Debating Capitalism

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It was a little funny to me that my first debate of the season was cap bad. I've been spending some time at a book store run by the Revolutionary Capitalist Party. I'm not a party member, and they have a lot of Leftist authors introduce their books at the store. One of the negs big links was the state- unfortunately, their link was reduced to "you increase the legitimacy of the state." I recently participated in a discussion about Alain Badiou hosted by two authors and members of the RCP. Although they criticized Badiou's "withdraw" or "distance" from the state in favor of in favor of non-state, "independence and autonomy," it would certainly compliment neg cap critiques and make state links more offensive than legitimacy. Badiou also criticizes party politics and the vanguard party, with impacts like totalitarianism, Stalinism, and the corruption of Mao's Chinese revolution.

Of course, some of the RCP's answers to Badiou would be useful for the aff in answering cap critiques. One in particular is that "socialism is a transition to communism." If the aff can characterize the 1ac as socialism, then they could use that argument to prove they're a prerequisite to the alternative. The question then becomes one of sequencing- does revolution have to take place before socialism, or can socialism produce revolution, and help people along the way?

I find the RCP's answer less than convincing- revolution must take place before socialism in order to gain control over the means of production, and put the "dictatorship of the proletariat" into place, led by the vanguard party. Why? Although they criticize Badiou for "passively waiting for the event," they too have to wait for the right moment and conditions for revolution: "(a) the ruling class is enmeshed in a profound crisis and cannot rule in the old way, (b) the contradictions among the ruling class give openings to the outrage of the masses, who are now unwilling to live in the old way, and (c) there is a revolutionary vanguard which has been consistently working to build influence and organized ties and which is capable of giving expression to the sentiments and determination of the masses to bring about a radical rupture with the system." I wonder why socialism couldn't help make those conditions emerge, especially since a) they believe that socialism will produce contradictions that will be dialectically resolved in the transition to communism, and b) they believe that some bureaucracy has to be in place to organize all the services provided. The RCP knows that socialism without control of production isn't an alternative to capitalism, but that doesn't mean that those contradictions couldn't produce the conditions for revolution. And if there needs to be a party and bureaucracy in place to organize services, then socialism and the remaining contradictions, the capitalist roaders still in power, could again help produce those conditions for revolution.

I can't help but thinking of Empire by Hardt and Negri. They say that capitalism was preceded by resistance, and was a response to a more oppressive feudalism. And the resistance to capitalism produced a more inclusive economic system, but still oppressive, globalization. Maybe we can only speak of a capitalism or socialism to come. There will never be justice, only more inclusive and just economic, political, and social systems.

Mark my words...there will never be a better government system than democracy coupled with capitalism and free enterprise. Socialism sucks and so do all liberal agendas

I respectfully disagree.

First, one of my points was that many scholars don't even believe that capitalism exists anymore. Last the the Bataille critique included arguments about how Marx focused too much on production and not enough on consumption. Many other people make this argument, that capitalism at least transitioned from production to consumption. And what about Hardt and Negri's argument in Empire that capitalism was replaced by a more inclusive and less oppressive globalization. But they also show that globalization isn't complete freedom, autonomy, or justice- anything local will end up as a ghetto. There are billions of people who are hungry and/or homeless, who don't have health care, and who work to make the toys that you and I play with for wages so low that they can't afford to pay for the bare necessities of existence. There are other transitions or revolutions within capitalism that complicate the old model. Here, I'm thinking of post-industrialism/post-fordism, and what some call post-scarcity. We live in a world where we have all the technology and resources to provide everyone a house, food, transportation, etc. The only barrier is the profit of corporations, money.

Second, socialism is just better. Health care and education are two big examples. There are still problems within socialism, contradictions to resolve. But on the whole it's far better at providing efficient, quality services without running up a huge debt.

Finally, as for democracy, again, there are clearly problems with the intersection of capitalism and democracy. Corporations and the rich have all the power- they control elections with campaign contributions and get their kick backs in the form of contracts, deregulation and privitization- Haliburton, economic stimulus bailouts. "The revolution must strike twice!" Not just at the CONTENT of capitalism, the violence it does to the hungry, homeless, sick, jobless, poor, but also the FORM itself- "representative" democracy.

i was going to write a long rebuttal until I read "Secondly, socialism is just better"...then i knew i was fighting not only with someone who is unintelligent, but someone who is un-American

I remember going through conflict resolution training when I was younger and the first rule is "attack the problem not the person." I know many who would agree with you on both my intelligence and citizenship, but it's odd that you attack me and not the argument! I'm confident that I'm not the only American who thinks that Europe's socialized education and health care system is better than the US privatized system.

It's also odd that I'm still the only person to WARRANT a contradiction or problem within socialism- in my first post "Debating capitalism" I raised the Revolutionary Communist Party's opposition to socialism WITHOUT the dictatorship of the proletariat led by the vanguard party and their control over the means of production. I've also tried to show that even the people who think that capitalism no longer exist admit that it isn't perfect- although more inclusive, work remains- which is why i drew the comparison to Derrida and a democracy to come.

You're delusional and living in an ivory tower if you think there are no problems with democracy and capitalism- I've already raised a number of issues- I don't think it's worth repeating them here, and my list was certainly not exhaustive of all the objections that could be raised with capitalism. You provide no substance for your dismal of socialism, and the same is true of your defense of capitalism.

Your response really shows the frustration a lot of the Left has with the conservative right. In the absence of a "long rebuttal," you make a personal attack. Deliberation, discussion and debate are impossible when you eliminate the space for respectful, political disagreement. Maybe a response was "not even worth your time"? Your un-American attack was frighteningly reminiscent of conservativism in the last decade, most recently to Obama's health care proposals. It's time that your view of what American means makes room for people who don't agree with you. But don't worry Brian, there's a birth certificate that proves I was born in Orlando Florida.

I once had a debater who, when pressed in cx with a hard question, would likely fire back with some curse words directed at the person asking the questions. I notice this a lot in debate rounds and everyday discussions, when presented with difficult questions and arguments to the contrary, people attack others to protect their egos.

In an activity like debate, it's imperative that we separate arguments from people. I don't think the Woodward team at the Greenhill round robin who said capitalism was good and lost in front of two judges are unintelligent because of this. Although I do believe that what we say in debate matters, I try not to judge peoples character based off what was said in the debate- there's a difference between political and economic views, and intelligence and American-ness.

The reason I dont give a long rebuttal isnt because I dont have one, but because in the course of life, you learn that reading people is sometimes more important than the issue itself. Although I could argue all day long with facts, I have read you and realize that you are ignorant. Your arguments are long-winded and weak and most importantly, all based on theory. Take it from me. Im a two-time nationally ranked public speaker and a national champion in journalism. Even more importantly, I work in lobbying for a Fortune 500 company and see what happens in washington on a daily basis. Trust me, you have no sense of reality and you dont understand anything about socialism or you would flee from it like the plague. In addition, republicans and democrats are both jokes...and so is obama...and his healthcare plan...and redistribution of wealth, etc. etc. I dont have to fight this argument. I know a lot more and I see a lot more. I work with politicians all the time. It is people like you that will destroy this nation - not willingly, but because you are ignorant. Knowledge is the source of all power. For future arguments' sake, dont quote scholars and theory and arbitrary methods of government. Quote legislation...break down the legislation of the people you support and then you will gain the respect of your opponents.

I think you both bring up valid points. Let's keep the conversation civil, gentleman. You may disagree, and forensics is all about disagreeing. But here's a forum to hash out those differences and avoid personal attacks.

I think you are both coming from very different vantage points - Brian from a more policy-based legislative framework and Julian from a more theoretical and philosophical framework - hence the disagreement and the inability to find common ground. It's okay to disagree! Let's keep the conversation around the arguments.

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