Did Stalinism end in the 1950s? (corrected for typos, very sorry for double posting)

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at yahoo.com.au
Sun Dec 8 20:12:40 MST 2002

--- Mark Jones <markjones011 at tiscali.co.uk> wrote:
sections deleted for brevity....
> As Mark Harrison and other scholars have shown in
> detailed and monumental
> studies, the Soviet attempt to put 'social
> priorities' above market
> efficiency, doomed the Soviet experiment to economic
> failure from the start.

The Soviet experiement (which was aped by many an M-L
regieme) was an attempt to successfully plan commodity
production.  As can be seen today, commodity
production can only advance towards a capitalist

> Voluntarism, spontaneism, defying the working of the
> Law of Value... it was
> Trotsky himself who criticised the spontaneism of
> Stalin's 5-Year Plans,
> arguing that the USSR could not avoid 'the
> background chatter of Value
> around its borders' and that Stalin's attempt to
> defy the economic laws of
> gravity could only be accomplished by bureaucratic
> coercion, the enforced
> conscription of labour, a ubiquitous secret police,
> and a system of labour
> camps or gulags.

These economic laws of gravity were explained in
Marx's CAPITAL.  The critique of commodity production
in CAPITAL was not an edorsement of commodity
production for a socialist society.

> Stalin's forced industrialisation did succeed, in
> its own terms. But what it
> created was an autonomous enclave of economic
> anti-gravity which only
> managed to stay out of the capitalist world market
> at bayonet-point, until
> the workings of the law of value buried the whole
> scheme in 1991.

Actually, full-blown capitalist social relations broke
through that rotten egg.  There was no transition to
socialism under Stalinism.  There was a transition to
large scale capitalism.

> I would argue that it is David Walters those like
> him who are the true
> authoritarians, not the harmless realists like me.
> For it is not me but
> these techno-optimists, you panglossians, who
> produce smooth-sounding but
> suspiciously-vague formulae about how good things
> will be 'under socialism'
> while missing out the central issue of how you get
> things done, how, that
> is, you coerce people to do stuff when there is no
> Law of Value, no free
> labour market, capital market etc, to allocate
> factors of production. When,
> in fact, you are planning to override the Law of
> Value and put it into
> reverse. The Law of Value is a curse which oppresses
> capitalists with its
> draconic logic as well as oppressing workers, but it
> works and people buy
> into it because they get more goods on the shelves
> and more personal freedom
> than from any other system.

Ah the road to serfdom vs. the blessings of

David Walters is
> claiming (I would say this
> claim is pure pretence) that 'under socialism'
> factors of production would
> be allocated better and goods, including energy,
> would be more freely
> available. There is no evidence whatever to support
> this claim, either
> historically or theoretically, and a great deal of
> theoretical and empirical
> evidence to show the opposite.

There's plenty of evidence to show that your
free-market for commodities has produced the mess that
we're in now.  BTW, I'm not excusing the
planned-market for commodities by saying this.  The
problem IS exchange-value which smothers use-value in
good and services.  Commodity production itself is the
problem, a problem which comes to fruition with
capitalism.  WE taste this bitter fruit today.

> Planning, as we know, is essential to capitalist
> societies which in fact
> have generally been better at it than socialist
> states,
> historically-speaking. But under capitalism,
> planning works because it is
> subordinated, institutionally and functionally, to
> the market, that is, to
> the iron working of the Law of Value. When you
> abolish the Law of Value but
> continue to try to operate a capitalist-style social
> division of labour with
> an industrial mode of production, you introduce not
> higher planning but mere
> arbitrariness and finally, bureaucratic sclerosis in
> a police state, but
> under the sign of a Party-teleology.

Thank-you Margaret Thatcher.  ;D

It's not industrial production which is the problem.
It it the continuation of commodity production for
sale and its companions: wage-slavery, profit, classes
and the State--these are the current realities which
need to be changed--sublated.  We understand them.
The point is to change them.  Marx criticized all this
in CAPITAL.  A negative reading of CAPITAL gives one a
clue as to what Marx might have proposed as an
"Aufhebung" of this social relation.

"Instead of a division of labour, such as is
necessarily created with the exchange of values, there
would take place an organization of labour whose
consequence would be the participation of the
individual in communal consumption.  In the first case
the social character of production is *posited* only
*post festum* with the elevation of products to
exhcange-values and the exchange of these
exchange-values.  In the sceond case *the social
character of production* is presuposed, and
participation in the world of production, in
consumption,is not mediated by the exchagne of
mutually independent labours or products of labour.
It is mediated, rather, by the social conditions of
production within whch the individual is active."
page 172 GRUNDRISSE by Karl Marx. Vintage, 1973.

But then, I guess analyses and proposals like this
appear to be  panglossian rhetoric to hard headed

Mike B)

"Man first begins to philosophize when the necessitites of life are supplied."  Aristotle

"determinatio est negatio"  Spinoza

"There are no ordinary cats."  Colette


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