Maoism is Proudhonism in disguise


  #1  
24th August 2014, 20:21

[Tim Cornelis]
I've for a while considered Stalinism quite similar to Proudhonism, the notion that when you change the conditions of market exchange and commodity production, either legally (as per Stalinism) or through remuneration via labour money (as per Proudhonism) somehow abolishes capitalism is common to both. But Maoism especially with its work point system is suspect.

Proudhonism seeks to establish socialism with commodity production but with labour money representing time.
Maoism does a very similar thing. It brings the means of production under state ownership, but control is not in the hands of the workers but in the hands of committees of Party bureaucrats and later army officers and red guards as well (often in conflict with each other and themselves). So workers continue to be divorced from the conditions of labour; there is no social control over the means of production, nor social ownership. The social character of labour was not immediate and not associated, and therefore the basis for the disappearance for the commodity form organically and automatically was non-existent. Instead, the workers receive 'work points' that are exchangeable for commodities. The implementation of work-points was entirely optional and did not follow organically from labour becoming immediate social labour, as it would have under social ownership. So in this regard, Maoism is very similar to Proudhonist logic. This may also be interesting in light of the anarchist influences on the Chinese Communist Party leadership, especially Mao and Li Dazhao (although it was more Kropotkin's influence than Proudhon). But I've never seen the comparison been made, so maybe I'm overlooking something that sets these two apart, making the comparison null.

So please some information, maybe you have seen the comparison before, or maybe you know why this comparison is flawed.

[Tim Cornelis]
Also interesting comments by Marx on labour money and banking. In these labour-money schemes, a bank gives out the labour money currency. Marx comments:

Quote:
The bank would thus be the general buyer and seller. Instead of notes it could also issue cheques, and instead of that it could also keep simple bank accounts. Depending on the sum of commodity values which X had deposited with the bank, X would have that sum in the form of other commodities to his credit. A second attribute of the bank would be necessary: it would need the power to establish the exchange value of all commodities, i.e. the labour time materialized in them, in an authentic manner. But its functions could not end there. It would have to determine the labour time in which commodities could be produced, with the average means of production available in a given industry, i.e. the time in which they would have to be produced. But that also would not be sufficient. It would not only have to determine the time in which a certain quantity of products had to be produced, and place the producers in conditions which made their labour equally productive (i.e. it would have to balance and to arrange the distribution of the means of labour), but it would also have to determine the amounts of labour time to be employed in the different branches of production. The latter would be necessary because, in order to realize exchange value and make the bank’s currency really convertible, social production in general would have to be stabilized and arranged so that the needs of the partners in exchange were always satisfied. Nor is this all. The biggest exchange process is not that between commodities, but that between commodities and labour. (More on this presently.) The workers would not be selling their labour to the bank, but they would receive the exchange value for the entire product of their labour, etc. Precisely seen, then, the bank would be not only the general buyer and seller, but also the general producer. In fact either it would be a despotic ruler of production and trustee of distribution, or it would indeed be nothing more than a board which keeps the books and accounts for a society producing in common.
So we see that Marx description of the role of a bank in issuing labour money is very similar to how the command economy worked. It controlled the price mechanism, it was the general buy and seller of commodities, it controlled labour, it controlled distribution of consumer goods and of labour to different branches of production.

This is probably an irrelevant correlation, and without the same causality (the Stalinist and Maoist state's similarity to this hypothetical bank is not both due to labour-money presumably). But I think it's interesting to investigate whether there is something to it.
[Tim Cornelis]
Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
Just to point out that this is a

Strawman.jpg

as big as the one pictured, maybe larger.

"Proudhonism" seeks to establish socialism by abolishing the capitalist notion of private property and replacing it with a system of economic relations based on the notion of possession.

"Bakuninism", that is, the standard revolutionary social anarchism, is in fact just 'Proudhonism' simplified[1] and made more resolute (being revolutionary instead of dual-power reformist).

1. As I explained here: http://www.revleft.com/vb/collectivi...26#post2783226

Why is this important? Because "Proudhonism" is socialism, whereas Marxism is state-capitalism.
As always, bropasaran:

miss-the-point2.jpg

Did you explain why this is a strawman? No. It seems that you made a knee-jerk response, what appeared to you, as a criticism of Proudhonism -- even though it wasn't. You should learn that an interpretation of something is not equal to a strawman. Anyway, you say ""Proudhonism" seeks to establish socialism by abolishing the capitalist notion of private property and replacing it with a system of economic relations based on the notion of possession." Which of course does not address the question of commodity production and labour-money. It's unrelated from this.

Bakuninism? Where did this come from -- this is even more unrelated. And incidentally, Bakuninism is not mutualism simplified. Bakuninism correctly rejects the operation of competitive markets and commodity production.

"Because "Proudhonism" is socialism, whereas Marxism is state-capitalism."

Of course, in all the times you said this you could not substantiate once why this is true. And while I don't have an interest in discussing this here, Proudhonism does not reject the concept of private property per se, but brings it under collective possession.
[9mm]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Василиса Прекра View Post
Tim, why can't 'commodity production' exist under Socialism?
Because commodities presuppose a market within which they can be exchanged.
(...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Василиса Прекра View Post
Ok, so, there will no longer be, say a Barbie doll or hair gel? I'm confused.
No of course not (as in yes these things will still exist).But commodities, at least in the marxist sense, are defined by the fact that they are exanged on a market, ie: a commodity presupposes the existence of a market. In other words, these products will continue to exist, but due to the fact they are not being exchanged, their character will have fundamentally changed.
(...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Василиса Прекра View Post
So, in turn, their production will not stop under Socialism so there again, why is Tims so turned on by this 'no commodity production under Socialism' kick? Whether or not they are to be exchanged in a market or what have you seems irrelevant, primarily because what's being discussed is just its literal production. A I understand it; maybe I'm wrong, idk.
Whether or not they are exchanged in a market is what is absolutely key, not whether or not said specific item is produced.
[Brutus]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Василиса Прекра View Post
So, in turn, their production will not stop under Socialism so there again, why is Tims so turned on by this 'no commodity production under Socialism' kick? Whether or not they are to be exchanged in a market or what have you seems irrelevant, primarily because what's being discussed is just its literal production. A I understand it; maybe I'm wrong, idk.
A commodity is not simply a product (like hair gel, or a barbie doll), but something produced for the market. A commodity economy necessarily implies private ownership, as someone will have to own the factory, machines and so on, to produce these goods for the market. Wherever private ownership and commodity production exists, there will be a struggle for buyers and competition amongst sellers. This is why Tim is saying this, because the commodity economy is the primary feature of capitalism.
[Tim Cornelis]
Quote:
Originally Posted by helot View Post
As for the OP... i think it's unfair to compare mutualism and maoism. The differences are there even if we think they're both shit.
Yes there are differences, but there is this one resemblance which is quite striking in its outward appearance at least: labour-money based on commodity production. I'm wanting to know whether this similar outward appearance is just coincidental, or whether the underlying logic is the same -- in which case we can dismiss Maoism as Proudhonist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
It's as substantiated as was Tim's claim about Proudhon, interesting you don't react to that.
The only claim I made was that Proudhonism advocates labour money and commodity production at the same time. You have not addressed this. You replied with an unrelated issue of possession and private property according to Proudhon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
Anyways, as I have pointed out many times, Marx's anti-socialism is obvious to anyone who looks at his work rationally, without any biases in favor of Marx or the mainstream myths and the official doctrine and dogma (marx = socialism) - he advocated nationalization, he thought that workers are incapable of running production without managers commanding them,
I have repeatedly asked you where Marx said such a thing. I have also repeatedly pointed out that Marx described socialism as being based on the free and equal association of producers, which is fundamentally opposed to the concept of managers commanding workers (which would be neither free or equal) and that under such conditions the immediate producers would continue to confront their conditions of labour as alien property, and therefore, that this would constitute private property, according to Marx. So your claim, for which you have repeatedly failed to provide a source for, stands in direct contradiction with what Marx wrote.

I have also pointed out that nationalisation by a workers' state is nationalisation done by the revolutionary working class (which is social ownership), and has nothing in common with state ownership by a bourgeois state (which is private ownership).


Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
Sure, when you explain your ridiculous claim about Proudhon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
Which of course has nothing to do with your claim that as per "Proudhonism" remuneration via labour money abolishes capitalism.
You are correct. Proudhon didn't claim labour money would be sufficient for the abolition of capitalism, by his definition of capitalism, (and in addition proposed that self-managed enterprises would continue commodity production). From the perspective of Marxism, that is in essence his claim. My research question was directed at Marxists, though implicitly, as my question presupposes the upholding of a Marxist paradigm.

So please get out of this thread if you don't want to address my question from the perspective of Marxism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bropasaran View Post
Could be because in the vulgar-marxist hodgepodge of labels and slogans commodity production = capitalism.
And who are you to school people on Marxism?

No, commodity production is not equal to capitalism. Commodity production arises when the social character of labour cannot be expressed directly, in association. Therefore, commodity production is a necessary product of private labour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Василиса Прекра View Post
Tim, why can't 'commodity production' exist under Socialism?
commodity production is not equal to capitalism. Commodity production arises when the social character of labour cannot be expressed directly, in association. Therefore, commodity production is a necessary product of private labour.

(unfinished text) Jossa cites Marx saying that workers in cooperatives are 'their own capitalists' (p. 16), but 'refutes' this by saying “Vanek's LMF [Labour Managed Firms] – a firm that self-finances its investments entirely with loan capital and strictly segregates labour incomes from capital incomes.” Which he immediately follows up with, without justification, “the workers of such firms can hardly be described as 'their own capitalists'.” And why not? Jossa provides no explanation as to why workers in cooperatives would be capitalists according to Marx, and he provides no reason why and how this trick of segregating types of income would then cancel out the categories within the dynamics of workers' cooperatives that make the workers their own capitalists in the first place. He merely postulates this. These self-managed firms, even if supplemented by state planning (as in 'socialist' Yugoslavia), is self-managed capitalism. He envisions still, that these “democratically managed cooperatives” firms produce commodities (p. 20), however as, somehow, “free choices made by workers in association”. Note that he misrepresents what 'association' is. (explanation). As Marxist scholar Paresh Chattopadhyay explains, “in a society of generalised commodity production, where products result from private labours executed in reciprocal independence, the social character of these labours - hence the reciprocal relations of the creators of these products - are not established directly.” And therefore “Their social character is mediated by exchange of products taking commodity form.” It is only where social labour is indirect, that products need to assume the form of commodity in market exchange. As such, “With the inauguration of the [socialist mode of production] there begins the process of collective appropriation of the conditions of production by society” therefore “with the end of private appropriation of the conditions of production there also ends the need for the products of individual labour to go through exchange taking the commodity form. In the new society individual labour is directly social from the beginning. In place of exchange of products taking the commodity form”,1 consequently in socialism, as Peter Hudis explains, “Production is now geared for use, not for augmenting value. Indirect social labor, based on the value-form of mediation, is replaced by direct social labor, based on “transparent” interpersonal relations between the producers.”2
Peter Hudis:
A very different situation exists under capitalism, where individual labor is*not*directly part of the sum total of actual labor. The amount of value created by an individual unit of labor is determined by an abstract, social average that exists apart from the subjectivity of the laborer—socially necessary labor time. In capitalism it is not actual labor time but “currently necessary labor*time*that determines value” [MECW 28, p. 73]). An individual hour of labor therefore counts only as*indirectly*social. It cannot be otherwise so long as value production exists. Yet once value production is abolished individual labor exists “as a*directly*constituent part of the total labor” since labor is no longer governed by socially necessary labor time … The replacement of indirect social labor by direct social labor signifies the abolition of capitalist value production."

So we see Tadayuki Tsushima explain that " In a word, labor is not manifested as value or in the value-form. Why is this?

He says there are "altered circumstances"; i.e. society has already become a society of communal labor where the means of production are commonly owned. This is because "no one can give anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except individual means of consumption." The law of value can only arise in a society where the linkage of social labor is carried out through the private exchange of the products of private labor." In the case of socialism, however, there is no such exchange of products. No individual has things of equivalent value. This is because already "no one can give anything except his labor" For example, no individual possesses anything akin to a product of individual labor. The products are directly social products, and no individual has a product for exchange. What can be given is only their own labor, and what they can possess is merely the given individual means of consumption distributed by society."

https://www.marxists.org/subject/jap...rtificates.htm


Quote:
Originally Posted by communer View Post
These things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.
Control by Part bureaucrats and control by producers is not mutually exclusive? Of course they are. In one scenario party bureaucrats manage production on behalf of the workers; in the other scenario workers manage production under their own control.
[Tim Cornelis]
Hmm. I should've phrased that differently. It may be that the similar outward appearance is coincidental, it may also be that the underlying logic is also coincidentally the same, or that the underlying logic is entirely different. Maoism doesn't need to have been consciously influenced by Proudhonism, I mean, in order to reproduce Proudhonist logic.
[Tim Cornelis]
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
Was Maoist state capitalism consciously or subconsciously influenced by Proudhon? Or did Proudhon accurately predict socialism's construction in China?
Well, there was anarchist influence on Chinese 'communism', but this was more Kropotkin's ideas, so the first seems unlikely. Subconscious influence? Not sure what that would be. But what seems a more likely scenario is that they reinvented the wheel of Proudhonism independently of Proudhon IF we can actually say that Maoism's logic of work-points based on commodity production is the same as Proudhon's labour-money based on commodity production -- which is not proven, but I will look into that. That none of the great thinkers in Marxism appear to have suggested it tells me, probably not. But still, following up on unlikely hypotheses can advance research anyway.
[Tim Cornelis]
Again being disingenuous. Kill all the fetuses! [U] "you must have some sort of management to coordinate that work." Your response: "Capitalist authoritarianism is bad, but *our* authoritarianism is [good]. Self-management is impossible". You do realise that all most of the workers' cooperatives have this "authoritarian" structure right? You appear to wrongly assume that "self-management" is synonymous with mutual adjustment.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_...ization_theory

Mutual adjustment is not applicable to all forms of organisation.

Of course, an 'anarchist' society will have 'direct supervision' of sorts too (the authoritarian structure you loathe). Fire marshals, captains of ships.

"Workers will be able to chosse those masters, so those are *good* master, not like those bad capitalist ones."

Anarchists too advocate mandated recallable deputies or delegates, so anarchism is authoritarian now?

Look up the organisational structure of the Landless Workers' Movement on wikipedia, would you consider this structure to be "authoritarian"?