Monday, May 12, 2008

Scientific Materialism vs. workers' self defined culture

Because from Stalin's, and to a lesser extent from Lenin's, time on Communism was associated with atheism and with a materialistic world view that condemned pretty much every philosophical idea about the nature of human beings and of society that didn't conform to it. The idea of enforcing a clockwork materialist view of nature, I would argue, is a hold over from bourgeois ideology and from the gains of bourgeois revolutions, and does not necessarily reflect what a socialist revolution would contain. It's not that religion and religious figures don't try sometimes to justify the current social situation, for example, but whether or not people choosing socialism should have an anti-religious attitude enforced against their will. If a revolution is going to be a revolution of the working class as an actual entity and not as an abstraction shouldn't it be them that make the decision about religion, philosophy, and culture, on a personal level if nothing else?

I think that socialism should be progressive and should be libertarian with regards to personal freedom, but part of being libertarian means tolerating people who in the face of it choose to live lives that are more traditional. Enforcing libertarianism against people's will is a pretty big contradiction. If socialism is about real freedom in both an individual and collective sense, and has workers defining their own culture, whatever that may be, and constructing a socialist culture independent of what came before then using bourgeois ideals as your guide to what society should be like is false, is a relic from a previous century.

True socialism should be open to the exploration of anything and shouldn't be bound by any state doctrine concerning the absolute nature of society, the universe, art, the whole package.

*on edit: yet all these things have been labeled 'bourgeois deviations' by Stalinist regimes. It's more accurate to say that Socialist Realism and dogmatic materialism are the bourgeois deviations.

*on edit #2: there seems to be two things going on here, libertarian values and working class self activity, and there's a third thing that factors in: surely there would be cultural change as part of a revolution. It might not be all encompassing but destruction of the capitalist media, capitalist advertising, as well as capitalist education, would be an integral part. These three things, libertarianism, workers' self definition of culture, and the cultural change necessitated ny a socialist revolution exist in a kind of holding pattern. I don't know quite how they would work together. Maybe if basic libertarianism was established as a general cultural right, anti-capitalist cultural change wasn't extended to everything, and workers were freed and given support to self define a workers' culture for themselves.

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