[Marxism] Re: Marxism Digest, Vol 38, Issue 51

john rosso ijrosso at shaw.ca
Sat Dec 23 17:35:51 MST 2006

Does Socialism have a future?

Would someone please tell me why "democratic socialism" of a mixed economy 
in which governments own and operate the vital needs of society for the 
public good  while allowing the private sector to flourish but with 
regulations and enforcement to ensure this sector operates within the public 
good, is never, or almost never considered?

The closest type of such a system was advocated  by the CCF's  Regina 
Manifesto of 1933 in Canada.  Unfortunated it advocated  the eventual 
elimination of private enterprise or capitalism which seems to kill 
initiatives and progress (this clause was later removed in later 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2006 11:00 AM
Subject: Marxism Digest, Vol 38, Issue 51

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> Today's Topics:
>   1. What's new at Marxist Interventions & elsewhere (Tom O'Lincoln)
>   2. Palestine on the brink of civil war? (Dbachmozart at aol.com)
>   3. Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national question
>      (was: Talkin about a union and the Swift raids) (Joaquin Bustelo)
>   4. Does socialism have a future? (Louis Proyect)
>   5. Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national question
>      (dwalters at marxists.org)
>   6. Re: Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national
>      question (Louis Proyect)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 13:10:33 +1100
> From: "Tom O'Lincoln" <suarsos at alphalink.com.au>
> Subject: [Marxism] What's new at Marxist Interventions & elsewhere
> To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <001001c72637$8758f7c0$0201010a at gx270>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";
> reply-type=original
> At the Australian site Marxist Interventions we have two new articles, one
> on Aborigines and
> trade unions and the other on the rise of capital in colonial Australia. 
> The
> site now also includes the complete book "Years of Rage: Social Conflicts 
> in
> the Fraser Era". For all of this, look under "What's New" at top left.
> http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/interventions/
> Liz Ross has dramatically increased the scope of her Australian Gay Left
> site. Have a look:
> http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/gayleft/
> Or if you want some light reading, there are 20 new brief articles on Red
> Sites. Click on "Vignettes" when you get there.
> http://redsites.alphalink.com.au/
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 10:24:23 EST
> From: Dbachmozart at aol.com
> Subject: [Marxism] Palestine on the brink of civil war?
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: <c4f.bb78749.32bea427 at aol.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
> _http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6243.shtml_
> (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6243.shtml)
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 10:28:07 -0500
> From: "Joaquin Bustelo" <jbustelo at bellsouth.net>
> Subject: [Marxism] Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national
> question (was: Talkin about a union and the Swift raids)
> To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'"
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <004701c726a6$f2ca4f80$0800a8c0 at albanda>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Charles Brown says in relation to my comments on the 1913 Bolshevik 
> pamphlet
> on Marxism and the National Question, "CB: Indeed, lets get that 
> compulsory
> 'anti-Stalinist' declaration  out of the way so we can have some serious
> discussion."
> As I hope my description would have made clear, at least to people
> conversant with the history, the positions expressed in the 1913 pamphlet 
> on
> Marxism and the National Question didn't have anything to do with
> "Stalinism," whether you're for it, against it, or indifferent. It was a
> summary of the commonly-held views in the left wing of social democracy at
> that time, and, in particular, of Lenin's views.
> "Stalinism" --which arose in the 1920's-- undoubtedly had a great deal to 
> do
> with it being looked up to by some currents, but on the other hand, that
> should have doomed it with others, and it did not. In fact, the pamphlet 
> was
> recommended and studied in the Trotskyist SWP as it was in Maoist groups 
> and
> pro-Moscow groups.
> Others may want to propose their own explanations for why this would have
> been the case, but I think the reasons for the pamphlet's continuing
> acceptance is its relentless class reductionism, its trenchant hostility 
> to
> "all nationalism" but in reality the nationalism of the oppressed, since 
> it
> is blind to the nationalism of the oppressor, and its reassuring line that
> simply by fighting prejudice and discrimination and adding a pro-forma
> "defend the right to self-determination" line to the party program, the
> national question can be rendered harmless. Thus it corresponds to the
> outlook of oppressor nationality workers who are radical minded but
> nevertheless mostly blind to their own nationalism -- not flag waving 
> cheap
> patriotism but the subtler kind that finds its expression in unspoken and
> even unconscious assumptions of superiority and a blindness to that social
> reality.
> I have written here before at some length why the pamphlet is all wrong; 
> I'm
> not going to repeat it now.
> The influence of this pamphlet among pretty much all Marxist currents in
> turn helped to fuel long-running debates about whether Blacks were a 
> nation
> and similar topics. I called these debates "silly"; Charles Brown 
> disagrees,
> saying "There's been a lot of serious debate on the Left on the subject as
> well. It's a touchstone issue for the topic you are agitating on." But
> Stalin's "materialist" criteria of what is or is not a nation leaves out 
> the
> two most important factors in nation-formation in the modern epoch, number
> 1, imperialist national oppression and number two, the reaction against it
> by the oppressed by coming together as a people.
> The failure of this theory of the national question is shown by how
> completely the Bolsheviks, including Lenin, and other revolutionary minded
> social democrats were blind-sided by the collapse of the Second
> International in August 1914, so much so that Lenin initially suspected 
> that
> the newspaper reports of the German social democracy's capitulation to the
> war hysteria were police fabrications.
> In a sense Charles is right that these debates were taken up with the 
> utmost
> seriousness but it is simply not very useful on the kinds of terms it was
> carried out.
> Joaquín
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 11:23:55 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Does socialism have a future?
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: < at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
> When Fidel Castro was stricken with what appears to be a terminal
> illness, it prompted many commentators to muse about the imminent
> collapse of Cuban socialism. This is a theme that finds new ways of
> expression based on periodic upheavals both within and outside Cuba.
> After the Soviet Union evaporated in the early 1990s, pundits wrote
> countless words about how Cuba would be next. But socialism finds
> ways to keep rolling along on the island, just like the American
> jalopies that the inventive Cubans find ways to keep on the road with
> chewing gum and baling wire. In every respect, socialism has the
> appearance of being out of sync with a world that is either openly
> capitalist or that like China wraps private property relations in a
> thin tissue of socialist rhetoric.
> full: 
> http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2006/12/23/does-socialism-have-a-future/
> ------------------------------
> Message: 5
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 13:01:57 -0500
> From: dwalters at marxists.org
> Subject: [Marxism] Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national
> question
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: <1166896917.458d6f15338ae at www.marxists.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Joaquin's position is somewhat true...somewhat...he leaves out and 
> misrepresents
> something, perhaps by mistake. The position outlined in 1913 was NOT 
> widely
> held. This is false. Most people were closer to Luxemberg (who's position 
> was
> myopically focused on Poland and the problems of Polish and Ukrainian
> nationalism--counterpoised as they were in practice, Ukraine wanting it's
>historic western section around Lvov and Poland wanting a warm water port 
> the Black sea) and Kautsky's view. To my knowledge the 1913 pamphlet was 
> the
> most advanced, up to that time, social-democratic position that gave ANY
> credence to the idea of self-determination.
> Joaquin is correct that it didn't deal with imperialism. He is correct, 
> that's
> because "imperialism" as we've grow to learn and fear in it's current
> manifestation, was little known to the totally Euro-American social 
> democracy.
> Social-demcoracy didn't talk about the Filipino armed rebellion or Marti 
> in
> Cuba because they didn't know about it or were totally focused on their 
> own
> class inside their own national boundaries. Colonialism was opposed, but 
> only
> the most abstract ways, and from the point of view of causing 
> inter-capitalist
> wars not necessarily from the point of view of self-determination. That
> pamphlet, as mechanical as it is, helped open the way for what we know 
> today as
> "anti-imperialism".
> But what Joaquin ignores is the post-1919 discussions in the Comintern, 
> most
> notably it's 2nd Congress, whose discussions wouldn't of taken place in 
> the
> same way WITHOUT that 1913 pamphlet, which helped define the Bolshevik's 
> own
> internal positions vis-a-vis oppressed nationalities and was developed 
> further
> at that 2nd Congress. It is totally insufficient to talk about this 1913
> position without integrating it in a historical context and what flowed
> directly from it 7 and  8 years later...
> David
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 6
> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 13:31:19 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the
> national question
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: < at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"; format=flowed
> David W. wrote:
>>Joaquin is correct that it didn't deal with imperialism. He is correct, 
>>because "imperialism" as we've grow to learn and fear in it's current
>>manifestation, was little known to the totally Euro-American social 
> Actually, it was well known except that there
> were differences how to regard it. Eduard
> Bernstein favored colonialism and imperialism
> because it brought "civilization" to peoples
> still living under precapitalist social
> relations. He was challenged by both Rosa
> Luxemburg and Belfort Bax thoughout the 1880s and 90's.
> E. Belfort Bax
> Imperialism v. Socialism
> (February 1885)
> We seem at, the present time to have arrived at
> the acute stage of the colonial fever which
> during the last three or four years has afflicted
> the various powers of Europe. Germany is vying
> with France, England with both, in the haste to
> seize upon "unoccupied" countries, and to
> establish "protectorates" - the cant diplomatic
> for incomplete annexation - over uncivilised
> peoples. "The rivalry among the nations for their
> share of the world market" (to quote the words of
> our manifesto) must now, one would think, have
> discovered itself to even the casual newspaper
> reader as the only meaning the terms "diplomacy"
> and "foreign policy" any longer possess. The
> jealousy between the courts of Europe, once the
> sole and until recently the main cause of
> national enmity and war, has in our day been
> superseded by the jealousy between the great
> capitalists of its various nationalities. The
> flunkey-patriot, zealous of his country's honour,
> dances as readily to-day to the pipe of
> capitalist greed as he did before to that of
> royal intrigue, let it but sound the note of
> race-hatred. In both cases he makes the running
> for the interested parties. But where the
> interested party is the wealthiest and most
> powerful class, able to pay for "patriotic"
> articles by the yard, and "patriotic" speeches by
> the hour, "patriotism" is apt to assume the form
> of a chronic disease. Such it is, to-day, and, as
> such mocks the futile efforts of the well-meaning
> but singularly ingenuous clique of middle-class
> philanthropists, who are naive enough to take the
> governmental ring at its word when it pretends
> its only object in undertaking "expeditions" to
> be the rescue of "Christian heroes" or the relief
> of garrisons which have no right to be in a
> position to want relieving. War, jingoism -
> otherwise patriotism - are indeed past cure while
> the economic basis of society remains
> unchallenged, but only so far; and hence we call
> on all sincere friends of peace to leave their
> tinkering "peace societies" and work for
> Socialism, remembering that all commercial wars -
> and what modern wars are not directly or
> indirectly commercial? - are the necessary
> outcome of the dominant civilisation. We conjure
> them to reflect that such wars must necessarily
> increase in proportion to the concentration of
> capital in private hands - i.e., in proportion as
> the commercial activity of the world is
> intensified, and the need for markets becomes
> more pressing. Markets, markets, markets! Who
> shall deny that this is the drone-bass ever
> welling up from beneath the shrill howling of
> "pioneers of civilisation", "avengers of national
> honour," "purveyors of gospel light," "restorers
> of order;" in short, beneath the hundred and one
> cuckoo cries with which the "market classes" seek
> to smother it or to vary its monotony? It seems
> well-nigh impossible there can be men so blind as
> not to see through these sickening hypocrisies of
> the governing classes, so thin as they are.
> full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/bax/1885/02/imperialism.htm
> ------------------------------
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