- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Whatever pleases Stoller's fancy

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on November 29, 1999 at 12:19:56:

In Reply to: The Truth Comes Out: SDF is a Liberal posted by Stoller on November 27, 1999 at 21:03:58:

About Marx/Engels and democracy:

I did a word-search of the MECW on the Web of the word "democracy". Marx/Engels often count themselves as opponents of "bourgeois democracy," it is true, and rarely as allies of the factions of "democratic parties" supporting the proletarian cause, but this reckoning was always tempered with a historical-materialist assessment of the various situations as they were in their times and places. As far as I know, there is no Marx/Engels assessment of what position toward democracy (regardless of its status as bourgeois democracy) toward the outside, or what position toward internal party structure, democratic or no, the revolutionary party had to take that was "good for all times and all places." Perhaps it is this belief that what was good for Marx will be good for all times and places that leads to the obsession with quotation of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky etc. Even the Leninist Hal Draper did not assume one position on these issues was good for all time, though the Stalinists did.

About broad-based movements:

I am glad that Stoller and I agree about the importance of a broad-based socialist movement, keeping in mind that Marx didtry to get Bakunin kicked out of the International for setting himself up as its vanguard.

About Joel Kovel and global revolution:

Frankly, I don't see some global mass movement waiting for Stoller to take command, and this thusly informs my own opinions about democratic participation (as distinguished from mere "believing in bourgeois democracy") and revolutionary organization. The short derisive discussion about Russia bears out my conclusion in this regard. Thus educational campaigns such as Joel Kovel's are warranted as organizing tools. Did Kovel say he was pursuing power, or that he thought he would win? He appears to me to be expropriating a process which expends great public energies. (By the way, Stoller, if you want to send your apologies to Kovel, you can call him on his voice-mail and apologize personally for the attacks you have leveled against him here on this BBS -- I'm not going to send such apologies for you, and his voice-mail number is listed at the bottom of his Web page. It's just a phone-call away!)

About "equality":

Reread "Critique of the Gotha Programme". Still haven't found an endorsement of the word "equality". Preventing a bureaucratic caste from forming -- is that "equality" as it is represented in "Critique of the Gotha Programme"? The target keeps moving.

About "some ownership of the means of production":
As I say, the target keeps moving -- I thought the issue was about "some inequality". Peasant landholdings? I thought it was about owning your toothbrush!

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