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

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue May 09 2006 - 09:48:30 EDT

> This issue of course has nothing to do with Marcel's book, it's something
> I  raised... I meant not just socialist societies but socialist movements.

Hi Jurriaan,

Oh.  I guess I was reading what you wrote too literally.  If you
are saying that there are some 'socialist' _movements_ that socialists
shouldn't support then I agree -- of course -- with that uncontroversial

> Then you have the socialist imperialism
> of e.g. Russia and China, destroying national minority cultures and
> forcing the migration of whole peoples.

Well, was that imperialism?  I guess that depends on how you
understand the meaning of the term.  Rather than 'exploiting'
other nations through trade, I think the historical record shows
that the USSR lost more than it gained economically through
trade with both other 'socialist' nations and less developed
capitalist economies.  OTOH, the historical record concerning
the treatment of  non-Russian nationalities within the USSR
(especially the "Russification" campaigns under Stalin) could
be viewed in some respects as having many commonalities with

>  And finally you have strongly despotic socialisms such as
> Khmer socialism.


> "Orthodox" marxists like to introduce a dividing line between
> revolutionary
> socialisms and reformist socialisms, but this is of course a crude
> simplification, since there has existed a very wide spectrum of socialist
> beliefs and practices from christian socialism, Fabianism and
> communitarianism, to social democracy, Nasser-type or Sankara-type
> socialism, to bolshevism, Maoism and Stalinism etc.

Yes.  But didn't Marx and Engels also put forward a sharp "dividing line"
between Utopian socialism and "Scientific socialism"?

> The academic response to
> Draper's work was mainly one of stunning silence, and he is rarely cited.

Couldn't the same be said about the works of Maximillen Rubel?

> Draper's early essay on the "two souls of socialism" is interesting,
> because implicitly he recognises that there isn't just one kind of
socialism, but
> many, motivated by different ideas about progress and the routes to human
> emancipation.

It's interesting also because Harry Magdoff, in the article he
never wrote on "The Future of Socialism", wanted to write the last section
of that paper on "the soul of socialism".  This, perhaps, reflects their
differing conceptions of socialism.

What did you think about the hypothetical "socialisms" that I listed in my
last reply to you?

In solidarity, Jerry

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