Socialist Utopia

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sat Jul 8 08:31:56 MDT 1995


Tim W. asks some interesting questions:

> I have raised a theoretical issue: stated baldly a centralized party and
> administration simply cannot be combined with a decentralized governmental
> body (soviets) without power gravitating to the former and leaving the latter
> an empty shell.
> Right or wrong?

Power may or may not shift to the centralized party.  Presumably other
centralized parties also take part in the decentralized governmental body
(soviets). Also important is how the centralized party in power views
both itself (e.g. is it a "vanguard party"?) and other parties and
representatives ("comrades" or enemies?).  It is also possible that power
may be shared by more than one workers' party as happened in the
Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919 where key governmental positions were
shared by the Hungarian Communist Party and the Hungarian Social
Democratic Party (albeit this government was formed under exceptional
circumstances and there was considerable tension and distrust between the
two parties).
>
> A decentralized government body and administration, however, is incapable of
> defending the gains of the revolution from counterrevolution and
> administering an industrialized economy and urbanized population?  Right or
> wrong?

Even where there is decentralization there can still be a mechanism that
would allow for coordination.  Relatively autonomous bodies could relate
to each other in some form of federation.

> We could reduce the size of the populatiom, disperse it into agricultural
> communities, as per unobomber and "neo-Luddites", and on this more primitive
> basis try out a communitarian society.  This would require us to dispose of
> perhaps two billion people presently living on this earth.  A good or bad
> idea?

Bad idea.

> Of we could develop a vision of a socialist society based on representative
> democracy, combined with workers co-ops and management, some market economy,
>  some bureaucracy, a civil society, multi-parties.  Utopia?  Certainly not!
>  An improvement over what we got?  You better believe it!
>
Yes, we could.  Should we?  I'm not convinced.  The meaning of the
different elements of "socialist society" that you propose above need to
be discussed some more.

Jerry


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