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Thread: Who was closer to Marx; Stalin or Trotsky?

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  1. #21
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    Well, people have now posted over a dozen responses to your thread's topic -- at this point you may want to give *your own*, if tentative, take on this matter, considering the content of posts like this one:
    Well, in what I have seen and contemplated, the case of the more orthodox and productive path of the cause of the Communist ideal lies in the Trotskyite answer. Though some of the application, being the promotion of the ideal in nations that may not be economically be ready, isn't properly developed or tested, the idea of an internationale rather than one isolated nation shows more promise. In having an international community of communist nations, there is the possibility of developing a trade system that doesn't rely on the transfer of currency, but purely of product. While at the same time, the implementation of this form would promote general welfare within and without of the residing nation.


    I'll also note that 'totalitarianism' is just a strategy, and can be done well or not-so-well in the context of larger general social conditions -- the *vanguard party* formulation uses a trade-off of specialized administrative expertise, for expediency and maneuverability, in place of more-desired, but slower, truly bottom-up processes of worker-sourced political / social inputs.

    So 'totalitarianism' used as an emotive or provocative label lacks in full meaning since the *overriding* issue for a revolutionary politics is the *results*: Is society *overcoming* the present-day bourgeois dictatorship, in part or in whole, by bringing about more humaneness for more people, or isn't it -- ?
    In defense of my usage of totalitarianism in this sense: I believe that when implementing the total government control, rather than a guiding had of common prosperity, the intent of communism is destroyed and the perpetuation of the classes continue. Those within the communist totalitariate would be seen as the bourgeoisie in this case, having extended rights and abilities beyond what is needed or typically promoted. I do recognize that in some cases a totalitarian regime may be required to keep the peace in periods of transition, but it must only be temporary, or else it is risked the good-willed communist leadership becomes tainted by greed of power.
  2. #22
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    Well, in what I have seen and contemplated, the case of the more orthodox and productive path of the cause of the Communist ideal lies in the Trotskyite answer. Though some of the application, being the promotion of the ideal in nations that may not be economically be ready, isn't properly developed or tested, the idea of an internationale rather than one isolated nation shows more promise. In having an international community of communist nations, there is the possibility of developing a trade system that doesn't rely on the transfer of currency, but purely of product. While at the same time, the implementation of this form would promote general welfare within and without of the residing nation.

    Yes, I tend to agree overall -- but I have a question: Wouldn't a barter-type system over geographically separate entities ('communist nations') enable, and even *encourage*, market-type relations of exchanges? Here's from a previous thread:



    *Any* use of barter and/or money over these local-to-local 'synapses' just re-introduces the realm of exchange values, since one could always trade for the sake of increasing exchange-values (arbitrage) instead of for collective use-value production goals, for *humane* ends.

    My concern here is that if conventional, boundary-circumscribed geographical entities -- of whatever scale -- as we're *used* to seeing -- are retained, then some kind of exchange-based economic system would be required, like putty, to bridge the gaps from one entity to the next, thereby reintroducing *exchanges* and thus exchange-values.

    Communism, as I understand it, is supposed to be free-access and direct-distribution, so that no exchanges whatsoever are necessary.

    'Exchanges' also implies the implicit commodification of *labor*:



    By definition communism *cannot* be predicated on rewards-for-labor, because that kind of correlation automatically implies *commodification* (of labor). (Those who show themselves to be more productive would be more sought-out for this-or-that group, or commune -- necessarily circumscribed by location or physical / geographical space -- and so society would tend to become *stratified* on the basis of communes' varying productivities, by underlying laboring abilities, which would be different from the premise of 'communism'.)

    So, instead, what *should* happen is that all social production is *collectivized*, and distributed according to actual individual *need* and want.

    ---



    In defense of my usage of totalitarianism in this sense: I believe that when implementing the total government control, rather than a guiding had of common prosperity, the intent of communism is destroyed and the perpetuation of the classes continue. Those within the communist totalitariate would be seen as the bourgeoisie in this case, having extended rights and abilities beyond what is needed or typically promoted. I do recognize that in some cases a totalitarian regime may be required to keep the peace in periods of transition, but it must only be temporary, or else it is risked the good-willed communist leadership becomes tainted by greed of power.

    Yes, I tend to agree here, too, and we've seen this dynamic in history with the rise of Stalin and Stalinism, unfortunately.

    That said, though, whatever system *was* to be used *would* have to be monolithic and hegemonic, precluding any and all other approaches to social production so that a communism-type mode of production could be decisively ushered-in.
  3. #23
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    The concept of exchange through trade is aligned to the Marxist ideal. If you'd recall Marx makes direct reference to the issue with trade being not the exchange itself, but the motive of trade. His view goes along the lines of this; the nature of trade originally was made in goods, then over time currency was developed to represent the transfer of good, however in a capitalist society the idea of currency representing the trading of goods became trading for the purpose of accruing currency. So in a Communist society, valued trade would be possible based on a balance between regional availability, personal need, and personal,ability to provide. This then would support the argument of the international revolution of separate states for the sake of specialization, and if not wholly sovereign, then confederated loosely to meet the end of needs.
  4. #24
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    The concept of exchange through trade is aligned to the Marxist ideal. If you'd recall Marx makes direct reference to the issue with trade being not the exchange itself, but the motive of trade. His view goes along the lines of this; the nature of trade originally was made in goods, then over time currency was developed to represent the transfer of good, however in a capitalist society the idea of currency representing the trading of goods became trading for the purpose of accruing currency. So in a Communist society, valued trade would be possible based on a balance between regional availability, personal need, and personal,ability to provide. This then would support the argument of the international revolution of separate states for the sake of specialization, and if not wholly sovereign, then confederated loosely to meet the end of needs.

    Thanks for the Marx recap -- I guess I just continue to have 'personal' differences with this approach in general, and so I have differences with Marx's particular proposed implementation. In practice these differences of mine wouldn't be a 'deal-breaker' (heh) or *objection* to socialist revolution, etc., but since we're not there yet, I do happen to feel free to point out certain *flaws* in socialism-oriented proposals that I come across, such as in using the following diagram to say that any given Marx-type labor *voucher* would have to be equal in value to *any other* labor voucher of the same stated value:


    Pies Must Line Up






    I tend to see the problem of the rise of exchange values (over use-values) that you're outlining to be inherent to the practice of *exchanges* itself (trade, barter), and so I'd *much prefer* to see a communism (and as much of a socialism as possible) around the practice of *free-access* and *direct-distribution* so that the practice of *exchanges* is entirely not-possible as a fundamental characteristic of social production. The very act of exchanges *implies* the use of implicit exchange-values -- even without using currency of any kind -- and opens the door, then, to the rise of the exchange-value / commodity regime all over again.

    Regarding the inherently differing material-interests that you've mentioned, here's my *own* take on it:



    Labor vouchers imply a political economy that *consciously* determines valuations, but there's nothing to guarantee that such oversight -- regardless of its composition -- would properly take material realities into account. Such a system would be open to the systemic problems of groupthink and elitism.

    What's called-for is a system that can match liberated-labor organizing ability, over mass-collectivized assets and resources, to the mass demand from below for collective production. If *liberated-labor* is too empowered it would probably lead to materialistic factionalism -- like a bad syndicalism -- and back into separatist claims of private property.

    If *mass demand* is too empowered it would probably lead back to a clever system of exploitation, wherein labor would cease to retain control over the implements of mass production.

    And, if the *administration* of it all is too specialized and detached we would have the phenomenon of Stalinism, or bureaucratic elitism and party favoritism.

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