workers councils and democracy?

Norman Mikalac mikalac at
Sat Aug 19 11:46:59 MDT 2000

thank you for your response.

1.  no, i'll take your word for it that workers councils are not
effective, since you, Lou and others have spent the time studying the
issue.  that's good enough for me.  next question is what else after the
demise of capitalism?  however, that probably requires a book of
explanations rather than an essay.

2.  Lou pretty much answered the question of nature (genetics) vs.
nurture (environment) in a later message about selfishness and
acquisitiveness. i think he agrees with the biologists (except maybe a
creationist here or there) that it's BOTH.  that means to some extent
changing the environment will make people more or less lots of behavior
pattern constellations, including those two.


Doyle Saylor wrote:
> Greetings Comrades,
>     Norman Mikalac asks me a couple of questions in order to clarify or
> understand my reaction to his comments,
> Norman,
> 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.
> norm
> Doyle
> 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.
> thanks,
> Doyle Saylor

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