segunda-feira, maio 15, 2006

What if?

Nuno Carneiro has clarified his position on models and ideologies. He dismissed the unfortunate analogy between models in science and political ideologies and said something clear and reasonable: ideologies do not look at the reality, they impose or prescribe some utopy and many politicians and philosophers put too much ideology in what they do. I have to say that I agree with the latter. Everyone knows the stereotype of the loony politician, more interested in implementing some established dogma rather than trying to assess the real problems and finding the best solutions. Right-wingers like to associate the loony with the left, especially with comunists, but the loony is not exclusive to the left; I especially like the neo-liberals who see in liberisation the holly-grail to the problems of the universe — not fair trade, but free trade and bullshit of the like. But I do not agree with his arguments on ideology.

Our societies may look cruel, unfair, lawless, unethical and yet there has been such a remarkable evolution throughout history. If humanity had sticked to the harsh reality, societies wouldn't have evolved, everything would have remained almost the same. Fortunately, there were people observing and trying to improve things, asking, what if? What if we punish muder severally so that we stop with this carnage? What if we stop with tyrany? What if we could end with poverty? — It was by making this sort of questions, criticising the real, trying to find a better world that people arrived at ideologies. So, ideologies emerged from the real, emerged from an attempt to improve our societies. They are like a solution to a problem in society, an ideal to achieve. To dissociate ideologies, such as communism, from the real is a very blunt view of what such an ideology represents.

Chiara wrote a great comment on Marx's work. Marx and Engels were not loonies, on the contrary, they were very awake and aware. Here in the UK they observed the appalling living conditions of the working class. Is Marx and his ideology the source of all evil? I don't think so. Some people like to associate Marx with dictators such as, Lenin, Stalin, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tsung. But I like to associate Marx and communism with so many good things: the revolution of the 25th of April in Portugal (where the communist party played an important role during the years of the dictatorship), the welfare states of Europe, and the dozens of liberation movements that resulted in world that is far from fair, but that is surely fairer then at the time of Marx and Engels.

6 Comments:

At 5/16/2006 1:21 da tarde, Blogger Nuno Carneiro said...

A few comments:

1) Free Market is not an ideology. It's precisely the absence of ideology. Taxing African agricultural products to protect our farmers (so they can buy the latest BMW) is an ideology. Giving subsidies to our farmers (including the Queen of England and the Prince of Monaco) so they can dump their products in Africa is an ideology.

Free Market economy just wishes to finish all that: it's not about setting new ideas about Market; it's about scraping all ideas about market and keeping minimal regulation.

2) No one associates Marx with Lenine, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot (the list is endless). They do. They all claim that and they are the ones who tried to put into practice his ideas. And also, to some extent, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini. Let's not forget Fascism started as a split in the Italian Communist Party.

3) The welfare state wasn't an invention of Marx. It was invented by Social Democrats (like the Democratic Party in the US, Labour in the UK and others in Scandinavia), not Socialists. Marx had a very different idea: State control of the means of production, abolition of private property, and a classless society. And this should be imposed by force. Not by elections, by sheer violence.

4) The Communist Party played no role in the Portuguese revolution. The military did. Some of them had nothing to do with the Communist Party, like Spinola. The Communist Party took control afterwards because it was the only organised political entity, and tried to install a new dictatorship, with Cunhal as the new Salazar. That's why they tried to avoid elections at all costs. They were, once more, following Marx's doctrine: no elections, Socialism should be implemented through violence.

I generally agree with the rest.

 
At 5/16/2006 1:50 da tarde, Blogger Miguel Madeira said...

"And also, to some extent, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini. Let's not forget Fascism started as a split in the Italian Communist Party"

I am 99% certain that Franco never claimed any marxist influence. Franco was a typical continental European conservative (catholic, monarchist, etc.), not a "revolutionary from the right", like Hitler and Mussolini.

Fascism was not a split of Italian Comunist Party - Mussolini leaves the Socialist Party at 1914, and the fascist party is created at 1919.

"Marx had a very different idea: State control of the means of production, abolition of private property, and a classless society. And this should be imposed by force. Not by elections, by sheer violence."

About the "State control", Marx was contradictory: in some books he argues for state control, in others for the disapearence of the state.

"Elections" and "force" are not opposites: even elected governments use force. I think thar Marx never explained what was the "dictatorship of the proletariat": some of their self-proclaimed heirs argue that the expression only means a parlamentar government with universal sufrage (in opposition to the restricted suffrage - the "dictatorship of the burgeosie"- that was in Marx times); others argue that was a system of "workers councils", who is also an elected government; I suppose that Marx never explicit defendend a one-part dictatorship.

 
At 5/16/2006 10:11 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...

Nuno,

a) Free trade can be considered an ideology. It has a theory, which was proposed by Adam Smith. There are political parties that support it, and there are policies that are driven by free trade.

An approch that advocates a free market is obviously an idea for the functioning of market. One that advocates the makets to be free. There are others.

b) The welfare state was not an invention of Marx, but it has been very influenced by his work. I think this is obvious and widely recognised.

c) The same for the portuguese revolution, directly the comunist party did nothing. But it had an obvious indirect role. It was not a coincidence that it was a song of Zeca Afonso that was chosen as the sign to start the revolution. Those militars that made the 25th of April were influenced by the thought of Marx. Although they disagreed on the form, they all wanted a more equal society with equal opportunities for all, and with more social justice.

Things don't come out of nothing. The work of the communist party during the dictatorship helped to create a sort of atmosphere for opposition to the regime. Without that work it is very likely that the revolution would not have happened.

 
At 5/16/2006 10:50 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...

Miguel,

Thanks for your comment.

 
At 5/17/2006 10:57 da manhã, Blogger chiara said...

Several examples of true liberals:
1) Berlusconi (because he says of himself)
2) David Cameron (because others says of him)

I commented on the liberalism of the first before
the latter has distinguished himself 1)for going to work by bike to show that he is green (unfortunately his car was following him)
2)for proclaming that a corrct worki-life balance is at the top of his priority (unfortunately, he votedagainst father parental leave in the commons)

in other words: freedom for myself, and market for all others.

these are politicians that do not care about ideology, do not care about what they are going to do when they are in power, they just want to go to power. and do like Tony Blair, the british face of continental 1980s socialism, just a bit late on the timetable: cash & power..

it is amazing to say that italian fascism was born out of the communist party (which did not even exist in 1915). the fascism motto in Italy is "Dio, patria, famiglia"..it is amazing as well to say that the communist party did not have a role in the portuguese revolution. but who was in jail under salazar regime? this is a good example of how believers in Free Market can be ideologised.
this is an example of playing history to one own's interests. I think certain people really need to study a bit more, and in the case they did they understood only what they wanted..

 
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