[OPE] "Socialist mode of production"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sun Sep 07 2008 - 15:19:29 EDT

It is true Marx never mentioned a "socialist mode of production", but leaving aside the linguistic fashions of the time, one theoretical reason is that in Marx himself was not a socialist, but a communist.

Marx himself is quite explicit:

Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves. The latter distribution, however, is a feature of the mode of production itself. The capitalist mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of production are in the hands of nonworkers in the form of property in capital and land, while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of labor power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democrats) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again? http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch01.htm

About the future society, he writes that:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch01.htm

Engels comments:

But Modern Industry develops, on the one hand, the conflicts which make absolutely necessary a revolution in the mode of production, and the doing away with its capitalistic character - conflicts not only between the classes begotten of it, but also between the very productive forces and the forms of exchange created by it. And, on the other hand, it develops, in these very gigantic productive forces, the means of ending these conflicts. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch01.htm

Engels does not say the task is "doing away with production", but revolutionizing the mode of production, "doing away with its capitalistic character". The "mode of production" is simply "the way of producing". You can obviously change the way of producing, but there is ALWAYS going to be a way of producing, insofar as there is production at all. You cannot produce, without having a way of producing, that's clear. What that "way of producing" is, can be defined technically, socially, politically, legally, culturally, ideologically and so on.



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Received on Sun Sep 7 15:24:45 2008

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