- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Sorry, plumbers---here's some historical materialism (and job rotation) to comfort you

Posted by: Barry Stoller on November 14, 1999 at 14:37:14:

In Reply to: If you wnat to tell the plumber he's a damn capitalist, be my guest posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on November 12, 1999 at 13:46:58:

: So which historical model IS your model, barry? Do you not have one? it's easy to criticize, nothing is going to be perfect.

My model, I believe, is Marx and Engels' model. An industrialized nation, materially prepared to put the productive forces of man to the benefit of all, is the FIRST condition required for successful socialism. Marx looked to England, France, and Germany; now Russia and other Eastern nations seem more likely---politically speaking.

A nation must be materially prepared for socialism---not merely politically prepared. If there's ANYTHING that the 20th century 'proved,' it is that...

My inclination to disregard agricultural, peasant Communism owes to the lack of socialized production in those countries. The whole Marxian paradigm is a sort of evolution of a society's mode of production---with the important addition of class consciousness resulting from the proletarianization (land expropriation) of the masses.

Put simply, capitalism first creates an abundant mode of production and THEN socialism adopts productive power---altering the social relations of that productivity to favor the workers instead of the bosses. Historical materialism.

I disregard the peasant / petty proprietor because THAT mode of production is preindustrial. The whole idea behind 'Scientific Socialism'
(yes, I use quotes with that term) is that the level of productivity must be abundant (mechanized, divided) BEFORE the social relations can be changed from capitalism to socialism. The idea is that the mode of production becomes developed TO THE POINT where there IS 'enough to go around for all.'

Continuing with the archaic peasant / petty proprietor (feudal / guild) mode of production would not SUSTAIN a productivity providing abundance for all. It never has---and it's had centuries to make its case...

(Now, clearly Marx underestimated the problem of pollution, sustainability, etc.---which is outside the scope of this post---and that problem CERTAINLY calls for Green participation in the socialist project...)

: You're begging the question by assuming that your interpretation of Marxism is correct. The fact that there are many Communists who disagree with you means that your statement is an opinion, not a fact, and therefore you can't use it as evidence.

That's right. I AM opining.

And I will continue to opine MOST UNEQUIVOCALLY on the NECESSITY of job rotation to insure that, in the next socialist future, no hierarchal castes ever form.

: If you go from being forced to work by capitalists to being forced to work by stalinists, I don't see a significant improvement.

Socialism---contrary to neoliberal propaganda---is no welfare state. People will be required to work. Only utopians like Morris thought a socialism could be sustained by idlers.

: So everybody must be propertyless? Is that the idea? Are you merely in favor of expropriating productive property, or personal property as well?

It should be obvious that I have been talking about socializing the means of production, NOT consumption!

: The peasant in general is not a profiteering class; most of tehse guys are merely trying to survive.

Most private owners of means of production tend to cartels and monopoly. American the Beautiful started off with 'just small farmers,' you know...

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.

: What about it? That didn't answer my question.

Oh, yes it did!

: Do you not believe that peopel can exist as hermits, or as independent self-sufficient farmers outside the cash economy? Go to any Third World country.

Third World countries offer POOR examples of socialism.

Please read my opening statement again...

: [W]e should definitely reach out to the petty proprietor! Exactly! They are not the enemy of teh peopel, unless they CHOOSE to be.

Agreed in full.

BUT the petty proprietor should---and must---realize that socialized production is the route to material abundance. 'Peasant,' after all, is a synonym for impoverished!

: Some capitalists are good people who will want to eb on our isde.

Here you lose me.

: Certainly it is not an established fact that Marxism requires force...

Read the last two paragraphs of the Communist Manifesto and say that again!

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