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Submitted by LeeC on Fri, 1/27/2012, 6:36pm
Last week a question was raised RE Dalai Lama and Marxism. Since this is the activist group I would like to respond because I lived in a socialist (communist) county during my early days.
I am not surprised about the Dalai Lama’s opinion about being a Marxist. Marxism (or Marx-Engelism to be precise) was an economic and sociopolitical worldview a classless, stateless system back in the 19th century based on common ownership and freedom for individuals to develop their own capacities and talents. It doesn’t sound bad, right? Right. It was really pure, and that was the where the Leninist model of socialist development of the working class (proletariat) came from. Lenin was the one who learned from Marx and Engels and started the Russian Revolution in 1917.
We need to remember that the Marxist-Leninists sought to work towards the workers' utopia in Marxist ideology by first creating a socialist state, which historically had almost always been a single-party dictatorship. And that single (communist) party dictatorship created so called Stalinism. Ladies and gentlemen, this is where so called “bad communism” starts. It has very little to with Karl Marx, it is what Stalin took and turned it completely around. That was the time when the true communist dictatorship began in 1920a in the former Soviet Union. That brought in charge a dictatorship of the proletariat which would bring upon them socialism, the lower phase of communism.
Originally Karl Marx' idea was that after this, the party would essentially dissolve as the entire proletariat was elevated to the level of revolutionaries. WRONG. That never happened because the dictatorship of the proletariat referred to the absolute power of the working class, and it governed everything (greed).
Fortunately there was somebody called Leon Trotsky in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. Trotskyism was the theory of Marxism as advocated by him, and Trotsky considered himself a Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party. He truly considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism. As we know it today, his politics differed sharply from those of Stalin or Mao, most importantly in declaring the need for an international "permanent revolution". Well, he couldn’t last too long in the Stalinist Soviet Union and was later assassinated outside the Soviet Union.
This is just a short lesson on “Marxism” and Dalai Lama. Today, we see democratic socialists around the world attempt to work towards an ideal state by social reform and are often little different from social democrats, with the democratic socialists having a more leftist stance. As of 2011, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, Cuba, and the People's Republic of China had governments in power which describe themselves as socialist in the Marxist sense. Isn’t that interesting? Wow, China and a Marxist state? I wonder what Karl Marx would have said about it.
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by Alison G