Simon shows all the signs of evolutionary menshevik thinking.
Because for him the LOV is universal to class society, he can't see
that the revolution in Russia was a qualitative change. Nor that the
deformed revolution that followed in China was also. He cannot see
that the reason that the imperialist powers campaigned for 70 years
to defeat the revolution was that it posed a genuine alternative to,
not just a slightly less efficient model of, capitalism. He
counter-poses to that actual history, where Lenin used the term
'state capitalism' in a very different way to mean the survival of
the market in a workers state, a blueprint of 'real socialism'. This
is the quiescent, academic "world party of socialism" intellectuals
offering their blue print to the masses, covered by the patronising
bullshit about 'self-activity'.
Frankly, this is a petty bourgeois rendition of marxism. It has its
material roots in the non-historic but nonetheless reactionary role
of petty bourgeois intellectuals who must attach themselves as
parasites to one or other of the main classes to survive. Those who
attach themselves to the working class attempt to suck it dry.
Today the western pb intelligentsia is reviving classic menshevism
by exploiting the current period of historic defeats of workers
with the disintegration of the SU and other DWS's. Its theme is
that the revolution has not happened yet (October was premature, the
Bolsheviks were substitionist blah blah) and will not until
capitalism has exhausted its developmental potential for creating
privileged jobs for the petty bourgeois. But the reality is that in
this whole century capitalism has been objectively ripe for
revolution, and it was the Bolsheviks, particularly Lenin and Trotsky
who developed marxism beyond Eurocentric menshevism to take
advantage of that reality.
Today that reality of crisis ridden capitalism is even more pressing,
and the only lack is a revolutionary leadership. So while the WPS,
and its local mouthpiece Simon, attempt to defame and confuse the
real history of revolution, it will hold no truck whatsover with the
masses as the pre-revolutionary situations unfold in Russia, Latin
America and before long in Asia. I for one won't be treating these
menshevik ramblings as anything more than a diversion from the
real business of building a revolutionary communist international.
> To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> From: "The World Socialist movement (via The Socialist Party of Great
>Britain)" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Subject: Re: M-TH: China and LOV
> Date: Mon, 29 Nov 99 15:16:08 PST
> Reply-to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Dear Hugh,
> The "iron rice bowl" was no promise, it was a reality. As was cheap
> > accommodation. A pittance the wages might have been, but they didn't have
> > to stretch to cover exorbitant prices for the most basic necessities
> So instead of high wages and expensive subsistence, they have low wages and
> cheap subsistence. Sounds like their wages are being tailored to their
> subsistence to me.
> . And
> > agricultural workers won't thrown off the land
> No, its happening now because historically the Chinese state is reaching
> the point where the British state had its enclosures, in world historical
> , and factory workers weren't
> > thrown on to the streets.
> I know lots of unemployed factory workers not thrown on the streets. their
> dole isn't all that much below their wages.
> The sense of betrayal is not at an unfulfilled
> > promise, but at a system of permanent security that was destroyed with the
> > move away from a workers state with planning to a capitalist state where
> > the LOV has free play (including the tender mercies of the multinationals
> > and monopolies that this gives rise to).
> Again. The price mechanism is now being used to DETERMINE the value of that
> labour. as I have pointed out above, previously it was guessed but on the
> basis that it existed (the subsistence bit). The LOV didn't change.
> > Simon seems to assume that state control automatically implies universal
> > welfare schemes. I'd like to see some arguments for this assumption.
> If the state is the only or predominant employer, it is up to it to ensure
> a reserve labour army for itself. In free market economies, the state
> intervenes for the capitalist class as a whole to perform this task, so it
> is not as homogeneous as state capitalism where effectively the entire
> labour force in in barracks and catered for on that basis. Right? Even the
> US has welfare for this purpose.
> > >> In the past, state enterprises had lifelong obligations to their
> > >> workers, including living allowances and medical care for those
> > >> laid off.
> > >
> > >Just as the state has in the West.
> > A very sweeping statement that begs too many questions. Particularly
> > historical-political ones relating to the origin and purpose of the
> > state-run enterprises in question in different economies.
> The state has the role of maintaining the labour army, including its
> reserve. It may be that provision is private: it is still the state's role
> to ensure that this is done. This can be seen in the transition from state
> to private pensions: the market is introduced, and many workers will lose
> out, but it is still the job of the state to see that this is done
> properly. (Of course, those who are superannuated, the state may say hell
> with them: but this would mean they need looking after by their relations,
> who would demand compensation elsewhere through higher pay etc.)
> > Seems to me that the state as such is responsive to the contradictory
> > pressures in society in the west, and the availability or not of benefits
> > of various kinds is directly related to the balance of class forces in the
> > society in question
> The welfare state was imposed FROM ABOVE. Nothing to do with the balance of
> class forces, a well-fed and educated labour army is necessary to compete
> as a world capitalist power and fight in various wars etc.
> . If the bourgeoisie has the upper hand, the benefits
> > are cut (regardless of the ostensible slant of the government of the
> You know that this is nonsense. History shows that, while workers' support
> hs been enlisted behind these campaigns, there has always been ruling class
> support as well. What we are really talking about is the historical battle
> between manufacturing capital, and finance and landed capital which
> approaches capital "as a consumer" (Marx's words). Manufacturers require as
> immediate aims a well-fed, trained, docile workforce. The others require no
> such thing as long as manufacturers are still paying their bills, however
> the burden is distributed.
> > Now in workers states, the pressures were not so much from internal
> > contradictions as from the interaction between the counter-revolutionary
> > bureaucratic regime (which of course *is* a kind of internal
> > but not a class one, rather a *caste* one) and world imperialism.
> Again, refer to the above/ State capitalism is effectively where only one
> kind of capitalism takes place - manufacturing capitalism. The state takes
> over the other functions to allow a free hand. The state becomes the source
> of wealth, and that group which controls the state constitutes a ruling
> class, just as in free market capitalism the group which controls the
> shares and deeds constitutes a ruling class. Or are our capitalists just a
> caste? By your argument, they are. You just don't want to use the word
> "class" because as soon as you do then the whole edifice crashes down
> around your ears.
> Once the bureaucracy
> > chooses to capitulate to the imperialist bourgeoisie rather than hand over
> > their power and privileges to the democratic control of the associated
> > producers, the floodgates are opened and the "welfare" mechanisms of the
> > workers states unravel at a hair-raising pace.
> Read: Once the ruling class in state capitalism allows capital in general
> back into the country the economic form reverts to "mixed" capitalism, and
> the state reverts to its usual state function, that of supervising
> accumulation, rather than being the vehicle to favour one kind of
> capitalism at the expense of others. therefore the workers now work for
> private firms rather than the state as abstract employer, and their
> benefits are market based rather than universalised.
> The instant qualitative
> > aspect of this demonstrates clearly enough that a qualitative change is
> > taking place -- from a workers state to a bourgeois state, from a state
> > that keeps the LOV at bay, to one that doesn't.
> How many times. It should be obvious that if the emphasis of the state
> changes then all that happened previously was a change of emphasis. Value
> is now determined by the operations of capital as a whole system rather
> than one which has abstracted certain of its moments and replaced them with
> calculation (which is good if you want to get major projects like
> electrification off the ground but a bummer in a diverse economy).
> In the west there is no
> > such instant and dramatic transformation, there is the slow grind of class
> > war in the usual win-a-few lose-a-few process. Unless of course a change
> > regime from bourgeois democratic reaction to bourgeois Bonapartism
> > (military dictatorship) makes it possible to attempt to suppress the
> > of the organized working class at one fell swoop.
> And there again, it is the West which has trhe capability, with a fully
> formed capitalism, to overturn it all: it is the state capitalist nations
> which must lose their partial character and become fully capitalist, rather
> than part peasant, part manufacturer, etc. as a quantitative change, in
> order to take part in this process. If the West had had a proper socialist
> revolution, it would then have had to revolutionise the state capitalists:
> that is what Lenin was BANKING on.
> Only messages signed by a Party officer are considered official
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