“socialism in one country”

September 2021 Forums General discussion “socialism in one country”

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 49 total)
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  • #89971
    Ed
    Participant

    That’s a good point about California ALB. It is the 5th largest economy in the world or something if it were independent,. If we were to look at perhaps not class consciousness but revolutionary consciousness or for examples of class struggle then California would certainly be the capital of discontent in the US. With groups like the Black Panthers, Weather underground and the setting up of communes in the 60’s and 70’s and presently they had by far the most advanced Occupy movement based in Oakland. While we can’t call this class consciousness workers there do seem to look for alternatives to capitalism. However, that’s where the need for an actual socialist party comes in to be able to supply those workers with the right tools to actually fulfill their potential.

    #89972
    Ed
    Participant

    On largest party aren’t the Left communists in France bigger than us? I think it would be a little petty and dare I say sectarian not to recognize them as socialists. Even though they do have some messed up ideas.Although technically they’re an organization rather than a party.

    #89973
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Ed wrote:
    On largest party aren’t the Left communists in France bigger than us? I think it would be a little petty and dare I say sectarian not to recognize them as socialists. Even though they do have some messed up ideas.Although technically they’re an organization rather than a party.

    I doubt that there are more “Left communists”, ie people like the ICC, CWO, Bordigists, etc who have the same definition of socialism/communism as us, in France than there are members and sympathisers of us here in Britain. And of course they are socialists, even if they do have some “messed up ideas” about the Russian revolution, trade unionism and how to get there. Still, it’s another example of capitalism throwing up the idea of a classless, stateless, moneyless, wageless world as the way out of the problems it causes.

    #89974
    robbo203
    Participant

    This discussion of which socialist organisation is currently the biggest and where a socialist party is first likely to democratically capture political power is all very interesting and all very well but rather besides the point of this thread , isn’t it? The point is what happens after some socialist party somewhere in the world first captures  power? Does it establish the first socialist island in a sea of capitalism?  Or does it install a proletarian dictatorship and continue operating capitalism until all the other socialist parties elsewhere have caught up? If the later, how can we avoid the clear risk of “substitutionism” and betrayal by a  “socialist government”? If the former, how would this initial socialist region  (ISR) relate in material sense to the  surrounding residual capitalist states (RCSs)? Will it conduct its relations with the latter in the form of barter deals or will it opt for greater autarky as Alan has suggested or will it be both?  And what about the question of porous borders  and the free flow of individuals across them? Will this be permitted or denied and if so what would be the implications in each case? These are hugely important theoretical questions which, as far as I know, the SPGB has not yet come up with an answer to.  It needs to do that  if it is to make its whole electoralist strategy more credible in the eyes of skeptics.  The logical starting point  is to address the question of whether socialism can be established immediately in one part of the world when the rest of the world is still nominally capitalist, albeit increasingly influenced by significant socialist minorities.

    #89976
    ALB
    Keymaster
    robbo203 wrote:
    These are hugely important theoretical questions which, as far as I know, the SPGB has not yet come up with an answer to.

    I propose that this hugely important theoretical question be referred to the Crystal Ball Dept for report nearer the time of the socialist revolution. Is there a seconder?

    #89975
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    These are hugely important theoretical questions which, as far as I know, the SPGB has not yet come up with an answer to.

    I propose that this hugely important theoretical question be referred to the Crystal Ball Dept for report nearer the time of the socialist revolution. Is there a seconder?

     The God botherers and their sympathisers could always pray for guidance, I suppose  

    #89977
    robbo203
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    These are hugely important theoretical questions which, as far as I know, the SPGB has not yet come up with an answer to.

    I propose that this hugely important theoretical question be referred to the Crystal Ball Dept for report nearer the time of the socialist revolution. Is there a seconder?

    This cynical and snidey remark is unworthy of you,  ALB.  Speaking of crystal balls,  there was a time when the SPGB had the balls to face up to the big questions. Perhaps those balls have lost some their lustre now or have simply dropped off and are merrily rolling down Clapham High St as we speak.   I remember when the Production for Use Committee was first set up and I remember also the reasons  advanced for setting up that  Committee – that we needed to put more meat on the bare bones of the socialist alternative and to demonstrate , amongst other things how in a  practical manner it could address the big problems of today like world hunger.   The point was to show the vital relevance of socialism in the here and now not some indefinite remote future. Pieter Lawrence, as I recall, made the rather memorable point along the lines that if you are not prepared to discuss the future then you surrender it to our opponents, or words to that effect. Well,  it seems there are some in the Party – what I call its Conservative wing – are clearly not prepared to do this and clearly prefer to withdraw into the comfort zone of nostalgia and Party reminiscences, Nothing could be more ironic for a Party claiming to be “revolutionary ” that it should so terrified of the prospect of the slightest change within.  What ever became of Marx’s dictum to “question everything”  .  It seems to have been replaced by another –  “turn a blind eye to everything” The questions I asked in my post earlier where made in good faith and they’re far from trivial or something to be sneered at or patronised over.  They actually cut to the very heart of the SPGB’s whole electoral strategy for the democratic capture of political power  – which strategy, I  will say now,  I have always supported, even though i consider it grossly incomplete and one sided.  Outside the cosy little insular world inhabited by the likes of ALB and Gnome,  people – or at least politically active people – are talking about precisely these sort of issues . Go to sites like Revleft where I have been ploughing the SPGB furrow for some time  with no thanks from the backstabbers on this forum and you will see for yourself. These are important issues to discuss and if ALB cannot see their importance then I’m afraid he is a fool.  You can’t just brush such things under the carpet like this and if he doesn’t want to discuss it well then fine – i hope there are more rational comrades in the SPGB  who will

    #89979
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Lighten up, Robbo. Why is it always you who introduces an element of acrimony into these discussions?Incidentally, I’m not sure you can call the late Pieter Lawrence to your aid, at least not by what he wrote in 1988 about your ideas:http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WSM_Forum/message/19536?var=1

    #89978
    robbo203
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    Lighten up, Robbo. Why is it always you who introduces an element of acrimony into these discussions?Incidentally, I’m not sure you can call the late Pieter Lawrence to your aid, at least not by what he wrote in 1988 about your ideas:http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WSM_Forum/message/19536?var=1

     I’ll tell you what,  ALB – you stop with your irritating habit of interjecting snidey little comments into the conversation and I’ll stop being acrimonious.  OK? Can’t say fairer than that, huh?  Afterall its all cause (snidey comment) and effect (acrimonious put down), innit?  I’ve got no free will in the matter.  As for that other little irritating habit of yours of dredging up stuff from years ago, I will only say this with regards to Pieter’s response  – that he was way off beam in his arguments and in fact his arguments were subsequently soundly demolished.  Nevertheless,   that doesn’t mean that just because someone has been my opponent in a political debate that anything he or she must says must be deemed wrong or unsound. I can recognise a valid point when I encounter it – even in your case if I might say so

    #89980
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I was in fact trying to make a serious point in a light-hearted way (even though we were warned in speakers’ class not to employ irony as it is likely to be misunderstood). There is something a bit ridiculous in the few thousand of us in this country who are socialists trying to lay down a detailed policy as to how the future mass socialist movement should react in a hypothetical situation which may or may not arise. We can speculate of course but at this stage it can be no more than that, so to claim that not having an answer to some hypothetical situation is a serious theoretical inadequacy that reflects on the creditibility of our whole case is to go right over the top. Our “answer” can only be to say that it is up to the future mass socialist movement to decide what to do in the light of the actual situation and in accordance with its democratic procedures. All we can do is stick to generalities and insist that whatever is decided should be decided democratically.

    #89981
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    robbo203 wrote:
    I’ve got no free will in the matter. 

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/socialism-one-country?page=2#comment-3006

    robbo203 wrote:
    The notion that we have no free will whatsoever is just as ridiculous as the notion that we have absolute free will, in my view. 

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/materialism-determinism-free-will?page=9#comment-2861Try some self-control; even I’ve been known to exercise a little occasionally…   

    #89982
    robbo203
    Participant
    gnome wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    I’ve got no free will in the matter. 

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/socialism-one-country?page=2#comment-3006

    robbo203 wrote:
    The notion that we have no free will whatsoever is just as ridiculous as the notion that we have absolute free will, in my view. 

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/materialism-determinism-free-will?page=9#comment-2861

     Some people just don’t have a sense of humour. I was trying to take the P+++ or didn’t you get that?

    #89983
    robbo203
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    I was in fact trying to make a serious point in a light-hearted way (even though we were warned in speakers’ class not to employ irony as it is likely to be misunderstood). There is something a bit ridiculous in the few thousand of us in this country who are socialists trying to lay down a detailed policy as to how the future mass socialist movement should react in a hypothetical situation which may or may not arise. We can speculate of course but at this stage it can be no more than that, so to claim that not having an answer to some hypothetical situation is a serious theoretical inadequacy that reflects on the creditibility of our whole case is to go right over the top. Our “answer” can only be to say that it is up to the future mass socialist movement to decide what to do in the light of the actual situation and in accordance with its democratic procedures. All we can do is stick to generalities and insist that whatever is decided should be decided democratically.

     First point  – this is not  some “detailed”  policy I was talking about if you even bothered to read what I wrote.   What is was dealing with precisely the kind of  general point or principle you say we should stick with – namely, what happens when a socialist majorly captures political power somewhere? Does it introduce socialism then and there or does it wait for socialist  parties elsewhere to capture power and install some kind of “dictatorship of the proletariat” in the meanwhile and continue operating capitalismJesus Christ, I would have thought that you of all people would have realised this is hardly some trivial nitpicking point  to be sniggered at .  If the SPGB wants to be taken a little more seriously then it could do without the kind of attitude you have displayed, frankly.  There are very significant implications that flow from either of the above options which need to be faced up to Secondly – yes, the situation is “hypothetical” in the sense that we might not ever arrive at it .  Socialism, after all, is not inevitable,  But that does not mean  the questions I raised can be ignored. It actually cuts the very heart of the SPGB case.  I could just as easily retort the Party’s insistence that political power needs to be democratically captured is an equally “hypothetical” matter which we should not really make a fuss about now but wait till the socialist consists of tens of millions of people rather than a few thousand  to decide.  But does the party think that the need to democratically captured political is something best left to when socialism is more or less on cards?  No it does not .  To the contrary  I believe that one of the questions on the current membership application  form is “Why do socialists maintain that democratic methods such as parliamentary elections, must be used to capture political power for the achievement of socialism? Why is my question dismissed is being concerned with only a a hypothetical situation best left till later on but this question on the membership is assumed to be of such vital importance even to the extent that ones membership depends on it And thirdly no I m not calling into question the credibility of the SPGB’s whole case.  There are large chunks of the case I have absolutely no problem with. It’s not the SPGB’s case that concerns me which barring the silly nonsense about religion and one or two other things is fine with me . Rather it is the credibility of some SPGBers who refuse to deal with a serious issue in a serious way even to the point of seeking to belittle and poke fun at  those who raise such issues in the first . ” Lighthearted hearted way ” my arse.   This doesn’t reflect well on the organisation to engage in such smart arse put downs and you shoould know this

    #89985
    steve colborn
    Participant

    For Socialists, who have to operate in the current environment, where the movement is small, to then set hard and fast strictures of what could, or could not pertain in the future, when the movement has grown to SIGNIFICANT proportions is, I must say, and would be percieved to be, merest navel gazing and an exercise in futility.As ALB has stated, it will be up to those socialist who inhabit this future to decide, in light of THEIR CIRCUMSTANCE, who must make any decisions. We cannot circumscribe their actions, nor should we.We can merely work now, to put these people in the situation where Socialism is and is perceived to be, a viable alternative.

    #89984
    robbo203
    Participant
    steve colborn wrote:
    For Socialists, who have to operate in the current environment, where the movement is small, to then set hard and fast strictures of what could, or could not pertain in the future, when the movement has grown to SIGNIFICANT proportions is, I must say, and would be perceived to be, merest navel gazing and an exercise in futility.As ALB has stated, it will be up to those socialist who inhabit this future to decide, in light of THEIR CIRCUMSTANCE, who must make any decisions. We cannot circumscribe their actions, nor should we.We can merely work now, to put these people in the situation where Socialism is and is perceived to be, a viable alternative.

     In which case it is illogical to insist now that that socialists must work to achieve socialism by capturing political power through parliamentary means which is in fact what you are required to uphold in order to be a member of the SPGB. …. You cant have it both ways. If you think it is not for us in our minuscule numbers today  to determine what could “pertain in the future ” then you cannot stipulate as the Party, let me remind you, does now that political power needs to be captured in the first place before you can have socialism.  According to your logic we are nowhere near the point where we might even be able to capture political power and hence we should not be  stating  definitively that such power needs to be captured.  I say this because there are some socialists who argue that the state should be simply bypassed or that state will wither as the socialist movement grows and capturing it will become  irrelevant by the time the movement consists of tens of millions of individuals. The implication of your argument is that anarchist communists should be welcomed into the SPGB and yet the SPGB  has recently produced a pamphlet claiming to show that the parliamentary approach is indispensable Quite apart from that, I object to the term “navel gazing” on principle. I thought the SPGB had overthrown this silly attitude that thinking about the future – whether it be about the nature of a socialist society or the means to achieving it –  is to be avoided. If you cannot, or are unwilling to,  produce some kind of intelligent and half-plausible response to probing questions that people might ask of you then you are inevitably going to be dismissed as mere daydreamers, not a serious political movement.  This applies even to those more “detailed” aspects ALB was on about not simply the far more important general principles I was concerned with –   like whether or not the socialist movement in one country should install a dictatorship of the proletariat and continue running capitalism there until socialist movement elsewhere had captured power as well.  Anyone who thinks this is not a fundamental strategic matter upon which a clear decision needs to be made has absolutely no idea of the basic logic of the socialist case.and what is important to it.   Its akin to saying we cannot know whether socialism will be based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production because thats way off into the future and who are we to determine what socialism will be Some things – it is quite true – we cannot determine will be be the case in a socialist society. But that does not invalidate the process of speculation . This is the point that is overlooked.  If you don’t strive to put meat on the bare bones of the socialist alternative, the very goal of a socialist society becomes less substantial , a vague abstraction  , a kind of religious dogma or a mere verbal formula to be recited like some catechism in a Roman Catholic pamphlet. .  Substitute “I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” with  “Only Common Ownership and Democratic Control of the Means of Production will solve the world’s problems” and you are still left with same kind of  basic mindset.  The kind of mindset that craves comfort and certainty in the reciting of formulaic dogmasThe point of speculation is not to say what will happen but what might happen. It is to excite the revolutionary imagination. If you cannot do that then there is no hope for socialism

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