Sunday, February 12, 2023

Feudalism and Fascism Were Underestimated by a Socialist

In itself, those words are not big news. Here is the particular socialist in two videos, and under each I have added comments to show where the underestimation is. That will make this post more substantial, if not more certain, than its mere title.

How Finland Ended Homelessness
Second Thought, 3 Sept. 2021

1:58 It can be noted, given total populations, Finland has c. 49 % of the homelessness of the US - obviously this is somewhat modified by Finnish homeless often not sleeping in the street, and US often doing so, but I don't know how much.

Someone pointed out, in the cold climate of Finland, homeless on the streets are less likely to survive in winter.

Not sure if the comparison is totally correct.

12:37 Resurgence of Fascism? As in houses for the homeless?

Non è che il Tigrai fosse nato silenziosamente: "Il Fascismo per il popolo. Le case per i senza tetto anche a Mantova sono una fascistica realtà", proclamava un telegramma di Benito Mussolini a sua eccellenza il prefetto Raffaele Montuori. E il Duce continuava: "Finalmente esiste una città dove le case popolarissime meritano veramente tale appellativo".

Cited from Gazzetta di Mantova, 2013 - 8 - 3 IL QUARTIERE COSTRUITO PER I SENZA TETTO

The quote from Il Duce's telegram means "Fascism for the people. Houses for the homeless are in Mantua too a Fascist reality ... at last there is a city where the "very popular houses" really merit such a designation" ...

The block in Mantua was called "Tigrai" and a similar one in Rome apparently "Tormarancia" ...

However, homelessness grew in 1943 again:

Dove nel luglio del Quarantatré, sotto le bombe delle Fortezze Volanti, il nodo del Fascismo veniva catastroficamente al pettine; e l’Autobiografia del Paese, come all’inizio di quel Ventennio l’aveva definita Piero Gobetti, giungeva a una delle sue pagine più dolorose: i tremila morti gli undicimila feriti i quarantamila senzatetto del bombardamento del 19 luglio 1943 (la prima di cinquantuno incursioni che nelle settimane seguenti colpirono la Città Eterna, in precedenza risparmiata dalla guerra aerea) diedero un’accelerazione decisiva alle vicende politiche che, la notte di cinque giorni dopo, portarono il Gran Consiglio del Fascismo a esautorare il suo Duce; e a porre così le premesse di quella tragedia nella tragedia che sarà, nei ventuno mesi successivi, la Guerra Civile.

i tremila morti gli undicimila feriti i quarantamila senzatetto del bombardamento del 19 luglio 1943
The 3000 dead, the 11 000 wounded and the 40 000 homeless from the bombarding on July 19th 1943 ...

Socialism for Absolute Beginners
Second Thought, 6 May 2022

3:09 Ooops ... your version of Socialism involves misrepresenting the Middle Ages with this parody of what Feudalism was?

The serf wasn't free to leave (without permission, if it was given it was either for orders or monasticism, or for marriage, often swaps between different lords). But most days he was free to decide (with his likes and without the landlord) where he was doing the work. Only some days per year were spent on the landlord's demesne and under his command. Not sure how many, but the demesne was not the largest part of the land, and there were more serfs than landlords, so that would mean each serf family could provide few days (and the father could send any male member of the family he wanted, including but not limited to himself), and even so the landlord's demesne have sufficient ploughing, sowing and so on ..

That landlords were completely free is also not true. He could not sell serfs away from the land, and if he sold the land, the new owner took over the serfs as well. No Uncle Tom situation possible. In other respects also they weren't completely free, but those are perhaps of less concern to the peasant.

3:13 "after all, nobles owned all the land in their kingdom"

No. A noble could own land, a clergy position could do so, an institution like a Hospital or a School in town could own land and serfs, a rich burgher in town could hold land, and sometimes peasants became small holding farmers - small holding in comparison to the lords, that is.

3:32 The actual deal was, as said, often a certain number of days' works - a minority of what you had for your own land.

What you did on the demesne, the landlord owned. What you did on your own allotment, you owned.

Remember two things:
  • what you produced was usually food
  • and everyone working the land needed food, and the others also, and not infinitely more than those working the land - if you are 95 % of the population, it means 19 of yourselves help to feed the 20th person.

Feudalism got worse for peasants as Early Modern Age involved more urbanisation, and the noble (or otherwise the landlord) had more incentive to sell food in town. But in the Middle Ages, it was decent.

5:03 The serf could not be made homeless by his lord.

Perhaps in some cases he could be made so by his judge (which would be the lord) for a crime. This certainly could happen to city people. First pilory, then banishment from the city.

6:10 And that harsh time of the Industrial Revolution was partly made possible, because in England, landowners were given freedoms to rescind feudal contracts.

Heard of the enclosures of the commons?

It was less harsh in Sweden than in England. It was less harsh in Prussia than in Sweden. In Austria and Bavaria it happened less and was even less hars due to that.

6:25 Sorry, but Capitalism, especially as in England, was in many ways a degradation of securities and rights and definitely time off for the dependants.

In the Middle Ages you find peasants able to observe a calendar with c. 8 weeks per year in Church holidays, forbidden to work.

By contrast, some have said of the 19th C. it was probably one of the if not the single period when most work was exacted from most men.

8:44 If workers take over a company (which can sometimes be done legally, for instance a company of grissini in Buenos Aires, the workers made an offer to keep the factory going, and the owner sold to the worker cooperative), some things are likely to get better, like no dividends, but it is less evident that it would be less insecure for someone a bit slow in his hands ...

The more solid improvement is when more workers cease to be workers in big companies and become single owners of small companies - given obviously an economy where these are not ruined by debts for instance by inheritance duty or compulsory investments. That's a fair parallel to what has happened in farming, especially prior to when farmers started getting rarer, like in France in 1900 50 % were farmers. After WW-I, it was discovered that they could be replaced by tractors, fuelled by fossil fuels, and some capitalist and fiscal pressures were put into place to get fewer farmers in the country. Meaning a flood of out of work and homeless farmers pouring to the streets.

8:59 The boss you describe is one in big business. A boss over 5 or even 10 is likely to want to be popular among faces he recgnises very well.

And the small companies are less likely to be co-owned by shareholders who want dividends.

9:24 You are describing the conditions under a totally free market.

One can also note, it is often the banks that push for bosses and renting landlords to be more ruthless ... not fellow people in the same business doing it to him by competition.

Meaning, one of the problems of a market totally free on the paper is, it is not always free from bankers' decisions getting imposed on the market.

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