In my opinion, there is no left or right any more. We are becoming the people vs the corporations. Class warfare is becoming rampant.
What are your thoughts?
My apologies, but I find this post to be a bit ignorant.
The concept of "no party", is a fallacious statement. I'll make the assumption of a winner takes all two party system of the American type to make the argument as easy as possible. In this system you will be forced to make a choice between the lesser of two 'evils' if you wish to have your voice heard as starting a new party is quite futile.
If you agree with everything one party stands for you lack the ability of critical independant thinking. If you completely disagree with everything both parties stand for you lack the ability to compromise. Neither is in the spirit of the western democratic ideals, and neither is conducive to ensure a stable society. In a two party system there will be one party you agree with more, or even better, disagree with less. No party will ever mirror your exact standpoint, which is why you will need to compromise to ensure that your vote will count. To influence parties standpoints you will either have to get involved directly or start a special interest group to influence the party you otherwise find the most appealing. The very point of a party based political system is to ensure that the party which appeals to the largest number of voters will be granted the opportunity to govern - the majority rules (but not absolutely).
As for class warfare (I presume you are talking about the Communist concept of class conflict/struggle) in America, I do not find this to be a credible or proven claim. In addition, the concept in its original form is built on a number of disproven theories (such as Malthus and minimalistic capitalist governments), and completely ignores the service sector. Today the vast majority of people work in the service sector, where the means of production is something the worker controls, namely their own brains, and is much less reliant on heavy (expensive) machinery. If you wish to redefine class struggle to relate it to socio-economic class or religious beliefs, you would do well in specifying the content of your theory and probably choose a name which is not 'taken'.
I would also like to object to the use of newspapers, blogs or special interest websites as a source of knowledge. They work well in disseminating information, but are generally poor in knowledge. scholar.google.com is a much better source than google.com if you wish to make claims that hold water if scrutinized.
1) Your argument against having no party is fallacious as it is a false dichotomy of either agreeing with a party line or disagreeing with both party lines. Someone can agree with some of what one party does and some of what another party does without being a member of either party.
2) Your examination of class warfare is awful. Simply because we have advanced beyond early industrial society doesn't mean that class struggle no longer exists. “If the site of alienation for Marx was the factory, today the shopping center fills that roll” (Langmen, Laura. “Alienation and Everyday Life: Goffman Meets Marx at the Shopping Mall.” Alienation Society and the Individual. Felix Geyer and Walter R. Heinz Ed. New Jersey: Transaction, 1992. 108). It doesn't have to be a worker/owner dialectic to cause class conflict though. I would also refute your assertion that workers own the means of production simply because that means happens to be their own brain. Certainly companies still pay workers less than what the product of their labour is worth, regardless if it comes from their brains or not, hence alienating workers from the product of their work. Also bringing up Malthus as proof is awfully bold considering few demographers today stand alongside his claims, then again Malthusian Theory was replaced by Demographic Transition Theory.
How can pointing out that there are only two viable options in a two party system be a false dichtonomy? I addressed that already by stating that forming a third option is 'quite futile' (as evidenced by no third party candidate having been chosen since.. not quite sure how long, but long enough to prove the point). The second sentence was the very point of my second paragraph, that people will stand closer to one party than another, thus 'belonging' to that party. If one has two options and take neither, no choice has been made - 'No Party' is therefore not a 'third way' (Ibsen's Peer Gynt deals with this question).
My examination was shallow, I agree, but I did not see the reason to go into the details underpinning Communism as it tends to become quite long winded. The class struggle predicted by Marx did not come to fruition, and your quote does nothing else than to affirm exactly that point. Your claim that it may not be class struggle after Marx receipe, but a similar cocnept may apply to the working conditions today is nothing more than moving the goalpost.
I brought up Malthus (stating it is a disproven theory) because it is one of the underpinnings behind class warfare - laborers would tend to have many children to ensure that someone could take care of them when they were no longer able to, leading to an exponentially increasing population. Food production was expected to only increased linearly, and this would lead to a Malthusian catastrophy. Having the workers take over the means of production would be the solution because then the state would take care of them - give what you can, get what you need, no need to get a dozen children.
In essense, class struggle is a theory from a bygone age, just like Malthus' is. It holds no validity today with our public pension systems, birth rates less than replacement rates, agricultural revolution, workers rights, tertiary sector and a whole host of other reasons. I do not deny there are major socio-economic issues today, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the original concept of 'class struggle'.
I have to disagree that Marx's ideas are outdated. Although we are able to enjoy a lot more freedoms due to the rise of labor unions, I don't think that we have reached our economic potential at all. It is difficult for us to think about a socialist system in the same way it would be difficult for a serf to think about a capitalist system in the 1300s ("What do you mean I have the freedom to trade goods and services in an open market?"). Just because it is difficult for us to envision in our current state does not make it outdated. However, I don't believe we are ready for socialism quite yet. I think the United States should be moving in a more European direction (i.e., democratic socialism), but all out socialism is not something we are ready for.
This was outlined quite thoroughly in "The Communist Manifesto" -- we must first achieve a capitalist system that works well -- just as we had achieved a bartering system and serfdom. Then the WORLD must agree to move forward economically. This is the reason why "socialist" and "communist" countries cannot be purely socialist or communist in the way Marx envisioned. It is difficult to trade and work with other countries who are capitalist. Again, imagine our global trade community, mostly made up of feudalistic countries with scattered capitalist nations -- in the 1300s. The world then could not handle capitalism, just as our world today is not quite ready for socialism. Just as in biological evolution, economic evolution is a slow, gradual process that adapts to the world surrounding in it (albeit biological evolution takes a lot longer). Just because Marx's vision has not come to fruition in the 150 years since it was written does not make it an invalid argument -- it took thousands of years just to get to our capitalist society today. Give it time.
As for the major socioeconomic issues of today having "absolutely nothing to do with the original concept of class struggle", I'm afraid I'm going to have to be blunt and ask the question: Have you turned on the news in the last two months? These revolutions in the Middle East are not simply because these people believe so strongly in democratic ideals -- they are pissed with the gap between the rich and the poor. It may not be THE reason for revolution, but it is an important reason. If this isn't the classic idea of class struggle, then please tell me what you think it is.
I mostly agree with your two first paragraphs, though I would say that the valid ideas of Marx are already present in many countries (in lesser or larger extents) and the invalid theories have been rejected. It is of course possible that we will embrace Marx again sometime in the future, but I will have to file that under the "well anything's possible" category.
The major issue of introducing a Communist system today is that it will have to start off with having a highly centralized and powerful government that is absolutely uncorrupted. It does not seem that it is possible today, and I have my doubts that we will ever overcome selfishness. Indeed, I could argue from a selfish gene standpoint that it would mean a total overwrite of our natural evolutionary pressures by societal memes. In addition, such a system would have to overcome the major microeconomic incentive issues as well as finding sustainable solutions to pol sci/econ problems such as principal-agent.
Your final paragraph is taking my post a bit outside the scope of it's intention, as I clearly stated that I was applying it to a two-party winner take all system such as in the US. I have yet to hear that the revolutionaries in NA-ME wish to take control of the means of production. A more equal share of wealth, an end to oppression and the possibility of climbing the social ladder are, but that is not class struggle. Socio-economic class is unrelated to class struggle, or to use Wikipedia:
"Marx's notion of class has nothing to do with social class in the sociological sense of upper, middle and lower classes (which are often defined in terms of quantitative income or wealth). Instead, in an age of capitalism, Marx describes an economic class. Membership in a class is defined by one's relationship to the means of production (...)"
I would like to reiterate that most of us use our brains and not our hands to perform our jobs. We are not mindlessly pulling levers in a factory - we are in offices or stores, and most industrial workers are hired for their learned competence, not their physical abilities.
I'm with you. Registered Democrat. No party.
Corporations have been fighting the U.S. Supreme Court for just over 100 years for the right to be legally considered 'persons' with all the 'rights' that someone with flesh and blood has. Now that the SCOTUS has given them their way, we are in for a new system. It may very well be People vs. Corporations.
Well, not necessarily. It is a hallmark of strictly regulated capitalist economies. Uncontrolled capitalism is something you can find in failed states such as Somalia where everything is a product. Incidently, it is also a country where a lot of tilling is done by hand and has a weak corporate sector.
Alternatives would include communism, feudalism and mercantilism. Where the first is a contemporary-ish competing theory and the two latter are predecessors. Though you may critize me for making a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, I would claim that the emergence of capitalism and corporations in the nineteenth century (replacing mercantilism), and the subsequent ever stricter regulation of this the last century or so, is fundamental to our current level of welfare. Presumably you are not a supporter of feudalism. We have not been able to have a successful system based on the theories of communism, which can be taken as proof that either it does not work or we are not ready for it. In addtion, a some of the original ideas behind communism have been disproven, and many of them are present in the modern society.
In essence, capitalism ensures that the most well adapted corporations tend to survive, and they will need to continually evolve by developing new products and technologies, which are the underpinnings of our modern societies. Corporatism ensures that more risk can be taken since natural persons are seperated from these risks, and due to the link between risk and potential reward, we can develop at a quicker pace.
For more detailed knowledge, I would suggest a masters degree in economics.