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Marx Fading Away in Russia
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I have long been pointing out that one of the clearest electoral patterns in Russia is the inexorable collapse of the KPRF as you go down the age pyramid.

This decline is reflected in a FOM poll published on May 5, the 200 year anniversary of Marx’s birthday.

Whereas there are no major differences between sex, education, income (!), or urban/rural habitation, younger people are far less enamored of Marx than older people:

60+ year olds: 31% positive, 5% negative
46-60 year olds: 24% positive, 7% negative
31-45 olds: 10% positive, 5% negative
18-30 olds: 5% positive, 3% negative

This is a good, wholesome trend, though it would be nice if there were more people who were negatively-inclined. Perhaps there should be more efforts to let Russians know what Marx thought about Slavs.

Zhirinovsky delivering on that.

Still, at least positive sentiment is collapsing. As a party still firmly committed to Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, the KPRF is going down with him.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Marxism, Russia 
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  1. It would be more accurate to say that communist indoctrination in Russia has faded. And without mass indoctrination the Russians no longer know what to think about Marx. They are not curious enough to figure out what he stood for and form an opinion for themselves.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Thorfinnsson
  2. It’s worth nothing that the third option was безразлично (indifferent). What stands out to me is not so much that approval of Marx decreases modestly as a function of age (31,24,10,5), but that indifference to him increases rapidly (64,68,85,92).

    N=1: My daughter has picked up some names of Russian musicians, poets, scientists, and tsars, but I don’t think she knows the name “Stalin”, and probably only knows “Lenin” and “Marx” as belonging to street names.

  3. utu says:
    @Felix Keverich

    People including communists did not know much about Marx and what he really stood for. He wrote a lot of nonsense like the linked piece about Slavs. People had a package of cliches at their disposal that were used to string together statements with purpose to justify the system and condemn its opponents but mostly to signal their belonging and subservience. It is no different with, say the so-called capitalists and people living under them who like to talk about Adam Smith and liberalism and use his authority to justify their conditioned prejudices. Do you think that some Wall Street trader thinks about Adam Smith when he makes decision about trades? No, he will use Smith authority only to state platitudes about the system. The marketing people who developed methods of affecting people dispositions and choices use a very simple models of a human being which seem to work. People rarely ever think for themselves when trying to parse and explain reality. They rarely have a need of explaining it. They just want to justify it and affirm. It really comes to conditioning and simple binary good-bad, like-dislike conditioning. More and more I come to believe that B. F. Skinner was substantially correct.

  4. Oswald Spengler explained that “boredom” had killed Rousseau in his time (1930s) and would shortly kill Marx. These ideologies appear at certain stages of cultural development and then fade away when they are no longer timely. And since Russia inwardly isn’t even a part of the West, Marxism was always an alien interloper there to begin with. At least here we see a good example of the world unfolding as it should.

    • Replies: @DFH
  5. DFH says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Oswald Spengler explained that “boredom” had killed Rousseau in his time (1930s) and would shortly kill Marx.

    He wrote a lot of nonsense

    These ideologies appear at certain stages of cultural development and then fade away when they are no longer timely

    The sort of explanation-free explanation worthy of the great man himself

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  6. Lets get to the crux of the issue – Karl Marx was a Jew. A lot of the Bolsheviks were Jews, a lot of the high ranking communists were also Jews, a lot of people that ran the KGB were also Jewish.

    After WW2 lots of Jews were put in control of the communist governments by the Soviets – lets see Poland, Hungary, E. Germany, etc….

    Of course we are not supposed to notice any of this as its anti-semitic . But it doesnt change the reality of the situation.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
  7. @DFH

    Fuck you, you insignificant, penis-puffing sack of shit. You have never made an actual argument about anything. You’re nothing but a trolling cunt rag who likes to hang out at Unz because it makes you feel significant. You’re actually a very mentally disturbed individual—an abortion, a failure—and you know it. Now go back to your box-cataloging job and stop wasting our time here.

    • Replies: @DFH
    , @neutral
  8. DFH says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    The pseud is immunised against all dangers; one may call him lame, gay, a fag, it all runs off him like water off a raincoat. But call him a pseud and you will be astonished at how he recoils, how injured he is, how he suddenly shrinks back: ‘I’ve been found out’

  9. @Felix Keverich

    At least the British ambassador to the UN still thinks Marx was a Russian hero.

  10. @Timmy T. Bone

    Let’s go deeper. Marxism is not scientific. It is a beliefs system: it has its dogmas, that must be strictly enforced, it has its heretics that must purged…It is a religion. Developed by the Jew, for the goyim. Not unlike Christianity btw, which started out as a Jewish sect (although the Jews quickly lost control of it). We live in a moral universe, that was shaped by the Jews.

    Vladimir Putin recently compared Soviet communism to Christianity. He is more right, than he realises.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  11. neutral says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    You wake up on the wrong side of bed today?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  12. songbird says:

    This is not surprising: globalism is the new religion of the Left. In Sweden they realized that it wasn’t ideal for the government to be 70.5% of GDP; they could collect more taxes if it were lower. So, they lowered it.

    Communism had a self-perpetuating apparatus. All other political parties were banned. When that stranglehold on power ended within Russia, it was judged by the fashion sense of the Left, and found to be wanting. (although they are still quite sympathetic.)

    I’ve even heard some people I would consider to be communists fully embrace the term “capitalism”, if perhaps not the pure, libertarian philosophy. They have sniffed the power and want to consume it wholly for themselves.

    Marx does not fit well into the new globalist ideology partly because he is a old, dead, white man, and so not sufficiently international or hip.

    • Replies: @neutral
    , @Jaakko Raipala
  13. neutral says:
    @songbird

    because he is a old, dead, white man

    He was not white.

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @Bliss
  14. songbird says:
    @neutral

    I mean in the broad, chromatic sense. Of course, there are distinctions beyond that, and they also affect the fashions. But the politics of the age are hyper-feminine, so being a long dead, chromatically white male is not in his favor.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  15. @songbird

    I’ve even heard some people I would consider to be communists fully embrace the term “capitalism”,

    Why is this news? It was Marx who developed the term capitalism in politics. He completely accurately predicted that capitalism would be an anti-traditional force that would erase nations and tribes and his writings on capitalism are perfectly in line with globalism.

    Marx didn’t demonize capitalism, he celebrated it as a form of progress, even though in his prediction there would be an even higher form of “progress” coming soon with the proletarian revolution that would replace the capitalist system with socialism. He had this pseudo-religious view of history as a series of progressive steps and capitalism was the celebrated bourgeois revolution that overthrew feudalism – a form of progress in his mind.

    Libertarianism is basically a version of Marxism where you just forget the prediction that the working class will overthrow the bourgeois capitalist system and just keep celebrating capitalist destruction of values and traditions forever.

    Marx does not fit well into the new globalist ideology

    What? Our politicians praise Marx and he is presented as a great figure in our school textbooks.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @songbird
  16. Dmitry says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Lol I have to agree with you that it is a very similar origin story to Christianity, and the two belief systems are highly similar to each other in structure (Marxism is a modernized version, but it substitutes a lot of the old superstitions simply for new, more dangerous ones).

    But the idea that the Jewish-origin people who created the two ideologies, didn’t believe it themselves? They believed in it quite fanatically, if you read the biography of both cases.

  17. Dmitry says:
    @Jaakko Raipala

    Marx hates capitalism and the bourgeoisie, and sees it as the complete brutalisation of the feudal world, and reduction of human relations to lowest common denominator. The feudal world he writes romantically in a lot of ways, and portrays it as a much more subtle and more appealing (except to the extent that it masks the ultimate reality) situation of exploitation.

    The view of capitalism as the final stage before communism, is a typical religious device – where the world is supposed to only get better after it reaches the worst possible stage. The structure of all apocalyptic belief systems, or theories of the ‘ages of man’. It’s the typical morality structure, which you can see in things like Sodom and Gomorrah story,

    • Replies: @iffen
  18. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    But there is an issue you can read about now, where professors ‘re-appropriate’ – with various warning about what terrible people they were – almost opposite thinkers.

    For example, Nietzsche is very popular nowadays in radical feminism movements, and considered one of the most important philosophers in feminist thought (despite his own anti-feminist views).

    It’s not so surprising, as in religious and theological history there was always a very similar process, where theological enemies, and even former rival religions, would be subsumed into the current or new religion.

    • Replies: @songbird
  19. songbird says:
    @Jaakko Raipala

    Libertarianism is basically a version of Marxism where you just forget the prediction that the working class will overthrow the bourgeois capitalist system and just keep celebrating capitalist destruction of values and traditions forever.

    Libertarianism as generally defined (open borders) isn’t very practical. There is a distinction, however, among the core philosophies of libertarianism and the new people who embrace the term capitalism. The new capitalists are statists by another name, with a slightly different, more profitable economic plan. They have not let go of the idea of state control completely though, and embrace anti-competitive regulations, cronyism and subsidies. Their claim to the word “capitalism” has in it something of a narrative: they want to claim the mantel and be on the right side of history, and drop the old capitalists in the dustbin. What has changed is that they used to think of the term as a pejorative, now they claim it as a title of power.

    Our politicians praise Marx and he is presented as a great figure in our school textbooks.

    Marx is still a figure of sympathy, but to a large extent he has ceased to be an authority to which they appeal. Marx was not a proponent of diversity, which is their overpowering instinct. They cannot easily reference him to support it. Arguably, for the time being, they have moved past personalities, possibly because diversity isn’t an ideology that is well represented by a cult of personality. Old figures had ethnicities.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Reg Cæsar
  20. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    former rival religions, would be subsumed into the current or new religion.

    A good point. There is a strong inclination to repurpose and subvert. I am particularly surprised how so many films today are in their reviews described “as the film we need right now” or in some way connected to anti-Trumpism or even globalism. Nothing seems safe. I have even seen the Paddington Bear movie connected to a globalist narrative in a review.

    Historical figures seem a particular attraction to intellectuals in search of a history for their narrative. I think what we are seeing is essentially Marx being downgraded and made into a lesser figure. Who can replace him as a higher figure in the pantheon seems to be a question which currently has no answer.

    • Replies: @DFH
  21. DFH says:
    @songbird

    I have even seen the Paddington Bear movie connected to a globalist narrative in a review.

    To be fair, that was the intention of the filmmakers.

  22. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    Marx is still a figure of sympathy, but to a large extent he has ceased to be an authority to which they appeal. Marx was not a proponent of diversity, which is their overpowering instinct. They cannot easily reference him to support it. Arguably, for the time being, they have moved past personalities, possibly because diversity isn’t an ideology that is well represented by a cult of personality. Old figures had ethnicities.

    Marx was racist (against black people), but he was also quite pro-feminist.

    So he can certainly be seen as sympathetic for feminist movements, but not for anti-racist ones.

    As for his views on sexual minorities, microaggressions, and transgenderism? It is probably quite difficult to apply his ideology in these new fashionable issues (‘transgenders of the world unite’).

  23. inertial says:

    I am one of few people here who actually studied orthodox Marxism in school back in the day. Much of what some commentators say Marxism is about is actually nothing more than phantoms in the their mind. But whatever.

    What I really want to say is that some of Marx’s predictions that seemed so fantastic back then appear to be coming true.

    I remember asking my teacher, “Marx said that the Capitalist means of production had developed under Feudalism and so the Communist means will develop under Capitalism. How come we are not seeing that?” He could really answer that. But now, lo and behold! This is exactly what’s been happening in the past 15 years or so. Planned economy is becoming feasible with AI. Universal Basic Income is half a step away from the Communist principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Robots will be making everything, so there will be no need for humans to work. Capitalist are working hard on this — just as Marx predicted.

    Oh, and the immiseration of the working class? This appears to have resumed.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @Dmitry
  24. @inertial

    Planned economy is becoming feasible with AI.

    Have met this viewpoint before, but I’m skeptical.

    Optimal planning is extremely computationally intensive, and will not be feasible without many more decades of Moore’s Law (which seems to have stalled of late, anyway).

    In the meantime, however, greater wealth and technology will continue to explode the quantity of products and services in the economy, which will further complicate the optimization problem and keep it out of reach.

    Possibly in the em (mind emulation) future projected by Hanson, where individuals consist of a limited number of personality types, and live at their Malthusian limits and so don’t have much in the way of spending money – constricting consumer choice – central planning will become efficient than free markets. Electronic minds ruled over by Cybersyn.

  25. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The thing is an efficient planned economy will (at the earliest) simply converge on what the free-market economy already achieves – which is a relatively responsive and well organized allocation of resources.

    There’s no need to limit things like personality types though, to theoretically achieve efficient centrally planned allocation of resources. What is required is more like what we have achieved in numerical weather forecasting. That is, mathematical modelling of extremely complex systems. But the thing that will be modelled is how people behave in free-markets, and the people who will be doing the modelling (at least at first), will be private enterprises hoping to improve their own allocation of responses within that market.

  26. Dmitry says:
    @inertial

    I agree – that Marx’s ideas are full of genius insights and brilliance (as of a complex and beautiful system). But put together into a theological structure, designed to hack people’s brains, and with inherent evil and immorality (e.g. the concept of classes of people who are ‘against history’).

    • Replies: @inertial
  27. @Anatoly Karlin

    The problem with central planning isn’t really the planning. Command economies developed informal networks to deal with planning failure. Analysis of prices and resource allocation after the collapse of communism found that command economies were something like 90% as good as market economies.

    The real issue is the lack of firm entry/exit. The same problem can be seen with SOEs in market economies.

    Don’t see how optimal planning resolves this problem at all. Let’s say AI succeeded in optimally planning, say, the American retail sector from a half century ago.

    Great. Sears, JC Penney, Toys ‘R Us, mutual hardware stores, IGA, A&P, etc. running at peak efficiency.

    No Costco, Walmart, Target, Home Deport, Lowe’s, or Amazon.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  28. inertial says:
    @Dmitry

    Marx claimed to have discovered the Laws of History. He did identify certain patterns behind historical events and projected them into the future. There is a number of such theories (e.g. I am partial to “Fourth Turning”, which worked really well in the past 20+ years since I first encountered it.) These theories work until they stop working.

    Does Marxism still work?

    In the last decades of the 20th century everyone, including myself, was sure that it did. Marxism was dead letter. Now I am starting to think that the rumors of its death had been exaggerated.

  29. inertial says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    No one is more skeptical about AI hype than I. But, assuming there is a working AI, economic planning will be a snap. Including yes, innovation. In fact, AIs will be better at it than humans.

    Incidentally, even many Marxists realized that central planning is deficient and you need market. For example, guess who wrote this:

    If a universal mind existed, [...] a mind that could register simultaneously all the processes of nature and society, that could measure the dynamics of their motion, that could forecast the results of their inter-reactions – such a mind, of course, could a priori draw up a faultless and exhaustive economic plan, beginning with the number of acres of wheat down to the last button for a vest. The bureaucracy often imagines that just such a mind is at its disposal; that is why it so easily frees itself from the control of the market and of Soviet democracy. But, in reality, the bureaucracy errs frightfully in its estimate of its spiritual resources. In its projections it is necessarily obliged, in actual performance, to depend upon the proportions (and with equal justice one may say the disproportions) it has inherited from capitalist Russia, upon the data of the economic structure of contemporary capitalist nations, and finally upon the experience of successes and mistakes of the Soviet economy itself. But even the most correct combination of all these elements will allow only a most imperfect framework of a plan, not more.

    The innumerable living participants in the economy, state and private, collective and individual, must serve notice of their needs and of their relative strength not only through the statistical determinations of plan commissions but by the direct pressure of supply and demand. The plan is checked and, to a considerable degree, realized through the market. The regulation of the market itself must depend upon the tendencies that are brought out through its mechanism. The blueprints produced by the departments must demonstrate their economic efficacy through commercial calculation. The system of the transitional economy is unthinkable without the control of the ruble. This presupposes, in its turn, that the ruble is at par. Without a firm monetary unit, commercial accounting can only increase the chaos.

    Answer: Lev Trotsky (in 1932.) I came across this quote via a link posted by Ken MacLeod.

  30. Bliss says:
    @neutral

    True dat. Marx was not white:

    And neither was Lenin:

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  31. @Thorfinnsson

    Yeah, people need to realize that all the great “capitalist” multinational megacoprs are run according to communist principles — central planning, five-year plans, dictatorial cults of personality, nonmonetary compensation for the plebs, etc.

    It’s not a huge stretch to want your dysfunctional country to be managed like Apple is managed.

    • Replies: @inertial
  32. @Anatoly Karlin

    More love for Karl Marx in the west at this point. I am sure yall have seen this fine gemstone but you will still get a laugh out of it regardless. From a “professional” UK ambassador.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  33. iffen says:
    @Dmitry

    The feudal world he writes romantically in a lot of ways

    Restoration of a lost blissful existence mutatis mutandis, essential then, as now, to successful politics.

  34. @neutral

    You wake up on the wrong side of bed today?

    Their entire “conversation” smacks of Marx’s “first time tragedy, second time farce”.

  35. @songbird

    Libertarianism as generally defined (open borders) isn’t very practical

    Open borders isn’t libertarian at all if the arrivals have to be subsidized by the native taxpayers. And about 90% percent of the world’s population couldn’t survive in a free Western market. Nor would their cheapskate employers. They lack the skills.

    • Replies: @songbird
  36. 10% of the world’s population is still seven hundred million people.

    And your estimate is too low. With no minimum wage and no regulations (including on things like housing stock, sanitation, etc.) it doesn’t require much skill at all to provide some marginal utility to an employer.

    Most of the labor force in China alone can hack it in the West as it is right now, let alone a hypothetical libertarian West.

    • Agree: songbird
  37. songbird says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Africans go to a lot of places that I would consider hellish – the Maghreb, even to Yemen. I’m pretty sure there is not welfare in either place. I think the draw is that it is better to live among Arabs than blacks. And how much better is it to live in America or Europe than Yemen? It might be more expensive to get there, but if they had folks over here to start, it is quite easy. Heck, just being around white women would be a big draw to many.

    I see a lot of hard-working illegals. many of these are probably also on welfare, but, even if they are not, I still don’t think they are desirable. The rate of inflow might change. You might get a slightly better average quality person, but I don’t think the trend would change. For one thing, higher caste Hindus who may be intelligent, but also tend to be extraordinary tribal, would probably still come.

    I think we need enforcement mechanisms beyond no welfare, although that would certainly be a nice start.

  38. inertial says:
    @anonymous coward

    That’s not Communist principles as Communists themselves understood them. That’s capitalist (or, according to Lenin, Imperialist) principles. They were borrowed by the Commies when their initial attempt to jump straight to Communism (as understood by Marx) failed.

  39. Dmitry says:
    @Anarcho-Supremacist

    The general style of academic political and historical thought in Russia is overly-conditioned by Marxism, and more diverse influences are integrated.

    It will be healthy if this level is reduced in the future, which is where Karlin blog would have a good point (although the normative reason he writes – his racism against Russians – seems not convincing, and the reason for decline of interest in Marx is simply a decline in interest in history and in books).

    At the same time, Marx is still a lot more interesting and intelligent than any writers or political thinkers that are alive nowadays, so if people brains’ are not being hacked from him, and they read it sceptically rather than as a religious text – then his writings should be studied.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  40. @Bliss

    Lenin looks dim, psychopathic, dead-eyed, and perhaps mentally retarded.

    • Replies: @iffen
  41. iffen says:
    @RadicalCenter

    Yeah, nothing like the kindly looking Uncle Joe.

  42. @Anatoly Karlin

    “Optimal planning is extremely computationally intensive”

    I haven’t looked into this myself, but so far as I understand, one tries to model an economy as one huge linear programming problem. Though I don’t know much about economics, I do have some experience with linear programming. While it works brilliantly in theory, and pretty well in practice for small problems, it very quickly becomes useless if the number of constraints grows exponentially as a function of the number of variables. I don’t see how AI in and of itself is going to help here, since the problem isn’t that we lack an intelligent solution but that implementing the solution can be hopelessly expensive in terms of energy.

    However, I’d be very happy to have some explain to me why intuition is wrong here, since I have all kinds of interesting optimization problems that I’d like to solve some day.

  43. @Dmitry

    At the same time, Marx is still a lot more interesting and intelligent than any writers or political thinkers that are alive nowadays, so if people brains’ are not being hacked from him, and they read it sceptically rather than as a religious text – then his writings should be studied.

    With all due respect, this paragraph/sentence is unintelligible. I’m assuming you’ve studied Marx’ writings so, ironically, it is unclear how that has benefited anybody.

  44. Marx was a skilled writer, an outstanding observer, and something of a prophet. But he should only be viewed within the framework of his time, which borders the events of 1848.

    His thinking is a product of 1789 and 1793, and the world of the very recent start of the Industrial Revolution and Thomas Malthus.

    His formative experience is Prussian/German transplanted via exile to England. Were it not for the Black Swan of Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution nobody would remember Marx, least of all Russians.

    It was shown long ago that Marx, as well as Lenin, were under no illusions that Terror would be required to bring about their “plans.”

    Marx understood better than most that it is easier to control a slave if you convince him he is an employee.

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