[OPE-L] 'socialisms' that shouldn't be supported?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon May 08 2006 - 16:25:26 EDT

> But just about all the theoretical
> variants are represented. However, Cockshott & Cottrell's theory isn't
> there, i.e. the Western Marxist variant that believes the Soviet Union was
> some kind of "state socialism", and Marcel doesn't really recognise the
> possibility that there might be *different kinds* of socialisms, some of
> which deserve support and others not, i.e. you might have a socialism, but
> it is not one you would support even if you were a socialist. But this is
> not entirely his fault, since most Marxists argued you either have
> socialism or you haven't (Marx himself of course explicitly argued
> contrary to the  Marxists in this sense - i.e. he was well aware that
> there
> were all kinds of  socialisms, propagated by different individuals and
> social classes, and he > liked some, but vigorously opposed others -
> see e.g. Vol. 4 of Hal Draper's  magnum opus).

Hi Jurriaan,

I don't have V 4 of Draper.  I've been trying to think of socialisms which
socialists should not support.  The three that came to mind are

1) predatory socialism

Suppose for the sake of argument that it is possible to have socialism in
a single country.  Now, suppose there is a socialist social formation in
which all of the characteristics of a socialist society are in place, but
where -- as a consequence of popular political will and workers'
democracy -- many of the resources for 'socialist accumulation' are
secured from an external source (another social formation) by brute
military force and plunder.   If socialism is identified with nationalism
(i.e. what's good for the nation is good for socialism) and if
nationalist rivalries and racism persist, one could envision (at least
hypothetically) such a possibility.  (A science fiction variant:  Suppose
you have _world-wide_ socialism _but_ we come into contact with
civilizations beyond the Earth which people on Earth decide
democratically -- influenced by their human chauvinism -- to exploit
and plunder.)

2) genocidal socialism

This could be a form of 'predatory socialism' but, for the sake of
discussion, I'll create a different situation.  Suppose in this case that
there is an isolated 'socialist' social formation in which all have
(certain) rights but all decisions are made on the basis of majority
vote.  Now, suppose  that the majority group decides that a
minority (e.g. ethnic) group should be sent to death camps.
Assume, as before, that in all other respects there is a 'socialist'

3) religious cult socialism

Suppose there is a popular 'socialist'  who claims that s/he
has a divine mandate and is the one True interpreter of God's
Will.  Yet suppose that there is socialism in every other respect
and that there is workers' democracy.  However,  if the cult
extends over the entire society or at least the majority, then the
cult leader could get the majority to do whatever s/he
willed.  This type of 'socialism' (a sort of religious commune
on a grand scale) could fold into predatory or genocidal
socialism or move in other directions which socialists should
not support, e.g.  gender occupational segregation (and, in other
ways, the reinforcement of patriarchy) homophobic repression,
mass suicide pacts, etc.

I would hope that irrespective of whether we agree or disagree
that the above societies are 'socialist' we could agree that they
should be opposed, i.e. they we would call for opposition to
the current system and revolutionary transformation.

What _other_ 'socialist' societies should we oppose?

In solidarity, Jerry

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