Central Planning and Worker's Control of the Means of Production

EIRC Lab patron eirc_lab at your.address.here
Wed Jun 5 20:00:55 MDT 1996


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Comradely Greetings to all strugglers for a Government of the Producers
and for the Producers---from Wei En Lin



Let us address the question:

'How would you insure the "accountability" of the "social, political, and
economic structures themselves" outside the coercive power of a workers'
state?    Incentives?   Moral suasion?  Economic boycott?'

Accoutability can only be guaranteed by democratic control over the means
of production.  This can and will take numerous forms.  The legislature
of a Genuine Democracy is directly accountable to ordinary citizens. Not
to Campaign Contributors, Financiers, Capitalists, Organized PACs,  as in
the US.  Accountability can not be guaranteed by a an undemocratic,
bureaucratic state, as was the case in Russia after civil war and the
crushing of the Kronstadt rebellion. (If in Russia, the demands of the
Kronstadt sailors had been met, ie, that the slogan "All power to the
Soviets of Workers, Peasants, and Soldiers" be honored--then working
class power could have been a possibility.  Instead, we had Leninist
dictatorship--and far, far worse, Stalinist dictatorship.  So I turn the
question around.  How is accountability at all possible without worker's
democracy--not bourgeois democracy--but real working class democracy?)

Incidentally, I am not a Trotskyist, or a Social democrat, or a
"revisionist".  Let us not be too quick to categorize.  I argue for
democratic control over the state and the means of production by working
classes.

Let me confront the view that:

     'A certain element of make-believe attends such efforts
as "worker's democracy", as it must to any similar "democratic"
enterprise.
      Everyone, workers included, know that, for example, an industrial
concern cannot be run by methods of "democratic control", unless the kind
of "democracy" referred to replicates that formerly adopted in crown
colonies where the nominated representatives of the governor outvoted the
"elected"  representatives of the people on any vital issue.'


Everyone knows no such thing.  Reality is far more complex than this.
The analogy is merely a grounds for analysis and does not prove the
unworkability of workers democracy.

I applaud any industrial concern which is run and controlled by the
workers through their elected representatives, ie an industrial concern
where all the foremen, managers, executive staff, board of supervisors
are DIRECTLY ELECTED BY THE RANK AND FILE WORKERS. This is one instance
of the worker's control of industry. I recommend to those interested to
study the operations of Mondragon in Basque, Spain, which is currently
the largest completely worker controlled concern in the world, with a
yearly  surplus product valued at over 2 Billion dollars.

It is a fact that worker-controlled industries are becoming a larger and
larger part of the advanced industrialized economies overall operations.
This should be viewed as a positive development (not simply in the
context of an argument for the 'reform of capitalism'--which is
impossibe--CAPITALISM MUST BE ABOLISHED--but in the context of the
workers learning democracy.)  I utterly reject phoney worker's control,
where the workers are allowed, say, one board member, because in such
cases the capitalists maintain control.  But I do support genuine
worker's control.  If enough of these companies gain control, the result
could be extremely positive, and workers' control of all industries could
be legislated into existence.

Recall, that Marx himself said, in his last public lecture before a trade
union group in Holland, that he did believe that Socialism could become a
reality in such countries as England, Holland and the US through peaceful
and legal means. Do not accuse me of Utopianism unless you wish to
level the charge against Marx.

Inevitably, violent revolution will (and should) occur, in places like
Peru and Colombia--where the governments use systematic violence against
their own people on a broad scale. But violence is not always necessary.

As far as CENTRAL PLANNING is concerned, I do not oppose it. I only
oppose stalinist, or undemocratic means of central planning.

Sincere Regards,

Wei En Lin

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>From owner-marxism  Sun Jun  2 22:23:14 1996
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To: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
From: louisgodena at ids.net (Louis R Godena)
Subject: Re: Centrally-planned economy vs. WORKERS CONTROL OVER THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION
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Wei En Lin, on Sunday, June 2nd, wrote:

>... Central planning (in the Stalinist or
>Brezhnevist mode) is inadvisable, since it leads inevitably to greater
>concentrations of power in fewer and fewer hands...[t]he social, political,
and economic structures themselves
>must be made accountable to working people who run them, and accountable
>to outside scrutiny, where the public interest is concerned...

Interesting dichotomy, Mr Wei.   How would you insure the "accountability"
of the "social, political, and economic structures themselves" outside the
coercive power of a workers' state?    Incentives?   Moral suasion?
Economic boycott?    A certain element of make-believe attends such efforts
as "worker's democracy", as it must to any similar "democratic" enterprise.

Everyone, workers included, know that, for example, an industrial concern
cannot be run by methods of "democratic control", unless the kind of
"democracy" referred to replicates that formerly adopted in crown colonies
where the nominated representatives of the governor outvoted the "elected"
representatives of the people on any vital issue.    In a nationalized
economy workers would still have to be compelled to work for the social
good.   This may more easily be accomplished by transferring from purely
economic incentives (higher wages & benefits) to those incentives more
amicable to socialist society (including a sense of social obligation on the
part of the worker).    Nonetheless, society would have to reserve to itself
a final sanction--of sufficient cogency and vigor-- for securing the
performance of the tasks necessary to the existence of that society.

Social necessity , not  "democracy"--at least not in any sense of the word
apprehensable to bourgeois society--must, at the end of the day,  dictate
the means by which such "accountability" to the workers' government is
maintained.    Surely, it is premature to dismiss out of hand even that old
bugaboo "Central Planning" in discussing that urgent task.


                               Louis Godena



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