what does chaz want? (was anarchism/marxism)

rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Sun Aug 22 12:59:29 PDT 1999

from the previous post, i'd written:

>>marx does have a very important insistence against utopian blueprints.
... but a question to those advocating planning as integral to marxism/communism: doesn't this assume that the problem with capitalism is the anarchic character of its production decisions? but, is it anarchic? surely, the aim of production in a marxist conception is surplus value -- not very anarchic there. and, without holding fast to this, isn't there the danger of transforming our versions of communism into a planned capitalism?<<

only jim h answered the question, but this was done by a slippage between surplus and surplus value. the distribution of surplus value became the issue, not surplus value itself. that looks to me like an advocacy for the state to plan capitalism.

the rest, below, consists of a series of ways of evading that question.

yoshie wrote:

> Why should "planning" assume "a transparency"?

because the ability to plan presupposes a knowledge of that which is to be planned, and in order for a plan to be effective, that knowledge must be complete. complete knowledge is transparency. if some marxist, as has chaz, posit the alternatives 'socialist planning' versus the 'anarchy of capitalism', then implicit in this is a notion of planning for the satisfaction of desires and wants. my question, ongoing, is according to this schema, who/what is the vehicle or instrument of planning that is capable of knowledge or, granting transparency, that should be acquainted with such complete knowledge?

> That "desires are not always transparently known" doesn't entail the
conclusion you seem to be reaching for: "there is no social and individual need and desire that can be reasonably predicted and planned for."<

you've reached for this conclusion, not me. in fact, that, as you know, is a simple ploy, since i doubt very much that you yourself even believe it. you've deployed an even more global account of non-transparency than even i ever claimed here and one that i disputed: recall your claim that self-criticism isn't possible precisely because of this opacity. so, let's not play too many games.

carrol, presumably because of his own unexplored desires, goes on the same frolic. then again, if his desires are at all planned, i guess he's just back to being an asshole.

> there is no need to psychoanalyze why we might want toilet paper, is

why does shitting always seem to be the final resort of a bedrock version of needs? yet, as you also know, i wasn't claiming a need to psychoanalyse every need and desire. i was insisting that a) needs and desires cannot be fully and transparently known, hence planned; and b) even if this is not the case, then there is still the question of who or what is that which takes on the role of planner. so, even if (a) is not right, then (b), the assertion that planning is something we should aspire to still assumes a body or institution which takes on the role of ascertaining a knowledge of needs and desires in order to be able to either determine or influence them or, alternately, to set them aside by force. all this, of course assumes that needs and desires are social and historical, including the fact that you wipe your bum with toilet paper.

the postwar planner states of most western countries took on precisely these kinds of tasks, and not very well i should add, perhaps thankfully; but the aspiration for planning itself amongst some marxists (and all social democrats) stems from an ideological convergence between certain responses to the experiences of the 1929 crash (the beliefs that capitalism is, by definition, chaotic or that capitalism is, by definition, the market) and a theory of the party as a state-in-waiting, which, unlike the masses, really knows the real.

>> but, whether you accept the psychoanalytic claim of a certain
non-transparency, the question of _what_ is constituted as the planner of wants remains. and, if it is the state, then we are truly in the >> realm of (at least as an aspiration toward) a state authoritarianism as an apparent alternative to the 'invisible hand' authoritarianism of capital.<<

> That someone wants trains run on time (i.e. well planned) shouldn't
make him an aspiring "authoritarian," I must add.<

yes, yes, trains and nazism... which raises the whole issue of whether your problem with the above is that of certain obstacles to efficiency or what? that's a whole other thread. the problem here, if you'd actually like to take a shot at that, is _what_ gets constituted as that which plans? is your (and chaz's) answer to this the state or what? for aspiring-orthodox marxists, you both seem to be a little shy on this point. in fact, so shy, you don't respond to the bulk of my post which was on this, but prefer to go off on a wander.

carrol wrote:

> Angela arranged the necessary (for her) shift from tautology to
> nonsense in a parenthesis "(some would go further and say 'not ever'),
and she
> places herself among that "some" without feeling the need to defend
> the proposition. As a matter of fact almost all of human life can be
> (and always has been) easily predicted.

complete drivel. what precisely is the difference between a claim that not all desires and wants can be planned and your claim of "almost all", other than what is the eruption of a desire to impress by being an asshole? and, if there's a certain tautology between planning and transparency, which there is since planning presupposes a transparency of knowledge, then it requires little explanation, less a defense.

i want to know, but still the question is avoided: what/who is that which is conceived as the vehicle or instrument of planning by those who talk about capitalism as chaotic/anarchic, etc?

> it is the unpredictability of life under capitalism that constitutes
> what some marxists refer to as the "anarchy of production" --
> the inability in a market economy to match production to need.

and what is it that will overcome this presumed "anarchy of production" (which in any case is a phrase pre-loaded with the conclusion) in order to predict and plan for needs? and the answer lurking sullenly about but unwritten is: the state. why all the hesitancy and detours into fables?

Angela _________

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