- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Socialism is not state ownership of the factories.

Posted by: Aufheben on November 29, 1999 at 12:24:15:

In Reply to: Cuba is not a socialist country posted by Comrade Loikkanen on June 01, 1999 at 13:11:59:

: : Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
: : Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Fairfax, Va. Visit:
: : http://www.fff.org for more information.

: Wow I hope you have a debattpage.

If I criticize Plato, Kant or Nietzsche without having read them, with only a characatured notion of what they actually asserted, then I am a fool. If I do the same with Marx, then I am a patriotic lover of liberty. Anyone who believes that Cuba, the PRC, the USSR or any of the "communist" nations fit Marx's vision of a new society have made no effort to study Marx. Read the essays on alienated labor and communism from Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. Read chapter 1 of the first volume of Capital. A system is capitalist if people spend their day making things which they will exchange, things which they don't want, things which they have no stake in. It doesn't matter how high wages are, how good benefits are, if a person spends eight (or more) hours a day making automobiles of doing data entry, they are alienated, and are robbed of their humanity. We live in a society of abundance. We have conquered scarcity. If any human being on this plannet lives in want, it is because of the social system, not nature. In 1929, we experienced the Great Depression, a crisis of overproduction. Seventy years ago, we were producing more commodities than we knew what to do with. There was so much that FDR was forced to give food away in soup kitchens and create meaningless jobs for people. At that time we could have moved to an economy based on use rather than exchange, but instead we kept the system going by increasing military spending for World War 2. We never reduced military spending, but are still to this day increasing it. Capitalism failed a long time ago. We have so much of everthing we need that we have to extend cheep credit again and again to people just to get them to buy. Yet people are still homeless, and people still starve. The majority of the working class, at least in the United States, still believes in Capitalism. People still go to work every day, just to be exploited, just to expand capital and to make bursting pockets even fuller. People still live for the weekend, live for vacations, feel most human not when they are performing work, the most human of activities, but when they are eating and sleeping, the most animal of activities. Socialism is not state ownership of the factories. It is not merely even working class ownership of the means of production. It is a total transformation (aufheben) of social relations, so that we all give what we can, we all take what we need. It is the start of human relations between people, rather than fetishized, commodified social relations. And it is freedom. Not the formalistic freedom of a bill of rights, not the right to choose one's exploiter, but a universal freedom such as humanity has never experienced. I urge anyone who is interested to visit the News and Letters web site at www.newsandletters.org. Libertarian capitalists may mean well, but they end up as apologists for a system that is the antithesis of liberty.

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