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

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Thu May 05 2011 - 09:06:52 EDT

I think you oversimplify. Social democratic parties, or significant portions of them, have at certain historical periods been serious about socialism. There is anyway, outside of the Jungles of India, no real difference between Communist and Social Democratic parties in their basic mode of operation, they both participate in elections, both link to the trades unions, and both organise legal and orderly protests.
But without a party that stands publicly for elections and gets a significant vote, there is, in a parliamentary state, no constitution of the workers as political 'party' in the old sense, and thus as a class. As soon as such a party starts standing for election the issue arises as to what its economic programme will be.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of GERALD LEVY
Sent: 05 May 2011 02:57
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] market - and other kinds of - socialism

> Howard, this sort of abstentionism only makes sense where the working class does not
> have a communist or social democratic party that seriously contends for power.

Hi Paul C:

Well, where a social democratic party seriously contends for power, they aren't
also proposing a socialist alternative because they don't seek socialism but
rather social reform under capitalism. As for mass communist parties which are
seriously contending for power, well, that really shortens the list! Not sure
where you have in mind, but I do know it doesn't currently include either Scotland
or the USA!

In any event, aren't we in favor of the working class having power rather than
merely a 'vanguard party' which claims to represent the interests of the
working class? One of the lessons which we should have drawn from the history
of the XXth Century is that if an elite governs in the name of the working
class then this means that the interests of the working class, which include
self-rule, are not well represented. We shouldn't be in favor of any vision
of socialism, imo, in which the working class is ruled OVER.

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Thu May 5 09:07:46 2011

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