- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Is Simply ANYTHING Socialism?

Posted by: Barry Stoller on October 18, 1999 at 19:01:28:

In Reply to: To the AUTHORITY on Socialism, your going to find I'm anti-authority. posted by Lark on October 18, 1999 at 14:44:18:

: I'd have preferred you asked me rather than speaking among those you perceive as the "true believers" behind my back.

Behind your back? On a public debate board? If I really wanted to 'talk behind your back,' why did I put your name in the postís title?

Moving on:

: : This is libertarianism!

: Your right it is, is it incompatible with socialism?

I think so. Please refer to this post for more details. Then let's talk.

: ...perhaps I'm wrong but then definitions differ and I feel no need to CONFORM to yours so feel to disagree with me.

Definitions can only differ so far, Lark!

Some so-called socialist's definitions of socialism have disgraced socialism!

My suspicions about your definition of socialism have been aroused, in part, because you have claimed that the black market is socialism (a point relished by that libertarian fanatic Borg). Wrong!

But the PRIMARY reason my suspicions have been aroused is because you have repeatedly asserted that socialism can be independent of the working class.

Completely wrong!

Then, you have said---in this post:

What is required is a Citizens wage paid by the authorities to every citizen, as close as possible to, if not equal to the average workers income and totally tax free, additional income would be taxed at a flat rate of about 50% until introduction costs can be diminished etc. Labour is now decommodified and if you can't get a job you'll be alright and if you don't want to work, which SHOULD BE YOUR RIGHT, you don't have to.

You envision a socialist society where a person doesnít 'have' to work if he or she doesnít want to---yet receives a wage by 'the authorities.' (I thought you repudiated all authorities---or is that only ones that don't hand free money out?)

Is this socialism---or demotic nonsense?

Then you disparage the U.S.S.R. because they couldn't---or wouldn't---provide people with Playstations and MTV.*

Let me get this straight.

The state should provide all manner of commodities, even to those who don't work. The working class you so often dismiss will not be involved in producing these commodities. Who, pray tell, will make them?

You haven't envisioned any sort of socialism other than a naive utopian one:

Hence, mish-mash allowing the most manifold shades of opinion; a mish-mash of such critical statements, economic theories, pictures of future society by the founders of different sects, as excite a minimum of opposition; a mish-mash which is the more easily brewed the more the definite sharp edges of the individual constituents are rubbed down in the stream of debate, like rounded pebbles in a brook.(1)


* Lark: I'm thinking about the reasons why people in the east saw the west as such a utopia that they over turned state communism and aside from political liberty etc. I suspect the thriving entertainment industry had something to do with it, where as all they could do was attend authoritarian military parades.

Where does your information about the fall of the U.S.S.R. come from? Time magazine?

As Gorbachev stated in Perestroika, he planned to 'make heavy cuts in the managerial apparatus' and transfer power 'from the center to the localities' (Harper & Row 1987, p. 91). Furthermore, reversing long-time policy, he insisted that 'Soviet trade unions have the right to monitor managerial compliance with labor contracts, the right to criticize management, and even the right to demand that a director who fails to comply with the legitimate interests of the working people be removed from office' (p. 114, my emphasis). In other words, Gorbachev intended to institute democratic decentralization---as proposed by Lenin in Revolution and the State---and give real power to the people. Now, the fall of the U.S.S.R. becomes somewhat more credible than vulgar theories about Western consumer abundance!

Please see Kotz and Weir's recent Revolution From Above: the Demise of the Soviet System for substantiating evidence that the U.S.S.R.'s managerial apparatus, threatened by the impending (Leninist) decentralization and democracy, threw their support behind capitalism---in order to retain the previous hierarchy and their concomitant privileges.

1. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, International 1935, p. 44.

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