I have come to advocate simply deleting the Bolshevik, even the Marxist legacy, a less drastic resolution than it might seem. This fascinating article is however a reminder that no matter how many times I try to get the Bolshevik case straight, I fail and stand corrected by a new book, research or recalculation. I have thus learned the hard way that the post-Marx era leading into the era of Bolshevism is impossible to get straight. One must find a project to realize in the present, having started over.
One will do better to let it slide into the black hole that it is and to try and find a new set of categories along socialist lines. In fact this experience soon extends to the figures of Marx and Engels whose brilliant work belies the fact that they got mostly everything wrong (and a lot of things right). A core issue is Marx’s view of history and the useless historical materialism. The historical myth of feudalism, capitalism communism has confused every generation and is patently inaccurate and mythological. The idea that a Marxist group will rewrite culture using historical materialism is a futile hope, and looking closely see that socialism never gets off the ground, and that Bolshevism is mostly a distraction.
So what to do? It should suddenly work to take specific models and see how they might be realized. The idea of socialism is too abstract. But the moment we go from one-term systems to more specific constructions the whole past fantasy world of socialism starts to take form, finally.
The idea of democratic market neo-communism is an example. Suddenly the reality of a socialist, or here ‘neo-communist’ construct springs to life, because we have abandoned useless abstractions and moved to ask how we can realize a given model under the axioms of expropriation. This is not the reformist/revolution debate although that remains relevant: or model offers two interpretations, one for reformist, one for revolutionaries. You can have congress that could expropriate private property, or a revolution to top down our DMNC. In each case the core option is the lesson programmer’s learn: remorph what you have incrementally and then debug it. Here we start with a liberal system and remorph it into a neo-communism. That’s more than reformism, a different issue.
The point is that Marxism has made the whole subject impossibly complicated and dependent on an elite proposing to decipher Marx and then Lenin.
Our DMNC could be realized in a short period of time and be functional with a decent economy and political system. It is the recipe approach, not theory abstractions. We might just forget Marx and Lenin, and start to get practical.
Socialists have rightly taken inspiration from the Russian Revolution for generations, but many of the lessons drawn from it are wrong for our own time. To make change today, we need to take democratic socialism seriously as a theory and practice.
One more post on Cuba. First, do not trust the US. The US destroyed your economy with sanctions to prove that socialism doesn’t work. That’s a fraud plus, and a crime against cuban humanity. Who am I to advise anyone. But the powers that be are so stupid that even with a few points of mental X plus, I come out ahead, stupid, but less so. But the real issue here is finding some exit strategy that is better than capitalism or communism. No matter how hard they try Cubans will still be exploited by ye old Yankees. The double problem here is that capitalism will prove a debt trap, you have to borrow money while the older communism is run by an older marxism that is a monopoly of hopeless idiots. I have been suggesting a new model, DMNC, for several years, but the powers that be control larger opinion, where a blogger as here can’t really get past ten thousand readers a year and stay honest. Throw in Darwin critique and you are de facto censored. Note then that solutions exist, but the elite is far too stupid to get out of a rut, and the capitalist obsession makes it impossible. A simple set of answers exist but they won’t get past the brain-dead capitalist and/or pseudo-communist thugs/elites.
Cubans lost sixty years to pseudo-communism. They should have been a thriving socialism by now. What could work is the kind of hybrid we suggest that is planned, neo-communist, with a new kind of market, the socialist market, They can license resources to socialist entrepreneurs and thrive, with a system tries to harmonize opposites. But the current elites are too far in the past to remedy anything. Noone can give any advice. Scholars, journalists, who to say of politicians, can’t advise you, left or right. Economists can’t advise you: neoclassic economics is an outright fraud. Note that China sailed just past our DMNC model and then didn’t brake. The result was super fast development and otherwise a hopless mess, and dangerous types who think nothing of mass murder. So forget China.
But Cuba should stay on top of its prior expropriation and create a hybrid planned market system. But the elite pseudo-communists have to create democracy of some kind and they can’t be trusted on that. But sill it is possible for another hybrid: in one version we had a four party state:: a congress or parliament of three parties and a fourth party of a communist party also a presidential party. It is job is to guard the Commons. This fourth party is a sort of thought experiment in the duality democracy/authority. The latter is too tricky perhaps, but a useful exercise. Its members can never own property and must be a dedicated elite and one that can cede powers to the larger. That of course they will never do, perhaps. There are several variants. But the American rebs, with a sneaky elite in the background, ceded power to a constitutional succession. So who knows. It is a bad situation for mankind. You can’t trust politicians, you can’t trust communists, you can’t trust capitalists, you can’t trust the Pope or Christian control freaks, you can’t trust economists. So you are on your own. I fear the communist power elite in Cuba is too far gone to figure the way out. And the capitalist hyaenas are ready and waiting.
The point here is that answers are possible, but no one in the usual circles can figure out what they doing. This kind of system needs and international, but the confusions possible mount.
Poor old Fox news: boilerplate against socialists sounds more and more hollow. The Foxers were right until history slips away, and leaves capitalism high and dry. Socialism is suddenly starting to look inevitable, as long as Marxists don’t wreck the last chance. But the force of reactionary strongholds isn’t going to go away based on reason. The strange and tragic damage done by an idiot such as Trump has brought out in the open a US one didn’t quite knew existed. Trumpism is breaking new record for ‘hopeless idiocy’ in denouncing vaccination. Our DMNC model is just that, a model, but one that could work the first day. Marxsm is completely stuck on an obsolete version of pseudo-communism
Anti-government protests broke out Sunday in Cuba demanding freedom and calling on an end to the country’s communist dictatorship, and yet some of the U.S.’s most outspoken Democratic socialists seem to be in lockstep by not acknowledging the historic events unfolding on the island about 90 miles from Florida.
I have often been supportive but critical of Cuba’s communism.
In fact, as we can see Cuba wasn’t what we thought it was.
Another Marxist fraud protected by propaganda and sentimental leftists.
We have over and over again suggested the need for a new post-Marxist approach.
Our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ (as ecosocialism) allows a new path to
experimental socialist construction that can actually produce a decent economy
and bypasses the hopeless jackknife effect of ‘communism’ and ‘(liberal/capitalist) democracy’.
This model is only that, but it has the strength that if ordinary liberal capitalism can work then
this new system should also work. Cuba is still another casualty of marxist idiots. The resolution is
utterly simple, perhaps too simple but easily extended with new legal systems, checks and balances and the fundamentals
of expropriation… The effect of planning and socialist markets is almost overkill: but this approach take of the possibilities and
asks us to unite a complete set of opposites in one system
Our DMNC may well have its own flaws (we used it, again today, scroll down, to critique standard left vacuum models): but the point is that marxists and leftists (viz. alpert and the chomskians) have no real plan for a socialist future: the idea is that if enough people who call themselves socialists, take over with a revolution, then their magic mantra will solve all the problems of socialist construction. Continue reading “DMNC taken critically, but still able to work day one…”→
Can a good economy have central planning, markets, or any combination of the two, and also have self management, solidarity, equity, classlessness. We find that the answer is no. We must find a different approach for allocation.
We linked to this already today and it is invaluable to have a critique by someone like Mandel of the trend toward ‘market socialism’ that arose in the wake of the ‘calculation debate’ ignited by Von Mises and which was critiqued by a whole series of socialist counterarguments in what seems in retrospect something of a stalemate. A good example of the genre is:
The Economics of Feasible Socialism Alec Nove
It is interesting that Mandel attempts to argue with Nove, not Mises, et al.
But I have to wonder if anyone has arrived at answers here but overall the capitalists claim to have won the argument and we have lived in neoliberal land since the time of Hayek et al, who spring directly form the Misean attack, which was a timely (1921) counterattack in the context of the Russian revolution which coincided with this introduction of the whole, partly sophistical but also in part cogent, Misean argument about markets. Mandel’s excellent critique of the socialist responses to Mises, viz. market socialism. Given the nature of Mises’ prediction and the outcome of bolshevik economic madness/idiocy, it is not surprising that socialists have been on the defensive, and almost nettled by the play of sophistries. That neo-classical economic theory deserves an equal share of critique, if not ridicule, but clarity tends to be lost in the confusion of debate (mastery of the field with its mathematical confusions is almost impossible using the texts of the subject, cf. e.g. Krugman/Wells and their college textbook(s) ). That equilibrium theory was in part the invention of socialists is a further irony. It is fair to say that all parties are confused to some degree. But a defense of planning by Mandel is entirely apt in the seeming partial rout that produced so many leftist students of market socialism.
The scale of the problem is mind-numbing:
How many small businesses are there?In 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses, and 18,500 firms with 500 employees or more. Over three-quarters of small businesses were nonemploy-ers; this number has trended up over the past decade, while employers have been relatively flat (figure 1). https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf
To bring planning to this is an olympian task.
A pioneer in the computational economics sphere is Cockshott’s classic: Toward a New Socialism
Our own view is a mixture of paired opposites: our ecological socialist ‘Democratic Market Neo-communism’. This perspective says that we must do four or more things at once:
resolve the political question, resolve the market/planning question and resolve the nature of expropriation, demanded from the revolutionary (or even electoral) left: the creation of a Commons, which is different from state capitalism.
Our model does not fully resolve the economic question but creates a mixture of both planning and market sectors that can construct a new form of communist system where markets coexist with planning, but with post-capitalist corporations that license resources from the Commons. Properly realized such a mixed system has a larger potential than one pole of the dilemma. We can see a broad field of planned economics, and a parallel field of modified market entities. And a possible third ‘anarchist sector’ below an indifference threshold allowing small scale entities free to do as they please. The mixed system as noted is like a reserve genome of social dna and moves into the future but still preserves its historical forms (in the third sector). This system is different from market socialism.
It is a seemingly contradictory/dialectical combination of opposites that must mediate themselves with checks and balances, and experimental trials of potential solutions. Noone has that solution yet.
The nature of an international remains as a further challenge where this DMNC model attempts first a ‘socialism’ in one country and doesn’t as such or at first attempt the immense problem of global system which would immediately become a reverse socialist imperialism (??).
It is hard to know exactly how this would play out but we must suspect that its strong control mixed with flexibility could stage the kinds of experiments that would evolve to a solution the problem that has bedeviled the left from the time of Marx. Failure to define some kind of workable system has put the socialist left into the limbo it finds itself in.
But the situation is rapidly changing: the claimed victory, in part sophistical, of the Misean wing and the neo-liberals is proving pyrrhic: we now face the reality even if we can’t solve the problem of socialist economics we will have to anyway: the capitalist system is producing devastation and will end by destroying a planet. And the further peculiar situation has arise of rightist/fascist/ irrationalism that simply denies the issue of climate calamity on its way: the ideological hold of capitalist ideology is proving to be a form of near psychosis. So we have to trot out the whole flea market of socialist ‘told you so’ but still clunky economic ‘solutions’ to postcapitalist inevitability.
The ecological DMNC is designed to be able to remorph a liberal system into a (neo-) communist (we can hardly use old terminology of Chinese, North Korean, etc, monstrosities monopolize the terms) one and then proceed with enough probable viability to start to allow thence experimental upgrades, a sort of permanent revolution. It is not simple matter to deal with such complexity even if we begin to suspect that the planning option has some resolution, viz. technological, computational, and soon AI angles of attack.
Our solution with three sectors (and a double political system with both democracy and strong presidential authority, the latter however a revolutionary party to guard the Commons,but few other powers) (cf our various manifestos) allows both centralization and distributed powers of economic control and let go, and while it remorphs a liberal system is also open to many of the goals of classic left discourse, e.g. worker cooperatives, etc… But in a Commons worker cooperatives can control but not own the resources they use, etc…
This kind of system can start immediately, today/tomorrow and then inch its way forward.
It has strong control and an anarchic side, planning and a new kind of market, ecological imperatives and associated ecological courts and law and many possible versions of ’emergency mode’ alternates. It must satisfy the demand for a robust economic populism with economic rights to employment, health care, housing, etc…
Noone has found a solution to the economic question but this DMNC can with confidence stage a beginning evolution that is functional day one toward a more sophistical outcome.
Noone has won the arguments here and we can’t expect to be able to fully resolve but we do have a plan/procedure and revolutionary (or evolutionary) project to set in motion, one that can reconcile many opposites in a pressure cooker of social equalization moving from the relative starting point of mixed opposites…
Better yet our DMNC, or ‘democratic market neo-communism’, takes up the slack in the idea and takes it beyond ‘state control’ to ….state control of another kind. Our model contains a basic Commons which is not as such open to ‘state’ control in the usual sense: it is something that pertains/belongs to everyone in the context of a diverse state structure consisting of a presidency that guards that Commons and neo-communist constitution, a parliament/congress, ecological and economic courts, a planned/market set of sectors (and another third low level sector, check out our manifestoes). If we are going to nationalize anything we should go the whole way and nationalize/communalize everything large scale, that is expropriate the full range of capital, leaving a threshold lower level to its own devices. We should be clear here that nationalization would lead to ‘state capitalism’ and that has a complex and debatable history. We must create a new set of checks and balances in the context of such ‘national capitalism’ and we call that the Commons. https://www.dropbox.com/home/Public?preview=Two+Manifestos+version+2.pdf
Nonetheless, the nationalization concept/nexus shows us that it is in principle possible to move via evolutionary politics toward our DMNC, although that at first seems unlikely. But the era of total chaos is almost here and we can see that evolutionary/revolutionary paths could merge as one.