Reply to Mike Ballard II

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at
Fri Dec 13 05:22:34 MST 2002

Mike wrote:

But commodity production wouldn't exist, nor would
wage-labour, classes or the State.  A free association
of producers would socially own and control the
product of their collective labour and plan it's
distribution on the basis of use and need, thus ending

That is the general aim, but the real question is how you get there. This
requires a theory and strategy of socialist transition, and without it we
are just engaging in utopianism in the bad sense. Since the majority of
Marxists are unwilling to tackle the problem of socialist transition, they
are utopians in the bad sense. Good critics of capitalism perhaps, loyal
oppositionists, but that is where it stops. Which is why left social
democrats appear more credible, as I said.

Mike wrote:

If the government is not under the direct control of
the producers, the social product of their labour will
appear to them as things (commodities) which they, as
employees of the State, buy with their wages.  Thus,
the social relation of capital is reproduced.  In the
eye of the wage-labourer, the things out there for
sale are seen "camera-obscura", as if something other
than they themselves produced the wealth around them.

Whether the social product appears as commodities, has nothing to do with
whether the government is under direct control of the producers or not. It
has to do with whether production is market production or not, and on
property relations. As long as capital employs wage-labour, wage-labour
reproduces the capital relation (cf. Marx's discussion of simple
reproduction in Cap. Vol 1). In any capitalist economy, some workers are
employees of the state, others are employees of private enterprise, and yet
others are self-employed or unemployed.


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