Debate: The state in the period of transition from capitalism to communism, Part 1

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Hawkeye
Debate: The state in the period of transition from capitalism to communism, Part 1
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Debate: The state in the period of transition from capitalism to communism, Part 1. The discussion was initiated by Hawkeye.
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Hawkeye
Administration of things

In the Introduction of the OPOP article, after expecting a some form of proletarian running of society,in its fourth paragraph, it states:- 'Society, which will then be highly developed, will enter a stage of self-government and the adminstration of things..(end of quote).

It is precisely a question as to how efficient or not the 'administration of things' might become that concerns many workers when considering the prospects for communism. 

In the article 'Stalinism: no pathology of the workers' movement but outright bourgeois counter-revolution' , recently on the website  internationalcommunistparty.org - readers are advised to note that (quote:) '...the Russian revolution was not strictly speaking a communist revolution.  It was, of course, at a political level since the Bolshevik party that seized power was in theory a mature Marxist party..(end of quote).  It goes on to say that at the end of the October Revolution's  first three years, no Marxist worthy of the name posed the question of "building socialism", but the key problem was that of maintaining power  and making the existing ex-Zarist economy work, with all the pressing problems of industrial and agricultural development.

Optimism, generally highly rhetorical, about a 'planned economy' running by and for the working class, following what we are repeatedly told requires the destruction of the capitalist state, is not, so far, supported by any clear practical notions as to just how 'the administration of things' is to be dealt with.  Although obviously the capitalist marketing of food supplies is run for profit, in doing so it is highly organised and, in its objective of profiteering, highly efficient, judging by current news reports. Workers will want to know what exactly the smashing of the capitalist state would lead to.  Would that include a smashing up of the existing capitalist food supply chain, the supermarkets and so on, 'occupying' farms and so on?  The present system suits capitalist profiteering and certainly doesn't suit thousands of poverty-stricken exploited workers, but where is all the proposed revolutionary destruction going to lead to ?  If it is intended to improve matters for workers, just how needs to be well thought out; it can't just be cobbled together somehow or other on an ad hoc experimental basis.

 

 

 

Fred
Regarding the administration

Regarding the administration of things, Hawkeye said: "Workers will want to know what exactly the smashing of the capitalist state would lead to.  Would that include a smashing up of the existing capitalist food supply chain, the supermarkets and so on, 'occupying' farms and so on?  The present system suits capitalist profiteering and certainly doesn't suit thousands of poverty-stricken exploited workers, but where is all the proposed revolutionary destruction going to lead to ?  If it is intended to improve matters for workers, just how needs to be well thought out; it can't just be cobbled together somehow or other on an ad hoc experimental basis.". That's a good question H, and one I often think about though it's probably much to premature. But it could all be rather like what happened in Britain during world war 2, when everything was tightly controlled by the state. Even consumption - at least for workers - was controlled through coupons and ration books. There was of course the "black market" if you had money, but generally speaking "distribution" was controlled via ration books, rather than by purchasing power. After the "revolutionary destruction" I imagine it'll be rather like after a war except that, if the proletariat has won, the exuberance, the bursting forth of ideas and creativity, the freedom to think and to be, will render the "post-war"situation a magnificent one to be living through and things will become humanly possible in a way we can't even imagine now. What will suit "thousands of poverty-stricken exploited workers" will be the order of the day, and will be imposed by the diktat of the intermediary state and it's bureaucrats, controlled by and under orders from the workers' councils. It'll be difficult to begin with, but what the working class, becoming aware of it's strength and it's new found emerging freedom, will definitely not want is anything worse than what we have now. It'll all be new and exciting, and if mistakes are made we'll be able to learn quickly, released from the constricting shackles of bourgeois thought and practice. So don't worry too much Hawkeye, what the revolutionary destruction will lead to is a whole new way of living still waiting to be discovered - that's what makes it so exciting; it'll all be new and fresh after the stifling agony and frustration of decaying capitalism and the idiotic governance of those who still believe in it. We have a world and a life to win.

Marin Jensen
Planned economy for the working class?

This may sound like nit-picking but is not meant to be. There won't be a "planned economy for the benefit of the working class", because by the time a fully planned communist economy exists, the working class won't exist as such: we will have a society without classes.

The question is, how do we get there? 

On the one hand, I think we can rule out a general destruction, for example, of food-distribution mechanisms and a return to small-scale farming. This is simply not a realistic answer to the problem of feeding the world's population. On the contrary in fact, the workers' revolution will probably have to rescue food distribution not to mention energy production, from the breakdown imposed by the continuation of capitalist economic crisis combined with ecological disaster and the ravages of civil war. 

This is speculative of course but I think that it would be an illusion to suppose that the revolution will simply be able to take over capitalism as it exists now and then make things work "better". On the contrary, the workers (and remember that we are talking about an enormous, world wide event) will have to undertake a struggle under extremely difficult conditions, when things will not necessarily get better immediately. Hence the necessity for having a perspective before them, even if only a general one, of what they are trying to achieve: a perspective of communism.

What might communism itslef look like, and why would we be ready to undergo risk and hardship to get there? That's a subject in itself - and perhaps that is really the issue being raised here.

jk1921
Hardship?

LoneLondoner wrote:

What might communism itslef look like, and why would we be ready to undergo risk and hardship to get there? That's a subject in itself - and perhaps that is really the issue being raised here.

 

Yes, that is right LL. "Communism might be great and it might even be possible, but why would I want to go through a civil war, economic dislocation and the possible terror and violence of a revolution to get there? Captialism may be terrible, but at least it spreads its misery around a little bit."

That's not me speaking, but it is a real objection many might raise.

Fred
As things are jk, we're going

As things are jk, we're going to have civil war, economic dislocation and terror and violence anyway - in fact we already have most of this stuff all round the world right now, and it just keeps spreading - so do we just sit back and pray it doesn't get worse? I suppose that's what many of us are doing at this very moment, but that won't stop it. So, if and when we realize it won't stop, and when we realize too that austerity will never stop, and neither will it solve capitalism's problems even if we grin and bear it, then the working class may be brought to consider it's own alternative and solution to the total world-wide mess.

But the proletarian solution will also involve civil war, economic dislocation, and violence and terror too. Much of this violence and terror will be coming from the other side, as it does now. All this means hardship for the world, as LL says. But at least this will be "hardship" for something that risks being better than what we have now should the proletariat prevail.

Once the working class gets to see this, and understands the choice that has to be made, and that the future of humanity hangs in the balance, then the enormous physical and moral effort needed to "negate the negation" as Marx put it, will surely provide itself.

Fred
Turn the increasing number of

Turn the increasing number of bourgeois civil wars into a class war.