- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Many and several.

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on August 31, 1999 at 13:06:10:

In Reply to: An answer to bill's question: what Marx missed posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on August 28, 1999 at 10:33:29:

: SDF: I'm starting to go back and look at "utopianism," since Marx appears to have been, not a scientist, but another utopian.

Lets be clear, Marx & Engles referred to themselves as scientific not in some natural science or technocratic way, but rather in opposition to teh Utopians, their distinction being that they claimed to draw their possibilities from actuality, whereas the utopians just designed pretty systems in their heads.

:There are four details which inspire in me a serious skepticism about the idea of Marxist "scientific socialism". One: the horribly vague way in which Marx laid out how the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" was to transact its business.

Democratically- Marx made this clear regarding the Workers of England or holand, whom he said, beecause of Liberal Democratic Structures, could use the ballot box to attain socialism.

:If everything was to be centralized in a single power,

That single power being the vast majority of the population.

:then why no blueprint for socialism? Or conversely, if the people are to decide the details of socialism for themselves (the ostensible reason why Marx left no blueprint), then why centralize everything?

Well, the people are the centre- the centralisation envisaged in the maifesto was intended to dissolve localist aristocratic ties and forms (local rule meant squirarchy rule back then) but that centre was meant to be democratic.

On the plan, Marx was very influenced by Hegel here, in that you can't stray away from the actual to be scientific, and straying into abstraction. If he was right about what he saw potentially in the present, then the plan would come, necessarilly, of its own accord when the time came.

:We are going to trust ONE set of people with the fate of the Revolution, and NOT tell them what to do??

No, Marx never argued for a technocratic Úlite (see Marx's porspectus on Bakunin's Statism and Anrachy, where these points are deal with, its on teh site...).

:This error was repeated by Lenin.

Lenin had no illusions regarding teh Size of the working class, he was following the ideas of Marx in 1848, the idea of permenant revolution. he knew the russian proletariate didn't have a prayer.

:The answer is the one Craig Calhoun gave in THE QUESTION OF CLASS STRUGGLE -- as capitalism matured, the working class had more of a stake in capitalism, thus it perceived that it had more to lose.

A point Marx deals with in the manifesto- the Master keeps the slave as slave, and the slave will not revolt until the master is no longer capable of keeping the slave, i.e. when teh bourgeoisie become inimicable to society.

Four: Marx's lack of understanding of the problem of the division of labor. Barry Stoller made hay of it in a post to this Debating Room. Frankly, I prefer Barry's Walden Two - type approach, rotate the jobs, make everything low-tech.

But even Barry couldn't answer the points about:
1:Geographic location- some communes will produce products others cannot- this is social division of labour.
2:Bary *NEVER* answered the question regarding medicine, and how such communes pla to sustain themsleves medically.
3:Ignored the idea that personal preferrence may be towards staying in the same job.

It was because of the stimation of social division of labour, which according to Marx was the foundation of society as economy, that he supported 'central planning',i.e. all the productive sections as a whole forming the plans.


Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup