[Marxism] David Schweickart versus Michael Albert

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 2 11:40:40 MST 2006

Over the past week or so I have been watching "La Commune", a 357 minute 
masterpiece of a movie by Peter Watkins about the Paris Commune. Rich in 
Brechtian efffects, it is both historically accurate while emphasizing the 
connections to today's struggles. Stepping out of character, the actors 
comment on media monopoly, etc. I plan to write a detailed review of this 
film, but am prompted to say a word or two about various contributions 
lately to the ongoing debate about how to build socialism or a more just 
society. In my view, Marx had little to say about how future societies 
should be constructed and instead looked at the Paris Commune as a concrete 
example of workers taking power.

David Schweickart is a well-known "market socialist", an economic approach 
generally identified with the moribund Analytical Marxism school. It has 
also been supported by left economists without any particular theory, such 
as the late Alec Nove. I know that Schweickart has an obvious interest in 
the AM school as indicated by his enthusiasm for Roemer's collection of AM 
essays but really have no idea whether he has both feet in that camp.

My most recent encounter with his work was prompted by the discovery that 
he was among the group identified by Paul Burkett and Marty Hart-Landsberg 
in their book-length MR article on China who still believed that the 
country was socialist. As is almost universally understood, a rapacious 
capitalism is being built in China under the rubric of "market socialism". 
Only a year ago, Schweickart was swooning over China's accomplishments: "I 
think it illuminating to view China as a grand attempt at constructing a 
viable, equitable society beyond capitalism."




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