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DentArthurDent
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08 May 2009, 4:22 am

For the best part of a century Social Democrats have worked to prevent the majority of the population from taking control of the means of production and thereby forming a society based on the needs of the masses over the excesses of the individual. They have done this in the vain hope that capitalism can be reformed into a system that whilst still driven by profit also takes care of the less fortunate. Surely given the events of the last few months Social Democrats must be on the verge of admitting defeat.

The Great Black Hope has failed you. The Obama administration has opened the public purse to the financial sector whilst shutting it tight for the manufacturing. They have given over a Trillion dollars to maintain the banking sector but are preparing the Auto industry for bankruptcy. But you say the Auto and other manufacturing industries did not keep up with the times and were badly managed so they deserve to fail, why then not the corporate financial sector. Surely if it is ok to bail out the banks why is this administration not pouring masses of research and development dollars into manufacturing so that it can catch up and continue employing people.

Social democrats have had a few successes most notably immediately after the Second World war. Hardly surprising really, seeing as there was a great fear amongst the ruling elite of a socialist take over. These gains have been gradually eroded, and today we are seeing the last vestiges of them being stripped away. In the USA the gains of the Auto Workers have now been removed with all new hires on $14 an hour with no extra benefits, the old workforce has been decimated with tens of thousands laid off, in typical Obama fashion the administration bleated that they could not prevent the perverse payments of bonuses to those in the finance sector because of the contract situation. Of course the Auto workers were a completely different matter, their contracts, with the complicit aid of the Unions, have been torn up

The same has happened in Australia. The government guaranteed all banking liabilities, whilts at the same time (with the aid of the Unions) forced workers to rip up their contracts to "save their jobs'. The annual budget is due next week and the Rudd government is preparing everyone for an austere budget, in other words the poor are going to cop it

This scenario is being repeated throughout the industrialised world

The result of all this is to give the ruling elite exactly what they have wanted for decades. A flexible workforce that has bugger all protection and is in fear of their jobs. On the back of this the stock market is soaring.

So what now social democrats, are you going to continue in your delusion and try to reform Capitalism, continue your divisive identity politics, or come to you senses and realise that capitalism has run its course and needs to be replaced?


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Ichinin
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08 May 2009, 5:52 am

Are you talking about democrats with a social niche like the US Democrats or are you talking a political party a la Swedish "Social Democrat party" that is caught slightly to the left in between socialism and capitalism?

I do not recognise the description you are giving on the social democratic political agenda out of my local perspective. because here we have a government that is to the right of the political spectrum and they do exactly what you accuse the Social Democrats of doing.


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DentArthurDent
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08 May 2009, 6:21 am

^ Sweden is a great example of social democracy. For so long it has been held aloft by the proponents of social democracy as the "ThirdWay" this has now been shown to be a completely bankrupt ideology. All social democracy has done is to keep the ruling elite in power in a time of social crisis, when the crisis is over the ruling powers gradually remove the concessions granted to the working classes.


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Sand
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08 May 2009, 7:43 am

Although much of what you say may be valid, your flippant conclusion that "capitalism must be replaced" is equivalent to " God must descend and destroy all sinners". Whatever the condition of the work force do you really think there is a communal force to make any radical change? Electronic surveillance systems are becoming more and more intrusive and civil privacy rights more and more violated. The possibility for change is dependent upon a rise of anger over current conditions and although there is a bit of that stirring the general populace (not to speak of quite a few members on this site) seem totally committed to status quo with a little prospect of strong action.



DentArthurDent
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08 May 2009, 8:53 am

Sand wrote:
Although much of what you say may be valid, your flippant conclusion that "capitalism must be replaced" is equivalent to " God must descend and destroy all sinners". Whatever the condition of the work force do you really think there is a communal force to make any radical change? Electronic surveillance systems are becoming more and more intrusive and civil privacy rights more and more violated. The possibility for change is dependent upon a rise of anger over current conditions and although there is a bit of that stirring the general populace (not to speak of quite a few members on this site) seem totally committed to status quo with a little prospect of strong action.


Unfortunately I tend to agree with you. But this is my point, if the raft of Social democratic parties and organisations from radical student bodies to rank and file unionists would only wake up to the futility of their attempt at reform maybe, just maybe there might be some hope for this planet. I do not say that capitalism must be replaced with any degree of flippancy I sincerely believe that unless we change the present system the environment and therefore humanity as we know it is going down the gurgler. I do however doubt, like yourself that the forces needed to bring about this change will coalesce in time, this however does not prevent me from striving for this change even though it may prove fruitless. Even if the scientific predictions are inaccurate and climate change etc is a myth, there is still the disgraceful level of need on this planet that cannot be alleviated by capitalism, the ridiculous 'Make Poverty History' campaign showed the inability of capitalism make amends for its excesses


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Sand
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08 May 2009, 10:58 am

There is a pertinent article in the current (May) edition of the Scientific American "Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?" which examines the mechanisms of our current system which defeat proper distribution of food. The inefficient enthusiasm over diverting food crops to producing fuel is one operation that is causing severe misery in the poverty stricken sections of the world. But most important it seems that the dire Malthusian predictions of population becoming larger than food supply is starting to come about. Scientific agriculture seems to be rapidly approaching its limits in overcoming Malthus and the severe shortages of fresh water, the erosion of productive land, the radical changes in the weather due to global warming (which is in no way doubtful any longer) are all adding up to a rapidly approaching food catastrophe. Capitalism may cause severe discomfort in the loss of jobs and in multiple personal financial disasters but when a huge hungry populace armed with modern small weapons is faced with extinction by starvation the violence may well initiate huge violences that will overwhelm any attempts at suppression.



amazon_television
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08 May 2009, 2:12 pm

DentArthurDent wrote:
this however does not prevent me from striving for this change even though it may prove fruitless. Even if the scientific predictions are inaccurate and climate change etc is a myth, there is still the disgraceful level of need on this planet that cannot be alleviated by capitalism, the ridiculous 'Make Poverty History' campaign showed the inability of capitalism make amends for its excesses


"Striving for change" by finger pointing at the U.S.? Taunting like a 3rd grader without posing a substantive and feasible alternative?

Worry about your own country my man, you don't know the half of what's going on here. If "The Great Black Hope", as you put it, doesn't get things done, we will ONCE AGAIN give fiscal conservatives a shot at fixing capitalism (despite the fact that most of the people in charge of this stuff actually are fiscal conservatives left over from the Bush crew that Obama left in place).

Your effort will undoubtedly be "fruitless", because the U.S will never change, and China and India will only get worse (thus effectively speaking for half the world's population), so all your rabble-rousing will accomplish is rubbing the wrong way a constituent of people who, as individuals, can do absolutely nothing about it.


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I sincerely believe that unless we change the present system the environment and therefore humanity as we know it is going down the gurgler.


I sincerely agree with you on that, but if the changes are rushed then a multitude of other things, some that we at this point cannot even fathom, will be going down the gurgler. Until there is an alternative ready to rock (and I don't mean a template or an ideology, I mean a f*cking PLAN), as well as a movement to put it in place, it's pointless to get ahead of ourselves. Because, and don't tell me how this is short-sighted because I know it is, the reality of the situation is that for the time being, the system in place (at least in the U.S., and probably in most industrialized nations) will work better than any other. The alternatives are simply not even close to being refined enough.



ed
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08 May 2009, 2:34 pm

Sand wrote:
There is a pertinent article in the current (May) edition of the Scientific American "Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?" which examines the mechanisms of our current system which defeat proper distribution of food. The inefficient enthusiasm over diverting food crops to producing fuel is one operation that is causing severe misery in the poverty stricken sections of the world. But most important it seems that the dire Malthusian predictions of population becoming larger than food supply is starting to come about. Scientific agriculture seems to be rapidly approaching its limits in overcoming Malthus and the severe shortages of fresh water, the erosion of productive land, the radical changes in the weather due to global warming (which is in no way doubtful any longer) are all adding up to a rapidly approaching food catastrophe. Capitalism may cause severe discomfort in the loss of jobs and in multiple personal financial disasters but when a huge hungry populace armed with modern small weapons is faced with extinction by starvation the violence may well initiate huge violences that will overwhelm any attempts at suppression.


My own bleak prediction is that we will change nothing, and the human species will soon become extinct.


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08 May 2009, 3:50 pm

I’m not sure about most social democrats, but I held no illusions that Obama would be a left-reformist of any sort. The only social democrats in the race for President were Kucinich, Nader, and McKinney. None stood a chance.

Obama doesn’t falsify social democracy, which should not be confused with third way Blairite centrism, any more than Stalin falsifies Marxian communism.



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08 May 2009, 4:08 pm

how does obama have anything to do with what happens in austraila let alone the rest of the world? dont you guys got yor own settup over thurr. i mean i think barak is doing a decent job considering what he was given, im just as poor as i was under him than i was with viva la bush so trashing him really i think is counterproductive because until jesus returns nothing is going to be hunkydoory



DentArthurDent
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08 May 2009, 4:29 pm

amazon_television wrote:

"Striving for change" by finger pointing at the U.S.? Taunting like a 3rd grader without posing a substantive and feasible alternative?...........

Worry about your own country my man......... The alternatives are simply not even close to being refined enough.


I use the U.S as my main example simply because this seems to be the country of origin for the majority on this forum, also the capitalist hegemony is based in the U.S. You would also notice that I stated what is happening in the U.S is being repeated around the globe

No I wont just worry about my own country, if you hadnt noticed we live on a planet without lifeboats, nationalism is the scourge of modern society, and no, I am not making a flippant comment, I despise patriotism and nationalism.

As for not posing a substantive and feasible alternative I would have thought my avatar would have given you a few clues.It seems to me that the major force preventing social change are the social democrats and I am simply posing the question what now?

@ Sand
I was not aware that the actual means to produce food had reached their limit, I was of the understanding that the food shortages were the result of a move to fuel production. Also if you are correct the solution is relatively simple, grow less livestock, the amount of arable land needed to produce meat is far greater Kg fo Kg compared to grains and vegetables.

As to water, yes this could be the spark for the next big conflagration. If you strip away all the layers of hatred and deceit surrounding the problems in the Middle East at the core is the need to control the water supply.


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Henriksson
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08 May 2009, 4:35 pm

Social Democracy is capitalism with a human face. It's better than many other forms of policies, but it could surely get better.


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08 May 2009, 4:52 pm

ed wrote:

My own bleak prediction is that we will change nothing, and the human species will soon become extinct.


If "soon" is a hundred years from now, neither of us will know if you are right.

I can see where civilization might be destroyed or set back, but I see no physical reason why the human race should become extinct, barring a cosmic calamity like a big asteroid or comet hitting the planet.

ruveyn



ed
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08 May 2009, 4:56 pm

ruveyn wrote:
ed wrote:

My own bleak prediction is that we will change nothing, and the human species will soon become extinct.


If "soon" is a hundred years from now, neither of us will know if you are right.

I can see where civilization might be destroyed or set back, but I see no physical reason why the human race should become extinct, barring a cosmic calamity like a big asteroid or comet hitting the planet.

ruveyn


...or thousands of nuclear warheads, or a doomsday virus



amazon_television
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08 May 2009, 5:34 pm

DentArthurDent wrote:

It seems to me that the major force preventing social change are the social democrats


Not in the U.S. As Master Pedant said, Obama never claimed to be a "social democrat" in the sense that you're talking about, and in fact would never have gotten elected if he had.

And hence, if the U.S. is the base of the "capitalist hegemony", which I agree it is, then on a global basis, what does "social democracy" have to do with it?

Also, soon enough the U.S will not be the base of it; that will be China, which is currently f*cking fired up on the awesomeness of capitalism and seemingly is willing to scorch the entire face of the earth in the name of their new experiment. If they keep roaring along like they currently are, no amount of shifting away from "social democracy" will help a thing.


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As for not posing a substantive and feasible alternative I would have thought my avatar would have given you a few clues.


Sorry but I don't have a clue who that is. At any rate, judging by his attire and facial hair, I would guess that many of his ideas are not applicable to the current incarnation of human civilization.

So please, break it down for me. My views on all this are obviously quite different from yours, but we can both agree that there is indeed a big problem, and being that I'm not entirely sure where I stand, I am always open to ideas...