abolishment of all property as an immediate goal. This was only a tenet of "Marxist-Leninism" and its derivative movements.

Marx himself called only for...

Quote:
The proletariat [to] (changed for grammatical clarity) use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie


...which might EVENTUALLY lead to the total collectivization of all aspects of civilization in an ideal "Communist" society, and actually explicitly stated that the...

Quote:
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property


Mugabe's stated goals of "nationalizing" major (i.e. bourgeois) industries while leaving smaller enterprises which do not advance society as a whole in the hands of private individuals can be clearly seen as keeping with this fundamental tenet of "Marxist" ideology.

In fact, as Zimbabwe's heavy reliance on Parastatals (i.e. government owned corporations) to manage productive industries throughout the 1980s and in the period following 2000 demonstrates, Mugabe has largely held true to this promise, even if he did not do so in a strictly "Marxist-Leninist" manner.


Quote:
You have not yet shown the role that Marxism-Leninism and Maoism played in shaping his early career and subsequent political ideology


Regardless of whether my opponent chooses to acknowledge what has been clearly set in front of his face or not, it should be rather apparent that I have. In fact, several of the quotes he himself has provided actually serve to verify this fact.

Simply peruse the following.

Quote:
By the time Mugabe returned to Rhodesia in 1960, he was a committed Leninist.

The term "Leninist" is used purposefully. There is no indication that Mugabe (or his colleagues, supporters, or mentors among the African liberation movements leaders, such as Amilcar Cabral in Guine Bissao, Samora Machel of Mozambique, and Sam Nujoma of Namibia) ever read Marx. If anything, they perhaps read Lenin and Stalin's brief treatises on how to take and keep power.

Quote:
the idea of a peasant base was very much in accord with the Maoism that, again rhetorically, Mugabe occasionally espoused.


According to my opponent's own sources, Mugabe's views were heavily Marxist-Leninist and Maoist inspired.

Quote:
In other words, African Socialism sometimes cribbed influences from Marxist ideas, but was not an extension of them.


Excuse me??? Am I correct in assuming that you freely admit that "African Socialism" was essentially patched together from Marxist-Leninst and Maoist (i.e. "Marxist") ideology mixed with native influences and you still maintain that these systems cannot possibly belong in the same ideological family? Are you serious? As demonstrated by my sources, "African Socialism" wouldn't even exist if it were not for Marx's philosophies. What further criteria could you possibly require?

Basically, Marx begets a significant portion of what constitutes modern "Socialism," and the modern idea of "Communism," which begets "Marxist-Leninism" and all derivative "Red Communist" ideologies, which in turn beget "African Socialism" (which can either be "Red" or simply Marxist "Socialist" in nature). All of these movements find their basis in Marx and "Marxist" principles, and therefore, all are "Marxist" after a fashion.

Can you demonstrate a different point of origin for this ideology? If not, then you must either conceed the point or admit that your standards for what constitutes "Marxism" are absurd.

Quote:
Most African Socialist states preferred to be neither communist nor capitalist, and therefore not Marxist.


Once again, Marxist-Leninist conceptions of "Communism" are not the end-all and be-all of "Marxism."

Quote:
There is nothing in this description that could not be equally applied to democratic socialism a la western European nations.


As has already been established in my prior post and will be further elaborated upon later, "Democratic Socialism" is primarily a off-shoot of "Marxist" ideology.

Quote:
Marx writes exactly this; my opponent is a dishonest reader:


No, my opponent is merely rather unimaginative, and has serious trouble seeing what is actually in front of him.


Quote:
We have seen above that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production


Marx makes it explicitly clear that he fully intends for the transition to full-fledged "Communism" (which not even the USSR or Red China possessed according to Marx's original definition incidentally) to be gradual in basis and to take place on the basis of "degree," with "Socialism" forming the first step.

Quote:
I would like to point out that Marx titled his work "The Communist Manifesto," not "The Socialist Manifesto."


Once again, Marx clearly viewed "Communism" as forming an abstract ideal which humanity would not be able to achieve at any point in the near future. What he advocated in the here and now was "Socialism," either political or militant in basis, with the expressed intent of working to gradually overthrow the "bourgeois" so that the way might be paved for a truly "Communist"(i.e. utopian) society.

Lenin's conception of "Communism" in the Marxist-Leninist fashion was a later and seperate development.

Quote:
This history demonstrates nothing of the sort. if you want to show that all socialism is Marxism you must show that all forms of socialism incorporate specifically Marxist ideology. You have not done this; I see no examination of the platforms of any socialist party anywhere in the world.


Once again, my opponent attempts to quibble around the issue at hand in order to justify his absurd "Marxist-Leninist" biases and preconceptions. He basically ignored the entire history I put forward without so much as an explanation.

History of Socialism
Scientific Socialism
Marxism
International Workingmen Association
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Comintern

As is made evident from the sources above, the simple fact of the matter here remains that "Democratic Socialism," as we currently know it, was directly influenced and even created to a certain extent by the Leftist Internationals, and that Marx presided over these internationals as their most influential member. This influence was, in fact, so pervasive that it lead a few influential Leftist leaders who did not accept Marx's ideological notions (i.e. the Anarchrist Bakunin) to actually withdraw from this organization. My opponent quite literally cannot deny this fact without completely denying the history of the modern "Left-Wing."


Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Marx even went on to help form the Social Democratic Worker's Party of Germany.



Your link does not state this. Your link also does not identify that party as Marxist in any way.


My opponent is either mistaken, lying, or going out of his way to be willfully ignorant. It is actually explicitly stated in this article that...

Quote:
The party included some former members of the General German Workers' Association (ADAV) of Ferdinand Lassalle who had died five years earlier. They were known as the Eisenacher after the town where the party was founded, and their programme was the Eisenacher Programm. Bebel and Liebknecht were influenced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and considered their party "a section of the International Workingmen's Association", sharing its aspirations. The party, which was based mainly in Saxony, demanded the democratisation of the state and of German society.


As this article is admittedly only a stub, I will also provide the following link.

Quote:
How kind of you to deign to provide sources that aren't Wikipedia. However, the JSTOR article dates from 1985 and the Unity Accord dates to 1987. You have provided some evidence that Mugabe was Marxist as of 1987


Simplicius is mistaken. I have PROVEN that Robert Mugabe can be considered to be a "Marxist" during his early career whether my opponent is willing to openly admit this fact or not.

In any case, I have already accounted for the actions of Mugabe's regime following the fall of the USSR. Center For Economic Policy Analysis

Quote:
2. The liberalization process
Zimbabwe has a particular history of import substitution, against which the recent jump into
globalization should be understood. International sanctions during the UDI (Unilateral
Declaration of Independence) period represented forced protectionism. The international
community did not recognize the settler regime and the United Nations introduced sanctions in
1968. The sanctions induced a period of import-substituting industrialisation and economic
diversification. Real GDP grew at an annual rate of above 7 % between 1965 and 1974, but later
the escalating war of independence disrupted economic activity.
The sophisticated import control system built up under sanctions was continued by the new
government after independence in 1980. The import regulations are described by Davies (1991)
and Pakkiri and Moyo (1987). The post-independence boom (1980-82) was unsustainable on
foreign exchange grounds, and the government resorted to administered foreign exchange
allocation to control the current account deficit. This policy led to macroeconomic stability, but
restricted growth. Green and Kadhani (1986) wrote the authoritative account of the early
independent period, and Davies and Rattsø (1993) update the evaluation.
5
Since the mid-1980s, a number of institutional responses to deal with the linkage between import
capacity and economic growth were introduced, basically aimed at export promotion. The
measures were not without effect, and the relaxation of the foreign exchange constraint can be
observed as rising growth rates in the last part of the decade. In view of the relative success of
the modified protectionism, this looked like a long run solution of a government with socialist
inclinations and rhetoric.

The government had a team of UNDP-funded Australian economists working on possible trade
reforms for a couple of years, but still the policy announcement of the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (ESAP) in the summer of 1990 came as a surprise (Government of
Zimbabwe, 1991). It must be understood against the background of increased pressure to join
the international trend of liberal economic reform. Outside Zimbabwe, both donors and the
Bretton Woods institutions argued for liberalization and could add on funding. Inside the
country, the powerful Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries changed its opposition to trade
liberalization around 1987-88. Skålnes (1995) reports increasing concerns about the growth
effects of regulation inside the ruling party ZANU (PF).


...this notion is further elaborated upon in the following article...

Quote:
(1980s)
Public spending skyrocketed, particularly in the areas of civil service employment, spending on social services, drought relief, and subsidies for government owned companies.[1] This in turn generated a chronic budget deficit, a high tax regime, and a rapid increase in public debt - all of which created a drag on the economy.[3] Private investment was crowded out by shortages of credit stemming from the fiscal deficit, high taxes and the shortages of foreign exchange. The overall effects of these constraints favored existing capital-intensive producers, biasing the economy against areas labor-intensive activities. Compounding the problem, all companies were effectively discouraged from employing new workers because of controls over wages and employment.

This had two politically significant consequences. First, it suppressed the emergence of a genuinely entrepreneurial African business class and reduced the political support of those that did make their way despite these problems. Second, it turned unemployment into a major threat to the legitimacy of the regime, especially in urban areas. In real terms, wages declined over the decade.

[edit] 1990s
By the end of the 1980s there was increasing agreement amongst government elites that new economic policies needed to be implemented for the long term survival of the regime. The new policy regime designed by the government and its advisers[4] set out to encourage job-creating growth by transferring control over prices from the state to the market, improving access to foreign exchange, reducing administrative controls over investment and employment decisions, and by reducing the fiscal deficit.


In essence, Mugabe's regime felt the need to reform and "liberalize" its economy in order to quell its own significant financial troubles and meet the newly developing Washington Consensus. This was a move embraced by most "Marxist" regimes, including such die-hard Marxist Leninist regimes as Red China and the former USSR, in the wake of the Cold War's end.

However, once again, all of this is rendered completely irrelevant by Mugabe's relapse into his former "Socialist" mode of economic management since 2000. As has already been established, this economic policy is heavily "Socialist" and loosely "Maoist" in nature and therefore places Mugabe firmly within the realm of "Marxist" (albeit watered-down "Marxist") ideology.


Quote:
This article is no different than the Time piece, except Mugabe does not speak directly in it. He is an "avowed Marxist" - in other words, he calls himself a Marxist - but, "Recognising that the country's present, very successful, economy is run along capitalist lines, Mr Mugabe says that any changes will be 'built on that structure'," says non-Marxist things at the same time. This is not conclusive, unless you are foolish enough to deny the existence of hypocrisy.


Being an "avowed Marxist" is enough. This debate does not concern whether or not Mugabe can be considered to be a good "Marxist," but whether he can be considered to be a "Marxist" at all. Frankly, if we were to only define those regimes which exactly fit Marx's principles as you so narrowly define them as being truly "Marxist," there would no regimes in all of history which could have ever been considered to be "Marxist" at all. To date, NO ONE has ever managed to live up to the ideology set forth in the Communist Manifesto.

Besides, as I have already demonstrated repeatedly above, Mugabe can be seen as loosely fitting in with a broad definition of "Marxist" ideology. He came to power through violent "proletarian" Revolution. Through the use of Parastatals and crushing business regulation throughout the 1980s, Mugabe's regime essentially brought all of the "means of production" in Zimbabwe under state management. In fact, the only area of Zimbabwe's economy which Mugabe was not able to bring to heel was agriculture, and this was only because he was prevented from doing so by the stipulations set forth by the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979.

Furthermore, while Mugabe did temporarily stray from traditional "Marxist" ideology in the 1990s, he has since readopted these stances with a vengence since 2000. This is most apparent in the pushes towards absolute land reform Mugabe has made in recent years and the measures he has reinstituted in order to control Zimbabwe's economy.

Quote:
Find me a non-communist form of Marxism, if you intend to maintain that claim.


DemocraticSocialism

Quote:
The modern social democratic current came into being through a break within the socialist movement in the early 20th century, between two groups holding different views on the ideas of Karl Marx. Many related movements, including pacifism, anarchism, and syndicalism, arose at the same time (often by splitting from the main socialist movement, but also by emerging of new theories.) and had various quite different objections to Marxism. The social democrats, who were the majority of socialists at this time, did not reject Marxism (and in fact claimed to uphold it), but wanted to reform it in certain ways and tone down their criticism of capitalism. They argued that socialism should be achieved through evolution rather than revolution. Such views were strongly opposed by the revolutionary socialists, who argued that any attempt to reform capitalism was doomed to fail, because the reformists would be gradually corrupted and eventually turn into capitalists themselves.


Quote:
In other parts of Europe, many democratic socialist parties were united in the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (the "Two and a Half International") in the early 1920s and in the London Bureau (the "Three and a Half International") in the 1930s. These internationals sought to steer a course between the social democrats of the Second International, who were seen as insufficiently socialist (and had been compromised by their support for World War I), and the perceived anti-democratic Third International. The key movements within the Two and a Half International were the ILP and the Austromarxists, and the main forces in the Three and a Half International were the ILP and the POUM of Spain.[11][12]


Quote:
Quote:
Wikipedia: Fascism wrote:
Franco's traditionalist, conservative stance means the Francoist regime is not generally considered to be fascist, as it lacked any revolutionary, transformative
aspect.[246][247][248][249][250] Stanley Payne, the preeminent scholar on fascism and Spain notes: "scarcely any of the serious historians and analysts of Franco consider the generalissimo to be a core fascist."[251]



Note that this passage is rigorously footnoted, and that all of these footnotes refer to scholarly books. It would seem the consensus favors my position, and thus the precedent you claim does not exist.


Laymen or no, this does not change the fact that Franco and his regime are still generally held to be a "Fascist." If you want to be specific where this issue is concerned, that is fine. Franco is primarily a "Traditionalist who is just really, really chummy with Falangists" and Mugabe is an "African Socialist." However, this does not change the fact that much of the ideolgy Franco followed finds its roots in "Fascism" just as Mugabe took his cues from "Marxist" Socialism and "Marxist-Leninist" Maoism.


Quote:
At any rate, your claim that such a policy is Marxist is already refuted by the example of Israel, which I noticed you did not address.


Land ownership in Israel in no way, shape, or form, "Marxist," "Socialist," or even economic in basis. This simply is not the case in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's regime explicitly claims to be "Socialist" and consistently acts in a manner coherent with the kinds of "grassroots" peasant uprisings (i.e. The land seizures by the Veterans Organization and the intial Revolutionlead by Mugabe) that are the calling card of "Maoist" style "Marxism."

Quote:
For the benefit of myself, my opponent, and those of us playing the home game, I would like to lay out as best I can the burden of proof my opponent now holds, since in his latest post he added to it considerably. I list only the central points of his argument.


As my opponent has apparently failed to even understand the basic underpinnings of my argument, I will correct these assumptions.

Quote:
----Secondary: The governance of Zimbabwe by Mugabe and ZANU-PF to date has been conducted in accordance with Marxist ideals. Status: Unproven.


To the contrary, I have provided ample evidence to support the claim that Mugabe has generally acted in a manner consistent with "Marxism" as purely defined. My opponent, on the other hand; insists on defining "Marxism" according only to an extremist "Marxist-Leninist" interpretation.

Quote:
--------Tertiary: Land reform is intrinsically Marxist. Status: Unproven.

------------Quaternary: State ownership of land is intrinsically Marxist. Status: Refuted, refutation unaddressed.

------------Quaternary: Land reform by force is characteristic of Marxism. Status: Currently undisputed.


False. I have never claimed any of these absolutes which my opponent lists. I simply stated that the seizure of private land by force can be and very often is an essential characteristic of "Marxist" ideology if the land in question is under "bourgeois" management and its confiscation serves to aid the "Proletariat." This is supported by Marx's own writings as quoted above.

Quote:
--------Tertiary: The presence of the Zimbabwean government in the country's economy is typical of confirmed Marxist countries. Status: Refuted, refutation unaddressed.


Once again, this claim is false. As I have pointed out, my opponent's conception of what constitutes a "Marxist nation" is far too narrow. "Marxist Leninism" is not the end-all and be-all of "Marxism."

Quote:
----Secondary: One can be a Marxist without hewing to Marxist tenets. Status: Unproven.


My opponent misunderstands my point. I have argued that A) his conception of what constitutes "Marxist tenets" is far too narrow as it basically translates into "Marxist-Leninism under the USSR" and B) that "Communism" is not the only form of "Marxism" possible. I have supported these claims above.

Furthermore, I have argued that intent to achieve "Marxist" ideals is far more important than execution, as history has shown "Marxist" ideals to be next to impossible to successfully impliment in reality. Even the Marxist-Leninist states which my opponent holds up as some sort of ideal "Marxism" fail to meet Marx's standards.

Quote:
--------Tertiary: Mugabe need not be classified into any school of Marxist thought. Status: Unproven. Note: this contradicts scholarly and primary sources given which identify Mugabe as a Marxist-Leninist.


I have already classified Muagbe within an ideological system. He is an African Socialist, who has been heavily influenced by Maoist and Marxist-Leninist ideals. I have provided evidence to support this fact.

Quote:
--------Tertiary: All socialism that is not anarchist, religious, or right-wing is derived from Marxism. Status: unproven.


Once again, the proof is above for all with eyes to see.

Quote:
------------Quaternary: All socialists can be reasonably described as Marxists except for the
aforementioned three. Status: Unproven.


See above.

Quote:
------------Quaternary: The US Democratic party is influenced by Marxism. Status: unproven.


Irrelevant. I only mentioned the US Democratic Part in passing as it is well known for its "Progressive" influences, which find their basis in "Social Democracy" and therefore "Democratic Socialism." As has been demonstrated above, "Democratic Socialism" has been heavily "Marxist" influenced.



"Because its in the script!"

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-11-30 05:37am
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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-12-01 05:39am
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I will be dividing my post into two parts: first, the matters of Marxism, socialism, and Mugabe, and second, addressing my opponent's ongoing dishonesty in constructing his argument and abusing sources. Since the first matter is slowly getting bogged down in the second, I hope doing so will prevent this from getting any more severe.

My opponent's characerization of Mugabe as a Marxist rests on serveral sub-premises, reflected in claims that he has made:

Knobbyboy wrote:
Robert Mugabe can be considered to be a "lax African Socialist, who was broadly influenced by Maoist and Marxist-Leninist style 'Marxism.'"


Quote:
Mugabe's views were heavily Marxist-Leninist and Maoist inspired.


and

Quote:
Basically, Marx begets a significant portion of what constitutes modern "Socialism," and the modern idea of "Communism," which begets "Marxist-Leninism" and all derivative "Red Communist" ideologies, which in turn beget "African Socialism" (which can either be "Red" or simply Marxist "Socialist" in nature). All of these movements find their basis in Marx and "Marxist" principles, and therefore, all are "Marxist" after a fashion.


Quote:
Irrelevant. I only mentioned the US Democratic Part in passing as it is well known for its "Progressive" influences, which find their basis in "Social Democracy" and therefore "Democratic Socialism." As has been demonstrated above, "Democratic Socialism" has been heavily "Marxist" influenced.


Quote:
Marx makes it explicitly clear that he fully intends for the transition to full-fledged "Communism" (which not even the USSR or Red China possessed according to Marx's original definition incidentally) to be gradual in basis and to take place on the basis of "degree," with "Socialism" forming the first step.


Quote:
Once again, Marx clearly viewed "Communism" as forming an abstract ideal which humanity would not be able to achieve at any point in the near future. What he advocated in the here and now was "Socialism," either political or militant in basis, with the expressed intent of working to gradually overthrow the "bourgeois" so that the way might be paved for a truly "Communist"(i.e. utopian) society.


The two sub-premises, in sum, are "Mugabe is influenced/heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism and Maoism," and "Socialism counts as Marxism because of Marx's broad influence in founding the socialist movement/because Marx was actually promoting socialism and not communism." The second premise obviously ties in to his argument because by being a socialist, Mugabe would therefore be a Marxist.

These two are really separate premises, each requiring their own argument. If "heavy" Marxist-Leninist and Maoist influence can be shown in Mugabe's ideology and policy throughout his career in Zimbabwe's politics, then it becomes reasonable to refer to him as a Marxist by virtue of having taken his ideology directly from two schools of Marxism. The second premise and argument, however, almost work counter to the first: by defining all modern soclialism as Marxism in order to label 'socialist Mugabe' a Marxist, one must essentially ignore any possibility of Mugabe belonging to an acknowledged school of Marxist thought. Otherwise, the second course of argument becomes completely irrelevant.

Whether my opponent has adopted two conflicting modes of argument (Mugabe is a Marxist because he is a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist vs. Mugabe is a Marxist despite the fact that he is not a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist) to have a backstop in the event that one argument fails or has taken the second tack as well as the first because he recognizes that he lacks the direct evidence needed to complete the first agument must remain in the land of speculation. However, aside from setting the two premises next to each other to reveal the contradiction, it is best to address them seperately as they are in fact seperate.

"Mugabe is a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist"

What is not a mystery here is what Marxism-Leninism and Maoism are. The key additions and modifications to the original strain of Marxist thought by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao were provided by me in my initial post; more complete writings by all of these authors is readily available online: Lenin, Stalin, Mao. It then becomes a simple matter of finding the direct evidence to show that Mugabe has consistently held and practiced Marxism-Leninism and Maoism over the whole course of his career in Zimbabwean politics.

Thus far, my opponent has provided two pieces of direct evidence: a scholarly article making the (cited) assertion, dating from 1985; the ZANU-ZAPU Unity Accord from 1987 which established Mugabe as head of ZANU-PF and stated the new party's intent to govern Zimbabwe according to Marxist-Leninist principles.

The statements made in the 1979 doecumentary my opponent cited are a sufficiently detailed statement of ideology to transcend the usual and necessary suspicion of self-applied labels. However, while they refer to nationalization of major industries while keeping small business in private hands, this falls short of Marxism itself. Recall that Marx called for the abolition of capital:

Marx, in The Communist Manifesto wrote:
When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.
.
.
From the moment when labor can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.
.
.
There can no longer be any wage labor when there is no longer any capital.


This precludes small business, insofar as even a small business owner may, by profiting from the wage labor of his employees, be "transforming individual property into bourgeois property" in a manner described by Marx himself. Thus, the statements on nationalization by ZANU representatives and Mugabe in this documentary, whicle consistent with socialism, are not consistent with actual Marxism as written by Marx, and as practiced in the USSR after 1928, China until 1984, Cuba prior to 1993, Vietnam before 1990, etc.

If that kind of mixed economy resembles any economic program of any Marxist country, it would be Lenin's New Economic Policy, instituted between 1921 and 1928. However, Lenin himself characterized it as not even socialist in character, but rather "state capitalist." (Source: Lenin, The Tax In Kind). While adopted by Lenin out of necessity, the NEP was replaced with a command economy and collectivization under Stalin, and similar policies did not appear in Maoist countries. Such a policy therefore represents an historical anomaly within the USSR, rather than an integral part of Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideology.

The direct evidence my opponent has offered only covers the very beginning of Mugabe's career, from his time as a guerrilla leader to the 1987 Unity Accord which put him at the head of ZANU-PF. At that early stage one would expect an ideologue to be at his most doctrinaire. But the period afterward, from 1987 to the present, is just as critical in any assessment of Mugabe, comprising as it does roughly half of the man's entire time in Rhodesian and Zimbabwean politics.

For this later period, my opponent has not yet been able to put forth a direct, explicit link to Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideology as he has done for the earlier period. Instead, he tries to untilize indirect evidence and inference, and it is here where the connection breaks down.

He cedes the 1990s outright:

Knobbyboy wrote:
In essence, Mugabe's regime felt the need to reform and "liberalize" its economy in order to quell its own significant financial troubles and meet the newly developing Washington Consensus. This was a move embraced by most "Marxist" regimes, including such die-hard Marxist Leninist regimes as Red China and the former USSR, in the wake of the Cold War's end.


Ignoring his somewhat confused timeline (the former USSR was, by definition, not Marxist) and ideology (China was Maoist, not Marxist-Leninist), and putting aside his definition of Marxism for later, he concedes that Mugabe in the 1990s moved toward economic liberalization and a privatized market economy. If Zimbabwe's economic policies are a reflection of the ideology of its president and ruling party, then the 1990s represents an utter sacrifice of ideology for some other reason. If we take as authoritative my opponent's Wikipedia statement:

Quote:
By the end of the 1980s there was increasing agreement amongst government elites that new economic policies needed to be implemented for the long term survival of the regime.


...then we have a view of Mugabe as a man for whom ideology is far less important than his personal hold on power. This is certainly plausible, if unproven, and in the presence of such a possible alternative, my opponent's case would be far stronger if he could provide statements by Mugabe justifying liberalization in a fashion coherent with Marxism-Leninism or Maoism. Lenin was able to do it for the NEP, so surely Mugabe could as well if he were really concerned with maintaining the integrity of his allegedly Marxist system.

Having apparently ceded the 1990s to the forces of non-Marxism, my opponent turns to the 2000s, which he claims is a

Knobbyboy wrote:
relapse into his [Mugabe's] former "Socialist" mode of economic management since 2000. As has already been established, this economic policy is heavily "Socialist" and loosely "Maoist" in nature and therefore places Mugabe firmly within the realm of "Marxist" (albeit watered-down "Marxist") ideology.


The connection between socialist economic policy and Marxism will, again, be examined shortly. Since my opponent merges what are two seperate premises in this claim, it would be instructive if he would care to elaborate: is Mugabe's alleged Marxism "watered-down" because it is only "loosely" Maoist, or because it is "heavily Socialist," but socialism as my opponent describes it is only vaguely Marxist? In other words, which of the two does he figure as playing the greatest role in determining the strength and character of Mugabe's ideology?

We are left for the moment with my opponent's claim that Mugabe's economic policy in the 2000s is "loosely Maoist." He states:

Knobbyboy wrote:
This is most apparent in the pushes towards absolute land reform Mugabe has made in recent years and the measures he has reinstituted in order to control Zimbabwe's economy.


When my opponent refers to absolute land reform, I assume he is primarily refering to such things as the 2004 policy advanced by Lands Minister John Nkomo, which has evidently since been denied:

Harare - Zimbabwe's government plans to nationalise farmland by cancelling the titles to all productive land and replacing them with 99-year leases, a senior cabinet minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"In the end all land shall be state land and there will be no such thing called private land," Lands Minister John Nkomo told the state-owned Herald.

"We want a situation whereby this very important resource becomes a national asset," he said.

"The state should not waste time and money on acquisitions. Ultimately, all land shall be resettled as state land," Nkomo said.


...and the 2005 constitutional amendments:

The amendments, among other things, nationalize Zimbabwe's farmland and deprive landowners of the right to challenge in courts the government's decision to expropriate their land.


However, as I have already demonstrated, there is nothing about land reform, land seizure, and nationalization of land that are definitively Marxist - that is to say, that precludes them from occurring in some other socio-economic environment. Nkomo's land reform policy, as I have pointed out, is very similar to Israel's (93 percent public ownership, private use governed by 98- and 48- year leases). The French Revolution took land belonging to the Church and nobility and turned it over to the peasantry to own directly - a class-based land reform that was nevertheless non-Marxist. In Israel in 1976 the government seized 6.3 sq. km. of Arab-owned land for government and Jewish use, which prompted protest and violent suppression; as mentioned previously the United States government used military action to drive natives off their lands - not to conquer them, but merely to gain control of the land they were sitting on. More generally, political violence between opposing factions is not peculiar to any one socio-economic system.

My opponent's second article, Wikipedia's "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe," is a perplexing addition as it does not describe any "measures [Mugabe] has reinstituted in order to control Zimbabwe's economy," Marxist or no - it merely describes the course of the hyperinflation of Zimbabwe's currency. Since hyperinflation indicated a catastrphoic economic failure but does not alone pinpoint causes of that failure, and since hyperinflation is not unique to any region, time period, or ideology, this article has little to do with my opponent's case.

None of these things - land reform, political violence, seizure of property, nationalization of property, or bad monetary policy - are Marxist unless they are carried out in a Marxist context. To show the existence of this requires some form of direct link between the practitioner and the ideology. Since my opponent has not provided any such link for the 1990s or 2000s, there is no reason to conclude that Mugabe remains "heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism and Maoism" during those decades. Indeed, it becomes reasonable to suppose he has abandoned his earlier ideology in favor of cynical meaures to maintain his grip on power. But the absence of such direct links brings me to my opponent's second premise and its attending argument.

"All modern socialism can be called Marxism"

Possibly in an attempt to shore up his argument in the face of a lack of direct evidence for the past 20 years of Mugabe's rule, my opponent has opted to make the claim that because all modern socialism is ultimately descended from Marxist thought, all modern socialism is Marxism and all modern socialists are Marxist. My opponent has endeavoured to bring this specifically to Mugabe in biblical fashion with a series of 'begats':

Knobbyboy wrote:
Basically, Marx begets a significant portion of what constitutes modern "Socialism," and the modern idea of "Communism," which begets "Marxist-Leninism" and all derivative "Red Communist" ideologies, which in turn beget "African Socialism" (which can either be "Red" or simply Marxist "Socialist" in nature). All of these movements find their basis in Marx and "Marxist" principles, and therefore, all are "Marxist" after a fashion.


Now, the main problem with his argument of 'descent' is a huge and glaring one: such a broad definition of Marxism makes the term all but meaningless as a label of political ideology. He gives us on the one hand the USSR and China, and on the other, the so-called "progressive influences" in the US Democratic Party! We are asked to believe, in short, that anything left of center can be termed Marxist, and he opens such a broad umbrella only so that he can be sure Robert Mugabe falls under it.

What basis does my opponent set for for his proposed "big tent" Marxism? First, he claims influence from Marx:

Knobbyboy wrote:
This changed with the arrival of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848. Their notion of a "scientific socialism," which was empirically testable, historically founded, and built upon the works put forward by such thinkers as Immanuel Kant and economists like Adam Smith, was revolutionary for its time. These ideas spread rapidly among both Leftists and the common people alike during the chaotic period which followed the release of the manifesto and the Revolutions of 1848. This Marxist inlfuence was formalized during the first meetings of the International Workingmen's Association, or the First International in 1866.

While a great multitude of different Leftists and "Socialists" attended the meetings of this organization, Karl Marx quickly rose to prominence and was soon elevated to a position of leadership. By the time Mikhail Bakunin joined the International in 1868, Marx held influence over virtually every member of the organization whom was not already influenced by Bakunin's Anarchist ideas. This eventually lead to a dispute between Bakunin and his followers, who viewed any participation in the democratic process as being opposed to its core beliefs and the followers of Marx, who viewed democracy and the political process as being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state. This lead to the fundamental schism which we see in the modern Left today between Marxist derived "Socialism" and "Anarchism." Marx even went on to help form the Social Democratic Worker's Party of Germany.

The distinction between extremist "Marxist-Leninism" and Marxist Socialism (or as my opponent refers to it, just "Socialism") did not even come into being until after the Russian Revolution and founding of the Soviet Comintern in 1919.


He ends his so-called "history of socialism" in 1919. I point out to the reader that nintey years have passed since then; does my opponent honestly expect me to accept that the situation of socialist politics has remained static for that long?

I expect I will shortly have to analyze modern socialism - by this I mean post-1945, not pre-1919 as my opponent understands the word - in some depth shortly. But first, I must point out a major concession in his so-called "history."

Knobbyboy wrote:
the followers of Marx, who viewed democracy and the political process as being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.


Again:

Knobbyboy wrote:
being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.


Again:

Knobbyboy wrote:
functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.


Yes, "ultimately communist." If Marx is the ultimate origin of all socialism in the world today, then all socialism in the world today must therefore be striving toward the culmination of Marixst thought, the classless, egalitarian, communist state. Or so says my opponent, who must now prove this claim by showing that all current socialist parties are striving to achieve a communist society.

He has conclusively established that modern socialism came after Marx on the time-line, but he has not provided the direct connection between, say, Britain's Labour Party and Marxist ideology necessary to establish that the latter caused the former. The connection may or may not exist, but my opponent must be the one who provides it.

My opponent further claims that Marx was promoting socialism, not communism.

Knobbyboy wrote:
Marx himself called only for...

Quote:
The proletariat [to] (changed for grammatical clarity) use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie


...which might EVENTUALLY lead to the total collectivization of all aspects of civilization in an ideal "Communist" society, and actually explicitly stated that the...

Quote:
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property


This is an ultimately incorrect reading of Marx. I have already provided the quotations that clearly state that in Marx's view, the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat WOULD eventually lead to a communist society. Whether or not it would actually happen in reality, the ideology of the Marxists is that such an occurrance is the consequence of the proletarian revolution, it is in fact the whole point of the proletarian revolution, and that socialism is just a pit stop on the grand and glorious road to communism. My opponent may continue to claim that Marx and the Marxists would have been content to stop at socialism, and all he will earn for it is derisive laughter.

Where my opponent says "actually explicitly stated that" and tries to spin Marx as only concnered with bourgeois property, he neglects to read those parts of the Mnifesto where the phrase "bourgeois property" is explained to mean capital, as I quoted them above. No capital means no capitalism, and indeed Marx says that all capital is to be collectively owned.

Again, where my opponent says

Knobbyboy wrote:
Marx makes it explicitly clear that he fully intends for the transition to full-fledged "Communism" (which not even the USSR or Red China possessed according to Marx's original definition incidentally) to be gradual in basis and to take place on the basis of "degree," with "Socialism" forming the first step.


He does not deny that the transition to communism must still happen. He does not deny that the transition is integral to Marxism. And therefore, he must show that the transition to communism is the goal of any socialist system if he means to claim it is a Marxist system. This goes for African Socialism as well as any other.

And again,

Knobbyboy wrote:
Once again, Marx clearly viewed "Communism" as forming an abstract ideal which humanity would not be able to achieve at any point in the near future.


this is not to be found anywhere in Marx, only in the murky depths of my opponent's head. According to Marx, the abolition of privately-owned capital and the overthrow of the ruling bourgeoisie would lead to the egalitarian communist society. My opponent can shut his eyes and ears to Marx's own words all he likes, but to no avail.

Escaping my opponent's morass of "he-said-this-but-he-meant-thats," we return to his main claim that Marxism encompasses all modern socialism. When I challenged him to find a non-communist form of Marxism, he pointed me toward democratic socialism. Unfortunately for him, his link does not identify democratic socialism as Marxist. To the opposite effect, it places one small group - the Austromarxists - within the democratic socialist movement, which in fact has a far, far wider base than just the Marxists. For my opponent to claim that the democratic socialists are Marxists therefore constitutes circular reasoning on his part, based on his own opinion of Marxism. He therefore has yet to meet the burden of proof on that particular claim.

Indeed, that is where my opponent's overborad definition of Marxism flies in the face of reality: the current of socialism is in fact a broad river, with Marxism as only one set of currents within it. For my opponent to claim otherwise requires he assume an extraordinarily large burden of proof, as he is trying to establish something in contradiction to observed reality.

Finally, my opponent attempt to handwave away Mugabe's weak Marxist credentials by saying that it doesn't matter whether or not he is a Marxist:

Knobbyboy wrote:
Being an "avowed Marxist" is enough. This debate does not concern whether or not Mugabe can be considered to be a good "Marxist," but whether he can be considered to be a "Marxist" at all. Frankly, if we were to only define those regimes which exactly fit Marx's principles as you so narrowly define them as being truly "Marxist," there would no regimes in all of history which could have ever been considered to be "Marxist" at all. To date, NO ONE has ever managed to live up to the ideology set forth in the Communist Manifesto.


and

Knobbyboy wrote:
Furthermore, I have argued that intent to achieve "Marxist" ideals is far more important than execution, as history has shown "Marxist" ideals to be next to impossible to successfully impliment in reality. Even the Marxist-Leninist states which my opponent holds up as some sort of ideal "Marxism" fail to meet Marx's standards.


I will ignore for the time being the strawmen that I have held up any Marxist states as "ideal," when in fact what I have been doing is showing that my opponent has in turn not shown that Mugabe has remained connected to any Marxist ideology in the past 22 years of his rule.

These two quotes show my opponent evidently with very little ground to stand on. Unable to prove specifically Mugabe's Marxist credentials, he is obliged to try and weaken the claims of other Marxist regimes, so devaluing the definition of Marxism to the point where its meaning my be stretched. Unfortunately, he is faced with the fact that countries like the USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, et al did abolish private capital and collectivize the means of production. That it did not happen exactly as Marx wrote is irrelevant; they actually strove for communist society and achieved it, which Zimbabwe and my opponent's phantom "Marxist socialist" countries have not. Thus the bar remains as high as it ever was.

My opponent may seek to claim that with a major communist country like China slowly expanding its sphere of market economy, the definition of Marxism changes to account for this. Not so, it merely means that China is becoming less Marxist.

Dishonesty, Ignorance, or Both

As much as I would like to gloss over this matter altogether, or treat it merely in an aside or two in the main debate, my opponent's argument is so riddled with traps that pointing them out en masse is regrettably necessary. It would not do to leave his most recent examples uncommented-upon, as they only serve to cast doubt on the completeness and rigour of his whole argument this far.

Knobbyboy wrote:
As I have already demonstrated in my previous post, Wikipedia, while not always flawless, is generally held to be a reliable source of information.


My opponent has rested a great deal of his argument on Wikipedia articles. He has attributed to these articles statements that they do not contain; he has appealed directly to the authority of statements written by the anonymous Wikipedia author and neither footnoted nor attributed to an acknowledged authority in any way, and he has linked to articles or relevant parts of articles which not only lack citations, but in some cases are riddled with Wikipedia's own notes that the article is inadequately written.

He claims that Wikipedia is "generally held to be reliable" to justify these actions, citing a CNET article about a study in Nature and an Ars Technica article about an individual, informal study of Wikipedia. However, the articles he cites do not support his reliance on Wikipedia in this debate. Read:

CNET wrote:
"An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature--the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science," the journal wrote, "suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule."


CNET, quoting the Nature article, refers to Wikipedia's and Britanica's coverage of science. This debate is on politics, history, and current events, not science. Since these topics are not as objective as science, the reliability of non-expert sources such as Wikipedia should rightly be viewed with greater suspicion than my opponent prefers.

ARS wrote:
Whatever the reason for the results, they will cheer defenders of Wikipedia's accuracy, though Chesney urges caution in extrapolating too generally from his study. For one thing, the sample size was small. For another, 13 percent of those in the "experts" group reported finding mistakes in their assigned articles.

...he simply wanted to see whether Wikipedia could be considered accurate enough to be worth using. His study suggests that it can, but that caution—and further research—needs to be used before citing anything learned from Wikipedia as a fact.


Chesney and Ars Technica both caution that Wikipedia, while comparable to Britannica in Chesney's survey (which itself is of limited accuracy because of the sample size), nevertheless makes mistakes and should not be taken as the final word without further research.

Knobbyboy wrote:
Given this information, it would seem to be apparent that my opponent's argument (paraphrased) that, "nothing quoted from Wikipedia can be held as reliable because it is unsourced and comes from anonymous authors" is little more than a libelous attempt at a "red herring" meant to distract attention away from the inherent weakness of his own arguments.


Contrary to my opponent's assertion, pointing out the questionable accuracy of Wikipedia is not a "red herring," nor it is "libelous," as my opponent appeals directly to Wikipedia for statements which he claims are authoritative and factual despite the aforementioned flaws I have pointed out with the material he specifically cited.

Additionally, it is worth noting that my opponent is apparently unfamiliar with the standards of acaemic analysis and scholarly writing. When supporting a thesis with cited evidence, one refers either to primary sources or sources with a verifiable provenance that can be confirmed to be (or not to be) authoritative and accurate. One does not cite anonymous secondary or tertiary sources, or secondary sources which themselves lack footnotes, and one does not appeal directly to the authority of encyclopedia articles as one might do in primary school.

Thus, in this instance:

Quote:
In fact, this article [on Pan-Africanism --ed.] actually possesses several citations and a whole section devoted to references. My opponent's claim is blatantly false.


...while I was incorrect in stating that the article contained absolutely no citations, the first three sections of the article in question - "Origins," "Key Figures," and "Concept" - were uncited. The second section contained the statement to which my opponent referred idnetifying Mugabe as a Pan-Africanist. However, with no footnotes, the accuracy of that statement and of all three of those sections is not verifiable, and therefore the article is not admissible as a source.

My opponent has also consistently mis-read cited sources to cause them to suit his meaning. His latest instance, with the Chan quotations I provided previously, takes this to new lows.

Any intelligent person can go to those quotes, read them, and understand their meaning in full. My opponent is of the mind that re-citing them, "interpeting" them to suit his argument, and perhaps bolding irrelevant bits, while completely ignoring the key statements of those passages which just happen to contradict his use of them, is enough to transform them to suit his argument. Not so.

In the first passage, regarding the newspaper headline, he claims that

Knobbyboy wrote:
Only the first two sentences in this passage even refer to Muagbe's coverage in White newpapers. The rest refers to Mugabe himself.


...despite the clear reference to the newspaper headline in the last sentence, which caps the paragraph and makes it absolutely clear, to anyone who had any doubts, that it was a single complete and coherent thought pertaining to white paranoia about Mugabe's potentially imminent ascension to power.

Likewise in the second passage, my opponent opts not to notice the use of the Chan's words "at least rhetorically," pertaining specifically to Mugabe's espousal of Maosim and casting doubt on the sincerity of that espousal. My opponent's poor reading comprehension let him down, though, when he included in bold the word "occasionally," which doesn't paint Mugabe in a strong red by itself, never mind when paired with "rhetorically."

In the third passage, my opponent decides to ignore completely an entire clause of a sentence which makes Mugabe's socialist credentials look dubious, in favor of bolding a passage which says nothing specific about his ideology. Evidently, he is sometimes dishonest just for fun, rather than to support an argument.

Lastly, in the fourth passage, my opponent mis-understands the word "region" to mean "Mugabe's government," although no dictionary definition of the word supports such an understanding, and fails to pick out the author's meaning form the context - that is to say, the geographic region of South Africa and bordering countries, said unease caused by South Africa's willingness to destablize any country in that region at will. That Zimbabwe was not targeted by S.A. is tragically overlooked.

This is an absolutely dismal example of my opponent's ability to mis-read seemingly at will in order to deny any discredit of his argument, which I imagine must sting when it is found in a source he himself introduced to the debate.

He continues this tendency when he refers yet again to the Chan passage about Mugabe's "rhetorical," "occasional" Maoism in the same way as previously, and re-quotes a passage from Frontpage Mag. This passage, which I would prefer not to see in this debate at all as it is a blatantly editorial statement containing no confirmed, cited fact of any kind, is nevertheless quoted by my opponent in support of his claims. The only thing that saves him from committing an appeal to authority is that the statement quoted casts aspersions on Mugabe's "genuine Marxist" credentials, characterizing the man as a pure thug rather than a holder of any real ideology. This is explicit in the quote, yet my opponent prefers to believe that it agrees with him.

My opponent opts to adhere to a double-standard regarding statements made by or about Mugabe. When a statement is made, by Mugabe or another source, that is in line with his argument, it is acceptable on its face:

Knobbyboy, in his first post, wrote:
It seems to be quite obvious that Mugabe considers himself to be a "Marxist," and frankly, that is enough for me.


He expressed frustration that I do not treat such statements the same way:

Knobbyboy, in his second post, wrote:
Once again, I must take my opponent to task over his stance on this issue. At what point does one cease to suspend disbief and begin to accept things at face value?


However, when he encounters such statements that don't fit his neat concepctions about Mugabe, it is suddenly suspect, and its ulterior motives must be determined:

Knobbyboy wrote:
While most of this video is made up of little more than deliberately watered-down excuses and justificationsby an embattled Robert Mugabe who is still very much a Revolutionary Guerilla leader at this point in history and the whole documentary seems to be meant to drum up support abroad among largely uniformed Western audiences, a particularly pointed assessment of Mugabe's plans for the future of Zimbabwe can be found at 34:10.


If my opponent were truly naiive, he would accept it all; if he were a cynic, he would accpet nothing without confirmation. That he is naiive about what helps him and a cynic about what hurts him points to a dishonest approach. As for his double-standard, I reject it outright: no statements and no sources save those which are inarguably authoritative and conclusive are to be taken at face value. No wonder he finds it frustrating when I don't accept his loose reasoning or anonymous, uncited "sources" without question.

My opponent closes his latest post with a real whopper:

Quote:
Laymen or no, this does not change the fact that Franco and his regime are still generally held to be a "Fascist." If you want to be specific where this issue is concerned, that is fine. Franco is primarily a "Traditionalist who is just really, really chummy with Falangists" and Mugabe is an "African Socialist." However, this does not change the fact that much of the ideolgy Franco followed finds its roots in "Fascism" just as Mugabe took his cues from "Marxist" Socialism and "Marxist-Leninist" Maoism.


Right in the face of a direct, cited quote by a scholar of Spanish fascism and a solidly referenced statement about the non-fascism of Franco's regime (therefore including the Falangists whose fascism must necessarily have been undermined when they were folded into the regime), my opponent delivers an argument ad populum. That the populum is necessarily incorrect (and with them, his argument) troubles him not in the least. Two for the price of one!



"Six rolls? We could have covered World War II in two fucking frames - one for the battle scene, and one for the generals shaking hands!" -'Zeke'[/size]

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-12-05 11:04pm
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Joined: 2008-04-28 03:56pm
Posts: 311
As this discussion seems to be dragging on to no definite end and my schedule is shaping up to be rather full for the next couple of weeks, I think that now is as good a time as any to bring this debate to some kind of conclusion. In the following post, I will be laying out my closing arguments.

As has been constantly maintained throughout my arguments, I defend the position that my opponent's "all or nothing" stance on the issue of Robert Mugabe's status as a "Marxist," or lack thereof, is out of touch with political reality, impractical, and heavily biased towards the propagandistic and self-serving interpretations of Marx's philosophies espoused by the USSR and other such "Marxist-Leninist" regimes during the Cold War of the mid 20th century.

In short, my opponent's argument seeks to over simplify human behavior and motivations in the interests of fitting some biased, overly selective, and entirely subjective categorical system. He paints a nation, political party, or leader's stances with regard to "Marxist" values as being "all or nothing" or "black and white" affairs. In my opponent's view, it would seem to be the case that no one can be considered to be "Marxist" who does not fanatically buy "hook, line, and sinker" into not just notions such as "Communism (regardless of how vague this notion has been proven to be)" and "collectivization(once again, the vagueness of this concept in Marx's own writings not withstanding)," but these notions as they have been interpreted from a "Marxist-Leninist" perspective.

While I am willing to grant that such a novel approach can be somewhat useful in certain (blatantly obvious) cases, I think that anyone who commits themselves to any serious study of the history of the political Left in the 20th century will find this outlook to be fundamentally constrictive and fully inadequate to the task of framing the growth and development of "Marxist" ideals in our modern world. As my opponent himself has pointed out, not even "Marxist-Leninism," which he touts as being some kind of infallible benchmark against which all other allegedly "Marxist" ideologies can be measured, was ever truly uniform or codified in its beliefs and practices. The authoritarian and totalitarian ideologies preached by even "Maoism" and "Stalinism" (for all intents and purposes, the poster children of "Marxist-Leninist" ideologies) conflicted on very basic levels with each other and even with the largely egalitarian philosophies of Marx himself.

Essentially, I make the case that my opponent's arguments fail on three very basic levels; they assume a level of inherent rationality and coherency in human behavior and belief systems which need not necessarily exist in a “real world“ setting, they fail to acknowledge any kind of "shade of gray" where the issue of adherence to "Marxist" ideology that is not explicitly "Marxist-Leninist" is concerned, and they falsely assume that the largely contradictory values and ideologies espoused by various “Marxist-Leninist” systems can be viewed as being synonymous with all “Marxist” ideological systems.

I will attempt to defend this viewpoint and respond to the various other points raised by my opponent in the following post.

Quote:
The two sub-premises, in sum, are "Mugabe is influenced/heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism and Maoism," and "Socialism counts as Marxism because of Marx's broad influence in founding the socialist movement/because Marx was actually promoting socialism and not communism." The second premise obviously ties in to his argument because by being a socialist, Mugabe would therefore be a Marxist.


While my opponent seems to understand the gist of my arguments, he fails to understand a key point. I do not believe ALL "Socialism" to be "Marxist" derived. I simply pointed out the historical FACT that Marx played an essential role in the growth and development of this system as a viable political ideology.

This is not to say that Marx was the progenitor of "Socialist" ideology in general, or even anymore than the Biblical Abraham can be considered to be the "progenitor" of all "Monotheist" theology. It simply means that Marx is the progenitor of a great deal of "Socialism's" current ideals, standards, and philosophical background. As was stated before, however; such influence is largely a matter of degree. Some forms of modern "Socialism," such as "Marxist-Leninism" for instance, are extremely militant in their support for (what they interpret as being at least) Marx's philosophical and political ideals. "Democratic Socialism," which, as has already been demonstrated and will be further elaborated upon later in my argument, was heavily "Marxist" influenced, but eventually dropped most of Marx's "Revolutionary" ideas in the favor of more pragmatic political concerns. Whereas still other ideologies, such as "Anarchism" and "Volunteerism" were only barely influenced by Marx's ideals if at all.

However, once again; the fact that those various "Socialist" systems which ARE based off of "Classical Marxism" may differ in the degree to which they strictly adhere to Marx's philosophies and they manner in which they interpret those same ideas does not mean that they do not all share a common heritage, and that this heritage is not predominately "Marxist."

This plays into my first criticism of my opponent's arguments. He assumes that all human behavior and belief systems must fall within certain "cut and dry" categories, and that everything which does not perfectly fit within these preconceived constrictions he and other men (in this case the "Marxist-Leninists") have concocted must be tossed out. However, as anyone who has studied the nature of ideology, or even religion, can tell you, this simply is not the case.

While this claim may prove to be unpopular with some, I would go so far as to argue that "Marxism" can be construed as being somewhat analogous to Christianity when considered as a whole.

Like Christianity, all "Marxist" ideology is built around the subjective interpretation of the vague and almost wholly unsupported "teachings" of a long dead pseudo-intellectual philosopher. While this source material has been elaborated upon by various other "Marxist" scholars over the course of the rough century and a half which has passed since the original publication of the Manifesto, the fact of the matter remains that Marx's original texts form the basis of most of the "doctrines" which shape all "Marxist" derived Socialist movements.

To further the analogy, these "scared texts" (please keep in mind that I am only making a semi-sarcastic analogy here. If anyone honestly challenges me to 'prove' that Marxists hold Das Kapital or the Manifesto as 'sacred texts,' I think that I might just lose my mind) tend to be interpreted differently by different "Marxist" sects. Some sects, such as the "Classical/Orthodox Marxists" and, to a certain lesser extent, the "Trotskyists", believe in a strict, almost literal interpretation of Marx's philosophies and blatantly reject the validity of any system which does not do the same. On the the other hand, the more hard-line "Marxist-Leninist" ideologies, such as "Stalinism" and "Maoism," are not so concerned with "literal interpretations" as they are with making sure that the "ends justify the means" and simply justifying their own power structures and practices using "Marxist" principles. Whereas the proponents of "Social Democracy" and most other such movements, if the board would allow me to extend the analogy further and address the complete opposite side of the spectrum, are by and large more concerned with simply maintaining the "spirit" of Marx's teachings while ignoring anything which they find to be distasteful or difficult to fathom in Marx's written works.

While this analogy is admittedly imperfect (Marx and Engles are obvioulsy not "God," though they could certainly be loosely viewed as modern secular "prophets" after a fashion), it is also not too far off the mark. The simple fact of the matter is that, where both religion and ideology are concerned, there often is no definitively "correct" way to do things. As history has demonstrated time and again, any ideology or system of belief which finds its basis in the subjective interpretation of the written word is bound to run across divisive, and often times vehement, doctrinal disputes over these same passages. Furthermore, such disputes can and often do ultimately result in ideological offshoots which diverge wildly from their accepted point of origin.

Essentially, "Trotskyism," "Marxist-Leninism," "Democratic Socialism," and even "African Socialism" can all be considered to be roughly "Marxist" ideologies in the same way that Fundamentalist Christianity, Roman Catholism, Greek Orthodoxy, and even Unitarianism can all be considered to be "Christian" religions. The stance my opponent has chosen to take on this issue would be akin to only accepting a fundamentalist or Roman Catholic definition of "Christianity" as characterizing what can be truly considered to be "Christian" while ignoring the fact that such views are not shared universally among all Christian sects.

This brings me to my next point.

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Whether my opponent has adopted two conflicting modes of argument (Mugabe is a Marxist because he is a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist vs. Mugabe is a Marxist despite the fact that he is not a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist) to have a backstop in the event that one argument fails or has taken the second tack as well as the first because he recognizes that he lacks the direct evidence needed to complete the first agument must remain in the land of speculation.


Once again, my opponent is simply allowing his overly narrow focus on this issue to cloud his perception of my arguments. He fails to see that both explanations can be viewed as being correct to a certain extent. In short, he refuses to leave any room for systems which may bend or go against clearly established norms.

As has already been well established, Robert Mugabe's rise to power was directly financed by the Red Chinese, and indirectly financed by the USSR, and his own views were influenced by the ideas put forward by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

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Son of a peasant farmer and carpenter, he began his education at a nearby Jesuit mission and then taught in various schools while studying for certification to go on to the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, from which he received a B.A. in English and History. He then studied at Drifontein, Salisbury (now Harare), Gwelo, and Tanzania, and eventually obtained by correspondence a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of London. Next he began teaching in Accra, Ghana (1958-60), where he met Sally Hayfron, his first wife.


When Mugabe studied there, Fort Hare, which was paid for by apartheid South Africa's white taxpayers, was the premier black university of all English-speaking Africa, producing a number of famous African leaders. At that institution Mugabe became radicalized, as did such future "freedom presidents" as Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda and future rivals over absolute power in Rhodesia like Herbert Chitep. Ghana, which at the time was under the rule of American-educated Kwame Nkrumah, was also a center of anti-Western, "anti-imperialist" propaganda. By the time Mugabe returned to Rhodesia in 1960, he was a committed Leninist.


The term "Leninist" is used purposefully. There is no indication that Mugabe (or his colleagues, supporters, or mentors among the African liberation movements leaders, such as Amilcar Cabral in Guine Bissao, Samora Machel of Mozambique, and Sam Nujoma of Namibia) ever read Marx. If anything, they perhaps read Lenin and Stalin's brief treatises on how to take and keep power. One of Mugabe’s colleagues in this regard is Mengistu Haile Mariam, a briefly American-trained Ethiopian dictator and Stalin emulator, who has been a guest of Mugabe's since 1991, while he faces charges of crimes against humanity in Ethiopia, whose government has been seeking his extradition.


The Zimbabwe liberation movements of the 1970s--primarily Mugabe’s ZANU and its competitor ZAPU (Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union)--had a confused history of idealistic rhetoric, Marxism-Leninism, and systematic atrocities.


This fact is further established by the following sources.

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Officially, ZANU-PF is socialist in ideology, and is modeled on communist parties in other countries. The party maintains a politburo.[4]


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Somehow this was reminiscent of the powerbase provided for his ZANLA liberation army guerrillas from 1976 to 1980 and, back then, the idea of a peasant base was very much in accord with the Maoism that, again rhetorically, Mugabe occasionally espoused.


Obviously Robert Mugabe's ideology has been influenced and flavored by "Marxist-Leninism" in general, and by "Maoism" in particular, or his political party would not share many of the characteristics of the "Marxist-Leninist" derived "Communist" parties of other nations, and he himself would not have used openly "Maoist" rhetoric during his rise to power.

However, as is stated at 28:00 in the ZWTube-Mugabe1979 video, "while the dominant ideological influence (in ZANU) is clearly Chinese," the movement insists that it is "completely unaligned" and is actually critical of "orthodox Socialist systems," which in this case of course means traditional "Marxist-Leninism" in the Soviet style.

[youtube]http://www.zwtube.com/video/629/Mugabe-1979[/youtube]

While my opponent will undoubtedly try to spin this revelation as disproving my arguments, it actually does nothing of the kind. This all plays into my original premise with regard to Robert Mugabe's ultimate ideological classification. This premise holds, as has been stated repeatedly, that Robert Mugabe is primarily a follower of "African Socialism" who endorses a brand of "soft" Socialism, which has been heavily flavored and influenced by "Maoist," and therefore, "Marxist-Leninist," ideological and politcial ideals. This fact may make Mugabe's particular take on "Marxism" something of a misshapen "bastard child" when compared with other, more well known and well defined variations upon these ideas, but it does not change the fact that this ideology still falls clearly within the same categorical family. Confused "Marxism" implimented poorly and possibly even cynically is STILL "Marxism."

As usual, my opponent is simply demonstrating his stubborn refusal to entertain the notion of any kind of "gray area" where "Marxist" ideology is concerned. Such thinking is out of touch with political reality and overly constrictive in its implications.

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At that early stage one would expect an ideologue to be at his most doctrinaire


This is completely irrelevant. An "ideologue" who endorses "Marxist" ideology is still a "Marxist," in the same way that Pagan Kings who converted to Christianity purely for the political and economic benefits during the Dark Ages were still "Christian." Besides, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao were all "ideologues" as well.

This issue having been covered, I will now move on to address the second point raised by my opponent. Namely, that Muagbe's current ideology is no longer "Marxist."

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But the period afterward, from 1987 to the present, is just as critical in any assessment of Mugabe, comprising as it does roughly half of the man's entire time in Rhodesian and Zimbabwean politics.

For this later period, my opponent has not yet been able to put forth a direct, explicit link to Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideology as he has done for the earlier period. Instead, he tries to untilize indirect evidence and inference, and it is here where the connection breaks down.


Once again, my opponent misses the point. Robert Mugabe's stated adherence to "Marxist-Leninism" and "Maoism" were simply further evidence which solidified his "Marxist" status, not the entire justification for this view. Mugabe's status as a "African Socialist" was just as important to this claim as his ties to any form of "Maoism."

All of this aside, however; the simple fact of the matter remains that Mugabe's core political philosophy throughout the 2000s has been essentially identical to the ideology he endorsed during the 1980s. He may not be quite so outspoken in his endorsements for "Marxist-Leninism" as he was before (very likely due to changes in the international order), but, as has already been established, Mugabe's government was always heavily influenced by "Maoist" ideals from the very start. As such, if this current mode of economic management is the same as what was endorsed in the period of Muagbe's presidency before Zimbabwe's move towards economic liberalization in the 1990s, then it is obviously "Maoist" influenced as well.

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However, as I have already demonstrated, there is nothing about land reform, land seizure, and nationalization of land that are definitively Marxist - that is to say, that precludes them from occurring in some other socio-economic environment. Nkomo's land reform policy, as I have pointed out, is very similar to Israel's (93 percent public ownership, private use governed by 98- and 48- year leases). The French Revolution took land belonging to the Church and nobility and turned it over to the peasantry to own directly - a class-based land reform that was nevertheless non-Marxist. In Israel in 1976 the government seized 6.3 sq. km. of Arab-owned land for government and Jewish use, which prompted protest and violent suppression; as mentioned previously the United States government used military action to drive natives off their lands - not to conquer them, but merely to gain control of the land they were sitting on. More generally, political violence between opposing factions is not peculiar to any one socio-economic system.


This attempt by my opponent to poison the well against my argument is simply asinine. Marx explcitly demanded that all "productive" property be taken (by force in most cases) from the "bourgeoisie" and used "communally" by the "proletariat."

The US or Israeli governments strictly governing vehemently contested land in the interests of building PRIVATE settlements in traditionally "native" areas and forcing the development of infrastructure at the end of a rifle most certainly DOES NOT fit this criteria. Furthermore, as has already been pointed out, modern "Socialism" and Marx's philosophies are actually a direct result of the "Revolutionary," anti-authoritarian, and egalitarian sentiments spawned by the French Revolution, and so this example actually only serves to further my argument.

In short, while it would be true to make the claim that "Statist" control over industry and land is an essential characteristic of "Marxism," this does not necessarily mean that all such forms of "statism" are inherently "Marxist."

Mugabe's policies aimed at "nationalizing" traditionally "bourgeoisie" white farms by force and "redistributing" them among the "proletarian" native peasant masses under new and improved "state management," however; ARE clearly in line with the philosophies of both Marx and Mao. This is apparent in Marx's own writings, and in the ideas endorsed by Maoism.

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My opponent's second article, Wikipedia's "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe," is a perplexing addition as it does not describe any "measures [Mugabe] has reinstituted in order to control Zimbabwe's economy," Marxist or no - it merely describes the course of the hyperinflation of Zimbabwe's currency. Since hyperinflation indicated a catastrphoic economic failure but does not alone pinpoint causes of that failure, and since hyperinflation is not unique to any region, time period, or ideology, this article has little to do with my opponent's case.



My opponent misunderstands the purpose this article was meant to serve. It was meant to highlight the heavy handed direct control Mugabe's "Socialist" government continues to exert over Zimbabwe's economy, not to imply that "hyperinflation" is inherently "Marxist." As was established before, these measures are almost identical to the policies which Mugabe's government endorsed during the 1980s. As has been established, during this period, Zimbabwe's government very clearly was "Socialist" in nature and heavily "Maoist" influenced. As such, the same conditions apply here as were stated above.

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None of these things - land reform, political violence, seizure of property, nationalization of property, or bad monetary policy - are Marxist unless they are carried out in a Marxist context. To show the existence of this requires some form of direct link between the practitioner and the ideology.


I have done exactly this more times than I care to count. Whether my opponent chooses to acknowledge this fact or not is entirely up to him. I leave it to the audience to decide.

Having dealt with this issue, I am brought to my next criticism of my opponent's arguments. He consistently makes the mistake of assuming that only "Marxist-Leninism" can be viewed as being truly "Marxist." He begins to make this argument with the following claim.

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However, while they refer to nationalization of major industries while keeping small business in private hands, this falls short of Marxism itself.

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My opponent can shut his eyes and ears to Marx's own words all he likes, but to no avail.


My opponent is simply incorrect. The only thing that it can be explicitly proven that Marx ever called for was...

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The proletariat [to] (changed for grammatical clarity) use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree , all capital from the bourgeoisie


...and he actually clearly stated that...

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The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property


While, it must be admitted that Marx did call for the EVENTUAL development of a truly "Communist" society in which...

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capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.
.
.
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From the moment when labor can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.


He gave absolutely no indication of how long this process might take, what course it might ultimately take in accomplishing its goals, or what EXACTLY can be thought of as constituting "bourgeoisie" capital. These concepts are left intentionally vague.

My opponent is again simply falling back on his flawed assumption that only extreme "Marixist-Leninist" interpretations of "Marxist" theory can be accepted as forming the basis for "true Marxism." He is essentially confusing the ideologies of Marx and Lenin and designating meaning to Marx's writings beyond what Marx himself actually explicitly stated. It is actually he who is confusing Marx's actual teachings, not me.

This is most apparent in his following assessments of Marx's intentions...

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Thus, the statements on nationalization by ZANU representatives and Mugabe in this documentary, while consistent with socialism, are not consistent with actual Marxism as written by Marx, and as practiced in the USSR after 1928, China until 1984, Cuba prior to 1993, Vietnam before 1990, etc.


In spite of my constant references to the flaws inherent to judging "Marxism" directly on the basis of its adherence to "Marxist-Leninist" ideology, my opponent simply cannot help but continue to narrowly define this system simply as it was practiced under "Marxist-Leninist" governments. He seems to be fundamentally incapable of differentiating between the two on any intellectual level.

This problem is further compounded by my opponent's distressing assessment of the state of "Communism" under "Marxist-Leninist" regimes.

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Unfortunately, he is faced with the fact that countries like the USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, et al did abolish private capital and collectivize the means of production. That it did not happen exactly as Marx wrote is irrelevant; they actually strove for communist society and achieved it


This claim is utterly laughable, and only demonstrates my opponent's ignorance of "Marxist" philosophy as a whole. In fact, many modern proponents of Marx's ideals have been desperately trying to distance themselves from such claims since before the end of the Cold War.

IN NO WAY, did the USSR, Red China, Vietnam, or Cuba achieve an egaliatarian "Communist" society as was envisioned by Marx. NONE of these nations were truly "classless," "governmentless," or fully devoid of Capital and "individualistic" pursuits. "Communism," as envisioned by Karl Marx, HAS NEVER been achieved.


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by definition, not Marxist) and ideology (China was Maoist, not Marxist-Leninist)


Semantics. "Maoism" is a "Marxist-Leninist (i.e. based on the writings of both Marx and Lenin)" system.

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My opponent may seek to claim that with a major communist country like China slowly expanding its sphere of market economy, the definition of Marxism changes to account for this. Not so, it merely means that China is becoming less Marxist.


I never claimed that China wasn't becoming less "Marxist." Zimbabwe was becoming "less Marxist" during the 1990s as well. However, as I have stated repeatedly, Mugabe has reversed this course and swung his regime back in the opposite (i.e. Socialist) direction. China has not.

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When I challenged him to find a non-communist form of Marxism, he pointed me toward democratic socialism. Unfortunately for him, his link does not identify democratic socialism as Marxist.


Once again, my opponent is either mistaken, lying, or simply assuming a posture of willful ignorance on this issue.Social Democracy Marxism/ Social Democracy

It is actually explicitly stated in both of these sources that...

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Many parties in the second half of the nineteenth century described themselves as social democratic, such as the General German Workers' Association and the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (which merged to form the Social Democratic Party of Germany or SPD), the British Social Democratic Federation and the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. In most cases these parties were avowedly revolutionary socialist, seeking not only to introduce socialism, but also to introduce democracy into nations lacking democratic institutions. Most of these parties were to some extent influenced by the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who were at that time working abroad, in London, to influence Continental European politics.
The modern social democratic movement came into being through a break within the socialist movement in the early years of the twentieth century. Speaking broadly, this break can be described as a parting of ways between those who insisted upon political revolution as a precondition for the achievement of socialist goals and those who maintained that a gradual or evolutionary path to socialism was both possible and desirable.[1]



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Social democracy is a political ideology that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many parties in the second half of the 19th century described themselves as social democratic, such as the British Social Democratic Federation, and the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. In most cases these were revolutionary socialist or Marxist groups, who were not only seeking to introduce socialism, but also democracy in un-democratic countries.

The modern social democratic current came into being through a break within the socialist movement in the early 20th century, between two groups holding different views on the ideas of Karl Marx. Many related movements, including pacifism, anarchism, and syndicalism, arose at the same time (often by splitting from the main socialist movement, but also by emerging of new theories.) and had various quite different objections to Marxism. The social democrats, who were the majority of socialists at this time, did not reject Marxism (and in fact claimed to uphold it), but wanted to reform it in certain ways and tone down their criticism of capitalism. They argued that socialism should be achieved through evolution rather than revolution. Such views were strongly opposed by the revolutionary socialists, who argued that any attempt to reform capitalism was doomed to fail, because the reformists would be gradually corrupted and eventually turn into capitalists themselves.

Despite their differences, the reformist and revolutionary branches of socialism remained united until the outbreak of World War I. The war proved to be the final straw that pushed the tensions between them to breaking point. The reformist socialists supported their respective national governments in the war, a fact that was seen by the revolutionary socialists as outright treason against the working class (Since it betrayed the principle that the workers "have no nation", and the fact that usually the lowest classes are the ones sent into the war to fight, and die, putting the cause at the side). Bitter arguments ensued within socialist parties, as for example between Eduard Bernstein (reformist socialist) and Rosa Luxemburg (revolutionary socialist) within the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Eventually, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, most of the world's socialist parties fractured. The reformist socialists kept the name "Social democrats", while the revolutionary socialists began calling themselves "Communists", and soon formed the modern Communist movement. (See also Comintern)

Since the 1920s, doctrinal differences have been constantly growing between social democrats and Communists (who themselves are not unified on the way to achieve socialism), and Social Democracy is mostly used as a specifically Central European label for Labour Parties since then, especially in Germany and the Netherlands and especially since the 1959 Godesberg Program of the German SPD that rejected the praxis of class struggle altogether.


As should be apparent, "Social Democracy" and "Democratic Socialism" are largely (if not entirely) "Marxist" derived movements.


This brings me to my next point.


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Now, the main problem with his argument of 'descent' is a huge and glaring one: such a broad definition of Marxism makes the term all but meaningless as a label of political ideology.


This is complete and total nonsense. Recognizing the historical FACT that "Marxism" extends beyond the tenants of mere "Classical Marxism" and "Marxist-Leninism" does no more to render the term "meaningless," than referring to religions other than Judaism (i.e. Christianity, Islam, etca) as "Abrahamic" degrades the meaning of this term. It may be a serious blow to my opponent's overly simplistic and "Marxist-Leninist" centric worldview, but this is really neither here nor there as far as I am concerned.

As I have already stated, there is nothing wrong with being specific. "Classical Marxism" and "Trotskyism" are closest to Marx's original views, "Stalinism" and "Maoism" are derived from "Marxist-Leninism," and "Social Democracy" is much more lax and has been effected by other influences. However, none of this changes the fact that all of these systems ARE to a certain degree "Marxist," and should be considered as such.

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Right in the face of a direct, cited quote by a scholar of Spanish fascism and a solidly referenced statement about the non-fascism of Franco's regime (therefore including the Falangists whose fascism must necessarily have been undermined when they were folded into the regime),


As usual, my opponent sees fit to nit-pick this issue to the point of utter uselessness. The Falangists were Fascists. They formed a significant portion of Franco's government. Therefore, Franco's government possessed definite "Fascist" influences. The OPINIONS of a few academics and the fact that Franco himself may have not exactly been a text-book Fascist himself is irrelevant to this fact.

This brings me to my final point. Namely, the issue of the validity of my sources.

As it seems to be the case that my opponent will simply continue to nit-pick, quibble around, misconstrue, and possibly even blatantly lie about whatever sources I provide in order to make up for the inherent weaknesses of his own arguments, I really see no need to address this issue at any length. As is often the case with skeptics, it seems to be that NO EVIDENCE will be enough to satisfy my opponent.

In short, I have provided ample evidence to support my claims, and as such, I will leave the issue up to the board to decide. My opponent cannot accuse me of evading the issue.

CNET
ARS
Nature
(Incidentally, there have been several additional studies into this matter which have addressed articles on religion and ideology, as well as those concerning science. A list of these studies and their results can be located, ironically enough, on Wikipedia.)

However, I do believe that one issue in particular should be addressed.

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Chesney and Ars Technica both caution that Wikipedia, while comparable to Britannica in Chesney's survey (which itself is of limited accuracy because of the sample size), nevertheless makes mistakes and should not be taken as the final word without further research.


While my opponent completely ignores the fact that these EXPERTS (and once again many, many others) gauged wikipedia to be ON THE WHOLE fairly reliable, I think that it should be further pointed out that I HAVE provided further sources on and conducted further research into the issue of Muagbe's "Marxist" ties. So far, Wikipedia has been shown to be almost completely accurate on every issue so far addressed.


To cite just a few examples from this debate...

Wikipedia claimed that Robert Mugabe's movement was supported by the Red Chinese and "Maoist" influenced. Additional research into this claim has shown it to be accurate.
...
Wikipedia claimed that Robert Mugabe sought to create a "one party" regime. Once again, additional research has shown this claim to be verifiably true.
and...
Wikipedia claimed that the "Unity Accord" which ended Zimbabwe's civil war and formed the ZANU-PF was "Marxist-Leninist" in nature. As with what was claimed before, this claim has been verified by additional sources.


Furthermore, as my opponent himself pointed out, these claims came from mere "unsourced" Wikipedia articles (which, once again, turned out to be a dishonest claim on the part of my opponent)! It would seem to be the case that Wikipedia is far more reliable than my opponent would give it credit for.

In addition to even this fact, I would also like to point out that the articles I have presented to the board on "Marxism," "Social Democracy," and the political Left in general are far more stringent in their citations and references than any I've posted on Zimbabwe.


With this, I conclude my arguments. Once again, I thank the board for its time, patience, and this opportunity to defend my viewpoints.



"Because its in the script!"

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-12-06 01:32am
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Allow me to apologize to my opponent and the board ahead of time for the following lines from my last post.

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Once again, my opponent is either mistaken, lying, or simply assuming a posture of willful ignorance on this issue.


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As it seems to be the case that my opponent will simply continue to nit-pick, quibble around, misconstrue, and possibly even blatantly lie about whatever sources I provide in order to make up for the inherent weaknesses of his own arguments


These statements came off quite a bit more forceful than I intended them to. Unfortunately, I did not catch these mistakes until after I had posted my response and re-read my post.



"Because its in the script!"

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-12-08 05:52am
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In keeping with the spirit of my opponent's post, I will issue mine in the form of a closing statement as well, rather than a direct challenge to his. I presume that the debate will then come to a close, unless my opponent finds a reason to continue.

I find it unfortunate that this debate essentially ground to a halt at Round 2. I had hoped that this debate would focus on the substance of Mugabe, but my opponent put forth an argument that ranged far beyond Zimbabwe, all of it equally flimsy. It would not do to let such base untruths pass unchallenged, so I attempted to goad my opponent into improving his argument so that the debate might focus on the main premise. He was not able to improve his argument, and thus the exchange stalled: him unable to avoid his absurd characterization of Marxism, and myself unwilling to let the debte rest on such a preposterously inaccurate sense of a critical supporting issue. With no common ground, it could not proceed.

Thus, this debate appears headed to a close after only a few rounds. My opponent has issued a closing argument that is esentially a re-hash of his previous post, with little to address my objections. He seems to feel that saying "Not so!" is enough, in this last instance as all along. Thus, I am obliged one last time to correct him.

Knobbyboy wrote:
While my opponent seems to understand the gist of my arguments, he fails to understand a key point. I do not believe ALL "Socialism" to be "Marxist" derived. I simply pointed out the historical FACT that Marx played an essential role in the growth and development of this system as a viable political ideology.

This is not to say that Marx was the progenitor of "Socialist" ideology in general, or even anymore than the Biblical Abraham can be considered to be the "progenitor" of all "Monotheist" theology. It simply means that Marx is the progenitor of a great deal of "Socialism's" current ideals, standards, and philosophical background. As was stated before, however; such influence is largely a matter of degree. Some forms of modern "Socialism," such as "Marxist-Leninism" for instance, are extremely militant in their support for (what they interpret as being at least) Marx's philosophical and political ideals. "Democratic Socialism," which, as has already been demonstrated and will be further elaborated upon later in my argument, was heavily "Marxist" influenced, but eventually dropped most of Marx's "Revolutionary" ideas in the favor of more pragmatic political concerns. Whereas still other ideologies, such as "Anarchism" and "Volunteerism" were only barely influenced by Marx's ideals if at all.


This small snip is representative of my opponent's position on what is and isn't Marxism; he claims that some nebulous "influence of Marx" is sufficient to permit him to apply the label of Marxist. This is nonsense.

The United States is a democratic, federal republic. If my opponent's reasoning is applied, it is proper to call it a democratic republic because its founders were inspired in part by the ancient Greek democracy and the ancient Roman republic. As anyone who is even remotely acquainted with the field of comparative politics knows, this is not why the classification is appropriate. The US can be called a democratic republic because it is organized in the fashion of a democratic republic; it bears the touchstones of that system of organization. The inspiration is irrelevant; had the founders gotten stoned and decided to implement a system where citizens voted for representatives in a hierarchical governmental structure, it would still be a democratic republic. Had the founders been inspired by the British monarchy and instituted a king, and 300 years later the last king got bored with it all, instituted a decree that a system of citizen voting and a heirarchical governmental structure be implemented, and then abdicated, it would still be a democratic republic.

'The inspiration of Marx,' where it has even been proven (not very well, as I have already noted), plays absolutely no role in determining whether or not a person, movement, or government is Marxist. Instead, the determination is made by seeing whether that entity displays the touchstones of Marxism, and that is done by looking at the vast body of writings by Marxists, which my opponent has mostly ignored, and the history of Marxism as applied around the world. What we see in all those cases are the presence of a class revolution that aims to overthrow the bourgeoise, abolish capital, and collectively own the means of production. This is communism. My opponent may shut his ears all he likes, and avert his eyes, but communism is present in the writings of Marx, of Lenin, of Stalin, of Mao; and it was practiced in all those countries which had Marxist revolutions. Those few Marxist political parties remaining in the West still retain the communist impulse. Whewther it is Marx's idyllic communism or Lenin's/Stalin's/Mao's state communism is irrelevant; whether it is the industrial proletariat or the peasantry which revolt; whether it is the factories or the fields that are collectivized; the basis for all this things is to be found in the body of writings which defines Marxism distinct from all other socialisms. This is undeniable, yet my opponent has seriously attempted to claim the opposite.

His entire characterization of Marxism is based first on his inference, from a very thin reading of Wikipedia articles no less, that Marx's influence is pervasive through the whole modern Left to the point that it is the most important influence. It is based second on his naive conception that political ideology is a nebulous belief system that can't be classified or categorized ecxept when it is convenient to him. Never mind that the field of comparative politics exists to make the finest possible classifications among political systems, and there is no basis in that field to support his...generous understanding of Marxism.

Since he has nothing new to say on the subject, there is no purpose in addressing his statements point-by-point in hopes that his position will improve. I reject entirely his characterization of Marxism, based as it is on deliberate mis-reading of Marx (and disregarding of all other writers), un-expert inference (his own) applied to general sources of unconfirmed accuracy, faulty conceptions, and a general "Google-scholar" ingorance of politics and history. With it, I reject his premise that being socialist is enough to make Mugabe a Marxist.

So, then, what is left for my opponent? He could still have tried to prove that Mugabe is a clear and doctrinaire Marxist. However, in what is meant to be his final post on the matter, he moves no further than the incomplete case he left in his previous post. That Mugabe held Maoist principles in his early career is presently undisputed; my opponent has shown that to my satisfaction. My opponent has tried to use that as a springboard to extend his claim across Mugabe's entire career and has remained just as unsuccessful as he was in his previous post.

My opponent returns to the same quotes that have been endlessly rehashed, with the same flawed readings of them that I already dissected - quotes that nevertheless cover Mugabe's early years only, the period which is not disputed here. Mugabe's African Socialist credentials are irrelevant, as my opponent invokes them to play the "inspiration" card which I dismissed previously.

The period of the 1990s has been conceded by my opponent. Mugabe's actions and words during this period were not Marxist in nature.

What about after the 1990s? My opponent presented, early on, the heavy role of the government in Zimbabwe's economy. I showed how France, a non-Marxist country, has comparable government involvement in the economy; therefore heavy government involvement in the economy does not constitute proof of Marxism.

My opponent presented the proposed policy of all Zimbabwean land being owned by the state and leased to citizens; I showed how Israel, a non-Marxist country, has a virtually identical lands policy; therefore state ownership of land being rented to private citizens is not proof of Marxism.

My opponent presented an article on Zimbabwe's hyperinflation as evidence of the government's heavy involvement in the economy, but did not bother to cite how he felt the article supported his claim; the non-Marxism of heavy governmental involvement having already been shown, I showed the existence of bad governmental monetary policy elsewhere which caused hyperinflation. To further dismantle this claim on the part of my opponent, it is an historical fact that all of the steps taken by Zimbabwe have been taken by other non-Marxist nations during periods of hyperinflation or economic crisis. Argentina capped bank withdrawals in 2001. Thailand's government cut prices on consumer goods in 2008 to fight inflation. New Zealand froze wages in 1982 to fight inflation. Weimar Germany printed money, issued ever-higher denominations, and eventually revaluated the Mark in order to stabilize it in 1923. None of these measures had anything to do with Marxism or even socialism, but were instead aggressive responses to economic crises that are coherent, basically, with Keynesian economics. All of these measures are those taken by Zimbabwe according to my opponent's article. This claim is hereby put to rest.

My opponent presented Zimbabwe's land reform as consistent with Marxism and Maoism:

Knobbyboy wrote:
Mugabe's policies aimed at "nationalizing" traditionally "bourgeoisie" white farms by force and "redistributing" them among the "proletarian" native peasant masses under new and improved "state management," however; ARE clearly in line with the philosophies of both Marx and Mao. This is apparent in Marx's own writings, and in the ideas endorsed by Maoism.


This, again, is my opponent's inference which is not supported directly by any fact. Land reform which distributes property from white landowners, in the minority of the population, to black landowners, in the majority of the population, is par for the course in post-colonial Africa as a way to redress the inequalities of colonialism. Such redistribution has taken place in non-Marxist Kenya in 1960 and a new program in 2006, in non-Marxist Namibia in 1994, and in non-Marxist South Africa as part of post-apartheid equalization, taking the form of expropriation in 2006. The need to redress the imbalances of colonialism, which is a racial issue as much as it is a class issue, explains land refom even in Zimbabwe without my opponent's spurious use of Marxist class appellations. That Zimbabwe's land reform program is in fact for the sake of the so-called "proletariat" is questionable:

Yahoo news wrote:
Gertrude Hambara, general secretary of the General Agricultural and Plant Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) told the APPG for Zimbabwe that violent farm evictions in Zimbabwe benefit only a "rich, political elite and Mugabe cronies".

In contrast to the image portrayed by the Mugabe regime, Ms Hambara reported that a number of "grabbers" own five to ten farms already.

Ms Hambara spoke to the APPG on Wednesday as a guest of the trade union UNITE.


This points toward my earlier suggestion that Mugabe was not acting out of any sort of Marxist ideology, but rather to cynically benefit himself and his regime. It also undermines my opponent's claim that the land reform program is somehow a move toward collectivization. Lastly, his suggestion that the 'reformed' land is under "state management" is completely unfounded and was introduced as part of his argument, without any evidence at all, in just this last post. The nearest my opponent has come to suggesting evidence of "state management" is with the previously-noted policy of state ownership, which as I have already shown is very similar to Israel's non-Marxist state ownership of land, and is therefore not proof of Marxism. If my opponent wanted to claim that Zimbabwe's land was being managed by the state he should have provided evidence to that effect previously; it is too late now.

Taking into account also the existence of a political opposition in Zimbabwe's government, and the whole breath of my opponent's claims regarding Mugabe's alleged "return to Marxism" in the 2000s is thusly undermined. The debate thus far has established nothing conclusive about Mugabe's Marxist credentials in the period 1987-2009, but has cast serious doubt that any of his policies during that period reflect any kind of pursuit of Marxism. Recall those common Marxist tenets - abolition of all capital and collectivization of the means of production - and it is easy to see that my opponent has provided no evidence of this; only his own inference based on his fallacious understanding of Marxism as outlined above. Thus, my opponent closes his debate on Robert Mugabe without having established his position to any degree of completeness, and with a poverty of evidence and a weakness of reasoning that is frankly disappointing.

It remains for me, in the name of completeness, only to nail down those last two now-irrelevant points that my opponent has opted to pursue despite them already being refuted:

Knobbyboy wrote:
As usual, my opponent sees fit to nit-pick this issue to the point of utter uselessness. The Falangists were Fascists. They formed a significant portion of Franco's government. Therefore, Franco's government possessed definite "Fascist" influences. The OPINIONS of a few academics and the fact that Franco himself may have not exactly been a text-book Fascist himself is irrelevant to this fact.


Is my opponent really so stupid as to deride the "OPINIONS of a few academics," while simultaneously appealing to the authority of the OPINIONS of a bunch of ignorant laymen? Gee, I'd sure hate to have an expert give me his opinion; I'd much rather have Joe Bloggs out on the street tell me whatever half-assed idea he's got.

This ridiculous claim has already been completely quashed by my opponent's own source. Given that he introduced this tangent in order to employ the Appeal to Ignorant Laymen with regard to what is and isn't Marxism, he should feel ashamed for bringing the matter up in the first place.

Knobbyboy wrote:
CNET
ARS
Nature
(Incidentally, there have been several additional studies into this matter which have addressed articles on religion and ideology, as well as those concerning science. A list of these studies and their results can be located, ironically enough, on Wikipedia.)

While my opponent completely ignores the fact that these EXPERTS (and once again many, many others) gauged wikipedia to be ON THE WHOLE fairly reliable, I think that it should be further pointed out that I HAVE provided further sources on and conducted further research into the issue of Muagbe's "Marxist" ties. So far, Wikipedia has been shown to be almost completely accurate on every issue so far addressed.


My opponent continues to the very end to pretend to have maintained a high standard of citiation in this debate. I have already pointed out, explicitly, where the statements he has referenced are not themselves cited. I have explained why Wikipedia is not a sufficiently rigorous source to be valid in any arena outside grade school. I have explained the academic standard of citation and the reasons for it. My opponent, rather than addressing any of this, merely repeats information I have already addressed, and adds the baseless claim that Wikipedia has somehow "been shown" to be "almost completely accurate on every issue so far addressed." This is his own assertion, unfounded in any fact and undermined by the issues I raised with his references which he was not able to resolve.

Knobbyboy wrote:
To cite just a few examples from this debate...

Wikipedia claimed that Robert Mugabe's movement was supported by the Red Chinese and "Maoist" influenced. Additional research into this claim has shown it to be accurate.
...
Wikipedia claimed that Robert Mugabe sought to create a "one party" regime. Once again, additional research has shown this claim to be verifiably true.
and...
Wikipedia claimed that the "Unity Accord" which ended Zimbabwe's civil war and formed the ZANU-PF was "Marxist-Leninist" in nature. As with what was claimed before, this claim has been verified by additional sources.


Furthermore, as my opponent himself pointed out, these claims came from mere "unsourced" Wikipedia articles (which, once again, turned out to be a dishonest claim on the part of my opponent)! It would seem to be the case that Wikipedia is far more reliable than my opponent would give it credit for.


More of the same. My opponent's childish approach to citation causes him to conclude that if Wikipedia's statements are confirmed in some cases, then any statement can be considered to be accurate whether it is confirmed or not. He does not bother to consider that the outside sources, once provided, made the Wikipedia statements they confirmed redundant. It never occurred to him that, if Wikipedia is so accurate, then any statement it makes could be confirmed in an outside source, and that it would have been trivially easy for him to meet the academic standard of citation I set. But it must not have been, because he relied on reference to Wikipedia right up until the end.

I should point out at this juncture, in order to make my case against his Wikipedia citations even stronger, that when I pointed out that a statement he cited as authoritative support of his position was uncited, this means that the statement as presented in the Wikipedia article was not footnoted or referenced in any way. The text in my opponent's citations did not vouch for its own accuracy, and I had no reason to take my opponent at his word; only when my opponent deigned to produce sources that were not Wikipedia could the accuracy of those statements be confirmed, and if he had a brain in his head he would have cited those third-party sources in the first place and eschewed Wikipedia entirely.

Knobbyboy wrote:
In addition to even this fact, I would also like to point out that the articles I have presented to the board on "Marxism," "Social Democracy," and the political Left in general are far more stringent in their citations and references than any I've posted on Zimbabwe.


Still more of the same. He pretends he has addressed the issues I raised regarding his use of unsourced Wikipedia statements be claiming that some of his articles have "stringent" citation. It doesn't matter whether or not this is true, as the statements he used as evidence are still uncited as I pointed out, and therefore remain in doubt.

Finally, I would like to point out one final dishonest use of a (Wikipedia) source:

Knobbyboy wrote:
Once again, my opponent is either mistaken, lying, or simply assuming a posture of willful ignorance on this issue.Social Democracy Marxism/ Social Democracy


He pretends that I am in the wrong when I stated that his cited (Wikipedia) article on democrtatic socialism did not link democratic socialism to Marxism, and provded as a counter the above two articles...which do not concern democratic socialism and are not the original article to which I objected.

Besides his little bait-and-switch, in both of the articles cited (the second of which lacks footnotes in the passage he referenced) he repeats his usual trick of limiting his attention only to the pre-World War I period. I challenge the reader, or my opponent if he cares to do so, to find Marx in the present-day European Labour parties and in the present-day European countries who have a social-democratic system.

With those final shots fired, I have nothing further to add on this matter unless my opponent revives his argument. He has not solidified his baseless, overbroad definition of Marxism; he has established nothing conclusive about Robert Mugabe more recent than 1987, and he has persisted in an astoundingly poor use of sources and reasoning. That seems to be the impasse where we presently stand, and the note on which the debate appears to have ended.



"Six rolls? We could have covered World War II in two fucking frames - one for the battle scene, and one for the generals shaking hands!" -'Zeke'[/size]

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 Post subject: Re: Marxism & Mugabe (Knobbyboy88 V Simplicius) PostPosted: 2009-12-08 06:05am
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This debate is closed unless and until it is revived by both participants. In the meanwhile, there is a postmortem thread now in OT to discuss this debate.



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