- Capitalism and Alternatives -

socialism isnt just talk, it's taking out the trash and then heading to the pub for good ol' banter with your mates..

Posted by: Lark on March 04, 19100 at 12:19:57:

In Reply to: Me doing all the trash work,you doing all the debating work; some 'socialism'! posted by Barry Stoller on March 03, 19100 at 23:29:34:

: Although your post was poor as expected, your post's title was most revealing.

Insinuation and insult, arent you ever going to stop behaving like an antivistic throw back Stolly?

:Me doing all the trash work, you doing all the debating.

Or perhaps I was suggesting you should stick to simple tasks because if your capacity for free thought etc. are anything to go by your not exactly a genious are you?

:Is that your idea of 'socialism'?

At the moment I'm thinking a libertarian Kibbutzism, which incorporates a fair balance of libertineism and sociability is a great type of socialism but if your asking me what I think socialism is then I cant provide you with a blue print since I dont think blue print utopianism is socialist.

:A personal 'utopia' perhaps?

What you mean like an order that incorporates a number of things to be ticked off before that order can qualify as really socialist, like job rotation, leninist government, intolerance of diverse opinion or disagreement etc.? Just like you.

:One in which the social division of labor, the separation between skilled and unskilled work, is rigidly determined (in your favor)?

I dont know what you mean I dont want some kind of kingdom of Lark as you insinuate.

: Let us recall Plato's defense of the social division of labor:


: [W]e must infer that all things are produced more plentifully and easily and of a better quality when one man does one thing which is natural to him and does it at the right time, and leaves other things.(1)

Hey, that isnt half bad, I'll bet there's a catch coming up some clever Stolly trap to try and infer anti-socialist treachery on behalf of old heretical Larky.

: Which led, logically enough, to the conclusion:


: There will be discovered to be some natures who ought to study philosophy and to be leaders in the State; and others who are not born to be philosophers, and are meant to be followers rather than leaders.(2)

Yeah, the Republic had it's faults, for one, like Machavelli, Plato was writting in an age that was all civil war and perpetual violent angst, I'd have to live that to understand it but I think it influenced both those fine, fine thinkers into an 'order at any price' mindset, which is unfortunate.

: Why do I mention Plato? Only because YOU are on record supporting him.

Yes, he is a great thinker, have you ever appraised the philosophy of neo-platonism? That which wasnt interfered with to much by the Christian Church and it's philosophical revisionists is fairly good, by the way a quote from republic you obviously missed:

'Our object in the construction of the state is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not of any single class'

Have you ever read Durkheim on Socialism and Saint-Simon? He appraised the Platonic Socialist position very well and justly.

: I'm sure you would cheer a 'socialism' in which high school graduates, like myself, did all the trash work while college boys, like yourself, did all the debating work.

No I wouldnt Barry, I'd also like to add that I wasnt born with a silver spoon up my ass, I went to a poverty primary school, the backward elitism of testing at 11 labelled me a failure and I was sent to a poverty secondary school, out of my class I think 4 maybe 5 males went on to further education, I did a business qualification and hated the market bullshit and management machavellianism that we where taught, I'm now doing a social policy degree that might get me a job in the social services which isnt a fabulously paid and privileged arrangement you know.

:That would explain your persistent opposition to the idea of job rotation.

I've explained this before, I dont mind doing shit work, it'd be nothing new, I have to fund my degree through shit and alienating work for a bully employer, but I really dont want to have to train as an engineer, doctor, dentist etc. every time I get settled into a good routine and know all my work mates.

:There’s just one problem with the social division of labor, however, that 'socialists' might like to consider:


: It is therefore the law of the division of labor which lies at the root of the division of classes.(3)

I dont think so.

: : My idea of a socialist republic is one in which people who really dont want to work dont have to, as I've advocated before a citizens wage/allowance, Basic Income Scheme (BIS), Basic Income Guaranteed (BIG) scheme or the like would allow for this, I would link the payment of such 'wages' to National (or eventually international) community and environmental service until a psychology of honesty had developed and work had been transformed through empowerment, to something really preferable to idleness.

: This is consistent with your principle that you’d rather be 'gainfully unemployed / unemployable.' Tell me, you clever shirker, how your proposed welfare 'wages' are to be produced if work was optional? If everyone shared your 'principle' to be 'gainfully unemployed / unemployable,' where in god's name will all the food, heat, shelter, and MTV come from?

Well, as the capitalists are fond of telling us, people will want to acquire more wealth and status, that's alright if that's your thing, it's not mine, that's not socialism I hear you cry, maybe not, I mean maybe it's not perfect but it would be preferable to the present order, besides I'm not insisting on this, that no 'true' socialism can exclude this element, if it didnt work we could try something different but in the end we are going to have to deal with the people removed from the labour market through technological displacement, the capitalists wont be dealing with them.

: Stoller: Note to anarchist 'socialists': If everyone worked only the job they wanted, then the social division of labor would retain (1) commodity (service) exchange between workers; (2) separation of mental and manual work; and (3) the distinction between country and city---in short, everything socialism wishes to mitigate or abolish.

: : Why does socialism wish to abolish these things?

: Social division of labor = classes. Classes = exploitation.

That's a bit simplistic dont you think, that's like saying once you've filed off the firing pin in a rifle or disconnected the trigger and firing mechanism you cant threaten anyone with it, the social division of labour can be made safe and then people wont mind it, I fully understand your concerns that the scrabble for the top jobs is an echo of the class struggle, we could do with less top jobs and we could do with the lowest bullying the highest, which is the reverse of the order at present, instead of giving everyone an opportunity to be the highest and nastiest in the labour force.

: : 'Liberty in the workplace' incorporates a number of basic demands that would differentiate the socialist workplace form the capitalist one, including changes in social relations and empowerment of the working people engaged in production. If you oppose this then there really is no difference between the workplace under capitalism and your 'socialist' workplace, hence what you advocate is not socialism or socialist social relations but a hyper efficient system of production and exchange.

: A 'number of basic demands.' Great. WHAT are those demands?

I cant outline them Barry, your bound to know they're going to vary between workplaces, broadly the same rights in the workplace as the individual is guaranteed as a citizen against the state.

: And once you begin to spell out all this complicated stuff, what's to then stop me from calling you a 'blueprint utopian' as you so love to call me?

Read the above blue print man, you know if you simply said that you have these proposals and would be willing to contemplate alternatives if they failed you would cease being a utopian.

: Stoller: What about pollution where one set of freedoms must abrogate another set?

: : The individual and social freedoms correlate in this instance, the polluter has to understand that in the long term he's killing himself and his children as well as everyone else.

: And what, pray tell, will MAKE the polluter 'understand' what you want him / her to understand? A good debate? If that's your suggestion, then you've got a long way to go with the likes of Frenchy, Doc Cruel, etc. Hell, you're the worst debater this room has ever hosted.

I know it wouldnt be easy no one said it would be easy, in the end I'd have to resort to majoritarianism I guess but I think it's different from job rotation at the point of a gun really.

: _______________
: Notes:

: 1. Plato's Republic, Jowett Translation, Modern Library Edition, p. 61.

Is that the one that's £2?

Is it the popularity or unpopularity of that book that makes it so affordable? Reform in the cost of Books would be a damn good idea, dont you think?

: 2. Ibid., p. 204.

: 3. Engels, Anti-Dühring, International n.d., p. 316, emphasis added.

Can you get anti-duhring anywhere? Can you get Durhing's 'Course of National and Social Economy' or 'Course of Philosophy' anywhere?

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