Theoretical Foundations of Bergonian Socialism




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Daily Life


Berg socialism is distinct for its lack of structured, detailed theory, quite unlike the rigid doctrines of Marxist-Leninism.  

"Regardless of the powerful sound of one's arguments, regardless of their logical merit, a man should remain the master of them and not succumb to their domination.  No one should take it on faith cock-sure that he is in the right, because the temptations of righteousness are too sweet, so strong and so blinding."  --Democratic Arguments, Iscalar Perei, 1855.

"As for Miradi [the religion], we should do well to adopt its skeptical attitude....  Krathnami's skeptical scrutiny of all theorization is required by the modern scientific attitude that socialists must take care to adopt...." --Ibid.

On this page:

Economic Justifications for socialism

Historical Justifications

Political Justifications

Philosophical Justifications 

Psychological Justifications

What Bergonian Socialism has in common with Marxism.

How Bergonian Socialism differs from Marxism.

Berg-Soc criticism of the Conservative world-view.

Socialist resources.

What Berg-Soc has in common with Marxism:

Class War:  Berg-Soc identifies social classes, and sees history as an interplay between them-- for the most part a record of inequality and oppression.  Berg-Soc explicitly recognized the identity & ascendancy of the bourgeoisie, as Marx described in the Communist Manifesto, though Berg formulations of what constitutes "bourgeois" differed markedly from the strictly European phenomenon described by Marx.  Bergonian socialists often identified a proto-bourgeoisie in their own pre-columbian history, see Tan

Alienation:  Most Berg-Soc agree that alienation results from economic oppression.  This seems pretty apparent on its face, although modern behavioral science now includes experiments and surveys to verify the concept.  Marx wrote about alienation in the 1844 Manuscripts, although later in his life he said little about psychological processes.  Also see Herbert Marcuse & the Frankfurt School.

Revolution:  Both Berg-Soc and Marx regarded revolution as the necessary means by which socialism replaces capitalism.  Bergonian socialists engaged in parliamentary elections, but they did not do so because they adopted a policy of Fabian or Bernsteinian gradualism.  They believed that parliamentarianism was one of many potentially revolutionary tools, and planned on using democratic means to force the crisis that would allow a revolutionary event.  This was part of the "fight on all fronts" strategy of the Democratic Front.

How Berg-Soc differs from Marxism:

Religion:  Marx was explicitly atheistic.  His atheism preceded from his materialist philosophy.  All Berg-Soc theory explicitly guarantees religious freedom, and endorses the Covenant of 1840.  Berg-Soc thereafter has explicitly stated in all its voices that it will never make itself contradictory to religion.  Some Bergonians based their socialism on religious faith.

"Scientific Socialism":  Berg-Soc doesn't pretend to be a science but more a philosophy, a complex of values, and a system of social organization.  Berg-Soc has excoriated Marxists on this point, refusing to accept Marx's armchair philosophical speculation as "science."  Berg-Soc puts great store in science (see the 8 Principles), and with typical pragmatism and Miradi skepticism it respects very little "science" that is not experimental, or outside the "scientific method."  Successful experimental science produces results that can be replicated, which 

History:  Berg-Soc has had nothing to do with Hegel, who saw the world as dynamic yet ordered, progressively revealing itself in a rational sequence toward perfection.  Marx, along with other Left-wing Hegelians, saw history as a series of successive stages of social and economic development.  Marx in particular based his historical theory on the economic "mode of production" (e.g. feudalism, capitalism) and relationships between the classes.  Berg-Soc has never had any notions of progressive history.

One must be careful about presuming patterns to history.  Dynamic human society, with all its various facets, are such multi-variant processes as to defy human understanding.  Bergonian historians do have some theoretical opinions concerning historical cycles, but not forward progression.  The study of history, at all costs, must be based on fact, but from fact we can develop modest theories of history.  See for example how computer modeling is applied to historical studies.

Preconditions for Revolution:  Marx believed that revolution wasn't possible without specific preconditions (e.g. development of the proletariat).  He and his pal Engels fretted endlessly about this, and concluded that revolution could occur only in advanced industrial countries.  Berg-Soc had little interest in such analysis.  It concluded that the only precondition for socialism is for the people to want socialism, and thus believed that revolutionaries had to work to build the revolution. 

The Peasantry:  Marx didn't believe that peasants could make revolution, that revolution would come only when the industrial proletariat rose up.  In extreme contrast the Russian revolutionary Alexander Herzen believe that socialism would grow out of communal peasant village tradition.  Berg-Soc always had faith in the peasantry, noting the proto-socialism of village life, and the proud history of peasant revolts over the centuries.  Berg-Soc held that an oppressed class in any era had the right and perhaps even the duty to rise up.  Since peasants and workers both were oppressed, it seemed only reasonable that they would achieve better results by rising up together, rather than by ignoring each other. 

What Comes After the Revolution:  While Marx obsessed about preconditions for revolution, he had cryptically little to say about what came after revolution, leaving us with nothing more than the grossly vague "dictatorship of the proletariat."  In contrast, Bergonian Socialists found it absolutely necessary to define socialist society ahead of time in considerable detail.  Before the 1932 Revolution they wrote volumes on how socialist government and economy would work, which greatly influence the decisions made in 1936.

Law:  Many Bergonian socialists hold that all "modes of production" shape power relationships, and that in fact every mode of production creates a specific pattern of power relationships.  While Marx would not disagree with this, he would most certainly have dismissed the Bergonian notion that law was a (maybe the) primary manifestation of power relationships.  One of the primary features of bourgeoisie society was its reliance on law.  Rule of law was a precondition for, and a great strength of capitalism.  Learning from this, Bergonian Socialists felt to compelled to say that socialism required the rule of law too.  Revolution is by nature law-breaking, indeed utterly destructive of all a society's laws, but in its final stage it is law-making.   

Materialism:  Marx's doctrine was born of the same corrupt materialism that gave rise to modern capitalism.  Both ignore religious and spiritual sensibilities.  Both extol production and technology.  Both extol economic considerations and attempt to subordinate all other human considerations to them.  Socialism need not embrace this paradigm.  One might argue that socialism was born of modern Post-Enlightenment materialist thought and cannot escape from it.  This is certainly true for Marxist socialism.  But socialism existed before Karl Marx, and in its earliest form was a product of radical Christianity.

Capitalism can take credit for fueling the maddening mechanization of life in the last 200 years, and for the radical transformation of the earth.  Marx was actually an admirer of the bourgeoisie for its accomplishments, and an admirer of capitalism for its productive capacity.  He rather naively believed that communist society would be even more productive, but he never questioned the bourgeoisie values of production and growth.  Marxist socialism is ultimately a cold steely thing.


Berg-Soc criticism of the Conservative world-view:

The classic conservative critique, The Road to Serfdom, by Frederich Hayek (of the so-called Vienna School), attacked both communism and the European welfare state as stultifying to the human spirit.  He wrote:

 "The  most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people... the will of [people] is not shattered but softened, bent and guided; [they] are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting.  such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrial animals, of which government is the shepherd."

Bergonians find this critique laughable in its one-sided applicability.  Hayek's criticism is ironically every bit as valid for latter-day capitalism, where huge corporate bureaucracies control people and accomplish the same things.  A corporate bureaucracy performs the same stultifying role as a governmental bureaucracy, just as capable of playing the "shepherd."  Obscured in all the theorizing is the historical fact that both modern government and corporations found their form by imitating the modern military machine, perfected in the Napoleonic Wars.  Hayek has not just validly criticized socialism; he has criticized all modern bureaucracy, but of course Hayak serves his class-masters and hypocritically attacks only leftward.  State-socialism of the Marxist tradition was so explicit and dogmatic about central planning that it was low-hanging fruit for Hayek.

Worse, Hayek misses an even greater point, which history irrefutably proves, that every post-Neolithic economic system has compressed, enervated, extinguished, and stupefied the mass of people for the benefit of a ruling class.  Life surely was hard, dull and stultifying for the mass of people living in the Roman, Chinese, Moghul and Aztec Empires.  We arrive finally at the anarchists' criticism-- all hierarchy is stultifying.

Every economic system ever has involved (a) a small ruling class, (b) a middle class of artisans, professionals, shopkeepers and craftsmen who serve the specific needs & tastes of the ruling class, and (c) a big disenfranchised class of laborers and toilers.  There are variations on this schema, but the Bergonians tend to analyze every society in history according to this tripartite model.  See Orwell, 1984.  Modern democracies have extinguished all formal class distinctions, established equality as a principle of law, and granted the franchise to every adult.  But the existence of the three classes is still implicit in every industrial democracy today, mainly because the ruling class (heterogeneous, fractured and diffuse it may be) still has a virtual monopoly on real power in society.

Hayek, Rand and other hyper-individualists romanticize about the nobility of the individual heroic genius, who should be free of the shackles of government.  (Ernest Becker has devastatingly put this stupid myth in its place.)  The hero is always a justification for the ruling class, who of course are the only ones in society with the means for heroic effort.  Even now, the media lionizes "heroes" who try to sail a balloon or kayak or sailboat some insane distance, but they are inevitably rich men who do not need to work for survival. As Becker concluded, all heroic effort is vain self-glorification.  Like many other values, desires and self-gratifications, heroism is something useful in moderation.  The Miradi view endorses balanced moderation.

Bergonians see equality as the prime basis and first principle for political and social democracy.  True democracy, they reason, is impossible without equality within the economic realm.  Any group which possess a distinct material advantage, by virtue  of ownership  of  the means of production or otherwise, will have a distinct advantage  in  the democratic contest.   Certainly, as long as the election process involves few restrictions in order  to limit the advantages of the rich, then elections will not function in a truly democratic way.


Class versus Class an excellent compendium of leftist theory, opinion & resources. a huge compendium of basic writings of many philosophers, including many non-marxists-- Kant, Hegel and Fukuyama-- and every major marxist theorists.

Arguing for Socialism: a Bibliography a list of books by non-marxist authors over the past 100 years.

for communism  --a large site with theoretical and historical texts on communism, marxist orthodoxy, and recent revisions of marxism.

Toward a New Socialism online book W. Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell, British revisionist, democratic Marxists

The Joy of Revolution by Ken Knabb

Sources in Socialism related to the Democratic Socialists of America

The Left Side of the Brain is Bigger -- readings from various leftist thinkers

Anarchist Archives

Guild Socialism

Cooperative Socialism -- Dr. Roger McCain

Zapatista-- Documents of the New Mexican Revolution


In lieu of theory, Berg socialists always found it necessary to explicitly define programmatically what they meant by "socialism."  One basic definition:

"Whichever approach we take to the science of economics, not a single man possessed of reason and committed to honesty can deny that the rich constitute a nobility, aloof from the rest of us, or that the rich possess and reserve to themselves the power of money, law and arms, or that they enrich themselves out of the labor of common folk.  The recognition of these facts, the facts our miserable subjugation, plus the attending infirmities of alienation and impotency, together compel us to socialism, which we define as the end of this nobility, its monopoly of power, and its unjust enrichments.  Such an imperative makes economic theory completely secondary.


This definition is incomplete, because it delineates socialism only as to what it is not.  We need to define socialism in the positive:

"It is socialism's distinct and special aim to seize from the capitalist his control (ownership) over the object of the workers' labors, and to transfer it to the sovereignty of the worker's themselves, so that the right of ownership originates from labor.  Since democracy is the means by which the people and the various communities have claimed power over government from the old nobilities, democracy must become the means by which the workers claim power from the new oligarchy.  Ultimately, then, socialist transformation means democratic control by the producer will come over the tools and fruits of production, and likewise socialism means the establishment of economic standards, laws and formulas for allocation according to a democratic determination of the public need and welfare."  


Rejected:  The Marxist Historical Justification for Socialism

Unlike the Marxists, who have relied solely upon "historical" justifications, Berg socialists have relied upon several different justifications for socialism. 

Marxism just another expression of European Historicism

No homegrown Bergonian theorist ever relied on anything like the convoluted justification of Marxist historical materialism, or any other belief in an inevitable next stage of history, which revolution will usher in.  Marx, and all the Red Star Marxist parties in the 20th Century, held as an article of faith that the "scientific" study of history revealed the inevitability of revolution and socialism. 

Bertrand Russell once wrote that Marx never bothered to explain why the socialist alternative was necessarily better than capitalism.  Instead Marx argued in gut-bursting detail that it was historically inevitable.  Like so many other versions of Modernism, Marxism draws its justification in the future-- another version of the Faustian "progress" myth.  Marxism and the other Modernist myths, including Freudianism, Classical Economic Theory, and Liberal Political Theory, all parade as "scientifically" provable, and cloak themselves with scientific jargon.  But all these great intellectual "systems" of modern thought, no matter how "empirical" or logical in method, all start with a bunch of sometimes rather bizarre leap-of-faith pre-assumptions, no less than any ancient religion.  They, no less than ancient religions, require faith in the underlying Truth.  Thus, while Marxists and other modern materialists decry all "metaphysics," so much of "history-based" social "science" from Marx to Freud reads like religious dogma that requires both a specialized priesthood (degree-holders, party leaders, doctors) versed in the mysteries and a mass of trusting followers.

Rather than anything scientific, Marx's theory of history, a metaphysics of history, envisioned nothing less than a proletarian New Jerusalem.  Medieval millenarianism, including Joachim de Flores and Savaranola, and German-Romanticist historicism, including Hegel's metaphysics and Marx's historical materialism, are of the same trend,  a trend continuous since Jewish Messianism.  The not-too-original quasi-religious, eschatological nature of Marx's historical materialism fascinated too many impressionably smart people, who found in it a godless, modern religion.  Because he couldn't credit the eschatology to God, he dreamt up an abstract, "natural" cause, the "dialectic," which would mechanically produce utopia.  This was the original genius to Marx: the marriage of cold dead materialism with the most fantastic, irrational element in Western thinking.

All this Joachim-to-Marx historicism rings hollow and alien to Bergonian atrei thinking.  Bergonians have never in all their history thought much of predestination or eschatology.  Miradi's "epistemological skepticism" has conditioned modern Bergonians to a more humble estimation of mankind's ability to understand natural processes.  Dherein said, "People cannot predict tomorrow's weather, nor tomorrow's gossip, and likewise should not presume to predict the future."  He and most other Berg-socialists, demanding a supporting basis of fact, dismissed historical materialism as an indemonstrable proposition.  Thus for Bergonian socialists, socialism is by no means inevitable.  It is a crap shoot, one that requires a willingness to throw the dice.

The quality of Marx's analysis of history is refuted by history's own subsequent unfolding-- these days it is corporate capitalist globalism, and not "socialism," that seems inevitable.  Even evolutionary psychologists can use their sciences to build metaphysical futurisms.

And yet corporate capitalism itself has jettisoned all historical perspective.  Modernism held at its core the myth of historical progress, but now capitalism no longer pines for the future the way it once did, and the official ideology now embraces an "end of history" illusion.  c.f. Fukuyama.   Now all vision is restricted to the next quarter's numbers.  Americans once thrived on the history-proven hope that life would improve for every generation, but no one speaks of that anymore.  Capitalism in its present incarnation has produced a stultifying degree of social and cultural conformity, wall-to-wall "dumbification" of everything, and a landscape, a body and a common mind all of sprawl, with no more sense of either a past or a future. The sure sign that we have entered a post-modern age.

Pre-Columbian Bergonian Perspectives on History

This is not to say that Bergonian socialists ignored history.  All Bergonian intellectual movements since Tan times have consciously considered their position in history.  Nearly all pre-columbian theories about society, government and economy were synchronic in perspective, and thus considered and described institutions, classes and other social phenomena as changing and evolving.  Many different theories of history arose, but none concerned with finding a grand ordained single drama to history, probably because Bergonian religion has always been devoid of chiliasm and eschatology.  A review of the questions posed by major works of pre-columbian Bergonian history reveal a lot about the mindset of Bergonian historicism: What causes governments to collapse and what causes revolutions?  Why did some cities and states, like Ceiolai, become large and powerful, while others floundered.  Why is the population increasing over time?  What causes gradual change in culture, arts and philosophy?  Some of their questions strike us now as a little quaint:  Do people have better morals or manners now, or in ancient times?  Was magic a force in ancient times?  Other questions became obsessive: What caused the banda to decline?

Bergonian Socialist Perspectives on History

Imperial law (200-600 AD) recognized eight distinct social classes, into which each person was assigned.  The Tan revolutions (1100-1300) achieved class egalitarianism, but class differentiation and consciousness remained.  Thus atrei socialists in the 1800s were predisposed to a class-based analysis of society and history.  Thus, they borrowed from Marx's theories, to develop a theoretical consensus of how an urban, capitalized bourgeoisie (as described so eloquently in the Communist Manifesto) rose up to overturn mercantilism and agricultural feudalism and created industrial modernity, with the development of a parallel new urban class of proletariet-- pratlarei (Nac.) and pralatri (Min.).  Although the bourgeoisie was/seemed specifically european in origin and perhaps in its nature, bourgeois values and tastes permeated every country in the world where  natives wanted to mimic European ways.  If we accept Marxian economic determinism, then we would have to say that any country developing the industrial mode of production will inevitably develop a home-grown bourgeoisie.  This is indeed what Berg radicals thought as early a the 1880s, since so many of them were self-consciously bourgeois in origin.

But another ancient facet of the Bergonian mindset has influenced the modern socialist outlook.  History itself (see Atlantis, hurricane-destroyed Pueoi, and the Plagues) teaches the possibility of utter disaster and destruction and the horrible dread of it, assuring even modern socialists that no outcome is certain.  Again, it is a crap shoot.

Modified:  The Marxist "Economic" Justification for Socialism

Marxist doctrine sees all cultural & social phenomena as the result of economic forces, specifically dictated by the prevailing mode of production and the clash of classes.  One of the most creative extremes of economic determinism is anthropologist Marvin Harris' work.  While such extremes seek economic causation for all social and cultural phenomena, the core idea turns out to be not so profound-- capitalist economists in a very similar way have always believe that people are universally motivated by material considerations.  Out of this assumption comes the mythic model of the "rational" economic man, stomping around like a well-programmed robot in the unregulated market place, colliding with a million others. Likewise, Marx portrays individuals as units within classes, programmed to act in accord with "class interests. So it is that all economic thinkers both capitalist and communist have shared in the assumption that economic considerations motivate individual activity, sociological forms and historical processes.

Capitalist logic arose contemporaneously with the triumph of the logic of slavery, so it naturally follows that capitalism in its earliest form had no difficulty commodifying labor (along with everything else).  Elsewhere among these web-pages Bergonians have pointed out the military aspects of capitalist and all other modern organization, but here, preceding the development of the military machine by a century or two, is an earlier strata of authoritarianism, the most sickening form of all, providing a mindset useful to later generations of bourgeoisie. 

But just as Marx overlooked the importance of slavery as a "means of production" or as a cultural phenomena, he overlooked cultural determinants for social and economic behavior.  The existence of something so huge and economically redundant as the Catholic Church should have warned Marx that men will act against "class interest" and that huge amounts of wealth can be spent in utterly unproductive and "irrational" ways.

Political Foundations
Socialism is justified as the ultimate form of democracy.

By "political" justifications the Ber-Socs mean hard-core consideration of who has iumei, power, practical control, brute strength, who has calumei, authority, legitimacy, and who has samei, liberty to determine ones own act.  These are all species of omei, meaning generic will to act.  It is, in this Bergonian context, that individual will is understood in its social context, which often (usually) means that will is exercised collectively, or that will is exercised through surrogates, with some people becoming extensions of other people's will.  Power is the measure of such transpersonal will, so therefore power is in essence the ability to compel other people to act, to do things they don't want to do.  The ultimate fact of all power is the speaking of the order, and the assurance that it will be followed. 

In economic terms, this means that people can compel (or expropriate) the labor of others, control resources, and set wages and prices, and dictate lifestyles.  A private employer can be as much a dictator as a governor.  In "liberal democratic" capitalist countries, the virtues of liberty and equality are applied only to bind the state, while a capitalist class is explicitly allowed to own all resources and control the labor of the workers.  In a socialist society the democratic virtues are applied to the economy and the realm of work and production.  Bourgeoisie revolutions and modern democratization movements have brought down tyrants and dictators, but socialism goes the final step so as to take down the boss.  

Bergonian socialism has never denounced "bourgeois parliamentarianism" as a prop of capitalism, as the communists have. Quite to the contrary, the Bergonian radicals have viewed political democracy as essentially antagonistic to capitalism, and in fact essential to socialism.  Neo-Liberal doctrine declares that democracy coexists with capitalism, while Berg socialists counter by claiming that democratic institutions have in most cases developed despite capitalism.

Rather parallel to Marx's attempt to analyze capitalism's internal contradictions; the Berg-Socs concluded that many "bourgeoisie" ideas, those of morality, liberty, equality and democracy, were themselves essentially antagonistic to capitalist power, and that bourgeoisie ideology was inherently self-contradictory, a massive case of cognitive dissonence.  While political democracy might be a necessary part of the bourgeoisie revolution, political democracy might also be the first step toward socialism.  Just as political democracy involves constitutionalism, the rule of law and elected legislatures, economic democracy would give workers control over their work by legally constituted collective enterprises.  Managers of socialist economic entities should be elected by the workers involved, just as the People vest political power in elected representatives.  As the Bergonian Constitution states, all authority is democratic authority. 

This view does not permit delineation between the state and the private sector.  There are many different ways that men tell other men what to do, and it occurs with equal ugliness in both the "private sector" and "public sector."  Oppression is oppression, whether done by a plantation owner or a prince, an industrialist or a warlord, a multinational corporation or the communist party-- and socialism means to destroy all oppression. 

Thus under this Bergonian view it is absurd to think that the state must be constrained but that capitalists may run rampant over their fellow man.  Bergonians of all political stripes realize that weak government has over the years been a delight to criminals, gangsters, slave-owners, the Iregemi (Bergonia's  semi-feudal landowners), traders, bankers,  industrialists-- and all others who economically exploit the people and pollute the environment.  Strong government can eliminate or restrain the exploiters.  Whether one favors weak or strong government often depends on whether one needs government's protection or whether one fears government's control.  In any event the modern western democratic state is chronically corrupted by capitalism.  Socialism will inevitably use the state, constrained by democratic processes, as the primary coordinating authority over all the workers cooperatives.   

Philosophical foundations: 
Justice demands socialism

That capitalists brutalize workers, and that people suffer, are for many Bergonians enough justification for socialism.  If one group of people cause others to suffer, they should be stopped.  This is an ethical perspective, and also a utilitarian perspective.  Self-defense is never considered immoral, and it is never immoral to resist oppression.  It is a moral and ethical imperative to sacrifice oneself to reduce the suffering of others, and so socialist revolution becomes a heroic calling.  The Bergonian compare the modern revolutionary to the banda warrior of ancient times.  

Somewhat like Socrates, Bergonian philosophers of the Tan Era (post 1000 AD) spoke of a priori virtues like Beauty and Justice that needed no justification.  Those virtues having revolutionary implications included coniari -- the traditional Berg concept equivalent to justice and equity.  Coniari envisions the health and peace of the community, and inherently incorporates egalitarianism.  Many Westerners would quarrel with the idea that egalitarianism is a necessary component of justice, but Bergonians have looked askance at Western philosophical and legal theories on justice because they focus too sharply on the individual and do not often recognize a collective interest, which provides an altogether different justification for egalitarianism.

Tan era solons developed refined concepts of coniari.  In the process they condemned many basic capitalist and commercial processes as unjust, including excessive profit, usury, price-fixing, unsafe work conditions, and inadequate wages.  The common root of all these practices is extortion, which is made possible by the upper class's monopoly of property, which in turn is supported by the "law and order" of the liberal democratic state.  The "order" of capitalism is the monopoly of force imposed by the  capitalism's state, used to punish any attempted transgressions of property.  Any trade, business practice or other exercise of property prerogatives of an extortionate nature-- where the strong muscled labor and wealth from the weak-- deserved condemnation.

The idea of a priori values in Tan was supported by the idea of "affective verification," which means that an a priori value is tested according to whether it appears in an average person's affect.  In a nutshell it means that beauty is a valid concept because of how viewing a beautiful object makes men feel good.  It means that love is valid because of how we know we experience love.  (In the morality of the young Miradi religion, love was the chief value.)  It means that coniari is valid because of the subjectve suffering its transgression causes, the suffering caused by oppression and extortion.  Beauty and love are known by their presence, while coniari (justice) is known by its absence, and for that reason coniari is the proper subject of force (the order of "law & order").  In this way some men of Tan condemned as unjust what we now know as capitalism. 

These very idealist Tan perspectives went beyond Medieval Catholicism's and Islam's condemnation of interest.  Socialists in the early1800's revived them.  In a nutshell, this approach to socialism simply says: capitalism is unfair to the worker and makes the worker suffer.  

Maniolo Pratli, leader of the Feral Cats in the 1880s, became the most convincing proponent of this branch of socialism, sometimes called "Justice Socialism."  Her own theory reduced the social question to a description of just and unjust power relationships, irrespective of categories like "economic" and "political."  Her thinking went like this:  

a)  All throughout history a ruling class has dominated the masses.  They benefit from a system of exploitation embedded in the law, the culture and the thinking of the people.  In this he paralleled Marx's notion of ideology, that ruling class interests inform prevailing ideologies.

b)  This domination violates the normative, universal concepts of justice.  It was fair to ask these things:  What did the peasant, the worker, the boss or the capitalist each put into the production of a good or service?  What did they get out of it?  Did what they put into it justify what they got out of it, especially when compared to the others involved in the production?   Pratli made the observation that the Iregemi contributed absolutely nothing to the agricultural production they taxed, while the industrialist at least often assembled the material and tools necessary for the productive enterprise and gave the work initial organization.  She compared distribution of wealth to what a pack of carnivorous animals or a band of aborigines did in divvying up the bounty of the hunt, which at least insured that everyone ate.  She wrote, "After the capitalist hunt, the chief takes a third of the carcass and refuses to share it with his brothers, no matter whether the remainder is sufficient to feed them, and he will have it spoil and be eaten by maggots before he shares it with them."

c)  It was then fair to ask:  What is it that allows the huge disparity between what the nobles or bosses receive and what they contribute.  Following the Tan doctrine that explicit power always implies the threat of force, she concluded that all systems of distribution of labor's fruits ultimately have no basis other than raw force.  She compared the process to the process of training a dog or taming a wild animal, where the implication of force so completely replaces the actual use of force that the process becomes wholly a mental process within the mind of the oppressed.  She referred to law-abiding norms of peace and quiet as the walls and the roof, standing on "a foundation of violence."

d)  Pratli had a special criticism of European capitalism.  She had lived for four years in France and during that time traveled Western Europe extensively.  She claimed that European culture was driven by an expansive, hungry quality that spurred  European nations to conquer and exploit the rest of the planet. 

The boundless European appetite for acquisition, expansion and growth sent conquistadors and settlers to Bergonia and many other lands.  This hunger produced a system of exploitation far different from all previous systems, because of its conscious goal of changing everything in the world, of increasing itself for the sake of growth alone, with no virtues besides the virtue of increase, of building enterprises endlessly, of dominating everything, of ever getting richer.  Pratli opined that England, Spain and other early examples of the modern nation-state became strong precisely because they were efficient at imperialist enterprises. 

In every society the upper classes exploit the masses, but under such a system, the degree of exploitation worsened, and hence more outrageous the injustice of it.  Unlike feudal exploiters of the past, the capitalist deprives the worker of his community, his sense of place, his autonomy in life.  Pratli made the observation that the Iregemi gave the peasants a fair amount of autonomy in growing the crop, and did not have to have a man standing over them, while the industrialist sought to control every minute and every motion of the workers' day with an army-like hierarchy.  Ultimately, Pratli said, the military was the model for industrial organization. 

e) Justice requires the egalitarian organization of society.  This is because: (a) the essence of justice is the equal treatment of every person, e.g. "taking turns," holding everyone to the same standard, and (b) there is no limit to justice, which means that if every man owes the duty of doing justice to every other man, then the duty of justice prevails  in economic circumstances and not just in matters concerning state power, so ultimately that justice requires common ownership of the means of production, and everyone fairly remunerated.  

f)  Because capitalism and all other economic systems are predicated on the use of force, it is entirely appropriate to use force to change them.  He predicted that the system's threat and use of force would always become the decisive question in every impulse toward change.  Some reformers could never bring themselves to shake off their own mental chains and dare the system's threat of force.  Others are equal to the dare, and some of them live to tell the tale.    

In every stage of his life Pratli openly questioned the feasibility of socialism, because he thought that human cupidity would erode its altruistic assumptions, so that sooner or later in every organization the old power relationships between the few and the many would reappear.  But he had a dual sense about human nature, and believed that the good side, the side on which socialism depended, would sooner or later grow equal to the evil side, the side that produced capitalism.   

Psychological foundations: 
Socialism is the conscious collective will to end suffering.

The left's utopianism has generally failed to take account of human nature, even in many instances denying that such a thing as a human nature with fixed qualities exists. Marx assumed that the "ensemble of social relations" makes people what they are, and that, as Peter Singer points out, "It follows from this belief that if you can change the 'ensemble of social relation', you can totally change human nature."  The corruption and authoritarianism of Marxist revolutionary states belies the na�vet� of this view. As the anarchist Bakunin said, once even workers obtain absolute power, "they represent not the people but themselves� Those who doubt this know nothing at all about human nature."

Many Bergonian socialists have concluded that the best rationale for socialism is psychological, not economic.  Democracy and economic justice are justified, in their view, on what they do to promote psychological fulfillment among all the people.  The primary rationale for the Bergonian radical is people's happiness.  It is a utilitarian rationale.  Many early Bergonian socialists, those before the 1870s, made a simple utopian appeal for socialism based on a naive psychology of human happiness, but later generations of socialists felt compelled to adopt more precise theories of psychology and integrate them with their economic and political theories. 

These pre-revolutionary socialists as exponents of the common worker understood the necessity and nobility of pain incurred either through honest work or natural cause.  The modern priority of comfort had not yet taken hold; people were tough then, and our idea that "death with dignity" is measured by the lack of pain would seem at best bizarre to them.  Pain from work and natural causes are part of our humanity, and both Christianity and Miradi understood the humbling value of suffering.  But capitalism and all related economic systems (e.g. feudalism, slavery) cause needless suffering from poverty, overwork and psychological displacement. 

They said all workers experienced subjective suffering in the form of stress and "melancholy" (now called depression), and that the suffering was an inevitable result of their wage-slave status.  They claimed it was impossible for a worker in a capitalist economy to be happy.  The ultimate point was that the capitalist elite stole their happiness from the mass of men.  More generally, where ever there was a hierarchy, the boss steals happiness from his subordinates.  

In contrast to the suffering of capitalist Bergonia, these early socialists painted rosy pictures of a socialist future, where everyone shares the work, lives harmoniously in neighborhoods and villages, and enjoys boundless beauty and harmony.  These guys mirrored the utopian socialists in Europe and the U.S.  Later socialists recognized their debt to this generation of idealists, but thought they had outgrown them and moved on to more sophisticated perspective.

The main psychological approach to socialism started with the Miradi recognition (like Buddhism) that suffering is the great fact of human existence.  One cannot ignore the subjective distress that capitalism and other forms of economic oppression causes workers and peasants-- the fatigue of long hours of labor, the constant worry of poverty, the stultification of anxious, exhausted minds, and the pain of broken, exhausted  bodies. 

Economists look at expropriated surplus value, seeming a calculable thing, but the economic viewpoint does not consider that the worker's suffering is part of the cost.  In a cold-hearted accountant's viewpoint, the degradation of the worker would be similar to equipment depreciation.  From his point of view, the depreciation of human equipment is measured by the decrease in function and efficiency.  But from the worker's perspective there is more than his slowing performance and the increased days off sick; there is his personal pain, that which he experiences while lying in his bed alone.  This is the true cost of capitalist production-- the unnecessary pain, it being a perverse mirror image of surplus value.  It is the hole, the wound, the scar left after the value and essence of his labor are ripped out from him.  There is nothing purely psychological or metaphorical about this-- labor is ultimately a physical thing, the expenditure of the body.  "Alienation" is not a mere pedantic explanation-- it is the widow of a crushed miner standing in some relief line, the crippled laborer alone on his front porch, the sick pensioner confronting another price increase, the mill worker left with one lung.  Unlike Marxism, in Bergonia the subjective precedes the theoretical.

Shufrantei and Miradi taught that man should respond to the fact and feeling of suffering with good-heartedness, solidarity and loving-kindness.  Men of good will should ameliorate the cruelty of life by making life easier for others.  This is more than the duty of justice, rather the higher duty of compassion.  One cannot defy the basic facts of death, illness and bad weather, but one can fight the evil that men do-- including oneself.  Whenever evil appeared in ancient times, the banda warrior took up his sword and dagger and fought it.  Socialism derives its justification from this same duty of compassion and indignation.  Some suffering is inherent in the human condition, but the suffering caused by humankind demands rectification.  In a nutshell this approach says:  "capitalism hurts, bleeds and sometimes kills workers-- so stop it."

This approach is not too far from what Neo-Freudian psychologist Erich Fromm (immensely popular in Bergonia) wrote in Roads to Sanity.  Such approaches, however tend to be rather soft and squishy, and sometimes depends on questionable assumptions about human nature, as does Marx, Freud and all the great ideological theorizers of the last 200 years, but psychological and sociological study has for the most part produced a portrait of human personality that favors many of Fromm's assumptions (more on this later).

Capitalist Society is a Mentally Ill Society

Another approach arose out of the Bergonian interest in group processes.  This approach, gaining popularity after the Revolution, goes with the view that if an individual can have skewed perspectives and values, so can groups, even entire societies.  It is a rather basic Bergonian idea that society is in many ways a meta-version of the individual.  Societies, sub-cultures, classes, communities, families and individuals have personalities, maladaptive beliefs and behavior-patterns, thus personality disorders.  Societies definitely have moods and mood changes, as do individuals.  Developmental psychology and psychodynamic theory explain the etiology for adult personality and emotionally disorders. 

Capitalist culture arises out of a twisted (or "neurotic") set of values, taking on features analogous to what present-day psychology calls a "personality disorder."   The capitalist neurosis is one of greedy acquisitiveness, a form of compulsiveness.  Batteille suggested that the peculiar obsessiveness of a civilization develops as that civilization's way of expending its surplus wealth. 

Bergonian Neo-Freudians:  Mentally Ill Societies and the Neurosis of Capitalism

Bergonian psychologist Alexandre Monnier of Glen (1867-1945) followed Freud, but he became explicitly political when in 1924 he published Neurosis and Society in which he applied Freudian concepts to specific social, historical and political situations. 

He started with a grand theory that much of the pathological processes that Freud ascribed to individuals had correlations in group processes, including the evolution of social and cultural edifices.  History, anthropology/sociology and socialist theory provide clues to the etiology of the "mental disorders" of entire societies.  Monnier theorized a whole process of social neurosis that parallels the development of neurosis in individuals.  He developed a theory of social, or cultural, fetishism, with a mention of the bourgeoisie money fetishism that Marx earlier described.  According to his theory, different groups, societies & cultures were capable of an entire range of "neurotic personalities."  Some groups and societies become compulsive, some ridden with anxiety, some dysthymic, some manic, and some paranoid.  He applied his theory to entire societies and civilizations, but also to small groups, such as police departments, army officer corps, university faculties and other insulated workplaces.  (In the real world, Erich Fromm developed very similar themes in the 1950s.  Fromm's writings deserve attention today.)

Monnier then addressed the neurosis unique to "capitalist civilization."  Since all the  individuals, small groups and national societies within his discussion were "embedded" within the capitalist system, they were predisposed and limited by its own peculiar personality.  In this respect he specifically developed the idea of capitalism as a civilization."  He diagnosed capitalism as a social expression of anality-- not the retentive kind commonly referred to these days as "anal," but anal expulsiveness, which is the opposite.  An anally expulsive individual is careless, brash, loud, and a trashy mess.  Opposite of the tight asshole of the controlling retentive adult, the expulsive is anality in undisciplined infantile form.  Anal expulsiveness is manifest in an grasping, frenetic, endless desire to grow and spread.  Bourgeois anal retentiveness developed as a secondary reaction, meaning that after they ate everything in the world and turned everything into shit, they for themselves had to have the neat, ordered control of propriety, law and bureaucracy.  In this essential respect, there are parallels between bourgeoisie propriety, Confucianism, Roman republicanism, and Bergonian Tan.  Capitalist expulsiveness and Monnier's other arguments took on new meaning when the Greening took on industrial pollution.  (c.f. Norman O. Brown)  

The predictable conclusion of his argument is that, while the capitalist is seen as at heart a deeply neurotic personality, producing a deeply neurotic society, socialism reflects a mature non-neurotic cultural personality, so that the revolutionary process itself is analogized to the psychological processes of maturation, awakening, attainment and self-realization.

Another Bergonian Neo-Freudian named Fran�oise Carmand rejected Freud's Civilization & its Discontents and devised his own myth of the ur-time:  The primordial father chains and mistreats his sons, fearful that the sons may kill him.  Tthey spend their lives in filial duty, serving their father and patriarch while nursing their accumulating resentments.  Carmand explained that this scene played out over and over, with kings, emperors, Iregemi, and now industrialists playing the role of father.  Under his analysis capitalism was just another form of authoritarianism.  In reality the sons never (or rarely) enact the Freudian parricide; it is only the father's nightmare, but the son's suffering under the father's whip is real enough. Of course the truth underlying revolution is that the father gives the sons every reason to hate him. When the sons finally slay him, it is not morally repugnant incest but a revolutionary act. The myth concludes with the sons breaking their chains and slaying the father, and then sharing the father's crown and bounty.  Since they are brothers they love each other, and each one stays loyal to the brotherhood.  It is a satisfying ending, though blood-stained.


This myth introduces humankind to the curse of authoritarianism.  The fascism of the patriarchal family becomes social and political fascism, and the bond between brothers becomes social equality and democracy.


What distinguishes capitalism from other forms of authoritarianism is the fetish of money, with a transformative power that goes far beyond being just a means of control.  In pre-capitalist societies, the exchange of goods and the use of money were not central preoccupations, but rather matters ancillary to religious purposes such as . building cathedrals or pyramids, or state and military purposes such as conquest.  From the viewpoint of such alien civilizations, the capitalist preoccupation with exchange and money might make as much sense as a carpenter worshipping and praying to his tools. 

Monnier and Carmand were the most prominent of a group of Neo-Freudian practitioners and writers in Bergonia.  They were part of the radicalization of Bergonian society in the decades leading up the the 1931-34 Revolution, and in many ways were affiliated with the Democratic Front.. 

They all agreed that capitalism was distinguished from other forms of authoritarianism by its fetish of money.  However, they inevitably developed the theme that every authoritarian culture collectively has a defining fetish.  As discussed elsewhere on this site, every authoritarian culture feeds its particular fetish with expenditure of its surplus and promotes it by official ideology.

"The king admonished the minister, who berated his secretary, who cursed the cook, who yelled at his wife, who scolded their child, who kicked the cat."

Psychological Predicates for Ethical, Cooperative Society

See the psychology of morality

Alfred Adler theorized that the most ennobling instinctive drive inherent in humanity is "social interest," the drive which produces social regard and altruism.  A school of Bergonian psychologists borrowed Adler's labels to dress up the Miradi idea that the basic human urge is sociability, and out of this urge arises much (if not all) that we call "good" in humanity.  This same Miradi idea gave rise to the concept in Bergonian psychology of the "sociability instinct," which compels men and women to live together in families and communities.  "Social interest" and "sociability instinct" were ways of explaining the viability of socialism. 

A great deal of the research of evolutionary psychology and primate psychology endorses this view-- primates are social animals, and primates of all species show altruistic behavior, at least within their own group.  Obviously the welfare of the group is as paramount as the survival of the individual, and the two should never conflict, providing the individual remains loyal to the group, unless a danger from outside results in an individual sacrifice. 


[rev. 2 May 06]