Re: (OPE-L) Re: Market socialism

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Thu Jul 29 2004 - 23:58:38 EDT

A few cranky points:
At 15:58 29/07/2004, Jerry wrote:
>Short comment: Stalin, at least during the industrialization debate,
>when he was aligned with Bukharin in the Right Opposition

Firstly, Stalin was not aligned with Bukharin in the Right Opposition. When
they were aligned, they were simply the CC majority. Further, to use the
term Right Opposition is to use Stalin's political spin. The Left
Opposition spoke of itself and issued statements as such; Bukharin and his
allies viewed themselves as continuing Lenin's policy and were labelled the
Right Opposition by Stalin as he adopted policies of the Left (in a way
that they themselves never contemplated).

>, also
>accepted the proposition that the continuation of the market was
>compatible with 'socialism'   or what was then referred to as the
>transitional period.  A relevant issue under debate at the time
>was whether the market in Soviet society would be a short-term concession
>as it was conceived by Lenin as part of the NEP (he, along with most
>of the Bolshevik leadership viewed the NEP and the 'return to the market'
>as a _temporary_ retreat from the goals of War Communism) or
>whether the market would be extended indefinately into the future within
>Soviet society as the platform of the Right Opposition, enunciated by
>Bukharin, seemed to suggest.

Insofar as there was a 'platform' of Bukharin and allies as distinct from
Stalin, it was his 1928 Pravda article, 'Notes of an Economist' and I don't
recall any 'indefinite' projection of the market into the future there-- it
was, though, an attack on overcentralisation, a call for moving toward a
'commune state' and, as had characterised his arguments of the mid-20s vs
Preobrazhensky, a stress on a healthy agriculture as the basis for
generating surpluses for investment in industry (i.e., a balanced growth
path). As for 'temporary', how long was that?
         in solidarity from caracas,

>/ In solidartity, Jerry (arrived in
>Gloucester from Isle of Shoals today.)
>---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
>Subject: Market socialism
>From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <>
>Date:    Tue, July 27, 2004 6:05 am
>Paul wrote:
>It is clear that Soviet authors like Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin and Stalin
>all saw some form of continuation of the market as being compatible with
>socialism. In this they continued the doctrines of their mentor Kautsky.
>But the effect of this was to project communism to a never-nervier land, a
>receding mirage of material plenty, obscuring the question of the social
>relations necessary for communist economic forms to arise.
>That's not true in the case of Stalin, who declared in the mid-1930s that
>socialism had been achieved, and therefore that the transition to
>communism had effectively begun. I think you are correct that the concept
>of socialism which the Russian revolutionaries had, was based on "second
>international Marxism" (state ownership of the means of production), but
>the substantive issue is that in socialist thought the relationship of
>planning, markets, ownership rights and democracy was not theorised
>adequately. The most pernicious myths are that there there exists
>something like "the market", although there are many different types of
>(possible) markets, and that there exists only one kind of socialism,
>although there are many different kinds of (possible) socialisms, as Marx
>himself knew very well (cf. Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution:
>Vol 4: The Critique of Other Socialisms). In his book Political Economy of
>Socialism, Makoto Itoh ably discusses this topic, although he more or less
>ignores the Western socialist literature on democracy and bureaucracy.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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