Vision of a better world ? We don't have one.

Ben Seattle Left-Transparency at
Fri Jun 2 11:51:42 MDT 2000

Chris Brady:
> ... like Wallace, Nader offers no
> comprehensive alternative to capitalism.

Neither do we.

That is the problem.  The overwhelming majority of the left is
divided into the amnesiacs and the lobotomists [1] on this
question.  That makes us accomplices of Margaret Thatcher and her
view that "there is no alternative".

Gunnar Kreku:
> I have thought a long time that socialists should be much
> clearer about how the socialist society would look like.
> With what kind of institutions can the working people
> govern themselves? And how can the market system be
> replaced by planning? Most socialist organisations today
> have too general answers to questions like these. They
> concentrate on criticizing capitalism and say that it is
> impossible to make a blueprint of the coming socialism.
> And they add that Marx did not say much on the subject.
> But after what happened in USSR, China, etc., I think it
> is necessary for all socialists to have a lot to say about
> what kind of socialism they want.

Gunnar is completely correct.  We need to be clear on fundamental
principles that would characterize workers' rule (I do not use
the word "socialism" because it has been misused to the point of
being useless).

I have written what I believe to be the first scientific
speculation of how economics and politics would function in a
communist, classless society (ie: no markets, no central
planning).  My work is called "The Self-Organizing Moneyless
Economy".  It can be found at:

Before we have a classless society (and a self-organizing
economy) however, there will be a period in which the working
class holds power and uses this power to suppress the former
bourgeoisie.  The questions that neither the amnesiacs nor
lobotomists want to deal with--is how the workers' state will
suppress the former bourgeoisie without also suppressing the
independent organizations of workers that will be essential for a
healthy society.

Without an answer to this question--we have nothing.

I have been studying this question for some time and have come to
some definite conclusions--in particular how, in modern countries
with the internet and the many avenues of communication that are
opening up--the working class will insure the hegemony of ideas
that serve its interests [2].  I find this an interesting
question.  It would be impractical, unnecessary and stupid in the
extreme to attempt to censor the expression of backward (or even
reactionary) views from the internet.  And yet the former
bourgeoisie will still have immense resources to push their views
and prepare public opinion for a restoration of bourgeois rule.
How will the proletariat maintain its hegemony within the media
and the sphere of ideas?

Macdonald Stainsby:
> Is not the victory of Hezbollah recently more important
> towards the vision of a better world than all pamphlets
> put together?

Paul Flewers:
> What inspiration can left-wingers get from the ascendancy
> of a bunch of pre-feudal religious nutters, who would have
> us leftists massacred, gays exterminated, women
> permenantly dressed in tents and civil rights extinguished
> under a form of rule that is closer to fascism than anything
> else around today? Just look at places where Islamic
> fundamentalists have taken over. The tragedy of the
> Middle East is that a large proportion of opposition to
> imperialism these days is not under the banner of socialism,
> or even secular pan-Arabism, but this lunacy. The left cheers
> on this sort of thing at its peril -- a prominent leader of
> Mandelite current in Britain admitted happily chanting along
> with fundamentalists in Iran in 1979, we know what
> happened to Iranian left-wingers after the fundamentalists
> took over.

On the one hand the retreat by Israel represents a defeat for US
imperialism and its zionist client state.  Every defeat for
imperialism is inspiring.  But on the other hand Paul is touching
on a very fundamental point.

We can't simply sit back and cheer on the people in the third
world who fight napalm and cluster bombs with simple weapons and
courage.  Nor are solidarity movements with anti-imperialist
struggles sufficient.  Imperialism may be defeated here or
there--but imperialism remains--until it is destroyed.  But if we
dare to contemplate _destroying_ imperialism--then we must
consider how this will be done--what the forces are that will do
this.  Imperialism will be destroyed thru the actions of the
working class within the imperialist countries (there is no other
force that will destroy imperialism).  But this will require that
the workers and oppressed within the imperialist countries must
have some _vision_ of an alternative to bourgeois rule--or they
will see no reason to make the considerable sacrifices that are
part of serious struggle.  And this vision must pass the "too
stupid to be considered" test.

No such vision exists at present.

We can and must build movements directed against the worst abuses
of capitalism/imperialism around the world and at home.  But must
we confine ourselves to a vision of rolling a heavy rock up a
hill forever?  Until the end of time?

Or do we dare to think of victory?  Do we dare to think of ending
bourgeois rule?

But ending bourgeois rule will require that we build a movement
with this aim.

No such movement exists--nor can it until we face up to and
resolve these theoretical problems in a decisive way.  Until we
do this--we will not have a movement directed at ending bourgeois
rule that is deserving of the attention and respect of
workers--and the prospect of doing away with bourgeois rule--will
be unthinkable.

Ben Seattle
----//-// 2.Jun.2000


[1] See the section titled "Ending the theoretical crisis of
our movement" in my previous post at:

[2] See the section titled "How workers' rule will restrict the
circulation of bourgeois views" at:

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