Economic Update: Capitalism, Revolution & Socialism [CLIP]

the Soviet Union never changed something fundamental in all of the big changes they made you can put it this way before the Revolution the average worker in industry and in a farm and in the household got up had their tea and breakfast and went to work and the conditions of which under which they did that after the Revolution weren't that different from what they had been before let's take the example of industry which is what changed the most in Russia before the Revolution Industrial Workers went to work in the morning worked all day and went all the decisions in their enterprises what to produce how to produce where to produce and what happens with the products of people's labor that was decided by a tiny group of people they were called comma Tsar's or in English commissioners they were state officials because the government now owned and operated enterprises they weren't the board of directors elected by shareholders because there were no shareholders they didn't get to elect anybody government officials state officials were put in the position you're now the Board of Directors you twelve you run these factories you run these stores you run these offices for the mass of workers it really wasn't all that big of a difference these individuals private capitalists were gone these individuals replace them state officials but the structure the organization of the enterprise didn't change all that much they worked and then they went home and the fruits of their labor were decided on and distributed by somebody else to say the same thing in the simplest words possible the internal organization of the factories the farms the stores the offices didn't change you didn't have what socialists had talked about namely the workers themselves running the enterprises the workers as groups owning and operating he didn't change it you didn't keep them private but now run by the workers you made them state but still not run by the workers oh yes by representatives who said they represented the workers but after all a private capitalist typically also says that he is doing the best for his workers the trick will be and this is the lesson socialists have to learn that this early experiment this first experiment in setting up a socialist economy that was started a hundred years ago this month in Russia made a mistake it never understood and it never enacted the transformation of the enterprise itself

  1. Glad to see Dr. Wolff isn't a "the USSR was Socialist" tankie. Where's Muke, he oughta love this.

  2. I really like that democracy at work offers a consistent argument against capitalism and these crazy things the soviets did. But what's still missing here is an answer to the question: how to get rid of self-destructive competition without turning the economy into monopolies (which are bad even when the monopoly companies are run democratically)?

  3. Don't forget about military spendings, cold war and so on. That is why socialism(not just socialism but welfare state) is not possible just in one single country. Because capitalists will do everything to destroy such country.

  4. That was short and brief. I liked it.
    That early experiment (USSR) never understood the relations of production.
    If they had understood capital as a relation.
    Could the revolutionists have turned the government of the Czar(s) into a government of the People?
    Capitalism is when production is no longer owned by the producers.
    Three elements involved, production (owned by a) capitalist and the workers.

    If we join production with workers, they will produce for their families and society.
    They might not produce for the revolutionists. The producers might develop the will and certainly have the means to
    use production for other purpose than to build nuclear weapons in an arms race.
    Assuming the producers are current on world affairs. Many are not. Many live in the dark ages mentally.
    In Russia they could not even read.
    America has a better chance at uniting production with labor.
    Average Americans can read and are not isolated from world events.
    The fear workers could reunite with the means runs high among America's capitalists.
    It could be the death of them.
    Nothing is forever anyway, extinction is life.
    The point I believe would be to make something from nothing.
    If there is ever a rational for workers to take production back as it was for centuries in Europe and America,
    it would be to make something from nothing.
    Right now—America has oil. The ancient Egyptians had sandstone. Greece had marble. Romans had concrete and volcanic ash.
    Every civilization was dealt a different geological hand until it moved into the elements formed in the Big Bang. Why are we stuck on oil which has no values leading to greatness compared to the elements of the Big Bang, which has greatness?
    America has scientific workers, none of them are born here is a problem, but they are here. Average workers can work jointly with scientists in production and government can become a government of the People if we want. It only takes Will Power to remove oil-based capital(ism) from general production.

  5. As you've previously stated, the Soviet Union was never 'Communist'; is was 'State Capitalism'. I've no doubt that the ruling elites (who'd likely read Marx) fully understood that what they were doing wasn't 'Communism' or 'Socialism' but also understood that they'd loose their privileged positions (or be purged from them) if they actually tried to implement socialism. In an ironic twist, western Capitalists, especially those with some education, would have had to recognize the same thing but, in order to prevent any real move to socialism in the west, chose to ignore that what they were calling 'Communism' wasn't Communism but was actually totalitarian state capitalism but demonized it as 'Communism' to demonize the concept of socialism.

  6. As I understand it, Marx's and Engels' idea was that the social revolution had to pass through this "dictatorship of the proletariat". On the contrary, Proudhon, and latter Bakunin and Rocker had it right all along.

    Not saying that Marx was all wrong in all fields. Despite his later ideas, he had many important things to say in his earlier years.

    He certainly was a complex figure, and to be honest I don't really like the term "marxist"; it implies some sort of idealism and blind faith. We don't find such thing as "Einsteinism", why should we have it here?

    Everyone should do as Prof. Wolff does: you take what's good and develop it, and criticize and drop behind what's bad. That being said, he does accept his position as "marxist". I understand that he wants to keep this term in order to distinguish his ideas to others and delimit them, but I think that in the long term it's harmful.

  7. Very poor analysis. In Stalinist Russia it was state capitalism. The Government had control as you said and workers were exploited with no capacity to challenge the oppression as all the revolutionaries were murdered. In 1917 and the few years following workers did take control with democratic workers councils with elected representatives that were accountable to the workers that voted them in. They could be removed instantly by the workers council and replaced. The crucial analysis needed is why did the counter-revolution win.

    The country was ravaged by war with the red army fighting back against the aggression of 14 invading nations. The country was totally isolated and had little capacity to feed the population with all the pressures placed upon the workers state by other nations. Industry collapsed as workers either died fighting for the red army or fled from the city to rural areas to survive. Trotsky, Lenin and many other revolutionaries acted to their best ability to fight against these threats but due to the changing landscape of the country a bureaucracy was taking hold out of necessity to survive.

    Stalin and those around him built their strength in the bureaucracy and after the German Revolution had failed in 1923 the hope for Socialism was no longer possible and Stalin became a dictator of a brutal state capitalist system. Russia was the most successful revolution in history and there are many lessons to be learnt from the time period. Revolution and the building of a democratic workers state is the only way forward to smash capitalism and have a hope for a better world. This must happen in multiple countries as a single nation will only be able to defend itself from counter-revolutionary forces for a few years at most.

  8. Please invite Peter joseph and Michael tellinger to the program, Based Resourse Econony and Contributionism two viable alternatives.

  9. Here's the thing though, in the USSR the people controlled the state which controlled the industry so they still did control it, although indirectly

  10. This may be of interest: How Big Banks Became Our Masters:

  11. Well , instead of bourgeoisie there were placed DIRECTORS. They earned WAY LESS than bourgeoisie do. In some cases workers had even better salaries. Yes in majority income was transferred not to the rich capitalist but to the state. BUT STATE DID NOT spend money only for getting bigger income without giving a fuck about workers. , but STATE TRIED TO MAKE CONDITIONS OF WORKERS BETTER USING PROGRESSIVE REFORMS WHICH LED STRAIGHT TO SOCIALISM. So state had socialist tendencies. In USSR Commissars of the national economy could not just be like "Lol now we are socialist state so we will raise salaries and get rig from the old economic shit simulteneously right now". Nope they could not because of world conditions where they were placed. Should I write about all the reforms which were applied in the early SU? They had only proletarian socialist tendency.

  12. I know Richard Wolff is a Marxist…But, I wish he would occasionally talk about Mikhail Bakunin because Bakunin was right about Marx and had a better way…

  13. Not posting the full video is rubbing me the wrong way. It will limit your viewership, and eventually your donations..

  14. I call it state capitalism : the property doesn't belong to bourgeoisie, but to the state ; the orders and oppression don't come from bourgeoisie, but from the state ; the theft of the workdrs production isn't commited by bourgeoisie, but by the state – a state controlled by a new form of bourgeoisie : the bureaucracy of party, who pretends to know better than the workers themselves what to do (like the traditional bourgeoisie in some way).

  15. I dont see how workers would be good at both.
    Imagine a worker having to do his highly technical job, he is good at this but doesn't much care for bureaucracy.
    You expect this worker to also run the company, do long term forecasting, analyse data, analyze new markets, do presentations and charts and stuff?

    I understand why the soviet union had these "commissioners" in charge of community labor.

    Maybe the better option was for these "commissioners" to act as advisors and trainers of the community, in terms of commerce.
    And then later on, the commissioners could move on to another struggling community.
    As opposed to having a commissioner wholly in charge of community labor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *