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owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu owner-marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
Sat Feb 3 00:26:15 MST 1996


Since my post appeared unworthy of serious response, I was going to drop
the subject; but material circumstance has made me change my mind.

   I suggested that those who support market socialism might constructively
engage in cooperative building as a path toward revolution. The responses were that market socialism was the suggested economic system for _after_ the 
revolution, and that the workers would make the final decision on what
the actual end state would be. These positions were touted as obvious, as
indeed, they are. The difficulty (as Adam Rose also notes) is that there is a 
clear disjunction between this vision of post-revolutionary society and the
practice of constructing revolution as it is expressed.

   Is it really the case that the revolutionary struggle is somehow independent
of and irrelevent to revolutionary outcomes? My point (and I have read nothing
to make me reconsider it) was that the standard practice of most revolutionary
left parties in the US was out of sinc with the desire to construct a
post-revolutionary society. 

   Specifically, it appears to me that these market socialists who debate the end state have forgotten the collective and selective incentives neccesary to
obtain the type of participation they require (very strange for analytic marxists). My own experience (limited as it is, I confess) iss that a large number of
workers do not support the revolutionary left because 1) they have little
to obviously gain, and 2) they don't trust them.

   First, there is little incentive to send money and participate when all
they recieve is a badly inked left wing journal. They alienate friends and
family in traditional parties, they give up political patronage from viable
candidates, the money doesn't go for strike support, feeding one's kids, or
anything immediately visible. (Not to mention legal risks and job security).

   Second, whether or not this list reaches concensus on Stalin and the Soviet 
Union, most US workers view 1917 as a revolution betrayed. The facts of the case are less critical to them than assurances that they own revolution would be
secure. To simply assure them that workers will make the final decision is
hardly enough. These fears emerge both from a distrust of politicians and
political parties (of any stripe) and from some residual feeling that 
owners and managers do make some essential contribution (even though "their's"
are fucking idiots).  One way of potentially overcomming this is to directly 
assist workers to gain leadership and control of the means of production.
Nothing will generate trust like giving them control. Nothing can build
confidence like running things yourself.

   I understand that the theorizing of market socialism is largely
directed at establishing the parameters for a workable and desirable end state.
Nevertheless, I maintain agian that a party which provides material benefits to participation will be more successful. The early labor movements gained
strength through offering various types of insurance, strike assistance,
and camaraderie. Why cannot left parties of today attempt to offer clear
selective incentives through meaningful economic endeavors.

   I understand that we cannot simply construct market socialism in the midst
of the capitalist juggernaught, but can we not lay some foundations? Who are
more likely to be active participants in a democratic revolutionary movement,
the workers of the mondragon enterprises, or "working masses" with no 
experience in real democracy?

   In one week I will be attending the Indiana CP convention. As I have never
joined the party, I have some trepidations. I do not agree with what I 
understand to be the dominant position of most members about what the end state of the revolution should be, yet I reiterate that they are at least 
working the front lines with labor. Solidarity appears to avoid such action, 
and to avoid building coops. I again ask does anyone know of a party which
is trying to create genuine economic answers for workers _as_ they engage in
the revolution?

Comradely,
Brian S-J


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