Statisation: a possible flaw in world socialism

April 2024 Forums General discussion Statisation: a possible flaw in world socialism

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  • #131422
    oscar.newman
    Participant

    Hello. It's my first time to visit and post on this forum so please excuse my naivety.

    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    TBH, i can think of a great number of conflicts of interests that may arise inside a socialist society. I am sure the NIMBYism will persist to an extent even in socialism.

    @Alan: if you have a chance could you please illustrate a couple of these scenarios along with their resolution as you envisage it in a socialist society? This is something I have been wondering about myself.

    #131423
    moderator1
    Participant
    Ike Pettigrew wrote:
    ALB wrote:
    You've missed the point. The objection is not to you (or anyone else) criticising what we do stand for, but to you asking us to defend something you attribute to us but that we don't stand for (i.e.to defend something that doesn't exist). You can of course criticise that idea too but don't attribute it to us and don't expect us to defend it.

    I think you misunderstand me, but I'm not interested in discussing it anymore.I'm sick of internet discussions in which people like you with a sense of entitlement and imagined grievance go round in circles with:"But you're asking us to defend X, Y and Z", etc. and similar.I'm not asking you to defend anything.I wish you would grow up and either just add a constructive comment in the thread OR fuck off.

    3rd and final Warning: 7. You are free to express your views candidly and forcefully provided you remain civil. Do not use the forums to send abuse, threats, personal insults or attacks, or purposely inflammatory remarks (trolling). Do not respond to such messages.This user is informed that if he breaches the rules within the next 30 days he'll be immediately suspended.

    #131411
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Just for clarification, How many second warnings are issued before the third?

    #131419

    Time for my well worn distinction bteween democracy among enemies, and democracy among friends.Democracy among enemies: bit like a stage coash being held upo by bandits.  The guns on each side are counted, and the side with the fewest guns backs down in the face of inevitable defeat.Democracy among friends: you want to go to the cinema together.  A majority want to go see a rom com, but a minority really hate rom coms, anmd won't go if one is chosen.  Since you want to go tohether, you find the comprimise that works for everyone.Socialism will be about the latter, not the former.

    #131424
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Oscar, i think many issues that might arise are not going to be very different from the disagreements we encounter these days such as where do we route road and rail links, where do we place factories and retail outlets, all of which effect local residents in various ways, some etrimental.First of all, do we need to ditch all the procedures we have in place now, planning committees, consultation meetings and public inquiries? I think they will remain but perhaps get improved. How are they resolved. First those who are directly involved in the construction will be offering only technical options and not fishing for the contract profits. Because actual pounds and pence is not involved, other alternatives will be considered..a tunnel rather than a bridge, for instance…buildings made architectural aesthetic rather than an eye-sore. If locals still object and incentives rejected, if it isn't vital and necessary, then life goes on without it. If it is of the utmost importance then the problem is taken to the wider society…if village x remain steadfast opposed but the next village Y suffers as a consequence, then the people of the region, the villagers of a, b, c are asked to decide on it. In socialism however because we have added responsibilities of deciding production and distribution priorities, there, too, will be a variety of proposals to choose from. I don't envisage the need for everybody to be involved. But we do have presently various methods of decision making…I once again emphasise, socialism is not a society that begins totally anew – but rather inherits much of the good stuff of capitalism and rejects the bad stuff or adapts and adjusts it. We have consumer research, for example. We have blind product trials. We have cost-benefit analysis. We are not going to be caught up on the trap of spending all our time voting. We have today apps that use filters to ask the views of those directly involved in an issue. I have to rush now…i will try and return to the question. Hopefully, others know more from other experience and can offer added solutions to dilemmas that we might face when one section of the population differ from another on what to do.

    #131425
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant

    Thanks for the replies.Apologies for my infraction of the rules, but I can't help it.  It's a character flaw I have where I lash out and I'm too old to do anything about it now.  It's your forum and I am just here as a guest, I appreciate that.I'll leave this for now, but the replies from Alan Johnstone and YMS have been especially helpful and I will need to give this further thought.I think there is an admission here on the part of socialists that morally-privileged authority must exist even in socialism.  That's not a startling admission and this was never about me setting a trap for you or anything like that.  Nobody pretends that socialism is going to be a perfect society.  I appreciate your candour because it helps me in understanding things (or clarifying things in my own mind).  I hope it also helps others.If I do return, I hope we can continue this habit of constructive dialogue.  My position is not too far removed from yours, I hold no brief for capitalism, but I'm sorry to say that I will probably never be able to reconcile myself to socialism fully due to some very important principles that, I believe, have to be accommodated in any workable system.  For one thing, I am wary of 'systems' per se when it comes to how people should or ought to live, and I am sceptical about the workability (and moral decency) of any sort of 'global' system.  I agree that capitalism does not work for the great majority of people, but I wonder if that tells us not just something about capitalism itself, but also about global systems?  Of course, I understand that socialism would not necessarily be culturally homogeneous, but it would still be the same interlocking system the world over and, to my mind, a workable system has to take account fully of different human types and cultural differences.One perspective that has influenced me in this critical direction is Nozick's meta-utopian framework:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy,_State,_and_Utopiahttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Anarchy-State-Utopia-Robert-Nozick/dp/063119780X

    #131426
    robbo203
    Participant
    Ike Pettigrew wrote:
      Of course, I understand that socialism would not necessarily be culturally homogeneous, but it would still be the same interlocking system the world over and, to my mind, a workable system has to take account fully of different human types and cultural differences. 

     I dont see the reasoning behind this at all.  Why cannot socialism be culturally hetereogenous as well as an "interlocking system the world over"? The "system" is  basically defined by the economic relations that obtain between people with respect to the means of producing wealth.  I really cannot see any problem about the same kinds of economic relationships that typify socialism – common ownership, free access to goods and serices, volunteer labour etc etc – existing right across the world –  but at the same tme , there being a considerable degree of cultural diversity across the world.  Unless, that is,  one takes a reductionist-cum-mechanistic view of culture as a  mere "reflection" of the "economic base".  Thats surely not your position – is it, Ike?

    #131427
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
    I dont see the reasoning behind this at all.  Why cannot socialism be culturally hetereogenous as well as an "interlocking system the world over"? The "system" is  basically defined by the economic relations that obtain between people with respect to the means of producing wealth.  I really cannot see any problem about the same kinds of economic relationships that typify socialism – common ownership, free access to goods and serices, volunteer labour etc etc – existing right across the world –  but at the same tme , there being a considerable degree of cultural diversity across the world.  Unless, that is,  one takes a reductionist-cum-mechanistic view of culture as a  mere "reflection" of the "economic base".  Thats surely not your position – is it, Ike?

    I DO think that a common economic system would struggle with cultural heterogeneity.  No, I'm not a mechanist at all, but any global system – a pretty ambitious goal – is going to have some drastic creative tensions within it. In truth, you can't have a common system that is just 'social' or 'economic', it has to be total and embrace all aspects of life.  Not total in that everybody is brainwashed to the nth, but total in the sense that to be socialist becomes the basic principle of life.  I would like to think that in a socialist society, most people will not even use the term 'socialism' and will not even understand what socialism is, they will just be ordinary people living ordinary lives.  A comparison can be made with capitalism, which in its own way is totalitarian in the proper sense of the word in that most people are carrying out the practices of capitalism unthinkingly and unconsciously: that, indeed, is the very problem that leads to the existence of the SPGB and this forum.Socialism, too, will be totalitarian: i.e. it will have its own totality of values, systems and credos that people unconsciously live by.  However, within this 'total culture', some groups will develop their own practices and habits.  I don't believe you can treat economic life and culture as completely separate things.  They work in tandem and influence each other.  If disparate cultures develop in socialism, you may find that slowly some groups/communities start to evolve in a different socio-economic direction and become socialistic and pseudo-propertarian rather than socialist, or they may come under other influences, perhaps from their own heritage/ethnic past, or whatever. Maybe these departures could be tolerated.  We like to imagine socialism as a global behemoth, albeit a democratic one, when in reality – as people on here are reminding us – much of what goes on, even as mass producers, would be fairly anarchistic in character, and so there may not be any motive force to require conformity with the 'total system'.  Also, people just might not care what is happening on the other side of the world.  Or would they?  If islands of dissent grow, what happens?  How does socialism assert its authority, based on democratic legitimacy, if a sizeable number of people democratically (on their own terms) decide they want to go their own way?I personally could not agree with a global common system of ownership unless it also respected and maintained national/cultural boundaries, and maybe even tribal boundaries, and unless such a system also permitted variations and separate development: what I regard as proper democracy, because it embodies minority protection, a necessary precondition for virtuous government. Of course, what I think about it doesn't matter.  But that is what I think.  I believe that for a system to work, it has to balance different aspects of human nature (or commonly-understood behaviour, if you prefer).  You will balk at this, but hang on: what makes you certain you know what's best?  If we're going to build a system that works for everybody, then let it take account of everybody (at least, everybody in archetype).

    #131428
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    You talk the talk, Ike, but do you walk the walk?I do recall your earlier stated position where your support for heterogeneous culture was predicated on what you termed racialism. (Robbo and others, latecomers to the forum, may not be aware of those earlier posts)Some may well have mistaken this as separateness – apartheid, in other words. It is repeated in your last post.

    Quote:
    I personally could not agree with a global common system of ownership unless it also respected and maintained national/cultural boundaries, and maybe even tribal boundaries, and unless such a system also permitted variations and separate development

    I once long ago accused you of holding opinions akin to "national-anarchism"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National-anarchismWhile i respect your willingness to enter into debate and engage in discussion, when i read between the lines, i really do not find any reason to change my previous judgment of the basis of your world-view, even if you do deny any formal connection with "national-anarchism".If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it's a fair bet, it is a duck.Also related is national-bolshevism although i  think it is not relevant in your own case, being you appear to be an anti-statist, but in my cyber travels, i have come across those people, toohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevism

    #131429
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    You talk the talk, Ike, but do you walk the walk?I do recall your earlier stated position where your support for heterogeneous culture was predicated on what you termed racialism. (Robbo and others, latecomers to the forum, may not be aware of those earlier posts)Some may well have mistaken this as separateness – apartheid, in other words. It is repeated in your last post.

    Quote:
    I personally could not agree with a global common system of ownership unless it also respected and maintained national/cultural boundaries, and maybe even tribal boundaries, and unless such a system also permitted variations and separate development

    I once long ago accused you of holding opinions akin to "national-anarchism"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National-anarchismWhile i respect your willingness to enter into debate and engage in discussion, when i read between the lines, i really do not find any reason to change my previous judgment of the basis of your world-view, even if you do deny any formal connection with "national-anarchism".If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it's a fair bet, it is a duck.Also related is national-bolshevism although i  think it is not relevant in your own case, being you appear to be an anti-statist, but in my cyber travels, i have come across those people, toohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevism

    The world at the present time is moving backward like a crab, there is a new tendency to reject the so-called cultural diversity in the name of defending the so-called homeland, in reality, it just a movement wrapped with bourgeoisie nationalism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism, it is like moving to the old days of the Papal bull known as the Doctrine of discovery  Peoples from others cultures, or others countries are being seen as a piece of trash, like a piece of shit, and their culture has no value and they have not contributed to anything in this society. Workers are falling into the traps of their own rulers and exploiters to carry over their geopolitical aims. It is sad to see peoples that were members of the Socialist Party moving backward ideologically. It reminds me of something that Raya Dunayeskaya said many years ago that we were going to have in the world a very profound ideological retrogression.In a real socialist society, peoples from other places around the world would be treated with the same respect for any others humans beings and their particular cultural value will be respected too, the concept of race or races would be thrown in the trash can, we are going to clean our butts with the flags and the national hymns, and the national bordersThe whole world is in flame and in this forum we are discussing superfluous ideas instead of addressing the real issues that are affecting mankind, we can not pay too much attention to drop out and pessimists, 

    #131430
    robbo203
    Participant

    IkeSo let me try to sum up what I think you are saying here.  You seem to be saying that any kind of global economic system would need to be “totalitarian” in the sense of a generating a kind of all embracing “total culture” and a common set of values in order to function effectively (a kind of structural-functionalist viewpoint if I read you correctly).  This is the glue that would hold a socialist society together.  Cultural heterogeneity would weaken that glue in your view and that is precisely why you say a “common economic system would struggle with cultural heterogeneity”.  The latter would be dysfunctional for the system and quite possibly cause it to break up As you explain, within this 'total culture', "some groups will develop their own practices and habits.”  According to you “If disparate cultures develop in socialism, you may find that slowly some groups/communities start to evolve in a different socio-economic direction and become socialistic and pseudo-propertarian rather than socialist, or they may come under other influences, perhaps from their own heritage/ethnic past, or whatever”.  In an earlier post you claimed that a “process of statisation” could be “inexorable within world socialism”.  Presumably what you had in mind here is the attempt by a socialist society to assert its authority over its citizenry and to strengthen the centripetal forces at work in such society in order to overcome the centrifugal forces of cultural differentiation you describe above which plainly in your view threaten such a society and possibly represent the “seeds of the system's eventual destruction and replacement with something else”.  Let me begin first of all by saying your use of the term “statisation  is wholly inapt in this context.  A state is an instrument of class rule and signifies the existence of classes. In effect what you are suggesting here is the possible re-emergence of class or property based relationships within socialism.   You do not explain how this is supposed to happen given the voluntary nature of work in socialism and given the free accessibly of goods and services to the populace.  Free access trumps free markets every time unless you can come up with a convincing reason why you think people would prefer to buy something when they could got it for free in the first place.  In other words, you do not explain what leverage some individuals or groups could exert over others to induce, blackmail or otherwise compel the latter to submit to these newly emerging class relationship that you seem to posit inside a socialist society. You talk about some groups possibly evolving in a different socio-economic direction and become socialistic and pseudo-propertarian rather than socialist.   If so then it would not be socialist society in general succumbing to what you call a process of statisation” but rather those groups within it wanting to evolve, according to you, away from socialism and in the process seeking to establish some kind of state like institution to force this through.  After all, a socialist society is a classless and therefore stateless society.  You cannot posit a process of statisation going on in this society unless you can show some mechanism by which common ownership was being replaced by class ownership involving the dispossession of the majority against their will Not only is your hypothetical scenario unsound in the way it is set up or in the way you explain it but it seems to me quite unrealistic.  The whole point about socialism is that represents an attempt to bring the social relations of production into line with socialised and interlinked character of modern production.  Production today is a thoroughly globalised affair,   Every part of the world depends on every other through which it is connected in an incredibly complex pattern of material flows.   You can’t just unilaterally alter the way one part of the world relates to another without seriously rupturing this pattern with all the adverse consequences that flow from that. If there is one aspect of the “total culture” of a socialist society – its set of core values – which we can all agree upon then that would be this idea of mutual interdependence, globally.   It is this that would serve as a unifying force in such a society So yes while I agree that some groups, some groups “will develop their own practices and habits” – in short their own distinctive cultures – in a socialist society, I do not see this as fundamentally problematic at all.   Of course there will be some mutual adjustment going on, and possibly a degree of tension, between the universal culture of a socialist society – what you call its “total culture” – and particular cultures.  However, I think the whole ethos of a socialist society will be quite different in the way it views “the Other”.  Instead of seeing cultural differences as threatening (which is a characteristic of bourgeois individualist thought incidentally – read Louis Dumont on this) such differences will be seen as enriching. Finally,  I think Adam and I were both right to point out that socialism would not some kind of highly centralised system of decision-making.  Though you say you “ completely understand that much of production within socialism will be at the individual and community level, and be essentially self-directed” I think this idea of socialism as some kind of centrally planned economy still lurks in the background and infects you thinking .  This is demonstrated by your reference to “process of statisation” which you claim could be “inexorable within world socialism” and which you describe precisely in terms of the political superstructure becoming “more agglomerated” – that is when its decisions start to take on the characteristics of representation rather than delegation, replacing community directives with what it conceives of as a community standard. In others you think socialism is driven by a centralising dynamic I disagree strongly on this point.  As has been pointed out many times before on this forum,socialist democracy will be multi-tiered and polycentric with the great bulk of decisions being made at the local level.     This necessarily follows, I would argue, from the very nature of a socialist society itself

    #131431
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    On my daily trawl of the web, i came across this reference which i think could be relevant to my earlier comment. I am already guilty of labelling so i might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43232-as-the-alt-right-strays-from-its-roots-will-it-turn-to-open-fascism 

    Quote:
    Using the argumentation found in anti-imperialist and "third-worldist" circles of the time, they argued for an "Ethno-pluralist" politic that saw a "nationalism for all peoples" as the solution to the degenerating effects of globalized commodity capitalism. Instead of the internationalist and egalitarian vision of the New Left politics they appropriated, they wanted to see a deep relativism, to have cultures kept separate from cosmopolitan influence with the understanding that different peoples were too different in skills and temperament to abide by each other's rules and customs. The founding principle here was an opposition to egalitarianism, primarily on the belief that human beings were not equal, either as individuals or as groups. The primary segment of this was racial, and by using the decolonization rhetoric, they could argue that white Europeans were facing colonization by globalism and had to join up with other liberation movements that they could reframe through ethnic nationalism…"Third Positionism," in which fascists use leftist politics in a strange synthesis of the left and the right. Anti-capitalism, environmentalism, post-colonialism, antiwar politics and the like have all been appropriated heavily in white nationalist circles,…It was these principles they used to buck off accusations of white supremacy, saying that instead of "ruling over non-whites," they simply want to return to their ethnic roots and live an "indigenous" form of life… the "alt-right" took the old-fashioned segregationist motto of "stop the hate, separate" and argued that racial separatism would be healthy for all people. Nationalism, they argued, was for all people, often coined as "Ethno-pluralism." …"

    Similar views are becoming increasingly mainstream as can be seen from this recent statement“We have to decide if our ethnicity, if our white race, if our society continues to exist or if our society will be wiped out,” Attilio Fontana, of the Northern League. He reflects the view of a number of Eastern European right-wing statesmen who express similar sentiments about European culture and Christianity being under threat.

    #131432
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    On my daily trawl of the web, i came across this reference which i think could be relevant to my earlier comment. I am already guilty of labelling so i might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43232-as-the-alt-right-strays-from-its-roots-will-it-turn-to-open-fascism 

    Quote:
    Using the argumentation found in anti-imperialist and "third-worldist" circles of the time, they argued for an "Ethno-pluralist" politic that saw a "nationalism for all peoples" as the solution to the degenerating effects of globalized commodity capitalism. Instead of the internationalist and egalitarian vision of the New Left politics they appropriated, they wanted to see a deep relativism, to have cultures kept separate from cosmopolitan influence with the understanding that different peoples were too different in skills and temperament to abide by each other's rules and customs. The founding principle here was an opposition to egalitarianism, primarily on the belief that human beings were not equal, either as individuals or as groups. The primary segment of this was racial, and by using the decolonization rhetoric, they could argue that white Europeans were facing colonization by globalism and had to join up with other liberation movements that they could reframe through ethnic nationalism…"Third Positionism," in which fascists use leftist politics in a strange synthesis of the left and the right. Anti-capitalism, environmentalism, post-colonialism, antiwar politics and the like have all been appropriated heavily in white nationalist circles,…It was these principles they used to buck off accusations of white supremacy, saying that instead of "ruling over non-whites," they simply want to return to their ethnic roots and live an "indigenous" form of life… the "alt-right" took the old-fashioned segregationist motto of "stop the hate, separate" and argued that racial separatism would be healthy for all people. Nationalism, they argued, was for all people, often coined as "Ethno-pluralism." …"

    Similar views are becoming increasingly mainstream as can be seen from this recent statement“We have to decide if our ethnicity, if our white race, if our society continues to exist or if our society will be wiped out,” Attilio Fontana, of the Northern League. He reflects the view of a number of Eastern European right-wing statesmen who express similar sentiments about European culture and Christianity is under threat.

    Ku Klux Klan started as a group of peoples with the intent to defend the value of the community and to defend the value of Christianity, and then, they became a group to lynch and kill the black peoples, and spread hate and defend white nationalism,   The Templarios in Mexico which were fighting for the community to defend them against the drug cartels, and to defend the peasants, and moral value,  and Christianity,  but in reality, they were killing their competitors to impose themselves as the predominant drugs cartel. There are also new groups wrapped themselves in the so-called slogan of anti-imperialism and anti-globalization, like Mussolini and the Japanese empire, but in reality, they are just  bourgeoise nationalists and white supremacists

    #131433

    Looking at the question of collective/indvidual action. Imagine you were in a theatre, and it was on fire.  Now, the devil appears beside you (and it must be the devil, since the devil has perfect knowledge of good and evil), and tells you:

    The Devil wrote:
    If you form an orderly queue, and comply with the fire evacuation instructions, 90% of the people in this room will escape; however, you will be among the 10%.  If you struggle, kick and scream, you will start a panic, and only 50% of the people will escape, but you will have an evan chance of being among them.

    .An individualist would say: screw the rest, all that matters is I have to have a chance to live.  A collectivist would willingly lay down their life so that 40% of the rest can live.A socialist says there could have been enough firedoors for everyone.  The point of socialism is we can only be as free as we help each other to be.

    #131434
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant

    @ Alan Johnstone and MarcosWill you address the points I make or are you here to just throw labels and slogans around? I DO respect the SPGB and its members, but not when you go off on tangents like this.  Screaming "Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!", in whatever form, like a bunch of teenage girls, is just a way of saying that you can't cope with ideas.I am none of the things you state.  I understand the urge to categorise, but attaching labels to me is not an argument and suggests you're throwing in the towel in terms of thinking.  We can either discuss things like mature adults or play games.  Certainly, if it makes you feel better about yourself, feel free to call me a National Socialist.  I really don't mind.  But it's just a label, and in my case only very roughly accurate, and simply pinning a plastic badge on someone or something is not substantiation and tells us little. You would pin a plastic badge on a socialist society and call it 'democracy', but I would argue that it isn't truly democracy, for the reasons I have given.  In fact, socialism would be wide open to abuses due to, among other things, its lack of minority protection against moral privilege.  You will deny this, but only because you focus on form and ignore substance.  You think good intentions and nice labels are enough.  Stick a badge on it that says 'Democracy' and everything's fine.I am able to think for myself.  I don't need to subscribe to dogmas that somebody else has invented in order to limit and control me psychologically, whether it is world socialism, National Socialism, National Anarchism, National Bolshevism or the Monster Raving Loony Party.

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