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Archive for February, 2020

Posted by admin On February - 4 - 2020 Comments Off on

what is socialism from below

1). SOCIALISM’S CRISIS TODAY is a crisis in the meaning of socialism.
It is said that Socialism means “when the State owns the means of production”. But the important question is who”owns” the state? Certainly not the mass of workers, who are exploited, unfree, and alienated from all levers of social and political control. A new class rules, the bureaucratic bosses; it rules over a collectivist system-a bureaucratic collectivism.
2).The heart of Socialism-from-Below is its view that socialism can be realized only through the self-emancipation of activized masses in motion, reaching out for freedom with their own hands, mobilized “from below” in a struggle to take charge of their own destiny, as actors (not merely subjects) on the stage of history.
3).  “The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves”: this is the first sentence in the Rules written for the First International by Marx, and this is the First Principle of his life-work.
 
4). MODERN SOCIALISM WAS BORN in the course of the half century or so that lies between the Great French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. The Communist Manifesto of 1848 marked the self-consciousness of the first movement (in Engels’words) “whose notion was from the very beginning that the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself”. Marxism came into being, in self-conscious struggle against the advocates of the Educational Dictatorship.
5). It was Marx who finally fettered the two ideas of Socialism and Democracy together. This is the exploited class, the working class, from which comes the eventual motive-force of revolution. Hence a socialism-from-below is possible, on the basis of a theory which sees the revolutionary potentialities in the broad masses. “Without the conscious will and the conscious action of the majority of the proletariat there can be no socialism, said Rosa Luxemberg. “Mistakes committed by a genuinely revolutionary labor movement are much more fruitful and worthwhile historically than the infallibility of the very best” i.e. intellectuals, she further added. Meaning thereby, that the  elite will be superhumanly wise and incapable of injustice is  same as the totalitarian myth of the infallibility of the Party. Eugene Debs , the American Socialist ,  appealed to, and had faith in the self activity of the masses from below.
6) In the struggle of the working class to free itself from wage slavery it cannot be repeated too often that everything depends on the working class itself. The simple question is, Can the workers fit themselves, by education, organization, cooperation and self-imposed discipline, to take control of the productive forces and manage industry in the interest of the people and for the benefit of society? That socialism is the business of a new ruling minority, non-capitalist in nature and therefore guaranteed pure, imposing its own domination either temporarily (for a mere historical era) or even permanently. In either case, this new ruling class is likely to see its goal as an Educational Dictatorship over the masses-to Do Them Good, of course-the dictatorship being exercised by an Elite Party which suppresses all control from below, or by benevolent despots or Savior-Leaders.
7). Separation of planning from democratic control-from-below makes a mockery of planning itself; for the immensely complicated industrial societies of today cannot be effectively planned by an all-powerful Central Committee bosses, which inhibit and terrorize the free play of initiative and correction from below. This is indeed the basic contradiction of the new type of exploiting social system as represented by erstwhile Soviet/Chinese bureaucratic collectivism.
 
8). Which Side Are You On?
 
FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF INTELLECTUALS who have a choice of roles to play in the social struggle, the perspective of Socialism-from-Below has historically had little appeal. Even within the framework of the socialist movement it has had few consistent exponents and not many inconsistent ones. Outside the socialist movement, naturally, the standard line is that such ideas are visionary, impractical, unrealistic, “utopian”; idealistic perhaps but quixotic. The mass of people are congenitally stupid, corrupt, apathetic and generally hopeless; and progressive change must come from Superior People rather like (as it happens) the intellectual expressing these sentiments. This is translated theoretically into an Iron Law of Oligarchy or a tiny law of elitism, in one way or another involving a crude theory of inevitability-the inevitability of change-from-above only.
 
It is argued that the mass of people in majority of  countries are too backward to control the society and its government; and this is no doubt true, not only there. But what follows? How does a people or a class become fit to rule in their own name?
Only by fighting to do so. Only by waging their struggle against oppression
-oppression by those who tell them they are unfit to govern. Only by fighting for democratic power do they educate themselves and raise themselves up to the level of being able to wield that power. There has never been any other way for any class. To choose the road of Socialism-from-Below is to affirm the beginning of a new world. Independent Socialism stand for a policy completely Independent of and opposed to both of the reactionary systems of exploitation of man by man which now divide the world: capitalism and totalitarian Communism. It stands for uncompromising support to every democratic movement of the people against all capitalist or Communist regimes, and to every movement for social emancipation from their power.  In earlier socialist states  the state owned the means of production but only the ruling bureaucratic class “owns” or controls the state. The various Communist Parties are essentially political agents of this class, not allies of socialism. Socialism-a new social system in which the people own and control the basic sectors of the economy-cannot exist without the fullest effective democratic control from below, of all social and governmental Institutions.
 
Note: The Independent Socialist Club is an unaffiliated educational center, not a party or action group, but its education, based on the ideas of revolutionary Marxism, seeks to aid socialists in their participation in every current struggle to better the people’s lot now.
 
Issued in the interest of Working Class:
 

 

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