Im confused about what is being said about morality and ethics etc. And I have probably confused the issue by incorrect assumptions because I thought ICC was building up to something new about morality but in fact I have now seen references to the idea from some time ago. So I thought I should start a new thread to get some clarification.
On another thread I said:
"Further I do not accept that the concept of a communist morality. This is bourgeois society and all behaviour is conditioned by capitalism relations, when that behaviour is supporting or opposing existing relations.. Only in a genuine communist society could we talk of communist morality and only in the actual process of building of that communist society by the working class as a whole can a communist morality be discovered. By this, I don’t exclude the need for comradeship but I think it must be accepted at this time that it has limitations and doesn’t represent islands of communist relations"
And KT responded:
"Also: why the sniping at and dissing of the ICC’s attempts to understand and deepen issues of ethics and morality? “ I just question the current fixation on morality and polemic that appears to have come to the fore of the ICCs concerns.” (#62) As if humans haven’t grappled with such issues since pre-history (taboos and such like); well before the ancient Greeks who did likewise, or even the workers’ movement through texts from Joseph Dietzgen, August Bebel, Marx and Trotsky – anyone read ‘Their Morals and Ours’ for example?
Stealing from proletarian organisations, threatening or actually exposing them to the repressive arms of the bourgeois state: if one can’t say that such activities – or the failure to expose and condemn them – is the very antithesis of proletarian solidarity and behaviour, then what exactly is it we’re fighting for tomorrow? That’s not at all the same as establishing ‘islands of communism’ in capitalism. There is indeed a proletarian morality. Just see what strikers think of those who cross their picket lines, or steal from their strike funds, for example."
I checked up the definitions of morals and ethics, the former being right conduct and behaviour and the latter being a system of moral principles. There is nothing then that should be tied to the dominant economic system therefore and that accepts the idea of social groups and sub-cultures etc having different codes of behaviour. I have agreed with KT that the idea of proletarian solidarity raises the concept of a proletarian code of behaviour ie morals.
Having looked back to IR109 in search of the article of organizational behaviour, I discovered however another article Trotsky and an interesting article from a youngster called CDW about proletarian culture and apparently supportive of Trotsky’s view if I have read it correctly
So I am back now to ask for some clarification of issues cos to my non-sociologist brain, morals & ethics = culture. I need to ask if that is correct however.
Trotsky is clearly debunking the idea that there is a proletarian culture. For him it can never exist because a new culture to replace capitalist culture can only arise and flourish in the new society itself once all vestiges of class society have been eliminated. Everything prior to that is only ‘the germs and roots and springs’ from which a new practice can emerge
“But it would be extremely light-minded to give the name of proletarian culture even to the most valuable achievements of individual representatives of the working class. One cannot turn the concept of culture into the small change of individual daily living and determine the success of a class culture by the proletarian passports of individual inventors or poets. Culture is the organic sum of knowledge and capacity which characterises the entire society, or at least its ruling class. It embraces and penetrates all fields of human work and unifies them into a system”
So what has been the discussion about proletarian morality till now then? If there is no proletarian culture how can there be a proletarian morality? Is it not correct to suggest that all social behaviour today is born of capitalist society even if it in opposition to it and as Trotsky confirms a new culture can only come about from the experience of eliminating classes?