The socialism we want /2

Gunnar Kreku gunnar.kreku at
Wed Jun 7 11:57:13 MDT 2000

Here are two reasons for why I think socialists should be much clearer about how the
socialist society would look like, and why I think that books like ”Towards a New
Socialism” by Cockshott and Cottrell are important.

1. The constitutional reason:
Certain institutional conditions are necessary for real working class power. The
market economy must have been replaced by some kind of planning,  the new social
decision-making must have certain concrete forms. What these institutions should look
like in detail can and must vary according to circumstances. But  I think it is
possible to say quite a lot about it already. Much more than what socialists
traditionally do. With only general statements abut what is needed, the decisive power
will fall into the hands of the socialist leadership in the event of a revolution. And
can you really trust them….?

2.  The motivational reason:
Because of what happened in the countries that called themselves socialist, and
because of the antisocialist propaganda we hear almost every day, it is important for
socialists to be able to show that their political alternative is feasible, that it
will mean a substantial improvement of social condititions, and that there is no risk
for a development as for example in USSR. Trying to explain my political views  I
often get answers as: ”those things are impossible, they have been tried in many
countries, look what happened!”  The traditional general statements are not anymore
sufficient to convince working class people.

What about Marx?

- Marx did not write much about the socialism he wanted. Perhaps this was one of the
reasons for that it was possible for many oppressive regimes to call themselves
Marxists, without all marxists in the world immediately denouncing them.

- When Marx and Engels criticized the utopian socialists, the most important criticism
was that the Utopians did not have a realistic way to make their visions real. The
marxist solution is that socialism will be realized as a result of the struggle of the
working class. But in this struggle the working class will have to formulate a
feasible social alternative long before it has taken power, because otherwise it
cannot take power. So I don´t think that a more specific view about how socialism
should work has to conflict with marxism.

Naturally I do not think that you can make a blueprint for all time to come. Neither
do I think that you can anticipate all problems that have to be solved at once. What I
simply think is that the visions of the socialist society most socialist organisations
stand for are much too general to give a feasible alternative worth fighting for. It
is time to do something to that!

Gunnar Kreku
Bus driver
Stockhom, Sweden

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