Briefly, In Praise of Lenin

Lenin made some mistakes, as I will be the first to admit. But that man dedicated his entire life to the total freedom and liberation of the human race from every possible form of oppression and exploitation. People like Lenin come around once every few centuries, if we are lucky. People today often falsely equate Leninism with Stalinism, but such grievances are of the historically illiterate.
 
Anyone who has read ‘The State and Revolution’ can tell you that the society that Lenin believed in could not have possibly came about in backwards Russia, and that it was the epitome of democracy. The society Lenin was fighting for could not possibly have more personal liberty or virtue.
 
The story of Leninism in the 20th century is a tragedy, it was a beautiful flower that tried to bloom far before it was ready, in bad soil. Marx believed that successful socialist revolutions would first happen in the most ADVANCED capitalist countries, at the END of capitalist development. Instead, due to the conditions of imperialism, the first socialist revolution happened in Russia in 1917, a semi-feudal country, one of the poorest in the world, that also JUST HAD a capitalist revolution. Despite these major setbacks and limitations, for the first time in human history, under Lenin’s leadership, all political power was in the hands of the workers and peasants- to the exclusion of the exploiting, property owning classes.
 
Compare THAT form of democracy with the Greek and American democracies. In Greece and early America, only white, male, property/ slave owners could vote- to the exclusion of the oppressed and exploited masses. Today our American “democracy” is de facto owned and controlled by wall street and big business- by the property owning class, and 9/10 of our public representatives are capitalists, or rich men. Contrary to popular belief, you will not find one mention of a one-party state in the works of Marx, Engels, or Lenin. It is purely a vestige of Stalinism. So we should perhaps, rethink the way we view Lenin. He was a champion of liberty and democracy, not of tyranny.

Socialism, Capitalist Exploitation, and Innovation Under Socialism

“How could we ask our poor bourgeois to pay more taxes to help out the wage laborers that produced his wealth in the first place?” Obviously by the logic of the capitalist system, if you produce something, it doesn’t belong to you. So if you produce ~30$ in an hour and receive only 15$ in return, or, if you produce 200$ in an hour, and receive only 50$ in return, then by the natural laws of the capitalist system, you are owed nothing but a wage, even if that wage is so low that you are impoverished, hungry, can’t afford rent, healthcare, etc. Under the guise of “free contract” many may find this appealing. But this is but the tip of the iceberg of the capitalist mode of production, even if this fact is exploitative by nature.
 
On the other hand, the bourgeois can, and occasionally we find that he does, do absolutely no work of his own, being a non-acting board member or owner, who votes once every few months if that, and collects a check for millions of dollars- containing the leftover surplus produced by hundreds of thousands of working people whose poverty is the source of their bourgeois wealth. This is, of course, an extreme example. But I have met people who happen to be on the boards of very large companies who do just that.
 
He can, and often does, also vote to take the surplus (after necessary expenditures and investments for the enterprise) and give it to one of the TWO political parties in this country to systematically protect and maintain this exploitative social system. We would call such a thing a Super-PAC, and it’s almost the exclusive funding of most politicians today. In a word, he lives off of the labor of others, off of those who own no property of their own, and are compelled to either sell their labor at a fraction of its value, off of the proletarian class which constitutes 95% of our society.
 
“We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We called those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger.” -Pytor Kropotkin. The statement still applies, of course, but due to the revolutionized condition of the productive forces since then, we could say that the worker today gives up half of what he produces to the capitalist class, and not a fourth as the feudal peasant would be obliged to give.
 
The bourgeois may, and more often than not does, do non-productive (but still essential) work to manage the affairs of the enterprise, but because of private property, he is “entitled” to oftentimes 5000x more per hour than his workers produced, that 5000x, mind you, along with all other profits, having been produced by the workers themselves.
 
I am not saying that innovators and inventors should NOT be compensated, indeed they absolutely should be. A study funded by the Federal Reserve Bank by Daniel Pink (a capitalist organization if there ever was one), found that MODERATE compensation was best to encourage further innovation from a creative individual. Meaning that it would be better for, say, Bill Gates, to have received a 150,000$ salary for his invention, than a 5 Billion dollar one. The study found that LOW and HIGH financial compensation had almost identical results in promoting further innovation. This study only furthers the evidence that capitalism, while it socialized the productive forces which made rapid innovation and expansion possible, is not the best mode of production if innovation is the concern. On the contrary, socialism, and communism would be.
 
Under a socialist system, or a market socialist system as would be the first step towards the complete socialist mode of production (which, mind you, has never been established in an advanced capitalist country as Marx believed it would have to be as a prerequisite to socialism, can elaborate further if asked), the board of directors which determine WHAT is produced, how much is produced, etc. would be DEMOCRATICALLY elected by the workers themselves and the general public, would receive NO MORE THAN A WORKMAN’S WAGE (not millions), and subject to immediate recall at anytime. The surplus produced by ALL THE WORKERS, would be democratically distributed BACK TO ALL THE WORKERS, instead of going into the pockets of a few. The workers themselves would decide what to do with the surplus they collectively produced. If it was the STATE deciding what was produced, then that would be state-capitalism, not socialism, and certainly not communism as communism requires the absence of the state altogether.
 
Also, I can provide a feasible example of how innovation would even increase under socialism. My friends and I, given a year or two, could program and create a computer program in which orders for a restaurant could be spoken directly to the computer and inputed (using the various incorrect terms and sayings that customers use). This could and would negate the need for cashiers altogether even though would vastly increase net profits for an enterprise and speed up production speed. HOWEVER, if we DID create such a thing, we would no doubt lose our jobs. Under a socialist system, such an innovation would mean increased profits not for a capitalist at the top, but for the workers as a whole. Automation would mean vacations, not lay-offs. Workers would be inspired to innovate because they know that said innovation would benefit them, and not someone at the top. Not to mention that the workers would no doubt decide to appropriate a larger wage to those innovators from the surplus that they collectively produced.

Briefly, On the Sacred Nature of Literature : Books Are Thought Traps!

Long ago when someone wanted to preserve a message, they carved it on stone in the form of a picture. Today we have written language and books, allowing us to send complicated messages, thoughts, and ideas into the indefinite future. Books are thought traps! That is the essence of my appreciation of literature. You can collaborate on a project with Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, etc. without ever having met said person. When you read something, your thoughts become their thoughts, even if for just a moment. You quite literally hear the thoughts of dead geniuses in your own head, for you to freely contemplate, listen to patiently, and build off of. The thoughts of those long gone, still echo off the bookshelf. I cannot emphasize the miraculous nature of such a phenomenon enough.

Literature, and written language are the SOLE reason for human progress today. As Isaac Newton himself said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by having stood on the shoulders of giants.” This is a direct reference to the written literature of brilliant minds who had long ceased to be when Newton took up their torch. Human endeavor is a collaborative effort, stretching across both time and space. Next time you read a book, remember that whoever wrote it decided to preserve that thought, idea, or story in time indefinitely, to exist for hundreds if not thousands of years after their physical mind ceased to be. Appreciate literature, it is sacred.

What is Needed To Combat Climate Change is both Socialism, and an International Body With Real Power

Anyone can tell you that Trump lied MANY times in his speech today regarding the Paris Agreement. It is with great sadness that I come to the conclusion that in order to ensure the long term survival of the human species, drastic measures must be taken by all nations. “Ecologically friendly capitalism” is a pipe-dream. It is on par with “ethical slavery”. If we are to fix this issue, then a vast increase on international, multilateral state power will become essential. Even if it is futile, such measures must be attempted, preferably under a socialist system, as the above link indicates.
To solve the climate crisis, even under a socialist system, it necessarily requires a semi-merger of international state powers into an international body, or confederation, with REAL POWER. If I had to speculate, I would say that this confederation would force all nations, be they developed or undeveloped, to transfer to a 100% green, renewable energy source by a certain date, stop burning fossil fuels, practice vast reforestation, drastically reduce the meat industry, and the use and production of most plastics and other non-biodegradable commodities, etc.
Violations of established measures, to certain degrees, would mean war not on one state or another, but on all of humanity. The suspect country would be sanctioned economically by all other countries in the confederation, then if they continue violations they would be embargoed, then, as a last resort, attacked militarily. Every single other state in the confederation would reign down hellfire on the country in violation, until either it is overthrown, or until it cooperates.
There is always a sense, when it comes to the climate, that there is “always time to debate this next year”. When, in reality, the time to debate this issue was 30 years ago. The science is settled. There can be no doubt. The time to act was yesterday. If we continue on the path we are on, our grandchildren will have come to the conclusion that NO PRICE is too much for the long term survival of the human species, even the deaths of 5 billion people, even sending humanity back to the dark ages. They will not be wrong, sadly, in this murderous reasoning. In the next 100 years, massive cities will be constructed to house those refugees whose homes have vanished under the rising ocean’s waters. This is an inevitability independent of human action, collaboration, or will.
At such a point, say, 100 years from now, if capitalism still prevails, when hope is so far gone, only a totalitarian global state will be able to ensure the long term survival of the human species. This is not a world that you or I want our grandchildren to live in. The time for action is NOW. The suicidal actions of Trump today only further demonstrate the impotence in reasoning of the capitalist system, that values profits over both people today and the long term survival of the human species. The only way to counteract this disaster is by the transfer to a (democratic) socialist system on a global scale, the abolition of capitalism and the formation of an international confederation equipped to deal with the climate crisis that we face.

On Unfiltered Thinking, The Miracle of The Psychedelic Experience and Human Genius

When you think, focus on thinking with the part of your brain that forms thoughts, not the part that says them aloud in your head. When that filter is removed in times of extreme meditation, psychedelic experiences, etc. you will find that thoughts can flow like a turbulent river, whereas before it was only a trickle. But such a skill can be cultivated in the sober mind as well. This, I believe, is a key to human genius. It exists in all of us, regardless of if we know it or not. 
In normal times of sober reflection, we notice that we think in 2 stages, first we know what we are going to say in our mind, and then we say it aloud in our head. Focus on that part that spontaneously brings thoughts into being. Listen to it, and it alone when you need inspiration, or to think quickly.
Thoughts arise naturally, independent of language. This is the realization that comes from such thinking. We imagine first the essence of what we want to think, then the words. The essence forms in our minds 50x quicker than it takes to say the thought aloud. If we focus on the essence, and not the time consuming process of putting it into words, we will find the genius of the human mind, regardless of who is thinking.
I believe such thinking can only be fully unleashed during spiritual and psychedelic experiences, when the filter between the essence of our thoughts coming into being, and it’s translation, is removed. In such a state we think of 50 thoughts per second. Incredible realizations about life, language, ordinary phenomena, inventions, being, etc. These experiences of completely unfiltered thinking under the influence of psychedelics have led to incredible innovations and discovery. I will give you several examples.
The shape of DNA was discovered on LSD. A group of scientists had been working for many months on trying to figure out the shape of DNA. They all dropped acid one day, and within several hours had discovered that the double helix was the best shape to bring the molecules of life together in a functioning pattern. Steve Jobs and Bill Gated both attribute LSD to their success. And most of the music on your phone without doubt came from someone on some form of psychedelic. 
I too have experienced the profound realizations that come under psilocybin, I speak from experience alone. Unfiltered thinking can be cultivated, I believe, in a mind that has not had such an experience. Unfiltered thinking is natural thinking, divorced entirely from language. I believe it, along with psychedelic drugs, to be keys of human genius.

20th Century Marxism-Leninism: Not a failure of “socialism” but of skipping over capitalism to reach socialism

Initially I wrote something longer and much more complex, but I will keep this short and simple. 
According to the official Marxist-Leninist ideology in Albania, the purpose of the communist movement was “leading it (the country) from its backward semi-feudal state to socialism, bypassing the phase of advanced capitalism” -History of The Party of Labor of Albania, 1st edition (p.6-7). 

Indeed this was the ideology of practically every Marxist-Leninist state of the 20th Century. But what did Marx believe? Precisely the opposite, that socialism would likely only be achieved by building off of the progress made by the advanced capitalist phase of development, in the most advanced countries first as a result of the internal contradictions of the capitalist system and not the external contradictions of imperialism. 

It must be said that Marx did have high hopes that Russia in particular could go through a new phase of development, bypassing capitalism. But he never based such a view on any evidence, purely speculation, as he stressed. All of Marx’s works support the notion that socialism can only be achieved in the most advanced capitalist countries first. This view is supported by the overwhelming majority of Marx’s writings on capitalism.
Thus the failure of the 20th Century was not by any means a failure of ‘socialism’, but of the attempt to ‘skip over’ an advanced capitalist stage of development, to reach socialism in semi-feudal countries without the help of revolution in advanced capitalist countries. Thus we go back to the theory of ‘socialism in one country’, and its failure.