- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, U ) on January 20, 19100 at 18:28:14:

In Reply to: Don't forget the dialectic of historical materialism posted by Barry Stoller on January 19, 19100 at 23:10:57:

: Stoller: If the social division of labor remains in a socialist society, then exchange [MUST remain to some degree].

I qualified it some - what I meant was there is no exchange in equivillence, i.e. if one social grouping, say, sends some goods to another group, they would not be expecting an equivilent value back in return.

: That's not reasoning, RD, that's a collection of bumperstickers.

No, its simply stating that one group - shoe makers, would produce shoes as and when needed by another group, and themselves, without conditioning it on recipt of like value.

: Your 'explanation' fails to explain the social relations that existed in the Soviet Union (a propertyless society with a great deal of respect for the social division of labor).

Nope, there was plenty of property in USSR, and it was all owned by the state, Hence USSR was a state-capitalist structure - property was not held in common.

: It wasn't private property doing this. You can say it was money, but I think money (within the closed Soviet economy), not purchasing the means of production (and, with them, the ability to accumulate money), merely expressed different social ranks.

There were wages in USSR, and there was a nomenklatura, which was the collective owning class (think Catholic Church for like examples) which seriously made out.

: The social division of labor itself engenders disparities between different occupations. The history of the U.S.S.R. strongly supports that claim.

USSR had wages, and it had class.

: Why are you defending the social division of labor anyway? You know Marx and Engels considered it the fundamental predicate for classes.

I am actually simply pointing out that to some extent we can't all do the same jobs, and that certain productive functions may have to be done by different groups of volunteers - perhaps its just a twinkling of syndicalism in my twisted and bitter soul...

: Hold on there with the ugly insinuation, pal. Remember Engels' 'On Authority'? The authority is the authority of 'the steam,' i.e. of industrialization itself---not people.

Aye, and William Morris on authority too - but tehre is a differ3ence between acknowledging authority, and authoritarianism, particulalry the mindset which thinks that if the other is not controlled, it will do something daft.

: Yes, I totally agree.

Which is all I ahve been saying all along, except my claim is that such changes of task will occur organically on a day to day basis, without an enforced system of rotation. I think six trotskyies can dance on teh head of an ice-pick - you?

: But should it be decided by consensus (something I recall you don't like), majority vote, or use an impartial rotating schedule?

Not necessarilly any vote, if frank's the one who knows where to drive to, etc. Yes, some such changes will be made by democratic voe, as and when necessities dictate.

:If 'ad hocary' is a majority vote, are you sure that one or two workers won't always get stuck with the worst part of the task each day? If it's not majority vote...well, you tell me... but what's your objection to an impartial rotating schedule about anyway?

My objection is the positive character of it (hegelian sense) and the sense of compulsion. You're right, I think consensus is a bad state of affairs, because it just hides real divisions under the pressure to vote with the majority to get things done. If some people keep getting voted into the bad jobs, they can refuse - democracy should be flexible like that, people can re-negotiate, etc. I prefer open systems over closed systems.

: What about the lack of freedom a majority vote could effectuate each working day for a worker or two?

I doubt that majority votes would be used all the time, often people would just volunteer to undertake such a job, and people would know how to work together to get the job done. Further, I tend to think of democracy as a form of self activity, you vote on what you will do yourself, you don't viote for what other people are going to do.

: Am I insinuating that some workers may try to take advantage of other workers (after---especially right after--- the revolution)?
: You bet I am.

Well, such otehr workers would have the absolute right to not do it, and go work welsplace, their homes and food, etc. are not in anyway tied to their work.

: You always seem to imply that once the revolution happens and private ownership of the means of production is gone, people will be immediately (5 minute dictatorship of the proletariat and all) transformed into fair, considerate, and co-operative beings.

No, but I think tehre will be no benefit to be gained from taking advantage of others- persoanlly I expect fights, ructions, disputes, all sorts of mayhem, good.

: On what material basis will that transformation occur?
: A 5 minute event?
: Get serious, RD.

Qui Bono?

: The vigor and eloquence of Marx's socialism is its realistic appraisal of humans and the irrefutable truth that humans emerge out of their existing material conditions (and conditioning).
: Your dalliance with Morris (and the SP) tends to make you forget that.

If tehre are no wages, and necessity demands co-operation, and if socialism is enforced by a willing majority, I don't see why not.

: Socialism, according to Marx, will be built from the stuff it emerges from.
: There will be disputes.
: I'm sure there will be rules to settle disputes.
: I'm only canvassing forfair rules.
: You (and that bonehead Lark) seem to think society---right after a 5 minute transformation---will be able to do without rules.
: That's not Marxism---that's utopian chldishness.

Tehre will always be rules, but, I suspect, those rules will be open ended, and alterable - to be otehrwise is to replace one machine-god with another.

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