Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Today's young socialists have not studied history

Some of Bernie's followers (all very young adults) were interviewed with one question, "What is socialism." No one knew. Here is Benjamin Tucker's definition. He was a 19th c. anarchist (what he called the liberty form of socialism, and which sounds a lot like libertarian today) and wanted to distinguish between anarchism and state socialism. One of the best and clearest I've read.

"First, then, State Socialism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by the government, regardless of individual choice. Marx, its founder, concluded that the only way to abolish the class monopolies was to centralize and consolidate all industrial and commercial interests, all productive and distributive agencies, in one vast monopoly in the hands of the State. The government must become banker, manufacturer, farmer, carrier, and merchant, and in these capacities must suffer no competition. Land, tools, and all instruments of production must be wrested from individual hands, and made the property of the collectivity. 

To the individual can belong only the products to be consumed, not the means of producing them. A man may own his clothes and his food, but not the sewing-machine which makes his shirts or the spade which digs his potatoes. Product and capital are essentially different things; the former belongs to individuals, the latter to society. Society must seize the capital which belongs to it, by the ballot if it can, by revolution if it must. Once in possession of it, it must administer it on the majority principle, though its organ, the State, utilize it in production and distribution, fix all prices by the amount of labor involved, and employ the whole people in its workshops, farms, stores, etc. The nation must be transformed into a vast bureaucracy, and every individual into a State official.

Everything must be done on the cost principle, the people having no motive to make a profit out of themselves. Individuals not being allowed to own capital, no one can employ another, or even himself. Every man will be a wage-receiver, and the State the only wage-payer. He who will not work for the State must starve, or, more likely, go to prison. All freedom of trade must disappear. Competition must be utterly wiped out. All industrial and commercial activity must be centered in one vast, enormous, all-inclusive monopoly. The remedy for monopolies is monopoly."


Anonymous said...

In the 19th century communism and socialism were interchangeable, something evident from your quote which is very much out of context. Today hard socialism is the restructuring of government to fit Marxist ideas through democratic means. Communism places it's faith in revolution to convince the population Marxist ideas are more valuable than the words of the bible. Socialists realize you can catch more flies with honey...which is why we have seen the steady trend towards the left, a good example being liberalism. 40 years ago what we now know as liberal ideas would be considered far left. As the old-cons are dying and the neo-cons succumb to natural selection the population is coming to its senses.

Norma said...

The state is still in control with your "new" socialism whether voted in or not.