[Marxism] What does state ownership have to do with socialism? | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 19 11:09:01 MDT 2014

The other day I received an inquiry by email:

	Hello, I am a young Marxist, and I have a question regarding 
production. In a Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, Engels stated:

	“The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist 
machine, the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the 
total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of the 
productive forces, the more does it actually become the national 
capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage 
workers – proletarians. The capitalist relationship is not done away 
with. It is rather brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples 
over. State ownership of productive forces is not the solution of the 
conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form 
the elements of that solution.” –Engels.

	From what I take from this, State Ownership was only advocated to 
further develop productive forces to make way for socialism. But in the 
Manifesto, it called for Nationalization of productive forces. However, 
this is now redundant because production is already built up.

	So my question is this: if state ownership of industry is not 
socialist; what is? Would it be a decentralized planned economy run by 
the workers through worker councils? If so; how would this operate and 
how would planning go about? Without planning, we slip back into the 
chaotic production of capitalism; only this time it’s worker owned. 
Would the state own land and workers exercise workplace democracy on it?

	As for communism (which obviously has no state to direct planning), can 
you also describe the economic system it would operate on?

	I am very confused about this subject, and I’d like to understand it 

Since many other people might have the same kinds of questions, I am 
going to reply publicly.


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