''All I have to offer the world is my own confusion''

David Welch welch at SPAMcwcom.net
Sun Jun 17 21:12:21 MDT 2001

On Sun, Jun 17, 2001 at 09:59:13PM +0100, Richard Partridge wrote:
> 2,how would parliament be run in the light of a democratically elected
> socialist party,
I'm not sure exactly what you mean, clearly if socialism was to be an
advance on capitalism it would have to be more democratic and liberal.
Though extra ordinary measures might be required to suppress

> could arthur scargill live at no10 or would it be turned into a tourist
> attraction?
Both ;-)

> 3, i am only 18 and one of the most common arguments given to me is how can
> a cleaner get as much money as a doctor please enlighten me.
There's no reason why pay rate should be absolutely (or even substantively)
equal under socialism, this certainly wasn't the case in the Soviet Union,
though society would be more equitable since property owners as a class
have been eliminated. Communism (which socialism is the period of transition
to), would be organised according to the principle of 'to each according
to his needs, from each according to his abilities' along with the
abolition of money and of the wages system, so it wouldn't make much sense
to compare the relative rates of pay of different occupations at that

> 4,would there be heavy tax on profit or simply no profit?
There would be profit under socialism in the sense of a surplus from
production but it would be allocated to different uses according to a
democratically decided plan.

> 6,why do so few people see the benefits and clear common sense and moral
> sense of socialism, is it simply years of the daily mail and bbc1
> propoganda.
No, not at all in fact. There are two main reasons for the weakness of
socialist ideas and of the class struggle, the first is hopefully
temporary, the defeats the working class has suffered locally
(the Miners Strike for example) and globally (particularly the demise of
the USSR). The second is a more general phenonema of capitalism,
reification. That is, as a consequence of generalised commodity
production, relations between people appear as relations between objects.
So capitalism and the various processes therein appear as something
objective, beyond the ability of the proletariat to influence, let alone

> 7,people ask how you can justify the protests in sweden,quebec, london etc,
> i believe i can but please help on this one.
Why should it be necessary to justify them?

> 8, Marx talks about degradation,exploitation,alienation and subordination, i
> understand the meanings of the words but please explain how each happens
> within a capitalist society.
Exploitation refers to the appropriation of surplus value (the difference
between the price of labour power and the value it can produce in the
period it is employed for) by the owners of property. The causes of
alienation under capitalism are rather more complex in Marxism but
essentially it refers to the particular conditions of productions under
capitalism whereby the worker's relation to his activity is that of
selling it to someone else so it appears as a alien and oppressive power
over him. A great deal more could be said here (several books worth in
fact) but I hope that gives the general idea. I don't think the other
two terms have any special meaning for Marx.

> 9, the left is incredibly fragmented with the BCP,SA,SLP etc surely they
> need to forget tiny differences and join forces particularly the SA and SLP
> if there is to be any hope for the future.
I agree with you that a vanguard party is necessary and it will surely be
formed starting with the unity of the revolutionary left. But such a party
need not be formed on the basis of forgetting differences (which will
quite legitimately arise given the difficulty of the tasks facing
revolutionaries) but on agreeing to work together despite them and
simultaneously having as open and full a discussion as possible to
resolve differences.

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