Re: [OPE] market - and other kinds of - socialism

From: howard engelskirchen <>
Date: Wed May 04 2011 - 14:31:21 EDT

Of course, Jerry, knowing and doing form a complicated feedback loop. Your
point is well taken. The form of presentation in my previous post is
excessively simple. But it can be richly filled out, I think.

Also, no one should assume that the material separations of capitalism can
be overcome while existing technology and the dynamic driving it get left in
place. The "fundamental revolution in the mode of production" Marx referred
to in the passage I quoted (from Value, Price and Profit, incidentally)
means fundamental technological change. If you presuppose material
relations of separation, the technical problems of associated control will
seem insurmountable -- and no doubt in fact they are.

But neither are we obliged to start with the assumption that our aspirations
for socialism must be made to fit material relations that reproduce capital.
Pretty clearly common control of production by associated producers will not
find substantial let alone full completion without a new and socialist
industrial revolution.

We start where we are. Lenin reminds that optimism and pessimism have class
bases. We will not find our way to revolutionary optimism where we cling to
the conviction that capital's separations are forever.


----- Original Message -----
From: "GERALD LEVY" <>
To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 7:15 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE] market - and other kinds of - socialism

>> So we can break this down into two steps:
>> First task -- interpret the world: find out how it is that capitalism
>> reproduces itself -- what are the underlying mechanisms, what accounts
>> most basically for capital's ability to maintain itself as what it is;
>> what is it that it must preserve in order to adapt to changes in its
>> environment?
>> Second task -- change the world: those features of social life that
>> account for the reproduction of capital must be changed and we must
>> keep changing them until the task is carried through to the end.
> Howard:
> THe process of changing the world, though, leads to new interpretations
> of the world and their acceptance by workers. Indeed, that's how
> revolutionary
> and socialist consciousness will come to a large % of the masses: their
> experience
> in struggle changing the world will lead to them changing their
> conceptions of
> the world and what is required to change it. So, I don't think it's a two
> step sequential process.
> We should understand that building socialism is also a process of
> 'learning
> by doing' and hence must be thought of in practice as an adaptive social
> process. I.e. mistakes will be made, lessons will be learned, and praxis
> will change. We have to support the right of workers to not only make the
> decisions related to how socialism is organized in practice but we also
> have to support their right to make what in our opinion might be mistakes
> and to learn for themselves in the process of making mistakes. Of course,
> if we think a policy is misguided we should say so, but ultimately we have
> to support the right of the majority to make decisions and learn from it.
> What is socialism if it is not genuine, social self-determination?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

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Received on Wed May 4 14:31:57 2011

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