[OPE-L:1313] Re: Political economy of socialism

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Tue Sep 21 1999 - 17:15:21 EDT


Herewith a few comments on your theses.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jurriaan Bendien <djjb99@worldonline.nl>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 9:33 PM
Subject: [OPE-L:1310] Political economy of socialism

> 1. It's a law of human psychology that you cannot achieve a goal unless
> you can clearly specify what it is.

I am not sure what you mean by a 'law of human psychology' in this context,
or in general. It is my personal belief that many goals are only approached
and indeed specified iteratively. This is one of the grounds for criticism
of the Instrumental Rationality assumption that underlies most orthodox

> 2. If socialism is conceived as an achievable goal (not just a movement),
> it must be clearly specified so we can plot the steps towards it.

Socialism, imo, is more like a movement than a final goal. The shape of
future social organisation is intrinsically unknowable; socialism doesn't
exist ready formed out there in the future waiting for us to arrive. What it
is and what we want it to be will be forged only in the many struggles
against the clearly specifiable systemic ills of contemporary social

> 3. Socialism as a goal has not been clearly specified either at the
> national or international level so far by Marxists internationally so far,
> despite some brilliant attempts by individuals.

Long may these attempts inspire us - but not mislead us!

> 4. Because socialism as goal has not been clearly specified, (a) it has
> been unclear what the realistic/feasible alternative to capitalism is,

It will only become clear as we struggle against the iniquities of
> 5. The critique of capitalism is inadequate unless socialists can specify
> what the socialist alternative concretely would amount to.

I strongly disagree. As Ian Steedman has argued, revolutionary criticism has
its own logic and its own justification.

Good luck with your PC!

Comradely greetings,


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Feb 27 2000 - 15:27:09 EST