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

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Spikymike
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Feb 27 2012 18:08

I have been largely in agreement with alb and capricorn in their arguments with Noa in the later part of this discussion thread (and specifically their rejection of old concepts such as 'labour-time vouchers' as in any way relevant to even the first phase of a communist society) but Noa's questioning on the nature of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' and the means of establishing a communist society in the first place does open up, what seems to me, a weakness in the spgb approach that is a hangover from social democracy in both it's Kautskyist and Leninist varieties.

The linked spgb articles still suggest a very mechanical stages theory of change effectively managed by the workers party representatives on a nation by nation basis, which leaves open the likelyhood at least, that in some parts of the world, capitalism, wage labour, money (as well as some non-capitalist social relations) will still persist for an inderterminant period of time. So the answer to Noa's earlier question as to whether money would still exist under the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' would be both yes and no in so far as this is still a period of transition on a world scale.

But from the nature of this argument so far (and the reliance on swapping quotes from various anarchist and communist theorists ) I suspect that Noa and their spgb opposition here very much share the same mechanical stages approach.

If on the otherhand we envisage communism arising out of a practical escalation of the class struggle under specific conditions of capitalist crisis and the transition to world communism as a self-managed process of communisation simultaneously social and political, then there would inevitably be a fairly lengthy period of transition (if still short by historical standards).

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Noa Rodman
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Feb 27 2012 23:49

But I also reject labour-vouchers, though contrary to alb, I claim that Marx did so as well (because basically alb is putting Marx on the level of a Rodbertus). Dave B is with me on this. (a third position is held by Kliman (and capricorn?) who thinks that Marx in the Gotha critique spoke of labour-voucher in some totally other sense...). In any case, we all agree that labour-vouchers could at most belong to the lower phase of communism and itself is still a birthmark of capitalism, to which I then add, as a secondary point, we can just as well keep using money in this case. Alb proposes rationing, but capitalist governments ration too, e.g. during the war economy, as Kautsky criticized Neurath for:

Kautsky wrote:
Yet he imagines that it is a requirement of the socialist principle that this exchange should be made in kind, without the intervention of money. He has a superstitious fear of money, just as one used to have of intangible things. He fears that the intervention of money would ruin everything. He envisages the return to barter, as is usual among savages, as a long step towards Socialism. He announces triumphantly:

“Wherever we look we may perceive evidences of natural economic tendencies. Barter on a small scale is sufficiently familiar to everybody. But exchange in kind is also taking place on a large scale. During the war a number of Government authorities made the supply of sugar, etc., to the peasants dependent upon their delivery of foodstuffs. How far this undermining of the monetary system, how far this rationing system promotes natural economy will not be here discussed further.”

Nor need it be. What we have quoted suffices to show where we have to look for the source of the conceptions which Neurath and his like have of Socialism: from the emergency measures which sprang out of war-time necessities and disappeared with them, they generalize a whole system, which appears to them as Socialism.

But to be honest I was thinking of money in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat (whatever the point is with not identifying this with the lower phase of communism). For the sake of argument we suppose it's a global workers' conquest of power and even then I believe it is uncontroversial (to the point of being a tautology) to say that with the duration of this period, money will still exist.

It's funny to see the SPGB accused of "hangovers from social democracy in both it's Kautskyist and Leninist varieties", when they side with Kropotkin (about no wage system in the transition phase towards full communism) and after all their manic repudiations of "state-socialism" (actually neither Kautsky or Lenin were state-socialists).

All this is empty talk though, if we can't even agree on Marx's analysis of money in capitalist society. Perhaps after I've finished translating Poznjakov's text against Hilferding, we can return to this (far from academic) point (though jura already said everything there is to say).

alb
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Feb 28 2012 08:29
Noa Rodman wrote:
It's funny to see the SPGB accused of "hangovers from social democracy in both it's Kautskyist and Leninist varieties", when they side with Kropotkin (about no wage system in the transition phase towards full communism) and after all their manic repudiations of "state-socialism" (actually neither Kautsky or Lenin were state-socialists).

At last we agree on something! To be accused of siding with Kropotkin and maniacally repudiating "state socialism" will advance the SPGB's street cred no end on this site. I think Spikymike might be guilty of this too.

But I wanted to challenge Spikymike on one point, when he suggests that the SPGB has "a very mechanical stages theory of change effectively managed by the workers party representatives on a nation by nation basis.". The SPGB is of course committed to the idea of workers forming a political party as a necessary means of winning control of political power, but does not see this party as something different from and above the working class but rather as the working class self-organised on a political basis. No doubt they will appoint delegates, including to enter law-making bodies, but the SPGB has always called these "messenger boys" who would be no different in principle from the delegates Spikymike presumably thinks workers councils should elect.

On the other point, I think the SPGB position is nearer to that of the "communizers" (even if rather more legalistic). Agreed, the world revolution will not take place on the same day all over the world, so for a period parts of the world will be under worker control and part still under capitalist control. Obviously money (whether gold-backed or not) would still exist in the capitalist areas. In the rest of the world, however, things would be "communized" straightaway and money, wages, etc disappear. This position, which I understand to be Spikymike's (and the "communizers'"), is quite different from Noa's which argues that money (gold-backed) should continue to exist also in areas under worker control.

Dave B
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Feb 28 2012 19:57

State socialism versus state capitalism.

I am not trying to muddy the waters here but for people like myself who share the Kropotkinist and William Morris ‘economic’ vision of communism.

All this stuff about labour vouchers, Deleonism, transitional phases, state capitalism, state socialism and well, ‘exchange’, through mediums of one sort or another; they are just different shades of the same thing.

As to;

Quote:
(actually neither Kautsky or Lenin were state-socialists

It might be a bit of a moot point as to whether VLADIMIR OULIANOFF (LENIN) was a ‘state socialist’ or not.

In the pamphlet THE CHIEF TASK OF OUR TIMES and The Political Forces & Currents Facing the Russian Revolution; quickly translated into English published and endorsed in 1918 by Sylvia’s; THE WORKERS' SOCIALIST FEDERATION, friends of Bolshevism, ‘state capitalism’ and ‘state socialism’ are used inter-changeably.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spopen/message/11620

As can be seen from the original, all the state socialism’s in Sylvia’s version where originally state capitalism’s.

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SAR18.html

It could of course have just been cleaned up without Lenin’s knowledge for the sake of the more discerning British socialists.

[I incidentally got it from a copy that was owned by the ‘Australian Trotskyist’, Baracchi, as he had his name stamped on it-and it was OCR-ed for me by a Trot who prefers to remain anonymous. ]

Not that pre-revisionist 1922 Trotskyism disagreed with the concept of Soviet Russia being state capitalism; and I am throwing this in as an example of ‘shades’.

The Tasks of Young Workers

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………this is explicable in part by an incomprehension of an expression frequently used by us, that we now have state capitalism. I shall not enter into an evaluation of this term; for in any case we need only to qualify what we understand by it. By state capitalism we all understood property belonging to the state which itself was in the hands of the bourgeoisie, which exploited the working class. Our state undertakings operate along commercial lines based on the market. But who stands in power here? The working class. Herein lies the principled distinction of our state ‘capitalism’ in inverted commas from state capitalism without inverted commas.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1922/youth/youth.htm

And following on from that; it is a little bit difficult to reconcile Kautsky’s opposition to ‘state socialism’ in the 1890’s to his ideas and support for nationalisation in the 1920’s.

It is probably more a case of a ‘turd by any other name would smell as sweet’ and having unfortunately dug himself into a hole, as far as nomenclature was concerned, 30 years earlier.

In reality as ALB pointed out ‘state capitalism’ was the accurate Kropotkinist perjorative for ‘state socialism’.

Kautsky was later hamstrung by not being able to use either term and in fact his post 1918 criticism of ‘Lenin’s state capitalism’ was conspicuously ‘muted’.

His gripe focusing on the ‘centralized state capitalism in a state without an effective democracy’, thus;

Karl Kautsky;Social Democracy versus Communism
4. Lenin and the Russian Revolution of 1917

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He now had in his hands all the instruments of repression which czarism had used, adding to these weapons also those instruments of oppression which the capitalist, as the owner of the means of production, uses against wage slaves. Lenin now commanded all the means of production, utilizing his state power for the erection of his state capitalism.

No form of capitalism makes the workers so absolutely dependent upon it as centralized state capitalism in a state without an effective democracy. And no political police is so powerful and omnipresent as the Cheka or G.P.U., created by men who had spent many years in fighting the czarist police, and knowing its methods as well as its weaknesses and shortcomings, knew also how to improve upon them.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1930s/demvscom/ch04.htm

On the non-economic and thus political Kropotkinism; perhaps prejudicially laid out by Hyndman thus;

Quote:
On another occasion we argued the matter of railways. “Do you seriously contend,” I urged, “that if it were of the greatest importance to construct a railway between two large and populous centres of industry, and the direct route lay through the land of a commune peopled by, say, a hundred persons, and that any other line would necessitate a detour of a couple of hundred miles, thus entailing enormous additional expense at the outset and the permanent daily cost of 200 miles of extra transport, you would consider that the two great cities ought to be held up and prevented from building this railroad because this handful of peasants objected?” “Oh, but they wouldn’t object.” “Yes, but if they did, how then?” And so we went on, Kropotkin admitting in the end that he would religiously respect the rights of this inconspicuous minority to obstruct progress. At a public meeting where one of our Social-Democratic comrades raised the same question about the railroad, and persisted in having a plain answer, it has always been stated that Krppotkin, nettled at the heckling he experienced, closed the discussion amid shouts of laughter by saying, “Damn the railroad!”

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

As ALB drew out in that link on Kropotkin that I had nor read before, I tend not read our own stuff.

I think Kropotkin did have the view that we were all basically social animals and would just at the end of the day all love each other and not act like bastards; hence there would never be a problem, at first.

Well even I, as a self confessed moralist and social instinct theorists, wouldn’t go that far.

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Noa Rodman
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Feb 28 2012 23:38
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it is a little bit difficult to reconcile Kautsky’s opposition to ‘state socialism’ in the 1890’s to his ideas and support for nationalisation in the 1920’s.

As Kautsky explains, capitalist democratic governments throughout history have nationalized branches of industry, and in times of war or crisis even the complete production. Fascist regimes also are fond of it. When a socialist regime nationalizes industry at one stroke, like in Russia, that obviously still does not benefit the proletariat, if there is no democracy. If you have an effective democracy (imagine a constituent assembly with socialist majority from the conscious workers), then you could socialize production, through among other things, nationalization, but contrary to the SPGB's catastrophic stroke of the pen, Kautsky believed indeed that you can't simply change modes of production like pulling a switch.

FWIW, after the war he didn't advocate nationalization as he thought that the war and it's aftermath settlement had quite rendered that impossible in Germany (not earning him any popularity among the immediate "communizers" for saying the obvious).

You say that his criticism of state capitalism (in dictatorial regimes) is muted so as to leave open the option of a democratic version of state capitalism, but there is such a thing as protesting too much. No doubt there are people who think Obama's state capitalist help to General Motors is the road to socialism, but these are the worries of the petty-bourgeoisie I imagine, not of workers with a brain in their head.

Dave B
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Feb 29 2012 19:58

On Kautsky I probably had these two in mind, although I read them a while ago and haven’t re-read them now so to speak.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch03_h.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1919/02/assembly.htm

The idea and attraction for capitalists of nationalisation or “socialisation” are several.

First of all it might not be that important for the capitalists of a state that the nationalised industry/service even make a profit, they can even make a loss, or provide no ‘revenue’ at all like national healthcare systems.

Providing that the products/services contribute to the general constant capital and even consumption fund and ‘necessary labour time’ of the workers of that state; then it lowers the ‘cost of production’ of general private capitalist production and thus benefits and transfers surplus value to the capitalist class as a whole.

Free healthcare means you can pay your workers less and make more profit.

It is just a bit of a bummer if ill US workers are skipping over the border into free Canada and state trained and paid for doctors, nurses and the cream of the Polish education system or the 'Brightest and best' emigrate.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17204297

Some industries are just best run as a monopoly eg transport, energy and water supply, despite the best and silly efforts to privatise them.

I don’t think Lenin at first, ie in 1917, had a vision of the total nationalisation of production and was at first just talking of banks etc.

I also can’t remember him ever criticising ‘state socialism’ for that matter but I don’t think I have read all of it.

In 1917 he certainly had no plan for introducing ‘socialism’ or for him.

Quote:
What is usually called Socialism ………… or lower phase of communist society.

http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/SR17.html

eg;

Quote:
They evade these specific issues by advancing pseudo-intellectual, and in fact utterly meaningless, arguments about a "permanent revolution", about “introducing” socialism, and other nonsense.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/jun/17.htm

And perhaps;

Quote:
8) It is not our immediate task to “introduce” socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/apr/04.htm

Not a lot different to Kautsky’s position.

It would appear from Lenin’s side of the debate that the likes of Bukharin were advocating the lower phase of communism or ‘introducing socialism’ which Lenin thought was bollocks.

And in fact Bukharin in early 1918 I think, taking the piss, wrote a favourable commentary of Lenin’s ‘THE STATE AND REVOLUTION’.

Which Lenin preferred to forget and references to it in his later material is conspicuous by it absence.

Lenin in fact, by introducing (state) capitalism after feudalism, was in fact being a good little ‘Menshevik’ and Marxist stage-ist and on that point was on more solid theoretical ground than Kautsky.

After all it is pretty difficult to theoretically pull back from the following position.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/jun/19.htm

And we are criticised in one breath as ‘parliamentary Kropotkinists’ for sending delegates to bourgeois democratic institutions because we will end up running capitalism.

And in another for wanting to abolish it immediately.

As to being bought off and compromised as soon as we cross the threshold well brilliant!

What better litmus test for how prepared we are for socialism than that, being able or not to select trustworthy delegates.

Actually Karl, as a disciple of Feuerbach, was a pre-Darwinian ‘all you need is love’ Kropotkinist before Kropotkin.

Kropotkin benefited from Darwin postulating that moralism may have an underlying material basis.

And Kropotkin and another scientist Anton Pannekoek ran with it.

Just by reading the content you can always seem to tell whether or not you are dealing with a scientist or not.

Not that I consider Geography as a proper science, but more of an imitation or attempt at it.

Darwin, C. R. 1871. The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray. Volume 1. 1st edition

Quote:
The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable—namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts,5 would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well developed, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them. The services may be of a definite and evidently instinctive nature; or there may be only a wish and readiness, as with most of the higher social animals, to aid their fellows in certain general ways.

But these feelings and services are by no means extended to all the individuals of the same species, only to those of the same association. Secondly, as soon as the mental faculties had become highly developed, images of all past actions and motives would be incessantly passing through the brain of each individual; and that feeling of dissatisfaction which invariably results, as we shall hereafter see, from any unsatisfied instinct, would arise, as often as it was perceived that the enduring and always present social instinct had yielded to some other instinct, at the time stronger, but neither enduring in its nature, nor leaving behind it a very vivid impression.

It is clear that many instinctive desires, such as that of hunger, are in their nature of short duration; and after being satisfied are not readily or vividly recalled. Thirdly, after the power of language had been acquired and the wishes of the members of the same community could be distinctly expressed, the common opinion how each member ought to act for the public good, would naturally become to a large extent the guide to action. But the social instincts would still give the impulse to act for the good of the community, this impulse being strengthened, directed, and sometimes even deflected by public opinion, the power of which rests, as we shall presently see, on instinctive sympathy. Lastly, habit in the individual would ultimately play a very important part in guiding the conduct of each member; for the social instincts and impulses, like all other instincts, would be greatly strengthened by habit, as would obedience to the wishes and judgment of the community. These several subordinate propositions must now be discussed; and some of them at considerable length.

5 Sir B. Brodie, after observing that man is a social animal ('Psychological Enquiries,' 1854, p. 192), asks the pregnant question, "ought not this to settle the disputed question as to the existence of a moral sense?" Similar ideas have probably occurred to many persons, as they did long ago to Marcus Aurelius. Mr. J. S. Mill speaks, in his celebrated work, 'Utilitarianism,' (1864, p. 46), of the social feelings as a "powerful natural sentiment," and as "the natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality;" but on the previous page he says, "if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason less natural." It is with hesitation that I venture to differ from so profound a thinker, but it can hardly be disputed that the social feelings are instinctive or innate in the lower animals; and why should they not be so in man? Mr. Bain (see, for instance, 'The Emotions and the Will,' 1865, p. 481) and others believe that the moral sense is acquired by each individual during his lifetime. On the general theory of evolution this is at least extremely improbable.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/darwin/descent/dom07.htm

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Noa Rodman
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Feb 29 2012 22:47
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And we are criticised in one breath as ‘parliamentary Kropotkinists’ for sending delegates to bourgeois democratic institutions because we will end up running capitalism.

And in another for wanting to abolish it immediately.

As to being bought off and compromised as soon as we cross the threshold well brilliant!

What better litmus test for how prepared we are for socialism than that, being able or not to select trustworthy delegates.

But why do you assume that this threshold (of a vast majority of workers wanting socialism sending delegates to parliament) would disappear once it goes through a transitional stage to communism? Surely if the proletariat can organize under capitalism to reach such a threshold, it can maintain it during the transition phase when it is the ruling class.

alb
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Mar 1 2012 11:07

Just finished reading Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Since it assumes capitalism will continue it reads like those books published in the 1960s that predicted that by now we'd be living in a world of abundance, working 20 hours a week, etc. But, that aside, it does bring out that, if free to be applied, modern and soon to be developed technology "has the potential to significantly raise the basic standard of living for every man, woman and child on the planet ... Abundance for all is actually within our grasp".

The authors quote Douglas Rushkoff, a media expert with CNN, as saying in a commentary on "Are Jobs Obsolete?":

Quote:
America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, there is enough food produced to provide everyone in the world with 2,720 kilocalories per person per day. And that's even after America disposes of thousands of tons of crop and dairy just to keep market prices high. Meanwhile, American banks overloaded with foreclosed properties are demolishing vacant dwellings to get the empty houses off their books.

Our problem is not that we don't have enough stuff -- it's that we don't have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

In short, as socialists have long said, the problem of production has been solved, it's distribution that capitalism can't solve.

The obvious answer is the application of "to each according to their needs". Yet the Noa's, the Pareconomists, the labour chit merchants of this world want to continue to tie consumption to work even after capitalism has supposedly been abolished wall

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Noa Rodman
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Mar 1 2012 13:51

Since Kliman brought up Hegel

Quote:
I have come to suspect that the very idea of “transitional society” is incoherent, and seems to stand in the way of thinking things through clearly. Hegel’s critique of the idea of gradualness in his book Science of Logic seems relevant here.

Hegel argues that we like to conceive of change as gradual in order to create a palpable image, “to make it possible almost to watch the disappearing with one’s eyes.” The change is thus supposedly reduced to the easily understood process of mere quantitative decay, withering away. Yet this image in fact explains nothing, since what requires explanation is the essential character of the change, which is not gradual quantitative decrease, but the “abstract transition of an existence into a negation of the existence.” Appeals to gradualness evade the need to explain this by assuming the problem away: “with the gradual disappearance of something, the non-being[,] or the other which takes its place[,] is likewise assumed to be [already] really there, but not yet observable, … not in the sense of being implicitly or ideally contained in the first something, but really there.”

though in the fine print adding:

Quote:
This does not mean that everything has to change all at once; I am not denying that some changes must be gradual.

Granted there is a higher productivity today compared to Marx's time, but I think that according to Hegel it would not make logical sense 1) to speak of a possibility increasing, 2) to draw (political) conclusions from the existence of a possibility (be it increased one) for communism, since potential is only know once it has been actualized, or something like the proof is in the pudding.

So when Kliman quotes Hegel, it can be read precisely as a critique of the idea of an immediate jump into communism: this idea assumes communism "to be [already] really there, but not yet observable, … not in the sense of being implicitly or ideally contained in the first something, but really there."

And do you really think that Marx and Engels saw the necessity for of a transitional period for the sole reason that capitalism was not productive enough yet in their days? I think I missed that argument.

In other news: Iran to Take Gold Payments From Trade Partners, Agency Says
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-29/iran-to-take-gold-payments-from-trade-partners-agency-says-2-.html

capricorn
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Mar 1 2012 16:02
Noa Rodman wrote:
And do you really think that Marx and Engels saw the necessity for of a transitional period for the sole reason that capitalism was not productive enough yet in their days? I think I missed that argument.

You certainly did.

Here's what they wrote in the Communist Manifesto in 1848:

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The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production 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.

And here's what Engels wrote in his draft for the manifesto now called Principles of Communism:

Quote:
In all probability, the proletarian revolution will transform existing society gradually and will be able to abolish private property only when the means of production are available in sufficient quantity.

Writing nearly 30 years later, Engels argued that in the meantime the forces of production had developed to this point, writing of the:

Quote:
industrial revolution which has raised the productive power of human labour to such a high level that – for the first time in the history of humanity – the possibility exists, given a rational division of labour among all, to produce not only enough for the plentiful consumption of all members of society and for an abundant reserve fund, but also to leave each individual sufficient leisure so that what is really worth preserving in historically inherited culture – science, art, human relations is not only preserved, but converted from a monopoly of the ruling class into the common property of the whole of society, and further developed. And here is the decisive point: as soon as the productive power of human labour has developed to this height, every excuse disappears for the existence of a ruling class.(The Housing Question, 1872)

And in 1878:

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The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties – this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here. (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, Engels’ emphasis)

Of course Engels thought that the working class still had to take political action to end the monopoly of the capitalist class over the means of production, but this "political transition period" (as Marx called it) could surely be got through all the quicker the more developed were the forces of production. I leave it to you to work out how long it would need to last given the development of the forces of production between 1878 and today.

You need to adjust your watch. It's now 20.12 not 18.48 or 19.17

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Mar 1 2012 17:21

I was trying to discuss Marx's analysis of money, which seems already academic enough to some, but leaving aside the cruder aspersions cast about me, I'm side-tracked by the apparently crucial difference separating me from the SPGB about the existence of a transition period, which I affirm and the SPGB finds outdated, yet they fault me for not believing that the transition can be carried out very quickly, a transition they think is superfluous!

Quote:
I leave it to you to work out how long it would need to last given the development of the forces of production between 1878 and today.

You need to adjust your watch. It's now 20.12 not 18.48 or 19.17

As long as it takes time, it's still a transition period, though they say time is money, so perhaps the SPGB wants to abolish time also now?

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Mar 4 2012 17:28

Here's the text by Poznjakov: http://libcom.org/library/hilferding-or-marx-v-poznjakov

But I would like to hear more about the SPGB's policy of abolishing time. Down with the old-fashioned second as the unit of measure!

alb
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Mar 5 2012 06:47

I haven't got the time to reply in detail but here's an article on "Marx in his Time" which explains how times have changed since his time.

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Mar 5 2012 13:54

did the division between countryside and city, between physical and mental labour, etc. diminish since his time?

alb
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Mar 7 2012 08:51
Noa Rodman wrote:
did the division between countryside and city, between physical and mental labour, etc. diminish since his time?

Yes.

capricorn
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Mar 7 2012 14:11

This site has just put up some interesting material on the money policy of the brief Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. Unfortunately it's all in French. Its Minister of Finance was Eugen Varga (who I think took Hilferding's position on paper money) who, according to the first document here, was committed to a policy of abolishing money by making it worthless through super-inflation.

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Mar 7 2012 17:13

I think what you mean perhaps is that there are less peasants and their independence from the town has decreased, so much so, that you can consider that the town has effectively swallowed the countryside. Only I assume that marxists would see this as a deepening of the division between to two. Or do you see the tendency reverse and expect that in the foreseeable future people will find employment in the countryside?

Also, how do you reconcile the increasing division of labour with a supposed decrease in the division between intellectual and manual labour?

I don't think you reject the dictatorship of the proletariat based on anything like a scientific analysis though. It would be more honest to say that you find the idea was wrong also in Engels's day and age (and why).

You have no disagreement with me that money would still exist in the transition period, which is what I am saying.

Dave B
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Mar 7 2012 20:20

As we are all Kropotkinists even Kropotkin thought circa 1905 that abundance was possible;

Ethics: Origin and Development By Peter Kropotkin CHAPTER I The Present Need of Determining the Bases of Morality

Quote:
For the first time in the history of civilization, mankind has reached a point where the means of satisfying its needs are in excess of the needs themselves.

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/ethics/ch1.html

Actually I personally would disagree with that and don’t think that situation came until a bit later, not an SPGB position.

[I have to keep saying that kind of stuff as I am open on my profile etc as to who I am etc. And I don’t know for instance what position Noa is coming from.]

Capitalism of course doesn’t produce abundance and we will automatically inherit that position.

What might be required in the 'transition phase' to produce the abundance that will be a potential at that stage, is some level of moneyless voluntary abstinence for probably the minority of the working population.

Most will see, especially as regards the future, an immediate and previously unbelievable improvement of their quality of life.

And yes I would be quite happy to go off to say Cuba and have the natives laugh at my pathetic attempts to cut sugar cane etc.

I have done that kind of thing before, as a holiday, and really enjoyed it.

alb
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Mar 8 2012 07:58

OK, let's see if we can keep this going to 200 replies.

Noa Rodman wrote:
I don't think you reject the dictatorship of the proletariat based on anything like a scientific analysis though. It would be more honest to say that you find the idea was wrong also in Engels's day and age (and why).

Insofar as Marx and Engels conceived of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as the period during which the working class exercises political power after it has won control of the state to abolish capitalism, the SPGB does not reject this. In fact, it is most of the others here who reject it! (It is true that we prefer not to use the term "dictatorship of the proletariat" because this is liable to be misunderstood, but we retain the concept.) What the SPGB does say is that, given developments since the time of Marx and Engels, this period doesn't have to last as long as they believed in the circumstances of their day that it would have to. Since it is hard to imagine that the working class, once it has gained control of political power, would allow the capitalist class to continue to monopolise the means of production for one minute, today this period need not last very long at all. Just as long as it takes to proclaim the means of production the common property of all under democratic control.

Noa Rodman wrote:
You have no disagreement with me that money would still exist in the transition period, which is what I am saying.

As long as we are agreed what the "transition period" was supposed to be in Marx's eyes, ie the period between the capture of political power by the working class and the establishment of even the early stages of communism (and not the transition between this and the higher stage). Yes, the immediate measures Marx and Engels and the others in the Communist League advocated in the (highly unlikely) event that the working class should have won power in 1848 (state bank, progressive income tax, etc) do imply that money would continue while the working class was, as their manifesto put it, "wresting control by degrees" of means of production from the capitalist class. But this would be not be communism. I can't think of any other word to describe it than state capitalism. Which in effect is what you are advocating.

But I understood you to be saying that money would continue to exist not just in this period but in the early stages of communism too.

Anyway, you have the honour of sending in the 200th reply.

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Noa Rodman
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Mar 8 2012 17:43

The reason why both a rejection of state-capitalism and the advocacy of dictatorship of the proletariat is insufficient, becomes clear (hopefully) in the long boring background I wrote to this text by Kautsky: http://libcom.org/library/correction-friederich-engels-karl-kautsky

alb
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Mar 9 2012 11:33

Thanks. Actually, I didn't find it boring, but yet another interesting example of the Bolshevik vilification of Kautsky in their bid to make him out to be the biggest renegade since Judas Iscariot. The people who run the Marxist Internet Archive eventually agreed to change a claim that Kautsky had voted for war credits in 1914 when I pointed out to them this wasn't the case (he was not even a member of the Reichstag and had in fact opposed this). For an SPGB assessment of Kautsky see his obituary in the Socialist Standard.

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Noa Rodman
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Mar 9 2012 16:29

Kautsky's critique of Luxemburg's and Weber's theory of money is in his magnum opus Die Materialistische Geschichtsauffassung (The Materialist Conception of History, 1927, 1808 p.) online here (chapters 8 and 9 in section 4 of book 4, Volume 2): http://www.archive.org/stream/DieMaterialistischeGeschichtsauffassung#page/n548/mode/1up