Fwd: [OPE] Advice to a postgrad (Thomas More Relies to market socialism)

From: Doğan Göçmen (dogangoecmen@aol.com)
Date: Wed Jul 02 2008 - 15:18:43 EDT


> I think you do not do much justice to Bolsheviks. If you study carefully

> October Revolution and what Lenin and Bolsheviks tried to you may find

> that they never intended to come into power as the sole party. Other

> Parties including Mensheviks rejected to join. Only Social

> Revolutionatries and that did not last long at all - the split between

> the right wing and left wing Social Revolutionaries was the result. (See

> E. H. Carr)


"As far as I understand it the Bolsheviks very quickly banned other

political parties (1918)."


    No, before it comes to the takeover of the political power by Bolsheviks 

    (and Social Revolutionaries) and to the developments after they came into power

    there are preludes right from the beginning of the Year, say, after February revolution.

    One of the first measures the interim government put forward was the ban of Bolsheviks. 

    Remember that Lenin and many other Bolshevik leaders had to leave the country and many 

    others escape into illegality. In this interim government all parties except Bolsheviks

    were involved - including Mensheviks. 

> To the rest you say below I have nothing to say but this: to understand

> that "market socialism" a contradiction in terms (socialism is the

> negation of market relations as such) you have to pose the question

> about the very nature of exchange relations. Hobbes defined them as war

> of all against all. Smith defines them as power relations and so

> on......... Marx and Engels followed this line of thought. I repeated

> many time on this list. To understand what market relations are (they

> are relations of mutual negation, whereas socialism is about

> establishing of social relations of mutual recognition) one has to study

> very carefully the first chapter of the first volume of Capital. So

> market socialism is nonsense, nothing but nonsense.

"I understand quite well the Hegelian basis for the desire to overcome

market relations, abolish the fetish of money, and enter a higher-stage

of community in which the essence of our species-being finds its true form.

Let's say that you and I share this goal."

    The point is not whether there is a Hegelian basis or not. Rather the

    question is what the sense of life is, why there is a social life. Smith 

    said that the sense of life is recognition. All of us are strive for 

    recognition with all their individual qualities and qualifications. 

    Recognition however can only be recognition by others. In other words 

    it can take place only in society. To develop our qualities and qualifications,

    to fulfil our projects our needs (bodily as well as intellectual) must be satisfied.

    So the sense of social life is the fulfilment of all needs of all members 

    according to the means that are available. The point is therefore how establish a 

    society in which we can regard one another as our second selves, that is, as our 

    comrades and help one another to fulfil one another's life project.

"Now how do we get there?

If your answer is "as soon as workers take power" then you must offer

some thoughts on how we will organize production without money and

markets. Don't say that "the working class will work this out

collectively during their revolutionary transformation" because I am a

member of the working class and I'm trying to work it out now -- so any

help is appreciated.

Also, your characterization of money and markets as "relations of mutual

negation" does not make much sense to me. Essence and form are

necessarily related in Hegelian metaphysics. The form that social labour

has taken (well before the arrival of capitalism) is exchangeable money.

So money necessarily reflects something about the essence of social

being, however limited and partial. Let's add to this consideration the

empirical fact that the technology of money and markets has been an

enormous stimulus to human advancement (and also well before the arrival

of capitalism) then one begins to wonder whether socialism, that is the

first stage towards higher communism, is really "the negation of market

relations as such". I wonder whether socialism is really about the

abolition of the wage-capital relation, i.e. capitalism. Maybe you are

trying to run before we can walk?"

    You find the answer to this questions in the first chapter of the first 

    volume of Capital.  Your theory of money is very problematic. 

    Please read again the first volume.



Doğan Göçmen

Author of The Adam Smith Problem:

Reconciling Human Nature and Society in

The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations,

I. B. Tauris, London&New York 2007




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