the state and socialism

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the state and socialism

Post by 4thsupporter on Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:33 pm

I decided to make this thread because i have taken notice to the fact that economic systems are discussed quite a bit but our ideas on how the state should be run are almost non-exsistent (and i view these as equally important)

To start things off ill state my views on the subject: I am anti-athoritarian and reject all forms off direct state managment i.e state socialism, i believe that socialism is democratic in nature and i do favor a council based democracy,(ill avoid an in depth description on the set up of such councils for now) though i do not consider myself a libertarian socialist or anarchist and view the need for these councils to function as a state ( here i am almost exclusivly refering to the orginization of defenses and law, as decentralization on a stateless level will lead to problems when dealing with such issues in my opinion, though i do see stateless society to be fesible in the long run)i do favor decentralization, as centralization in he past has not worked in a favorable manner.

I am hoping for contibution from the anarchists(as small as there numbes may be on the forum) and, of course anyone who wishes to contibute to the discussion.

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Re: the state and socialism

Post by DSN on Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:15 pm

I reject the labels of "authoritarian" and "libertarian" when it comes to socialism. The state is an instrument for the oppression of one class by another to keep class antagonisms under control, so it is, by nature, authoritarian. On the other side of the story, we call it libertarian in the sense that it is run by the majority as opposed to a small number of people who have full control over everyone's lives, but the dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean dictatorship over the proletariat, it is the suppression of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat. Unless I'm missing something, Lenin clearly stated that the vanguard party under the DotP would be a number of different people hired by the people to carry out certain tasks which would eventually become the tasks of the wider population.

¶17 We ourselves, the workers, will organize large-scale production on the basis of what capitalism has already created, relying on our own experience as workers, establishing the strictest, iron discipline supported by the state power of the armed workers; we will reduce the role of the state officials to that of simply carrying out our instructions as responsible, revocable, modestly paid "foremen and bookkeepers" (of course, along with technicians of all sorts, types and degrees). This is our proletarian task, this is what we can and must start with when the proletarian revolution is accomplished. Such a beginning, on the basis of large-scale production, will of itself lead to the gradual "withering away" of all bureaucracy, to the gradual creation of an order--an order without quotation marks, an order bearing no resemblance to wage slavery-- an order under which the functions of control and accounting, becoming more and more simple, will be performed by each in turn, will then become a habit and will finally die out as the special functions of a special section of the population.


Reading The State and Revolution I fail to see why people constantly throw the authoritarian label at anyone who isn't an anarchist, and find it even more difficult to understand why people identify as authoritarian socialists/communists themselves. If someone could help me understand what makes Marx or Lenin anymore authoritarian than an anarchist on the question of organisation and power during the DotP in a transition to communism then I'd be willing to listen.

It should be borne in mind that this letter refers to the party programme which Marx criticized in a letter dated only a few weeks later than the above (Marx's letter is dated May 5, 1875), and that at the time Engels was living with Marx in London. Consequently, when he says “we” in the last sentence, Engels undoubtedly, in his own as well as in Marx's name, suggests to the leader of the German workers' party that the word “state” be struck out of the programme and replaced by the word “community”.

What a howl about “anarchism” would be raised by the leading lights of present-day “Marxism”, which has been falsified for the convenience of the opportunists, if such an amendment of the programme were suggested to them!

Let them howl. This will earn them the praises of the bourgeoisie.

And we shall go on with our work. In revising the programme of our Party, we must by all means take the advice of Engels and Marx into consideration in order to come nearer the truth, to restore Marxism by ridding it of distortions, to guide the struggle of the working class for its emancipation more correctly. Certainly no one opposed to the advice of Engels and Marx will be found among the Bolsheviks. The only difficulty that may perhaps arise will be in regard to the term. In German there are two words meaning “community”, of which Engels used the one which does not denote a single community, but their totality, a system of communities. In Russian there is no such word, and we may have to choose the French word “commune”, although this also has its drawbacks.
Lenin - The State and Revolution (Chapter 4, Letter to Bebel)

It seems to me as though Lenin mainly criticised anarchists for their supposed misunderstanding of Marxism and the state as opposed to their actual methods (with the exception of decentralisation, which he argued was not as efficient as centralisation). Anyway, I'm not claiming to be an expert on Lenin's theories, but this is what I've come to understand from reading this piece.

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