- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Uncanny- the return of the repressed...

Posted by: Morty Rouge ( Socialist Party, UK ) on October 01, 1999 at 12:18:03:

In Reply to: Reassessing the U.S.S.R. posted by Barry Stoller on October 01, 1999 at 11:01:25:

Your re-appearance is nothing to do with my exit is it Barry man?

: After all, furthering the communitarian cause, even I once asked: why is it thatso many countries got Marx 'wrong'?---was it due to poor writing or poor thinking on Marx's part? Or was it simply disingenuousness on the part of these countries to call themselves Marxist? That also leads back to the other question. A quandary!

Well, if you write to the Socialist Party, address available from this address, you can get a tape 'Did Lenin Distort Marx' by Adam Buick (it was available on the web, but teh New Zealand site is down now). Basically, Buick suggests that Lenin focussed heavilly on the pre-1848 Marx, and the comparable situation in Germany at that time, and basically he didn't assimilate Marx's changed analysis after that event.

plus, Lenin had plenty of ideas of his own...

: For the sake of argument , let us momentarily assume that the Bolsheviks initially got it right---considering the conditions in which they found themselves. According to Trotsky, Lenin said: 'We have got a certain equilibrium, although extremely fragile, extremely unstable, nevertheless such an equilibrium that a socialist republic can exist---of course not for long---in a capitalist environment.'(1)

He also said state capitalism would be a step forward for russia, and that he had basically only rebuilt the tsarist state (for the latter, see C.L.R. James 'Lenin and the Problem', I think).

We have to ask what they did get right- I would agree that perhaps they were genuinely fighting a holding action, waiting for a German revolution, but I think their plans were fundamentally misguided by their vanguardist approach, the practise of democratic-centralism, etc. After all, according to one Solidarity Pamphlet (don't have the address to hand), they systematically went about dismantling the autonomous wiorking class structures to build their state.

: Clearer perhaps was the ‘official’ Bolshevik position: 'If a state of affairs arose in which one country was ruled by the working class, while in other countries the working class, not from fear but from conviction, remained submissive to capital, in the end the great robber States would crush the worker's State of the first country.'(2)

This is absolutely true. Capitalist states would war on a socialist state.

:contributed essentially to the downfall of 'actually existing socialism.' Consider these words of Khrushchev, who presided over the most prosperous economy Russia has ever had:

Certainly, it contributed, as much as minority rule within 'actually existing socialism' contributed. Faced with the need to comprimise with the petit-bourgeoisie, and the intelligensia at home, and beset by enemies abroad, stalinism was pretty inevitable- also teh poverty of Russia didn't help none.

: Perhaps Trotsky was right: perhaps only one economic system can prevail! If Rosa Luxemburg's accumulation thesis is correct, then capitalism equally demands total hegemony---with one salient difference: capitalism---once it has transformed all nations into capitalist countries---will atrophy into a successive series of internal contractions (and imperialistic confrontations).* Socialism, on the other hand, if internationally dominant, would simply function smoothly (RD, I'm sure you would be pleased to hear this).

Indeed, I am... ;)

: Those burned by the voodoo economics of the Milton Friedman/Chicago school, living literally on the streets selling scraps of tin, will no doubt be merciless in rooting out all suspected causes of their misery should they ever get the chance. And who is to say that they won't?

Lets hope they don't, Socialism, a society of co-operation, cannot use the same revolutionay methods as capitalism did, and it can't deploy the same blood bath technique. The option discussed above is barbarism, the alternative to socialism, whether tis workers barbarism or capitalist barbarism.

:Recalling those dark days of October 1917, when the toiling masses had nothing to lose, they did something most extraordinary. One must understand starvation in order to understand the Bolshevik revolution---and this understanding, I am sure, escapes all of us here.

Indeed, but starvation doesn't explain bolshevism.

"Parties do not make revolutions, only nations can" (IIRC) K. marx, interview with Chicago Tribune.

Lo All, Public Libraries rock- but its a bit steep, so I won't be popping in much.

Nice to see you again Barry...

McSpotlight: Nice to see you back, Deathy.

(In a completely neutral sense, of course...)

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