workers councils and democracy?

Norman Mikalac mikalac at
Sat Aug 19 11:48:49 MDT 2000

thanks for your expansive remarks.  i'll be sure to turn to your FAQs so
you don't have to continually repeat fundamentals.  didn't know it

i'll be at the Library of Congress again next week, so i'll look for
that article from Monthly Review and the one Mine suggested from Marxism
Review.  thanks for the tip.


Louis Proyect wrote:
> I want to remind Norman and other subscribers that the question of human
> nature is dealt with on the faq. I encourage him and others to
> review it.
> ====
> What about human nature?
> The people who argue that "you can’t change human nature" make the mistake
> of assuming that because man behaves in a certain way in capitalist
> society, therefore that’s the nature of human beings, and no other behavior
> is possible. They see that in capitalist society man is acquisitive, his
> motive is one of selfish greed and of getting ahead by any means, fair or
> foul. They conclude therefrom, that this is "natural" behavior for all
> human beings and that it is impossible to establish a society based on
> anything except a competitive struggle for private profit.
> The anthropologists say, however, that this is nonsense—and prove it by
> citing this, that, and the other society now in existence where man’s
> behavior isn’t anything like what it is under capitalism. And they are
> joined by the historians who say also that the argument is nonsense—and
> prove it by citing slave society and feudalism where man’s behavior wasn’t
> anything like what it is under capitalism.
> It is probably true that all human beings are born with the instinct of
> self-preservation and reproduction. Their need for food, clothing, shelter,
> and sexual love is basic. That much, it may be admitted, is "human nature."
> But the way they go about satisfying these desires is not necessarily the
> way that is common in capitalist society—it depends, rather, on the way
> suited to the particular culture they are born into. If the basic needs of
> man can be satisfied only by knocking the other fellow down, then we can
> assume that human beings will knock each other down; but if the basic needs
> of man can be better satisfied by cooperation, then it is also safe to
> assume that human beings will cooperate.
> Man’s self-interest is expressed in his desire for more and better food,
> clothing, and shelter, in his passion for security. When he learns that
> these needs cannot be satisfied for all under capitalism as well as they
> can under socialism, he will make the change.
> Huberman and Sweezy, "Introduction to Socialism," Monthly Review
> Louis Proyect
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