|Defend State Capitalist Stafford Hospital?|
|James Burnham,The Father of Third Campism|
They describe this Popular Frontist approach in relation to demanding “Public Ownership” and “Public Control”, as Socialist. If your definition of Socialism is the Stalinist, or Reformist idea of something imposed from the State down, which, as Marx, Engels, Kautsky, Pannakoek and Trotsky rightly say, can only ever result in the more effective exploitation of the workers, that may be so, but it has nothing to do with the Marxist vision of Socialism.
In the Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx was scathing of the idea that workers should place demands on the State even for “State Aid” let alone for nation-alisation. And he was even more scathing of those he described as tagging on the demand for “Democratic Control” out of a sense of shame for having done so. He writes,
“Instead of arising from the revolutionary process of transformation of society, the "socialist organization of the total labour" "arises" from the "state aid" that the state gives to the producers' co-operative societies and which the state, not the workers, "calls into being". It is worthy of Lassalle's imagination that with state loans one can build a new society just as well as a new railway!”...
“That the workers desire to establish the conditions for co-operative production on a social scale, and first of all on a national scale, in their own country, only means that they are working to revolutionize the present conditions of production, and it has nothing in common with the foundation of co-operative societies with state aid. But as far as the present co-operative societies are concerned, they are of value only insofar as they are the independent creations of the workers and not protégés either of the governments or of the bourgeois.”
“Second, "democratic" means in German "Volksherrschaftlich" [by the rule of the people]. But what does "control by the rule of the toiling people" mean? And particularly in the case of a toiling people which, through these demands that it puts to the state, expresses its full consciousness that it neither rules nor is ripe for ruling! ….”
“The German Workers' party — at least if it adopts the program — shows that its socialist ideas are not even skin-deep; in that, instead of treating existing society (and this holds good for any future one) as the basis of the existing state (or of the future state in the case of future society), it treats the state rather as an independent entity that possesses its own intellectual, ethical, and libertarian bases.”
Critique Of The Gotha Programme
And Engels re-emphasised these points in a subsequent letter to Bebel, where he wrote opposing the kind of demand for state intervention put forward by the AWL,
“Fourthly, as its one and only social demand, the programme puts forward -- Lassallean state aid in its starkest form, as stolen by Lassalle from Buchez. And this, after Bracke has so ably demonstrated the sheer futility of that demand; after almost all if not all, of our party speakers have, in their struggle against the Lassalleans, been compelled to make a stand against this "state aid"! Our party could hardly demean itself further. Internationalism sunk to the level of Amand Goegg, socialism to that of the bourgeois republican Buchez, who confronted the socialists with this demand in order to supplant them!”
But, Engels was even more clear in his Critique of the Erfurt Programme where he wrote opposing not just such nation-alisation, but opposing State Capitalism in the form of National Insurance. He writes,
“8 and 9. Here I want to draw attention to the following: These points demand that the following should be taken over by the state: (1) the bar, (2) medical services, (3) pharmaceutics, dentistry, midwifery, nursing, etc., etc., and later the demand is advanced that workers’ insurance become a state concern. Can all this be entrusted to Mr. von Caprivi? And is it compatible with the rejection of all state socialism, as stated above?”
Critique Of The Erfurt Programme. But, of course, the AWL Stalinists with their Popular Frontist politics are more than happy to tell the workers to place their trust in the Von Caprivi's, and all the other bourgeois politicians and representatives of the Capitalist State!!!
“It would of course be a disastrous error, an outright deception, to assert that the road to socialism passes, not through the proletarian revolution, but through nationalization by the bourgeois state of various branches of industry and their transfer into the hands of the workers’ organizations.”
Nationalisation and Workers Control
But, it is precisely this deception that the AWL Stalinists seek to perpetrate upon the workers. Nor can they, to use Marx's phrase, cover themselves “out of a sense of shame” by adding on the demand for “Public Control” still less “Workers Control”. As Trotsky argues,
“If the participation of the workers in the management of production is to be lasting, stable, “normal,” it must rest upon class collaboration, and not upon class struggle. Such a class collaboration can be realized only through the upper strata of the trade unions and the capitalist associations. There have been not a few such experiments: in Germany (“economic democracy”), in Britain (“Mondism”), etc. Yet, in all these instances, it was not a case of workers’ control over capital, but of the subserviency of the labour bureaucracy to capital.”
That is precisely the kind of Workers Control the AWL's demand amounts to. It could never be anything other, under the current conditions, because as Trotsky continues,
|Failure of the Italian Workers Councils led to Fascism|
And, the only way the AWL could present the demand for Workers Control in any other way than as a purely reformist demand, for a Stalinist stitch up, between the union bureaucrats and the bosses state, is if they present this further delusion that we are currently in some kind of “Dual Power”, “Pre-Revolutionary” situation, a delusion that is also required for their other ridiculous demand for a Workers Government, which under current conditions could be none other than a right-wing Miliband Government!!!
Back To Part 6
Forward To Part 8