What size should a vanguard be?
Correct me if I'm wrong. The vanguard party theory states that evidently, not every single proletarian will have class consciousness at the point of the revolution, therefore the class-conscious proletarians should lead it, no matter if it's a relatively small group, right? There are so many radlibs despite worsening material conditions that sometimes I wonder if these people will ever be able to gain class consciousness. As far as I understand, the whole point of a *vanguard* party is that we can do without these people on our side, right?

What is Lukashenko like? What are his policies?
I know that he’s anti-imperialist and that people say critical support. But my question is what does he do? Not saying anything good or bad about him, I’m just saying from the libs I hear he’s bad and a dictator and he’s evil, people who are decently far left say “he’s far from perfect but worthy of critical support” and I can’t criticize or praise his actions as I know nothing of his policies or history and lord knows looking it up doesn’t help these days

How does the labor market work under socialism?
cross-posted from: > Every production system has a way to assign jobs to citizens. The basic idea is that the kinds of labor "required" by society for an efficient fulfillment of needs don't necessarily align with those that an unhindered free choice of jobs would afford. > > The way this is solved under capitalism is letting labor be a commodity, subject to market forces. Workers earn wages that are determined by the demand for their work and the availability of it. The difference in wages across jobs pushes us towards working jobs we otherwise wouldn't. > > I believe the importance of the job market is underestimated in past Marxist literature. It used to be the case that labor was expendable and interchangeable; the availability of any one kind of labor greatly surpassed demand, making wages just a way to keep the proletariat living and reproducing. > > However, with an increase in automation, those jobs have long ago disappeared in developed countries, and new ones are taking their place. Notably, these new jobs increasingly require training, which has the effect of making a worker unsuitable for all but their own specialized job. > > As a result, wages are now established mainly by market forces. If an employer can, by virtue of the rest of the economy, offer worse working conditions than minimally required by the workforce, they will. Conversely, if a particular kind of labor is sold for a higher price, the employer will oblige. > > As a special case that I'd like to mention, those that are very heavily demanded (e.g. public figures, elite sportsmen...) can get extremely high market prices for their labor. This is a new mechanic that has become more common. > > I'd like to discuss how a Socialist country would tackle the problem of job distribution, in a way that hopefully offers better guarantees than a free job market.

Elections for the supreme people's assembly in the DPRK: two questions
I have two questions regarding the election of the deputies to the supreme people's assembly in the DPRK. --- In the [English translation of the nation's constitution I'm using]( (article 34.) it says: > The Supreme People's Assembly is composed of deputies elected on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot. And in the translation of the law document [*Deputy Elections for People's Assemblies at Each Level Law of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (2010)*]( (article 5.) it says: > Deputy elections for People's Assemblies at each level shall be done by the method of secret ballot. Constituents shall be guaranteed the freedom of voting for or against. No one may require the publication of the fact of having voted for or against a constituent, and may not place pressure on or retaliate against someone related to the vote. And again in article 64.: > Votes shall be done by method of secret ballot. If constituents agree, they shall not make a marking, and if they oppose, they shall horizontally strike out the name of the candidate. And most most relevant to my question in article 65.: > In cases where constituents agree or make a mark of opposition in their vote, no one may enter or look into the polling rooms. All these articles seem to indicate to me that the vote is secret, and at the time of the casting of the vote no one else but the voter is allowed to be in the polling room. However [in videos depicting these elections]( we see some citizens entering the booth and casting their vote. This means there is a camera in the same room they are casting their vote. Doesn't this violate the principle of secret ballot stipulated by the constitution? One could argue that the citizen could have chosen to approve or reject a candidate in a separate room from where they cast their vote, but article 56. says this: > Polling rooms shall be set up by 3 days before the election day so that the confidentiality of votes can be guaranteed. The polling room shall have a polling box and writing supplies. Election halls may be decorated with things like flags and flowers. If writing supplies and a polling box are supposed to be in the same room then that means that they are supposed to choose to approve of reject a candidate in the same room they cast their vote, so that means that in the video we are able to see whether they approved or rejected the candidate (one leaves it empty to approve a candidate and crosses out their name to reject), which means the principle of secret ballot was violated. The citizens seen in the polling room all were wearing medals or pins, which leads me to believe they were members of a party or had some official position. Could that be the reason we see them, considering it's pretty obvious whether they are going to approve or reject a candidate? Q: Why do we see citizens in the video casting their vote, if the ballot is supposed to be secret? --- In many news it is said there is only one candidate per electoral precinct: - []( - []( Where can I find a source for whether or not there was more than one candidate up for election in each precinct? The document I mentioned earlier seems to indicate that there can be more than one candidate in a precinct up for election (otherwise why even make the election, besides serving as a census of the population?) (article 42 (Number of candidates for deputy to be registered at the electoral precinct)): > The number of candidates for deputy registered with each electoral precinct at deputy elections for People’s Assemblies at each level shall not be restricted. If there was only one candidate up for election in each precinct, why weren't there more? Article 35: > Candidates for deputy for People's Assemblies at each level shall be recommended directly by constituents, or recommended jointly or alone by the Party or by social organizations. The person making the recommendation must inform the recommended candidate for deputy to the district election committee. Article 36: > Candidates for deputy recommended for People's Assemblies at each level may only be registered as candidates for deputy in the relevant electoral precinct by going through a deliberation over their qualifications at a meeting of more than a hundred constituents. The constituent meeting for the deliberation on qualifications of candidates for deputy shall be organized by the district election committee. Article 39: > The registration of candidates for deputy by People's Assemblies at each level shall be decided by the agreement of more than half of the participants at the constituent meeting for deliberating on the qualifications of the candidates. Assuming that in article 35 "constituents" here means means members of the 100+ people chosen by the election committee (I'm assuming they are random citizens of the precinct, but I don't see anywhere anything about how those 100+ members of the constituent meeting are chosen, so this could be the source of my confusion), then citizens could bring up a potential candidate that they consider better represents them than the one brought forth by the DFRF. I would be surprised if that were the case and not have even a single instance where there was more than one candidate up for election (even if the country were to have an extremely unanimous view on who best represents them, I find it hard to imagine there isn't a single case where there was more than one candidate up for election). If we consider that the potential candidate has to be approved with a vote with an approval greater than 50% by the constituents in order to be registered as a candidate, then maybe one could say that maybe there were more potential candidates brought up but in the end it was decided to approve only one person to be registered as a candidate. But wouldn't that be an abuse of the system? I am interpreting the role of that constituent meeting to be the filtering out of candidates that do not meet the requirements to run for election, not to choose for the whole population of the precinct what candidate should win. Q: Do these elections really only have a single candidate up for election per precinct, and if yes, why aren't there more?

How are people who work for the a state exploited?
I was thinking about this and couldn't come to a conclusive answer. For example a teacher, a park ranger, a civil engineer, etc.

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What is the difference between colonialism and imperialism?
I've briefly read about the definition of imperialism according to Lenin but I'm still a bit fuzzy on the difference between them. edit: thanks to everyone who replied, your answers were helpful and informative.

What did Stalin mean by "Cannibalism"?
Here's the quote: "Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism." So what exactly is meant by cannibalism in this case? Thanks in advance!

LGBTQ rights in the USSR
Question is in the title. Where can I find information about gay and trans rights in the Soviet Union? Or if anyone would be able to share what they know. I understand it was decriminalized in 1917, but that's about it. I suppose sources about modern China and LGBTQ would be nice as well, post revolution and current. Very hard to find trustworthy sources.

What was so different about Romanian/Polish/Czech/Hungarian socialism that made so many of them seem more reactionary?
cross-posted from: > Perhaps I’m making a generalization, but from what I hear these people were the most comfortable with Western ideas and bourgeoisie domination. Is this true, because the Imperial Core has awful lies about the USSR and I’d like to know more about the USSR accurately, even the Westernmost areas. I might as well toss GDR in as well, basically just lmk about Western USSR bc I have literally little to zero knowledge of the policy or differentiations of these SSRs, thanks

Who are the lumpenproletariat?
I keep getting different definitions of lumpenproletariat every time I look it up.

Does anyone have any good reading on Operation Osoaviakhim?
I'm trying to learn more about this topic because a friend of mine from Turtle Island brought it up and I don't know much about it.

Where do I start on learning revolutionary tactics?
I seek to contribute to the proletarian revolution. Currently, I contribute to ProleWiki, but I want to do more.

Why isn't there a mainstream "all landlords are bastards" or something similar?
cross-posted from: > In the west I get that we simp for landlords, but I've never even heard of like a Cuban anti landlord movement or ussr or whatnot.

Could primitive communism arise as a result of the climate crisis?
cross-posted from: > If our society falls apart and we lose productive forces; but humanity still survives, maybe we could return to primitive communism. > > Some people are saying that the climate change crisis will bring humanity back to tribal ages. (I disagree with them; but it's possible.) In the past, the lack of productive forces meant that communism could flourish. > > Society was primitively communist because humans could barely produce enough necessary materials to survive. If humanity were to lose a large amount of their productive forces, could we be coerced into returning to primitive communism? > > EDIT: Elaborated on my opinion. > > EDIT 2: Of course, this idea supposes that all capitalist countries will fall during the crisis.

How is China a Dictatorship of the Proletariat?
Just to preface this, I am not an Ultra or LeftCom and I'm certainly not here to argue in bad faith. I have been told by people more well-read and educated than me on the topic that China is a DotP. While I'm sure they may be right I just can't recall the reasoning and I'm having some trouble reaching that conclusion on my own (beginner Marxist) so I thought maybe someone here could enlighten me through a more educated perspective.

Where were the tens of millions of Soviets demonstrating for the U.S.S.R. in 1991 or ’92?
Recently I tried to correct somebody suggesting that ‘the Russian working class lifted not one finger in defence of 'their' state’. At first I offered a video of the demonstration from 1993, and some opinion polls, but she basically said that they weren’t good enough. I am tempted to link to her essay where she justified her arguments, but to be honest it’s so messy and lengthy that I feel like it would be too distracting to share here. (But I can concede if somebody insists.) Still, it raises an important question: where were the tens of millions of Soviets demonstrating or striking in favor of their union? One possible reason for this is that, since the working masses already had so much political power, physical demonstrations would have been unnecessary and many thought that their electoral input would have sufficed. This might be begging the question (‘did they really have much political power?’), but surely they had ways to fight back besides physical demonstrations or strikes. Either way, it’s clear that people were being too polite and gentle with the anticommunists infiltrating the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s and later.

Did Marx & Engels advocate for a centralized or federal republic?
How is Engels’ *Criticism of the Draft of the Erfurt Programme* letter to Kautsky that is cited in *State and Revolution* advocating for centralized and not a federal republic? Lenin quotes this from Engels: >”So, then, a unified republic – but not in the sense of the present French Republic, which is nothing but the Empire established in 1798 without the Emperor. From 1792 to 1798 each French department, each commune [Gemeinde], enjoyed complete self-government on the American model, and this is what we too must have. How self-government is to be organized and how we can manage, without a bureaucracy has been shown to us by America and the first French Republic, and is being shown even today by Australia, Canada and the other English colonies. And a provincial [regional] and communal self-government of this type is far freer than, for instance, Swiss federalism, under which, it is true, the canton is very independent in relation to the Bund [i.e., the federated state as a whole], but is also independent in relation to the district [Bezirk] and the commune. The cantonal governments appoint the district governors [Bezirksstatthalter] and prefects – which is unknown in English-speaking countries and which we want to abolish here as resolutely in the future as the Prussian Landrate and Regierungsrate" (commissioners, district police chiefs, governors, and in general all officials appointed from above). Accordingly, Engels proposes the following words for the self-government clause in the programme: "Complete self-government for the provinces [gubernias or regions], districts and communes through officials elected by universal suffrage. The abolition of all local and provincial authorities appointed by the state." Lenin then says this: >It is extremely important to note that Engels, armed with facts, disproved by a most precise example the prejudice which is very widespread, particularly among petty-bourgeois democrats, that a federal republic necessarily means a greater amount of freedom than a centralized republic. This is wrong. It is disproved by the facts cited by Engels regarding the centralized French Republic of 792-98 and the federal Swiss Republic. The really democratic centralized republic gave more freedom that the federal republic. In other words, the greatest amount of local, regional, and other freedom known in history was accorded by a centralized and not a federal republic... Insufficient attention has been and is being paid in our Party propaganda and agitation to this fact, as, indeed, to the whole question of the federal and the centralized republic and local self-government. As I read it, it seems like that quote from Engels is not disproving the notion of a federal republic necessarily meaning a greater amount if freedom than a centralized republic but instead supporting it? I’m pretty sure I’m missing something here… could anyone help? Furthermore, if Engels did advocate for a centralized rather than federal republic can someone explain this following quote to me? Its from a footnote by Engels to the *The Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League* of 1850 that was added in 1885: >It must be recalled today that this passage is based on a misunderstanding. At that time – thanks to the Bonapartist and liberal falsifiers of history – it was considered as established that the French centralised machine of administration had been introduced by the Great Revolution and in particular that it had been used by the Convention as an indispensable and decisive weapon for defeating the royalist and federalist reaction and the external enemy. It is now, however, a well-known fact that throughout the revolution up to the eighteenth Brumaire c the whole administration of the départements, arrondissements and communes consisted of authorities elected by, the respective constituents themselves, and that these authorities acted with complete freedom within the general state laws; that precisely this provincial and local self-government, similar to the American, became the most powerful lever of the revolution and indeed to such an extent that Napoleon, immediately after his coup d’état of the eighteenth Brumaire, hastened to replace it by the still existing administration by prefects, which, therefore, was a pure instrument of reaction from the beginning. But no more than local and provincial self-government is in contradiction to political, national centralisation, is it necessarily bound up with that narrow-minded cantonal or communal self-seeking which strikes us as so repulsive in Switzerland, and which all the South German federal republicans wanted to make the rule in Germany in 1849. So, post-commune, but still predates his claims in the *Criticism of the Draft of the Erfurt Programme*. So, if he isn't advocating for centralism here and is in the previous quote then he seems to have changed his mind on it by 1891 unless I’m missing something again which I very well may be.

Why aren't there more worker co-ops?
When I explain surplus value to people, I use the example of a Starbucks. You're working for $15/hr, selling hundreds of $5 drinks per hour, the surplus value covers the other costs like rent and supplies, but, as most investor-facing documents will lay out, that $15/hr/person is the largest expsense. So, fudging numbers here, you sell 50 drinks at $5 each, that's $250-15-15 for labor and other costs, so $220/hr getting taken from the workers and sent to the owners. So, even if a) I'm wildly off with the numbers, which makes perfect sense because I made them up and b) startup capital is hard to come by if you aren't already rich, the existence of profit from seemingly simple businesses like a standalone coffee shop should be something workers can organize and replicate without much involvement from capital. So, why don't we? Is it that we all have been propagandaized to want the surplus value for ourselves?

Books to read besides the Communist Manifesto?
I know that the Communist Manifesto is always mentioned in politics, but what, if any, other literature should I read first if I want to understand Communism? I consider myself a Socialist at the moment, but can't really get behind the statelessness of Anarchism.

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