I'd like a moneyless system, but see a couple flaws that need fixing

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alb
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Feb 15 2012 07:12

That Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution is really terrible, almost as bad as Parecon. As a blueprint for a labour-money economy it had already been criticised in advance by Marx in his writings against the advocates of labour-money (as an attempt to measure socially-necessary labour directly) of his day. No wonder Kautsky (who would of course been aware of Marx's criticisms) argued that, if you are going to go down that road (of accepting the terms of Mises's "economic calculation argument") you might as well use money and the market.

As to the slogan "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" (which apparently you don't like), you are wrong. It was not coined by Saint Simon. His was more "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their deeds", ie what Stalin claimed happened in Russia and which both the Fundamental Principles and Parecon accept and indeed is the rationale behind piecework wage-labour. Its origin is generally attributed to Louis Blanc but was also used by Etienne Cabet. In any event it was current in the 1840s in Paris and it will be from the time he spent there then that Marx will have recalled when he wrote his notes on the Gotha programme some 30 years later.

I'm surprised you call in Mattick to refute it as "uncommunist" since in the very article he wrote in 1970 that you refer to he does say that today there is no point in tying consumption to work done but that society can go over to a system of free access according to needs,

As he says in the original German (since you refer to the German version) he writes:

Quote:
In den hochentwickelten kapitalistischen Ländern, d.h. den Ländern, in denen sozialistische Revolutionen möglich sind, sind die gesellschaftlichen Produktivkräfte weit genug entwickelt, um einen Überfluss an Konsumtionsmitteln zu produzieren. Wenn man bedenkt, dass sicherlich mehr als die Hälfte aller kapitalistischen Produktion und der mit ihr verbundenen unproduktiven Tätigkeiten (ganz abgesehen von den vorhandenen unangewandten Produktionsmöglichkeiten) nichts mit dem menschlichen Konsum zu tun haben, sondern einem ”Sinn” nur innerhalb der irrationalen kapitalistischen Gesellschaft finden können, dann wird ersichtlich, dass unter den Bedingungen kommunistischer Wirtschaft ein Überfluss an Konsumtionsmitteln erzeugt werden kann, der eine Berechnung individueller Anteile überflüssig macht. Die Aktualisiemung des schon haute potentieli gegebenen Überflusses setzt allerdings eine völlige Umstallung der gesellschaftlichen Produktion auf die reelen Bedürfnisse dem Produzenten voraus.

Or, in English from this site:

Quote:
In the advanced capitalist countries, that is, in the countries where a socialist revolution is possible, the social forces of production are sufficiently developed to produce means of consumption in overabundance. More than half of all capitalist production as well as the unproductive activities associated with it (totally disregarding the productive forces which are not exploited) surely have nothing to do with real human consumption, but only make sense in the irrational economy of capitalist society. It is clear, then, that under the conditions of a communist economy, so many consumption goods could be produced that any calculation of their individual shares of average socially necessary labor time would be superfluous. The attainment of a state of abundance, already potentially realizable, presupposes, however, a complete transformation of social production, based on the real needs of the producers.

So, I think Mattick can also be counted amongst those who want a moneyless society.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 15 2012 11:46

I didn't know Mattick's introduction was on this site. Of course Mattick wanted a moneyless society (as did Kautsky and Bukharin). I mentioned him for what I read as his criticism of the phrase '... each according to their needs':

Mattick wrote:
At this point, however, we encounter a difficulty and a weakness in calculating labor time, a difficulty which Marx had also taken into consideration, and, not discovering any other answer besides the abolition of calculation based on labor time for distribution, he put forth the communist principle “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

In his Critique of the Gotha Program of the German Social Democratic Party, Marx highlighted the fact that distribution in proportion to labor time would imply a new inequality, since the producers are characterized by different capacities for labor and by different personal situations. Some work more intensely in a given time period; some have families to maintain, while others do not; therefore, equality of distribution in accordance with labor time would cause inequality in the conditions of consumption. Marx writes that “In effect, with an equal amount of work contributed and therefore with equal access to the social consumption fund, one obtains more than another, one is wealthier than another, etc. . . . To prevent this unjust situation from arising, the law must be unequal rather than equal.” While he considered this inconvenience to be inevitable in the first phase of communist society, he did not consider it to be a communist principle. When the authors of the Fundamental Principles say that their presentation is “only the consistent application of Marxian thought”, this is true only insofar as that thought is applied to a phase of socialist development within which the principle of the exchange of equivalents still prevails, a principle which will come to an end in socialism.

Jules Guesde critiqued it as a pseudo-communist principle. You yourself admit that it's taken from Louis Blanc. And it's not because Marx speaks of a communist principle that it's beyond criticism.

Now you seemed to disagree with Kautsky's text, but now you (correctly) think it has nothing to do with parecon. If you read it close you'll see that Kautsky also wanted a moneyless society (like Bukharin), but it's how you get there which is the issue. If labour-money is still based on the principle of exchange of equivalents, then, like you say, why not keep using real money instead. You can criticize Lenin's two stage conception all you want and intend to communize everything from day one, but you have to admit that you can't jump right into communism, so do you agree with Kautsky and Bukharin that money will still exists in the first phase?

alb
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Feb 15 2012 14:20

But that passage from Mattick is not a criticism of " ... to each according to their needs". It is merely saying that this is not a defining feature of communism, ie that a society might still be communist even if it was unable to implement this principle.

The definining feature of communism (or socialism, the same thing) is that the basis of society is the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by the whole community. This implies a classless, stateless and, yes, moneyless society, but doesn't rule out distribution of the products amongst the population on some other basis than free access according to individually-decided need if this proves temporarily impracticable -- which was the situation Marx envisaged in the very early days of communism had it been established in his day (1875) or "the first phase of communist society" as he called it.

But whatever the system of rationing/distribution in such a hypothetical phase the ration cards (however calculated) wouldn't be money. As Marx once put it sometwhere, they'd be no more money than a ticket to the theatre is. Nor would the products of labour wouldn't be "value",ie wouldn't be produced as commodities for sale on a market.

Noa Rodman wrote:
you have to admit that you can't jump right into communism, so do you agree with Kautsky and Bukharin that money will still exists in the first phase?

I'm afraid I don't admit that or agree with Kautsky and Bukharin (if that's what they said).

A communist society can be established very rapidly once people want this (capitalist private property rights could be abolished at a stroke). What might not be possible, right at the start, is that the principle "... to each according to their needs" might not be able to be implemented for all goods. In which case, there would have to be some temporary system of rationing. That would be for people around at the time to work out, in the light of the situation they find themselves in and in the light of their own preferences.

To tell the truth, I don't think that the labour-time voucher scheme which Marx sort of endorsed could have worked in the long run. Much better, should the situation arise, to directly ration those goods in short supply. But, in any event, the ration-cards wouldn't be money (and certainly wouldn't need to be backed by gold smile )

Noa Rodman
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Feb 15 2012 17:52
Quote:
Much better, should the situation arise, to directly ration those goods in short supply. But, in any event, the ration-cards wouldn't be money

So you don't pay people for the work they do. Wage labor abolished!

alb
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Feb 15 2012 19:35
Noa Rodman wrote:
So you don't pay people for the work they do.

Yes, that's the general idea of communism: to end any direct link between individual work done and consumption and so the need to measure one and ration the other.

Can some other communist here take over and put Noa right on this?

Dave B
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Feb 15 2012 20:21

I could provide the following, a link to the Mattick one would be useful so I could add it to the ever growing list.

1844 Letter from Engels to Marx in Paris

Quote:
The Teutons are all still very muddled about the practicability of communism; to dispose of this absurdity I intend to write a short pamphlet showing that communism has already been put into practice and describing in popular terms how this is at present being done in England and America. [12] The thing will take me three days or so, and should prove very enlightening for these fellows. I’ve already observed this when talking to people here.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_10_01.htm#n12

Eg.

Frederick Engels Description of Recently Founded Communist Colonies Still in Existence; Written: in mid-October 1844

Quote:
Amongst these people no one is obliged to work against his will, and no one seeks work in vain. They have no poor-houses and infirmaries, having not a single person poor and destitute, nor any abandoned widows and orphans; all their needs are met and they need fear no want. In their ten towns there is not a single gendarme or police officer, no judge, lawyer or soldier, no prison or penitentiary; and yet there is proper order in all their affairs. The laws of the land are not for them and as far as they are concerned could just as well be abolished and nobody would notice any difference for they are the most peaceable citizens and have never yielded a single criminal for the prisons. They enjoy, as we said, the most absolute community of goods and have no trade and no money among themselves.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/10/15.htm

And from Lenin;
V. I. Lenin, From the Destruction of the Old Social System, To the Creation of the New

Quote:
Communist labour in the narrower and stricter sense of the term is labour performed gratis for the benefit of society, labour performed not as a definite duty, not for the purpose of obtaining a right to certain products, not according to previously established and legally fixed quotas, but voluntary labour, irrespective of quotas;

it is labour performed without expectation of reward, without reward as a condition, labour performed because it has become a habit to work for the common good, and because of a conscious realisation (that has become a habit) of the necessity of working for the common good—labour as the requirement of a healthy organism.

It must be clear to everybody that we, i.e., our society, our social system, are still a very long way from the application of this form of labour on a broad, really mass scale.

But the very fact that this question has been raised, and raised both by the whole of the advanced proletariat (the Communist Party and the trade unions) and by the state authorities, is a step in this direction.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/apr/11.htm

Trotsky;

Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, Chapter 3, Socialism and the State

Quote:
The material premise of communism should be so high a development of the economic powers of man that productive labor, having ceased to be a burden, will not require any goad, and the distribution of life’s goods, existing in continual abundance, will not demand – as it does not now in any well-off family or “decent” boarding-house – any control except that of education, habit and social opinion. Speaking frankly, I think it would be pretty dull-witted to consider such a really modest perspective “utopian.”

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/ch03.htm

Trotsky’s Terrorism and Communism

Quote:
]The Mensheviks are against this. This is quite comprehensible, because in reality they are against the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is to this, in the long run, that the whole question is reduced. The Kautskians are against the dictatorship of the proletariat, and are thereby against all its consequences.

Both economic and political compulsion are only forms of the expression of the dictatorship of the working class in two closely connected regions. True, Abramovich demonstrated to us most learnedly that under Socialism there will be no compulsion, that the principle of compulsion contradicts Socialism, that under Socialism we shall be moved by the feeling of duty, the habit of working, the attractiveness of labor, etc., etc. This is unquestionable.

Only this unquestionable truth must be a little extended. In point of fact, under Socialism there will not exist the apparatus of compulsion itself, namely, the State: for it will have melted away entirely into a producing and consuming commune. None the less, the road to Socialism lies through a period of the highest possible intensification of the principle of the State. And you and I are just passing through that period. Just as a lamp, before going out, shoots up in a brilliant flame, so the State, before disappearing, assumes the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the most ruthless form of State, which embraces the life of the citizens authoritatively in every direction. Now just that insignificant little fact – that historical step of the State dictatorship – Abramovich, and in his person the whole of Menshevism, did not notice; and consequently, he has fallen over it

.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch08.htm

Kuatsky;Karl Kautsky The Labour Revolution
III. The Economic Revolution X. MONEY

Quote:
Besides this rigid allocation of an equal measure of the necessaries and enjoyments of life to each individual, another form of Socialism without money is conceivable, the Leninite interpretation of what Marx described as the second phase of communism: each to produce of his own accord as much as he can, the productivity of labour being so high and the quantity and variety of products so immense that everyone may be trusted to take what he needs. For this purpose money would not be needed.

We have not yet progressed so far as this. At present we are unable to divine whether we shall ever reach this state. But that Socialism with which we are alone concerned to-day, whose features we can discern with some precision from the indications that already exist, will unfortunately not have this enviable freedom and abundance at its disposal, and will therefore not be able to do without money.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch03_j.htm#sb

Hyndman;

Henry Mayers Hyndman The Record of an Adventurous Life
Chapter XV Start of Social Democracy

Quote:
“A much more serious objection to Kropotkin and other Anarchists is their wholly unscrupulous habit of reiterating statements that have been repeatedly proved to be incorrect, and even outrageous, by the men and women to whom they are attributed. Time after time I have told Kropotkin, time after time has he read it in print, that Social-Democrats work for the complete overthrow of the wages system. He has admitted this to be so. But a month or so afterwards the same old oft-refuted misrepresentation appears in the same old authoritative fashion, as if no refutation of the calumny, that we wish to maintain wage-slavery, had ever been made.”

http://www.marxists.org/archive/hyndman/1911/adventure/chap15.html

Peter Kropotkin 1920
The Wage System

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/kropotkin-peter/1920/wage.htm

J. V. Stalin ANARCHISM or SOCIALISM? 1906

Quote:
Future society will be socialist society. This means also that, with the abolition of exploitation commodity production and buying and selling will also be abolished and, therefore, there will be no room for buyers and sellers of labour power, for employers and employed -- there will be only free workers.

Future society will be socialist society. This means, lastly, that in that society the abolition of wage-labour will be accompanied by the complete abolition of the private ownership of the instruments and means of production; there will be neither poor proletarians nor rich capitalists -- there will be only workers who collectively own all the land and minerals, all the forests, all the factories and mills, all the railways, etc.

As you see, the main purpose of production in the future will be to satisfy the needs of society and not to produce goods for sale in order to increase the profits of the capitalists. Where there will be no room for commodity production, struggle for profits, etc.

It is also clear that future production will be socialistically organised, highly developed production, which will take into account the needs of society and will produce as much as society needs. Here there will be no room whether for scattered production, competition, crises, or unemployment.
Where there are no classes, where there are neither rich nor poor, there is no need for a state, there is no
page 337

need either for political power, which oppresses the poor and protects the rich. Consequently, in socialist society there will be no need for the existence of political power.

That is why Karl Marx said as far back as 1846:

"The working class in the course of its development Will substitute for the old bourgeois society an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power properly so-called . . . " (see The Poverty of Philosophy).[89]

That is why Engels said in 1884:

"The state, then, has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies that did without it, that had no conception of the state and state power. At a certain stage of economic development, which was necessarily bound up with the cleavage of society into classes, the state became a necessity. . . . We are now rapidly approaching a stage in the development of production at which the existence of these classes not only will have ceased to be a necessity, but will become a positive hindrance to production. They will fall as inevitably as they arose at an earlier stage. Along with them the state will inevitably fall. The society that will organise production on the basis of a free and equal association of the producers will put the whole machinery of state where it will then belong: into the Museum of Antiquities, by the side of the spinning wheel and the bronze axe"

(see The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State).[

At the same time, it is self-evident that for the purpose of administering public affairs there will have to be in socialist society, in addition to local offices which

page 338

will collect all sorts of information, a central statistical bureau, which will collect information about the needs of the whole of society, and then distribute the various kinds of work among the working people accordingly. It will also be necessary to hold conferences, and particularly congresses, the decisions of which will certainly be binding upon the comrades in the minority until the next congress is held.

Lastly, it is obvious that free and comradely labour should result in an equally comradely, and complete, satisfaction of all needs in the future socialist society This means that if future society demands from each of its members as much labour as he can perform, it, in its turn, must provide each member with all the products he needs. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs! -- such is the basis upon which the future collectivist system must be created. It goes without saying that in the first stage of socialism, when elements who have not yet grown accustomed to work are being drawn into the new way of life, when the productive forces also will not yet have been sufficiently developed and there will still be "dirty" and "clean" work to do, the application of the principle: "to each according to his needs," will undoubtelly be greatly hindered and, as a consequence, society will be obliged temporarily to take some other path, a middle path. But it is also clear that when future society runs into its groove, when the survivals of capitalism will have been eradicated, the only principle that will conform to socialist society will be the one pointed out above.
That is why Marx said in 1875:
page 339

"In a higher phase of communist (i.e., socialist) society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labour, has vanished; after labour has become not only a means of livelihood but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual . . . only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois law be crossed in iis entirety and society inscribe on its banners: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs'" (see Critique of the Gotha Programme).[91].

Such, in general, is the picture of future socialist society according to the theory of Marx.

This is all very well. But is the achievement of socialism conceivable? Can we assume that man will rid himself of his "savage habits"?

Or again: if everybody receives according to his needs, can we assume that the level of the productive forces of socialist society will be adequate for this?
Socialist society presupposes an adequate development of productive forces and socialist consciousness among men, their socialist enlightenment. At the present time the development of productive forces is hindered by the existence of capitalist property, but if we bear in mind that this capitalist property will not exist in future society, it is self-evident that the productive forces will increase tenfold. Nor must it be forgotten that in future society the hundreds of thousands of present-day parasites, and also the unemployed, will set to work and augment the ranks of the working people; and this will greatly stimulate the development of the

page 340

productive forces. As regards men's "savage" sentiments and opinions, these are not as eternal as some people imagine; there was a time, under primitive communism, when man did not recognise private property; there came a time, the time of individualistic production, when private property dominated the hearts and minds of men; a new time is coming, the time of socialist production -- will it be surprising if the hearts and minds of men become imbued with socialist strivings? Does not being determine the "sentiments" and opinions of men?

http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/AS07.html#c3

Nikolai Bukharin Programme of the World Revolution
Chapter XV The End of the Power of Money.

“State Finances” and Financial Economy in the Soviet Republic

Quote:
We have seen, on the other hand, that when production and distribution are thoroughly organised, money will play no part whatever, and as a matter of course no kind of money dues will be demanded from anyone. Money will have generally become unnecessary. finance will become extinct.

We repeat that that time is a long way off yet. There can be no talk of it in the near future. For the present we must find means for public finance. But we are already taking steps leading to the abolition of the money system. Society is being transformed into one huge labour organisation or company to produce and distribute what is already produced without the agency of gold coinage or paper money. The end of the power of money is imminent.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1918/worldrev/ch15.html

I don’t know why Kautsky’s imaginary gold money in state capitalist socialism got overlooked, I have posted this stuff before on Revleft and Libcom.

Is there anything from Bakunin by the way?

The Manchester Shakers it appears seemed to have had a more profound influence on communist thinking than I suspect has been generally attributed to them.

[The nick name for Bury FC the North Manchester football team ‘The Shakers’ is apparently unconnected to communism.]

I know there is conquest of bread stuff by Kropotkin and Morris, yawn.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 15 2012 20:36

I'm speaking of the period in which takes place the complete transformation of social production, which doesn't happen by decree after all (or if it does, we should make sure that the public officials receive equal remuneration for their efforts).

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jura
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Feb 23 2012 18:51

Of gold and hamburgers...

Greece’s Lenders Have The Right To Seize National Gold Reserves
Projected PIIGS Pillage: 3233.5 Tons Of Gold To Be Confiscated By Insolvent European Banks

Noa Rodman
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Feb 23 2012 21:54

When millions of people were dying of hunger in the early stages of the Soviet Union, the West generously promised food supplies... on condition that they would get Russia's gold. There's a great movie about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Home_Among_Strangers

(I wonder though, why Dave B hasn't yet brought up his favorite story about the German gold to help Lenin laugh out loud )

alb
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Feb 24 2012 07:30

All that these examples show is that gold is a valuable commodity not that it is the money-commodity.

As we're exchanging anecdotes about gold, here's another which I'm sure the gold bugs here will appreciate.

I nearly forgot to add, pawnbrokers too will give you money if you deposit gold with them.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 24 2012 09:07
Quote:
But then, if sudden credit upheavals should interrupt the mutual settlement of payments and upset the payments mechanism, it is money that is suddenly in demand as the real universal means of payment, with the requirement that the whole volume of wealth should have a two-fold existence: once as commodity and again as money, so that these two modes of existence are identical to each other. At such moments of crisis, money appears as exclusive wealth, which is manifested as such not in some merely imaginary depreciation, as it does in, say, the monetary system, but in the active depreciation of all real wealth. With respect to the world of commodities, value then continues to exist only in its adequate exclusive form – as money.

The further elaboration of this point is here irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is that moments of monetary crises proper bring out a contradiction that is immanent to the development of money as the universal means of payment. It is not as a measure that money is demanded in such crises, since as such its corporeal presence is a matter of indifference; nor is it as coin, for it does not figure as such in payments; but it is demanded as exchange value become independent, as a materially present universal equivalent, as the embodiment of abstract wealth; in the form, that is, in which it is the object of hoarding in the strict sense of the term, as money. Its development as the universal means of payment shrouds the contradiction that exchange value has assumed forms independent of its mode of existence as money; and on the other hand, its mode of existence as money is posited precisely as the definitive and solely adequate one.

In consequence of the balancing out of payments and their cancellation of each other as positive and negative amounts, money, as means of payment, can appear as a merely notional form of commodity, as in the case with its being the measure [of value], and in its functioning in the formation of prices. The collision occurs from the fact that – contrary to the arrangement, contrary to the general assumption of modern trade, and whenever the mechanism of these mutual cancellations and the credit system on which it partly rests are disrupted – it must instantly be present and to hand in its real form.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1858/economic/draft.htm

Dave B
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Feb 24 2012 13:19
Noa Rodman wrote:
(I wonder though, why Dave B hasn't yet brought up his favorite story about the German gold to help Lenin laugh out loud )

There is quite a lot of material on the German funding of the Bolsheviks. Most of it originated from the following book and I will include one complete telegram from it; but there are plenty of others, that stack up somewhat.

GERMANY AND THE REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA 1915-1918

Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry

EDITED BY Z. A. B. ZEMAN

LONDON OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

The State Secretary to the Foreign Ministry Liaison Officer at General Headquarters

TELEGRAM NO. I925

AS 4486 Berlin, 3 December 1917

Quote:
The disruption of the Entente and the subsequent creation of political combinations agreeable to us constitute the most important war aim of our diplomacy. Russia appeared to be the weakest link in the enemy chain. The task therefore was gradually to loosen it, and, when possible, to remove it. This was the purpose of the subversive activity we caused to be carried out in Russia behind the front—in the first place promotion of separatist tendencies and support of the Bolsheviks.

It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under different labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ, Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow basis of their party. The Bolsheviks have now come to power; how long they will retain power cannot be yet foreseen. They need peace in order to strengthen their own position; on the other hand it is entirely in our interest that we should exploit the period while they are in power, which may be a short one, in order to attain firstly an armistice and then, if possible, peace. 1 The conclusion of a separate peace would

mean the achievement of the desired war aim, namely a breach between Russia and her Allies. The amount of tension necessarily caused by such a breach would determine the degree of Russia's dependence on Germany and her future relations with us. Once cast out and cast off by her former Allies, abandoned financially, Russia will be forced to seek our support.

We shall be able to provide help for Russia in various ways; firstly in the rehabilitation of the railways; (I have in mind a German Russian Commission, under our control, which would undertake the rational and co-ordinated exploitation of the railway lines so as to ensure speedy resumption of freight movement), then the provision of a substantial loan, which Russia requires to maintain her state machine. This could take the form of an advance on the security of grain, raw materials, &c, &c, to be provided by Russia and shipped under the control of the above-mentioned commission. Aid on such a basis—the scope to be increased as and when necessary—would in my opinion bring-about a growing rapprochement between the two countries.

Austria-Hungary will regard the rapprochement with distrust and not without apprehension. I would interpret the excessive eagerness of Count Czernin to come to terms with the Russians as a desire to forestall us and to prevent Germany and Russia arriving at an intimate relationship inconvenient to the Danube Monarchy. There is no need for us to compete for Russia's good will. We are strong enough to wait with equanimity; we are in a far better position than Austria-Hungary to offer Russia what she needs for the reconstruction of her state. I view future developments in the East with confidence but I think it expedient for the time being to maintain a certain reserve in our attitude to the Austro-Hungarian government in all matters including the Polish question which concern both monarchies so as to preserve a free hand for all eventualities.

jThe above-mentioned considerations lie, I venture to believe, within the framework of the directives given me by His Majesty. I request you to report to His Majesty accordingly and to transmit to me by telegram the All-highest instructions.

KUHLMANN

And from Bernstien, he wrote two articles on it in 1921 apparently

Quote:
"From absolutely reliable sources I have now ascertained that the sum was very large, an almost unbelievable amount, certainly more than fifty million goldmarks, a sum about the source of which Lenin and his comrades could be in no doubt. One result of all this was the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. General Hoffmann, who negotiated with Trotsky and other members of the Bolshevik delegation at Brest, held the Bolsheviks in his hand in two senses [that is, military and monetary], and he made sure they felt it."

Joel Carmichael in his1984 addendum of his edited and abridged etc version of “Sukhanov’s The Russian Revolution, 1917” puts it at $800 million, in 1984 money I presume.

There was quite a bit on it in Sukhanov’s book, a memoir published in 1922, in the chapter on the July days.

Sukhanov himself didn’t believe it at the time, even when it was revealed after a raid of the Pravda offices that they were flush with cash and had been receiving massive amounts of money from some unknown sources.

(Sukhanov’s book was even accepted by the Bolsheviks as a classic history of that period of the revolution.)

the goldbug site is below;

http://www.kitco.com/

You can find interesting material and ‘perspectives’ in there if you are prepared to look around.

Dave B
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Feb 24 2012 14:20

It is probably derailing the thread a bit,but Noa Rodman provoked me; but there is some really intersting stuff in it .

Eg the Czech legion story which Trotsky stopped heading east and subsequently caused mayhem in the civil war and had previously not been understood as to why the Bolsheviks stopped them leaving the country.

TELEGRAM NO. 246

A 23074 Berlin, i June 1918

Quote:
………….. Finally, according to other reports, a Czechoslovak corps has passed through Chabarovsk. We insist that it be prevented from travelling on to Vladivostok, should such a move be intended. Report by telegram.

Kuhlmann

TELEGRAM NO. I 2 I

A 20991 Berlin, 18 May 1918

In reply to telegram No. 122.

Quote:
Please use larger sums, as it is greatly in our interests that Bolsheviks should survive. Riezler's funds at your disposal. If further money required, please telegraph how much. It is very difficult to say from here which trend to support if Bolsheviks fall. If

really hard-pressed, left-wing Social Revolutionaries would fall with Bolsheviks. These parties seem to be the only ones who base their position on peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk. As a party, Kadets are anti-German; Monarchists would also work for revision of Brest peace treaty. We have no interest in supporting Monarchists' ideas, which would reunite Russia. On the contrary, we must try to prevent Russian consolidation as far as possible and, from this point of view, we must therefore support the parties furthest to the left.

Kuhlmann

116

The Foreign Ministry Representative in Petrograd to the

Chancellor

REPORT NO. 26

A 4166 Petrograd, 24 January 1918

An identical report has been sent to the State Secretary.

Quote:
Judging by purely external signs, the power of the Bolsheviks seems to have secured itself to some extent during the last few days. Whether or how long this positive trend will last remains to be seen. Since political life here moves entirely in convulsive spasms, one must always be prepared to reckon with very brief stages.

For the moment, however, the big planned coups of the Smolny government have been successful. Since it depended on the support of the Red Guard and of marines—rather than on the army proper—and thus had control of the streets, it was not very difficult for the government to send the Constituent Assembly, whose opening looks more and more like a farce, home after little more than twenty-four hours and, in place of this unacceptable body, to summon the Convention, which supports the government unconditionally.

In all other fields, too, the government is following the well-tried formula: 'If you won't be my brother I'll beat your brains in.' The press could hardly be more completely gagged. With the exception of the party organs Pravda and Izvestia, all the newspapers are strictly censored and, if necessary, severely punished.* Political opponents, too, enjoy short shrift. Politicians, deputies, editors, and other such members of the opposition live under a continual threat to their liberty, if not worse. Those arrested last week include Shamanski, the president of the Red Cross. There is no means of knowing how many other people may have shared this fate, as only very few cases are admitted

publicly and the government presumably 'works' mainly in secret.

The great sensation of the last few days was the murder of the ex-Ministers Shingarev and Kokoshkin. Because of their poor state of health, these two men had been taken from the Fortress of SS. Peter and Paul to a hospital, where they were shot by marines on the night after their admission. Kokoshkin was shot dead, but Shingarev only died after several hours suffering. At first sight, the crime bore all the marks of a simple political murder, but the governing clique denies any complicity, claiming that, on the contrary, the murder was contrived by the opposition in order to secure for themselves a weapon against the Bolsheviks.

Mirbach

Quote:
1 The Kaiser's marginal remark: 'We shall have to do the same with our gutter-press.'

Mirbach the German ambassador to Russia and who was assassinated in July 1918 by the right SR’s was a major conduit for funding the Bolsheviks.

And they talk about the CIA support of the Mujahideen and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan as ‘blowback’.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 24 2012 15:32

^^Now that is truly a Ron Paul kind of version of history.

To briefly return to the previous subject, I think though that the quote from ol' Charly explains where Kautsky was coming from with his imaginary gold.

Marx wrote:
It is not as a measure that money is demanded in such crises, since as such its corporeal presence is a matter of indifference;
...
, money, as means of payment, can appear as a merely notional form of commodity, as in the case with its being the measure [of value], and in its functioning in the formation of prices.

Or again:

Marx wrote:
Money is a measure only because it is labour time materialized in a specific substance, hence itself value, and, more particularly, because this specific materiality counts as its general objective one [allgemeingegenständliche], as the materiality of labour time as such, as distinct from its merely particular incarnations; hence because it is an equivalent. But since, in its function as measure, money is only an imagined point of comparison, only needs to exist ideally—only the ideal transposition of commodities into their general value-presence takes place --; since, further, in this quality as measure it figures first as accounting coin, and I say a commodity is worth so many shillings, francs etc., when I transpose it into money;

He then goes on to respond in quite some detail to your's and alb's apparent believe that Marx's theory of money gets in trouble because of the end of the gold standard.

Quote:
this has given rise to the confused notion of an ideal measure, developed by Steuart and refurbished at various periods, even recently, in England, as a profound discovery. Namely in this sense, that the names, pound, shillings, guinea, dollar etc., which count as accounting units are not specific names for specific quantities of gold, silver etc., but merely arbitrary points of comparison which do not themselves express value, no definite quantity of objectified labour time. Hence the whole nonsense about fixing the price of gold and silver—price understood here as the name by which fractional parts are called.

But I would like to hear your view on the other topic of money in the first of phase of communism, Dave; do you believe in time-chits or whatever its names? Or do you agree with Kautsky about money still existing in the first phase (until the time when we reach the "blessed state of affairs, in which each may work at what and for how long he likes; and each will find to hand such an abundance of articles of consumption that he may take freely whatever he likes")? He quotes Marx's Gotha critique:

Kautsky wrote:
Apart from this, has not Marx himself here embarked upon the search for an ideal standard of distribution?

By no means. This is clear from the next paragraphs.

Marx continues:

“I have dealt so fully with these matters, with ‘the whole product of labour’ on the one hand, and with ‘equal rights’ and with ‘just distribution’ on the other, in order to show how monstrous it is to endeavour: first of all to force upon our party as dogmas, conceptions which at one time had a certain meaning, but which have now become obsolete verbiage; and secondly, to endeavour to uproot the realistic conceptions which (after long labour) have been firmly implanted in the minds of our members, and to replace them by ideological fustian about rights and all the rest of it, concerning which the democrats and the French Socialists are so fond of prating.

“Apart from the considerations hitherto adduced, I may point out that it is a great mistake to make so much of this matter of distribution, and to stress that question above all others.

“The distribution of the means of consumption at any time is no more than a consequence of the extant distribution of the means of production. But this latter is characteristic of the prevailing mode of production. Capitalist production, for example, rests upon the fact that the material pre-requisites of production are in the hands of non-workers, the owners of capitalist property and landed property, whereas all that the masses possess is the personal pre-requisite of production, labour-power to wit. The elements of production being thus distributed, the extant distribution of the means of consumption follows spontaneously. But if the material pre-requisites of production be the co-operative property of the workers themselves, a method of distribution of the means of consumption differing from that now extant will ensue as a matter of course. Vulgar Socialism has accepted as gospel from the bourgeois economists (and a part even of the democracy has taken over the doctrine from the unreflecting Socialists) that the problem of distribution can be considered and treated independently of the mode of production, from which it is inferred that Socialism turns mainly upon the question of distribution. But the real nature of these relationships has long been made perfectly clear. Why should we retrace our steps?”

It seems odd that we would want to do the labour vouchers thing after all of Marx's critique of Proudhon, right?

Dave B
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Feb 24 2012 17:40

It doesn’t hurt that much to provide a link does it, so I don’t have to remember where it is?

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch03_b.htm

and no I don’t support the idea of a first phases of communism and labour chits, I don’t think Karl was that keen on it either, just throwing the following in ;

Grundrisse

NOTEBOOK I, October 1857, The Chapter on Money (Part II)

Quote:
Now, it might be thought that the issue of time-chits overcomes all these difficulties. (The existence of the time-chit naturally already presupposes conditions which are not directly given in the examination of the relations of exchange value and money, and which can and do exist without the time-chit: public credit, bank etc.; but all this not to be touched on further here, since the timechit men of course regard it as the ultimate product of the ‘series,’ which, even if it corresponds most to the ‘pure’ concept of money, ‘appears’ last in reality.) To begin with: If the preconditions under which the price of commodities = their exchange value are fulfilled and given; balance of demand and supply; balance of production and consumption; and what this amounts to in the last analysis, proportionate production (the so-called relations of distribution are themselves relations of production), then the money question becomes entirely secondary, in particular the question whether the tickets should be blue or green, paper or tin, or whatever other form social accounting should take. In that case it is totally meaningless to keep up the pretence that an investigation is being made of the real relations of money.
The bank (any bank) issues the time-chits. [18]

A commodity, A = the exchange value x, i.e. = x hours of labour time, is exchanged for a quantity of money representing x labour time. The bank would at the same time have to purchase the commodity, i.e. exchange it for its representative in monetary form, just as e.g. the Bank of England today has to give notes for gold. The commodity, the substantial and therefore accidental existence of exchange value, is exchanged for the symbolic existence of exchange value as exchange value. There is then no difficulty in transposing it from the form of the commodity into the form of money.

The labour time contained in it only needs to be authentically verified (which, by the way, is not as easy as assaying the purity and weight of gold and silver) and thereby immediately creates its counter-value, its monetary existence. No matter how we may turn and twist the matter, in the last instance it amounts to this: the bank which issues the time-chits buys commodities at their costs of production, buys all commodities, and moreover this purchase costs the bank nothing more than the production of snippets of paper, and the bank gives the seller, in place of the exchange value which he possesses in a definite and substantial form, the symbolic exchange value of the commodity, in other words a draft on all other commodities to the amount of the same exchange value.

Exchange value as such can of course exist only symbolically, although in order for it to be employed as a thing and not merely as a formal notion, this symbol must possess an objective existence; it is not merely an ideal notion, but is actually presented to the mind in an objective mode. (A measure can be held in the hand; exchange value measures, but it exchanges only when the measure passes from one hand to the other.) So the bank gives money for the commodity; money which is an exact draft on the exchange value of the commodity, i.e. of all commodities of the same value; the bank buys. The bank is the general buyer, the buyer of not only this or that commodity, but all commodities. For its purpose is to bring about the transposition of every commodity into its symbolic existence as exchange value. But if it is the general buyer, then it also has to be the general seller; not only the dock where all wares are deposited, not only the general warehouse, but also the owner of the commodities, in the same sense as every merchant.

I have exchanged my commodity A for the time-chit B, which represents the commodity’s exchange value; but I have done this only so that I can then further metamorphose this B into any real commodity C, D, E etc., as it suits me. Now, can this money circulate outside the bank? Can it take any other route than that between the owner of the chit and the bank? How is the convertibility of this chit secured? Only two cases are possible. Either all owners of commodities (be these products or labour) desire to sell their commodities at their exchange value, or some want to and some do not.

If they all want to sell at their exchange value, then they will not await the chance arrival or non-arrival of a buyer, but go immediately to the bank, unload their commodities on to it, and obtain their exchange value symbol, money, for them: they redeem them for its money. In this case the bank is simultaneously the general buyer and the general seller in one person. Or the opposite takes place. In this case, the bank chit is mere paper which claims to be the generally recognized symbol of exchange value, but has in fact no value. For this symbol has to have the property of not merely representing, but being, exchange value in actual exchange. In the latter case the bank chit would not be money, or it would be money only by convention between the bank and its clients, but not on the open market. It would be the same as a meal ticket good for a dozen meals which I obtain from a restaurant, or a theatre pass good for a dozen evenings, both of which represent money, but only in this particular restaurant or this particular theatre. The bank chit would have ceased to meet the qualifications of money, since it would not circulate among the general public, but only between the bank and its clients. We thus have to drop the latter supposition.

The bank would thus be the general buyer and seller. Instead of notes it could also issue cheques, and instead of that it could also keep simple bank accounts. Depending on the sum of commodity values which X had deposited with the bank, X would have that sum in the form of other commodities to his credit. A second attribute of the bank would be necessary: it would need the power to establish the exchange value of all commodities, i.e. the labour time materialized in them, in an authentic manner. But its functions could not end there. It would have to determine the labour time in which commodities could be produced, with the average means of production available in a given industry, i.e. the time in which they would have to be produced. But that also would not be sufficient.

It would not only have to determine the time in which a certain quantity of products had to be produced, and place the producers in conditions which made their labour equally productive (i.e. it would have to balance and to arrange the distribution of the means of labour), but it would also have to determine the amounts of labour time to be employed in the different branches of production. The latter would be necessary because, in order to realize exchange value and make the bank’s currency really convertible, social production in general would have to be stabilized and arranged so that the needs of the partners in exchange were always satisfied.

Nor is this all. The biggest exchange process is not that between commodities, but that between commodities and labour. (More on this presently.) The workers would not be selling their labour to the bank, but they would receive the exchange value for the entire product of their labour, etc. Precisely seen, then, the bank would be not only the general buyer and seller, but also the general producer. In fact either it would be a despotic ruler of production and trustee of distribution, or it would indeed be nothing more than a board which keeps the books and accounts for a society producing in common. The common ownership of the means of production is presupposed, etc., etc. The Saint-Simonians made their bank into the papacy of production.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch03.htm

Noa Rodman
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Feb 24 2012 20:04
dave wrote:
It doesn’t hurt that much to provide a link does it, so I don’t have to remember where it is?

I did. Just like with my earlier quote from Mattick's intro.

Quote:
and no I don’t support the idea of a first phases of communism and labour chits, I don’t think Karl was that keen on it either,

Well you can consider a first phase inevitable but without labour chits. If there's not a first phase, then why speak of withering away of the state and such. Clearly you also agree with a first phase of communism (or dictatorship of the proletariat) where the transition is made from capitalist mode of production to full communism, but for some reason you think it's a taboo to say so here. It's similar to how you as a Marxist believe the state will continue to exist in that period, so likewise you believe money will continue to exist (and your numerous links show that apparently all Marxists across the board believed this as well).

Not to provoke you, but the Ziz makes much the same point (link given in the blue color text):

Zizek wrote:
You know, Ayn Rand was right: Money is the strongest means or instrument for freedom. She means this: We exchange only if both parties want it. At least formally, both sides of the exchange get something. Without money, direct means of domination will need to be restored. Of course, I don’t accept her premise: either the rule of money, or direct domination. Nonetheless, isn’t there a correct point? One can criticize money as an alienated form. But how can we actually organize complex social interaction outside money without direct domination?

In fact Mises had no negative comment in his review of Kautsky's book. So what a relief eh?, we can drop the entire calculation debate.

capricorn
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Feb 24 2012 22:38
Noa Rodman wrote:
Well you can consider a first phase inevitable but without labour chits. If there's not a first phase, then why speak of withering away of the state and such. Clearly you also agree with a first phase of communism (or dictatorship of the proletariat) where the transition is made from capitalist mode of production to full communism, but for some reason you think it's a taboo to say so here. It's similar to how you as a Marxist believe the state will continue to exist in that period, so likewise you believe money will continue to exist (and your numerous links show that apparently all Marxists across the board believed this as well).

This is taking us a bit off topic, but Marx did not equate the period of "the dictatorship of the proletariat" with "the first phase of communist society". Read the Critique of the Gotha Program again and you will see that he envisions the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as the period of transformation of society from capitalist society into communist society, i. e., as a period that ends before and with the coming into being of communist society. Once this has happened and there is a communist society then, even in a first phase, classes, the state, value-production, money, etc will have already disappeared.

That Marx envisioned the "first phase of communist society" as a "transitional society" between capitalism and a "higher phase of communist society", during which classes, the state, money, etc will exist but gradually wither away, is well refuted by Andrew Kliman in this article on “The Transformation of Capitalism into Communism in the Critique of the Gotha Program” (scroll down, it's the second article).

Noa Rodman
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Feb 24 2012 23:46

So there are three stages starting with the revolution; the first stage is the dictatorship of the proletariat with the existence of money and the state; the second stage is the lower phase of communism with time-chits which is still a non-communist principle, a birthmark from the womb of capitalist society; and the third stage is proper communism, which might never be actually reached.

capricorn
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Feb 25 2012 07:08

Yes, that's a more accurate description of Marx's views, but still a little tendentious.

Obviously the period of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" cannot be communism as it implies the existence both of classes ("the proletariat" for one) and the state ("dictatorship") whereas for Marx, and logically, communism is a classless and stateless society.

In any event, Marx regarded the existence of classes, the state, value-production, money, wage-labour, etc as being incompatible with communist society even immediately after the end of capitalism when it might not be able to implement the principle "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" across the board straightaway.

Dave B
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Feb 25 2012 13:22

To make my position clear I am not into the withering away of states and wage labour vouchers etc

But for the immediate abolition of both.

For many, eg even Hyndman and pre revisionist Stalin etc circa 1910, it was a vile calumny to suggest that ‘the third stage of proper communism’, Kropotkinism, ‘might never be actually reached’.

What has withered away is ‘Kropotkinism’ itself as utopian ultra leftism, eccentric anarchism and the communism that dare not speak its name.

That ‘withering away’ position was first adopted in full honest effect by Bernstien; only to be followed and developed later by Kautsky, Lenin et al who saw the process as gradually ‘building socialism’ through nationalization and the evolutionary reform of state capitalism.

Something that, as ‘state socialism’ if you like, was incidentally cheered along by the pro Bolshevik Anarchists like Berkman and the miscellaneous council communists; in the early happy days anyway.

And paradoxically ‘now’ as the prerequisites for free access socialism eg productivity of labour and technology etc develop and are ‘approached’; ‘proper communism’ is pushed further and further away into the future until it disappears over the horizon.

Karl Kautsky’s position in 1892 for instance, with perhaps Fred still looking over his shoulder, can be compared with his later emphasis.

(I am certainly not locking myself into any Kautsky position on anything by the way.)

IV. THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE FUTURE

9. Division of Products in the Future State.

Quote:
We can conceive a time when science (…and what did that look like in 1892, could he have conceived our 2012 scientific and technological world as more likely than proper communism?…) shall have raised industry to such a high level of productivity that everything wanted by man will be produced in great abundance. In such a case, the formula, “To each according to his needs,” would be applied as a matter of course and without difficulty. On the other hand, not even the profoundest conviction of the justice of this formula would be able to put it into practice if the productivity of labor remained so low that the proceeds of the most excessive toil could produce only the bare necessities………..

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1892/erfurt/ch04a.htm

And;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1892/erfurt/ch04.htm

There is a kind of connection between the ‘economic state’ and a moneyless society; it is difficult perhaps to imagine an ‘imaginary gold’ voucher world as 'necessary' without shop lifting Anarcho-capitalists, with dogs on a string, and the appropriate ‘state’ like mechanisms for dealing with them.

But that isn’t my problem.

Sorry for missing your blue disguised links, I am a bit of a muppet when it comes to that kind of thing.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 25 2012 16:54

capricorn, what do you see as tendentious about the 3 stages?

dave wrote:
I am not into the withering away of states and wage labour vouchers etc

But for the immediate abolition of both.

Gradually vs. immediately, yes, yes, every politician can speak like this.

capricorn
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Feb 25 2012 17:32
Noa Rodman wrote:
capricorn, what do you see as tendentious about the 3 stages?

It wasn't the 3 stages (as opposed to the Leninists' 2 stages) that was "tendentious". It was saying that the third stage which you called "proper communism" "might never be actually reached". I imagine this means that you think that the only achievable goal is either the first stage with money (based on gold) or the second stage with labour-chits?

Noa Rodman
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Feb 25 2012 18:58

I guess I should say history will inevitably lead us to it wink

You seem to agree that money will still exist during the dictatorship of the proletariat (which is what I was asking about).

About the time-chits idea in the Gotha critique, for Kliman this is somehow different from the French socialists' labour-vouchers. But both dave and alb (and me, following Kautsky and Marx) don't like the idea. So then, by way of elimination, the lower phase of communism will also have money (though we call it something else).

On the formula each according to his abilities, each according to his needs: when dave quotes Kautsky from the Erfurt program, it's only the latter part which is spoken of:

Kautsky wrote:
In such a case, the formula, “To each according to his needs,” would be applied as a matter of course and without difficulty.

The formula as a whole is a contradictory, as Guesde shows

http://marxists.org/francais/guesde/works/1882/05/g18820514.htm

Guesde wrote:
De chacun selon ses forces ", cela veut encore dire que si je puis produire dix, je dois produire dix, que si je suis capable de douze heures de travail, il me faudra travailler douze heures. Mais pourquoi, à quel titre, dans quel but, si la satisfaction des besoins de la collectivité tout entière peut être obtenue au prix minimum de cinq ou six heures de travail pour chacun, devrais-je dépenser toutes mes forces ? L'idéal n'est pas, ne doit pas être, d'extraire de l'homme le maximum d'efforts, mais bien au contraire de restreindre ces efforts et de lui laisser pour sa jouissance personnelle la plus libre disposition de ses forces ou facultés.

La deuxième partie de la formule : " à chacun selon ses besoins ", n'est ni plus égalitaire, ni plus socialiste. Si les objets nécessaires à la vie existent en quantité suffisante, pourquoi, en limiter l'usage à des besoins déterminés du dehors ? Et si, au contraire, malgré l'extra-productivité du capital socialisé, une partie seulement des besoins de tous peut être satisfaite, comment reconnaître à chacun le droit de consommer selon ses besoins par lui-même constatés ? Comment ne pas limiter, ne pas rationner cette consommation individuelle ?

capricorn
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Feb 25 2012 20:21

This is the same argument that went on, 130 years ago, between the followers of Bakunin (who called themselves "collectivists") and Kropotkin and others (who called themselves "communists"). It's all explained here.

Guesde was writing as a self-confessed "collectivist". His argument against "to each according to their needs" is based on the assumption that it is some central authority that will decide both a person's "abilities" and their "needs". Louis Blanc may have held this view, but I don't think this was what Marx had in mind.

In any event, in that same 1882 article Guesde himself looked forward to the time when "collectivism" would have evolved into communism where the rule would be "De chacun et à chacun selon sa volonté" ("From each and to each according to their voluntary decision"):

Quote:
Quant à la société communiste, qui ne deviendra une réalité vivante que lorsque les produits consommables existeront en quantité telle que la consommation des uns ne puisse ni entraver ni restreindre la consommation des autres, et qui sortira de l'ordre collectiviste avec des producteurs ou des hommes transformés par les conditions nouvelles du travail, elle n'aura pas d'autre devise que celle inscrite par Rabelais à la porte de son abbaye de Thélème : fais ce que vouldras.

Ni la production de chacun ne sera déterminée par ses forces, ni sa consommation par ses besoins.

De chacun et à chacun selon sa volonté, telle sera l'unique règle sociale – si règle on peut appeler cette absence de toute réglementation.

Et cette liberté dans la production et dans la consommation sera possible, je le répète, parce que la nourriture. le vêtement, etc., existeront alors pour tous dans la même proportion que l'air ou que la lumière aujourd'hui et parce que le travail considérablement restreint, harmonisé avec les goûts et accompli en commun ou en famille – la grande famille humaine réconciliée – sera devenu un attrait, un besoin auquel nul ne sera assez ennemi de lui-même pour vouloir se soustraire.

For those who can't read French what he's saying here is that communism will only come into being when enough products can be produced that one person consuming more wouldn't be at the expense of someone else having to consume less, ie will be available in abundance just as air and light are today.

Dave B is right to remind us that we are today living in 2012 not 1882 and that in the meantime the forces of production have developed enormously and could produce an abundance once the capitalist system of production for profit has been ended.

I suppose what I'm saying is that today stages 1 and 2 could be passed through very rapidly and so stage 3 reached equally rapidly.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 25 2012 21:04
Quote:
By the early 1880s, most of the European anarchist movement had adopted an anarchist communist position, advocating the abolition of wage labour and distribution according to need. Ironically, the "collectivist" label then became more commonly associated with Marxist state socialists who advocated the retention of some sort of wage system during the transition to full communism. The anarchist communist, Peter Kropotkin, attacked this position in his essay, "The Collectivist Wages System", which was reprinted in his book The Conquest of Bread in 1892.

So dave b is on the side of Kropotkin Mr. T

alb
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Feb 26 2012 08:38
Noa Rodman wrote:
So dave b is on the side of Kropotkin

Re Kropotkin, there is this (even if it's me that mentions it).

Noa Rodman
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Feb 26 2012 13:10

So do you now disagree with your text alb? You are aware that Marx criticized labour-vouchers, so there would be no need for him to repent his ways to Kropotkin in any imaginary encounter between the two. I don't think Kropotkin held a stage of dictatorship of the proletariat to be necessary, but I presume you do (though you always speak under the presumption that full communism already exists, and then there will be no money of course, but that's not the issue), so during the transition stage (shock horror!), you must agree that money will be retained. Sorry that I'm stating the obvious, but I would appreciate an answer on this question. (I leave out the question of the lower phase of communism)

We can then return to the theoretical issue of the nature of money in capitalism as analyzed by Marx.

alb
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Feb 27 2012 10:10

In its preface to its centenary edition of the Communist Manifesto in 1948, the SPGB stated that it considered the proposal put forward there for a worker government that would "wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments in the hands of the State, i.e. of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible", which presupposes a period lasting some years of transformation of capitalism into socialism, to be unrealistic, outdated and irrelevant.

We think that capitalism can be abolished as soon as a socialist-minded working class wins control of political power. So, whatever Marx and Engels might have thought, we do not think that money needs to be retained after the workers win political power and are not called upon to defend this position.

The SPGB has also explicitly rejected labour-time vouchers and we have always argued that socialism necessarily involves the disappearance of money, as for instance in this article from 1934. We have also accepted that It is not entirely inconceivable that there might be some temporary shortages of some products in the very early days of socialism (or even later following some natural disaster), but if that happens we have said that it will be up to those around at the time to decide how to deal with it in the light of the exact circumstances and their preferences, neither of which can be predicted today.

Noa Rodman
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Feb 27 2012 13:59

I don't see a clear argument in the 1948 preface for calling the transition period superfluous:

Quote:
they proposed that certain measures should be adopted to take industry out of the control of the capitalists after the workers had obtained control of political power. Even in this direction it is unthinkable that a section of the population, knowing it was doomed, would continue to play its part in industry, calmly awaiting the taking away of its privileges piecemeal.

This was one of the problems that forced Lenin and his associates to retreat. However, we are convinced that political and economic development since their day would have caused Marx and Engels to reconsider their attitude on the question.
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Industry cannot be wrested from capitalist ownership by degrees; this change must be fundamental, immediate and complete. Socialism means an immediate and fundamental revolution in the basis of society; the complete abolition of capitalist ownership of the means of production at one stroke, and its replacement by common ownership. This change will be catastrophic in the sense of a complete break and cannot be achieved gradually. When the mass of the workers understand and want Socialism, and it is impossible before then, the difficulties of organising production and distribution on the new basis will not present a great problem

The SPGB view of the overthrow of capitalism:

alb
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Feb 27 2012 17:13
Noa Rodman wrote:
I don't see a clear argument in the 1948 preface for calling the transition period superfluous.

Try this, then, from 1946.