Rob obligingly answers my questions:

>G'day again Thaxists,
>Quoth Hugh:
>>a) that Trotsky is in fact arguing for market socialism as an *alternative*
>>to the dictatorship of the proletariat with centralized planning and
>>centralized control of finance and foreign trade;
>No, he's arguing for market socialism as crucial part of 'the dictatorship
>of the proletariat'

We agree on this.

>(which latter can mean whatever one likes).

Nope. How do you understand it Rob? I've been busting a gut recently giving
definitions of transfer of ownership and its political consequences, now
its your turn.

>I say
>'crucial' because Trotsky clearly recognised that something in the economic
>system was needed to signal 'needs and their relative intensity'.  However
>one tries to apply the law of value stuff to a socialist system (a law Marx
>had formulated to explain the dynamics of *capitalism*), one must remember
>the 'use value' category when running an economy of any description, and the
>onus on anti-market-socialism Marxists is to explain how this might be done
>such that the interaction of supply and demand might be obviated.

Just who are you referring to by "anti-market-socialism Marxists"? This
could important in clearing this up.

>>b) that Bolshevism-Leninism had on its programme the immediate liquidation
>>of the market from day one of the October Revolution;
>Lenin called this sorta thinking an infantile disorder, did he not?

OK, we agree on this. Bolshevik-Leninists neither were nor are
anti-market-socialism Marxists, at least in this sense (Trotsky's
perspective on the market in point a). So where's the polemical point?

>Incidentally, I happen to reckon that it is also infantile to claim that an
>age of abundance will follow our short transitional reliance on market
>signals, and that this will take care of niggly little questions about the
>optimal/adequate production and allocation of use values.  Either that, or
>I'm missing something pretty important about the ways Marxists use Marx's
>theorising of capitalism to fashion their post-revolutionary society.

I don't get this. Who's claiming this, what degree of reliance are you
referring to, and which Marxists do you mean in the last bit?

>>c) that market socialism is more than just another way of saying that
>>market mechanisms will have an important but not decisive role to play in
>>the operations of proto-socialist society.
>Well, they'd certainly be important.  I tend to believe we'd have a pretty
>sick economy pretty quickly (ie one that would not respond well to people's
>needs) if we abandoned market mechanism altogether.  So to that extent, I
>reckon 'decisive' is an appropriate word.

"Decisive" as meaning the most important?

>As I believe democracy must
>always prevail over profit (such that we not produce shit we're better off
>without; such that we not spend our lives doing 'necessary' labour; and such
>that everybody gets to participate - and gets at least what we'd deem to be
>'enough'), I could not hold with the market as decisive in the sense it be
>allowed to work against these overriding principles.

So who's going to enforce these overriding principles, and how??

>>This will make it clear to me, to yourself and to everybody else if we're
>>just playing with words or in fact talking about an *alternative* regime or
>>even an *alternative* state to what was available in the early Soviet
>Reckon we might be talking pretty serious alternative, meself ...

Please elaborate. Which available forces then (Mensheviks, SRs, Cadets,
western Social-Democrats, etc) would have done a better job? Or if none of
them will do, what changes should the Bolsheviks have made to their
programme and their practice?

>>If we're talking alternatives then we can get down to discussing what the
>>Bolsheviks should have done instead, ie criticize their programme and their
>>methods of implementing it.
>There are a few things we can learn - I've never argued otherwise.  But the
>stream is ever in train, and we never step in the same water twice.


>>>From the huffing and puffing going on it sounds as if there's more at stake
>>than the realistic acknowledgement made by Trotsky here and by the Left
>>Opposition in general including Preobrazhensky in the New Economics that
>>the market will have a role to play in regulating some aspects of supply
>>and demand under proto-socialism. Is there??
>I don't reckon there's very much huffing and puffing going on, Hugh!  And my
>suspicion 'that the market will have a role to play in regulating some
>aspects of supply and demand under proto-socialism' is hardly new to
>Thaxalotls, is it?

"A role to play in regulating some aspects etc" sounds fine, but does it
constitute Market Socialism?? What about all the Bruno Bauers and
Austro-Marxists etc with their virulent hatred of Bolshevism -- how would
their kind of Market Socialism ever bring about the necessary transfer of
ownership to the organized working class?

>>For a perspective during the actual wars nothing can beat Trotsky's book
>>"Terrorism and Communism" (against Kautsky's book of the same name),
>>preferably read in conjunction with Lenin's polemic against Kautsky from
>>the same period The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky.
>Have read this last.  Also read a bit of Kautsky in my time (he's a lot
>harder to get hold of, mind), and liked what he had to say about the
>sustainable revolutionary qualities he anticipated in the event of a more
>modern established and educated proletariat kicking up a stink in the
>context of a liberal democracy - in his *The Dictatorship Of The
>Proletariat* - a good read, I reckon - mebbe all the more so in light of the
>fact we are such particular people, living in this particular context.

Give us a taste of Kautsky's recommendations!



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