[lbo-talk] Socialist modelling (Was: Louis Proyect...)

Marv Gandall marvgand at gmail.com
Wed Dec 28 08:35:41 PST 2011

On 2011-12-28, at 11:10 AM, Wojtek S wrote:

> So to sum it up, the function of this 'social economy' would be
> three-fold. First, it would employment opportunities in a
> labor-friendly democratically governed environment. Second, it would
> generate economic resources that are derived from market rather than
> charity and that can be used to gain leverage in the political process
> i.e. by funding labor friendly political parties, labor friendly
> media, and labor friendly knowledge production. Third, is what can be
> termed the "legitimation function" - that providing pro-labor
> socialization experience for employees and customers, and also
> demonstration of an alternative economic model.
> […]

> But this is just a general idea rather than a blueprint for a
> political strategy which obviously depends on the reality on the
> ground.

But that's the point, isn't it? The reality is that the capitalist state would not permit a social economy to encroach on social ownership, so it cannot be a viable political strategy, as you earlier contended.

Worker-owned coops are an expedient sometimes used to rescue companies from bankruptcy and are conditional on the workers accepting deep cuts in wages and benefits in return for the promise of future dividends. The rare companies which return to profitability are invariably reprivatized. It's akin to the process through which insolvent banks are temporarily nationalized and then returned to the private sector after being restructured. The kibbutz movement founded by utopian Labour Zionists is a large-scale example of the limitations of producers' coops under capitalism. They were inexorably transformed into profit-maximizing enterprises employing immigrant labour by the logic of expanding Israeli capitalism.

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