- Capitalism and Alternatives -

there's nothing wrong with a bit of banter

Posted by: Lark on December 13, 1999 at 17:14:39:

In Reply to: Please, guys, it breaks my heart to see socialists arguing. posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on December 12, 1999 at 17:24:04:

: Please, guys, it breaks my heart to see socialists arguing. I think tehre's too much mudslining going on here. I'm going to wade in and suggest some of my own ideas, so I'm sure tehre's going to n=be more mud slung, but what the hell....

Ock, NJ, there's nothing wrong with a bit of banter, bitter personal assaults are just Barry's Style but you'll no doubt find that out if you oppose anything he says.

: : 1. Lark believes that the socialist revolution is made by individuals, not parties.

: Well, I think it CAN be made by parties, but just as often it's made by unorganzied people coming together in solidarity.

Fair enough but the anarchist FAQ details exactly and importantly how the only revolution, the only change that is going to be effective is self-emancipation, if people have something given to them they arent ancious to give it up but if they fight for it they'll never let it slide without another fight.

: : 2. Lark claims the working class, due to it's 'anti-intellectualism and fascistic behavior,' is not capable of initiating the socialist revolution.

: : 3. Lark questions whether or not 'freedom fighters' even need politics (ideology).

: : 4. Lark refutes the existence of a proletariat class as well as a bourgeois class, claiming instead that the 'socilaists/liberal/anarchists/communists/environmentalists/etc.' will face off against everyone who 'oppose[s]' them.

: I agree. You can have reactionary working class people, and you can have bosses who believe in socialist ideology (e.g. Don Pepe Figueres).

Wow, careful there NJ, Your believeing in an empty ideology there, remember that because I'm not a mormon like Spart I dont have anything good to say.

: : 5. Lark has taken a stand AGAINST what he calls 'absolute' equality, arguing instead for the Rawlsian conception of justice in which 'the distribution of wealth and income need not be equal.'(1)

: You pulled that out of context. Rawls advocates whatever society maximizes the standard of living of teh most destitute. In my opinion, that's another way or ruling out any inequalities other than those which are absolutely necessary to boost social production to teh point where the poor get more. In other words, just enough to get peopel to produce more, and nothing above that limit. that means no capitalist ownership, no luxuries whatsoever, no privilege. For my part, I regard socialism as whatever acheives the best deal for teh most destitute- and that woudl be what Rawls describes. I don't see how you,a s a Marxist, can stand for anyything otherthan teh best imaginable deal for the working class.

Applause, really I mean it, that is exactly what I was trying to put in my muddled as usual fashion, I appreciate your perspectives NJ your smart on these things, must be the DSA membership.

: : 6. Indeed, Lark confirms this premise and has come out into the open so far as to say: '[C]omplete freedom of income isn't my dream.'

: : So---UNEVEN incomes is part of Lark's 'socialism.'

: This is what I believe about incomes;

There you've done it again, just wont take my advice will you, prepare for the counter attack from Barry.

: 1)First of all, incomes should be ENTIRELY discretionary, i.e. used for nonessentialls. ALL essentials (food, shelter, health care, education, some leisure time, etc.) should eb separate from ability to pay. You should be able to live a decent life without making any money whatsoever.

This is like Citizens Incomes which Barry dismissed as welfarism. I agree we shouldnt just have a minimum wage and guaranteed income but a minimum disposable income.

: 2) People can be paid SLIGHTLY unequal incomes, but this should eb based on how much you contribute to society, not on how effectivbely you can finagle the workers. Inequalities should be small, and to some extent could be based pon the old Soviet model of paying people according to how amny peopel depended on them. In other words, a truck driver should get paid a lot because people depend on them for their vegetables in the morning, and lots of people would be up shit creek if the truck driver didn't deliver.

Fair enough, what is more important than literal equality is egalitarianism, everyone saying look, look what that fat cat is being paid he doesnt deserve that!! and then changing it. Gradually income inequality will collapse and with the involvement of everyone so that it is more difficult to reverse than if the state simply made a decree.

: (Barry, if you like divining my hidden motives- two of my friends' fathers are truck drivers.)

Barry has the reputation for being a nasty peace of work doesnt he.

: 3) People who have done a lot for social betterment should, if they want, be rewarded by slightly higher incomes. For ecxample, i think Daniel Ortega deserves a good pension, don't you?

Well not just income or status or the way in which we measure achievement, I mean rewarded yes but cash, cash, cash really sends out the wrong signals, your right in principle though and I know that's (cash, cash, cash) probably not what your advocating.

: 4)Small farmers, scientists, artists, plumbers, and other self-employed people should be able to operate (if they want) in a private market, but should also be given the opportunity to receive state sponsorhip. This freedom from social ownership is necessary because many of these people are loners, who like to work on their own, or just rely too much on specialization or creativity to rotate their jobs daily among a large collective.

What I think is the case here, the subject of contention, is what state ownership or collectivism of a non-state variety entails. If being absorbed into a collective means the loss of will, the submission to orders and the need for obediance then it isnt freedom and it isnt socialism but if it is mutual support and advice and resources pooling then it is. I mean small land ownership isnt going to harm anyone, when the anarchists collectivised the farms in Spain, the individualists where allowed as much land as they needed to support themselves and their families, like 'Waldens', and they lived without interfering with anyone.

: 5) Everyone shoudl be required to work at janitorial work, house building, road repair, etcetera for at least 8 hours a week. Such labor need not be paid, it shoudl be donated to society.

Unless there is a real spiritual shift I dont see how people are going to do that voluntarily but within a workplace if people decide to rotate jobs then it can only be for the best because the amount of disagreeable work will reduce because no one can escape it.

: 6) as a result of 5), some very unpleasant jobs such as cleaning bathrooms, digging ditches, etc. would be done away with as lifetime careers.

Yes, exactly and you'd get less people shitting on the floor if they have to clean it up or if they really can empathise with the cleaners.

: 7) The bigtime capitalists, our common enemy, must be opposed.


: : 7. Agreeing that job rotation would be beneficial, Lark nonetheless would subordinate that program (as explicated here) to something he calls 'liberty in the workplace.'

: See above. I think this is what lark means.

It is indeed.

: : 8. When I questioned what 'liberty in the workplace' means, Lark described it as people 'performing DIFFERENT tasks,' insisting that 'taking an interest in DIFFERENT tasks is not the same as establishing a hierarchy with status and authority.'

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