- Capitalism and Alternatives -

That has NOTHING to do with it

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on November 15, 1999 at 14:29:07:

In Reply to: Oh, the value of personal experience. posted by Frenchy on November 15, 1999 at 11:27:44:

: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Irony of ironies. Your using your own past experience in the workaday world to show that ideology divorced from practical experience is nothing more than hot air. As I recall, when I used the same technique I was roundly booed and made the official McSpotlight Bullseye.

Nonsense! I don't believe that ideology divorced from experience is hot air. Barry amde a crack about my own motivations. My personal experience was relevant for that and nothing else.

: So when it comes right down to it it appears that some of us have been around long enough to know that somebody has to do the work (not a stint of doing do-goodism to relieve an aching conscience but decades of necessary labor...) and that others will be directing what work needs to be done.

Hello! I NEVER said that. I said that certain jobs, e.g. cleaning toilets, ought to be rotated. It's degrading to assign them permannetly to one class of people; what you are saying by doing that is saying essentially, "I'm better than you, so you can go clean toilets, I'm too good for that'.

What I DID say is that if tehre are people who can't or don't wabnt to fit inbto teh socxialist utopia, and as long as they don't employ and exploit otehrs, they should be allowed to live as they wish. But certainly, capitalism and the capitalist mode of production must not be allowed.

: How much did those jobs pay, by the way?

The cleaning bathrooms paid fairly well. Paintingwas minimum wage.

The habitat work, of which I'm proudest, was volunteer. That's precisely why i'm proudest of it, because I wasn't doing it for selfish reasons.

: Could you survive on those wages?


:Are you being subsidized by someone? See, that's a kind of a problem with presenting volunteer jobs as real work experience. Your hearts in the right place, I'll certainly give you that, but who's going to pay for your room and board?

I didn't prsent them as real work experience! Anyway, you should read RD's posts. In his society ALL work would be volunteer work. Expand your vision. If a welfare system is combined with volunteer labor, then both the consumption and production sides of the equation are satisfied. Wages are then utterly unnecessary. This essnetial system has been common in many pre-industrial, pre-capitalsit societies. Volunteer work is at elast as good if not better than paid labor.
: : I am in favor of requiring something like 1 day each week of volunteer labor from everyone. (Scientist and writers included). But 4 days a month is a far cry from 29 days a month. And if you don't believe taht quantitatibve differnces add up to qualitative ones, then think about what makes an 8-hour day different from a 16-hour day. There are real differences. that's what the labor-led struggle for an 8 horu day was all about. Do you believe that wasn't important?
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Requiring volunteers? Isn't that the same as saying you'd force people to do something if you had power?

'Force"? Only by the 'force' of legal authority. Would you 'prohibit' prostitution? Would you 'force' people to pay minimal taxes for national defense (of course I would eb in favor of massively flashing defense spending to a tiny fraction of what it is, but that's a different story.)Would you 'force' people to register fro teh draft? Again, I think teh draft is a terrible idea, but my poiint is that such arequirement is exactly anbalogous to mibne. Most democracies require spome sort of national service. Thatwe should NOT have one is nothing less than backward.

:What, just out of curiosity, would you do if some of those workers flipped you off? Shoot them?

What woudl you do if someone broke a "NO TRESPASSING" sign? Shoot them?

It's terribly amusing teh way you assume thatcommunsits would wind up shooting peopel. The whole 'communism is murderous' garbage is so throuoghly retrograde and discredited that it's surprising tahtw e still hear it. There are plenty of communist governments that were democratic, peaceful and not murderous (Kerala, Chile, Guyana, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Bangl, etc. ) There were plenty that ere murderous. There were plenty of capitalist states that were repressive and/or murderous. (South Korea, Indonesia, Guatemala, pre-wwI Gerwany, Chile, El Salvador, Brazil, Uruguay, Pakistan, Belgium and such nations as Britain and France within their colonial possessions.) There were other capitalist states taht were (at least relatively) humane and non-murderous. What this means is that you can't make a blanket statement that either capitalists or communists are murderous. You ahve to look at which ideology can most easily accomodate tyranny and oppression, and after considered reflection I've come to the conclusion that it's capitalism. You may come to a differemnt conclusion.

But remember taht it was capitalism that was responsible for colonialism all overthe world, for the inequities that plagued the world until the coming of socialism and social democracy, and that ahs been responsible for three of the foru worst genocides of teh 20th century, emasured as % of national population killed.

: : : BTW, the (original) Bolsheviks took job rotation seriously, too. See Bukharin & Preobrahensky's A B C of Communism (Party Program of 1919) which Lenin ENDORSED at the 8th All-Russia Congress of Soviets (1921), speech published in Selected Works volume 3, International 1975, pp. 437-63.

: : So? Maybe the Nicaraguans did things differently. Why should I believe teh Bolsheviks over the Sandinistas? Especially since the Bolsheviks were also anti-clerical to a fault,a s compared with Cardenal in Nicaragau? If it's a good idea, I'll accept it, but i don't care if it was said by teh Bolsheviks por whoever the f---else.
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Excellent point.

: : : Such an egalitarian idea was why Stalin had all the (original) Bolsheviks SHOT!
: For failing to volunteer as required to the workers utopia.

: : : You have stated that you're a student of the 'hard' sciences AND that you'd like to write a book.

: : : Funny how YOUR socialist utopia has certain exemptions for those TWO 'occupations.'

: : Goive me a break, Barry! Your cheap ad hominems are making me laugh? YI'm sure you ahve better grounds for disagreeing with me tahn this. As a matter of fact,if you read my post again, you woudl see, I talked about "peasant farmers, hermits, small self-employed people, small farmers and others who do not employ/exploit others...." Example: if a plumber works for himself, and doesn't hire anyone else, and is not in turn hired by a boss, then I think he should be left alone, because I don't see that he's exploiting anyone. And if you added up all the plumbers, hot dog salesmen, small farmers, carpenters, mechanics, and all the other SELF EMPLOYED people who DO NOT EMPLOY OTHERS, then that wouldn't make a fucking dent in the American property system. Those guys are not your enemy, Barry. Your enemy, and mine, are the big-time capitalists, those who are trying to crush the small, individualistic petty proprietor (to borrow a phrase from you). If we nationalized the bigtime capitalists, and left the petty proprietors alone, they would be but a drop of private enterprise in a socialist ocean? Why get rid of teat drop[? Let's have that drop of private ownership for variety's sake, and to give those people, who might be unhappy working for others, a break. Isn't it a bit arrogant to say that thsoe self-employed people are exploiting themselves/ kind of like saying that suicide is murder, you know?
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Actually I see the arrogance in the idea of expropriating the 'big time capitalists'. Not only arrogance, but a blind striving to impose your own vision of what people need. Statements like the above are signs of an overweening vision, a God complex. It's the very same thing that Castro did, helping to make Havana the Western Hemisphere's answer to Calcutta.

: : : Am I to believe that if you were studying, say, LAW, your socialist utopia would NOT have certain exemptions for LAWYERS?

: : Hello! My utopia DOESN'T ahve an exception for ME. I just said that everyone should be required to work 1 day per week for the common good., That includes me. But i am NOT going to telkl them what to do the other six days. As from 'private control', all I said was taht scientists should eb free from control by the government or private enterprise. How is thatany different from basic freedom of thought?
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$We have that now.

: : : (Thomas More wouldn't like that---on the other hand, HIS utopia had SLAVES!)
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$Yeah, but in Utopia everyone agreed to their position in life as an expression of God's Will. That's why it was 'Utopia'.

: : Yes, and so, I believe, did Kim Il Sung's....

: : : What I see is that you envision a socialist utopia in which ALL the advantages the BOURGEOIS WORLD grants you NOW will be TRANSFERED.

: : barry, if you can't see teh differences by now then I just wasted an entire post for nothing. So it goes....

: :
: : : Other points at a later time.

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