LTV, Working class (fwd)

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Wed Nov 2 11:20:37 MST 1994

On Wed, 2 Nov 1994, Andrew Hagen wrote:

> Justin Schwartz writes, in critique of planned socialism:
> > Projections based on the past year may be misleading. Say you marry or
> > have a baby, or develop a new passion for acquiring old jazz and blues
> > '78s, or quit your job and start a new career in a different line of work
> > which requires different equipment (say you become a carpenter, as my
> > ex-executive sister did), or any of a lot of other things which might
> > change your consumption patterns.
> This is not socialist at all. What kind of socialism can you have when the
> division of labor exists?

Andrew, wake up. Mastering skills requires specialization. I love jazz but
lack the time, inclination, and ability to become a competent jazz
musician. Carpentry is a specialized skill. Everyone cannot do everything.
What's wring with the division of labor in class society is not
specialization but that people are forced to specialize in things which do
not develop their talents. Under socialism, people will be more
specialized and labor in that sense more divided than under capitalism.
The difference will be that people will for the most part be doing what
they want to do.

> "Planned socialsm" does not mean "a planned economy facing the same
> problems as capitalism but with a direction generally helpful to most
> people," i.e. fascism with a happy face. Planned socialism, or just
> socialism, or communism, is the resolution of contradictions within
> capitalism resulting in a wholly different society.

"It is the riddle of history solved," young Karl said. Very nice. Please
state the solution. (_He_ didn't.) The point: you can say that socialism
is by definition the perfect society in which all contradictions are
overcome and we all are one big happy family. But why think this state of
affairs is possible. much less that planning will produce it?

Think about how to talk to ordinary workers about this stuff. They will
want to know concrete answers to concrete questions before they risk their
lives to pursue a will-'o-the-wisp.

--Justin Schwartz


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