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Zhukov Zhukov is offline
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 09:53 AM        The Berlin Wall















http://www.marxist.com/fall-berlin-w...ears-later.htm

...

Like many other East Germans, Ralf Wulff said he was delighted about the fall of the Berlin Wall and to see capitalism replace communism. But the euphoria did not last long. “It took just a few weeks to realize what the free market economy was all about,” said Wulff. “It's rampant materialism and exploitation. Human beings get lost. We didn't have the material comforts but communism still had a lot going for it.” (Reuters report)

Hans-Juergen Schneider, a 49-year-old trained engineer has been unemployed since January 2004. He has sent out 286 job applications since then, without success. “The market economy can't solve our problems,” he says, “big business is just grabbing the profits without accepting any responsibility.” He is not alone. A poll by Der Spiegel stated that 73% of East Germans believe that Karl Marx's critique of capitalism is still valid.

Another poll published in October 2008 in the magazine Super Illus stated that 52% of people in Eastern Germany think that the market economy is “inept” and “rundown”. 43% would prefer a socialist economic system, because “it protects the small people from financial crises and other injustices”. 55% rejected banking bailouts by the state.

Of young people (18 to 29 years), who never lived in the GDR, or did so only briefly, 51% want socialism. The figure for people 30 to 49 years old is 35%. But for those over 50 years it is 46%. These findings are confirmed in interviews with dozens of ordinary easterners. “We read about the 'horrors of capitalism' in school. They really got that right. Karl Marx was spot on,” said Thomas Pivitt, a 46-year-old IT worker from East Berlin. Das Kapital was a best-seller for publisher Karl-Dietz-Verlag, selling over 1,500 copies in 2008, triple the number sold in all of 2007 and a 100-fold increase since 1990.

“Everyone thought there would never ever again be any demand for 'Das Kapital',” managing director Joern Schuetrumpf told Reuters. “Even bankers and managers are now reading Das Kapital to try to understand what they've been doing to us. Marx is definitely 'in' right now,” he said.

The crisis of capitalism has convinced many Germans, both East and West, that the system has failed. “I thought communism was shit but capitalism is even worse,” said Hermann Haibel, a 76-year old retired blacksmith. “The free market is brutal. The capitalist wants to squeeze out more, more, more,” he said. “I had a pretty good life before the Wall fell,” he added. “No one worried about money because money didn't really matter. You had a job even if you didn't want one. The communist idea wasn't all that bad.”

“I don't think capitalism is the right system for us,” said Monika Weber, a 46-year-old city clerk. “The distribution of wealth is unfair. We're seeing that now. The little people like me are going to have to pay for this financial mess with higher taxes because of greedy bankers.”

Even more significant than opinion polls were the results of the recent German elections. The Left Party registered a significant advance, getting almost 30% of the vote in the East. In the East there is now no majority for the bourgeois parties. What this shows clearly is that the people of East Germany do not want capitalism but socialism – not the bureaucratic totalitarian caricature of socialism that they had before, but genuine democratic socialism – the socialism of Marx, Engels, Liebknecht and Luxemburg.

London, October 19, 2009
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 10:10 AM       
And yet here in the good old US o' A, when we hear the word "socialism" it's usually followed by a phrase of the ilk "those bastards want to take all our hard earned money and give it away to illegal aliens". :limbaugh
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 12:28 PM       
I find your ideas intriguing, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 02:19 AM       
Wait, what? That's never happened before
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 04:55 AM       
I know its stupid to criticize an article like that, but I'm gonna do it a bit anyway.

Quote:
A poll by Der Spiegel stated that 73% of East Germans believe that Karl Marx's critique of capitalism is still valid.

I know germany has.. different school systems than the united states but really, what percentage of those germans really read Karl Marx's "CRITIQUE."

Quote:
We didn't have the material comforts but communism still had a lot going for it.”
Quote:
“I had a pretty good life before the Wall fell,” he added. “No one worried about money because money didn't really matter. You had a job even if you didn't want one. The communist idea wasn't all that bad.”
This seems inconsistent but maybe I'm stretching.

Quote:
He has sent out 286 job applications since then, without success. “The market economy can't solve our problems,”
Is there really no unemployment in socialist/communist countries? Even during a recession? Yea and sure you might have a job in a communist country but that doesn't mean you are going to be making good money, have a good lifestyle or much freedom.

Quote:
The crisis of capitalism has convinced many Germans, both East and West, that the system has failed. “I thought communism was shit but capitalism is even worse,” said Hermann Haibel, a 76-year old retired blacksmith. “The free market is brutal. The capitalist wants to squeeze out more, more, more,” he said. “I had a pretty good life before the Wall fell,” he added. “No one worried about money because money didn't really matter. You had a job even if you didn't want one. The communist idea wasn't all that bad.”
HES A FUCKING BLACKSMITH -- I DIDNT EVEN KNOW THOSE EXISTED ANYMORE EXCEPT FOR LIKE HORSE SHOES AND NOVELTY SHIT. MIGHT AS WELL BE A DOOR TO DOOR SALESMAN AND COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW CAPITALISM IS BRUTAL.

What's retirement like in communist countries? I mean, if I took this dudes statement that, "You had a job even if you didn't want one" this guy wouldn't even be feeling leisurely enough to think about the values of communism cause they'd be working his ass off.

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“The distribution of wealth is unfair. We're seeing that now. The little people like me are going to have to pay for this financial mess with higher taxes because of greedy bankers.”
What about potentially greedy communists? Personally I'd rather be in a greedy capitalist society than a greedy communist one ;/

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do not want capitalism but socialism – not the bureaucratic totalitarian caricature of socialism that they had before, but genuine democratic socialism – the socialism of Marx, Engels, Liebknecht and Luxemburg.
How about non-greedy capitalism. These two things are potentially just as impossible.

are there any non-totalitarian socialist/communist governments? Can such a thing exist? Personally I always thought part of Karl Marxs criticism was that there can't really be such a thing as "non-totalitarian" communist/socialist governments until after some golden age of humanity in which we all lose our greediness.

Maybe I'm wrong, though. Or maybe we are on the cusp of that moment. Unless either of these are true though acting like "Karl Marx's" critique is valid and as such we should become communist is inconsistent with what Karl Marx said.
etcotherstuff
considered saying stuff about purecapitalism/moresocialistcapitalism but ..
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 07:53 AM       
You're right in part with your first caustic comment. How many people HAVE read every single god damn volume of Das Kapital? How many of those few have grasped even part of it? The point of it is that people are disenchanted with how things are being run, and might make a comment like "Marx is still valid!" without meaning anything beyond "Fuck this shit".

"No material comforts" means that they didn't have a huge choice at the supermarket, or many TV shows to watch, or fashionable clothes. "didn't have to worry about money" means they didn't have to worry about not being able to make rent, or put food on the table, he doesn't mean that he had shit loads of money to buy mink coats and fast cars.

No there was no unemployment in the USSR. Of course there were people that must have fallen through the net, or lived outside the control of the government, but everyone that existed in documents and in files was given a job.


The blacksmith isn't complaining about not having a job. The guy is retired and complaining on behalf of everyone else. Maybe he doesn't get much pension, either.

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Personally I'd rather be in a greedy capitalist society than a greedy communist one
Personally you haven't experienced both. East Germans have.

As far as a non greedy capitalist system goes... well if YOU had read all of Marx then you would know that by it's VERY NATURE capitalism has to be greedy to survive. I guess the closest thing would be the social democracies in Scandinavia, but that's just government and policies, rather than socio-economic structure.

Now, nobody can live in a communist society right now. It can't happen because people aren't ready for it. Socialism is the first step. Communism is a stateless society without money or classes, it's anarchy. Anarchists want it right away, Socialists want socialism first so that society can learn to live that way. Socialism (that "golden age") is where the state and it's means of production are run by everyone, rather than the oligarchy seen in the USSR. The Soviet Union never claimed that it was/is/reached commmunism, that's just a label used by the filthy west, although they did claim socialism, which you can take with as many grains of salt as when the USA says it is for Freedom and Democracy. When someone says they are a communist, it means that they want that to happen. The communist international was called that because it supposed to lead towards communism, not actually BE it. Karl Marx had never seen a "totalitarian communist government" so he couldn't give a criticism of it, but I'm sure he would understand that to be labeled such a thing would be a pretty big contradiction. Trotsky gave a critique and they put an ice pick in his head.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 09:14 AM       
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No there was no unemployment in the USSR
http://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/...i4p613-32.html
?

Quote:
means they didn't have to worry about not being able to make rent, or put food on the table
lol this doesn't sound anything like the USSR I've learned about (especially as far as food goes), but I'm sure you would know more about it than me. I always thought there was a lot of poverty there, but the people who are writing about communism act like its great for everybody.
Maybe it was different if you were one of the ethnic minorities?

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Personally you haven't experienced both. East Germans have.
Only a percentage of them. A lot of old people in our country think THA OLD WAYS ARE BEST.

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Karl Marx had never seen a "totalitarian communist government" so he couldn't give a criticism of it, but I'm sure he would understand that to be labeled such a thing would be a pretty big contradiction.
Karl Marx didn't see a communist or socialist government without totalitarianism either, yet he commented on them.
If i replace the word totalitarianism with authoritarianism will this be more obvious?

Karl Marx's magical transformation was basically described as this: SHITTHATISNOW(MAYBE CAPITALISM OR SOMETHING) -- TOTALITARIAN SOCIALISM -- NON TOTALITARIAN COMMUNISM.

here's something from wikipedia since i can't find much else without reading a bunch of crap..:
Historical periodisation

Marx considered that these socio-economic conflicts have historically manifested themselves as distinct stages (one transitional) of development in Western Europe.[11]
  1. Primitive Communism: as in co-operative tribal societies.
  2. Slave Society: a development of tribal progression to city-state; Aristocracy is born.
  3. Feudalism: aristocrats are the ruling class; merchants evolve into capitalists.
  4. Capitalism: capitalists are the ruling class, who create and employ the true working class.
  5. Dictatorship of the proletariat: workers gain class consciousness, and via proletarian revolution depose the capitalists to assume control of a socialist state.
  6. Communism: a classless and stateless society.
Short of magic its difficult to imagine a communist society without some form of totalitarianism. Everybody has to be obedient to the state and its laws and rules or it wont work. People can't choose their own job and choose to live beyond their means.
Really even in the classless and stateless society people are just going to have a form of self-inflicted authoritarianism.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 10:32 AM       
totalitarianism and authoritarianism are where one person, or a group of un-elected people run every aspect of people's lives.

I disagree with you about needing that to reach a communist society, it's the total opposite I think. As for the rest.. it's 2:30 am. I'll get back to you.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 10:40 AM       
Greed exists. Its just part of human nature. Plain and simple. Because of this Communism is a pipe dream. Capitalism doesnt HAVE to be greedy it just expects and accounts for it. Hence why there are capitalist countries around the world that have been in working order for centuries. Meanwhile there are what? Two, at best, communist or socialist countries that are just barely hanging in there. Both of which are Totalitarian.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 02:07 PM       
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Originally Posted by Gordon Gekko
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.
This is typical Hollywood BS, but it also could be viewed as a pure capitalist's philosophy. Cut out the deadwood, prune away the crap, clearcut and burn the chaff and start fresh. Many lose in the short term, but society gains in the long term.

Viewed in these terms, Communism would be the synonym of stagnation.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 04:14 PM       
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totalitarianism and authoritarianism are where one person, or a group of un-elected people run every aspect of people's lives.

I disagree with you about needing that to reach a communist society, it's the total opposite I think. As for the rest.. it's 2:30 am. I'll get back to you.
That may be the case, but that isn't what Marx thought.

Quote:
A "free state" is by no means the aim of the workers, who have got rid of the narrow mentality of humble subjects, to set the state free. Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it; and today, too, the forms of state are more free or less free to the extent that they restrict the "freedom of the state."....The question then arises: What transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present state functions? This question can only be answered scientifically.... Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 04:15 PM       
greed is kind of a loaded term. How about, "Profit-motivated."
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 04:29 PM       
Paranoid of the future.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 05:03 PM       
Greed is good.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 06:29 PM       
No.

lolimsuchacoolguy
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 09:33 PM       
communisim is the dumbest idea ever.

it has the same problem that every sword and sorcery, or book about kings and queens has. on paper it sounds great, everyone shares the wealth and no one has to be sad cause everyone is taken care of.

until someone has to dig a ditch. or work at the sewage plant.

everyone thinks they'll be the king, or live a life of dignity, they wont be the ditch digger cause they are oh so fucking smart and wonderful.

but no, in the end a bunch of assholes end up kings, enough to support the system get dignity, and the rest get fucked with digging ditches with no hope of a better life.

it has taken less than a generation for people to forget the horrors that communisim unleashed on the world. go ask the lithuainians how much they liked being commies, or the vietnamese, or the chinese. communisim has been shown a fraud in every society that has ever tried to REALLY institute it.

and the socialism that europe enjoys is only cause the US picked up the tab for building their infrastructure after WW2.

unchecked capitalism is a bad thing, there have to be rules, but it butt fucks being a commie and leaves it in a ditch.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 09:40 PM       
I work with a guy who grew up in Poland. He said he could remember going to a store and there would be nothing but vinegar or some other obscure item and nothing but that. When I asked him why that's all they could get from a store he said "people were all like, eh fuck it I don't hive a sheet!". He said that was a popular communist phrase when something was awry, "eh, fuck it".
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 12:21 AM       
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 12:40 AM       
Filthy Bourgeoisie.
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 02:14 AM       
Heh, tonight's Daily Show on this subject (the John Oliver part) was rather funny/sad.
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 06:47 AM       
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Originally Posted by kahljorn View Post
That may be the case, but that isn't what Marx thought.
Marx never mentions a totalitarian or authoritarian rule. A "dictatorship of the proletariat" doesn't sound as harsh and nasty when you figure that most people are proletarian; it just means a rule of the working people. We currently have a "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". The "transitional period" mentioned there is Socialism. Marx doesn't actually coin the term, it was used later. Talking about not wanting a "Free state", he is talking about an unfetted state, a free market, a state or a government that rules the people with freedom, rather than the other way around. The state can't be free, it has to be run and ruled by the people that live in it. This in no way means that oh shit we have to live in a dystopian reality with no freedom. It's a state run by the dictatorship, a dictatorship of working people.

No, people don't get to choose their own job ("I want to be a pilot!") or live like a king... nobody is really promising that, are they? Money still exists and people can still die of hunger and preventable illness. There is still a huge difference between rich countries and poor countries. The point is to lessen these things over time by putting the means of production in the hands of a democratically run state, rather than private individuals.

As far as no unemployment goes, I am not going to download your link, but I guess it was pretty dumb to say "no unemloyment". I guess "officialy no unemployment" is closer. A group of ex-soviet citizens living in America is hardly a great basis for your study, but I can concede the point. You can have a massive city where everyone would be put to work, and then you could have a village where nobody had a job. You could have an East German town built around a tire factory where everyone had a job, and you could have a town built around a tin mine in Kazakhstan that just closed, and people would be out of work for months. I'd be pretty certain though, that it was easier to have and keep a job in the USSR than in the USA at the same time period. Especially since if you didn't deem yourself useful you would have just been conscripted into the army. Anyway, I retract my comment.

As far as "greed is hard wired into our brains and genes"... I would have thought that that argument would have died once scientific learning into DNA and the human genome became mainstream.
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 08:36 AM       
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Marx never mentions a totalitarian or authoritarian rule. A "dictatorship of the proletariat" doesn't sound as harsh and nasty when you figure that most people are proletarian; it just means a rule of the working people.
I'm about to go to bed, so more in the morning:
During the revolution, what would happen to people, organizations, businesses and political parties which support bourgeois values or which support the bourgeois class?
What would the government do if people started talking about a return to bourgeois values?

How could a commune really function well unless everybody is doing what the commune says, with absolute obedience to it? And how will the commune, as a whole, do anything but have total control over everything? including the ideology of its constituents?

Really, I don't see how the government could manage an entire commune without it being a huge bureaucracy. How are they going to keep track of resources what needs to be produced and when and in what quantity and with which raw materials allocated to it?
It seems to me that communism requires such a drastic level control over the slightest details of economic and industrial control-- and such a high degree of cooperation between its individual parts -- due to the fact that they don't have a natural force such as the almighty hand influencing which things will be produced and why and when and for what purpose.
If communism doesn't have the level of control required to manage all of these things, then it will likely fail. As such, it needs to have absolute control in order to make all decisions, and each individual in the system needs to cooperate with these decisions absolutely.

Quote:

No, people don't get to choose their own job ("I want to be a pilot!") or live like a king... nobody is really promising that, are they?
No but what I'm saying is that this is an example of "total government control."

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The point is to lessen these things over time by putting the means of production in the hands of a democratically run state
Well, I'll just say it, since when has democracy really solved anything?

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A group of ex-soviet citizens living in America is hardly a great basis for your study
From what I saw, since it was just an abstract, they arrived at their data by extrapolating it from soviet documentation/statistics (although obviously they weren't directly related to unemployment). i would respond to some other stuff you said, but since you conceded, i suppose its unnecessary.

anyway that turned out longer than i thought and i dont even know if it made sense. Good night. lol nm i edited shit
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 09:13 AM       
No, I think I know what you meant.

During "the revolution", what happens to people supporting the other side? Well, anything. Nothing. Whatever. There is no eternal communist law telling anyone how you should treat people with different views. During the Russian revolution the people that supported the counterrevolution started a civil war where millions of people where killed. The red army had a lot of white supporters executed. The Kronstadt uprising (a sailor rebellion against the bolsheviks) led to about 1500 or so getting executed, and maybe another 1500 being freed, or freed after several years in the gulag. Lenin stated that the whole affair made him very sad. Those were very harsh measures for harsh times. "to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs", ha, that's a Lenin quote from the time.

We live in more civilised times, perhaps, and there is no mass execution of people that don't support the bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

I guess it depends on what you mean by "support". Supporting the bourgeois class often amounts to assassinating proletarian leaders, launching military coups, or invading a country.

What would the government do if people wanted a return to a capitalist economy? If people wanted that then they would vote for it.


OK. How would a commune function if everyone wasn't doing what they were told? Just like now, when nobody does what they are told. The "government" and the "commune" are one and the same, it's not a council of elders dictating how people have to run a factory; it's factory workers dictating how it runs. If it rund badly then they are out of a job. There is no clear layout for this - a socialist society - but it wouldn't be too far past how society functions now. People elected into positions of responsibility as far as roads, defense, budget etc, but their focus is on society rather than money because their interests don't lie with the bourgeois class. They are not paid anything over an average wage to be there, so anyone looking for a career with good money is going to have to change their ideals. Things smaller than national interest would be run locally, like they are now.

Allocations of resources and money... geez, I don't know, a minister for resources perhaps, and a hundred people to help him/her.

When things are run in the interest of society rather than corporations, that's where the difference lies, and in a more democratic and accountable system itself.

Democracy is essential. If you have a beuracracy running everything by itself, they get corrupted, they start to run things for themselves rather than for society. With no democracy then things get left undone or get out of control because a beauracracy can't control an entire nation without legitimate feedback and honest opinion from the peope that live there. You get a shop full of vinegar but no bread, and people get pissed off, and the whole thing falls apart.
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 09:39 AM       
anyway lets just leave it at this:

If democratic socialism could be completely transparent with people being both interested in that transparency and being capable of contemplating it while partaking in their democratic and socialist duties, it just might work out. PERFECTLY
oh and if they can not be greedy.

On the other hand, if democratic capitalism could be completely transparent with people being both interested in that transparency and being capable of contemplating it while partaking in their democratic and capatalist duties, it just might work out.
theoretically capalism doesn't require people to magically stop being greedy in order to function well, as long as it has the things above

I just edited my old post out cause it was going to end up turning into this, and I'm too tired to think properly.
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 10:17 AM       
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During the revolution, what would happen to people, organizations, businesses and political parties which support bourgeois values or which support the bourgeois class?
What would the government do if people started talking about a return to bourgeois values?





http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/17168
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