contradictions within "socialism"

Fri Jun 23 09:22:06 MDT 1995

Lisa asked> Then, does communist/socialist ideology hide antagonism
within> society?  .... studying
> contradictions within socialist societies....

Justin replied: .... i don't think there have been socialist
societies to study. Studying the contradictions in Stalinist
socoeties is of course a worthwhile enterprise. Chairman Mao has a
useful essay on Contradictions Among the People. Also contradictions
in various (nonStalinist) attempts at worker control, e.g.,
Mondragon, the kibbutizim, the communes of the Spanisah Civil War,

Today, Lisa posts:  Justin, this point is already well taken, by me
anyway.  I'm not claiming that any society is or ever was truly or
wholly socialist, and I know that idea is rather problematic for some
people.  I don't want to fan any flames or reopen a non-resolvable
disagreement.  We could set that aside and do more useful and
enjoyable things.  My suggestion does not depend upon any agreement
about whether "a society is socialist" or not.

I like your suggestions for studying contradictions within various
attempts at worker control.  It could be useful to study what went
wrong with various attempts, why something didn't turn out very
socialist after all and such, as anyone else working toward a social
transformation may face similar issues.  I'm interested in
hypothetical or logical contradictions as well, as we consider
possibilities for the future, and try to imagine or anticipate the
contradictions that may remain, or may be generated by any particular
change that could occur.

I'm also thinking of Cuba.  I've been reading about Cuba (stuff by
Brundenius and others) in terms of "moral incentives" vs. "material
incentives", and the contradiction between them.  I'm interested in
questions of how and why or under what circumstances does each one


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