Anarchism / Marxism debates

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Tue Aug 17 09:32:04 PDT 1999


>>Currently I'd support a democratic plan a la Albert and Hahnel.
>I'm a bit mystified by all these utopian blueprints. It's not like
>there's going to be a revolution in the U.S. or any other OECD
>country where everything will be changed overnight. (Anyone who
>thinks there is, please provide an imaginable scenario.) Seems to me
>you push where you can - more unionization, more worker control of
>the workplace, more socialization of consumption and investment (free
>day care, education, health care, etc.), more democratic forms of
>land use planning, regulatory and other constraints on corporate
>power, what Diane Elson calls "socialization of the market" (opening
>up corporate pricing and other strategies, attacks on intellectual
>property rights, popularly controlled financial institutions),
>attacks on the discipline of money (minimum incomes, etc.).... The
>point would be not only to improve people's lives, but to give them
>more confidence and capacity to improve them in the future. After a
>few generations of that, who knows where we'd end up?

I'd support everything you mentioned too. It doesn't have to be one or the other, does it? I realize we are a long way from a socialist society. But I still think its useful to know where you ultimately want to end up. Maybe that's a quibble - incremental changes are obviously good.

Anyway, I don't think this kind of stuff (the Hahnel/Albert model or similar thought experiments) is "utopian," unless you consider socialism itself to be utopian. If capitalism is so bad that it needs replacing, some social form will have to take its place - something real. It won't be perfect, just better. In my view this means a more democratic, egalitarian society. But what does such a society look like? This is what Albert and Hahnel have tried to address, and I like what they've come up with.


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