- Capitalism and Alternatives -

For Barry...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on January 10, 19100 at 13:02:32:

Actually, I think our differences are not so much fundamental, as sleight: I tend to notice that folks as are closest to each otehr position wise, will fight like demons to accentuate any difference held...

: However, your reliance upon the utopian ideas of Morris has, in my opinion, warped your understanding of revolutionary Marxism.

Morris was not a utopian, he was a marxist socialist...

: Abundance AND voluntary labor are obvious opposites.

Not at all: lets review Morris argument on handicrafts, for an example.

1:Handicraft work is inherently more pleasurable than machine work, and forced labour.
2:Socialism will raise standards of living, share out the labour, and create such an abundance as will mean there is much leasure time. So much that people will begin to get bored.
3:Their responce will be to fill up that spare time by reverting to more labour intensive production techniques.

This means Morris viewed handicrafts as a luxury that a socialist society could afford, and concommitanly, that there would be no diminuition in the standard of living.

: Again, freedom posited as a uniform standard (by a 'Marxist' no less!).

No uniform standard, simply if the point is to release human potential, release the power of the subject to govern its own world, to allow people to develop themselves, then surely this is incompatable with forced labour - why bother abolishing the wages system if you're just going to re-create its worst atrocity?

: I am more concerned about each citizen 'equally' saying fuck UNSKILLED work.

Well, if they do, it won't get done. Like I said many times before, dread necessity will out, the work will get done, and since all work is voluntaryt...

for example, you and I work in the land registry office, say, we know that to keep the office running it has to be kept tidy- do we go out asking for someone to come clean it, or do we just use the last hour of the day to tidy up?

: It's that casual way you say 'lifetime' that worries me...

Erm, I was using that to demonstrate that 'x' period of time is simply a random matter - but further, if someone wants to porter for life, if someone wants to shovel shit for their whole life, I won't stop them.

: If I porter everyday of my life and receive 'according to my needs' instead of receiving paychecks, I am STILL portering everyday of my life.

But its your choice, and your receipt according to needs is in no way connected to your actual labour - the work/income coupling is destroyed.

: Why are you defending the idea of someone doing NOTHING but portering all their life? Is that YOUR idea of a good life, one that 'engages mind and spirit'?

I'm not defending it, I personally would not like to do it, but then, I would not be offended to teh core should someone decide to do just that. I don't like fox-hunting, but I'm against banning it, because I don't believe I have the right to ban other people's activity.

: Oh, so you upgrade their job a bit and that will be satisfactory, eh? Let's be sure to ASK the porter first, shall we? And, as you upgrade his job description a bit, that porter still hasn't been upgraded to PARTICIPATING in running the state (let alone the school you attended).

Indeed, neitehr did I. I'm not talking about upgrading portering, its not for me to define the job of a porter, under socialism, they'd define their own job description. Such a porter would be an equal member of whatever institution they'd be working in (btw, I suspect hospitals will still require someone to do the porter work there...).

: I am primarily comparing skilled work with unskilled work.

The distinction verges on the nonsensical, all work is to some degree skilled, the only question being the time and effort necessary to attain it.

: Nevertheless, I would say that doing JUST ONE JOB---even a highly skilled one---limits the humanity of a person.

Yes, indeed, unless that one job has a multitude of different tasks to eprform - being a famrer, say. But, again, its up to each to decide what they want to do. As far as I am concerned, work would be a hobby under socialism (aren't, indeed, hobbies now, work?).

: : I don't argue *for* social division, I argue that it cannot be done away with, for reasons of Geography if nothing else.

: That's craven.

Its true, I cannot work on an oil field if I live thousands of miels from one, necessarilly, some human beings must do a job that others do not.

: First of all, you DO have SOME disagreement with it, the 'multi-faccetted' porter and all.

Not at all, I'm simply arguing that if a person so chooses not to do more than one job, I'm not going to force them.

: And secondly, if labor is voluntary (during the first phase of communism), most people will NOT do any unskilled work. Especially those labor aristocrats produced by the prior capitalist order.

Well, socialism would fail then.
1:Socialism requires a determined majority before it can occur.
2:That majority must be willing to make socialism work.
3:It will be for that majority to overcome necessity, and get the work done.
[Lenin and bourgeois desire]
: Nonsense.

Not at all nonsense. In 'State and revolution', apart from banging on ad nauseum about the state 'withering away' as a justification for building one (and, IIRC in one of his last articles he does concede that largely he just re-built the tsarist state), he states quite categorically in his section on the higher stage, that that will come one day, siome time in the future.

Given, really, that his methods were essentially jacobin, and the bolshevik revolution basically a bourgeois revolution, its not surprising that he replicated the deferred/anal retentive desire structures of teh bourgeois.

: To 'sell the idea'? That's the revolution? A salespitch? How will you be 'selling' that idea to the capitalists and their armies?

I am damned by the olanguage I inhabit. But, the revolution is made by persuading the vast majority to want socialism, to want socialism they have to know what it is, it would be absurdly hypoocritcal of me to go around telling ye olde worlde ignorant proles one thing about socialism, while actually believing it to be something different myself. I am not a leader, I don't need un-seeing followers, I am trying to raise conssciousness of what socialism is, simply, I have to tell it straight.

: The 'tech' exists because there ARE 'vast areas of production.' Ever heard of the Third World? If 'ad hoc' labor was 'sold' to them, then we confortable First Worlders would soon feel it.

We have a companion party in Gambia, comrades in Ghana, a party in India, I think the idea is being sold there. Second, the revolution will be world-wide or not at all. third, we have suffice resources within the devloped world to not need exploitation of otehr countries to maintain a high standard of living (although, of course, different parts of the world will supply each other with, say, foods, etc. which may not be available in one place...)

: You are mixing Morrisian twaddle with Marxism here.
: Nupkins Awakened to the contrary, simply releasing financial capital will not create abundance.

Nothing to do with 'releasing finance capital', but rather releasing the labvour of millions engaged in useless toil.

: Abundance will require the PRODUCTION PROCESS---and Marxists want to REVOLUTIONIZE that process; we want to make it less repetitive, less degrading, less overwhelming for workers.

Indeed, as did Morris, as do I.

: This will REDUCE abundance as we know it now. Which is fine (ecologists take note)---but we cannot simply WISH IT AWAY.

Not at all, as I noted above, the removal of slave labour will be a luxury that abundance will buy us.

: The production process---with all it's detail division of labor---will always be necessary to some degree. That, after all, IS the mode of production upon which socialism is predicated.

yes, indeed, but say, in a shoe-production co-op, I and my team would decide to produce a batch of shoes, and we might well follow it from the start of teh process to the end, performing different jobs along the way, ad hoc division of productive labour. Industrial production does not necessitate Fordism.

: What will mitigate the need to retain the detail division of labor is to ABOLISH the social division of labor. Pass the lousy work around in equal parts to everyone so everyone can enjoy the skilled (rewarding, interesting, etc.) work in equal parts.

Which is precisely what I was saying about abolishing all those useless jobs, which will free up people to do productive work, but productive work should be made as fun and enjoyable as possible, oour factories would be our cathedrals, our entertainment zones, places of pleasure.

: I can't believe you would even ask that question, Bill. The industrial revolution (mechanization in a word) NECESSITATES the detail division of labor (monotonous work).

No, Fordism necessitates it, but there is no requirement for monotonous work in insutrial production - it is the capitalistic use of technology that has necessetated the monotonous work, not industrial production itself.

: Morris was a utopian artisan. He wasn't a Marxist. Hell, Engels didn't even MENTION him in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.

Morris was a Maxrist, as any reading of his 'Socialism From teh Roots up' would show. In E.P. Thompson's work on Morris'William morris, from Romantic to revolutionary', he shows that Morris and Engels met, after Engels engineered the Splintering of teh Socialist League from the SDF, and considered Morris to be politically naive - perhaps he was, he was less of a pragmatist than Engels, but I find his analyses quite estute.

: Socialism is NOT 'the right to be lazy,' Bill; it's the PUBLIC ownership of the means of production as a method for dissolving the mental / manual distinction between labor (and town & country) as well as a method for effacing classes.

So that everyone can be lazy, not just one class - its so that we can have the leisure as well. Its not about turning everyone into proletarians.

: I never said people (in the first phase phase of communism) wouldn't work, Bill---I only said they would eschew UNSKILLED work. And THAT is the sort of work the abundance needed for socialism REQUIRES.

And since the majority must be determinedly making socialism, and since the work must be done, if people find it not being done, then they will have to do it, one way or another, I am simply saying that dread necessity makes compulsion pointless and unecessary.

: All you've done is blow bubbles, Bill. When you got that neoliberal fanatic Gee defending your pseudo-socialism, then you KNOW you're on the wrong track.

Not really, sometimes I find neo-liberals more palatable that straight Liberals. Whenever I say 'labour will be voluntary' the first question is; "but who will shovel shit?", to which I always reply, someone who thinks shit-shovelling needs to be done. People are smart enough to understand being told what socialism is.

I do not believe that people will only work under compulsion - thats fundamentally a capitalist belief, I think in a free society, people would freely do the necessary labour, and that rotation would occur organically, and through necessity.

: Lose the Morris, Bill. Get back to Marx.

Morris was a fine Marxist, a better one that Lenin and his bastard get.

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