Put this in wrapper
Scotch Wallace replies to Ben Seattle's
Why will the working class need a state?
The working class will need a machine to suppress the resistance of the bourgeoisie and capital during the period of transition to a classless society based on a self-organizing moneyless economy. This machine will consist of a system of organized activity by workers. This machine has a scientific name. The scientific name for this machine is the state. Ben Seattle ALDS Part 1
I certainly agree that the working class will need a machine, an organization. I further agree that the working class had better take hold of the capitalist state, and I can only see this happening through a working class political movement. The only problem is that the capitalist state is something that was designed to be useful to the capitalist class, and is of dubious utility to the working class. We had better begin to build our machine before we take control of the state. If our machine is built, then we can take control of the capitalist state for the mere purpose of abolishing it, and handing over power to the organization that was designed to be the tool of working class control of the economy. As our political movement develops, it should make a central point of aiding the development of the economic organization which will one day replace the capitalist state. If the day of working class political victory finds that economic organization incomplete, then yes, it will be necessary to weild the state in behalf of the working class, but not for a long transition period. Certain functions of the state can be eliminated immediately. Once the working class has state power, the remaining obstacles to finishing the organization that is to replace the state can be surmounted rapidly.
The DeLeonists have an interesting point of view on this question. They certainly occupy the middle ground between the Leninists and anarchists on this question. This from the Socialist-Labor Party (SLP) pamphlet, After the Revolution, Who Rules:
"Writing to August Bebel about a party platform four years after the Commune, Engels declared, 'The whole talk about the state should be dropped, especially since the Commune, which was no longer a state in the proper sense of the word.' Engels meant by this that the government of the Paris workers had immediately lopped off a host of features historically associated with the nature of the state."
"It was no longer a seperate force above the masses of people, but was identical with their own organization. It was no longer a parliamentary institution, but a working body composed of ordinary citizens. In these and other respects, the Paris dictatorship of the proletariet was no longer a state in the proper sense of the word
"To the degree that it was necessary for the Commune (or any subsequent workers government) to establish organs of authority not directly concerned with the administration of production, or to repress class enemies, to this extent it may be legitimate to speak in some measure of a state power. Borrowing Marx΄s phrase from The Critique of the Gotha Program, a workers' government may conceivably be required to perform certain social functions analagous to the present functions of the state."
What kind of organization do we need to create? It seems axiomatic to me, that the replacement to the state must be a revolutionary industrial union structure. Debs, DeLeon, the early IWW that embraced political organization, were pretty much on the mark. Create such an organization, and upon completion, we can abolish the state.
The learning curve problem is bogus. The working class already controls the day to day operations of physical production. We know how to produce. We need an organization that will prepare us to take control of and operate the means of production for our own ends. An organization that will provide the communication and democratic process for us to control and coordinate the activities of the various industries that make up the economy.
2. "Co-op consciousness" leads nowhere
The evolution of an alternative economy under conditions of bourgeois rule is also a dead-end idea that goes nowhere.
I sometimes refer to this trend of thought as "co-op consciousness" because in the 1960's the idea was near-universal that such entities as co-ops would usher in a new way of thinking and doing things. A friend of mine, for example, once donated his afternoon to building a bookshelf for a local food co-op here in Seattle. The food co-op has since gone on to become very successful--although not in terms of its original founding vision. The food co-op certainly sells a lot of food. But the decisions are now made by well-paid corporate executives and the low-paid workers have no say in how things are run and in general are treated like shit.
And this always seems to happen. If you throw a rock in the air it will eventually come down again because of the law of gravity. No matter how hard you try--you cannot throw a rock fast enough that it can escape the law of gravity. Similarly any kind of co-op that you build will, if it is part of the money economy, fall victim to the laws of commodity production. The laws of commodity production can no more be escaped than the law of gravity. Ben Seattle ALDS Part 1
Is the problem with the laws of commodity production, or with a conservative cooperative consciousness? I think that a revolutionary cooperative movement could play an important role in getting the ball rolling, it could model some aspects of socialism even before the revolution, it could provide the material basis for organizing a revolutionary industrial union movement, and a revolutionary political movement. It could provide important socialist education. But this is a very narrow, and definitely revolutionary concept of cooperativism, one that realizes that the whole job will not be done by co-ops, that the real power lies in revolutionary industrial unions. I live in Brazil where I'm active in an organization called the MTL (movimento terra trabalho e liberdade) that has launched several revolutionary cooperatives, and these organizations have become dynamic centers of socialist organization and class struggle. Now Lula is talking about trying to build the co-op movement. The details on his program aren't out yet, but I'm considering joining the PT to put my two cents in to try to make sure that this co-op movement becomes a revolutionary force that will aid in building socialism.