[OPE-L:4815] RE: Re: Re: state ownership

From: P.J.Wells@open.ac.uk
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 14:55:56 EST

Paul C writes [OPE-L:4804] 

>This is real revisionist re-writing of history. To say that socialism
>seen as public ownership of the means of production never had
>mass support is to wipe most of the 20th century mass workers
>parties off the history books. 

Here he is entirely right. I might even agree to the proposition that this
was an unavoidable learning experience. But in itself this says nothing
about what could or should be the case in the future.

and [OPE-L:4801]

>Even here in Britain, there is working class opposition to any
>reduction in state ownership.

*Any* reduction in state ownership? I'd suggest that the examples Paul
quotes arise from a perception that these are basic services akin to the NHS
-- if (say) there was still a publicly-owned road haulage or car
manufacturing enterprise, I'm not sure that many (apart from the employees
affected) would campaign vigorously to preserve public ownership.

It may also be relevant to point out that in the UK there have been
movements for railway nationalisation since the 1840s, a demand that the
manufacturing and commercial wing of the bourgeoisie only resiled from with
the rise of motorised road transport.

Later, when the 1951 Conservative government proposed to reverse Labour's
nationalisation of road transport, the manufacturing/commercial bourgeoisie
came out in support of preserving this too.

I'd also point out that opposing reductions in what exists is not the same
thing as supporting its re-extension (in general: Paul is quite right in
pointing to support far beyond the working class for railway
re-nationalisation -- but see comments above about basic services, and
consider how far this might apply to rail freight as opposed to passenger


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