Re: M-TH: China and LOV

1999-12-02 Thread Dave Bedggood

You shoudnt be so sensitive Rob.
My post was directed to Simon and his World Socialism.
If you identify with this current that's your problem.
By the way pb covers those like you and me who own their own tools of 
intellectual trade.
Parasitism? Depends what you do with the state pay check.
Blueprint.  Definitely. Russia failed to live up to it.
exploiting defeat?  Well the menshies took a back seat until the 
end of the SU, not wanting to own up to any affinity with Stalin.
Then they popped up all fresh with their Eurocentric patented 
democratic socialism. That's what is patronising, including the 
belief that we are not onto you.

 Date:  Thu, 2 Dec 1999 22:30:49 +1100
 From:  Rob Schaap [EMAIL PROTECTED]
 Subject:   Re: M-TH: China and LOV

 Whilst I obviously tend to Simon's general point of view (although I'm
 closer to Hugh on the finance/'productive capital' question) - and I do
 find it strange to be considered 'pb' when we own nothing, 'parasites' when
 we ask nothing, 'offering blueprints' when that is precisely what we know
 we can not do, 'exploiting defeat' when it is all we hold dear that is
 being defeated, and 'patronising' for believing in the potency of
 democratic activism - I'd've thought we had better things to talk about.
 Like the democratic activism going on in and regarding Seattle.
 That consumate poll-watching politician par excellence, Clinton, is
 actually opting to walk the thin high wire on this one - and the attempts
 to ridicule the protesters are waning because this is too big, right across
 the spectrum - and that little distinction between what is human and what
 is market is pressing itself on people's attention around the world - and
 third-worlders are feeling sufficiently cocky to talk about power gaps in
 globalist paradise - and people are asking loudly how does the
 socio-economic system we have address the gaps it immanently produces - and
 our suits are coming to learn no-one is swallowing their tripe any more -
 and unionists, students, anarchists, greenies and Marxists are getting used
 to the feel of each others' shoulders again - and they're learning that the
 great democracy's answer to popular expression comes from the barrels of
 guns - but they're also tasting popular potency for the first time in a
 generation.  All this in the belly of the beast, too!
 Geez, that wouldabeen nice to talk about, eh?
 Obviously not.
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Re: M-TH: China and LOV

1999-11-29 Thread Hugh Rodwell

Simon makes some points:

 Workers like these two toiled for a pittance for decades, with
 the lifetime promise of a communist state's "iron rice bowl."
 Now, caught between two economic eras, they feel betrayed.

Capitalism tells us all that we will be well off if we work hard. China, as
elsewhere. Then, as now.

Wrong. 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. And
agricultural workers won't thrown off the land, and factory workers weren't
thrown on to the streets. 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).

 China has only begun to create Western-style unemployment,
 welfare, pension and health insurance systems  --  all vital to
 smoothing the transition from the old government-run economy to a
 modern market one.

Because when the state ran industry it was not necessary to have a separate
state welfare scheme.

Simon seems to assume that state control automatically implies universal
welfare schemes. I'd like to see some arguments for this assumption.

 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 various
state-run enterprises in question in different economies.

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. If the bourgeoisie has the upper hand, the benefits
are cut (regardless of the ostensible slant of the government of  the day).
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 contradiction,
but not a class one, rather a *caste* one) and world imperialism. This is
shown by the permanence of the benefits until the decisive breakdown of the
bureaucracy in the face of the untenable pressures on them from the workers
at home and the imperialists in the world market. 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. 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. 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 of
regime from bourgeois democratic reaction to bourgeois Bonapartism
(military dictatorship) makes it possible to attempt to suppress the rights
of the organized working class at one fell swoop.



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