Ron Press anclondon at
Fri Mar 31 20:31:49 MST 1995

>>>>>>>>>> From: Lisa Rogers
<wpc at> On the arrow of time:

the relevance, distant though it may be to marxism is that marxism
assumes that historical time has a directionality, the future is
unlike the past, there is a notion of progress etc. Thus it
assumes that time has an arrow at the macroscopic level.

The point I wanted to make was that the notion of "PROGRESS" (
which is so often linked with the passage of time) is
questionable. For example are we better then the apes? Is it a
reasonable question? Yes we are more complex and powerful but we
are also more cruel and irrational. We have great potential but
time and time again fail to realise it. We will probably be the
only species that knowingly destroys the very environment that
allows us to exist.

>>>>>> From: Paul Cockshott <wpc at> One could
equally argue that it was the transformation of the soviet system
to one in which the soviets were dominated by the communist party
( the soviets of course continued to exist ), was what enabled the
soviet union to survive and transform itself into a socialist
industrial state.

I think that the idea of a soviet republic without communist party
domination, whilst possible, is unlikely to be long lived.
Wherever soviets have been dominated by other parties, bourgeois
rule either survived or returned.

I think that this goes to the core of the problem. IT IS NOT AN
EITHER--OR. It is a balance. Yes leadership is necessary. In war a
general staff and disipline is essential to win. But the cost is
enormous. In peace the balance must be deliberatly shifted to mass
patricipation and consensus. Socialist society should be so
structured that there is a synthesis between leadership and
organised mass participation. The structure in the USSR was
inflexable and the idea that the Party could be the conduit for
bottom up participation in democracy was falacious. Leadership
became control. Control became arrogance and eventually ignorance
and disaster.

>>>>>>> From: Paul Cockshott <wpc at> This is not
true. I remember reading in the late 70s or early 80s reports in
New Scientist of the campaigns by scientists in the Siberian
region against the opening of a factory on lake Baikal, it was
either a Viscose or a Paper Pulp factory ( anyway it used wood
pulp). This threatened to pollute the late.  The campaign got the
factory development stopped.

I remember the incident you refer to. There was also a scheme to
divert the rivers flowing north in Siberia to make them flow
south. Pressure lead by a group of scientists made the central
committee drop the scheme.

In a way you prove my point. These incidents are the exceptions
that prove the rule. The general level of pollution, the disasters
in the nuclear field ,( not to mention Chernobyl), the lack of
consumer participation in the design and quality of comodities,
the ineffectiveness of the trade unions, the weakness of the
womens movement, all point to a weakness in the participation of
the masses in the life of the society.

The first socialist state was all in all a great success. My
sadness is that the CPSU which was the leadership that created
socialism and helped so many colonial peoples to gain their
freedom then failed socialism.

We must do better because no way is capitalism a satisfactory

Ron Press.

Ps Chris. I agree that "Multi dimentional space" is a difficult
one, but on the other hand so are some of the words used in many
of the other contributions to the list. I suppose we all have to
learn new words and concepts.

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list