[Marxism] Re: State capitalism -- addition

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sat Dec 18 16:46:30 MST 2004

>>Any unrest in the Eastern Bloc was due to factors such as desire for
Western  style freedoms, or perceived freedoms.<<

Well it's true that most people in Eastern Europe wanted the right to
strike, the right to express their views without ending up in jail, and
right to news media that weren't a total insult to the intelligence. My
East Berlin friend's father used to say, "what's the news, Tom, I
haven't had a chance to watch TV" - meaning West Berlin TV of course.
People only read East German newspapers for the weather and sport.
Wasn't "Actually Existing Socialism" just the most fabulous thing?

But there was plenty of economic unrest. To name just one (very
important) case the unrest that gave rise to Solidarity in Poland began
after increases in the price of food.

>>You first begin by stating that attacks on the welfare state in
Australia began before collapse of Soviet Union, then go on to say that
the social wage  remains huge, that it's merely been privatised. So,
from your statement, the form not the substance has changed.<

MERELY privatised? I had to laugh at this one. Apart from the continual
tightening of eligibility requirements to get benefits, privatisation
has created a whole new culture where paying you benefits and finding
you a job is a "business". Despite these very serious ATTACKS, the total
payments remain huge because the bourgeoisie needs to contain potential
unrest AND provide workers where the bosses need them AND keep the less
skilled and worse-positioned sections of the working class from
degenerating and therefore declining in value to the bourgeoisie. Is
this really controversial?

>>The reproduction of labour power which Marx formulated  was based on
wages, not on benefits handed down to workers by the state.<<

Marx didn't anticipate the internet either, but so what. OK, he would
have more readily recognised the American style situation where workers
negotiate health benefits as part of their contract with the employer.
But the underlying logic is the same.

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