re. state capitlaism

Raymond Hickman R-HICKMAN at wpg.uwe.ac.uk
Thu Jun 20 11:07:11 MDT 1996


Hello Jorn,

not surpisingly your formulation "socialism equals workers in
power - collectively and democratically. Nothing more and nothing
less", looks a lot like Adam's "socialism = workers power =
commune state". So I'm going to ask you the same questions I
asked Adam and which he declined to reply.

Don't you see any possible problem with the manner in which that
power is operated, or the operation of that state?

If your answer is that it doesn't matter what the state does,
since being a workers state, it must by definition act in
workers' interests, then fair enough. We can excuse all sorts of
activities, no matter how reprehensible, in the name of such
workers' power. However, we might want to remember Marx's tip
about new societies being born out of, and being marked by the
conditions of the old.

If your answer is that, during the revolutionary transformation
of society, workers' consciousness will be transformed so that
they will not act in a reprehensible manner, then things get a
little trickier. Will all workers be similiarly transformed? If
not what is the role of the revolutionary party - for example the
SWP - as the discilplined collective of the most advanced/class
conscious members of the class, in this post revolutionary
sitiuation. Will you/they have to keep on leading. And if so what
should you/they do about those elements of the working class who
steadfastly refuse to be lead; remember they might even be to the
left of the vanguard party.

The point I want to make is not about the problems associated
with either the absolute soveriegnty of a majority, or the
leading role of a vanguard party. The point I want to make is
simply that a one dimensional measure of socialism is inadequate.

This should not be surprising since socialism is a dynamic
transitional social formation; one moreover, which ultimately
seeks to move away from workers' power towards a needs driven
economy, with common ownership of property. This would suggest
that there are at least three measures of socialism - or more
accurately three measures of the 'maturity'of socialism; workers
power, needs satifaction, common property ownership.

Best wishes hoping for a reply this time - Raymond Hickman



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