General comment

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Sat Dec 31 04:38:45 MST 1994


Hi
I find the debates in the forum both stimulating and frustrating.

There is definitely room for academic dissection of the works of others but debate
must have an aim other than debate. Thus I agree with some of the remarks about
African Philosophy. But let us not be carried away. Some if not many of the
discussions in the forum are very similar.

In my opinion the basis problem is in the structure and organisation of society.

1) It is clear that most people want to live, have food, shelter, health, education
and so on.

2) Structures have emerged to satisfy this desire.

3) Capitalism is one such structure. Its has however a basic flaw in as much as it
satisfies only a minor section of the worlds population. Mainly the affluent of the
north.

4) A form of socialism has been tried. It did by and large satisfy the basic needs
of 1) above. However structurally it was a failure. This is pointed out in the
contribution about China.

So we are faced with the situation where one system fails to satisfy the basic
needs of the majority of the population. The other while delivering some of the
required needs fails to do so efficiently and does not satisfy the intellectual free
spirit of humankind.

The constitution of the USSR for example indicates that the Trade Unions should
have a major role in the governance of society. Party control destroyed their power
and disenfranchised the working people. The words were there but the structure
denied them.

It seems to me that the role of the intellectual is, while being disputatious about
what others write, to work so as to raise the understanding of ordinary people.
Some structural form called socialism is the better way of solving the problem of
1) but we need a different structural form.

Some would say we need democracy, or democratic control. True but this is not
enough. What organisational structures would ensure such control.

I believe that at the beginning of the revolution in the USSR there was the born the
kernel of such a system. It was destroyed. Why. Was it an historical necessity or
an imposed mistake.

What of Cuba. Is it different.

What of South Africa. Amazing structures have arisen during the struggle there.
Are these new and valuable?
In fact what is this thing called SOCIALISM. We thought we knew. We were
wrong. This question needs the attention of those whose job it is to think. Not
forgetting that even the African, and the Chinese, and .... also think.

At the end of the day the problem is that not only do people think but they act
more often without thinking.


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