- Capitalism and Alternatives -

My intention is to humanize your Marxist Socialism

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 17, 19100 at 16:04:52:

In Reply to: My intention is to wake you up, not to hurt you posted by Barry Stoller on January 16, 19100 at 15:43:33:

: Stoller: And your bit about school vouchers---yikes!

: : Why? I went to a private school. To be consistent, I have to uphold that right to everyone.

: That's contradictory. 'Private' schools---like private property---can only mean access for some, not all. Your other points about vouchers were addressed by MDG here, quite ably.

Access to some, not all, but based on ability and interest, not on wealth.
Make public schools as good as possible, by all mreans, and as attractive as possible; but at the same time, allow private schools
and make them accessible to people regardless of wealth- otherwise you are violating either freedom or equality.

MDG's points were based on secularism, which I doin;t particularly care avbout (at least in this country, I don't see that freedom of religion is in danger). HE did not, i believe, advocate eliminating private schools. Perhaps you do. that's fine. All it means is that we got some fundamental differences. I see an attempt to forvc everyone ijnto ONE kind of school as a violation of freedom; schools can be equal in quality, but different, and some peopel may prefer one or the other; they should have that choice.


I got it.

: Moving on...

: : But such sensible and self-evident proposals are a far cry from whaqt you said before, about teh nuclear family being esesentially wrong.

: The nuclear family is essentially wrong?

: Is that what I said?

: Let's check in with what I said.

Excellent idea!

: In this post, I said:


: As far as Stalin goes, he reversed the Bolshevik position on abortion-on-demand primarily because he wished to uphold the nuclear family (read: women's subordination to men). His other polices in this area---such as rejecting communal laundries, dining halls, etc.---bears this interpretation out.

: Mentioning Stalin again, I said:


: Substituting veneration for the traditional nuclear family FOR communal laundries, dining halls, child care centers, etc., only made women DEPENDENT upon men (for they could not earn their own living while raising children and doing housework all the time). It also kept them isolated, in the house all the time, which perpetuated their illiteracy and backwardness and submissiveness to the men who 'earned their living' FOR them...

: I think my definition of 'nuclear family' preceded my
criticism of it.

Not at all. You said "The nuclear family, read, women's subordination."

In other words, you imply that the nuclear familyb is synonymous with patriarchy.

And that i cannot agree with.

: As I said before, Engels defended the nuclear family to the point of insisting that love-bonds should be released from all state intervention and all economic persuasion. Hence the Bolsheviks were progressive (and true to the spirit of Marxism) when they called for communal dining halls, laundries, and child care centers so women could be liberated from the home.

: You seem to have some issues with that;

I do. I object to the expectation that such would be voluntary. What would you do if a m,an, a women, and their kids all WANT to eat at home? Would you FORCE them to do otherwise?

:fine, but please don't claim that I have been attacking the nuclear family---I have called for STRENGTHENING the family through abolishing the extra-emotional conditions that keep families 'together' when the love has expired.

: : But the temptation of men to abandon their wives and go searching for soemone else (usually younger) is to some extent a hardwired instinct, stemming from evolution and differing degrees of sexual desire. This means that even in a non-capitalist society, some methods may be necessary to persuade men to honor their commitments.

: 'Some methods to persuade men to honor their commitments'?

: No thanks---not the task of socialism.

Then whose task is it? The Church? On secodn thought, amybe I agree with you there.

: : But still, how do you imagine a woman would feel if her partner got bored and went looking for someone else? Quite apart from any financial issues, she would be hurt. Even rich, self-suffcient women are hurt by adulterous partners. Isn't it in our common good to try and discourage that?

: Are we to FORCE men who reject their women to stay with them anyway?

Do you mean that it's not right to encourage men who don't want to live with their wives to do so anyway?

That's a good point, but, I believe, wrong. It ignores the faqct that what peopel want and desire, and who they like, can be altered by social pressures.

: Think it through, man---you're laying the foundations for patriarchal abuse and a complete negation of love-bonds. (Which calls
up the idea of forcing a woman to keep a child she rejects...)

Patriarchal abuse of whom? If anything I'm taking the woman's side here. It's an axiom of primate biology that women are mroe faithful then men, that men are more faithless than women, and so easy divorce is going to hurt women more than men. Ask Middle Eastern women if they think divorce (for men) should be easier of harder.

: : Do you think divorce SHOULD be entered into "lightly or casual"? Mr. Jones comes home one day and says, "Darling, do you wnat to screw? No? Sorry, I'm outta here?"

: Again, should the man be forced to stay if he wants to leave? Is that your idea of strengthening relationships between men and women?

Not 'force', just 'strong encouragement' anfd 'social disapporvial'.

: You seem to miss the truly revolutionary idea of Engels' vision here. Engels wanted to abolish divorce by abolishing marriage. What would remain would be free and equal relationships between men and women (and children) who only stay together because they choose to do so.

That is revolutionary, and I like the idea. The flaw I see, apaqrt from the jazz about forcible communal dining halls (i dont think that they were too happy about that in People's China) is that it ignores the fact that relationships are sometimes, unfortuantely, about sexual conquest as well as about love and economic. Engels wants to eliminate the economic factor so as to make love the only factor. Excellent idea, and one I agree with. But hwo does he propose to deal with the fact of men's natural propensity to adultery?

: When you suggest forcing relationships upon people, that's when I say your views are patriarchal.

This from the guy who calls for forcible communal dining halls?! What should I call your view- matriarchal?

: Moving on...

: Stoller: I say no money at all.

: : Well, what about for luxuries when the basic needs of life have been meant? Person A wants to play golf in his spare time. person B wants to go to teh opera. Person C wants to catch a bus down to Mexico. Isn't it simplest to give them the petty cash they need for these luxuries.

: Money, as I see it, won't be necessary in a society that produces (only) for human needs (which includes wants). 'Luxuries' will be produced for those---and by those---who want them. See this post.

I acn agree with that.....in principle, to some extent. But I think we've dicussed that already (or rather you and MDG have,) and come to an impasse....

: Moving on...

: Stoller: What's wrong with rationalized job rotation so the cooking and the cleaning up can fall to EVERYONE (men included, pal) in equal shares?

: : Nothing's wrong with it, IF IT"S VOLUNTARY. If it's compulsory, it violates teh most basic freedoms imaginable!

: Now you're being obtuse (like Lark).

: Let's take it from the top.

: Pollution. If one (even one) person wants to pollute, then ALL of society is subjected to pollution. In order to free everyone from pollution, that one polluting person must be stopped (nothing voluntary about that). So much for 'market democracy.'

faldse, false, false, false analogy. Pollutionaffects everyone. the choice whether to eat at hoem or in the dinding hall affaects onlky the family concerned.

: The same applies to job rotation.

: If one (even one) person wants to do only skilled work, then everyone else must take on the added unskilled work that the one shirker leaves undone.

Obviously. And while I don't think that anyoen shoudl do ONLY skilled work, I do eblieve in the feredom to specialize to a large (not absolute) extent. Which is why I accept what you say as the unfortunate price of allowing some degree of freedom.

Don't you get it? Society is nexus. We cannot 'voluntarily' absent ourselves from social responsibilities when we don't like them and still have all the benefits of society (Lark and Gee's delusion); the best we can do is to acknowledge the nexus and minimize the inequality.

You're right. But this is utterly irrelevant to teh question of whether the family can eat in private kitchens, IF THEY SO DESIRE< which si an individual question and not a social one.

Let;s get down to details. How are you going to force people to eat in communal dining halls? Take a head count? Refuse to givce food to idnividual householkds? Spy on peopel in their kitchens? Hwo about in their bedrooms? Would you allow religion? How about free speech? This is scary. Would you throw peopel in prison for cooking a family meal>? How about if it was only a snack? How do you differentoiate the two? Suppose they didn't feel hungry at communal dinnertime?

The only time communal meals seem to work (except when VOLUNTARY) is when they';re forced by economic necessity fr by government dictaqtes. I don't want either one.

: Returning to the dialectic of historical materialism...


: Lenin:


: By destroying the patriarchal isolation of the... population who formerly never emerged from the narrow circle of domestic, family relationships, by drawing them into direct participation in social production, large-scale machine industry stimulates their development and increases their independence, in other words, creates conditions of life that are incomparably superior to the patriarchal immobility of precapitalist relations.


: : What Lenin said up tehre about the progressive nature of capitalism is flat wrong, at least in the African context, and I showed why above. So why do you expect me to abandon hard data just because Lenin happens to agree with the capitalist fuckwits on this question?

: Africa is a pretty poor example of a developing industrial country, don't you think?

Africa is a big continent, with lots of people. No theory worth its salt can ignore the African continent, even if it did come from the mouth of Lenin Himself.

: If you think a woman is better in the home than supporting herself in the workplace, then you're reacting against inexorable change (and the financial equality of women).

No. I'm saying woemn should CHOOSE how much tiem toi spend iun the workp[lace and working at home.

: I'm not defending capitalism---I'm merely saying that it has a historic mission. It's historic mission (among others) is to bring all (adult) individuals into socialized production (even though socialized production under the social relations of capitalism is usurped by a minority). The reason socialized production is so important is IT IS THE MATERIAL PRECONDITION OF (MODERN) SOCIALISM.

: Which brings us right back to our long-standing disagreement regarding peasant socialism versus industrialized (centralized) socialism... and your petty-bourgeois veneration for 'some' private ownership of the means of production...

Yes, I can't convince you and you have (hitherto) not been able to convince me, or even willing to make much of an effort (by, for example, engaging my points).

: : A socialist [society] does not recognize the right to make a profit (of course, they may still allow profits in certain specific circumstances).

: Excuse me? Does that actually make sense? I think your socialist heart and your petty bourgeois brain are having communication problems again.

No, that makes sense. making a small profit is not a right, it's a PRIVILEGE that socialist society decides to grant to some people.

: As long as you believe that there are such things as 'good proprietors,' I'm afraid your 'socialism' will be contradictory and flawed.

As long as you support foircibly keeping people form eiting dinner at home, I'm afraid your 'system' will be unpopular, coercive and unjust insofar as it does that, while it remains the summit fo justice in many other regards.

: 'Market socialism' leads to only one place: capitalism's reemergence (see history).

I want to see some examples. I think most of the examnoels you propose can be better explained in other ways, not by a small coteries of petty rpopreiotrs joinging together and reinstrating capitalism. Usually the primary causes are corruption or foreign subverison.

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