workers councils and democracy?

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Sat Aug 19 04:34:54 MDT 2000

Greetings Comrades,
    Norman Mikalac asks me a couple of questions in order to clarify or
understand my reaction to his comments,

trying to understand what you are saying.

1. worker's councils don't work?

2. selfishness and acquisitiveness are caused by environmental
conditions w/o any genetic basis?

thanks for your response.


Replying to one,
Soviets did not re-emerge after 1989 in Eastern Europe as a political tool.
I read more than a year ago a series of exchanges between Lou Proyect and
Rakesh Bhandari about Workers Councils wherein Lou was scathing about the
whole idea of such councils.  That was an education for me.  Rakesh is a
talented academic who defended councils against Lou.

Historically the councils existed in the short time span after WWI in
Eastern Europe as an alternative form of power for workers to exercise to
party structure.  They ceased to exist as an independent form in the period
of the early 1920's.  The councils are an historical form that has little to
offer us now in regard to workers power, and the proof in that pudding is
that they did not re-emerge in Eastern Europe in the great political
upheaval.   If you want an in depth discussion of the issues and you have
something to say beyond this simple level, then you have come to the right
place because Lou is an able critic of workers councils as a viable tool for
the present day.   However, that would be a mainly hypothetical and academic
argument since there is no existing alternate form of workers power called
councils of the workers.  That critical lack of existence of the form is
what convinced me of the futility of the concept when I was once willing to
consider both sides of the arguments.

replying to two,
Your point lacks reference to economics.  In a Christian manner, you assert
moral categories of human behavior, selfishness, over and above how people
must conduct themselves in the functioning of economic relationships in the
social system.  The first most obvious place to go to is history to look at
how various epochs of social systems were different from the present.  As
soon as you can find how selfishness is the constant in each period, and
that is why such a rule exists in the genes then come back to us, and
demonstrate to us once and for all why Marxism is wrong.  I mean
fundamentally what do you think people advocate in socialism?  Selfishness?

The technical arguments in biology about how genes control behavior or not,
require a material grounding well beyond a simple assertion like you make
here.  You don't seem to have the nuance of the arguments that are put out
there in the contemporary sciences.  You might try reading Lewontin for
example.  At any rate for example explain how gene sequences control
behavior?  That ought to amuse us with your erudition.  Maybe Richard
Dawkins writings can give you some quotations to support your hypothesis of
the selfish gene.  All Dawkins theorizing was done well before the genetic
code was broken.  Dawkins has a great crystal ball about how genes work.
Cloudy crystal oh cloudy crystal part thy murky depths show me how the
selfish genes work.
Doyle Saylor

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