- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Maybe those who manufacture his / her tools? Etc., etc.

Posted by: Barry Stoller on November 12, 1999 at 11:39:31:

In Reply to: Again, who is the plumber exploiting? posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on November 11, 1999 at 18:01:04:

Nonetheless, if their Communist Party permits exemptions and exceptions to occur a bureaucracy WILL form---eventually.

I'm not really out to knock Indian Communism, Nikhil, but any society that perpetuates professional porters (as well as their inverse, professional architects) is no socialism I'll fight for. It's not about what workers EARN, it's about what workers DO. And I will ALWAYS oppose any specialization that engenders the 'career' porter.

If you wish to defend a society where some people only do---say---architecture (or science), then you defend a society where other people only do---say---portering.

Again: The idea is job rotation.

No, not exactly. Marx didn't say that the factory worker be REQUIRED to do any of these things. Even if some measure of job rotation was required, Marx certainly wasn't saying that the worker do all these things one day, then teh next day he do another bunch of three-hour shifts inb entirely different jobs, et cetera....

Please see Engels' famous architect / porter paradigm, second paragraph from the end of chapter 7 in Anti-Dühring. Which, BTW, was written very late in his life.

Job rotation IS a definite feature of Marxism.

Yes, but coercion is not.

Read the quotes from this and say that again.

The issue of the peasant is a complicated one in Marxist theory---and in actual (Leninist) practice.

Marx and Engels were explicit on the point that the peasant (independent proprietor) lacked revolutionary resolve. (See Engels two works on the German uprisings.) That task was---and is---the province of the proletariat. The reason owes to the fact that the proletariat---unlike the peasant---is ALREADY propertyless, an important precondition for Communism to flourish.

Lenin's N.E.P. demonstrated conclusively that he had no intention of ever trying to corece the Russian peasantry.

Nonetheless, the peasantry was quick to turn on the proletariat, withholding food from the cities until peasant prices could be met.

The peasant IS an uncertain comrade.

Luckily---as my American stats on the mere 10% who own their own means of production bear out---the independent proprietor is an increasingly small percentage of the population. Capitalism has been doing the work FOR communism by making more and more people LANDLESS---which is a necessary precondition for revolutionary consciousness.

There is a qualitative difference bewtyeen a farmer and a senator, stemming from the fact that the senator directly affects far more people in far more significant ways than an individual small farmer does.

Again: refer to Russia in 1920.

(Yes, I know, we all affect each other, interdependence, etc. But you get my main point.)

It is a VERY important consideration.

It's quite possible to be a hermit farmer, living self-sufficiently off teh land, or nearly so.

By any chance, are you a student of Richard Wolfe (whose organ is Rethinking Marxism? I've heard this hermit nonsense before...

Again, communism must occur after capitalism. And capitalism wipes out almost all independent producers.

Apologies to India...

But YOU are deciding your level of service, Nikhil---NOT SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.

YEs, as it stands in the non-socialist economy, we each decdie our own level of service. I believe that the state shoudl require from everyone a certain minbimum level, but if some people wish to work more, then they should be able to. I am proposing that a certain, fairly low level of community labor be required from everyone. You are also making a suggestion, albeit a different one. Obviosuly society must amke the decsiion, but I can offer my suggestions to 'society' and have them voted on- can't I?


I am in favor of requiring something like 1 day each week of volunteer labor from everyone. (Scientist and writers included).

Shouldn't those determinations be left to SOCIETY AS A WHOLE?

Yes. Each of us needs to make individual suggestions though, and the people's government can vote on them. I also think that liquor stores should be closed on Sundays- obviously taht decision, too, is up to the state to make. But i can make my suggestions, and if I like, can push vehemently for them to be adopted as state policy. Good God, that's what democracy is all about!

Exactly. Democracy. But after the bourgeoisie (all private owners of the means of production) have been expropriated.

These guys are not your enemy, Barry.

All those who privately own the means of production ARE the enemy, Nikhil.

: They were USED, Barry. The capitalists lied to them and used them by spreading propaganda against socialsim; and they were put off by people like your precious Bolsheviks who said that they could be no part of a socialist state, and that tehy were 'the enemy'. Compare this with a certain Captain Sankara in Burkina Faso who stated unambiguously that all peasant farmers, oppressed women, landless laborers, working class people, unemployed people, petty proprietors, shopkeepers, and compassionately minded intellectuals were 'friedns of the people' and that the socialist revolution was for the benefit of all of them against the bigtime capitalists and the comprador reactionaries. I believe he ws better at getting popular support than the Bolshies were- he was eventually assassinated though but that's another story....

I do not believe that pre-industrial Communism is sustainable. History is NOT on your side.

Property owners---whatever the size of their concern---will always be uncertain comrades.

So you only want 'certain comrades'? People who agree with you? Isn't some measure of disagreement healthy?

Shall we include the capitalists in order to have a 'healthy' democracy?

So what if small business people have at times been hired as 'shock troops' by the Establishment?

You're equivocating.

You're looking for a loophole to hold on to your exemptions.

When you read more Marx you will see that his ENTIRE SYSTEM is based upon LANDLESS workers who have NOTHING TO LOSE but their chains (labor-power expropriated by the capitalists).

There was communism before Marx, and there was Communism after him. You can agree with some thsing Marx sid and not with everything.

Be my guest.

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